1. "Good Like A Medicine"
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22
As I was driving to get my grandchildren yesterday morning I was praying that God would show me what verse to use for my new devotional theme. About ten minutes from the house I remembered that I had forgotten to take my medicine. I have nearly recovered from my cold and decided not to go back for it. The word "medicine" is only in the Bible twice, but God brought this verse to my mind, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." I started thinking of other things that do good like a medicine, such as prayer, reading our Bible, faith, fellowship with Christian friends, and singing praises. When I got to my son and daughter-in-law's house I grabbed a scrap of paper in my pocketbook and jotted down about two dozen ideas, and decided this would be a great new devotional theme. This morning as I turned on my computer to send the last of our current devotions I noticed one of the scrolling articles, "30 Simple Ways To Get Happy, Fast." I pulled it up and as I was reading it I noticed that many of the ways listed for happiness were already on my list. So, let's spend the next few weeks looking in God's Word to see what does good like a medicine.
2. God Heals The Broken Heart
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalms 147:3
It should not come as a surprise that stress and heartbreak can bring on physical sickness. We don't have to look at present day studies to find it out. We can look back 3,000 years and find this in our Bible in verses like Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" and Proverbs 15:13, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." God's Word also has the answer as to what we can do when our hearts are broken. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalms 147:3) God is always there waiting for us to come to Him. It is sad that so many people turn away from God when sorrow comes their way. Many even blame God for bad things that touch their lives. We serve a God of love and He can give us peace and comfort to heal our broken spirits.
3. The Sincere Milk Of God's Word
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." I Peter 2:2-3
My daughter has a brand new baby girl. And although she needs love, and warmth, and dry clothing, the most important thing she needs right now to grow is milk. This sweet little baby does not know anything about the world yet, but she knows that if she cries in hunger, she will be fed. When we first come to know the Lord and accept His precious gift of salvation we may not know much about God. We don't have to know any Bible verses or any deep spiritual concepts. All we have to know is what Jesus told Nicodemus. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) We must understand that we are lost in a world of sin, and Jesus is the only way for us to be saved. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life... He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:7,16 &18) When we confess our sin to God and believe on Him we are born again into the family of God. Then when we read God's Word, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the truths of the scriptures. Just as babies grow with milk, our spiritual understanding grows with "the sincere milk of the word." God's Word gives us guidance, as we read in Psalms 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." The Bible helps keep us from sin, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalms 119:11) Just as a baby needs milk often in order to grow, we need to feast on God's Word regularly. When Jesus was tempted, He used the Word to overcome that temptation. We also need God's Word as part of our armor of God. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" Ephesians 6:17 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) The Promised Land in the Old Testament was described as a land of milk and honey. And I saw many commercials in the early 90's that ended, "Milk, it does a body good." Well, "the sincere milk of the word" is what we need today to do our spiritual bodies good!
4. It Is Good To Sing Praises To Our God
"Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely." Psalms 147:1
After having a cough that hindered my singing for quite some time, it felt good to be able to sing in the choir at church Sunday. It does us good to sing praise to our God. In fact, singing was one of the thirty things in the list on Yahoo that makes people happy. We can find music in the Bible in the early descendants of Adam and Eve in Genesis 4:21. "And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ." Singing brings joy and gladness. "I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High." (Psalms 9:2) God's Word exhorts us to sing praise. "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." (Psalms 98:4) Some are not as musically talented as others, but that should not keep us all from praising our God in our hearts. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" (Ephesians 5:19) In fact, the Bible tells us all to sing to the Lord. "Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation." (I Chronicles 16:23) Let us say with the Psalmist, "I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." (Psalms 104:33) In fact, we read in Revelation 15:3-4 that there will be singing in heaven. "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." The next time you start feeling a little down in the dumps, start singing praises to the Lord and see what a difference it makes.
