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Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

Please humble yourself before the Lord, abiding by the teachings of His Word and pouring yourself into serving the needs of others.

This is how we find peace with the Lord and progress toward peace with others.

And this is how we can do much to gain better health.

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body” (Proverbs 14:30)

We all know this is true.

Stressed-out people are more prone to sickness.

Anger-ridden people have higher mortality rates.

These are facts.

Pursue peace.

Swallow your pride.

It just might be the best health pill you’ll ever take.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s amazing how much things can change when Jesus enters the picture in somebody’s life.

Mark 7:31-37 describe a change that is mind-boggling.

A deaf man who had somehow learned to speak a few, garbled words had been going through each day, one struggling moment at a time. Perhaps this had been going on for decades.

Deafness is tough now even with all the technology and increased attention of society to helping victims, not shunning them.

Imagine how it must have been back in Jesus’ day, particularly within the climate of compassion-less religious teachings that said deaf people were afflicted because of their sinfulness or the sinfulness of their parents.

Somehow, this deaf man — likely treated as an outcast by most people — had been blessed with some caring friends or relatives.

People who knew that Jesus was a miracle-worker and who knew that their deaf friend didn’t have any other hope of healing.

They didn’t know how Jesus would react to seeing this so-called “sinner” placed in front of Him. After all, Jesus was surrounded by teeming crowds filled with people wanting divine blessings or wisdom or healing.

But they figured this was their only shot and they didn’t care about the catcalls of others who might have told them to take a number and step to the back of the line.

They BEGGED Jesus to heal their friend.

Can you imagine how that desperation for intercession made the deaf man feel loved? Not alone in a brutal world?

Wow.

Jesus saw the dynamic of the moment and of the relationships and of the deaf man whose eyes were probably overwhelmed with a maelstrom of hope and uncertainty and fears that if this didn’t work, he would lose all hope of deliverance.

Jesus responded with the unthinkable.

Not only did Jesus make the deaf man His only priority at that moment, ignoring the crowd and even His own disciples in taking the man away so the two could be alone, but Jesus spit into His hand and then touched the man’s tongue with the saliva.

Oh my.

The social etiquette police of the day probably had heart attacks when they saw this happen from a distance.

But it worked. Along with Jesus’ spoken prayer for the man’s ears to be opened, the touch transformed the man into wholeness.

Wow.

Perhaps someone in your life needs the blessing of your intercessory spirit desperate to help him or her in their season of stress or fear or pain or loneliness or whatever.

Perhaps someone in your life needs to see that you care more about helping him or her than you do about peer approval.

Perhaps someone in your life needs to experience Jesus’ love and power and he or she might not if you don’t ask them to go with you to church or to Bible study or into a time of prayer.

Please let this Bible story move you as it does me.

You just might be amazed at how God moves in response.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We humans love routine.

Our brains don’t have to work as hard if we aren’t having to re-arrange the mental and social and theological furniture all the time.

But we sometimes miss out on important opportunities if we’re seeing all change as a threat.

The first football coach perhaps 80 years ago who promoted passing the ball more than running it was likely seen as a non-conformist who “didn’t understand” how the game was supposed to be played.

Look at football now…

Some of you are promoting Bible-based ideas in your congregation that don’t fit the tradition there. You’re perhaps facing resistance. Don’t be surprised.

Tradition sometimes has its heels deeply dug in at the personal thrones of the congregational leadership.

Be patient.

Pray.

Study to make sure your idea IS biblical and practical, and not just non-traditional.

Remember, though, just because something hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

Good, innovative ideas come along on a regular basis. We just have to make sure they are genuinely godly.

Jesus encountered the thrones of tradition. Quite frequently.

Luke 6:6-11 describes a typical occasion when Jesus, the ultimate non-conformist, provided the godliest of ministry and was met with the ungodliest of scorn, ironically, by those who saw themselves as the most godly.

“On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.

“But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Get up and stand in front of everyone.’ So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?’

“He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”

Let’s not put the comfort zone of tradition and pride ahead of ministry in the name of God.

It’s a trap that has caught up too many people over the centuries.

