Promises of God: Healing

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4, NLT

Today’s devotional is not part of the monthly promises. It’s prompted from my hiatus in my effort to write. My inability to do much at all in fact. But it’s still a promise all the same. One we all rely on. All desire. And sometimes forget is still in God’s timing. And all part of His plan.

Healing.

I’m on day 5 of a migraine. Likely due to pollen from the dogwood blooms. The consistent change in the air here in Virginia. Or my genes. I look like my mother. Except for my dad’s blue eyes, I’m the spitting image of my mom, but from my father I recieved the headaches that I have suffered with since the age of 10, and the spinal arthritis that has ailed me since I was 19. Both of us work through the pain. No need to complain about it. Or lay around and whine. It’s a part of the daily routine.

But I am getting older now, and it is getting harder to manage the day with a head splitting headache, and burning back pain.

So, yes. Some days when I manage to have a few cancellations, I lay down and sleep.

It’s not something I generally talk about. Most people have no clue. You can’t tell just by looking at me. And it isn’t something I can do much about. I have seen a ton of doctors. I take medication that provides little relief. I use that contraption called a TENS unit. I have tried every anti-inflammatory diet. I have had physical therapy. I have had all those cortisone shots that are recommended. Nerve blocks. I walk. I stretch. I exercise. But the pain remains. I have walked to the front of the church and asked for anointing and yet-I still have pain. I still walk around with this pain daily.

Yet, I believe God still heals. Maybe not now. Probably not tomorrow. But He will.

I also know God has the power to heal, but there are times He doesn’t. Paul mentioned this when he spoke of his “thorn:”

Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, NLT

We can only speculate what Paul’s thorn was, but I can relate. Burdens. Pain. I have asked God to take them away. To heal me. But He has not. Are they there to humble me? To remind me that I need Him daily to strengthen me? That I cannot move in my own flesh because I will fail? Yes. Certainly. So likely, healing will not come this side of eternity.

We want healing in our time. And we expect God to heal ALL things. We forget at times that pain and suffering exist because of the sin that came into the world, and yes-God can heal…but pain and suffering are inevitable. God’s healing may not come in the way we desire. It may not come in the form of miracles. Yes. It may come in the form of a new, pain-free body. The new body He gives us when we are called to Him. At the end of time.

We often can’t wrap our minds around this. That a loving, all-powerful God allows this kind of pain.

That pain-free healing isn’t offered to ALL here on earth.

Unfortunately, that’s the consequence of the fall. That’s why it’s so important we turn to Him. So we can have our healing with Him in heaven. So He can give us the strength to endure the pain we will experience here on earth. Are there miracles? Of course there are! But some of us will endure pain. Some of us will continue to live with thorns in the flesh until we get new bodies. But God will give us the power to endure this here on earth.

That’s what He has done for me. That is the miracle. The shift in attitude is the healing. The endurance and perseverance despite the never-ending pain is the testimony.

And what He will do for me in glory will be even more miraculous.

Promises of God: Rest

He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name. Psalm 23:2-3

Anyone else need a long winter’s nap? I don’t mean the kind you need after losing an hour. I mean a few days of nothing but napping?

I can’t be the only one. We are a people who are busy, busy, busy. We move from place to place. Here and there. The next big thing without pause, and as a result we are exhausted-physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

We need some rest.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

In today’s verses, we read of the importance of rest. How it is provided by God. We also often take these verses quite literally. We often think they give us permission to just take a nap. And they do, rest for the soul requires physical rest. Even Jesus napped. But it requires more than just laying in our beds. It requires we rest in Him.

See, Jesus was clear in Matthew 11:28 about those burdens. He instructed us to lay them down. We, however, often carry them around like a badge of honor. Until we become weary with the load. The burdens were never intended for us to carry, so what do we do?

Our sins. The expectations of this world. The acts of others. Our search for purpose. We surrender that to Him, and we let Him carry it. We get rest from carrying our load. A load too heavy for us to manage alone.

We do this, and then we remain still. Still in the presence of God. Waiting for His timing, and not rushing to make things happen in our time. We surrender, and He gives us peace. And as the Psalmist says, He will lead us to the “green meadows and peaceful streams” intended to restore us.

He will give strength for the journey if we just let Him lead, and rest a while.

Yes. I need a nap today. Hours of them to be exact. I am burdened from toiling. Traveling. And the busy, busy, busy. But today as I wearily embark on another day I will thank Him for it. Surrender whatever occurs in it to Him, and know He will give me the strength to get me through to those “green meadows” He has waiting for me.