5. He Has Shown Us What Is Good
"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:8
I understand that the Old Testament was written for the house of Israel back before Christ came to earth and sometimes we may not spend much time in reading the smaller books of prophecy because we don't think there is much in them for us. But, if we will take the time to read through God's Word, and pray for understanding we will see that He has something for us in all His books. As we continue to look at God's Word for things that are "Good Like A Medicine" we will find not only a double dose, but a triple dose in this little book of Micah. "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8) First, we see that we are required "to do justly". At home where those around us know us best, and away from home where the people may not know us at all, we are to do what's right. Whether we have the lowest job in the workplace, or we are climbing the ladder of success, we are required by God to do what is right. Next, God commands us "to love mercy." This is also reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." What a difference it would make in this world if people were merciful. There would be so much less pain and suffering. And last in our triple dose of good is "walk humbly with thy God." This message is found all through the holy scriptures. There are many warnings against being proud. "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18) "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." (Proverbs 29:23) We like to know the benefits of the medicine we take, and in James 4:10 we see the benefits of humbling ourselves before God. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." It would do us all good to follow these three steps to having a closer walk with God. "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:8
6. It Is Good To Go To God In Prayer
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3
As we continue with our look at things that do "Good Like A Medicine" we must look at prayer. There are several examples in the Bible of people who prayed and God answered their prayers. Hannah cried to God in prayer for a son, and God gave her Samuel, who was used mightily as a prophet, judge, and priest. Daniel prayed and God delivered him out of the mouths of lions. Jonah prayed and was delivered out of the belly of a whale. David, Solomon, and Elijah prayed and brought fire down from heaven. Paul and Silas prayed and the prison doors were opened. The greatest example is the Lord Jesus. "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35) His Word tells us to pray. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) In I Thessalonians 5:17 we are reminded to keep the line of communication with God open at all times. "Pray without ceasing." The Lord also prays for us. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:34) As we look at our text, I can say that I called to God to save me many years ago and that has made all the difference in my life. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." He has answered many prayers through the years and accomplished great and mighty things for which I am ever thankful.
7. Giving Thanks
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:" Psalms 192:1
While we are on the subject of prayer, let's look at some different types of prayer. Today we will pause to give thanks. We usually celebrate Thanksgiving in November, but it is always a good time to be thankful. Being thankful was listed third on the list of "30 Simple Ways To Get Happy Fast". I believe that the more thankful a person is, the more content he or she will be. It helps to say "Thank you" to others, and our merciful, loving God deserves our thanks even more. "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalms 107:1) We could never thank Him enough for giving His Son to die, so that we might live. "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (II Corinthians 9:15) We read in Psalms 100:4 that we are to come into His presence with thanksgiving. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." I began keeping a prayer journal this year and at the beginning of each entry I give thanks for something or someone that came to mind that day. It has helped me to have a more gracious heart and love for my God, because I know "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) Thank you, Lord!
8. Earnest Prayer And Supplications Are Good In The Sight Of God
"1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." I Timothy 2:1-4
I must confess that many times during my prayers I go down through a list of family and friends and needs that come to mind. But when problems come and my heart is heavy, my prayers come from the depth of my heart and not just from off the top of my head. Supplications are our earnest and humble prayers during our times of great need. A great Bible example is when King Hezekiah received the threat from the king of Assyria.
"14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,
18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only." (II Kings 19:14-19)
God heard and answered his earnest prayer...
"35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead." (II Kings 19:35-37)
9. It Is Good To Be Faithful To The House Of God
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:23-25
I have read articles on why children who were raised in church stop attending church when they get older. Though some of the points may be valid, my problem with these writers is that they put a lot of the blame on the church. (And the ones I read were talking about Bible believing, gospel preaching, serving the living God, churches.) I know that in some areas there are not many churches that are preaching true to the gospel, but I live in what was once called "The Bible Belt" and there are many, many great churches. If there is something theologically wrong with one church, there are others close by. I think that the flimsy excuses, "we don't like the singing", "they don't have anything for the young people", "the preacher preaches too long", or "so-in-so hurt our feelings" will seem so small when we appear before Christ. The Lord Jesus suffered and died to give His life for all who will believe. We have nothing within ourselves to give back, except ourselves. Let's be faithful servants. It would be great to hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" instead of trying to find a valid excuse for our neglect. "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21)
10. Salvation Is Through The Preaching Of God's Word
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15-16
Yesterday we saw that being faithful to God's house is good, so let's look at some of the reasons it is good. Today we will begin with the most important reason, to hear preaching of God's Word. People can be saved through the preaching of God's Word. We see this in the example of the early church after the death, resurrection, and appearances of Christ, as Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41) Can you imagine how great it would be to have 3,000 people saved through preaching in your church? After we are saved, preaching helps us grow in wisdom and knowledge of God's Word. I have been blessed to be able to sit under many great preachers during my life time. I am blessed to have a great pastor who feeds the flock of our church. I am thankful for preachers that are not ashamed to preach the truth.
