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…and having done everything, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:13

When I was a kid, my Uncle Bob had a dog.  I can’t remember the dog’s name, only that it liked to chase kids and bite them.  Every time we were over there, Uncle Bob would remind us that when the dog charges, don’t run, just stand still.  The dog can’t chase if you don’t run.  Sounds like good advice, but I was never able to do that.  I ran every time the dog charged me.  I never got bit that I remember, but I remember dreading seeing that dog.  Each time I would repeat my uncle’s advice – stand still, stand still, stand still, but my feet ran anyway.

This verse is telling us that when we are being attacked by an enemy – be it sickness, lies, tormenting thoughts, disease, whatever – that there are things we can do and having done those things, all that is left is to stand firm.  Easier said than done. I know.  The things mentioned in this passage are the things referred to as the full armor of God.  Things in the spiritual realm.

In this time that I am in believing for a physical healing, in addition to putting on the full armor of God, there are things in the natural I can do.  I can choose to eat healthier foods, exercise more, learn ways of dealing with stress, and keep myself fed up on the Word of God.  In short, I have come to see that taking care of business means taking care of me.  This doesn’t come easy to me; I have taken care of other people all my life.  I was always on the bottom of the list and seldom were resources available for me by the time everyone else’s needs were met.

But I see it differently now.  I can’t take care of others if I won’t take care of me.  Expecting God to heal me when I won’t do my part is tantamount to tempting Him.  Ultimately, the end result is in His hands, but, by His grace,  I can take care of the business He shows me to take care of.

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Have you found it easy to neglect your needs to take care of others?  How has that worked for you?  What if we decide we are worth taking care of?  Would that be ok?

Thank You Lord, for showing me the importance of taking care of me.  Forgive me for all the years I have not done that.  Grant me the grace to change how I eat and exercise and anything else You show me to do.  I know You are my Healer God and I stand firm in that knowledge.  I will do my part, by Your grace and leave the outcome in Your hands, Amen.

We All Need Somebody

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Today, when I got out of bed, I experienced severe pain.  The doctor’s use a scale that goes to 10 to determine pain levels, with 10 being debilitating, unbearable pain.  I believe the pain this morning would be a 12.  I could barely walk, the pain was so intense.  I’d like to say I got up and began confessing healing scriptures and praising God and thanking Him for my healing.  Those would have been great things to do, but I didn’t do those.  I murmured and complained and wondered how I would get through the day like this.  I had a very small crisis of faith.  For a few moments, only a few, I questioned if healing was really for everyone.  I know better, but pain makes me think crazy things at times.

I considered posting on Facebook and asking friends and family to pray for me, but I didn’t do that either.  Some people who love me would worry and I didn’t want that. I know this will pass.

I texted my friend and prayer partner and let her know I wouldn’t make to prayer this morning because of pain.  I didn’t ask her to pray.   I didn’t ask because I knew I didn’t need to.  She would pray because that is what prayer warriors do – they pray.  I knew she would pray because she is my friend and that is what friends do – pray  for their hurting friends.

She texted her prayer to me, she prayed that God’s Kingdom would come to my body in Jesus’ name.  A kingdom that doesn’t include sickness, pain, suffering, mental torment, lack of any sort.  A kingdom of blessings that only God can bring to a broken life or body.

What is the hurt that has come your way? 

Disease, sickness, financial lack, betrayal, relational problems?

Are you just sick and tired of being sick and tired? 

Have you asked for prayer? 

Do you have a go to person that you can lean on during this difficult season of your life?

Could you be blessed by having the kingdom of God bursting loose upon your life bringing healing and joy and peace and abundance?

Having pain and suffering and lack and relational problems and financial woes and disease and being in need doesn’t make you a less than person; it just means you are human and life sometimes brings these things to all of us.

Don’t suffer alone; don’t suffer in silence.  Don’t let pain isolate you from others.  We all need somebody, sometime.

If you need someone to pray for you or someone to lean on, can I suggest you ask God to show you that person?  If you need someone to pray for you and someone to lean on, I volunteer.  You lean on me and I will lean on you and together we will see God’s kingdom here on earth!

Lord Jesus, thank You for putting people in my life that I can lean on.  And thank You for the people that feel they can lean on me.  Thank You, too, that my crisis of faith is shorter lived than ones I have had in the past.  I pray for my family and friends that Your kingdom would explode upon their lives and we would all be able to say, only because of God!  Only God!  Help me to be the prayer warrior and friend that my family and friends can count on, in Your name, I pray, Amen.

Business as Usual

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 “Never, never, never, never give up.”

Winston Churchill

I was going to throw in the towel today on writing these devotions.  I was in pain and tired and quite frankly, becoming convinced that they were a waste of time.   Time I could better spend some other way.  I also have thought lately that they serve little purpose, in the sea of blogs and posts and books and written words, this is a plankton, who would miss it if I stopped writing?  Why not leave writing to the others who write so much better?

