Tag Archives: Disease

Yet I will Rejoice

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Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty…
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17 – 19 NIV


When you feel overwhelmed by the weight of problems bearing down on you from all sides or if your troubles seem to be more that you can handle, remember that you can still find joy in our LORD, and that joy is actually your source of strength.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

We are not controlled by the circumstances swirling around our lives. As children of God, we have a source of unlimited strength within us to endure any trial we face. He will give us surefooted confidence to place one foot in front of the other as we tread through the deepest valleys. You will run like a swift deer through dangerous and rough terrain.

Instead of focusing on your difficulties, look to God and rejoice in Him. Your troubles will pale in comparison to the light of His glory. Trust Him with any situation in life, and you will find confidence and hope in the darkest of days.

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Peace for Today

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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 (NIV1984)

 

Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles;

It takes away today’s peace.

(Author unknown)

 

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

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV1984)

 


 

Heavenly Help

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God is within her,

She will not fall;

God will help her

At the break of day.

Psalm 46:5

 

As the sun rises today, do you find yourself desperately in need of God’s help? Perhaps you are in turmoil over financial worries, or possibly you are navigating though a tumultuous period with a rebellious teen. Your struggle could be due to the heartache of marital distress, or you might be exhausted from battling a ravaging disease or illness. Maybe you are at a crossroad in your life, and you are struggling over a major decision. No matter what type of battle you are facing, if you are a child of God, He is ready and willing to help you. In Isaiah 41: 13 He reminds us, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.'” Take hold of your Heavenly Father’s outstretched hand. Accept the help He wants to provide.

 

Let go of your cares and worries and relax in the arms of your Savior. Receive His peace. Stop trying to fight life’s battles on your own. Allow Him to take the lead. Rest in the assurance that He will help you, and His promises are true. “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 46:9), and
He is BIG enough to handle your personal “war.”

 

In the midst of your turmoil He says to you, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) At this moment, be still before your Heavenly Father. Accept His peace…and His help. Feel His divine presence within you. Right now, take hold of His hand…He will not let you fall.

Lessons from Unanswered Questions

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“…As you know we consider blessed those who have persevered.

You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen

What the Lord finally brought about.”

James 5: 10, 11 (NIV 2005)

We live in an age of “instant” everything. With microwaves and drive-through windows, we can place a meal on our tables within minutes. Cable news networks and satellites allow us to view up-to-the-minute reports on stories happening around the world. Laptops and smartphones allow us to have the internet at our fingertips almost anywhere we travel, so the answers to most questions can be found with a quick query of our favorite search engine. GPS devices allow us to find directions instantaneously. Emails and Texts allow us send messages instantly. Weather conditions can be determined by a quick search of a “Weather Radar Ap.” Medicine provides prompt relief to pain, indigestion, cold symptoms, fever, sleeplessness, etc… Even common medical problems can sometimes be “diagnosed” quickly by entering symptoms into web based medical sites.

Because of all these technetronic advances, we have become conditioned to receiving almost anything we need in an instant. As a result, we have also lost the ability to wait. Above all else, we expect an immediate cure or solution for anything that causes us pain or discomfort ~ from toothaches to heartbreaks and everything in between. However, there are some things in life that don’t have instant answers. Despite all the tremendous advances in science, technology and medicine, we still live in a world where many people suffer.

Job was a wealthy landowner and successful businessman who had a wonderful family and home. He was a man of faith and was known for his generosity and care for others. The Bible describes him as “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” He was living a very happy and fulfilling life when tragedy struck. In an instant, his ten children were swept away by a windstorm, in an instant his land, crops, livestock and servants were destroyed by raiding bandits and a lightning storm, and in an instant he lost everything he had through no fault of his own. To make matters even worse, Job was struck with painful sores all over his body.

Job experienced both extreme physical pain and gut-wrenching grief over the loss of his family and possessions. He was at a crossroads in his walk of faith. He could blame God, curse Him and give up, or he could choose to trust God for strength to carry on. Job was forced to return to the basics of his faith in God. Throughout his story a common theme emerges: Job acknowledged the sovereign authority of God, but he wanted to understand the why behind his suffering. For a period of time, he allowed his desire to understand why he was suffering to overwhelm him and make him question God. 