"8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:8-11 and 13-17)
"Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." I Chronicles 16:29
In looking for the good we can find in the house of God, today we see worship. It is good to "worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." I don't know how people live from day to day who do not believe in God. It would be a sad life to think that we were here by chance. Do those who believe in evolution really believe that they are no better than an ape? I find great comfort in knowing that my God created the heaven and the earth. I enjoy watching a red, purple, orange, and yellow sunset and giving my God all the praise for its beauty. I enjoy listening to the birds sing praises in the springtime. I can worship God in times like these, and anywhere else I choose, but there is something special about going to church. We are all so busy with the cares of this life and running from here to there, but it is refreshing to set aside a special time in our schedule to worship God in His house. "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." (Psalms 95:6)
12. Forgiveness And Cleansing
"Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat." (II Samuel 12:20)
We looked at worship in the house of the Lord yesterday. Today our focus is on forgiveness and cleansing. Our verse above takes place after David's great sin with Bathsheba, when the child died. Even with so great a sin, David was still able to find forgiveness and cleansing so that he could worship in the house of the Lord. We can read his prayer of confession in Psalms 51. "<<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.>> Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." (Psalms 51:1-3) Just as David found forgiveness and cleansing, so can we when we confess our sins to God. In verse 7 David said, "...wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." And in verse 12 we read, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." David knew that only God could wash away his sin and restore his joy. Our God is merciful and can do the same for us. When we kneel before God and confess our sin and ask for forgiveness, then He can wash us and take our broken spirit and make us whole again. It is just like a heavy burden being lifted from our shoulders. God can restore our joy and we can find peace through the cleansing of His forgiveness. It really is "Good Like A Medicine." "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." I Timothy 6:6-8
My son was transferred with his job from North Carolina, with fairly mild seasons, to Minnesota with frigid winters. My dauther-in-law, who has lived in several states, joked that her favorite verse became, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11) As our verses above from I Timothy show, being content is great gain. It is good for us to be content. While we are looking at things that are good for us that we find in the Lord's house, I want to share these verses from Psalms 84.
"1 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah...
10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
Did you feel the contentment in this song of the Israelites? "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than..." There are not many places on this earth that I had rather be, than in the house of my God.
14. Joy And Gladness In The House Of The Lord
"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Psalms 122:1
Today our verse is a reflection of our theme verse, ""A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22) How can we have a merry heart? David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel found joy and gladness in the house of the Lord. How wonderful it would be if we shared his enthusiasm when he said, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." We can find this joy and gladness when we seek the Lord. "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified." (Psalms 40:16) We can rise up each morning rejoicing that the Lord has given us another day. "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24) So today, even if the clouds gather overhead, look up to heaven with thanksgiving and have the joy of the Lord in your heart. "The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad." (Psalms 126:3)
15. Goodness And Mercy
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." Psalms 23:6
The 23rd Psalm is one of my favorite Psalms. I wanted to use the last verse to add to our list of how good it is to be faithful to the house of God, but there is so much more in this wonderful Psalm.
"1 <<A Psalm of David.>> The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (The Lord is my Good Shepherd. He gave His life for me and found me when I was a little lost sheep out in sin. Through His goodness and mercy He brought me into His fold where He takes care of me continually in such a way that all my needs are fulfilled.)
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (He gives me peace so that I can lay down and sleep at night, even in a troubled world. He satisfies my soul with living waters.)
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (By His goodness I am restored when the storms of life take their toll. The Lord leads me and guides me day by day as I seek His will.)
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (He gives me peace that the dark days in the valleys are just a shadow and I have the assurance that death is just a crossing to my heavenly home where I will live forever in His Light. He watches over me and protects me and helps dissolve my fears.)
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (He feeds me and provides my every need. He showers me with His blessings and fills me with His goodness!)
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." ("Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.")
"Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalms 107:15)
16. Happy Easter
The Unspeakable Gift
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." II Corinthians 9:15
This week we are continuing with our look at things that do "Good Like A Medicine" and today we look at the unspeakable gift. We like to receive gifts. And some even enjoy giving gifts. Gifts have a special way of lifting our spirits, making us feel special, and letting us know that someone loves us. Sometimes even the smallest gift can bring a smile. Today is Easter Sunday and we should be especially thankful "unto God for his unspeakable gift." We are all born into this world, lost in sin, and without Christ we would have no hope. But, Jesus left His home in heaven to give Himself as a payment for our sin. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:323) Jesus Christ is the "unspeakable gift." As you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord today, be mindful that He gave His all to give us salvation.
