Posts Tagged With: Healing

Divided Loves: Marital Love

We must consider God: He was not bored

when He created Man and Adam’s wife;

The Maker made His image. In fair Eve,

our King’s intent: the gift of holy life.

The two He joins, our lives God gently weaves:

Our souls, His saints; Himself our Sovereign Lord.

Love intertwined: the Church and Jesus Christ.

His Word dives our soul from spirit. Sword

of God now making what went wrong alright

through perfect grace. He clothes with more than leaves

and what was torn, in Christ is now restored.

The pains of ancient times, our Lord relieves.

Our Father gives the Spirit as our Seal,

and thus our Husband Jesus truly heals.

Categories: Good News, Marriage, Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Darkest Night: A Confession

My darkest night and day, inside was pain, my soul bound up in chains.

I looked confounded, looked uncertain, certainly looked confused.
I tried rejection, I tried inspection, and I tried just to refuse.
My soul was heavy, my mind a mess, my heart got torn in shreds.
I was left alone, adrift, and nearly left for dead.
This is what I almost, nearly, and completely would have done.

Looking out, looking up, looking all around.
Feeling lost, feeling forward, feeling like I might be found.
I hear a cry, I cry for help, I cannot help but cry.
I wonder how, I wonder where, I mostly wonder whom and why?
What could I, should I, would I do?

I look away, I look inside, yet I seem to only stare.
My hands hang limp, brain disconnected, yet I truly care.
I am not wise, I’m at a loss, I am not self-improved.
I want to hide, I want to run, yet inside I am moved.
What can I, shall I, will I do?

I look behind, I look within, and then look far beyond.
I have no power, no potion, and no magic wand.
A little truth, a little prayer, and lots of simple mercy:
For my family, for my friends, and for my foes quite early.
This is what I could have, should have, and will have done.

For, Yes! Redemption came, my mind was changed, and I rose up not the same.

Categories: Good News, Peer support, Poem, Suffering, Testimony | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer of Abandonment

Loving Father,

I offer you my pain

and trust you for healing.

I offer you my tears

and trust you for comfort.

I offer you my darkness

and trust you for light.

I offer you my loneliness

and trust you for companionship.

I offer you my despair

and trust you for eternal hope.

I offer you my death

and trust you for new life.

I offer you all that I have in this world

and trust you for a new heaven and new earth.

I offer you nothing

and trust you for all.

Categories: Cross, Poem, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Focus in ministry is often described as focusing on a particular group of people. And there is some truth in this: we should not be focusing all our ministry merely on those inside the church. Rather, the leaders of the church must focus on those outside the fold and looking for ways to bring them in. This is what Paul did, according to Romans 15.

However, there is a deeper, higher, further focus we must have. We must focus on Jesus. If we focus on Jesus, He will lead us to the lost. He will lead us to continue in service when the flesh would urge us to serve ourselves. Jesus will enable us to persevere at all costs.

Focus not so much on who has yet to be reached as Who is reaching out to find the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost sons.

Fix your eyes on Jesus. Do not look elsewhere. When Jesus fills your vision, you will see everyone in a different light. You will see the lonely in light of their need of the Friend of Sinners.

Look to the Healer, so that when poor health attacks you or those you serve, you will have authority to drive out sickness and be whole for the harvest. He will heal. He will help. He is your Hero.

Jesus does not stand far off, so focusing on him does not require a telescope.
Jesus is not insignificant, so focusing on him does not require a microscope to analyze.
Jesus is near you. He is in your heart and in your mouth. Jesus is waiting to burst forth as the one recognized by your soul as Lord
We focus on Jesus by confessing Him in every situation and every circumstance.

Perhaps you know a neighbor who does not attend a worship service. Will you be so full of worship that when you meet him, he will enter the presence of God?

Perhaps you know an immigrant who has traveled far to find a better life. Will you be so full of the Life of God that you can share the Best Life with them?

Perhaps you have an enemy who mistreats and abuses you. Will you draw so close to the wounds of Christ that when you suffer, you will suffer with Christ and will with Christ forgive the bitter soul?

Friend, fix your eyes on Jesus. Fix your heart on Jesus. Let Him fix you and let Him rearrange your life so that all is lived for the Kingdom of God.

Categories: God, Good News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cutting Words – Healing Hearts

Crushed, disappointed, insulted, rejected? ... Press on. There is more in store. Cry out to God for the promise to come.

Crushed, disappointed, insulted, rejected? … Press on. There is more in store. Cry out to God for the promise to come.

This post is dedicated to a young woman I spoke with recently, and to all who self-injure &/or have suicidal thoughts.