Sometime during the day though, I was reminded of this quote by Churchill.  I’ve often used this quote to help kids keep going when they want to quit but never really applied it to my life.  But then, I seldom set long term goals that stretch me like determining to write a devotion a day for a year.

I’ve used this quote, but I didn’t know the context until today when I looked it up.  Churchill said this after the Blitz.  The Blitz was a bombing campaign by the Germans primarily against England.  It lasted 10 months and killed about 15,000 people.  Addressing Harrow School, Churchill said, ” But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period — I am addressing myself to the School — surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

The bombing was supposed to push Churchill into negotiations with Hitler, but they had the opposite effect largely in part to Churchill’s speeches like the one above.  The people were encouraged and became determined to make it through that difficult time without caving in.  They even put signs up on shop windows that read “Business as Usual”.  Churchill rallied the people and together they faced a difficult time.

My enemy seems small in comparison to Hitler.  My enemy doesn’t drop bombs on me, he just sits on my shoulder whispering thoughts designed to get me to cave in.  Thoughts like you’re not good enough, God isn’t going to heal you, no one cares what you write.  Maybe your enemy says similar things.  Regardless of the little bombs that come our way, the purpose is the same, to get us to give up.  Give up believing that good can come into our lives, that we can be loved and accepted, that we can walk without pain, find our perfect mate, see our wayward child come home, give up an addiction, get free from an abusive situation, etc.  Whatever the bombs, the answer is never give in.  Keep on believing, keep on looking to God, keep on believing the best is yet to come, keep on trusting.  Business as usual, never give in.

Lord, thank You for encouraging me today, I needed that.  Help me to be an encouragement to others as You lead.  Help me to keep walking the walk of faith, to refuse to give in to the bombing thoughts of my enemy.  Thank You for the victory I have in You, Amen.

 

First Round Draft Choice

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If God is for us, who can be against us?   Romans 8:31

Sometimes, I will admit, that when I come home from a doctor’s appointment, I question whether or not the doctor really heard me.  Is he/she really on my side?  Or am I just one of so many patients they try to cram into one day and move along?  More times than not, I have not been helped by doctors.  Seldom can I even get two doctors to agree on the same diagnosis and treatment.  Frustrating, to say the least.

This verse is a refreshing reminder that God is on my side.  He is not just sitting on the sidelines cheering me on, although I believe He is, but He is actively leading and guiding me on my own particular healing path.  As my coach and my cheerleader and my biggest fan; He’s my game changer!

Because God is for me, nothing that can come against me can stand against me.  Not pain, not sickness, not disease, not allergies, not carpal tunnel.  Regardless of the symptoms that may be raging in my body, I know who wins the game.  And it is not over until He says it is over!

How can God be on my side?  Because of the price Jesus paid on the cross, He took on everything the enemy could rightfully put on me so that I would not have to bear them.  You might say I was His first round draft choice, as were you and He wants us in the game.  Not because we are such great players, but because He wanted us on His team and wanted to bestow upon us all of heaven’s resources, including healing for our bodies – whatever is necessary to keep us in the game.  I can’t earn this; it is a gift of grace.  How amazing is that?

I am in awe of Your amazing grace, Father.  I am so grateful that Jesus took my infirmities and pains and sorrows and sickness so that I could be free of them.  What incredible grace! Thank You for being my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader, my All-Wise and All-Knowing coach.  Thank You for placing me on Your team and assuring me of the victory, Amen.

 

‘Tis So Sweet

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

The words of this hymn written by Louisa Stead remind us that God keeps His word.  The question becomes do we take Him at His Word?  Is there doubt in our minds?

Sometimes it is hard to rest upon His promise of healing when the evidence surrounding us screams otherwise.  When the pain is wearing me down and the doctor’s reports offer little hope, can I rest upon His promise that He is the God that healeth me?  I am learning to this very thing.

I’d like to share a testimony with you.  Three times in the past two weeks, I have had to go to the doctor.   Each time vitals were taken and to my surprise, my blood pressure was 128/72 each time!  This is without medication.  As little as a few months ago, my blood pressure was 140/90 with medication!  All that has changed is my faith level.  Writing this blog and digging into the Bible to discover what God says about healing has strengthened my faith and my body is responding.  My pastor calls this a progressive healing and I am grateful!

It is sweet to trust in Jesus, to take Him at His word and rest in His promises.  So how is your faith level these days?  Could it use some help?

Nothing builds faith like the word of God.  Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.  We can build our faith by speaking God’s Word out of our mouth.  From our mouth to our ears to our heart faith comes.  Find the promises of God that speak of healing and speak them out of your mouth as many times as it takes to enter that sweet, sweet place of rest.