We’re here to build a kingdom of truth for Jesus Christ, not an empire of tradition for ourselves.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click What good is a useless faith_

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One of the Bible’s most beautiful pictures of worship is when Mary of Bethany poured anointing perfume on the feet of Jesus and wiped it off with her hair.

It was an absolute picture of devotion by one with a passionate faith in her Messiah.

This same Mary was also the one who chose to hang on every word that Jesus was speaking during an earlier dinner at the house she shared with her sister Martha.

Mary caught grief then for leaving her sister to do all the work in the kitchen, but Jesus defended Mary’s choice, saying she was focused on “the better things” of honoring God.

These pictures of devotion came to mind this morning when John 11 portrayed quite a different picture of Mary.

Actually, Mary was shown as one going through a spiritual crisis and who refused to go to Jesus.

“I trusted Him. I prayed to Him. Repeatedly. And then He let me down,” was the clear impression of her attitude based on her recorded behavior.

As I read the account involving the death of Mary’s brother, Lazarus, I thought of how most every believer at one time or another enters a season of spiritual crisis involving a profound feeling of being let down by God.

Mary had been Jesus’ biggest cheerleader in Bethany, I’m sure. A skilled socialite, Mary knew how to connect with people and to influence them.

It was a very good thing for Christ’s ministry to have Mary on the team.

But then Lazarus became deathly ill.

Mary and Martha and their friends started praying like crazy.

Mary said a message needed to get to Jesus so that He could do another one of Him healing miracles and poof! Lazarus back to good health.

After all, Mary reasoned, Jesus had the power to do so. He had even made blind people able to see again.

This was Lazarus, we’re talkin’ about. He was the brother of Mary and that should grant some special access, shouldn’t it?

No.

Jesus, of course, had a larger plan for this circumstance. One that would resolve Lazarus’ physical woes but which would also become a defining moment for how the Jews looked at Jesus, both those who loved Him and those who hated Him.

She was terribly distraught that Jesus didn’t provide a long-distance healing for Lazarus — or even come right away to pray over him.

“I’m one of His biggest supporters. Doesn’t that count for something?” she might have said to herself.

Jesus, of course, had a different agenda for this event. But Mary couldn’t see that and was simply reacting to her experiences and presumptions.

Mary’s profound disappointment was shown when Jesus finally arrived in Bethany after Lazarus had died.

She refused to meet Him, despite the likely urging of Martha.

Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would live again and then He asked about Mary.

When Mary heard that Jesus had asked for her, she jumped to her feet and left her home where she and friends had been mourning.

Mary found Jesus and fell at His feet, not to thank Him for coming but instead to complain that He didn’t show up earlier to prevent Lazarus’ death.

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending and Christ’s faith in God carried the entire crowd of weak-faith believers through the flood of despair.

For Mary, this was a painful, yet potent lesson about heartache and personal timetables and plans and the need for a mature faith.

It is a lesson that we need to re-learn over and over.

Christ’s delay in answering our prayers does NOT mean Christ doesn’t care. Instead, it often means that circumstances or perhaps our hearts are not ready yet for the display of His interceding power.

“Not now” does not always mean “Not ever!”

The wise believer trusts that God’s answer to his or her prayer will come at the time that it will accomplish the most for God’s Kingdom and for the believer.

Mary had to learn this lesson as recorded in John 11.

Paul had to learn this lesson and wrote about it in Romans 8:28-37.

James had to learn this lesson and wrote about it in James 1:2-8.

Some of us now are gaining spiritual maturity as Christ spends what seems to us as too much time in His intercession workshop. Our lesson from John 11 is to keep trusting through the heartache, knowing that He’s working on something significant and enduring that will be good to us and bring glory to Him.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click A harvest of refreshment

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Gossip destroys.

Kind words restore.

It’s that simple.

As I read, re-read and read again this morning the words of Proverbs 15:4, I could not get the above contrasts out of my mind.

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit”

Countless times in my life I have seen examples of both.

You have, too.

It breaks my heart to see decent people wounded by others’ lies or gossip, whether at the workplace, at school, at church or even among extended family.

It’s true that those engaging in lies or gossip will rarely acknowledge their moments of darkheartedness, yet the fruit of their lips is unmistakable.

