Good News!

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation. Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 NKJV

This Tuesday, I stopped to see my friend Don and his wife Lorna, who recently been admitted to a nursing home in our area. This facility was new to me, and I have never held any services there, so I brought along copies of our weekly newsletter. Since Lorna was sleeping, Don and I had a nice quiet visit in the hallway and after praying and leaving with him a newsletter, I said good-bye. Once I got back outside, I nodded a friendly greeting to a man whom I had seen on my way in and headed towards the car. I was already thinking of what I would do when I got home, when the Holy Spirit prompted me to turn back and talk with that man.

So, I turned and retraced my steps, and as I reached the man I asked, “Hey I am visiting a friend here and I brought him one of these newsletters. Would you like one?” He looked a little confused as to my motivations, so I assured him I wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness, and was just from a local church. Well, this man was so willing to talk, that I was amazed.

“I’m Don.” he said. “I’ve been here about a year. After I had a stroke, my wife felt she couldn’t take care of me anymore, so she brought me here and went back with her family to live in Ohio.”

Just at that point my friend, who I had come to visit, came out the door. I looked up and smiled, “Don, I want you to meet Don.” They smiled and shook hands. Then, as my new friend continued to pour out his heart, the man who I had come to visit, laid his hand on his shoulder and said, “Don’t give up. You have to just trust the Lord and He will be with you.”

I could have said those same words – but coming from another resident, they were much more powerful. Though their circumstances were a little different, they had a lot in common. When I did head home that afternoon, I was struck with two things: First, God had made an appointment for the three of us and I was so glad that I had listened and turned around. Secondly, I was so happy to have the newsletter to give him. It not only gave me an opportunity to break the ice, but it was something that he could keep with Him to remind Him that God had not forgotten him.

Sunshine Newsletter, is a free weekly publication, produced by a small but growing team of us who care about nursing home ministry. There are so many people in our society today who are abandoned, forgotten and written off, but wherever they are, God has good news of salvation for them to hear. Our little newsletter is simply one way we can reach out and become the feet of those who bring the message of hope to people in the long-term care community. If you would like to receive your free copy, (we don’t ask for donations) you can contact me at revpete51@gmail.com

Have a blessed day all!

Hope For Answered Prayer

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

In spite of my wife and I being both vaccinated and careful, this most recent strain of Covid finally caught up with us and for the last two weeks, our lives came to a screeching halt. From doctor’s appointments to church, almost everything we had planned was put on hold and that experience gave us a tiny insight to what life is like for our friends who live in long-term care. But whether we are facing life from inside the four walls of a nursing home or the four walls of our own home, our need for God’s help doesn’t change. There are hours we all pass through when we lose patience, tears of frustration fall, and hope seems far away. But God’s presence and His promise to take care of us and provide for our needs has not changed.

At that very moment when we can feel the dark shadows closing in around our world God stands close, waiting for us to leave our anxieties and needs at His feet. He will not force us to release our worries or pry our fingers loose from what is troubling our hearts. But He also does not stop caring for us when the cares of life press in. He will not abandon us when we feel alone. He is listening to our prayers, ready to come to our aid. He has not failed, forgotten us or written us off. His promise remains, that when we give our cares to Him, His peace will guard our minds and give hope to our hearts no matter what lies ahead!

A Road To Hope

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? Romans 8:24 ESV

In the town where I spent my teen-aged years there is a hill we called Mount Pleasant. On most days it was just another rolling green hill. But on rare mornings on perfectly sunny days, you sometimes found yourself surrounded by deep impenetrable fog. Though the fog bank usually extended no more than the short half mile over the crest of the hill, the only safe way through was to slow to a crawl, while keeping your eyes on the yellow center line. If you just kept going before long you would break back out into the sunshine.

Fog banks come to all our lives. A single phone call, one visit to the doctor or a short screech of tires on pavement and the familiar landmarks of our world quickly disappear under dark foreboding clouds. God’s promise for us at that moment is that He will still guide us. He gives us His hope to light the way even if just one inch at a time. God will stay with us and carry us all the way through. When dense clouds close us in, we need to remind ourselves that on God’s mountain road, the brightest hope is just over the top of the hill!

Though I wrote this devotional several years ago, I found myself in need of it this morning. Our last couple of weeks have been a difficult time. My wife and I have lost a dear friend and we are now are in our second week of tag-teaming the virus. Besides the physical battles we also had to cancel all the visiting of the nursing homes scheduled for this week. But in this fogbank of my own, I found I was encouraged this morning by a verse in my daily reading. It reminds me that hope doesn’t come from the situation getting better, but from the mercy of God and that is a hope that can never fail!

Psalm 13:5 But I have trusted in your mercy. My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

I love the Mullett Family and their newest release will lift you this morning as they remind us all, that in the midst of the trials we are going through, that God is sovereign over Us!

Christ Our Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 ESV

After thirty years of nursing home ministry, I have learned that the heart of our message is the hope of Jesus Christ. Today’s verse clearly points us to God as our great source of hope. We must always communicate that if we want to give real people, real hope. They are walking their final mile here on earth and are struggling with physical weakness, discomfort and loneliness. When they think about eternity, they ask questions like “Does God really love me and care about what I am going through? Is He listening to my prayers? How can I be sure that He will accept me?” Of course, these are questions everyone thinks about, but in long term care, those whispered doubts become fearsome shouts that will drown out all but true hope. Before stepping into a facility to sing, or going into someone’s room to visit, we must ask God to fill us with the hope He gives through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our hope, our future and our eternal salvation are found in Him alone! We cannot give to someone else what we have not already received from God. Do you carry that hope in your heart this morning? If not, then turn to Jesus in humble faith. He is listening and willing to fill you with His hope forever. That is the gospel and the message for which Christ died. When we receive that hope, then we will have a treasure we can lavishly give away to others! I love this song by Keith and Kristen Getty who are accompanied by Michael W. Smith. I pray you will find in Christ alone all the hope that He has for you today!