"4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6)
17. The Glory Of The Lord
"And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house." II Chronicles 7:2
We had several visitors at church for Easter Sunday and it is always a joy to see the pews filled with people as we worship together. An even greater joy is when the glory of the Lord fills our church. Our Pastor Jack Tripp preached from John 20:19-22 Sunday night. The evening of the resurrection, as the disciples were confused at the reports of the empty tomb and closed in together in fear, Jesus appeared and stood in their midst. He spoke those comforting words, "Peace be unto you." "Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." The greatest times I have ever had at church were when the glory of the Lord was in our midst. All the problems of this world seem to disappear when the Lord appears.
"19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:" John 20:19-22
18. Fellowship With One Another
"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers... And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:42, 46 & 47
I have been in church since I was born. My parents were faithful to God's house, and Mike and I have tried to be faithful since we were married thirty seven years ago. We have had great times of fellowship with our Christian friends through the years. Some people have told me that they choose to worship at home. One person told me that she could worship better in the quiet woods behind her house. Yes, we can worship God anywhere, any place, any time, but I believe that the Lord established the church to carry on His work. The early church "continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers..." They worshipped together, ate together, and prayed together. Over two thousand years have passed since the beginning of the church, and we still worship together, eat together, and pray together in fellowship one with another. That would be missing from my life if I chose not to attend church. I have enjoyed thinking about the good it does for us to be faithful to the house of the Lord. I hope you have, too.
19. Good News
"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25
I began writing devotionals and sending them to my son who went away to college in 2001 and I began with the book of Psalms and then the book of Proverbs. In 2003, his brother joined him at college and I started this devotional website for them. I remember using this verse as one of my beginning entries. With my oldest son just married, and two away in college, I enjoyed hearing good news from them from time to time. Here is that entry from so long ago...
"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25
It was 96 degrees Fahrenheit where I live yesterday. It may reach 100 degrees today. On days like this we need to drink plenty of cold water. I like iced tea and colas, even lemonade, but nothing seems to satisfy my thirst as well as cold water. Good news can have the same refreshing effect to a thirsty soul. When you are away from home, and feeling sort of lonely, it helps to hear good news from home. With computers, telephones, and even the old-fashioned mail service, it is easier to hear good news from home. But remember, that goes both ways. If you are going away to summer camp or college, your family also likes to hear good news from you. Isn't there someone who would like some good news from you today?
20. My Children And Grandchildren Do My Heart Good
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." III John 1:4
"Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." Proverbs 17:6
Being able to spend time with my children and their families always does my heart good. We have enjoyed keeping our grandchildren from time to time, and with the spring break we were able to spend a few days with those who don't live so near. It was such a blessing to hear the six year old helping the two year old pray when we sat down to eat. I am sure the younger one did not understand all the older one was telling him to say, but he repeated every word, because that is what he was taught to do. Three of our seven grandchildren are two years old and even at such a young age, each one of them already knows to ask the blessing before they eat. It takes time and patience to teach our children the things of God, but it is so rewarding! The eight and six year olds are learning to memorize scripture while their minds are young. This does not come on its on, but can be taught daily as we live as Christian examples for our children and grandchildren. This is shown in Paul's letter to young Timothy. "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." (II Timothy 1:5) As the things of this world grow worse and worse it becomes even more important to teach our children and grandchildren of faith in a holy, righteous, loving God! More than ever, we need to lift up our children and grandchildren in prayer. There is nothing more important in this world than leading them like little lambs to the Good Shepherd.
21. "Think On These Things"
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8
I have one of the news channel apps on my ipad and sometimes I look at it to see what's going on in the world. It is depressing! I try not to look at it right before I go to bed. Not only do I see all the turmoil across the seas, but I also see the stories of abuse, murder, and sinfulness right around me. I don't think we can just close our eyes to what is happening in the world today, because knowledge can give us a greater understanding and urgency for the need for prayer. I believe that we have reached the "last days" that New Testament writers spoke of.
