Monday, February 13, 2012

Prayer Lists and Promises

As I read through my prayer list this morning, I prayed for healing for more than a few people. My prayers are for a wide variety of people—some I’ve known for years and some I have never met but know of their need for healing through others. They include:

An 11 month-old with leukemia who just had a stem-cell transplant.

A 7th grader, diagnosed in November with bone cancer, who is facing an extensive surgery to remove the tumor from his leg, and then a long recovery.

The brother of a friend, who, after four years fighting cancer, recently had a stem-cell transplant.

One of our pastors who has been unable to work for several months due to various health issues.

A friend’s daughter, whose progressive disease is taking more and more of her abilities from her.

A lady who is facing the death of her mother, and a couple facing the loss of their son.

Another friend whose father is experiencing many health problems.

My elderly grandparents, who, after many years of good health, have experienced broken bones, surgeries, and other serious health issues in the last year.

And then I looked at my list of those for whom I pray God’s peace and comfort. Their situations are all very different…yet they are all grieving.

A friend whose daughter was killed in an accident just a few months after her mother died.

Another friend whose husband was killed in an accident.  

Two more friends whose husbands died very unexpectedly.

A friend whose sister and grandmother died within just a few months of each other.

The families of my private-duty nursing patients. My patients were both very disabled and died within days of each other a year ago this month.

Several families who experienced the death of a loved one recently, after long battles with various diseases.

My list of those who need God’s healing and comfort seems to have gotten much longer over the last few months. It’s just one of those times in life where it seems I know a lot of people who are experiencing heartache, stress, or sorrow of one kind or another. Whether I know them personally or not, I feel sadness for their circumstances and what they are experiencing.  

Some on my list will experience the full restoration of their health, through God’s grace and healing. Although I am confident God can provide full healing to anyone, according to His will, it seems that some I pray for are nearing the end of their earthly lives, and will not be healed.

Several of those who have experienced the death of a loved one have shared how God has comforted them; some are comforted in knowing that their loved ones are out of pain and in the presence of God now. But the loss of a loved one leaves a hole in many lives no matter what the circumstances.

I have been praying with a feeling of sadness for those on my list who are facing long recoveries or will not be healed and for those who are learning to live without a loved one and facing other challenges and heartaches.  

This morning, though, I realized that none of us will ever experience full health, or total happiness, while here on earth. From the moment sin entered the world, the perfection of God’s creation was gone. As Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death.” As sad and hopeless as that sounds, the verse goes on to say, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What a blessing! What reassurance! Anyone who accepts God’s offer of eternal life—including every single person on my prayer list who has accepted His offer of forgiveness—will experience full healing, complete health, and total comfort from every heartache when they get to heaven!

In Philippians, Paul tells us, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Phil. 3:20-21). So even if the ones we pray for are not healed on earth, they will be transformed in heaven!

And Revelation tells us that in heaven, God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Rev. 21:4) With our glorious, perfect bodies, we will also be completely filled with joy!

What wonderful reassurance that is, to all of us—especially those who are sick, or mourning, or crying, or in pain. Here on earth we will never be free of all illness or sorrow…but we know that in heaven each and every one of us will be free from all illness, pain and sorrow.

Lord, I continue to pray for healing and comfort for those I know who are sick or suffering in body, mind, or spirit. I thank You so much for Your reassurance of the joy and perfection that awaits us in heaven, and pray that You will remind everyone – on my prayer list, and on every prayer list! – of Your love and promises! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review "His Revolutionary Love"

His Revolutionary Love
By Lynn Cowell

Review by Shelly Burke, Editor

Like all of us, author Lynn Cowell experienced the ups and downs and anxieties of having crushes as a teen. However, during a nine-month Bible school training program she discovered the revolutionary love of Jesus. As she learned she realized that His love is the opposite of everything she had been pressured to believe about love.

His Revolutionary Love is written for teenagers who are facing pressures from friends, books, magazines, popular culture, and “what everyone else is doing” regarding relationships with boys.  

Cowell’s book is divided into three parts. Part 1, His Heart Toward Me, outlines how and what God is communicating to the reader. Part 2, His Path For Me, shows what our behavior should be to show our love to God. Part 3, His Hopes for Me, explains what we can do when we know about God’s revolutionary love.

The message throughout the book is that nothing—not boys, sex, drugs, sports, friends—can truly fill our hearts; only the revolutionary love of Jesus can. And Cowell reassures readers that Jesus loves us no matter what we are like inside and no matter what we have done. There are consequences for our actions, but God shows us His mercy when we ask for forgiveness. Cowell truly relates to teen emotions and “real life.”

