I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 107
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy (NIV).
There is a verse in Psalm 107 that holds deep significance for all eternity—past, present and future. Here is the verse: He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave (Psalm 107:20).
I was introduced to this wonderful verse at the funeral of my maternal grandfather. Psalm 107:20 was the sermon text. This Bible verse might seem like an odd choice for use at a funeral. After all, in the end the deceased was not healed. In the case of my grandfather, he made it to the ripe old age 92 years, but death triumphed in the end. Or did it?
The pastor pointed out that throughout his life, on countless occasions, God sent out his word and healed my grandfather, and God who is faithful would do it again. But on the next occasion the LORD would raise my grandfather from the dead.
This is the great hope of all who believe in Jesus Christ. He is our forerunner. He suffered death on our behalf, but he also experienced resurrection—the same kind of resurrection that every believer will experience.
The God who in eons past spoke galaxies into existence can send His word and resurrect my grandfather, and all who have put their faith in the resurrected Savior. With each passing day that awesome moment draws nearer. That’s the ultimate healing and it happens through the power of God’s word.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Response: Father God, send your word. Send your word and heal those who are sick. Send your word and save and transform those who are hostile to you. Send your word and resurrect those who are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins. LORD God, send your living word. Amen.
Your Turn: Who springs to mind when you pray for God to send His word?
“The Scars Show His Glory” can be characterized as a testimonial book. It is a personal testimony to the healing and sustaining power of God.
As a young teen the author, Ralph Lucien, developed a fast-growing cancer tumor that required massive brain surgery. The book goes into considerable detail about the extent of the tumor and the complexity of the surgery, but it also explores Ralph’s faith, and the faith of his mother as they faced those difficult days.
Here is a favorite quote from this book:
“God’s love and comfort are more powerful than our pain.” — Ralph Lucien
Due to two rounds of surgery, Ralph’s face has been permanently scared. But he has also experienced divine healing and the grace and presence of God in his life. This short 92-page book recounts Ralph’s journey through those very trying times. From personal experience he believes the healing power of God is available today, and he quotes a good deal of scripture to prove his point.
Jesus emerged from the grave triumphant but with scars. Ralph Lucien has also emerged from his bout with cancer triumphant but with scars.
This book portrays a radiant, overcoming, contagious faith in the healing and saving power of Jesus. Today’s world needs a healthy dose of that kind of contagion.
Reading: Psalm 57
They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth (NIV).
As with many of David’s psalms, Psalm 57 turns on a dime. By that I mean the psalmist begins in a state of worry and trouble. In his distress David cries out to God and the Lord answers him. Suddenly, desperate pleas are replaced by wholehearted praise. The psalm ends with rejoicing over the goodness of God. David invites us to join in his rejoicing. I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
There is tremendous power in music. When I am discouraged—trapped in the Christian pilgrim’s Slough of Despond—a song of praise can lift me out like nothing else. Perhaps you have had a similar experience. When I am drowning in a sea of regrets, music brings buoyancy. Worship helps me set my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. See Hebrews 12:2. Faith gives us eyes to see beyond our current set of circumstances.
Most often we want to see God’s deliverance before we praise Him. In the introduction to Psalm 57 we read that David hid in a cave from King Saul. David called out for God to deliver him and He did. Therefore, David bursts out with music and song. Can you picture him strumming on his harp and singing with a smile you can see for a mile?
But there are times when I believe God wants us to sing His praise before deliverance comes—before the healing appears. He is our good and faithful God whether we have faith to move mountains or are troubled by doubt. Whether we live or die, He is faithful and worthy of our praise. In all the circumstances of life our help comes from Him.
Response: LORD God, even in the midst of trouble fill my heart with praise for you. You are good and faithful. You are my help—my steadfast help—through Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Your Turn: Can you recall a time when you praised God before He brought the answer to your prayer?
In today’s reading, Marcus meets with his fellow centurion and friend, Renaldo. Renaldo has just seen the young boy Lucas who was healed in the temple courts on the previous day by Jesus of Nazareth.
I spun around to see Renaldo emerging from the gateway stairway.
“Hey, Marcus! You were right. That boy really was healed.”
He voiced the words with such bald enthusiasm that I was completely disarmed.
“I just saw him. He was here—here at the gate.” He gestured down the gateway parapet to a point below us. “I saw him. I examined his leg. It’s completely healed. Just like the other one. It’s incredible!” he enthused. “He can jump! And run!”
“I told you. I told you, Renaldo,” I said while shaking my head.
“Yeah, but you don’t expect it,” he said as he justified his unbelief. “I mean, this kid’s been like this from birth. You see him the same way, day after day. And then one day . . . Boom! He’s completely different.”
“I told you. You didn’t believe me?” I uttered the words with a certain smug satisfaction.
“Well, you don’t expect it,” he repeated. “I mean, it’s one thing to hear it, but it’s quite something else to see it for yourself.”
“That’s exactly what I was trying to tell you. I said you’ve got to see this for yourself to understand.”
I sighed. Now I was beginning to realize why I wasn’t getting through.
“So it was Lucas,” I stated.
“It was Lucas!” Renaldo confirmed, shaking his head in a state of incredulous wonderment.
I changed the topic.
“Look, Renaldo, I would like to talk with you more about this, but we’ve both got some work to do. Word has just come in to Flavio. Herod has accepted Pilate’s invitation. He’ll be going directly to the Praetorium. Arriving at four. The Fish Gate route needs to be cleared. You know those temple traders have set up shop in there, and you’ve got to get them out. And the sooner, the better. Flavio says that’s your sector, so you’re on.” Renaldo took all this in stride. “Sure, Marcus. I’ll get right on it.”
I turned from him, but he called after me.