Sometimes in this world, people both old and young say things that are mean-spirited. Sometimes they say them simply to make themselves look good. It can hurt even worse when they say things just to hurt someone else. Either way, those words which expose how far short of perfection a girl or boy falls often lead to feelings of shame, loneliness, and hopelessness.

“Will anyone love me just for me? Does anyone really care about me? I want to be beautiful / handsome. I want to be strong / elegant. I want to be liked and appreciated. Instead my face is rubbed in the dirt.”

Sometimes fellow students tear down the weaker ones. It is after all easier to pick on those who won’t fight back.

Sometimes parents expect a cool perfection from their children. It is after all parents’ job to help their kids grow up to face the realities of the harsh world.

Sometimes bosses or co-workers can pressure a struggling worker to perform beyond capacity or even perform more than everyone else.

Sometimes other authorities can put pressure on those under their charge. NOTHING WE DO IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH, cries the hurting heart.

There are two most common ways to respond: In anger: lashing out at those who insult. In self-loathing, listening to all those voices that expose imperfection.

Imperfections that make us feel ashamed, can also add unique dignity to each of us. They are like the freckles that
Natasha Bedingfield sings about:

This reminds me of Jesus: sometimes people of His day talked about Him because He didn’t wash His hands. Sometimes people insulted Him because He was so confident that He had a special relationship with God. They hated Him because He worked long hours and healed the hurting and forgave the seemingly unforgiveable. Jesus forgave anyway.

In 1 John, it says that the spirit of the antichrist denies two things: 1. That Jesus came from God and 2. That Jesus came in the flesh. Taken to logical conclusion, the antichrist spirit denies the deity and humanity of Jesus.

So what? What difference does that make in how the poor kid who gets picked on in school feels?

When somebody treats you like you are not made in the image of God, that is the antichrist at work. If someone is despising you and all that you do, they are not doing the work of God but are serving the devil. Satan tries to get us to regret that we live. God gets us to regret that we have sinned. Lord, have mercy!

When someone treats you like you are not human with human feelings and an ordinary human body with human wants and needs, that is the antichrist at work. The antichrist expects a sterile sanctification. The Spirit of Jesus washes us with water from the Word, the Word of God. Lord, thank you!

And God’s word says, He loved us enough to send His own Son to cover over ALL our imperfections, sins, shame, and flaws. That is why Jesus was scarred on the cross and on the way to the cross was beaten and tortured, so that you and I could hold our heads up in dignity when the world, our old flesh, and the devil conspire to make us feel like we are useless and unwanted. He set aside heaven’s arms so that we could lift up holy hands and praise Him.

If people tell you that you are good for nothing and dirty: First, clean up if you are dirty. Second, be glad that you are clean in God’s sight. Third, forgive the people who have such dirty hearts that all they can see is filth.

If your own mind tells you that you are unloveable: First, separate the truth from the lie. While love is never “deserved,” anyone can be loved. God loves the least, the lost, the last. God loves you. Second, read promises in the Bible about how the Lord’s purpose is to bless and not curse. Third, receive God’s forgiveness for all your faults. He delights in you and rejoices over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

We need to realize who is the source of all these accusations though: it is the devil, satan, that old serpent, the dragon. Satan hates you. God, however, loves you and delights in you. If you have persevered in reading this, I believe God is calling you to a deeper knowledge of His mercy. Consider reading a chapter from the Proverbs and a chapter from the Gospels every day. Or, develop your own plan for reading through the whole Bible in a year … and stick to it. God will speak to you in new and amazing ways. The lies of the devil will fade.

Maybe you are married and your spouse hates you and you feel miserable and you feel like giving up: Let me encourage you to keep loving and keep forgiving. God has a prize for those who persevere in marriage.

Maybe you feel lonely because all your fellow students or co-workers seem to despise you and ignore you or trip you up: Let me encourage you that you are special in God’s eyes. What you are learning is something teachers can’t teach you. You are learning what Jesus taught us, to love your enemeies. Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up: your work will be rewarded by the one who supervises all bosses and you are storing up for yourself a retirement that is out of the world.

God loves you. Jesus proves it. Live.

Now, about those who tear you down, how do you deal with them?

I must be 100% honest here: I am far from perfect. When I was a teenager, I picked on other students. Then, one day, a classmate I was picking on, told me off. They responded and told me to shut up, I was getting on their nerves. Maybe I was more sensitive than some bullies, but I don’t think so. When they talked back and said, “Shut up, it’s not nice, I’m not all that bad, you don’t have your facts straight.” I shut my mouth. I stopped insulting. Later, the Lord would fill my heart with Love, with the Holy Spirit as I started to regularly read the Bible and pray for the Lord to teach me how to love. God changed me.

