Firelight

Bible Verse

“’You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.'” — Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Reflection

I was sitting by a warm fire praying. At first, I noticed how bright the flames were, as they leaped around the logs. Then I realized that wherever the flames were burning, the logs appeared golden all around. The light wasn’t just in the flames. Every part of the logs behind, around, and over the flames lit up with a brilliant golden hue.

The glow from the fire lit everything around it, making the fireplace brighter. Such a simple truth, but one so often missed.

When you have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus living inside you, you should be shining just as brightly with the flame of His light. Everyone and everything around you should light up. People should feel inspired and encouraged, even convicted, to step into the fullness of God’s love, simply because you allow His Spirit to light up the room.

How do you carry this light? By letting the Holy Spirit consume every part of your heart. The logs where the flames leaped were burned up by the power of that fire. The fire consumed them, and they shone brightly, and lit up the fireplace. The more you give your heart to God, and let His Spirit take over, the brighter everyone and everything will be in this world.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, please consume us with Your fire in every part of our hearts, so that Your light will shine brightly all around.

Thought for the Day

Where are you holding back your heart from the Holy Spirit’s consuming love? Will you surrender that part of your heart to Him today?

Thank God for Everyday Miracle Healings

Bible Verse

“For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.” – Psalm 139:13-14 (NRSV)

Reflection

Recently in a class on healing prayer, I was introduced to a new understanding of “miracle healing.” I’ve always believed God heals in many ways, including through medical science. At one point in my life, God used surgery to heal me because it was the only way to get me past my lifelong fear of doctors. (I’ve written about this in my book, I Choose Life, available on Amazon.)

But until I took that class, I had never understood that medical healing is also considered “miracle healing.” Even the body’s natural ability to heal itself, after a cut, bruise, or burn, is a miracle healing. Why? Because God created our bodies. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Today I was reminded of an example from my own life. I was editing a book for a retired sports physiologist, based on his writings from the 70s. He was talking about the dangers of heat stroke, and my mind went immediately back to the mid-70s, growing up in Miami, Florida.

I was about eight years old taking baton-twirling classes. We had an all-day outdoor baton clinic to attend on a broiling June day. My mom had dropped me off and I waited with the other kids outside a large gymnasium. We waited, and we waited. Turned out no one had the keys. This was in the days before cell phones. It was also in the days before lawsuits for putting children into dangerous recreational situations.

The clinic director made the decision to hold the clinic outside. All we had for hydration was a small cooler of water. We practiced baton twirling and marching outside for six hours in the summer Miami heat, with two mini cups of water per child.

By the time my mom picked me up, I was not well. I felt like my insides were broiling. My mom didn’t know what to do, but she felt led to stop at a convenient store and get me a Coke. When we got home, the sprinklers were on in the yard. I told her I wanted to lie on top of one of the sprinklers. That was all I could think to do. I felt too sick to sit up but I just knew I needed cold water on my body.

An hour later, my mom helped me walk across the street to our neighbor’s swimming pool and I just sat on the steps, letting the water wash over me. She kept asking if I could drink anything, and I said no. Fortunately, she didn’t force me. I know God was leading both of us.

My parents were planning to visit another neighbor for dinner that night. They had thought about canceling, but I said I felt strong enough to go along, even though I couldn’t eat. They tucked me into our neighbor’s guest bed while they had dinner, and I slept for a long time.

Finally, my mom woke me and held a plate with a little food. Miraculously, I felt able to eat. And I had the feeling you get when you know you’ve turned a corner in getting through an illness. I had enough strength to walk out to the living room and visit our neighbor for a little bit. Then my parents took me home to sleep. By the next morning, I was completely fine.

Those who live in hot climates or have experience with outdoor athletic activities will recognize that I had heat stroke. It actually could have killed me. And if my mom had forced liquids inside of me, that would have made it worse. For heat stroke, the outside of the body has to be cooled with water first. How did we figure out what to do? We didn’t have internet research back then. I listened to my body and my mom listened to God.

