Right Around The Corner

Life is funny at times. So unpredictable, with sudden attacks which seem to come out of nowhere.

You’re walking through life, minding your own business, when all of a sudden you turn a corner and come face to face with a life altering experience.

Right around the corner, completely unexpected, something or someone hits you upside your head and knocks you for a loop.

Know what I mean?

Here’s a truth we must know and embrace; right around the corner (unseen at the present time) lurks the potential for a life changing experience.

That’s why we must live prepared for anything.

How is it possible?

Look at Jesus’ example.

“And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able. ” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me. ” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. ” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes. ” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again. ” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead. ” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer. ““ (Mark 9:14-29 ESV)

Some versions add “and fasting.”

Jesus had just been on the mountain with three of His disciples. The other nine were hanging out waiting for Him to return. I’m not sure what they were supposed to be doing, but apparently they weren’t prepared for what was right around the corner.

They had been given authority to cast out demons (Mark 6). They had experienced the power and authority they had in Jesus’ Name.

But they weren’t prepared. They failed when life appeared right before their eyes.

Which is why they asked Jesus, “Why didn’t it work this time?”

The answer Jesus gave wasn’t a formula only for casting out demons. He was sharing with them a foundational principle.

“This is how you prepare for things right around the corner.”

How?

By staying close to the Father through regular prayer, worship, reading and studying God’s Word.

Jesus didn’t ask the boy’s father to wait three days while He fasted and prayed. No, He lived prepared, ready to face any emergency, by continually staying in fellowship with His Father.

After all, His Father (and yours) knows what is lurking right around the corner.

Amen.

An Undivided Heart

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 ESV)

A simple, powerful prayer of King David, after he had committed adultery and murder.

Of course, none of us are so wicked or evil as David was. Right?

Well…

Anyway, this verse has been on my heart lately. Especially the “renew a right spirit” part.

I probably should remind you, even though the Psalm was written by King David, it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

It was inspired so you and I could benefit from the same power, grace, and mercy King David received from the Lord.

It was inspired, i.e. the Holy Spirit gave David the words to write and sing, so generations to follow could be victorious over the wiles of the evil one.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Okay, back to David’s prayer in Psalm 51.

“Create in me a clean heart…” A clean heart is the pure, undefiled, and untainted center of our being. Our very mind, will, emotions. The seat of our affections.

David knew without purity he’d never be able to withstand the onslaught of ungodly influences coming at him every day.

Nor can we.

And the only way our heart can become truly clean is through the work accomplished by God in the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

David looked ahead in time, by faith, and trusted in God’s promised work. We can look back and have faith in God’s accomplished work.

Faith for a clean heart.

The rest of Psalm 51:10 says, “and renew a right spirit within me.” The word, “renew”, means “to repair” or “rebuild”. The idea of reconstructing something that had, in some way, been broken, busted, or demolished seems to be the thought.

It’s very hard to walk victoriously, in faith with God, when you can’t catch your breath. “Spirit”, used in this passage, is from the Hebrew word “ruach” which means, among other things, “breath”. Though, as it’s used throughout the Old Testament, it can mean the innermost part of a person.

So David prayed, “rebuild, repair, and reconstruct a right (meaning fixed, established, single, steadfast, prepared, settled, and arranged) spirit with me.”

In other words, “Lord, please do something new in me. Help keep my innermost being wholly fixed on Your Kingdom, Your plans and purposes, Your way of doing things, and not my own selfish pursuits. Help my spirit, my heart, be undivided where You are concerned. Settle my heart in righteousness and true holiness, that You alone may receive the glory due You.”

At least that’s the way I’m seeing it.

And praying it.

How about you?

Valentine’s Day Hypocrite

Christmas aside, I believe we’re coming up on the most hypocritical day of the year.

Valentine’s Day.

A day when billions of dollars are spent on flowers, cards, candy, nice restaurants, movies, champagne, hotel rooms, etc…

All just to say “I love you”, and, “You’re very special to me.”

Am I advocating that everyone just forget the tradition and go about their evening with hotdogs and stale candy bars?

Nope. But I am saying that it’s hypocritical to act like you’re all lovey dovey on February 14th, when the rest of the year you’re a selfish jerk (or jerkette).

I learned something a good while ago, and here it is: flowers, candy, special notes, and the like will not automatically erase random acts of meanness.

