Honeycomb

Pleasant words are a honeycomb,

Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

 

—Proverbs 16:24

 

Would you like to bring healing to someone today?

It is quite possible that the kind words you speak will:

Bind up a wounded heart.

Give hope in the midst of despair.

Bring laughter when tears have recently fallen.

Deliver strength to a weary mind–

Pleasant words.

Caring words.

Sincere words.

Loving words.

Words that God would want you to speak.

Would you like to bring healing to someone today?

 

 

honeycomb

For I Am Lonely

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

—Psalm 25:16

 

 

 

Who are those that are lonely?

The ones in need so deeply inside

They’re mixed in crowds

yet still, they hide

 

Who are those that are afflicted?

The ones so burdened with pain

They blend in around us

But the hurt continues to remain

 

It is not known to their hurting hearts

That God would take them in

Who are those that could tell them?

It’s you and I, my friend

 

turn to me

 

 

 

 

Every Bird

I know every bird on the mountains,

and all the animals of the field are Mine. 

—Psalm 50:11
When I arrived at work, the tree by the parking lot was filled with birds. 

I could hear them speaking with their chirping and tweeting. 

As I watched, some flew away and others came to rest on the branches of the tree. 

I am sitting now in the hospital room of a family member. 

Is God still in control?

Yes, He is. 

God knows every bird in the tree I was looking at. 

He knows me and every member of my family, too. 

He has not forgotten us. 

Divine Power to Demolish

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.

On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

—2 Corinthians 10:3-4

When discouragement comes my way, I cannot pick up a big stick and hit it.

If regret comes prowling around my heart, I cannot shut a door and keep it out.

When failure threatens to tear down success, I cannot push it away with strong arms.

The wiles of the enemy must be conquered through prayer and the power of God.

As I see strongholds of many kinds tightly binding those I love, I grieve for their condition and I long to help.

By myself, I can do nothing.

With God as my heavenly Father, I can pray and ask for His victorious  divine power to break the chains that hold them captive.

God is our healer.

He is the One who restores.

He makes things new.

He frees us from the ravages of the enemy.

He delivers us from evil.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

strongholds

Hidden

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.

—Hebrew 4:12-13

 

Looking out across the water to a small island, I could see something in the wildflowers growing there.

An Anhinga bird was behind them.

Looking at my photograph later, it almost looks as if he is hiding.

He does blend in with a certain amount of camouflage, yet upon closer inspection, he’s hard to miss.

I’ll never know if he was truly intending to hide that afternoon, but I can certainly identify with him if he was.

At times in my life–even as a child–I wanted to just hide away and be alone, in what I felt was a safe place.

There are many reasons, however, to hide.

Shame.

Guilt.

Fear.

Failure.

Sadness.

Depression.

Grief.

The list is long.

We may hide from people and flee from circumstances, but we cannot hide from God.

He sees us wherever we are, in whatever condition we are in.

Our emotions may urge us to hide, yet His great love beckons us back into the open–in the light of His comfort and forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

hidden

The Sign of the Covenant

On this day, 11 years ago, our second son was killed in a car accident.

Some time after that, our family was returning home at night after a very emotional day of dealing with matters concerning the incident.

It had been raining, but the clouds were making way for a clear evening.
The rising moon was glowing in the eastern sky as we arrived at our house.

Something strange and unusual, however, was in the western sky.
We had never seen anything like it.
I tried to photograph the scene, but it was too dark outside.

Looking past our roof, there appeared to be a rainbow.
A rainbow in the dark!

Rushing inside, I quickly went to the computer and typed in something like, “rainbows at night.”

To my surprise, it was a phenomenon that was well documented.
We were looking at a moon bow, or by another name, a lunar rainbow.

Being quite rare, none of us had ever seen one.

As far as I know, no one in our family has seen one since.

Now, I know that rainbows have a purpose…

In the Bible, we have the account of the flood that covered the earth.
When the flood was over, God spoke:

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

This account is found in Genesis 9:8-16.

I think God sent the moon bow to me and my family that night long ago.

It proclaimed God’s work of beauty in the sky in a way previously unknown to us.

At the time, I knew in my heart that this occurrence was very special.
Even now, as I think back to that evening when our hearts were hurting, I see God’s comfort in a mighty way.

Could it be that He was reminding us of a covenant He had made about our eternity?

If you have ever “lost” a child in a store or in a park, you’ve felt that sick, empty fear, wondering desperately where they were.

God promises us that whoever believes in His Son, Jesus, will live forever with Him in Heaven.

In John 11:25-26, Jesus is speaking to a woman named Martha, whose brother had just died:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

When we found out that our son had died, it was like a giant door weighing tons had just been shut, separating us.

In that first instant, something deep inside my heart as his mother had to cry out silently from within, wondering desperately where he was.

