Battling Illness

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34, NIV)

Today our Lord continues to pour out his healing balm when we pray for the sick:

“And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:15-16, NLT)

I originally published this blog back in May this year and felt I should share it again for personal reasons. For weeks on end my Granddaughter who is 19 months has been drinking to the point where she had started to wet the cot at night. The health visitor said give her a little water if she craves for a drink before bedtime, but this didn’t seem to sort things out. The next thing my wife and I heard she was getting taken to  A&E with a temperature and the doctors quickly came to a diagnosis that she had diabetes type 1. Needless to say it came as a bit of a shock to us all.
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Prayer for Healing the Sick
Dear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort,

You are the one I turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need. I ask you to be with your servant in this illness. Psalm 107:20 says that you send out your Word and heal. So then, please send your healing Word to your servant. In the name of Jesus, drive out all infirmity and sickness from his body.

Dear Lord, I ask you to turn this weakness into strength, this suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy, and pain into comfort for others. May your servant trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of this suffering. Let him be filled with patience and joy in your presence as he waits for your healing touch.

Please restore your servant to full health, dear Father. Remove all fear and doubt from his heart by the power of your Holy Spirit, and may you, Lord, be glorified through his life.

As you heal and renew your servant, Lord, may he bless and praise you.

All of this, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Every anxious thought that steals my breath
It’s a heavy weight upon my chest
As I lie awake and wonder what the future will hold
Help me to remember that You’re in control
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord
I will fear no more
I will lift my eyes
I will lift my cares
Lay them in Your hands
I’ll leave them there
When the wind and waves are coming
You shelter me
Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord
I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
No power can come against me
‘Cause You have overcome
No darkness can overwhelm me
‘Cause You’ve already won
No power can come against me
‘Cause You have overcome
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh)
No darkness can overwhelm me
‘Cause You’ve already won
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh)
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord (Trust You, Lord)
I will fear no more (Fear no more)
I will fear no more (Fear no more)
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more

Right from Wrong

2 Timothy 3 New Living Translation

Paul’s Charge to Timothy

10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

The true meaning of Love

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Romans 5 New International Version (NIV)

Peace and Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

God’s Love through the Holy Spirit

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Romans 5 New International Version 

Peace and Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

This has got to be one of my favourites of the ‘more up to date’ hymns. A hymn that tells us of the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for us by dying on the Cross.

Committed to your Beliefs

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2 Timothy 1

Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Being Real with God 

1 Peter 5:6-10 New International Version – UK 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

You are Beautiful God
You are Everlasting God
You are Beautiful God
You are Everlasting God
You Made Me like You
Gave Me Breath and Life
You Made Me like You
Gave Me Breath and Life

You are the One
You are the One
You are the Beautiful God
You are the One
You are the One
You are the Beautiful God

You Set Me Free from the World
Your Love has Changed My Life
You Set Me Free from the World
Your Love has Changed My Life
You Brought Me into Light
You are the Light of the World
You Brought Me into Light
You are the Light of the World

Lift Up Your Name
I Lift Up Your Name
You are the Beautiful God
Lift Up Your Name
I Lift Up Your Name
You are the Beautiful God

You Washed My Sins
Wiped My Tears & Sorrows
You Washed My Sins
Wiped My Tears & Sorrows
I will Never Go Back to My Own Life
I will Always Obey You God
I will Never Go Back to My Own Life
I will Always Obey You God

You are Almighty
You are Almighty
You are the Almighty God
You are Almighty
You are Almighty
You are the Almighty God

You are Beautiful God
You are Everlasting God
You are Beautiful God
You are Everlasting God
You Made Me like You
Gave Me Breath and Life
You Made Me like You
Gave Me Breath and Life

You are the One
You are the One
You are the Beautiful God
You are the One
You are the One
You are the Beautiful God

God Cares

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1 Peter 5 New International Version 

To the Elders and the Flock

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favour to the humble.”[a]

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I know he cares for me, for me,
I know he cares for me, for me;
I’ll trust my Father in Heaven
For I know that he cares for me.

There are verses to the chorus above with the 1st verse starting with Have you heard the glad news of the Gospel but unfortunately I couldn’t find it.

However I think the words sung by Boscombe Singing Company (junior choir) of The Salvation Army are quite clear.

Live as Jesus told us

Hebrews 13 New International Version 

Concluding Exhortations

13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]Image result for hebrews 13 5-6

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods,which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.

11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honourably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

Dry land

Towards the end of yesterday’s blog you may recall I asked you to pray for the people of Greece as they deal with what’s happened at the southern end of their country.

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If you don’t already know some of you outside the UK reading this will know we have had  the biggest heatwave since 1976 with temperatures reaching up to 36 degrees in the south of the country. Resevoires are low as are rivers, farmers crops are suffering as well. Yesterday I heard on the news that hospital departments that would normally be quiet at this time of year are experiencing the same volume of people now as they would in winter.

It is ironic however that we British people are never satisfied because we seem to complain when theirs no rain or not enough sun.