"1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (II Timothy 3:1-5)
Those days are here. How can we find "Good Like A Medicine" in all of this? Let's continue with Paul's letter to Timothy... "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (II Timothy 3:14-16) We need to spend more time in the scriptures. And think of the good things, as we see above. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." Matthew 9:36
"And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." Matthew 14:14
My Bible reading has brought me to the New Testament and as I begin reading through the gospels I notice the great compassion of Jesus. We see that through His love and compassion He did good for others as He walked on this earth. In our look at things that do "Good Like A Medicine" we are turning it all around today to see how we can do good to others. We should follow the example of Jesus and have a heart of compassion. Many are hurting, lonely, or sad. We don't know just how much it might help them to show compassion. "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:" (I Peter 3:8) We are also surrounded by those who don't know the love of God, blinded by sin, and lost. Our love and compassion can make a difference in their lives, too.
"21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." (Jude 21-23)
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38
Today, at first glance, our topic seems to be another one that helps others. But, giving, was sixth on the list "30 Simple Ways To Get Happy, Fast." It can give us joy to give to others. In our scripture reference we see that Jesus tells us that as we give to others, "the same measure" will be returned to us. Our giving does not have to be in terms of money. There were several times when my children were small that we bagged up their outgrown clothes and gave them to families that could use them, and in a week or two another family passed bags of clothes to our growing boys. We were blessed in knowing we helped others, and also blessed to receive. We can also give of our talents. I like how a new coat of paint makes a room look fresh and new, and I have painted many walls for family and friends through the years. Now, at this stage in my life I feel like the greatest thing I can give is my time. I enjoy baby sitting our grandchildren and going shopping with my Mom. It really does our heart good to give to others! We have another promise regarding giving in Malachi 3:10. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Giving truly is a double blessing, whether it is things we have, our tithes, our talents, or our time.
"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
My Mom recently had a health assessment and part of it was a list of questions. She told me that she was asked, "Do you ever feel depressed?" Her answer was priceless. "No, I have too many friends!" She really does. She drives for two or three ladies and they eat lunch and go shopping one day each week. She meets for breakfast once a month with her graduating class from high school. She has a special friend who helps her mow her yard and other work around the house. Sometimes she cooks for them and sometimes he takes her out to eat. She lives near her sister and sister-in-law and spends time with them, often taking long walks for the exercise. She enjoys travelling on bus tours and often meets new people along the way. She loves her four daughters and their families. She keeps in contact with the people she worked with before she retired. I have not even mentioned her friends at church and in her Sunday School class. People may brag about their number of friends on facebook, but I don't know anyone who has as many close, real friends as my Mom. She has friends because she is friendly. She takes time to talk with them on the phone. She is a great seamstress and has used her talent to sew for many people through the years. She is also a great cook and enjoys cooking for others. Some of her friends no longer drive so they call her and she is happy to take them places. Many people her age depend on medications to keep them going each day, but she is healthy and the Lord continues to bless her as she grows older. Her giving attitude and loving friends are "Good Like A Medicine" to her!
25. Write It Down
"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!" Job 19:23
As I looked back over the "30 Simple Ways To Get Happy, Fast" list I saw that the first item is "Write down your thoughts." This is nothing new. Job wished for that very thing way back in the dawn of time. He didn't know that we would still be reading his book thousands of years later. I have journals from 30 years ago and it is fun to look at them from time to time. When the children were young and I was so busy during the day it was hard to turn off my mind at night. When I started writing my thoughts in a journal it cleared my mind and I could sleep much better. Several of my children wrote journals as a daily assignment in elementary school and it was such a joy to read them at the end of the school year. I think their requirement was to write three sentences, and at times it looked like this..."Today is Friday. Yesterday was Thursday. Tomorrow is Saturday." I guess that isn't so bad, because I often see just the first part posted by friends on facebook, "Today is Friday!" Maybe writing thoughts on facebook has taken the place of personal journals. I think it is a wonderful way to share the gospel message and prayer requests. I have enjoyed keeping a devotional journal and it helps me in my spiritual growth and knowledge of the scriptures. As I mentioned before, this year I am keeping a personal prayer journal. I begin each entry in thanks, follow with prayer requests, and end with a verse or two from my daily Bible reading. This has helped me be more thankful and more specific and faithful in my prayer requests. Has the Lord blessed you today? I encourage you to write it down. When those cloudy days come, it is uplifting to look back in time and see all that God has done for you.
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day." (Genesis 1:11-13)
On the third day, after creating light and dividing the waters between heaven and earth, and land and seas, God created plants. This shows that plants are a very important part of our lives. Think of all the useful things we get from plants: oxygen to breathe, food to eat, wood to build our homes and furniture, and cloth material such as linen and cotton. My grandmother depended on a wood burning stove to cook her meals, and another one to heat her house. I don't know the number of times I sat under a tall spreading tree to get cool on a hot day. We give flowers to show someone that we love them. And we can't forget something we use everyday that we don't even think about coming from a plant, paper.