The answer to that cry is found in Jesus’ words above.

Our son had professed his belief in God and in Jesus many years before his death.
I still have the worn Bible that he read from every night.

The lunar rainbow?

Was it God reminding me then— and even now as I recall it— that my son was with His Son, in Heaven?

A covenant of redemption that would not be broken for those who belong to Jesus?

Our son is in Heaven, yet I remain here.

I believe that if he could talk to me now, he would want me to tell others how they could be in Heaven someday, too.

As I think of him tonight, the memories are huge in my heart.

But, I know this:
Our son is alive in Heaven.

I will see him again…

sign-covenant

Do You Want to Get Well?

Driving home this evening, the sun was on the horizon as dusk was fast approaching.

Another day would soon be past.

How many sunsets have I seen in my life?

God has blessed me with the beauty and grandeur of more than I remember.

Year after year, He has been faithful to me, whether I understood it at the time, or not.

Year after year, He has known the longings of my heart.

He has answered prayers, given me guidance, and restored me from illnesses both great and small.

God has also protected me from dangers that I recognized and from those that I was never even aware of.

He knows the deep desires of my heart for the salvation of those I love and the restoration of broken relationships.

While reading tonight about the healing of a man by Jesus, His question to the man went straight to my heart–“Do you want to get well?”

The man had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

Thirty-eight years…

Then, suddenly, he was healed.

Walking.

Completely whole.

Only the evening before, the sun had set as it had for thousands of times in his life, finding him to be unable to walk.

But not on this day–

This was the day of freedom.

The day of answered prayer for healing.

The day of salvation.

The day of restoration.

What have you been longing for?

Has it been thirty-eight years?

Twenty years?

Ten?

God is able to answer your deepest cries in prayer.

Do you want to get well?

Do you want others to get well?

Continue praying for them.

Tomorrow may yet be the day of healing…

 

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Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

—John 5:2-8

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get-well2

Instead of Looking

What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

—Isaiah 31:1

When I read this passage of scripture, I think of who I am looking to. 
Although I think that it is certainly good to seek out a doctor when illness strikes or a plumber if a pipe breaks beneath your sink, talking to God about every situation is very important. 
If I am sick, do I put my TRUST in what the doctor can do alone? Or do I pray and ask God to work healing in my condition?
If a pipe breaks under the sink, do I pray and ask God for wisdom in what to do right then and what plumber I should call to help?
God is ready and willing to be the first to hear from you about absolutely every need that arises. 
If we do not consider Him able to help us, but focus instead on the strengths and expertise of other people as our sole means of help, we do ourselves a great disservice. 
God is the only healer. 

God is the only true provider. 
Looking to God first in every situation is always the best decision. 

To the Brokenhearted

What would it be like if you had a broken vase in your home?

What if it was broken while on it’s special place in the center of a table and then moved to a corner—what would that be like?

If the entire room was clean, straightened, and put in place, likely you would still think about the broken vase in the corner.

Even if everything in the room was right, the broken vase would still come to your mind and you would want to fix it somehow.

There might be those who would simply sweep up the broken pieces and throw them away.

But not you.

The vase is valuable, and to discard it would be very painful.

The problem is, you do not have any means to fix the vase and you do not have the skill.

The delicate shards are sharp and in need of a fine glue, a glue that you do not possess.

Although visitors might come and go from your home and never notice the broken vase, you always remember that it is there.

That’s what it would be like.

The situation would seem hopeless.

But what if someone with the special glue could be found who knew just how to repair it?

Someone who could restore your precious vase?

You may not have a broken vase in your home, yet there is likely something broken in your heart.

There is a relationship with someone that is in pieces.

The fractured segments lay in sharp and broken shards.

There are those who would forget the relationship, be it one with a spouse, a child or a parent.

But not you.

The relationship with the person is like the person themselves—valuable and irreplaceable.

The problem is, you do not possess the skill or have the proper means to put the relationship back together.

You’re only hope IS the only hope—-Jesus.

He can truly mend broken hearts.

Mend broken relationships.

Mend broken lives.

You must bring the broken pieces to Him in prayer, and ask for healing and restoration.

Do you have a broken vase in the corner today?

I do.

Let’s bring them to Jesus.

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The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

–Psalm 34:18

Distress

You know them, just like I do.

Right now–this very day–you could probably name a family member who is struggling in some way.

You’ve likely heard of a devastating car accident in your area, or a house fire.

People that have always seemed healthy now have cancer; some are young.

Some are older.

Maybe just this year you’ve had good friends get a divorce.

Others may be grieving tremendously because someone they loved very much has died.

You know them, just like I do.

As Christians, what are we to say to comfort others who are facing strong difficulties?