“Marcus. We need to talk more about this Jesus—this Jesus of Nazareth.”
To download a free study guide for this high-impact, bible-based novel visit: https://www.davidkitz.ca/centurion.php/free study guide PDF
For book purchases of The Soldier Who Killed a King try Amazon or https://www.christianbook.com
Reading: Psalm 30
A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.
I will exalt you, LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
LORD my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning (NIV).
If you ever want an excuse to break out in praise, just read the opening lines of Psalm 30. There are plenty of excellent reasons to praise God, and David gives us several of them right here. I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
The LORD has lifted me out of the depths of sin and the Slough of Despond on more than one occasion. Furthermore, the LORD provides more than just forgiveness. He also gives victory over the sin and the discouragement that entraps us. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He has defeated the minions of hell. Praise the LORD!
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. If you enjoy good health, praise the LORD. He is your healer. Whether through miraculous means or natural process God is our healer, and we can thank Him for the strength, energy and rejuvenation He brings into our lives. Praise the LORD!
You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. In Ephesians, chapter two, Paul tells us that we were dead in trespasses and sins. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7). Praise the LORD!
We serve a God of mercy, redemption and turn-a-rounds. He turns our mourning into dancing. See Psalm 30:11. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Praise the LORD!
Response: LORD God, as we close out 2018, I thank you for your mercy and grace. I praise you for being my healer. You are good to me in more ways than I can count. Thank you. You are worthy of continual praise. Amen.
Your Turn: What can you praise God for today? How numerous are your blessings?
Reading: Psalm 147
Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds (NIV).
There are a lot of brokenhearted people in this world. No, I’m not talking about sports fans who have suffered heartbreak because their team has lost. I’m talking about the more serious issues that arise—the loss of a home, a career, or a family member. I’m talking about those devastating life events from which full recovery may never be possible.
Today’s evening news carried the story of a woman who had lost her home due to severe flooding throughout our region. There she stood with her voice breaking as she described all the work she and her husband had put into their lovely home. Looking beyond her you could see nothing but brown water lapping against the sides of her house. Everything they had worked for was ruined.
Every Friday morning for a dozen years I have been meeting with a group of men who have entered into a covenant to grow stronger in their relationship with the Lord. We are accountable to one another in our commitment to grow in love and service to Jesus. But faithful commitment to the Lord provides us with no guarantee against personal heartbreak.
One of the leaders of our group lost his wife last fall due to pancreatic cancer. Now Chris must cope with the loss of his wife while also providing care and comfort for his young son and his teenage daughter. That’s heartbreaking. That’s a daunting task!
I’m not sure that I could cope with that level of loss.
In today’s reading from Psalm 147, we see a call to praise coupled with a promise that the LORD will build up, restore, and heal the heartbroken. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
I need words like that. I need healing words. The wounded need healing words. As God’s people we need to give and receive words that comfort the grieving, build up the downcast, and minister healing to the wounded. All too often our tongues do more harm than good. Too often we speak words of judgment, when we should leave judgment to the LORD.
Today, remember there are a lot of brokenhearted people in this world.
Response: LORD God, heal my hurts so I can help heal the hurts of others. I pray that your people will find comfort in your word. May your words bring health and healing. You are worthy of praise. Amen.
Your Turn: How can we bind up the wounds of others? Do you have wounds that need healing?
In today’s reading, Marcus the centurion, watches with intense interest as a third child is healed by the prophet from Galilee.
Seizing the moment, a young mother rushed forward, clutching a limp form in her arms. Upon seeing this mother and child, I was stabbed by pain. Remembered pain. The dark sunken eyes glazed by fever, the pallid skin, the wheezing cough and raspy breath, I remembered it all.
The child was racked with consumption. The disease was consuming her, consuming her body, and with it a mother’s hope until none was left. The toddler didn’t stir a muscle as Jesus looked into her fevered young eyes.
Experience told me this gaunt daughter would be dead within a week. It was the mother who trembled and pleaded—pleaded for her who lacked even the strength to cry.
“Give me the child,” Jesus gently urged. The request took the mother completely by surprise. Instinctively she clutched the girl even more closely to herself.
“Give her to me.”
There was tenderness in that deep voice.
The mother was visibly caught in an inner struggle. I suppose she had held on so long and so tightly that now it was hard to give this frail object of her affection to a stranger. Their eyes met for an instant. He gave a short nod to his head as if to say, “Yes, it has to be this way.” And the struggle was over.
She eased her slumping burden into Jesus’s arms. The child’s head drooped against his chest. He wrapped a big hand around the girl’s head, brushed a wisp of hair from her eyes, rocked her side to side. Then with slow deliberation, he turned from the multitude and faced the great temple doorway.
An intense quiet engulfed the assembly. Moments passed.
“Father . . . Father . . .”
That’s all I heard him whisper. He raised his gaze to heaven and then back to the little one in his arms. With the same slow deliberation he turned back to us.
She squirmed in his arms—eyes bright and clear. Two little hands shot out, reaching for her mommy. The smile spoke ten thousand words. The child was whole. Transformed! Completely healed!
The crowd was ecstatic.
“Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then for a second time, our eyes met. He knew me. I could see it in his eyes. I don’t mean Jesus recognized me. I mean he knew me. Knew me from front to back, from inside out, from my first day till now. It was a dreadful feeling—a naked feeling.
I turned abruptly from him. My heart hammered in my chest. I began fumbling my way through the crowd, desperate for an exit. I had to get away.
But my child . . . my daughter . . .
Why wasn’t she healed? Why wasn’t she spared?
American readers click this link to purchase The Soldier Who Killed a King.
Canadian readers click this link to purchase The Soldier Who Killed a King directly from the author.