Life is not easier for me, it is harder. But that is OK. It was not easy for Jesus, and He is with me when I face insults and injury, hospitalizations and hatred.

If you care to contact me, write to: MertAKA -at- everybody .ORG

Mert Hershberger

Categories: Suffering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redeeming the Time – Making the Most of the Moment

In Ephesians, we are exhorted to buy back the time, or as the Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it: “making the most of the time, since the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16);CEV;HCSB;MSG;NIV

Life is not to be wasted: no frittering away time with cheap sins and silly chatter. Get to the Good News.

This need not be boring. Is God boring? Is God bored? God is interested in your life and thinks about your life all the time. Are you boring? God is constantly supervising a universe that could easily implode were it not for the fact that He sustains the constants and restrains evil.

God is active is redeeming people today. Are you?

Are you redeemed? Are you out of the slave market, or are you always looking for another dollar and another way to serve yourself? Are you confused by all the options that the modern world offers you? OR … Are you free to serve the Living God?

Jesus is calling sinners to repentance. Are you calling sinners to repentance? There are two options, sin or repent and call sinners to repentance. If you think there is such a thing as holy selfishness, you are wrong. If you want to draw near the Lord, labor to share His Name with others. It is not a heavy load.

Jesus is the root of all joy. So when you share Jesus, you are sharing joy. If someone rejects joy by rejecting Jesus, you can keep your joy because you are being honored by suffering the same rejection that they gave to the prophets. If your message of joy in Jesus is received, you have the joy of sharing the Love of your life with another and growing the family of God.

If you receive Jesus as your joy, all of heaven rejoices with you and you will probably want to share Jesus with others.

Are you happy? Are you joyful? Jesus likes it when you look to Him and when your eyes meet His in the secret place, He will smile at you. The smile of King Jesus will give you LIFE!! Oh, friend, don’t look to your own resources. Look to Jesus. Don’t waste your life on lesser things. Let every little detail of your life serve to glorify God.

If you are a carpenter, build up the Kingdom. If you are a plumber, drain away the old ways. If you are a doctor, bring healing. If you are a government employee, admininister justice with mercy. If you are a missionary, go in the power of the Lord and help others find peace with God.

You say, Oh, but you don’t know how much I have to do each day!

Let God help you through the day and you will find your load lighter.

You say, Oh, but you don’t know how much I have sinned and how far I am from God’s mercy!

Did you know that you cannot escape God’s mercy in this life. Seek Him while He may be found. Cry out for His help! He will come to you in a moment.

Do you not understand?

Pray for wisdom.

Are you sick?

Pray for healing.


Jesus loves you.

Every moment, focus on the work God is calling you to do. In those slow times, pray for others or simply thank Jesus that you have found rest for your soul.

My heart is happy because I got to talk to someone about Jesus today. This is my mission in life: to talk to people about Jesus and to listen to God’s heart about those I see. He loves people. So I usually have something to talk to Him about. I must confess, sometimes, I find it hard to be quiet, so I will go do that now: be still and know that He is God. He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth.

Categories: Evangelism, Good News, Prayer, Revival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayers for Henry Beaudine

Written June 15, 2013
“I was not there today;
But, God, give grace that’s gain.
His valve should have no hole
so that his heart is full.
That wounds would heal and mend;
His blood should flow again.
That pains would go. Amen.”

Post Script:
June 25, 2013
I received a report last night that my nephew is eating much better. He may eventually catch up with his weight. God is clearly at work. All praise to His name.

Categories: Poem, Prayer, Suffering | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Angela’s Aspirations

“God, steal the nails of rust within my heart.”

I wonder why God saves and heals
… perhaps because He works our weal.
I wonder why faith flounders, fails
… perhaps my flesh is weak and ails.
But when my heart’s aflame with trust
Then God does what He said He must:
The Lord comes near, reveals …
Christ frees us from our jails,
and lifts us from prayer’s hush.
I still my hurt
and wounded heart
in Him.

Psalm 46:10a

Categories: Poem, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rewards of Hard Work

Mert at work.

Mert at work.

I work in a community mental health agency. I invest time in it and expend effort, so it is work.

I got the position through many hard life experiences and continue in the job through hours in the office and with folks I serve. Sometimes saddened by the choices people make.

BUT, the longer I continue in this, the more I am finding that some people are willing to make good decisions. While reasonable pay is one kind of reward, seeing lives change for the better is an even more rewarding aspect of the work.