I often listen to the radio on my drive to work.

There is a song that has found its way into my heart for quite some time now.

It is titled, “Just Say Jesus” by the group 7eventh Time Down.

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

Life gets tough, and times get hard
It’s hard to find the truth in all the lies

If you’re tired of wondering why
Your heart isn’t healing
And nothing feels like home
Cause you’re lost and alone just screaming at the sky

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There is power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re too afraid to pray
Just say Jesus

Whisper it now, or shout it out
However it comes out, He hears your cry
Out of nowhere He will come, you got to believe it
He will rescue you
Just call out to the Way, The Truth, The Light

As believers of Jesus, we know that there is power in the name of Jesus.

I think it is very good advice to tell someone who is hurting that they can just speak the name of Jesus as they struggle to even form words in the midst of devastating circumstances.

In fact, I think it is very good advice to remember it ourselves.

When we are hurting, we can just say, “Jesus” and He will hear us.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

—Psalm 18:6

 

my cry

 

Cast All

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy about an hour’s drive from my home.

People all over the world are talking about it.

Because of our technological capabilities, people all over the world can learn of breaking news in moments.

While being informed is a good thing, it can sometimes be overwhelming, as well.

When I check the news headlines, I get an overview of all the major occurrences across the globe.

Politics, science, war.

Health, sports, natural disasters.

Weather, entertainment, economics.

When horrific things happen–like yesterday’s tragedy–it’s too great to comprehend.

There is so much to take in.

It’s overwhelming for me.

And what about those who are directly affected?

I can only imagine their consuming emotion.

What is there to do?

1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

God is greater than anything we could ever envision.

When we are anxious and troubled, distraught and undone, we can cast our emotions on Him and look to Him to comfort and to heal.

cast all

 

Cleanse Us

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

The old garage door near the church was surrounded by smooth, nicely painted walls.

Looking at the photograph I took of it, I wonder—why hadn’t the door been painted nicely and repaired?

It looked tattered and worn out—like many desperate people in this world.

They feel dirty and guilty, used up and torn up, stripped and faded, hopeless and lost.

With an outlook tinted with shame, they see what looks like a clean, smooth surface on others’ lives.

No one could accept them in their broken condition, they think.

Family couldn’t.

Friends couldn’t.

Certainly God couldn’t.

After all, they’ve messed things up.

There’s nowhere left to go to escape the mirror of accusation that hangs on every wall they encounter…

In the last two weeks, I have learned of two people I know—both in very different walks of life—who have taken their own lives.

They lived hundreds of miles from one another, but they both shared hopelessness.

For a crucial moment, they failed to look at God’s unlimited power and grace and instead, looked at their own lack of ability to repair and restore.

God can accept anyone in any condition.

Broken.

Dirty.

Guilty.

Used up.

Torn up.

Stripped.

Faded.

Hopeless.

Lost.

Friends may not accept us.

Family may not.

But, God?

He is ALWAYS ready to heal and to forgive!

To CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness!

If we cry out to God from our brokenness, confessing our sin and our mistakes, we will be forgiven.

We can start over.

We can begin again.

It’s not too late for any of us, ever.

 

confess

 

 

 

Your Requests

What do you wish for?

As I was walking on a small bridge above a pond of water, I noticed that people had thrown coins into the water to make a wish.

Although I do not know how that tradition ever came about, I am certain that throwing money into water does nothing to help.

What is a wish, anyway?

A hope or desire?

I wish for many things.

Not a bigger house or an expensive car.

Many of the things I wish for I could not bring about.

I wish for a better relationship with someone that I love very much who is within my family.

I wish for the salvation of my unsaved friends.

I wish for good health for people I know who are very ill.

I can do my part in attaining wishes like these.

It will never involve throwing coins into a body of water…

I can work toward being friendly and loving to help a relationship mend.

I can talk to friends about Jesus and what He has done in my life.

I can encourage friends who are ill with cards, phone calls and visits.

But cause someone’s heart to change?

God will need to do that.

See salvation come to a lost soul?

God will need to draw them to repentance.

Hear a diagnosis of remission of cancer?

God will have to heal and restore.

There’s one more thing I can do besides wish…

In fact, it’s the most important thing.

I can pray and talk to God about my hopes.

About my desires.

I can pray for healed relationships.

I can pray for physical healings.

I can pray for the salvation of others.

What do you wish for?

****

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

 

peace of

 

 

Forgive

Look at my misery and suffering, and forgive all my sins.

—Psalm 25:18

 

Driving along the highway, I noticed a broken down barn.

Why had it been left in disrepair?

Who owned it?

What did it look like when it was new and untouched by time and the elements?

Surely, it was something of great worth to its owner at one point.

If you look closely, I’ll bet you know some people whose lives look like this barn.