It was a miracle healing because our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Prayer

God, thank You for helping us recognize everyday miracles of healing through our amazing bodies. Remind us, the next time we watch a cut heal, that we are experiencing Your miracle of healing. Thank You for being with us during our times of sickness and injury. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

What miracle healing have you experienced recently? Take some time to pray and thank God for your healing.

A Child Is Born

I was delighted to run across a meditation I wrote five years ago. I wanted to create a collection of seasonal meditations and managed to write a few before life took me on another writing path.

The writer’s life can be that way, and that’s okay. As long as we are following God, we are moving forward, but the path can meander. God has amazing treasures in store for us on each trail. It’s most important to be present and take in whatever is in front of us in each season.

Whether I will go back and continue writing these meditations in this new season, I don’t know yet. Right now, I’m just enjoying having unearthed them.

These meditations start out in a way similar to devotionals, but with some added steps. Kind of like guided devotionals with a response and an activity, so readers can be not only inspired but also can dig in a little, get some dirt under their fingernails while they experience God’s presence in their midst.

I’m always interested in ways to create deeper studies and experiences that build on the basic idea of a devotional. As writers, we have so much creativity available to write in ways that encourage people to interact with God in His Word. I hope this devotional meditation for the Christmas season will help you reflect on creative ideas for your writing. Be blessed!

Winter Meditation

A Child is Born

Scripture

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 (NKJV)

Reflection

I love when the warmth of Christmas meets the cold winter landscape. I didn’t grow up in a cold climate, like the one where I live now. But there was still something about the warmth of Christmas … the light shining in the darkness. Something that welcomed every heart to respond with joy: our Savior is born!

Over the years, that message has never failed to move me. Through every Christmas Eve service of the nearly five decades of my life to date, I have felt the warmth of the presence of Jesus in a way so sweet it makes my heart weep.

This year, the Christmas message was sweeter than ever as it poured its warmth and love into an aching heart. I’ve experienced so many losses over the years, and Christmas is when the remembrance of all of them comes bubbling to the surface.

As I prepared for our Christmas Eve services this year, I had a revelation. God reminded me that despite all the lost relationships in my life, I never lost the one He offers. I confess there have been times when that offering hasn’t satisfied the pain in my heart. There is a season of grief and it is vital for healing. God knows that. But there are times when I chose to carry my sadness of loss much longer than I needed to. I wanted to hold onto my sense of injustice for all that those losses had taken from my life. I refused to exchange that pain for the comfort, healing, and peace He offers.

This Christmas Eve, I decided to let go of my pain. There are losses I will still grieve, as memories surface. But I choose to come out of agreement with a spirit of heaviness that has spent too many Christmas Eves, and all the days in between, in my heart. My heart belongs to God. I choose to let Him come in and dispel my sadness and my sense of injustice and of a life “incomplete.” He is my justice, my wholeness, my joy, and my peace.

As I watched the children of our church family put on a Christmas Eve pageant that included a live baby Jesus, and listened to the words of a song that asked if my Lord Jesus knew, from the first moment He opened his infant eyes, that He would be my Savior, I wept. These were not tears of grief, pain, or loss. They were tears of joy, that this tiny infant’s love for me was greater than all my losses. The life I have in Him is so filled with love and peace that I have yet to fully receive.

I choose to lay down my sadness, to step away from the bleak landscape I’ve inhabited in my thoughts and emotions, and receive the warmth of Christ’s love into my whole heart. Thank You, God, for the warmth of Christmas.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for coming into our lives – to save us, to lead us, to transform us, to redeem us. Thank You that Your love is stronger than death, stronger than loss, stronger than all the things the enemy throws at us. Thank You, Lord, that You know You’re our Savior, and that it is Your greatest desire that we receive that good news in every part of our hearts. Thank You for bringing the warmth of Your love into our lives. We love You! It’s in Your precious name we pray. Amen

Thoughts

Are there parts of your heart where you haven’t yet received the warmth and fullness of Christ’s love? Will you invite Him to show you what stands in the way … and to help you lay down those things at the Cross, so He can enter into those parts of your heart that you’ve kept locked away?