Job didn’t expect an instant cure for his pain and suffering, but he did become frustrated over not knowing why he was suffering, expecially when he was sure he had done nothing to deserve this sort of punishment.  He wanted to know the answer to the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Even though God didn’t answer his question instantly, Job did perservere in his faith.  When God, who knows everything, finally spoke to Job, He did not provide him with the answer.  Instead He pointed out an important lesson:  It is better to know our Heavenly Father than to know the answers to all our questions.

 

Sometimes suffering is shaping us for service to others. Often we face consequences of bad decisions, and we suffer through correction or discipline. And, yes, there are times when we won’t know why we are suffering.  We may never know why bad things happen to good people or why innocent children have to suffer, but no matter what the reason for our pain, instead of getting caught up in wanting an instant answer to the question of “why” we are suffering, we should respond by digging our roots deeper into God. By doing so, we can weather any type of storm we may face. God is not caught off guard by any of our problems, and He can help us withstand any trial we face in life.

 Trust in God and not in your circumstances and remember the important lesson from Job’s life:  Knowing God is superior to knowing all the answers.

 

Fourth and Long

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“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life ~

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Matthew 6:25a; 27 (NIV 2010)

 

Sometimes it’s difficult NOT to worry. Lately I’ve been experiencing a period of troubling upheaval in my everyday life, but the above verses are telling me I should not be worried. My husband was recently diagnosed with a debilitating health condition which causes me to worry about his health, his care and treatment, our family’s future, our financial stability, the future for my three sons…and myself. Everything I once thought was “solid” is now crumbling right before my eyes.

Our MVP has been Sidelined

My husband has always been the “captain” of our family’s “team.” In essence, I feel that our MVP has been sidelined from the game of life, and I’m like a rookie being called in on 4th and long…and we’re not going to punt. Now it’s up to me to play the position of quarterback and lead our team to a victorious future. The clock is ticking, with little time left, and I must spring into action. The team is counting on me, and the outcome rests solely upon my shoulders.

Doubt and Fear Rumble Through My Mind

I run to the huddle and see the faces of my “teammates” looking at me with hopeful anticipation. They are waiting for the next play call. From the bench, my husband is counting on me to pull us through. My team is depending upon me to execute the next play with skillful precision. For a moment, I am frozen with fear thinking about the magnitude of the responsibility I face. I hear jeers of self-doubt resounding in my ears. As I lower my head in the huddle, the “what-if’s” spin through my mind. What if I fail? What if I throw an interception? What if I am sacked in the backfield? What if I make a wrong decision? What if I let everyone down? I begin to I question my abilities. I lack confidence in my preparation for this position, and I even begin to question my “Heavenly Head Coach” for putting an inexperienced quarterback into life’s game at such a crucial point. I certainly don’t want to “choke” with this enormous assignment.

I hear the Voice of my Heavenly “Head Coach”

I lift my eyes to find the Coach and listen for His play call. Above the roar of the “noise” in my head, I hear His gentle voice, providing me with insight. I have studied His Play Book. I trust His infinite wisdom to show me how to lead my team in the best possible way. His eyes are upon my every move, and He has known all along that He was preparing me to play this critical position. I know He has equipped me completely to assume this role.

“…And who knows but that you have come to your position

for such a time as this?” Esther 4: 14

I feel weak with fear and anxiety, but I realize that I don’t have to rely on my own power, wisdom, capabilities, resources or protection, because He promises to be all of these for me. He is my strength when I am weak, and He will infuse me with Heavenly wisdom when I have none. He tells me NOT to worry. I simply must trust in Him, obey His commands, and He will supply my every need.

I accept His instruction and call the next play for my team. I will trust Him implicitly for the outcome. My worries are replaced with inner calm and quiet confidence about the fact that the Coach knows what’s best for each one of His players. He doesn’t make mistakes. We break the huddle and the clock starts ticking…

Hut 1!, Hut 2!, Hut! , Hut! , Hut!!!….


Getting Your Hands Dirty

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“Getting your Hands Dirty”


cbrown.cooksey


40A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Mark 1:40 – 42 NIV

Leprosy was an incurable, disabling skin disease which terrified people. In keeping with Jewish Law, lepers were considered unclean and were unable to participate in any religious or social activity. They were the ultimate outcasts of Jewish society. They were banned to live in leper colonies outside the main areas of the cities and were not allowed to mingle with the healthy population.

However, when Jesus saw this diseased, leprous man, he had compassion on him. Despite his visual appearance and all the dictates of Jewish law, Jesus reached out and TOUCHED this man with his hand of healing. This reaction went against every belief of all those people who were watching. Jesus looked beyond the disease and saw inside the man. In doing so, Jesus demonstrated a valuable example to his followers. The real value of a person is on the inside. Outward appearances of a person’s body may be deformed or diseased, but the person inside is no less valuable to God. No person is too disgusting or disfigured or diseased for God’s touch.