Today, I will rest in Him.

Promises of God: He Keeps Them

For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors. Deuteronomy 4:31

He stood there, just having got off the school bus. Refusing to come inside the house. He did this frequently, so today was not any different than most. So I did what I usually do, sat on the porch and waited for this to be over.

Until he looked at me and said, “Aren’t we going to get donuts?”

He hadn’t forgotten. And I was really hoping he had forgotten.

“Can we go tomorrow?”

“No! You promised! You promised we would get donuts!” I could see it coming. Only because it used to come every afternoon (not over donuts, just because it was part of the after school sensory overload). A meltdown was brewing in the front yard. In full view of all the neighbors. And this one was all my fault. Because I was breaking a promise.

I did go get those donuts, and I vowed to not break a promise if it was in my power not to ever again. Not because I wanted to avoid a public meltdown. Simply because I wanted to avoid the disappointment that another person may feel. And because I now knew-kids remember promises. Frankly, I believe we all do. And we remember even more those that are broken.

And in those broken promises we build a foundation of mistrust, disappointment, and insecurity. In the world around us and the people in it.

It’s common. It’s a part of our carnal, sin nature. We say things and make promises to get the heat off us for a while. “We will do that tomorrow,” is often code for “Man I just don’t feel like it today, and I likely won’t want to tomorrow either. Maybe they will forget.” They don’t. They ask again. We put it off for another day, and they eventually do stop the asking, which is what we desired. But they also stop trusting. They stop seeking a relationship with us. They stop seeing us as reliable. Safe.

Until we start to wonder if promises were ever meant to be kept at all. Or mere lip service. Never to honored in the first place.

They were. They are meant to be kept. They will be honored.

And they are kept and honored by God. Every promise He makes He delivers. He has in the past and He will again.

He promised Abraham a son, and delivered. He promised to make him a father of many nations, and blessed him with offspring that made up the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

He promised David a descendent that would build a throne for God, which was in fact Solomon; but that would also sit with God. That his lineage would include one who saves. Through the lineage of David, we have Christ.

He promises that for those who believe in Christ, to provide the Holy Spirit, and He is surely alive and active. He promised and did adopt us as His children.

He also established an eternal kingdom for us, one He promises we will inherit one day. Do we believe His words are more than mere lip service? I know I do.

Promises may not mean much to people. They may be mere words spoken in haste, or to put someone off for the time being. But they are a covenant to God.

He WILL do what He has promised. He has before and He will again.

Promises of God: He Hears You

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:14-15

It’s one of the questions I have asked over and over for many years: “Why do I continue to pray?” Now that may seem strange. I know we are called to pray, however, I also know that we often expect answers right away. We pray because we expect God to come to our rescue immediately, and we want to see the results of our endless pleas to Him. 

But what if we don’t? What if we offer pleas to Him and we don’t see the fruits of this labor? Do we stop? 

I have often wanted to. To stop praying for people. Sometimes it’s hurt that drives this desire. Often it’s just because I’m tired of waiting for God to show up. I even have stopped for a time. Stopped pleading with God to break chains and begin to move in those lives. Until he pokes me again to start. Gently reminding me…I may be the only one pleading on their behalf. 

I often wonder why God burdens me, until I realize prayer isn’t a burden, it’s a calling. And it’s one He knows I take seriously. He knows I will continue to do so, so he nudges me each time I want to quit. Reminding me of the things for which I should be asking. Those things He has promised to do. 

I pray for your healing, that circumstances would change. I pray that the fear inside would flee in Jesus name. I pray that a breakthrough would happen today. I pray miracles over your life in Jesus name. In Jesus name. -Katy Nichole

I pray they turn from wicked ways. Become a good and holy people. 

I pray no one would perish.

Because these are all things God desires.

Pray. Even if it hurts. Even if you don’t see the outcome right away, years from now, or in this lifetime. Pray. Because, “since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” 1 John 5:15. He is a promise keeper, and will answer in HIS time. 

And I pray, because I like to believe that someone once did pray these very same things for me. 

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Promises of God: Design and Purpose

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5, NLT

Today we are once again in the book of Jeremiah. Right at the very beginning when Jeremiah is called by God to be His prophet to Judah.

Jeremiah’s response? “I’m too young. No way I can do this!”

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. When God calls us to something, too often we make excuses for why we may not be capable, and Jeremiah was no exception.