Father God, You have spoken and You have shown us through Your word that it is indeed Your will to heal all who come to You through faith.  I choose to walk in faith, remind me of this when the pain is screaming and help me rest upon Your promises.  Thank You for my lowered blood pressure and my raised faith level.  What an awesome God You are.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Anxious Thoughts

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When my anxious thoughts multiply within me; Your consolations delight my soul.  Psalm 94:19

I’d like to say that I am breezing through this chronic pain with joy and grace and peace, but alas, that’s not true.  Oh, sometimes, it is.  Maybe even most of the time.  But often, in the wee hours of the morning when sleep has once again evaded me because of pain, my thoughts become anxious and they multiply within me.

Thoughts like when God when, why God why and please God tell me how to get through this.  When my brain is filled with the noise of pain and lack and the frustrations of not being able to do all I think I need to do, I lose sleep and peace.  How about you?  Ever lost sleep or peace over anxious thoughts that seem to multiply, sometimes exponentially?

In those moments, I have to purpose to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.  I have to make a conscious effort to think on the character and goodness of God and reflect on His promises.  When I am able to do this, I find peace and sometimes drift back to sleep easily.  Sometimes, it is a song that consoles me, other times, it might be a Bible verse I have memorized.  Sometimes I just start listing the things that are good and right in my life. And I am consoled.

Father, help me to remember that Your consolations delight my soul; that Your word brings me peace and Your promises are Yeah and Amen.  I delight in Your word and the peace that it brings me surpasses comprehension.  You truly do exceedingly abundantly above all I dare ask or think and I praise You.  Thank You for rocking me to sleep on those nights when sleep is evasive.  Thank You for being my pathway to peace.  Amen.

It Will Be Well

And he (her husband) said, “Why will you go to him (the prophet) today?  It is neither new moon nor sabbath?”  And she said, “It will be well.”  II Kings 4:23

We aren’t told her name.  Only that she was a Shunnamite and had no child.  Elisha the prophet told her she would have a child and sure enough, she did.  The story tells us that when the child was grown, he developed a headache and died in his mother’s lap.  She laid the boy on Elisha’s bed and set out to find the prophet.  She told her husband she was going to find the prophet and hence the question of why.  I find it interesting that she did not tell him about their son.  The only words she had to say in response to his question were “It will be well”.

What incredible faith!  How can one say it will be well when their son has just died?  Commentaries point out that for believers even in death we can say it will be well and we can; we know heaven is real.  But I don’t believe this is where this woman’s faith was directed.  I believe she was believing that the God who promised her a son could resurrect her son.

She also showed wisdom.   She didn’t faint, scream, yell, start making arrangements.  She didn’t even tell anyone, not even her husband.  Wow!  I am not advocating keeping something like this from your husband, but there are times when we are believing for a miracle that it is wisdom to be very careful with our sharing.  She responded to his question with words of faith and went in search of Elisha.  Too many times when we are given bad news, well-meaning people, family and friends begin the questions – what are you going to do?   What’s the prognosis?  We tend to want to talk the problem, not the solution.  It is OK to say, it will be well even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

This woman saved her words for the prophet, the one who could stand with her in faith, believing for a miracle.

indesElisha came to the house, prayed to the Lord and stretched himself out on the boy and the boy’s flesh became warm. Elisha got up walked back and forth in the house one time, stretched himself out on the boy again.  This time the boy sneezed 7 times and opened his eyes!

Elisha turns to the woman and says, “take up your son”.

The woman receives back her son and worships God.

I can’t even begin to imagine that scene.  The faith this woman demonstrates is remarkable.  Her wisdom, admirable.  We can learn from her.  She knew who to turn to when bad news hit.  She knew to keep her eyes and her thoughts on the solution, not the problem, even a problem as huge as a son’s death.  And her faith became sight and she took up her son and went home!

Thank You Lord, that You are the same yesterday, today and forever.  You are still in the miracle-working business, still bringing life out of death.  Touch areas of my life that need new life, I pray.  Point me to people who can stand with me in faith and help me to be someone others can trust when bad news comes.  Help me to stand in faith, to speak what is necessary and no more and to use wisdom while I wait for my day to take up what has been taken from me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Cheerful Disposition

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A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. Proverbs 17:22

Everyday at work, I greet parents as they drop off their children.  I ask how are you doing and invariably I get the same responses, “not bad for a Monday, well, it’s Wednesday, I’d be better if it were Friday, or just “ok”.  I listen as people speak gloom and doom over their days and their lives.  I commented to one woman that she must have really great weekends to dread Mondays and Tuesdays and all the other days and she said, no not really but at least she wasn’t at work.  And I thought how sad.

