Matthew 8 in the New Testament focuses on three healings by Jesus. None involve surgery or advanced medical procedures involving robots. No high-powered medicines are prescribed. No vaccines or boosters are required. Only Jesus’ word and touch. For what He says happens. Whoever needs His touch receives healing help.

When I came to believe in Jesus, I became less lonely. Fewer feelings of inferiority, fearfulness, and self-consciousness. Fewer troubles are found when placed squarely in Jesus’ hands. His Words and touch lighten the load. He takes up residence within us. Comforts us with His gift of the Holy Spirit.

All better? On top of the world? Always happy as a clam? Like a child with a new toy? Kind of. As you can well imagine, I have a long ways to go. But the trend is my friend. Two steps forward follow one back. Being Jesus’ follower is a daily task, regardless of your age. Goofing off is not recommended.

One healing done by Jesus in Matthew 8 is of the Apostle Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus and His disciples gather at Peter’s home only to find that his mother-in-law suffers from a raging fever, which puts her to bed. Being a busy person, she wants to do what’s needed around the house to make Jesus’ stay more pleasant. She likes to help. Lives to give. Not to be served but to serve. But she can’t now. Who knows what this fever will lead to? Could it be the end for her?

Not to fear. The Master is here. The light touch of Jesus drains away that nasty fever. Gone and good riddance. Now what? Her strength returns. She throws off the covers. Watch out. Get out of her way. She’s back in action! ‘He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve Him’ (Matt. 8:15).

Don’t imagine for one moment that Jesus heals her so that she can wait on Him hand and foot. Puts her back to work. Gets the most out of this old lady. Uses her for the drudgery she could perform.

No. For when you know Jesus, you can’t help but want to do your part. To follow His lead, getting behind Him. Serving the Lord is a natural overflow from our relationship with Him. The closer you get to Jesus, the more you want to please Him. To hear Him say, ‘…Well done, good and faithful servant’ (Matt. 25:21). Those would be the best words I could ever hear. But will I?

Jesus gave His all to have us near Him, forgiven and clean. As His children and heirs. Can you imagine?

Are we thankful enough to serve Him as best we can? Am I? Are you? After all, it’s only natural.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my Lord and Savior. Amen.

A CONTINUAL FEAST Proverbs 15:15

Give me a buffet any day. A continual feast of food. Could be at a high-end restaurant for Easter brunch, a simple one at a Chinese restaurant, or tables loaded with homecooked goodies at a church potluck supper. Love them all.

It’s in Europe that we’ve relished breakfasts at hotels we’ve stayed at. One my wife and I will never forget was on our 25th wedding anniversary, enjoying brunch at the Ritz Carlton Cannes Hotel in France, directly facing the Mediterranean Sea. What a magnificent spread. Culinary elegance at its best. Thankfully, they didn’t weigh us before and after to compute our bill. But a feast that never ended was there for our enjoyment. And did we ever!

Trying to move off of food for a moment, which seems like a chore, let’s look at some wise words found in Proverbs 15:15–‘All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.’ Don’t you love such wisdom? It should come as no surprise. For it comes from the Bible, God’s own Word.

Sure there are lots of daily troubles. Worries plague us. Pandemics past, present, and when in the future? We know they happen. Do we ever. Now we’re on the alert for more to come. When? Who knows? We don’t have a clue, but trauma puts us on edge. Such fear afflicts us even when times are good. Worry robs us even when no thief is around. Bad days come as we allow anxiety to grab us by the throat not letting go.

What about that second part of verse 15? About how to live and how to look at life. As in trusting God. Staying close to our Lord. Putting faith into action–‘…but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.’ Joy and gladness continually feed us, making tough times that much less.

What’s ironic about nourishing your relationship with Jesus is that the closer you get to Him, the more you want Him. Those buffets we enjoyed took a long time to recover from, to get back our appetite. Thoughts of food were far from our minds, sometimes for a day or two. Or at least until an evening snack!

But with Jesus, the more you take, the more He gives. The more you open your life to Him, the more you discover His wonder and love. Never enough. Always more to enjoy of our Lord and Saviour. Glee multiplies. Happiness radiates with kindness. He cheers our hearts and minds as promised in Proverbs. Cloudy, rainy days see some clearing. Smiles finally show up. Why not? After all, He is our continual feast!