Though given an important task-to provide warning and move the Israelites towards repentance-and though chosen by God-Jeremiah struggled throughout much of his assignment. He was God’s voice, but no one listened. He urged people to act, but no one moved. He was poor, thrown into prison, rejected by his family and people, and did not see God’s prophesy fulfilled in His time.

He thought he was failing. God thought he was a victor. Because Jeremiah moved in his purpose and did what God called him to do.

Jeremiah believed in the promise provided to him-that God not only designed him for this, but that God would be with him, protect him, and give him the words to speak (v. 8-9).

We have a calling, too. God designed this calling for us long ago when He designed us. When the time is right to fulfill it, God will be with us, protect us, give us words to equip us.

When we do what God has purposed, we are never failing, only victorious.

Promises of God: Seek and You Will Find

“If you look for me wholeheartedly you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13

Yesterday I dived into that often used verse in Jeremiah 29, the one promising a hope and a future. The words in verse 11 are true, but there is so much in the entire chapter that is missed when we simply focus on that one verse. Yes, that 11th verse holds so much peace and hope, but today’s promise is just as powerful. But we often miss it because we don’t read far enough.

It’s true. God delivered His people to become captives in Babylonia, but He did not forget them. They were captives for 70 years, but they were not abandoned. Though it certainly may have felt that way.

Think about it…in times of trial it may be difficult to find God in it. We may wonder if He is even there at all. We may believe He has left us. We may call to Him, hear nothing in response, and believe He is not listening to our cries. In those moments we may even stop crying to Him. We reach out to the world instead. In our desperation we seek answers elsewhere.

And we come up empty.

In times of sorrow and pain, it may appear God has left. It may appear He is distant or that He doesn’t hear our pleas at all, but this isn’t the case.

He hasn’t left. He is still in the midst. We can call on Him knowing He will answer in His time, and confident that though this season may be painful it’s necessary for our growth. For our faith to become stronger. For our relationship with Him to flourish.

Seek Him. He is there. He is listening. You may not get the answer you want. You may not hear Him right away. But you can be assured He hasn’t left you. Seek Him, and you will find Him.

Promises of God: A New Heart

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. Ezekiel 36:26-27

The heart. One tiny organ with a very large job-to pump blood and provide oxygen to the other major organs of the body. It’s one of the smallest organs that carries the toughest load. Any problem with it can cause a number of physical problems.

I’ve learned lessons about the heart in the last several years that I didn’t think I would have to learn. Like-did you know the heart has an electrical system? This system controls how the heart beats, and any malfunction in this system can cause a number of issues. Too many beats can even lead to death.

When our heart is not functioning physically, we do what we can to fix it. To repair it. We change our lifestyles. We change our routine. We listen to the experts who are equipped to take care of and maintain the healthy function of our hearts.

That small organ with such a large job, also houses more than blood pumping chambers and electrically timed beats.

It is also the holding center for the effects of our emotions. When we feel joy, happiness, and connection our heart is also happy. But when we feel sad, lonely, angry, or anxious the heart rate quickens, it works harder, and its health begins to deteriorate.

It’s the same with the spiritual health of our hearts. If we hold onto anger and bitterness, unforgiveness, and unhealthy lifestyles-our heart is not open to the amazing experiences God has for us.

He knows how important the heart is, and He wants to give us a new one.

God wants to clean up that system in our body, heart, and mind that is pumping in evil thoughts and behaviors. Spewing out harsh words. Filling us up with bitterness.

When we seek God to remove the hurt and pain that lives there. When we seek God to help us forgive others. When we seek God to change our lifestyles just as we do with our physical health, He delivers. He cleans up all the malfunctions of our hurting, cold, and bitter heart; and He begins to pump love, compassion, tenderness, and mercy through it.

Is it time to take your spiritual heart health as serious as you take your physical heart health? If so, God has the answer to your heart troubles, and He is ready to give you a new one that beats like His.

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He Does It All with Love

And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14

If you have been around a long time, there is a chance you have heard of Mother Teresa, the Catholic nun who dedicated her life to the poor and desolate in the slums of Calcutta. In her lifetime she set up orphanages, she fed the homeless, she organized countless soup kitchens, and she educated the poor. One of her most famous quotes is one that closely mirrors the verse at the beginning of this post: “Do small things with great love.”

Where did this example of love come from? How do we learn to live out a love like this in our daily lives?

Our example is God.