Poor choices, the effects of sin, and the barrenness of years spent without a relationship with God have likely caused a spiritual collapse–maybe even an emotional or physical one, as well.

The good news is, God is the Master Builder.

Our lives can be wrecked, but He can restore them.

He can rebuild, reshape and renew.

Through forgiveness, anyone can live an abundant life with God.

Every life is something of great worth to Him.

 

 

 

forgive

But the Sick

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

—Luke 5:31

There is a hospital in a nearby city about an hour’s drive from my home. 

I have visited the hospital many times. 

It is run by a Christian denomination. 

Walking through the halls there are many encouraging works of art and scriptures displayed to be a comfort and a hope to those who are there. 

We have all been lost in our sin–sick and in need of salvation. 

In our weakness and sinfulness, Jesus will always be there. 

Ready to comfort. 

Ready to forgive. 

Ready to give us hope…

  

Let Not Your Hearts

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It’s hard to say goodbye.

When someone that you love has left this world, there is a pain that is unlike any other.

An empty chair at the table.

An empty bed.

A photograph of times gone by.

For those who love the Lord, the pain and grief of loved ones left behind will be replaced one day in Heaven with rejoicing as they are reunited.

Knowing this deep within our hearts is a testimony of faith and God’s Spirit within us.

Jesus said,

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled.

Believe in God;

believe also in Me.

In My Father’s house are many rooms.

If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.

And you know the way to where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

 

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He Heals

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At this particular time in my life, I am aware of some great needs in the lives of people that I know.

I know someone who is physically ill.

I know someone who is grieving over the recent loss of a loved one.

I know someone who is discouraged about their job…

There are too many needs to list.

How does God know all these needs?

How could He understand each one?

I cannot comprehend God’s ways, yet I believe He is holding the universe together and at the same time, He knows everything about you and me.

Not only is He aware of us, but He comforts us, heals us and bandages our hurts.

 

 

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He heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.

—Psalm 147:3

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brokenhearted

I Leave With You

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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

–John 14:27

Jesus comforted His disciples by saying these words.

I think He wants me to be comforted by them, as well.

When so much is going on around me that constantly invites worry, I can have peace.

Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”

Jesus says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”

Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”

Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

In my human mind, I can respond with, “But what if…..”

With my surrendered heart, I can respond with, “Jesus, I accept Your peace.”

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peace

By Prayer and Petition

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After recently watching a movie that was centered on the power of prayer, I made a decision.

In the film, the main character wrote prayers down on paper and attached them to the wall of her closet.

It was there that she prayed for many concerns.

Considering what the greatest burdens of my heart are, I have begun to write down specific prayers and tape them to a wooden wardrobe in my closet.

When each prayer has been answered, I will be able to write that answer on the small pieces of paper that are posted there.

In just writing down my most heartfelt longings, I realize that my intercessory concerns are too big for me to handle.

I can’t change someone’s attitude.

I can’t give someone else the gift of wisdom.

I can’t heal someone from disease.

I can’t choose the perfect job for someone else.

I can’t.

But God can.

Coming to Him in prayer about anything and everything, is the best possible action.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

—Philippians 4:6

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prayer

Get Rid of All

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I had just walked out the door.

It was early morning and I was on my way to work.

As I approached my car in the driveway, I saw the piles of fresh dirt by the concrete.

Ants.

Probably hundreds of them, even though only a few were out and about where I could see them.

Where I live, it is quite common to be bitten by ants.

They set up shop almost anywhere and you don’t really know where they are hidden until they decide to show themselves.

The mounds of dirt that seem to appear so quickly are just the final testimony of what’s been going on all along.

Under the surface of the ground, the ants have been multiplying and building their forces, silently and without any fanfare.

Then, without warning, one day they come out of hiding for all to see.

There are some issues in our lives that behave just like that.

Anger.

Jealousy.

Bitterness.

No one really wants to think about these, but they are often there.

Hidden deep inside us, these emotions multiply like ants, building their forces, silently—without letting anyone else know about it.

Hidden behind smiles and appropriate behavior, their presence may go unnoticed, perhaps for years.

Then, for whatever reason, feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness, guilt, regret or anxiety suddenly seem to surface for all to see.

It may seem sudden to onlookers at the time, but the problems have perhaps had quite a long history behind them.

So, what can be done?

Anything at all?

If I’d had access to a large enough shovel and the time to devote to it, I might have been able to dig up the ant nests.

I could have purchased a product designed to rid them from my yard.

What can be done for the human heart that suffers from detrimental feelings?

God can remove them all.

Fear?

Anger?

It doesn’t matter what the problem is.

He can rid them from your heart.

If any of these things are troubling you, why not ask God to take them away?

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Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

—Ephesians 4:31

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