Is there a loss in your life – a loss of any kind – that you still struggle with? If so, talk to Jesus about that right now. Ask Him to help you find healing and peace through His presence in your heart.

Do you know the difference between healthy, healing grief, and an unhealthy spirit of heaviness, sadness, and despair? Ask the Lord to show you the difference. If you are grieving a loss, ask Him to help you grieve in a way that is healing, and to lift your despair.

Activity

Take a walk or drive to look at Christmas lights. If you drive, if at all possible stop and park your car, so you can spend some time looking and reflecting on the warmth of the Christmas lights. Ask the Lord to join you. Reflect on how those beautiful lights demonstrate the way His light shines into your heart.

Close-Up

For the next five minutes, sit quietly and invite the Lord to sit with you. Do nothing; say nothing. Simply enjoy His presence.

Journal

In a journal or notebook, share your thoughts in a letter to God about what it means to let the warmth of His love fill your heart. Listen for His response and write what you hear.

God’s Invitation to You

Do you know how precious you are to Me? Do you know the depths of My love for you? Do you feel My love in those parts of your heart that have been hurt? Will you allow Me to come in and bring peace?

Your Response to God

God, thank You for loving me with Your whole heart. Help me to give my whole heart to You. Sometimes the thought of opening my whole heart scares me, or feels overwhelming, or seems too much to ask of You. But I want that. I want a heart that is full to overflowing with Your love. God, forgive me for [tell God what you would like forgiveness for, and know that He will forgive you]. God, thank You for [tell God the things you’re thankful for today]. God, I need You. Please help me with [tell God how you would like for Him to work in your heart and life today]. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sensing God’s Presence

Where do you sense God’s presence?

I sense God’s presence in the scent of the Christmas tree that He lovingly raised in a pine forest and filled with His presence just for me.

I sense God’s presence in the warm smells that come from a Christmas kitchen and in the memories of childhood Christmas meals with family and friends.

I sense God’s presence in the beautiful face of a baby that reminds me of the infant Jesus, and in the sweet chorus of children’s voices as they proclaim His holy birth.

Share with God some examples of where you sense His presence.

God bless you. He loves you so much.

If you enjoyed this meditation, you might like to read two of my spring season meditations:

First Planting – available to read on my blog.

Blanket in the Shade – this link will take you to Reflections Christian Online Magazine, where you can read this spring meditation online.

God Knows How to Heal You

Scripture Verse

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” – Psalm 139:13-14
(NKJV)

Reflection

Psalm 139 is a powerful prayer for healing. Many times in the Healing Rooms, our team speaks this Psalm over a visitor who has come for healing prayer.

When we pray this Psalm, we are reminding the person, down to the very cells of her body, that she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God.

God created you. He planned you. He formed you. He delights in you.

He knows the ins and outs of your physical body, and He knows how to heal you.

In praying Psalm 139, we often say, “Lord, please remind each cell of her body that You created her, that every cell of her body belongs to You. Lord, we ask that her body line up with Your Word, and be restored
to exactly the way You created her to be. In Jesus’ name.”

We believe that prayer not only speaks God’s healing over the person, but also exhorts the cells of the person’s body to receive His healing.

Prayer

Lord, use this moment, right now, to speak Your healing over each one of us. Speak to the very cells of our being, and help us to shake off infirmity and line up with Your Word, with the way You created us to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Take a moment to pray Psalm 139 over yourself. Sit quietly with God as He heals you, and let your body respond to His healing. If it’s difficult for you to pray this over yourself, ask a friend to pray this psalm over you.

Freedom for Blessings

Scripture Verse

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: ‘Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.’” – Deuteronomy 28:2-6 (NKJV)

Reflection

This passage of scripture is just the beginning of a list of blessings the Lord promises His people for their obedience. This is the Old Testament, but the promises are not moot. The promises are fulfilled by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Where we don’t see these blessings in our lives, including our health, something is blocking them. It may be generational iniquity, a curse in the land, or sin in our heart.

