Tag Archives: illness

October 14 – Calming The Sea

Matthew 13; Luke 8

Jesus calmed the sea. In the middle of a violent storm, Jesus spoke a word and calm came over the water. A boat full of frightened people, tossed by waves and in danger of dying were saved.

I can’t help but think of Hurricane Matthew as I read these verses, and I certainly reminded God of them when I was praying during that storm. But God seems to be asking me to look beyond calming waters.

The real miracle is when Jesus calms individuals in the midst of the storms of life. When the death of a loved one doesn’t steal our joy. When a devastating medical prognosis doesn’t shake our faith. When the loss of a job or a relationship doesn’t shatter our hope. When a hurricane is pounding your house, and you can still trust God with the outcome. When “worry” isn’t part of your vocabulary.

The real miracle is the peace that is beyond understanding even in the darkest moments, in the roughest waters of our lives.

September 14 – It’s Kinda Hot In Here

Daniel 1-3

I have a friend from High School who had her second surgery yesterday to remove a tumor wrapped around her spine. Another friend was born with malformed blood vessels in her jaw, resulting in a deformed face and constant ringing in her ears. Yet another friend has a husband fighting for his life, one friend battling an eating disorder, still another recovering from a brutal beating outside his place of business. I know of someone who is belittled and challenged every day by a boss who hates Christianity and Christians.

Health, finances, relationships, prejudice, can make us feel as though we are walking through fire. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It hurts. And sometimes it feels as if there is no way out.

God could have blown out that fire before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were thrown into it. But He didn’t. Instead, He got right in that fire with them, protected them, until they came out whole.

The fires in our lives might not magically disappear. We might actually have to walk through them until Christ is revealed, and He brings us out on the other side.

Everyone walks through a fire or two in a lifetime. What a comfort it is to know we don’t have to walk alone. Jesus is right there by our side in the heat of it all. I pray that at those times, you will recognize His Presence, lean on His strength, and trust Him to get you through it as only He can.

I’m praying for you who are living in a fiery furnace today.

March 28 – God’s Promises Are A Done Deal

Joshua 19-21

So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. (21:43-45)

Did you catch what Scripture tells us? The Jews were given the land just like God had promised Abraham. None of their enemies stood before them. None of the promises God made to them failed. Not a one!

Can God be trusted to keep His Word? 100%

Would you mind if I share a personal burden I am carrying? I have a friend who is having surgery today to remove a large tumor from her brain. I am praying for complete healing, although this is not the only cancer invading her body.

I read passages like this one in Joshua, and in others like Matthew 4:23 where Jesus healed everyone who came to Him. Or like in James 5:16 that says we should confess our sins so we can be healed. And I am tempted to believe physical healing is God’s promise. But is it?

God promised the Israelites He would defeat their enemies. And he did. Promise kept.

But I am reminded that cancer is not my friend’s enemy. Her enemy was defeated when she asked Jesus to save her. She is a godly woman, a servant, an encourager. Her life has been a testimony for God’s grace for the forty plus years I have known her. She has touched thousands of lives through her years as a music teacher, a member of the city’s Philharmonic Orchestra, as her church’s organist and praise team member. Her unwavering faith these past couple years as she has battled this disease has shown a bright spotlight on her Savior to people in and outside the church.

I pray for a miraculous healing in my friend’s body. I pray for the doctors, for her husband and daughters. I pray for her church family and the community who loves her so much.  I pray that God will be glorified in this surgery today. No matter the outcome.

I know God will keep every promise He’s ever made to my friend. He will never leave or forsake her. He’s gone to prepare a place for her where she will live forever cancer-free, and in God’s Presence.

Would you pray with me today for Sheri? May God be evident in many ways, may hearts be drawn to Him, and may Sheri know the healing that God has in store for her.

He will keep His promises.

 

God Doesn’t Give you… What?

Naaman’s story from 2 Kings 5 is a pretty familiar story for those of us raised going to Sunday School. It’s the story of a little Jewish slave girl who shared her faith in Israel’s prophet, and whose master’s husband Naaman was not only healed of leprosy, but became a believer in Israel’s God because of it.

I’ve read or heard the story many times over the years, but today I had one of those laugh-out-loud moments when I read something in the story I’d never noticed before. Naaman, who was a Syrian warrior, went to Israel on the word of this little Jewish girl, with a letter to the King of Israel written by his boss, the King of Syria. In it, the Syrian King said:

“Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.”