Not sure what a hypocrite is?

Hypocrite is defined as a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

So a Valentine’s Day Hypocrite is a person who says all the nice things on the 14th but is selfish the rest of the year.

True love is best described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and John 15:13.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:4 – 13:8 ESV)

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV)

I especially like the part that says, “Love never ends.” I take it to mean, “Love can’t be stopped.”

Regardless of the pressures, trials and struggles that every marriage faces at one time or another, those who choose to really love (and express that love by being kind to each other and putting their spouse above themselves) will have the sweetest, most rewarding life throughout the year.

And their love CAN’T be stopped!

Hypocrites always have to wonder if their box of candy will “doing the trick”.

Those who’ve decided to love all year long will find even a stale candy bar tastes great.

Your Most Important Gift To Your Spouse

I did just a little research and discovered the average couple spend approximately $6,000 on an engagement ring and wedding bands. To some, that may not sound like much. To me, that’s a staggering amount.

I’m not insinuating women aren’t worth it. Not at all.

But I would like to make a comparison between how much people are willing to spend on rings and things while totally missing the most important gift one could ever give to their spouse.

You may be thinking, “I love my fiancé! Nothing is too much for her. I’d pay any amount for her to be happy. I’d climb the highest mountain, cross the hottest desert, do whatever was necessary to show everyone how much I love her.”

“And yes, I’d make ring payments for the rest of my life, if that’s what it took.”

Nice. I’m glad you feel that way.

But you may be forgetting just one little (well, it’s not really little) detail.

So I’ll pose a question.

If you’re willing to do so much for your fiancé/spouse, would you be willing to add just one thing more?

One thing?

Yes.

Would you be willing to honor your vows? Your wedding vows.

Your promise, troth, vow. Your word.

A lot of people don’t realize this, but your word is the most important thing you own. Whether or not you keep your word tells everyone what kind of person you truly are.

I’m convinced all divorces are the result of at least one of the spouses not keeping their word; they failed to honor their vows.

Is it always easy to do what you promised? No. Sometimes it is very hard and most unpleasant. But if you’ve opened your mouth and said, “I do.”, or, “I will”, then your obligation is to make sure you do it.

Forget the excuses.

Your name will not be respected if you can’t be trusted. All the “I love you” phrases you come up with will never replace keeping your word.

God keeps His Word. That’s why we can trust Him. It’s why patiently waiting for His answers isn’t nearly as hard as it could be. We know He’s not a liar; He’s always true to His Word.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Matthew 24:35 NKJV)

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10 – 55:11 NKJV)

Notice in the Isaiah passage, God chooses His words for a purpose. He says them and expects them to be fulfilled. He guarantees their fulfillment or He’d never have spoken them.

That’s the same commitment He calling us to. We’re to choose our words and make it our duty, our utmost responsibility, to see they’re fulfilled.

Imagine what this world would be like if each person would “swear to their own hurt” (Psalm 15) if necessary in order to ensure their words, their promise, oath, and vow were carried out.

Is it too much to expect people who say they love their spouse to honor them by keeping their spoken vows?

I don’t believe so.

The most important thing you can give each other is the very thing that will help maintain the health of your marriage and cover your relationship with the covering of love –

Your word.

It’s worth a whole lot more than $6,000.

Everyone Appears

The rich, the poor, the athletic, the genius, the gay, the straight, the down and out, the up and in.

All have at least one thing in common.

Nerds, cool cats, gun toters and gun haters, socialists, communists, neo-nazis and Jews.

All face the same appointed time.

Preacher, sinner, agnostic, atheist, universalist, Jehovah’s Witness, and Latter Day Saint. Those who kill others, and those who kill themselves.

It makes no difference. There’s a throne that must be faced.

Dark skin, white skin, tatted or pierced skin, stretched and pregnant, wrinkled and worn. Skin is skin; nothing more, nothing less.

Remember that.

Bald headed or buzzed, white haired or gray.

Corporate executives, Army privates, movie stars and star gazers; what will you do?

You can’t dodge it forever.

No matter who you are or think you are, there is no way you can avoid the divine interview when your life is finally over.

Everyone appears before God.

Whether you’ve been sweeter than candy, or mean and nasty.