In whatever ways our blessings are blocked, our Lord Jesus Christ stands in for us to release these blessings. All He asks is that we surrender to Him. Surrender our hearts fully to Him. Stand in repentance for our personal sin, for our family’s generational sin, and for cleansing of our land.

God wants us to be blessed, more than we can possibly imagine or expect. Where our blessings are blocked, He is ready and willing to show us how to find freedom, wholeness, and healing in Christ. All we have to do is ask, and be ready to surrender our whole hearts in repentance and obedience to Him.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the promises of Your blessings that are fulfilled through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Show us today where we have blocked Your blessings, through our own sin, or through generational iniquity. Show us the path to freedom in Christ Jesus, in every area of our hearts and generational lines. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Ask God to show you what sins in your life or in your family’s lineage are blocking the blessings He has promised you.

Do You Believe God Heals?

Scripture Verse

“Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.” – Mark 5:41-42 (NKJV)

Reflection

The Lord has given me several dreams about healing. One I am unlikely to forget.

In the dream, I was in a hospital room where a teenager lay in a coma. Her friends came to pray for her, and the Lord reminded them to pray in faith, as Jesus did for the little girl in the scripture.

As the girls prayed, their friend woke from her coma and sat up. An instant later, as her friends stared in disbelief, she jumped from the bed and said, “Let’s eat.” As she bounced through the doorway into the hall, she turned and said, “Aren’t you coming?”

Slowly her bewildered friends got up to join her.

When I woke from this dream, the Lord reminded me that we need to believe in what we’re praying. We shouldn’t be surprised when He heals. Awestruck, yes. Humbled and grateful, absolutely. But surprised? No. God is our Healer. We need to pray in the faith that He will heal us, and thank Him in awestruck wonder and gratitude when He does.

Prayer

Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief! Thank You for teaching us to pray in faith of what You will do as our Healer. Help us to rejoice in gratitude when the healing takes place. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Do you believe God heals?

A Vibrant Spirit

Scripture Verse

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

Reflection

Have you ever gone to visit someone who was physically ill, but you came away feeling joyful because that person’s spirit was joyful?

When we have good health and vibrant life in our spirit, we radiate joy despite our physical suffering. Folks who come into our presence will feel that joy. They will leave feeling uplifted, rather than down. When our spirit is lively, often we recover more quickly from our physical ailments as well.

Yet if our spirit is not healthy, if our heart is despondent, folks will feel sad and hurting in our presence. Our physical recovery will be slower.

I will never forget the honor of praying for a young lady suffering from brain cancer. Her family surrounded her during the prayer time, and I felt that the heavens were open. I felt the Spirit of the Lord, and His joy, radiating from her. I was lifted to a better place for having prayed over her.

Shortly after that she did pass away. I was saddened for her family, as they grieved the loss of their precious loved one. But to this day, I remember the joy she shared so unsparingly with all of us. Despite her illness, and the suffering I know she experienced, her spirit was alive and well … and is to this day.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the gift of our spirit. Despite our physical suffering, we can experience life and joy to the fullest, by Your Holy Spirit in us. Help us to stay healthy in our spirit life, so we may thrive and be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Can you remember a time when someone blessed you by the life and joy they carried in their spirit? Ask God to help you live from that deep well of spiritual joy.

Unfiltered, Unwashed, Unplugged

Scripture Verse

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; incline Your ear to me; in the day that I call, answer me speedily.” – Psalm 102:1-2 (NKJV)

Reflection

Healing begins with a heart cry. Many of the Psalms are written this way, as God models the heart cry for us. The Psalmist cries out from the most broken place of his heart. As we continue to read deeper into the psalm, we see where the Holy Spirit comes in and meets the psalmist in his despair. That’s where healing begins: when we invite God into the most broken places of our heart.