In a sense we have all been diseased and deformed by the ugliness and disfigurement of sin, and we could, therefore, be considered leprous in the eyes of God. Instead of looking away from us in disgust, God had compassion on all sinners when He sent His son, Jesus, who touched us with love and forgiveness and gave us the opportunity to be healed.

When is the last time you got your “hands dirty” in the name of Jesus? When your feel repulsed by someone, take a moment and think about how God feels about that person…and how he feels about you. Stop and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do in that same situation?”

Victory in the Valleys

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“Fall Overlook in Dillard Valley”

by cBrown.Cooksey

Victory in the Valleys

By cbcooksey

“The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord’.” 1 Kings 20:28 NIV

I recently came across this verse in my morning devotional. I have read the passage before, but I must have skimmed right over it, missing the beautiful nugget of truth embedded within. Like the Arameans, we sometimes forget that our God is not only the God of our Mountaintop experiences, but also our Valley-low experiences as well. The story in 1 Kings recounts a great victory in battle by Israel’s tiny army, 7000 men, against the vast Aramean army. God gave Israel the victory in that battle, which was fought in a valley, and the casualties for the Arameans numbered over 125,000. The Lord wanted all to know that He not only is God of the hills, but also God of the valleys. God was glorified through this “victory in the valley.”

At times we find ourselves in a “valley of life,” and it is easy to lose sight of the fact that God is right there with us, fighting our battles for us. Presently, we are in a type of economic valley. The current global recession is a deep dip in our business cycle. We all feel the pain of the slump in our economy, and each one of us has felt some degree of financial discomfort as a result. Yet through this precarious monetary situation, we must learn to place our trust in our Heavenly Father instead of our bank accounts or retirement funds. In Deuteronomy 8:17-18, we are reminded, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to
produce wealth…” And despite the downward slide of the stock market on Wall Street or the downturn of real estate values, we can hold fast to His promises. “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6) God is the Lord of the highs and the lows of the financial markets.

Another type of low point some may experience is an emotional valley. By definition, a valley is also known as a depression, which is a widely diagnosed condition in our society. Those who suffer from this prolonged state of emotional dejection, sadness and withdrawal must realize that God is right there with them in their hopelessness. His word speaks life and hope into the depths of their despair and promises that “…there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:1 -2) God’s love can shine brilliant light into the deepest caverns of your heart and soul. God is the Lord of the highs and the lows of our emotional state.

An illness is a type of physical valley that we all suffer through at times. Some illnesses take us to greater depths than others. While our bodies wage war with the invading infection or disease, we must remember that God is with us through every step of the process. In our weakened condition, His word gives us encouragement, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40: 31) His word also provides comfort and assurance in our most critical illnesses, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Our God, The Great Physician, is the Lord of the highs and the lows of our physical state.

The death of a loved one is perhaps the most painful low we can experience. Mourning is a valley of sadness that we experience over the loss of a beloved person in our life. It can last for a prolonged period of time and cause us to feel like we will never come out of the vast canyon of grief. Yet even at a time when no human comfort is effective, God promises in His word, “…I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13) God, our Comforter, is Lord of our sorrow.

Interestingly, geographic valleys are places of lush, fertile land. Mountaintops are not known for growing an abundance of crops. Over time, the elements have eroded the peaks, leaving very little topsoil for vegetation to grow. For example, the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges have very little vegetation growing, yet Napa Valley down below is one of the most fertile regions of the world for growing world-class grapes. The rain and snow drain down from the mountaintops and flow into the valley, carrying rich nutrients which feed the crops and vegetation growing there. Likewise, our valleys of life can be fertile grounds for producing bountiful spiritual fruit. Most spiritual growth is a result of the valley experiences we face. God can use those experiences to harvest a bumper crop of fruit in your life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:21-23) He can also use those times to draw us into closer relationship and total dependence on Him. Without our time in the valleys, we would not experience such an abundance of spiritual growth.

When you find yourself in a deep gorge of life, look up and realize that your heavenly Father is the God of your hills and your valleys. He is the one true God and wants to bring victory in the valleys for His children. He will receive glory in the process, and all will know He was and is Lord of all, forever!

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  (Psalm 25:5)