You’ve seen such on occasion, and have been the target of such behavior at some points in your life such as when a certain group at church started avoiding you before or after worship services.

I’m glad that you recognize the poison of words that tear down others rather than build them up.

I’m glad that you aspire toward having a kind heart that overflows with words of healing as if it were a tree of life.

There are already plenty of people who savor the ego-massaging strategy of cutting others down. The last thing this world needs is one more schemer or gossiper.

You remember how good you felt when someone close to you made a concerted effort to bring healing to your spirit by means of kind, affirming words. Particularly those shared in your home or at your church.

It was a wonderful boost to your sense of well-being.

You actually felt more alive because someone wanted to affirm your value in the lives of others.

You found yourself enjoying again your role as a spouse or as a parent or as a child or as an employee or as a church member or as a sibling or whatever.

When people encourage us, we draw life from the relationship and we can pour our lives back into the relationship.

Deceitful words and gossiping words drain the life from us, however, as if an axe swung by an enemy had ruptured our hearts.

Please make intentional efforts today to bring healing to a wounded heart.

If you examine the people in your life closely enough, you’ll find somebody who is really hurting and who needs the kind words that will produce in them a harvest of refreshment.

And if you encounter someone today who is crushing the spirits of others via lies and gossip, please offer healing words to him or to her. It might not be easy to do, but it will be one of the most important things you’ll do for God all week.

That gift of unmerited kindness just might plant a seed of truth that grows over time into a transformed-by-God tree of life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click here

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You recall what the scriptures say, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverb 16:18 KJV).

We’ve all had occasions when we elevated ourselves on the flimsy ladder of pride and then fell SPLAT! on the ground because of our false confidence.

Life is much better when we realize that God and His purposes are SO much bigger than us, that we’re as a blade of grass here for a moment and then we’re gone.

Combining that sense of humility with the knowledge that God loves us so deeply is the key, I’m convinced, to having a balanced, humble, productive life for the Kingdom.

This view was reinforced in my mind and heart this morning when I read John 4:43-54.  Jesus was visiting Cana in Galilee, the site of His first miracle, when a royal official from King Herod’s administration came to Him with a desperate plea.

The official’s son was dying and he was convinced that the only hope for healing rested with Jesus.

Rather than snapping His fingers in order to instantly get the child out playing kickball, however, Jesus said something surprising to the heartbroken father.

Actually, one could argue that it was cold-hearted.

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe,” Jesus told the father.

Some dads might have gotten ticked off at this street preacher’s “in your face” display of bluntness.

The official, however, suppressed any sense of offense that might have inflated his pride and clogged his ears.

Why?  Because the needs of his child were far more important that the pseudo-need of his ego.

Sir, come down before my child dies,” the official said.

“You may go. Your son will live,” Jesus said.

The man believed Jesus and left. He wasn’t even home yet when his servants ran to him with the news that the boy was healed. Further inquiry showed the healing occurred at the exact time Jesus spoke it into being.

Wow.

It’s amazing to see what humility can accrue to the benefit of those who possess it.

Pride in the father’s heart would have blocked the child’s healing.

His humility, though, was the bridge between God’s power and the child’s need.

Now that’s a lesson we can take to the bank.

Satan doesn’t want us to believe this, of course.

And he CERTAINLY doesn’t want us to apply it.

But he’s not your boss.

Please don’t treat him like one.

Listen, pride is not your friend.

Humility is.

And it’s the friend of your loved ones and friends who need your intercession with Jesus.

When you have some special person in need, you need to go to the Lord and beg for help.

It’s true that you might not like it when the Holy Spirit convicts your heart about the sin in your life.

But taking those shots to your pride is a small price to pay in return for the outpouring of sustaining or even healing power that might flow into the life of your loved one.

Please don’t let your wounded pride get in the way of your fervent prayers to God for a loved one’s healing or your weekly attendance at church for your kids’ spiritual strengthening.

In eternity, it won’t matter who wounded your ego.

It WILL matter, though, if you allowed that wounded ego to keep you from going to the Lord for the help that your loved one needed.

As always, I love you
Martin

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