"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!
Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God
is with you wherever you go."
Then the Lord said to me, "You have seen well, for
I am watching over My Word to perform
Be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my
sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep
them within your heart.
are life to you who finds them, and healing to all
A joyful heart is
good medicine, but a broken spirit
dries up the bones.
1 Peter 2:24
He Himself [Jesus] bore my sins in His body on
the cross, that I might die to sin and live to
by His wounds I have been healed.
1 Peter 4:12
Beloved, do not be
surprised at the fiery ordeal among
you, which comes upon you
for your testing...
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter
various trials, knowing that the
testing of your faith produces endurance. And let
endurance have its perfect result, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
And we know that
God causes all things to work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are called
according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew,
He also predestined
conformed to the image of His Son,
that He might be the first-born among many brethren;
and whom He predestined, these He also called;
and whom He called, these He also justified;
and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
I am clothed with
strength and dignity: I can laugh at
the days to come.
I can do all things through Him
who strengthens me.
I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right
hand and says to you, "Do
not fear; I will help you."
Do not be anxious about anything, but
in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
For I know the
plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans for good and not for evil,
to give you a future and
For you have
delivered my life from death, yes, and
my feet from falling,
that I may walk in the
light of life and of the living.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those
who are crushed in spirit.
the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers
him out of them all.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you
by name; you are
mine. When you pass through the
waters, I will be
with you; and through the rivers, they
will not overwhelm you; when you walk through the
fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame will not
consume you. For I
am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your
Because you cleave to me in love,
I will deliver you; I
will protect you, because you know my
name. When you call to me,
I will answer you;
I will be with you in trouble,
I will rescue you and
With long life I will
satisfy you, and show you my salvation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean
on your own understanding. In all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths
straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the
Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to
your body, and refreshment to your bones.
Many followed Jesus, and
He healed them all.
I bless the holy name of God with all my heart. Yes,
I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious
things he has done for me.
He forgives all my sins.
He heals all my diseases. He ransoms
me from hell. He surrounds me with lovingkindness and
tender mercies. He fills my life with good things!
My youth is renewed like the eagle's.
This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction.
That your Word has
revived me and is giving me life.
The Lord sustains me on my sickbed; in my illness He
heals all my infirmities.
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of
the afflicted; neither has he hidden his face from me;
but when I cried to
Him for help, he heard.
It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no
avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit
For with God nothing will be impossible.
They that wait for the Lord shall renew their
strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and
When the crowds learned it, they followed Jesus; and
he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of
God, and cured
those who had need of healing.
Let me live, that I may praise thee, and let thy
ordinances help me.
He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and
anointed my eyes and said to me. 'Go to Siloam and
wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight."
And wherever Jesus
came, in villages, cities, or country,
they laid the sick in the market places, and besought
that they might touch even the fringe
of His garment; and as many as touched it were made
And a leper came to Jesus beseeching him, and kneeling
said to Him, "If you will, you can make me clean."
Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and
touched him, and said to him, "I
will; be clean." And immediately the
leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Turning to the woman, Jesus said, "Take heart,
your faith has made you well."
And instantly the woman was made well.
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages,
teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel
of the kingdom, and
every disease and
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me
lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet
waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the
paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod
and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table before
me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed by
head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and
mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I
will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is
written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all
day long; We were considered as sheep to be
in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer
through Him who loved us. For
convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
created thing, shall be able to separate us from the
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wisdom from Tony
(Graduated to Heaven on July 12,
"Blessings arrive in unexpected
packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with
potentially fatal diseases - and there are
millions in America today - find ourselves in
the odd position of coping with our mortality
while trying to fathom God's will. Although it
would be the height of presumption to declare
with confidence "What It All Means," Scripture
provides powerful hints and consolations.
The first is that we shouldn't spend too much
time trying to answer the "why" questions: Why
me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone
else get sick? We can't answer such things, and
the questions themselves often are designed more
to express our anguish than to solicit an
I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much
care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable
fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror
darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take
shape. Our maladies define a central feature of
our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect.
Our bodies give out.
But despite this - or because of it - God offers
the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't
know how the narrative of our lives will end,
but we get to choose how to use the interval
between now and the moment we meet our Creator
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The
mere thought of dying can send adrenaline
flooding through your system.. A dizzy,
unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps;
your head swims. You think of nothingness and
swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the
impact on family and friends. You fidget and get
To regain footing, remember that we were born
not into death, but into life,- and that the
journey continues after we have finished our
days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but
that faith is nourished by a conviction that
stirs even within many non believing hearts - an
intuition that the gift of life, once given,
cannot be taken away. Those who have been
stricken enjoy the special privilege of being
able to fight with their might, main, and faith
to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter
how their days may be numbered.
Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God
relishes surprise. We want lives of simple,
predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as
the eye can see, - but God likes to go off-road.
He provokes us with twists and turns. He places
us in predicaments that seem to defy our
endurance; and comprehension - and yet don't.
By His love and grace, we persevere. The
challenges that make our hearts leap and
stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith
and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would
not experience otherwise.
You Have Been Called
Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of
anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor
stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand
at the side. "It's cancer," the healer
The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask
him to serve as a cosmic Santa. "Dear God, make
it all go away. Make everything simpler." But
another voice whispers: "You have been called."
Your quandary has drawn you closer to God,
closer to those you love, closer to the issues
that matter,- and has dragged into
insignificance the banal concerns that occupy
our "normal time."
There's another kind of response, although
usually short-lived an inexplicable shudder of
excitement, as if a clarifying moment of
calamity has swept away everything trivial and
tiny, and placed before us the challenge of
The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of
Death, things change. You discover that
Christianity is not something doughy, passive,
pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn
of fearful caution. The life of belief teems
with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks,
reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of
Paul, traipsing through the known world and
contemplating trips to what must have seemed the
antipodes ( Spain ), shaking the dust from his
sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only
about the moment.
There's nothing wilder than a life of humble
virtue, - for it is through selflessness and
service that God wrings from our bodies and
spirits the most we ever could give, the most we
ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.
Finally, we can let love change everything. When
Jesus was faced with the prospect of
crucifixion, He grieved not for himself, but for
us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the
holy city. From the Cross, He took on the
cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and
begged for forgiveness on our behalf.
We get repeated chances to learn that life is
not about us, that we acquire purpose and
satisfaction by sharing in God's love for
others. Sickness gets us part way there. It
reminds us of our limitations and dependence.
But it also gives us a chance to serve the
healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that
people suffering grave afflictions often acquire
the faith of two people, while loved ones accept
the burden of two peoples' worries and fears.
Learning How to Live
Most of us have watched friends as they drifted
toward God's arms, not with resignation, but
with peace and hope. In so doing, they have
taught us not how to die, but how to live. They
have emulated Christ by transmitting the power
and authority of love.
I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years
ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept
at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of
the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief
disabled his family, many of his old friends,
and at least one priest. Here was an humble and
very good guy, someone who apologized when he
winced with pain because he thought it made his
guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity
and good humor literally until his last
conscious moment. "I'm going to try to beat
[this cancer]," he told me several months before
he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the
His gift was to remind everyone around him th at
even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, He
does promise us eternity, - filled with life and
love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can in
the throes of sickness point the rest of us
toward timeless truths that will help us weather
Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do
we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough
to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough
to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our
limitations? Can we surrender our concern in
things that don't matter so that we might devote
our remaining days to things that do?
When our faith flags, He throws reminders in our
way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst.
They change things, and those of us who have
been on the receiving end of their petitions and
intercessions know it. It is hard to describe,
but there are times when suddenly the hairs on
the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a
surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know:
Others have chosen, when talking to the Author
of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of
This is love of a very special order. But so is
the ability to sit back and appreciate the
wonder of every created thing. The mere
thought of death somehow makes every blessing
vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense.
We may not know how our contest with sickness
will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch
What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We
don't know much, but we know this: No matter
where we are, no matter what we do, no matter
how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and
every one of us who believe, each and every day,
lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in
the hollow of God's hand."
I have been through
the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the "God of all comfort" was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
As the earth needs
the clouds and sunshine,
Our souls need both sorrow and joy;
So He places us oft in the furnace,
The dross from the gold to destroy.
When He leads
through some valley of trouble,
His omnipotent hand we trace;
For the trials and sorrows He sends us,
Are part of His lessons in grace.
Oft we run from the
purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener knows
That the deeper the cutting and trimming,
The richer the cluster that grows.
Well He knows that
affliction is needed;
He has a wise purpose in view,
And in the dark valley He whispers,
"Soon you'll understand what I do."
As we travel through
life's shadowed valley,.
Fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses,
Are blessings just sent in disguise..
So we'll follow
wherever He leads us,
Let the path be dreary or bright;
For we've proved that our God can give comfort;
Our God can give songs in the night.