Lord Jesus, you are all I need. Amen.

NICE TO MEET YOU! Proverbs 14: 22

Recently I met the fiance of a friend from the church where I’ve been honored to serve as their emeritus pastor. Both widowed, grew up near each other, and both with love for the Lord. A match made on earth, arranged for in heaven.

When greeting this fiance, I said the following –‘Nice to meet you!’ And it was. So gratifying to see happy people planning a life together, sharing families, memories of days gone by, and creating new experiences together as a married couple.

This man and woman remind me of a meeting we can all have. With God. When we commit our lives to Him, trying, as best we can, to live His ways, knowing that He’s available for us 24/7, 365. For when you meet the Risen Jesus, an eternal relationship begins. What could be better? Any ideas?

How about winning a mega lottery? Multiple millions in our grubby paws? But winners often wind up losers for varied reasons, worse off than before they hit the jackpot. But you and I would be different. We can handle having a gazillion bucks in our clutches, fending off relatives we’ve never heard of, who immediately pop out of the woodwork. Right? Probably wrong. That’s you, I mean. I’ll keep greedy folk far away. Right? Fat chance, once again.

Here’s something far better–knowing Jesus places us in His hands forever. He’s the one we meet when you ask Him into your life. I met Jesus when I was 16 while listening to a radio program on a Sunday evening. Over the years, He’s become more precious to me in spite of my tendency to walk my own way, wanting what I want, tossing sand in His face, so to speak.

When you meet the Risen Jesus, you shake hands with two wonderful words found here in the Old Testament book of Proverbs–‘…Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness’ (Pr. 14:22). ‘Steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’ are two precious character traits of the Lord. You’ll see them coupled together throughout the Old Testament.

‘Steadfast love’ is God’s commitment to His own, which lasts when everything else fails and fades away. His promises endure it all. When He gives you His hand, He won’t pull it back. Like a marriage between a man and a woman, who love each other and stay committed to each other, so is God’s steadfast love.

Here’s more–‘faithfulness’. Where God stands by us. With us. Minding the store. Carrying the load. Always there in a pinch. Hedging us in. Protecting and providing. Trustworthy and dependable. Never flighty. He means what He says and says what He means. Faithfulness.

However, none of this is for those who turn their backs on God, wanting absolutely nothing to do with Him. Happily and deliberately divorced from Jesus. Determined to go their own way no matter what. Therefore, so be it. Their wish will be granted.

But for those of us who run to Jesus, wanting that relationship with Him, guess who eagerly comes your way, with open arms? Yes–steadfast love and faithfulness. Embodied in Jesus. Nice to meet you!

Lord Jesus, thank you for staying with me forever. Amen.


I’m amazed at how quickly I start worrying rather than praying or trusting the Lord. After breathing a sigh of relief, witnessing God’s help, then with the next whiff of trouble, guess what? Right. What eats at me instantly rears its ugly head. Going from believer to doubter without missing a beat. As if Easter Sunday never happened? Does anyone else identify with what I’m saying?

The people of ancient Israel certainly would shout a sorrowful ‘amen’. Do I feel better in their misery-loving company? Not really. So, let’s get with the program. What’s the point of following Jesus if we get nudged off-base at the slightest provocation?

Reading Exodus 14-15, we witness the miraculous escape of God’s people out of slavery in Egypt, freeing them to occupy God’s promised land. Not for a mere handful of stragglers. We’re talking about a couple of million people, heading toward freedom through God’s provision, protection, and direction.

Just prior, they note terrible plagues and troubles in Egypt because of their foolish and stubborn ruler, who wants nothing to do with losing his cheap labor force or providing royal approval of their foreign god. Disaster lurks nationwide except for where God’s people reside. He covers all the bases for His own as He would have for a repentant Egypt and its Pharaoh; but no, they want nothing to do with the true God. Not with their own so-called powerful gods, which leave them helplessly dragged down into utter wrack and ruin.