The reaction of Israel’s King is priceless and it is what made me laugh this morning. He tore his clothes, a sign of distress and anguish and says: WHAT? Does he think I’m God? Is this a trick so he’ll have an excuse to go to war with us when I don’t heal this man? I CAN’T DO THIS! WAAAA!

Talk about a major misunderstanding by someone who was looking within himself way too hard.

I laugh because, sadly, I recognize myself in the king’s panic. Sometimes I look at the circumstances of life, feel the weight of expectations on my shoulders, fret about a situation I’m facing, and think I CAN’T DO THIS. Then someone tells me, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

LIAR!

Read 2 Kings 5. When the prophet Elisha heard that the king was losing his mind over this situation he sent a message to the king: Relax. God’s got this covered.

And God is saying that still. The truth is, God does allow things in our lives that are too much for us to do on our own. If he only sent things our way that we could handle, we wouldn’t need him, would we? God delights in revealing himself in every circumstance you face, good or bad. He wants you to go to him, to trust him, to depend on him, to show the world what he is able to do through you. I am convinced that God is not concerned about strengthening your ego, or teaching you how powerful you are. He wants to point you and me, and everyone around us to Himself as we allow him to handle every situation, as we trust him with every detail.

And I have found that, when I do surrender to him, I am blessed beyond what I can imagine. I believe it’s Satan’s lies that tell you you can handle things on your own, or worse, should handle things on your own. Satan certainly doesn’t want you surrendered to God.

The next time you are tempted to think God won’t give you more than you can handle, think again. Then turn the situation, your very life, over to him and see what he can do when you get out of the way.

Peace!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John16:33)

I am a child of the 60’s, a Baby Boomer, raised in the era of hippies, the Beatles, and ‘All We Need Is Love’. A common greeting back in the day was, “Peace”. Our country was at war, and it wasn’t a popular war for many. You saw the word ‘peace’ or its symbol on the sides of buildings, on book bags and necklaces, and on t-shirts. It was everywhere.

People longed for peace and looked for it in drugs, in sex, in throwing out the rules, in themselves, and in Eastern religions. But the 60’s were far less than peaceful.

Jesus said his words were spoken so that in him we could know what real peace is all about. A person might calm themselves, find their ‘center’, repeat a mantra to experience a form of peace. But the source of true peace can only be found in knowing Jesus.

Life is hard. Things aren’t always fair. Bad things happen. And Satan is attacking. But Jesus tells us to cheer up. You see, he has overcome the world! And those of us who stand with him stand on the winning side.

Peace in the midst of a storm. Peace when the doctor’s report is devastating. Peace when the career hits the skids. Peace when a relationship crumbles. Peace that has nothing to do with circumstances, and everything to do with Jesus.

A peace beyond the world’s understanding.

Peace.

Jesus’ Answer For The “Why’s” of Life

A godly man suffers with ALS. A teenager who loves the Lord loses her battle with cancer. A baby is born with his stomach outside his body. A godly woman buries her 22 year old son who died in an auto accident. ISIS murders hundreds of people who name the name of Jesus.

Jesus met a man born blind. His disciples asked him: Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:3 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.‘”

Sometimes we dig way too deep to find the answer to the “why’s” of life. Is there some special purpose for suffering? There certainly is! And here it is:

So Jesus can be revealed to a lost world.

Everything – E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G – that happens in this life happens for that reason. Your best day reveals God’s blessings. Your struggles reveal his strength. Your mourning reveals his comfort. Your changed life reveals his grace.

Next time you are tempted to ask, Why is this happening to me?, read John 9:3 again. The question you should be asking is, What is it about Jesus that is being revealed through this circumstance I am facing?

Dear God, thank you for being intimately interested in everything that happens to us in this life. You are ever present, all knowing, sovereign. Forgive us when we concentrate so much on the day-to-day that we lose sight of your perfect plan. May your children, in all walks of life, in all circumstances, be faithful to reveal YOU as you would have us do. Help us to remember that this life is about You, and your passion is that every man, woman, and child will come to know you as Savior and Lord. Help us to look at our circumstances as opportunities to share you with those who are lost without you.