Too often folks believe they need to prepare their hearts themselves before inviting God in for healing. That’s a way of saying, “Let me heal myself first, God, to the best of my ability, and then I’ll let You in to help.”

Don’t wait. Invite Him now. If you are hurting in your heart, or need healing in your body, or in any part of your life, put down the box of Band-aids and Merthiolate. Just invite God into your place of pain. Let Him do the rest.

Prayer

Lord, forgive us that we try to heal ourselves. We cannot. You are our Healer. Keep us mindful of Your overwhelming love for us. Prompt us to invite You into all the places where we are hurting – heart, mind, body, spirit. Help us to cry out to You from the depths of our heart. Thank You that You hear our heart cries. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Take a moment now and just share your heart with God. Unfiltered, unwashed, unplugged.

No Matter How We Hurt Ourselves

Scripture Verse

“‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him
a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!'” – Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV)

Reflection

I was tired and in the throes of final exam study. A sudden noise outside my door startled me. As if to make it stop, I hit my hand against the wall. What I didn’t realize was the wooden door frame jutted out right where my wrist made contact. Ouch! I dropped to the floor, rolling in pain, crying, instinctively asking the Lord to lift the trauma.

A bump rose quickly on my wrist, and it seemed like a deep contusion, possibly a hairline fracture. I wondered – Could I really ask God to heal an injury that was my fault? I contacted a friend, a prayer minister, to ask. Here was her response: “If your cat ate a poisonous toad, would you be angry with her? No! You would get help for her.”

So too does our Father God want to help us, no matter what we have done to hurt ourselves. Along with the healing He gives us also come words of wisdom, conviction, and perhaps correction: in my case, how to stay in peace next time, and not to react with such force to sudden noises. But certainly His healing does not come with condemnation. God does not condemn us; that’s the enemy that brings those feelings, the desire to beat ourselves up over our mistakes. God brings firm but loving conviction of how not to make those mistakes again.

The following Sunday I was at a healing service and God nudged me that He was healing my wrist during worship. The same prayer minister friend came up and, without remembering the injury, placed her thumb on the injured spot. I thought I would have cringed. Instead, I felt no pain. Only the presence of God bringing healing. My wrist now is fine. Thank You, Lord!

Prayer

Father God, thank You that Your desire is to heal us, no matter what foolish things we may do to hurt ourselves. Thank You for the wisdom that comes with Your healing, so we can begin to grow in ways of
learning to take better care of ourselves. Thank You that when we are hurt, no matter what the cause, we can come to You, Jehovah Rapha, our Healer, and You will respond with healing in Your wings. We love
You, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

What is an area in which you’ve hesitated to ask God for help, because you thought it was your fault? Will you ask Him for help now? Listen for His response.

A Great Psalm for Healing

Scripture Verse

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems
your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:1-5 (NKJV)

Reflection

One of many things I love about the Psalms is they teach us to remember who God is and what He does for us every day.

Psalm 103 is one of the best healing prayers in the Bible. If you want to pray for someone for their healing, and you’re not sure what to say, pray this Psalm over that person. The words speak to body, soul, and
spirit, reminding the person inside and out of who God is, and how much He desires to heal.

Which iniquities does God forgive? ALL.

Which diseases does He heal? ALL.

From what does He redeem our life? From total destruction.

That is an amazing, loving, good, faithful, healing God. There is nothing He cannot do for His children. Our biggest struggle is often that we forget who He is, and what He wants to do for us.

This Psalm will help us receive His truth in every fiber of our being. Pray it for yourself and for your loved ones today. God is good.

Prayer

Heavenly Father God, thank You for how much You love us. Thank You for reminding us of Your awesomeness, and how much You do for us each day. Often we are so unaware of what You do for us, and we put up so many walls that keep us from receiving Your goodness and love. Help us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You. Help us to receive Your goodness, faithfulness, and healing each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

What has God done for you, this week alone? Take the time to remember and to thank Him.