The well is deep, and I require
A draft of the Water of Life
And none can quench my souls desire
For a draft of the Water of Life

Till one draws near
Who the cry will hear
Helper of man
In their time of need

And I believing, find indeed
That Christ is the Water of Life

Joseph H. Gilmore

Psalm 16 New International Version – UK

Psalm 16

miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.’
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    ‘They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

“He Leadeth Me” by American Joseph Gilmore (1834-1918) was birthed out of a particular struggle in American history. This hymn was composed in 1862 during the Civil War, a time of upheaval and insecurity. The author was preaching at First Baptist Church in Philadelphia soon after his ordination.

Dr. Carlton R. Young, The United Methodist Hymnal editor, cites Gilmore’s recollections on the hymn’s formation: “I set out to give the people an exposition of the 23rd Psalm, which I had given before on three or four occasions, but this time I did not get further than the words ‘He Leadeth Me.’ Psalm 23:2, ‘he leadeth me beside the still waters,’ became the theme of the song” (Young, 1993, 390).

Subsequently, upon the initiative of Glimore’s wife and without the author’s knowledge, the text appeared in the Boston newspaper Watchman and Reflector (Dec. 4, 1862) under the rather unusual and unexplained pseudonym “Contoocook.” The famous gospel song composer William Bradbury (1816-1868) included these words anonymously with his own tune in his collection The Golden Censer (1864). Bradbury is credited with adding the third line to the famous refrain (in bold italics):

He leadeth me! He leadeth me!
By his own hand he leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by his hand he leadeth me.

Joseph H. Gilmore, the son of Joseph A. Gilmore, governor of New Hampshire, received his education from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (1858), and Newton Theological Seminary (1861) where he taught Hebrew. An ordained Baptist minister (1862), Gilmore became a professor after serving churches in Philadelphia, New Hampshire, and New York. He was also a professor of English at the University of Rochester from 1868-1911. A prolific writer for newspapers and periodicals, Gilmore also authored three books in his academic field: The Art of Expression (1876) and Outlines of English and American Literature (1905), as well as a book of poetry, He Leadeth Me, and Other Religious Poems (1877).

Working as his father’s private secretary during the Civil War, he also edited the Concord, New Hampshire Daily Monitor. Gilmore provided further information on the historical context of this hymn:

It was the darkest hour of the Civil War. I did not refer to that fact—that is, I don’t think I did—but it may subconsciously have led me to realize that God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/l/e/hleademe.htm

Stanza 2 of the hymn may suggest the ethos of the national crisis. Drawing on Psalm 23:4a; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (KJV), Gilmore begins: “Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom…”

In stanza 3, the poet offers a particular theological interpretation of Psalm 23:4b: ”thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” In doing so, he reflects on the concept of complete submission to God’s will found in many gospel songs of this era:

Lord I would place my hand in Thine,
nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see,
since ‘tis my God that leadeth me.

Consider the similarity between this sentiment and the first stanza of “When Peace Like a River” (1873) by Horatio Spafford (1828-1888): “… whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, / ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”

Or note “Blessed Assurance” (1873) by Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), in which the poet says: “Perfect submission, all is at rest, / I in my Savior am happy and blest…“ (stanza 3).

Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (KJV), provides a basis for the final stanza of the hymn, drawing upon the familiar image of the Jordan River cited throughout Scripture, especially as the place of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 2:13) and a place where Jesus often conducted his ministry (Matthew 4:25; Mark 3:7-8), and ultimately the passageway from this life to the next:


And when my task on earth is done,
When by thy grace the victory’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.



As is the case with so many gospel songs, the rhetorical strength of this hymn lies in the almost incessant repetition of a single thought: “He/God leadeth me.” When the five quotations of this idea in the four stanzas are added to the three references in the refrain, the singer will have sung “He/God leadeth me” a total of seventeen times by the time the hymn is concluded!

Gilmore seems to have had a humble nature as a poet and lacked ambition in promoting his own work. After handing the draft of the poem to his wife who sent it to The Watchman and Reflector under a pseudonym, Gilmore thought no more about it. Gilmore notes, “Three years later I went to Rochester, New York, to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Upon entering the chapel, I took up a hymnbook, thinking, ‘I wonder what they sing.’ The book opened up at “’He Leadeth Me,’ and that was the first time I knew that my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church” (Osbeck, 1982, 87).

When the famous musical evangelist Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908), the musician for renowned evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), included Bradbury’s version of the hymn in several editions of Sacred Songs and Solos, its fame was assured. The Salvation Army spread its use throughout Britain when they included it in several of their collections.

Though Gilmore wrote other hymns, it is this hurriedly penned text written at age 28 for which he is remembered. The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia was demolished in 1926. Kenneth Osbeck notes, however, that the words to the first stanza of Gilmore’s hymn appear on a bronze tablet on the large office building that replaced the church with the inscription, “in recognition of the beauty and fame of this beloved hymn, and in remembrance of its distinguished author” (Osbeck, 1982, 88).