Israel saw this firsthand. With their own eyes. No doubt about it. And yet only three days out of Egypt, a mere 72 hours later, water runs out. This is a problem in the desert. Quite the understatement. One they’ll face time and again. But still, while God’s promises ring in their ears, they grumble and bicker at good old Moses, who’s starting to feel his age, big time! Exodus 15:24–“And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ And (Moses) cried to the Lord…”

Maybe you’re facing a challenge that makes you wonder if God can help. Or if He’s even concerned, willing to lift a finger or two. When that’s me, I try to remember what He’s already done for me. I try. Not consistently successful, but in time I hang onto Him as best I can. More like me waking up to the fact that Jesus is never leaving my side. He hangs onto me.

He knows we’re made of crumbly stuff. Dust and clay. He understands and loves us through and through. Why not give Him even a mustard seed-sized bit of your trust and faith? A little goes a long way. He’ll take it and make it grow. In His time. In His way. Did for Israel. Does for me. Will for you.

Risen Lord Jesus, thank you for always being there for me. Amen.

UNAWARE Proverbs 9

For many years now I’ve owned a personal letter from C. S. Lewis. A gift from a friend. You may know his writings. Like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ or ‘Mere Christianity’. A favorite Lewis piece is a novella entitled ‘The Great Divorce’. It’s a serious yet whimsical account of people in hell, taking a bus to the outskirts of heaven, hating it along with its squeaky-clean inhabitants, and quickly grabbing the first transport back to hell!

One scene involves a group of unbelieving pastors gathered in hell for a conference entitled ‘Is There a Hell?’ Here Lewis seizes upon the angle that sin makes us unaware. Plain dull to where we are and what’s smack-dab in front of us. Insensitive to what’s throbbing with meaning around us. Unaware.

Take a gander at Proverbs chapter 9. This section, as with most of the book of Proverbs, draws clear pictures of the dangers of foolishness, as in being easily led unaware into sin by various temptations. Beginning at verse 13 we see a seductress who is clueless and ignorant–‘…and knows nothing’ (Pr. 9:13). Lollygagging around all day, putting on airs, calling to others to take a detour, parking themselves in her fool’s paradise. There’s stolen water and bread to feast upon. Woop-de-doo! A meager fare at best. Yet, whoever succumbs to these temptations has no idea that they’re in the company of the dead, in the depths of hell itself. Not a clue. Proverbs 9:18–‘But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol (another word for hell).’ Unaware.

Sobering thoughts. Makes me wonder. Not about going to hell. For believers in Jesus, who have that personal relationship with Him, hell remains a forbidden locale. Not for us. Not when you trust in Jesus. He alone has taken care of that.

So, what do I wonder about? It’s this– how much don’t I see in life? Missing what’s smack dab in front of me, as close as the ample nose on my face. Failing to notice our God whose fingerprints and footprints are everywhere. Unaware.

Let me be specific. After decades of hearing about how evolution explains away God (which I never did swallow even before becoming a Christian), I’m curious how much of that has permeated my little grey cells, robbing me of the wonder of it all, while looking at plants and trees and birds, unaware that all this beauty should take me back to their Creator God, with praise and thanks aimed directly at Him. Can I see Him in His creation as He intends me to? Will I?

Or politics. Now, I’m not going to get partisan here. Not in the red/blue sense. But rather looking at history, then and now, as held in Someone else’s greater hands than the blokes running life here on earth. Again, then and now. Power people really think they run the show. Entirely. So, why do I get so worked up? So anxious and angry? If I really believe that God’s in charge, I should be happy, relaxing in Jesus. Shouldn’t I? Who’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Can I see Him? Jesus? Or sink in quicksand unaware.

Maybe we’re not seeing what’s right in front of our eyes. As close as that Book of Books. The more time spent in your Bible, the less sway this world will tug at you the wrong way. So, get with His program. Turn around. Don’t take that bus to hell, tempting as it may be. Anyway, they’ll throw you off long before the depot arrives. Good!

Be aware. Eyes wide open. Ears tuned. Take it all in. Be aware. Maybe, spread some palms on your pathway, so to speak, welcoming Jesus into every facet of your life. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday after all. Shout Hosanna! To the King of Kings! And Lord of Lords!

Lord Jesus, help me to see you more clearly. In your name. Amen.