Yesterday I borrowed my Mom's tiller and plowed up a spot in the yard for a vegetable garden. My Mom and Dad always had a garden and my sisters and I all helped with the planting, hoeing, and picking. Nothing tastes as good as fresh fruits and vegetables you can pick and eat. We also helped with the canning and freezing so we could enjoy the harvest all year long. Gardening can be very rewarding, relaxing, and is also good exercise. God planted the garden of Eden, but Adam was to work it. "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:15) Maybe you don't have the space for a large garden, or the health or time to work it. Don't give up. This year I have seen many articles in magazines and online, about container and raised gardens. They suggest using large containers you may already have for your plants. Another simple idea was to use cement blocks in a small square, fill with top soil and plant your seeds. No tilling the ground, and no hard bending to work with your plants. A lady at church said she has several raised garden beds and adds a new one each year. She plants tomatoes in one, squash in another, and beans in another. The individual beds are small enough so that they can be easily worked and harvested from all sides. I have seen some beautiful pictures of these type gardens in small areas. Indoor plants give off oxygen and I recently learned that certain plants actually help purify the air. I read that peace lily plants remove electronic pollution from the air so I have a large one sitting beside my computer desk. Plants do us good in so many ways. Many believe that working with a garden is good therapy. When I was young people even talked to their plants. Just think, you could talk all you want, and never have to worry about them repeating what you say.
"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalms 4:8
David was a shepherd boy and he knew the dangers that might come in the night. He told King Saul that he fought a lion and a bear to protect his sheep. He probably drove away wolves, too. So, how could he say, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep"? Let's look at a few more verses in this Psalm.
"Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." (verse 1) David knew that God had given him strength in times of distress. He had faith in God.
"But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him." (verse 3) David knew that the Lord had set him apart for Himself. What a wonderful thought! He knew that the Lord would hear him when he called.
"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah." (verse 4) He knew the consolation that came with quiet meditation. He knew how to "be still".
"Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD." (verse 5) He put his trust in the Lord.
"Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." (verses 7 & 8) David had joy and gladness in the Lord.
King Solomon learned from David, his father, and wrote Proverbs 3:24. As he speaks of the benefits of seeking wisdom he writes, "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet." (Proverbs 3:24) A good night's sleep can refresh our tired bodies and make a big difference in how prepared we are to face a new day. I have read that watching or working with screens before bedtime makes it hard to go to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep you might want to try a more restful activity, like listening to soft music or reading your Bible. The scriptures also show us that we should not stay up too late. "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." (Psalms 127:2)
28. Don't Worry
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7
We live in an uncertain world where we don't know what may happen tomorrow. If you read many of the headlines it can cause stress and worry in your mind and heart. And this stress and worry can lead to sickness and depression. What can we do to rise above our worry and fear? When our first son was only three years old and sometimes afraid in the dark we taught him Psalms 56:3. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." When Moses was making his parting words to all Israel as he handed over the leadership of God's people to Joshua he said, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Deuteronomy 31:6) When the disciples were out on a stormy sea and fear gripped their hearts we read, "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." (Matthew 14:27) The Bible tells us that bad times will come, but the prophet Isaiah assures us of God's promises. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10) Put your trust in the Lord. I close with these final words of Habakkuk.
"16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments." (Habakkuk 3:16-19)
29. What Should Be First?
We are finishing up our fourth week on things that do "Good Like A Medicine." I have enjoyed digging deep into my thoughts and the scriptures to think of things that are good for us. Many were simple ideas that should be prevalent in our daily lives. Reading God's Word, singing His praises, going to the Lord in prayer and being thankful are just a few examples that help us grow spiritually and become faithful followers of Christ. As I was thinking on my devotions for today I asked myself what should be first in our list. What would Jesus say?
"35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)
That's it! These words of our Lord sum it all up. If we would love God with all our being and love others it would do us more good than anything else we could do. Life is short. Someone said, "Don't sweat the small stuff." We need to focus on the things of God that really matter. James 4:14 tells us just how short our life is here on earth. "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Jesus also tells us in Matthew 6:33-34, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself..." Put God first, and He will take care of everything else.