Cowell is realistic in saying that some days we’ll feel closer to Jesus than other days, and that friends might not share in the readers’ passion for Him. She encourages readers to continue spending time with Him anyway.

Cowell recognizes the difficulty of remaining sexually pure and in no uncertain terms warns teens of the dangers of not doing so. She encourages readers to play out situations in their mind so they’ll be prepared to deal with those situations in “real life.”

His Revolutionary Love is a must-read for teenage girls; it will give them the confidence to make good decisions about setting boundaries and protecting themselves. Moms who read the book will find natural lead-ins to discussion with their daughters. (Hint to moms: download the FREE Leader’s Guide at Many of the suggestions and questions would be perfect for a one-to-one discussion with your daughter.)

Lynn Cowell is a youth worker and the mother of three teenagers. She is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ speaking team and works with teens one-on-one mentoring, leading small groups, and teaching at conferences. To read more go to  At the site you’ll also find a FREE Leadership Guide for those who feel moved to lead a group through the study of His Revolutionary Love. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


CHOCOLATE! It's on my mind today as I read Deb Burma's new devotion book, "A Chocolate Life." 

Deb is a good friend of mine and I'm blessed to know her--as a writer and as a friend. She has a way of applying Biblical principles to "real life" lessons. I'm just starting to read "A Chocolate Life" and am excited to read more--AND to try the delicious-sounding recipes she's included in the book.

Go to her blog at and read a sample devotion. You'll be back for more! "A Chocolate Life" would make the PERFECT Valentine's Day gift--the price is right and the book will fit in an envelope with a card. ENJOY!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Columbus Medical Mission Team Returning to Nicaragua
(for more information go to

By Shelly Burke, Editor

The Columbus Medical Mission team is partnering with Valley Christian Fellowship of Shasta through Global Passion Ministries of Redding, CA, to team up with a group of surgeons and staff to provide surgical and medical services to people who have minimal or no access to healthcare. The team will be treating people in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. The trip will take place February 9-23, 2012. (For more information about conditions in Nicaragua, see the December issue of the Nebraska Family Times.)

Members of the Columbus team include Dean & Carolyn Athey, Karl & Sue Tillinghast, Jody Dreifurst, Sherilyn Haswell, and Melissa Shemek. Team members will assist with surgeries and trouble-shoot and repair equipment in and around the hospital. Several members of the team have been on mission trips before. The Columbus team will be working side by side with the California team, which  includes two surgeons and an anesthesiologist as well as recovery room nurses and children’s ministry staff.

The ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons will be performing tonsillectomies, ear, thyroid, and nasal surgeries, and repairing cleft lips. General surgeons will be repairing hernias and doing abdominal surgeries.

During the trip in 2011 more than 300 local people were seen in the clinic; since the trip is longer this year, more people will be seen and treated and over 100 surgeries will be performed.

Supplies are very limited in Puerto Cabezas, so the team must take surgical gloves, medications, surgical supplies, and so on. They must also buy gasoline for generators that provide power when the electricity goes out, which can happen several times every day. The team also pays local people to act as interpreters, nurses, surgical techs, and a nurse anesthetist.  

Dean and Carolyn Athey have been on two previous trips to Nicaragua and look forward to their third trip. According to Carolyn, “We have received so much more from these trips than what we have given. It is a rewarding and life-changing experience to serve people who have nothing and where health care is almost non-existent. We are so lucky to live where we do!”

Carolyn anticipates seeing people they’ve met on previous trips. “When we returned for our second trip, it was fun to recognize people and see how they looked forward to our trip and appreciate that we cared enough to come back.”
Please keep the Columbus Medical Mission Team in your prayers as they prepare to leave next week!  The Mission Team is almost completely packed for their trip, which begins Feb. 9th. Monetary donations are needed; the team will need to buy fuel for generators that provide power to the operating rooms when the electricity goes out, which can happen several times a day. The team also pays local nurses, surgical techs, and a nurse anesthetist and local people also act as interpreters.

To make a donation, make your check out to the Columbus Medical Mission Team and mail it to Atheys, 3471 E. 14th Ave., Columbus, NE 68601. For more information about the trip, call (402) 276-0638 or (402) 276-0640 or go to the blog at The team will update the blog while they’re in Nicaragua, and the Nebraska Family Times will print a follow-up article in the April issue of the paper. Please keep the Medical Mission Team in your prayers as they travel, treat people, and spread God’s love and His Word!