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

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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Peace

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

A troubled heart can be calmed.

A restless mind can be quieted.

A sleepless night can be changed to one of healing rest.

A broken life can be made whole again.

Jesus gives us peace….

peace

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

Blessed is the Man

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into disaster.

—Proverbs 28:14

 

Recently, I was talking to someone who was interested in learning to play the guitar.

When learning to play, it takes time to build up callouses on the tips of the left hand fingers so that pressing the strings down doesn’t hurt.

Understanding this means that an aspiring guitarist must work through a little discomfort while learning the new skill.

In this instance, callouses are necessary and helpful.

There is a slight trade off, however.

In the places where the callouses form, highly sensitive feeling can be lost.

It becomes difficult to differentiate what is being touched at other times, such as noticing the difference between cloth or plastic.

In the same way, the soles of our feet become calloused if we walk barefooted on a regular basis.

That can be helpful if we need to be without shoes.

But what if we don’t want to have callouses any more?

Pumice stones are sold at thousands of stores, providing an excellent way to exfoliate the hardened areas of our feet or hands, exposing the more tender skin underneath, allowing us to sense the surfaces we are touching and those we are walking on in a new and fresh way.

Having a hardened or calloused heart isn’t the same as having calloused fingers or hands.

If we have hardened and calloused hearts against God, we may no longer feel any need to even consider who He is and the marvelous works He has done.

The blessings we could be enjoying are bypassed by our indifference.

There is hope, however.

God can remove the callouses and soften our hearts.

Like a pumice stone, He can eliminate the hardened and unwanted attitude, giving us  a clear path to feel His love, His kindness and His mercy in a new and fresh way.

 

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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?

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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

 

 

In Every Situation

 

 

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

—2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

What can we do when bad news arrives?

Last week, we found out that the young son of someone we know has leukemia.

About the same time, some new friends of ours had a baby very prematurely and the baby died.

What could be said at times like these?

I am not a doctor, so I would not have been able to advise either couple on medical issues, even though I really do care.

Nor am I able to heal a broken heart, even though I hope for that healing.

Jesus is the Lord of peace, however, and He can carry any of us through any and every situation—even illness and death.

How does He do that?

I don’t know.

I just know that He knows all things and He is able to do all things.

Even when it seems impossible, He can comfort and heal.

His peace

 

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

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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Along the Road

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There was once a blind man.

A man who was alive at the time Jesus was here on Earth.

This blind man’s life would soon be changed forever:

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

—Mark 10:46-52

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What do you think you would do if you had been that blind man?

Would you have followed Jesus on the road?

What if that happened today?

Would you get in the car with Jesus and just go with Him down the road, wherever He went?

Jesus has given us the greatest gift of all.

The gift of salvation.

The gift of eternity with Him in Heaven.

Should we get in our cars and follow Him along the road, wherever He goes?

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immediately red

Sit Down on the Grass

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What would it be like if Jesus was on Earth today?

What if He came up on a canoe to the shore near a housing development and started healing sick people as crowds began to gather?

What would it be like if He took a little boy’s lunchbox and His disciples started feeding the entire crowd from what was in it?

What would it be like if Jesus was in your neighborhood?

Would you believe?

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When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

 “Bring them here to me,” he said.  And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

—–Matthew 14:14-20

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people to sit

Again Like an Eagle

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He forgives.

He heals.

He rescues.

He crowns.

He fills.

He is worthy of our praise!

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Praise the Lord, my soul,
and never forget all the good he has done:
He is the one who forgives all your sins,
the one who heals all your diseases,
the one who rescues your life from the pit,
the one who crowns you with mercy and compassion,
the one who fills your life with blessings
so that you become young again like an eagle.

—Psalm 103:2-5

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like an eagle