Prayer for Healing in 2018 – James 5:13-16

Don’t laugh if you see me in the pool rolling and turning like a dying goldfish. I’m OK, really. I call this my workout, and it does me a lot of good. Those younger or more athletic probably don’t comprehend how my slow movements qualify as a real workout, but water fitness makes a world of difference to me. When I’m in the water I find myself unburdening my heart, singing, and even dancing as I push against the water.

This week I’ve been reading the book of James, written by one of Jesus’s brothers. Until now I hadn’t seen how confession and other people’s prayers also relate to health.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be  healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16 NIV).

We know it’s important to pray for the salvation of the world, but what about asking for God’s help with the internal battles—with selfishness, fear, greed, idolatry, arrogance, and bitterness? If we confessed these things, maybe the world would become a better place. Certainly humbling ourselves, being open about our problems, and asking others to pray for our health will facilitate healing.

In a few hours 2017 will come to an end and a new year will start. Let’s sharpen our focus in the months ahead, because when we stand righteous before God, our prayers are powerful.

Happy New Year!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Making a Dramatic Lifestyle Change – Isaiah 43:19-21

When I prepared to leave home after graduating high school, it was like throwing my toothbrush and jacket into a backpack and taking off for the wilderness. Did I really understand what I was doing? I was also concerned I might not like what I found when I reached my destination.

Where am I going?

Living as an independent adult wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

My grandparents had recently moved to a house on Almaden Street, and I entertained the idea of claiming their basement room for myself. It was damp and musty, empty but for two box crates stacked in the corner. I arranged them under the tiny window, planning to decorate them with dandelions in a tin can.

At some point I’d put a mattress on the floor. I could live without furniture, for a while anyway. I would eat brown rice and split peas . . . and well, I could get along without lots of things.

It sounded like a great idea, “roughing it,” spending time alone with God and not having to put up with other people and their problems.

My fantasy lasted about 7 hours.

When I came to my senses I marked out a different path. Living and caring only for myself wasn’t going to be good. I recognized my true life goal is to follow Jesus where he leads—to sacrificial love for others.

A way in the wilderness

I recently found myself taking an unexpected turn on my path, which involves working to improve my health. After a physical exam I read several books to compare professional opinions. I’ve been eating a whole foods, plant-based diet now for one year and ten days, and I’m thankful to say it’s helping me manage arthritis pain without prescription drugs.

“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise” (Isaiah 43:19b-21 ESV).

Whatever comes on our life’s path, we can trust him to make a way.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

A High School Reunion and “Can you hear me now?” – Isaiah 46:3-4

Jerry and I attended his 40th high school reunion last weekend. Mine was a year ago, and my intolerance for loud noise has either intensified or the SEHS alumni are a noisier bunch than the CHS crowd. Making a ruckus just goes with having a good time, right?

JK high school reunion 2015crop

Like a tidal wave, people swept to the opposite side of the warehouse when the band started up. The loud people took over the universe and the quieter ones sought their escape. I don’t remember hearing a complete sentence for the rest of the evening, though I watched a lot of mouths moving.

Sunday morning my discomfort continued as I kept my head down and hands busy, unfolding the edges of my recently purchased used Bible. It must have been that my sensors were overloaded by the noise from the night before, I don’t know. It was just hard to respond to the speaker without my defenses up, feeling like my ears and head were being assaulted, though I appreciated what he had to say.

Sound can Hurt

Hyperacusis is a condition where a person is more sensitive to sounds that don’t normally seem loud to people. I read that hyperacusis, with or without phonophobia (fear of certain sounds), occurs in 10-15% of the population. It can eventually lead to social isolation and depression.

I’m careful unloading the dishwasher so I don’t stack dishes or close cupboard doors too loudly. I use ear plugs in church, not only with the music but when the pastor is speaking. Being near my husband when he sneezes makes me jump, and staying asleep at night is a challenge.

The heartbreak comes when I dwell on things I’ve lost, or fear losing, like singing with my family as we lead worship together (I can’t handle the sound system), and on my concern for the future as symptoms worsen.

I Won’t Give up Hope

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in my worries.

Here’s a scripture that helps: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (from Isaiah 46:3-4 NIV).

And I often consider this one, too: “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on him will not be put to shame’ ” (Romans 10:11 NJKV).

I will never regret trusting him. I’ve never heard of anyone coming to the end of life saying, “I wish I hadn’t trusted Jesus.” There’s no downside to following him, though we may struggle along the way with parties in uncomfortable warehouses. He will not fail to sustain and rescue us.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis