Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Good Reads #1 - Every Day is a Gift

For my Wednesday column, I'm going to share some "good reads" that I've come across. Could be books I'd like to recommend or an article or two, a blog post maybe. For this inaugural post today, though, I'd like to copy (with my friend's permission) a devotional by Nate Matt. He shared this a few months ago on his Walk to Emmaus and with our church family as well. Some good thoughts here.

“Every Day is a Gift” by Nate Matt 

When the doctors come to the waiting room to update the family on the status of a newly admitted critical patient, you don’t want to hear them say every day is a gift. You should know that it is time to pray. Pray hard! Share your efforts with everyone you can think of!

When the staff returns several times over the next few days and they repeat the status... Keep Praying. Most of us can’t offer specific medical assistance in times like this. We can only ask our Lord to guide the hands of the medical team. We can only ask that His will be done. We can only request that His peace come to the situation. 

We can only ... wait! WHAT? “ONLY”??!?!? Are you kidding me?

What WE can offer is “only” the All Knowing Guidance of the Great Healer! We can invite the One who walks on water! We can cry out to God, our Father to bring about the exact result we desire – because He TOLD US TO!

Jesus told us that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, then ask what you will and it will be done unto you!

People – PRAY! Pray without ceasing – in good times and bad. Our Lord has given us the greatest tool to calm the seas. Prayer. Challenge your own faith and ask for HIS help. Keep Jesus close. Keep His words in your heart and on your tongue! Sing His praise and cry for His assistance.

Every day truly IS a gift. Just know that you have, at your side, the One who defeated death – and through His Amazing Grace, you have no less days to sing His praise, than when you first began. Amen? Yes, Amen!


A priest functions as God’s representative IN the world – but a priest also acts as the people’s representative TO God, going to bat for the sake of the people and offering sacrifices of love on their behalf.

I have the joy of having a great mother-in-law. And not only that, my mother-in-law has a fantastic best friend, Joleen, who has shared much of life’s big events right alongside my wife and her family, truly making herself available in all things as that classic second mom to so many of the neighborhood kids growing up in Derby, KS.

Now this great friend of the family, Joleen, is of retirement age and she loves to garden and spend time outdoors. She was out in the yard doing some fall clean-up when she found herself getting dizzy. She goes into the house to lie down and can’t get comfortable, can’t relax, can’t cool down. She ends up getting her husband on the phone who had been away from the house, and he quickly realizes that she needs medical help. An ambulance is called.

She ends up at the hospital and by that evening, her two children are either back in town already or making emergency accommodations for their young families and taking whatever means available to get to Wichita immediately.

Joleen has suffered a massive heart attack and the outlook is weighing heavily on the negative side. Now everybody in that family has Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIN, GooglePlus, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts and they are all equally well versed in what one another had for lunch the day before. But this news is not something that travels by that medium – the information is far too personal and the situation far too fluid to take to the web and start blogging, vlogging, chatting, and posting. (Personally, I had walked away from my Facebook addiction a year or two earlier, but I still knew how to post to my wall.)

Well, nobody in Joleen’s family had said a single word online yet, so I was certain that I could not share more than a heavily veiled reference to her. And it kinda came out as a simple plea to our Lord asking for His guiding hand in the situation – begging for one more holiday for her family to enjoy their mom, wife, grandma.

Here’s the post from that night, Nov 3, 2015: Please pray with me – Lord please be with your child this night – this wonderful friend, mother, grandmother, wife, second-mom – Carry her through this heart trouble and deliver her healthy back into the arms of her loving husband. We pray in your Great and Holy name, Amen. 

I closed my prayer asking for any believers to simply post an “amen” and more information will come forward in time. Understand, I don’t have the kind of following that makes something go “viral,” but to me, the response was overwhelming.

As the family was willing to share more, I got permission to offer a bit more information and the pleas and petitions to the Lord kept coming in. A couple days after Joleen was admitted to the hospital in critical condition and after many reports with verbiage communicating very low expectations from the doctors, we were greeted one morning with a report that the doctor could not explain: Joleen had progressed so well in the few hours just before dawn that they could not believe what they were seeing. Options and procedures absolutely not available the night before were well within reason in the morning. They acted swiftly as the window of opportunity presented itself and with that, Joleen was on the road to recovery!

Here’s the follow-up post: All – again thank you for your prayers – the Power that carries is obvious and Amazing! Joleen had a great bit of news this morning – her positive progress overnight has surprised her surgeon and he suspects that if she continues on this current trend, she could move out of CICU this weekend! The heart attack was regarded as massive – and yet this progress is positive – we all know things will not be the same, but we can sure pray that she and her family get to enjoy one another’s love on this earth for a while longer :-)

They couldn’t explain the turn-around. It didn’t make sense to them. But I believe absolutely and with no doubt that the power of focused prayer brought the Great Healer, Our Lord into that hospital room for the express purpose of acting on the prayers of a loving people behaving as one body, petitioning Him with love on behalf of another member of the body of Christ.

Each one of us, a Believer with the power to make His Grace REAL in our daily lives. That moves me! Knowing that, it makes me quake! I wanted to learn more about this power!

I took the opportunity to study a little more and I ended up writing a little something* for a small publication, just hoping to touch someone else with the fact that we are each given the authority – The Responsibility – to be priests to one another. 2nd Corinthians 5:18 and beyond makes it clear that God gave his Son, holy and pure, to partner with us as members of His body, joined in His priestly work of reconciling God and man.


That was the fall of 2015, and just last month, I had dinner out with Joleen and her husband along with my wife and Mother-in-Law. Joleen is a real world testament to the Power of Prayer!

– Nate Matt, September, 2017

* See “Every Day is a Gift” at the beginning of this article.