Here is an overview of my work & its rewards:

Peer support helps healing process

A couple years ago my son, Merton Hershberger, began working at a community mental health agency as a peer support counselor. He recently described to me the physical benefits as well as the financial benefits already seen in this pilot program.

From the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s, across the country, governments were setting up community mental health agencies (CMHs). While for some it was an improvement over asylums, for others, it simply meant a change in residence. It did not end the fact of their diagnosis with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depression), chronic depression, anxiety or some other host of problems.

In fact, recent studies have shown that people who receive services through CMHs die, on average, 25 years younger than the rest of the population. There are several factors: people with serious mental health challenges are more likely to be obese, smoke and abuse alcohol, aside from a higher rate of suicide. Poor mental health tends to lead to a lack of ability to focus on other areas of health.

As this fact came to the surface and the startling barriers to recovery were faced, beginning in 2009, federal grants to facilitate integrated health in these CMHs were given.

Washtenaw County in Michigan is the home of a forensic psychiatric hospital, three inpatient psychiatric hospitals and a Community Mental Health Agency, along with a couple of schools for social work and graduate psychology and psychiatry programs. It is a great place to get sick if you have a mental illness.

However, people with a mental illnesses tend to die younger and that is not so great as was underscored with the recent news that another agency client died. My job is to help reverse those trends, and we are seeing SOME progress.

Michigan is a national leader in equipping those with a history of mental illness to give back by opening the door of employment for those who are further along the road to recovery to share their lives and stories and hope with others.

For several years, the CMH in Washtenaw County has had an Integrated Health program which sought to address chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and respiratory disease (often caused by smoking), as well as prevention and now substance abuse. While there are other issues that have been addressed, these are what helped lay the foundation of a bridge from mental illness to creating a medical home and giving broader access to mental health services.

We are finding that as we engage with clients on a personal basis, whether our role is as a nurse, dietitian, nurse practitioner or peer, people are recovering.

Sometimes people are hard to reach or will not return phone calls, but those who respond to our interaction are more likely to get better as they walk with us on the road to recovery.

I have seen people become more active physically in taking walks, working and biking. I have seen people make reductions in their smoking habits and choose healthier diets and lose weight. I have even seen one fellow get to the point where he no longer needed diabetic medication. Another is frequenting the hospital far less and visiting the doctor and making safer, healthier decisions that have led to weight loss and greater involvement in the community. Another has become a deacon in his church and said he feels better now than ever before.

Clients are being hospitalized less frequently and, consequently, they are using fewer government dollars. So while it did require some initial government aid, in the end, it is costing less. The investment in health is paying off.

There is no magic formula. We cannot mass produce this. While we teach classes, this is not where the most change happens. Statistically, when we give personal attention to those who are most vulnerable, they get better.

Whether we as peers are taking folks to food banks to get enough food or walking with them through the park, or just hearing them recount their series of medical dilemmas and going to appointments to advocate for them, people are realizing that they count. Their lives and their choices matter. Those we serve are coming to value themselves and their role in the community.

We are also connecting people to new resources and information so that they can improve their own health and wellness. We are helping them access their own medical records so that they can take even more personal ownership of their health.

Some peers focus on helping people get free of addictions. There is also a registered dietitian who works with clients to create meal plans and to guide in managing diabetes and weight. A nurse practitioner sees clients without insurance for non-emergent concerns. Nurse case managers educate and assist clients with a wide range of appointments and medical concerns.

The team provides an extra set of eyes and ears for the case managers. When they are unaware of what is going on, we let them know.

The purpose of the team reminds me of another team assembled by a wise leader. He sent them out two by two to heal the sick and remove the spirits which would afflict. He also said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In walking with them, He showed the way. Indeed, He is the Way, and He walks among us still.

(Writing with her son, Merton, Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times. E-mail her at

Categories: Peer support | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pray for all saints & souls at all times.

I remember a time a dear brother who worked in a retail health food store in a church I was pastoring requested prayer for his back. He had been my first employer upon my return to Arkansas and I worked at the health food store for a year. I think he later recommended me for the church where I pastored for a couple years.

He was the worship leader, but he had back trouble & NOTHING WORKED: chiropractors, expensive mattresses … NOTHING. The elders gathered & prayed. He was healed instantly as we prayed: Matthew 11:28-30, i.e. taking up the yoke of Jesus and finding rest.

That dear brother, my former boss, is now leading 3 thrift shops that serve a population of redeemed prisoners in Mississippi. God has promoted him from his own business, to the Father’s business.

This Holiday Season, do not be timid to pray for the saints with all kinds of prayers at all times. Who knows, they may be the one to win the people you love and who need love the most.

Categories: Cross, Prayer, Rest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at