You may live to be 120 or never see your thirtieth birthday.

But what will you do when your life is over?

How will you answer when questioned by the Creator of the universe?

How will you hide from the Judge Who’s eyes pierce your very soul, and Who knows your life without you saying a word, when there’s absolutely no place to hide?

While you still have breath in your lungs, consider your future appointment with God Almighty.

Be honest with yourself: you have NOT been THAT good; good enough to keep from shrinking before His Holy Presence.

Consider –

“And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people…” (Hebrews 9:27 – 9:28 NLT)

The ONLY way you’ll stand before God without hearing Him say, “Depart from Me and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” is if Jesus Christ is standing with you.

The only way.

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6 NLT)

Let Him stand with you now.

You’ll be glad you did.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12 – 1:13 NLT)

Joanie

Thought I’d write a little about my sister in law, my brother’s wife.

Joanie Grace.

She is quite a gal. I say “is” because, though her body isn’t around anymore, Joanie is very much alive.

In Heaven.

And we who are still living on this earth miss her a lot; those of us who really knew her, that is.

Here’s what I remember about her…

She didn’t care for her given name, Joan, but always wanted to be called “Joanie”. I never asked her why, just figured it was her prerogative. It did have a more friendly “let’s get to know one another better” ring to it.

She did well picking out my brother for a husband (and me as a brother in law). Too bad she didn’t know how to pick a football team. She would actually make fun of my team! Her team? The Vikings. Mine? The Bears.

Really.

But at least she could joke about it. In fact, she really enjoyed teasing people she loved. I bet Jim got teased a lot!

She loved all 5 of her children, even though two of them were “steps”. That didn’t matter to her as she figured “step” meant she was to take the necessary steps to make certain all the kids were loved and included in her family. Also loved were her kids’ spouses and all the grandkids.

Joanie had a great capacity to love.

She knew how to make people laugh, especially my wife. They would swap stories, texts, messages, phone calls…always encouraging each other through difficult and trying times.

By the way, because life is rough at times, we could all use a Joanie in our lives.

She was big on establishing boundaries, keeping offenders at a safe distance. But she didn’t give up on people. However, she could slam the door on people who acted inappropriately.

Joanie had a hunger for spiritual things, a hunger to know God better. She enjoyed bible studies with Karen and Jessi, and from time to time would toss me a question requiring me to dig a bit for an answer. I was definitely okay with that.

I had the privilege of baptizing her and Jessi about 18 months ago. We, along with many others, witnessed her profession of faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

That is one of the best memories of all.

In fact, because of her decision to believe and obey the scriptures, I know I will see her again. You see, like Joanie and multitudes of others, I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior some 42 years ago.

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9 – 10:10 ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12 ESV)

If you miss her and want to make sure you’ll see her again, there’s something you need to do. Follow her steps to the Savior. Acknowledge your sin, your need for a Savior. Confess Jesus as your new, one and only Lord of your life, and ask Him for His grace to help you grow spiritually in Him.

Heaven is a package deal when Jesus is the Lord of your life.

I wrote this little poem as sort of a tribute to Joanie.

There once was a gal named Joanie, Who married her man for his money, At least that was said, Through the lies that were spread, But the truth was, her man was her honey.

Yes, Joanie and Jim were an item, And their love just continued to heighten, With her kids and his, And five cute grandkids, Their family was beginning to widen.

Then a nasty disease came along, Still the couple tried to be strong, So the battle ensued, But the cancer still grew, And in a couple of months she was gone.

But this isn’t the end of her story, Though her body became cancer’s quarry, With faith in her Lord, She’s alive evermore, Joanie Grace is living in Glory!

Now her Savior calls to you, Decide in your heart what you’ll do, A choice you must make, Before it’s too late, Receive Jesus as your Savior, too.

How do you say goodbye?

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 3:2 ESV)

Ever since the fall of Adam, mankind has had to face the mystery and heartache of physical death. A loved one, a coworker, an acquaintance, a neighbor; we all know of someone who’s crossed over to the other side.

On December 12th, a dear friend left this old terra firma and was ushered into our Savior’s waiting arms. Actually, she was more than a dear friend; she was family. My brother’s wife, to be exact.

And man, it stinks!