I listen to people a lot.  Standing in line at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office waiting room, my co-workers and the parents I encounter daily as they drop off their kids.  I hear gloom and doom and marvel at the things I hear them say – well, its allergy season, I guess I’ll be sick for months, I got a raise but I bet taxes will eat it up, my mom died of cancer, I suspect I will too, my kids are teens now, I am sure they will do drugs and get in trouble and on and on.

They look tired, they sound tired and this verse tells us why.  They have spoken words over their lives that have left them bone-tired.  Words that would better left unspoken.

What kind of words are you speaking over your life?  Words that create a cheerful disposition or words that create bone-tiredness.  It’s not easy to speak cheerful words all the time but it is a habit that can be developed.

Stop and listen to yourself, to others and see if there is room in your conversation for cheerful words that are good for your health.

Thank you Father that my joy is not dependent upon circumstances or on how I feel.  I choose to be cheerful, I choose to watch my words, help me to be a minister of words that heal and dispel gloom and doom, and where I have spoken ill-thought out words over myself or someone else would you bring them to nought?  I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Kingdom of God

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… and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you”.   Luke 10:9

When Jesus sent disciples out to minister to people, He made it clear that the kingdom of God and healing are inseparable.  Healing in His kingdom is a given.  I am a child of the kingdom – the kingdom where there is no pain, no sickness, no disease, no cancer, no arthritis, no immune system disorders, none.

Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”.  One of the purposes of sending Jesus to us was to open our eyes to see the kingdom of God here on earth. This was the “good news” that He gave us through Jesus, that His kingdom was being established on earth.  But how and where?  Certainly not in big buildings or governments establishments or even in the best of churches.  Mike Wilkins says this of the kingdom of God:  “The disciples could say to the people,  “the kingdom has come near you”, because it had. It had come near in the way that they were behaving.  The kingdom is a kingdom of blessing, of friendship with God and His people, and it is a kingdom of healing – physical, emotional, spiritual and even cosmic or environmental healing”.

The disciples part in this was to just believe and step out in faith.  That’s our part too, isn’t it?  Believe in His word and step out in faith.  And watch His kingdom explode here on earth!  How exciting is that?

Jesus, Thank You for showing us glimpses of the kingdom.  Let Your kingdom come here on earth; the kingdom You have invited us into.  Thank You for making the way possible for us to draw near to our Father God and receive all that He has planned for us, including healing.  Help my unbelief when it rears it’s ugly head and forgive me for it and help me to step out in faith to do all that You have called me to do. In Your name I pray,   Amen.

Parting Words

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And He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…  And these signs shall accompany those who believed; in My name they will … lay hands on the sick and they will recover.  Matthew 16:18

These were Jesus’ parting words to His disciples.  Some have called this the Believer’s Bill of Rights.  I have read different commentaries on this and there seems to be some disagreement as to whether or not this is for all believers or just for those disciples.  I’d rather not get into that.  I would just like to share a testimony if I could.

Our son at two year’s of age developed a hernia which required surgery to fix.  We didn’t have insurance or the money to pay for the surgery.  I asked a group of kids from my day care if they would lay hands on John and ask Jesus to heal him.  They were willing and one little girl who was three prayed, “Jesus, please make my friend John all better”.  I have shared this testimony earlier but I wanted to share it again as a reminder that we who believe have been given a commission.  One part of that commission is to lay hands on the sick, believing for their recovery and leaving the outcome in God’s hands.  A three year old girl heard that word, believed that word and laid hands on my son, prayed and he was healed.  The hernia disappeared.  He never had that surgery!

I recently left my son in Montana to stay with his sister for two weeks.  Even though I would see him soon and we had phones, I still wanted to have good, loving, wise parting words.  I didn’t really have any, but I thought about it for a while.  All I came up with was I love you, I will miss you, call when you want and have fun.  Like I said, I didn’t really have any.  But they were important to him and to me.  I tend to think that Jesus who knew He was leaving and has all wisdom, probably thought carefully about the parting words He wanted to leave with His disciples and to us.  And among those words were this promise – that if we lay hands on the sick they will recover.  Oh, I know, some will say that was for then and what about my dad or me or….?  Been there, done that and don’t have the healing to prove it.  I know personally that sometimes laying on hands doesn’t bring the recovery we are expecting.  But that doesn’t change Jesus’ words and it shouldn’t change our response to those words.  I can’t answer the why questions but I have learned not to ask them.  Why is not as important as Who.  What about you?  Is your faith in healing growing dimmer or stronger?  Are you willing to keep believing or just throw in the towel?  Are you asking why or looking at Who?

Jesus, I’ll admit, sometimes it is hard to keep believing when healing doesn’t come.  It is tempting to change my mind about You or Your word.  Or to just think that maybe its me and I am not worthy of healing.  I know these are all wrong ways of seeing this situation, open my heart to the right way of seeing as I keep my eyes on You. I don’t know why, but I know Who and I know that You healed my son and I am grateful and I thank You now for my healing.  In Your name, Amen.