Some of us may not have learned about a loving God growing up. We may have learned that God was essentially angry. Sitting on a throne in heaven, waiting to smite us if we did anything wrong. We may have feared lightening shooting down from heaven for any small transgression against Him, or any other authority figure.

While God is in fact a jealous God, and He does get angry…He is not a God who is all-consumed with rage, and an abusive nature; at the ready to hand out punishment any time we slip and fall.

God does discipline. Yes.

God does course correct. Yes.

God does sometimes make us stand face to face with our sin, as if we are looking at ourselves in a mirror. Yes, He does.

God does allow us to suffer when we take the wrong path over and over again.

But He does everything with love.

Because He disciplines, course corrects, and reveals our need for change because His desire is to show us grace. To move us to right position with Him, and in His kingdom. Not to smite us. He wants so much better for us. His is the kind of love that gently nudges us to come to Him in still, small voices, and also shows His love in the biggest way possible-by sending the One who took the fall for all we would do. Just so we would have a path to forgiveness when we are poor, destitute, and hungry for love.

He does everything He can in big and small ways to show His love for us. In the hopes we accept, and then show that love in everything we do for others.

Praying for Others

I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me? Psalm 119: 82,82, NLT

I have been breaking Psalm 119 apart as I read through it, and these were the two verses in the particular section I read that got to me the most-prayer. I started to think about prayer. Especially the part of this process that can be heartbreaking. Painful. Wear you out.

You pray and you don’t see change. You pray and you don’t see evidence that God is moving. You pray and people continue in their ways. It makes you just want to stop. And that is what I had been thinking about all morning…why had He allowed me to pray for others for so long, placed people on my heart over and over, only to change nothing.

And then He gave me an email. An email I subscribe to with the following subject: “Intercessory Prayer.” The Greek translation for intercession is “to pray or intercede for, or petition on behalf of.” As God’s children, those who have accepted His grace, well…He has given us this authority to do this for others. For those who need this grace, too. We become the pathway for others to see Christ.

But this is what often happens with me.

I forget who truly holds the power. I pray and think this powerful connection to intercede for someone means “I” am the one who is mighty to save. Then I become discouraged when the saving doesn’t happen. When the change doesn’t occur the way I want it to.

Here’s the deal:

Yes, we do have an immense power given to us through the Holy Spirit. We have a connection to the Father through Jesus, and when someone we care for needs grace, we can pray and activate God’s power. But we are not responsible for all that occurs after that.

We pray. Then God nudges. He speaks. He sends His Word. They can either answer, or reject Him. That’s not on us. That’s between them and God.

What do we do? We? We just pray. Then we let God handle the rest.

Can You Handle the Truth?

Test me Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind. For your faithful love guides me, and I live by your truth. Psalm 26:2-3

Here is a question: Do we truly want God to examine our hearts? Our minds? To place before us all the practices, actions, and thoughts demonstrating that we are often moved by our desires and carnal nature?

Wanting this, and asking God to do this for us, is in fact what being a “person after God’s heart” looks like. It is asking Him to examine what is within us, and to allow Him to cleanse anything that doesn’t resemble Him from the inside out. We desire for Him to change our mindset, our actions, and our desires.

This seems so appealing, right? Then why don’t more people want this transformation? If the Word says-“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), then why don’t more seek His truth? Want this freedom?

Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:43-44, NLT

Seems harsh and blunt, but I didn’t say it-Jesus did. He was keeping it pretty real here. The truth doesn’t sound pleasant when we want to continue in ways that reflect dishonesty. When we want to continue to chase after the things the devil tells us makes us worthy, successful, loved, and admired. When he feeds us with the notion that the world can provide all we need. Doing the right thing doesn’t seem so appealing, when the wrong thing feels just fine. And well, who is getting hurt, right?

The truth sounds ridiculous because the lie is more appealing. The truth sounds boring because the lie is more fun. The truth offers blessings that cannot be measured, and that you have to wait for; while the lie offers instant gratification, and goods we can enjoy to our hearts content right now.

Even if our hearts are still empty. Unloving. Deceitful. And still feeling worthless, despite the false bill of goods Satan has promised. The lie sounds much more like truth when you are still in the dark.

Asking God to examine the junk that is in our hearts and minds; those things that don’t reflect His truth and goodness will hurt, and we will go through some struggles during the transforming. Who wants to struggle?

But-He assures us that the other side is beautiful: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

And it’s all worth it, if you can handle His truth.