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m glad she’s in heaven. I’m very glad she received Jesus as her Lord and had a hunger for God’s word. Now she’s right at home for all eternity, and has come face to face with the Living Word, Jesus.

But it still stinks!

It stinks for my brother (her husband), her children, grandchildren, family and friends.

I’m glad we had some time to tell her goodbye. Not much time, but some.

Though it’s not always easy to remember all the things you wish to say to somehone who has entered into the transition stage between physical death and the next life. I think it’s because at the time we’re so wrapped up in their pain and our own grief.

The physical loss of a loved one hurts. Plain and simple.

So I’ve been thinking…what’s the best way to say goodbye to someone who’s standing on eternity’s doorstep? If I had a list to remind me, maybe it would be a tiny bit easier to say what should be said.

Of course, we should reaffirm our love (if we, in fact, love them). They need to hear it from our own lips. Words of love do more than console; they are actual carriers of life, commitment, hope, and healing to their spirit.

Another way we can say goodbye to our loved one is to remind them of the beauty of heaven and the King. Read passages of scripture that describe the reality of their eternal home. Speak of the grace of God which made eternal life possible.

Here’s another thought we can so easily fail to grasp. The BEST way to say goodbye to someone (and I’m referring to someone who has received Jesus as the Lord of their life) is to say it KNOWING it’s only a short goodbye. Knowing that some day you’ll be saying “hello” once again.

Of course, it takes a certain amount of assurance for someone to speak in such a manner. But assurance isn’t hard to find, if one knows where to look.

“I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13 NLT)

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” (John 3:36 NLT)

God’s love is unconditional; there’s never been a person on this planet He hasn’t loved.

Yet His Heaven does have conditions, or qualifications, to meet if one is to enjoy eternity with Him and His.

Are the conditions hard to meet? Yes; in fact they’re impossible if we rely on our own strength, wisdom, goodness, or good works.

Can a person be so terribly rotten they’ll never meet the conditions? No, unless pride is their rottenness.

Heaven is for the pure. It’s for the righteous, the holy, the ones whose hearts have become new through faith in Christ.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9 – 10:11 ESV)

So if you find yourself where I did the other day, and you don’t know how to say goodbye, think about these things.  If you aren’t sure about where the departing loved one is going, ask them. Share with them about the wonders of heaven and eternity with Christ.

If you don’t have an assurance in your own life about your place in eternity, now’s the time to take care of that matter. Don’t go another day without being connected to the family of God.

You, your loved ones, and, of course, God, will be glad you did.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12 – 1:13 ESV)

Surrounded By Enemies

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” (Psalms 5:8 ESV)

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11 – 5:12 ESV)

It’s a nasty, unfriendly world out there; for the Christian especially. To think otherwise is to be ignorant of God’s word.

Jesus said, “If they’ve hated Me, they will hate you also.”

John wrote, “He came unto His own (the people He had covenant with through Abraham) and His own received Him not.” (John 1).

And that’s what every child of God should expect: trouble from those whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to ours.

Of course trouble may come in different ways; from severe persecution to a mere intolerance of our beliefs and ideas. But nevertheless, trouble will find its way to every person who believes God’s word enough to live it.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV).

When’s the last time you reminded yourself that as long as you’re living in this world, you are surrounded by enemies? Have you come to grips with the word from James where he states a person must choose where their loyalty lies?

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 ESV).

It goes along with what Jesus spoke:

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13 ESV).

And John the beloved’s words:

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13 ESV).

Another passage to read is found in Hebrews 11; the story of Abraham regarding himself a pilgrim and a stranger here on earth while waiting for a city Whose builder and maker is God.

Paul wrote to the Philippians: “To depart and be with Christ is far better (than continuing to live here on earth)”.

Child of God, you are surrounded by enemies. Unfriendly forces are set against you to try and trip you up, get you to compromise your devotion to the Lord and to besmirch the Name of Christ.

But you are not without hope! God did not leave you to walk through life on your own. He’s promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower you, thus giving you victory over every trial and temptation.

He is with you in trouble as your ever present Help in time of need. You will never face anything by yourself, if you’ll simply call upon His Name!

“Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:12 – 10:13 NLT).

The Psalmist wrote this promise from God Almighty:

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.” (Psalm 91:14 – 91:15 NLT).

It’s a mean, nasty, ugly world. And sometimes, it’s even worse!

