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Prayers to Stay Alive

The prophet Isaiah served as the spiritual advisor to King Hezekiah. On one occasion in Judah, Isaiah became a bearer of bad news, 2 Kings 20:1, revealing that Hezekiah’s illness will end his life. Not willing to go down without a fight, Isaiah records the words of this dying king. According to the context in Isaiah 38:2, upon hearing his death sentence, King Hezekiah turned away from the prophet, pouring his heart out to the Lord while facing a wall. Fourteen verses later, Hezekiah makes his intentions clear, “bring me back to life.”

Like a twittering swallow or a crane, so do I chirp and chatter; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary and dim with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; take my side and be my security [as of a debtor being sent to prison]. 15 But what can I say? For He has both spoken to me and He Himself has done it. I must go softly [as in solemn procession] all my years and my sleep has fled because of the bitterness of my soul. 16 O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these is the life of my spirit. O give me back my health and make me live! – Isaiah 38:14-16

Dying of old age is one thing, but when a rare disease threatens the life of child, parents become desperate. John Mark recalls a father who sought out Jesus, eager for him to come to his house. Before arriving, Jesus tells this ruler of the synagogue to keep on believing. Unfortunately, it appears that they were too late as news of this little girl’s death spread throughout Jairus’ home. Instead of accepting defeat, Jesus cleared the room, praying with his inner circle. Taking the laying on of hands to a new level, Jesus commands the spirit of death to leave this girl by proclaiming “arise”.

When they arrived at the house of the ruler of the synagogue, He looked [carefully and with understanding] at [the] tumult and the people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when He had gone in, He said to them, Why do you make an uproar and weep? The little girl is not dead but is sleeping. 40 And they laughed and jeered at Him. But He put them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and those who were with Him, He went in where the little girl was lying. 41 Gripping her [firmly] by the hand, He said to her, Talitha cumi—which translated is, Little girl, I say to you, arise [from the sleep of death]! – Mark 5:38-41

While father time will eventually be victorious, it doesn’t mean that you should accept a doctor’s diagnosis. When I was 16, I was told that I would never run again and most likely walk with a limp for the rest of my life. However, before my surgery for torn tendons and an ankle twisted 180 degrees in the wrong directions, Ken Horne and friends from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes laid hands on me in the hallway. Praying for a miracle, even the doctor who performed this procedure was surprised that I was able to run cross country my senior year of high school. When you refuse to accept fate, there are several examples of prayers in the Bible to help you stay alive physically and spiritually.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming the Side Effects of Puberty

Attitude of one of those traits that when you see it exude out of a confident individual, it’s easily recognized. Parents often come face to face with attitude as children begin to experience puberty. By the time this internal change is nearly complete, teenagers tend to verbalize attitude in cruel, inappropriate and vicious manners. Unless this evil transformation is confronted, side effects of puberty will linger into adulthood.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20.

An Old Testament prophet appears to address a similar issue while serving as a spiritual advisor to the King of Israel. Based upon the context of this chapter, Isaiah is bringing forth a rebuke. This prophet receives a negative message from the Lord, blaming their current state of mind on a lack of knowledge of God. This weak spiritual foundation opened the door for evil to be confused with truth and vice versa.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate, Proverbs 8:13.

A wise king of Israel addresses the need to drop the attitude conceived by puberty in the passage above. The choice of Solomon’s words imply this topic is no laughing matter. Whenever individuals are missing or void of a personal relationship with God, arrogance and pride loom. If these urges aren’t met with resistance, perverted speech will soon follow. Therefore, to avoid falling prey to this internal attack, drop the attitude before it poisons your soul.

by Jay Mankus

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