Yes, sometimes the devil and his cohorts try and wear us down and tear us up. Peter referred to the devil as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He tried to devour Daniel but couldn’t get it accomplished!

David talked about walking through a dark, dangerous valley. Though he was surrounded by enemies, he declared to all who could hear him, “I will fear no evil because You are with me, Lord! In fact, You make it possible for me to feed on Your faithfulness while my enemies watch with frustration.”

You may feel like you’re walking through that same valley, surrounded by the same enemy of old.

But you are not alone. You can (and should) remind yourself daily (at least), Who God is to you, in you, and around you. Plus, remind your enemies just Who it is they’re messing with.

Use some of David’s words if you’d like.

“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill…I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” (Psalm 3:1-4,6 ESV)

After all, even though you’re surrounded by enemies, you are God’s property; His purchased possession.

And He always takes care of His own.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Psalm 91:1 – 91:2 NLT).

Amen.

He Is Our Peace

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)

The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom”.

Here’s what it means: completeness, soundness, welfare, safety, soundness (in body), health, prosperity, quiet, tranquillity, contentment, friendship, of human relationships with God especially in covenant relationship.

Peace.

In other words, He (Jesus, according to Matt 8:16,17) was crushed, beaten, chastised, and hung out to die in our place so we could be all He originally created us to be.

Whole, complete, righteous in God’s sight; as though sin NEVER existed before in our lives.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

Incredible, so far beyond anyone’s imagination or comprehension, is His love for you and I.

Then, just to show the devil he completely lost his authority over mankind (those who would become children of faith), God raised Jesus from the grave! The empty tomb itself joins in with all creation proclaiming Jesus is Lord.

Paul declared, “He Himself (Jesus) is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:14).

The Greek word for “peace” is “eirene”, and corresponds in meaning to the word “shalom” in the Hebrew.

The apostle also wrote: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:15 ESV).

Another translation reads, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:15 AMP)

Act as an umpire? Yes. The Greek word for “rule” means to “arbitrate, to decide, to call the shots”. In other words, let God’s peace (His wholeness, etc.) call the shots when you have issues in your heart and mind. Don’t let anything push you away from God’s love and care for you.

After all, He IS our peace. He is YOUR peace!

Now God’s question to you and I is this:

What are YOU believing and declaring?

Pain hurts, so ease up a bit.

“Suck it up, brother! Jesus is your Savior, Healer, and soon coming King.”

So says the well meaning Christian to the dear one who’s going through a painful and emotional hurricane.

Does it help?

No!

Why?

Because pain is still pain, and words designed to demean others while showcasing one’s own “spiritual superiority” never ease anyone’s pain.

Scripture alone will not heal or ease the pain. There’s more to it than blasting people with the Word.

“But…”

Yeah?

“But the word says, ‘he sent His Word and healed them’” (Psalm 107:20).

Yes, it does. And, there are a lot of other scriptures that support the psalmist’s testimony.

Yet here’s a point we can’t forget. GOD sent His Word. JESUS told the soldier, “Go your way, your servant is healed”.

Aren’t we supposed to do the works Jesus did (John 14)? Yes, and even greater ones!

But that doesn’t mean we act as though we’re high and mighty and others should feel grateful just having us speak with them.

We are to do things like the Word says, but only do them in the way Jesus would.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17 NLT)

Do them as He would do them, IF He would do them.

Speak the truth in love, with faith AND compassion, tenderly using the opportunity to minister grace to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29).

Pain, regardless of the reason, speaks loud enough for the sufferer to hear. If there’s a lesson to be learned  it won’t come from some egotistical maniac using scripture on the sufferer as though they’re an idiot.

Jesus always spoke truth. He always shared the Word. And He always did it in love, not for His sake but for the good of others AND the glory of God.

Those going through pain, sorrow, or grief don’t need cute quips, quotes, or cutting remarks. Even if someone is hurting as a result of sin, they can still receive compassion from God.

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:15 ESV)

If God will minister real grace and compassion to the hurting, don’t you think He’d have us do the same?

Pain is painful. Let’s not add insult to injury.

Instead of blasting the hurting with our scripture “stones”, how about if we just simply DO His Word.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 ESV)

So, what would you do to comfort the afflicted, help ease someone’s pain, while staying true to the scriptures?

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