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By SMH Webmaster on 9/26/2016 2:07 PM
“In as much as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

As our boat speeds along the Amazon River, I am somewhat melancholic.  We are going home after spending a week providing surgical and medical care to almost 1700 patients.  They came to us from the villages along the Amazon River and from in and around the cities of Iquitos and Pucallpa in Peru.  It was a privilege to be here and to provide some help and relief to those who do not have access to healthcare, mostly because they simply cannot afford it.  But as we head home, I wrestle with the thought that there is still so much to do. 
By SMH Webmaster on 9/19/2016 8:24 AM
“When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.”  Luke 1:12

Dictionary.com defines fear as: “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.”  The Greek word in the Bible verse above, phobus, from which we get our English, phobia, is derived from a root word which means, to be put in fear, suggesting that Zechariah was made fearful by something external.  
By SMH Webmaster on 9/12/2016 11:02 AM
“Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,” 1 Chronicles 16:12 NIV

This Psalm (or song) of David encourages us to remember some specific things about our relationship with God.  The word remember, occurs 166 times in the New International Version of the Bible and many of those instances instruct us to be intentional about remembering.  E. G. White counsels, “We have nothing to fear for the future except we should forget how God has led us in the past.”  People tend to forget as time passes unless they are deliberate about remembering.  This counsel, like David’s call to remember, not only encourages us to recall past events but to also and even more importantly, to recall the presence and power of a miracle working God during those events. 

By SMH Webmaster on 9/6/2016 10:20 AM
“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” Luke 1:13 KJV 

Have you ever felt forgotten or overlooked?  I imagine that this elderly couple experienced these feeling, among many others.  It hadn’t always been this way.  They were young and hopeful once.  They were newlyweds with hopes of making a home together and starting a family.  They were optimistic about seeing the promises of the prophets fulfilled in their lifetime, like the promise of Jeremiah about prosperity and hope and a future and the promise of the coming Messiah.  They had prayed and believed for these things.  But they were old now and there were no children and Messiah had not come.
By SMH Webmaster on 8/29/2016 9:11 PM
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NKJV When I looked at the calendar hanging on my kitchen wall, I noticed that today was not designated any special significance.  It was just another Monday.  Wanting to be sure I wasn’t missing anything important, I referred to my friends at Google.  Today has been set aside for a couple of important awareness foci, such as, National Sarcoidosis Day and International Day Against Nuclear Tests.  In addition, there are some trivial observances such as, Lemon Juice Day, National Swiss Winegrowers Day and Motorist Consideration Monday (this one should be an everyday observance).  I’m sure that today is someone’s birthday or anniversary, but no national holidays. Mondays are not popular days.  It’s the end of the weekend.  It’s the start of the work week.  Songs have been written about Monday.  In 1966, The Mamas & the Pappas sang, “Every other day of the week is fine, but whenever Monday comes you’ll find me crying all of the...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/22/2016 11:48 AM
“And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews' children.” Exodus 2:6 NKJV The story of Moses begins with an act of compassion from one least expected to be compassionate. Pharaoh had ordered the slaughter of every male infant in Egypt and when Moses’ mother could no longer hide him, she entrusted him into God’s care through, what might appear to some, a reckless, desperate act.  She set him adrift in a basket on the Nile River. It happened that the daughter of the Pharaoh came upon the basket while she was bathing in the river and reacted to the child’s cry with an act of compassion that would change the course of history.  While her father’s fear of the numerical strength of the enslaved Hebrews led him to resort to infanticide as a population management initiative, her compassion for one of those helpless innocents led her to save him from certain death on the river.  While the hardness of his heart led him to murder, the softness of her heart led her to show mercy....
By SMH Webmaster on 8/19/2016 4:03 PM
Each month I teach a class at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) called “Babies Don’t Bark.” The name might make you laugh, but this class is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your baby if you or another caregiver have a dog at home. Dogs and children can have wonderful relationships, but there are also many examples of things that can go terribly wrong when babies are brought into a home with a dog. By taking this class and doing some basic prep work, you’ll ensure your real baby and your fur baby will get along seamlessly. 
By SMH Webmaster on 8/16/2016 1:48 PM
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the son of God,” Daniel 3:25 NKJV. It is one of the most well-known and frequently told Bible stories.  It ranks right up there with David and Goliath and is found in the third chapter of Daniel.  It’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, sometimes called, “the three Hebrew boys.”  The nation of Judah had been conquered by the Babylonians and among the first wave of those taken captive were these three young men.  God had shown them favor and they had been privileged to work in the service of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.  A typical practice of that time and culture was that the religion of the king was the religion of the people and in some cases, it was enforced under penalty of death.  This king decided he would test the loyalty of his people by demanding that all subjects pay homage to a ninety-foot-tall golden image.  Anyone who failed to do so would...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/8/2016 9:13 AM
“When Jesus heard of it he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities,” Matthew 14:13 KJV. Herod, the Roman governor of Judea, had earlier arrested John the Baptist in an attempt to silence his criticism of him.  It would seem that Herod just wanted get him off the streets and out of the way for a while, but through the duplicity of his wife and step daughter and while under the influence of alcohol, he had been manipulated into putting John to death, a decision that caused him much emotional turmoil.  Guilt and fear can do strange things to the mind.  Paranoia has a way of distorting the facts and in Herod’s case, when he heard of the miracles and teachings of Jesus, he imagined that John the Baptist had returned from the dead and he became fearful of what consequences he might have to face.  When word of Herod’s mental state reached Jesus, he decided to take some time to think and pray so he departed by boat to a remote...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/5/2016 11:37 AM
“Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.” Nehemiah 1:6 KJV Nehemiah was among the Jews who had remained in Persia after many of his kinsmen had returned to Jerusalem when the Babylonian captivity had ended.  He was now in service to the King of Persia as his cupbearer.  In this role, not only was he constantly in the presence of the king, but it was his responsibility to taste the king’s food and drink to ensure that it was not poisoned.  Nehemiah put his life on the line every single day to preserve the life of the king.  At first I thought this was a position of forced servitude but further reading suggests that Nehemiah counted this position an honor. When Nehemiah learned of the living conditions of his people in Jerusalem, his ancestral...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/25/2016 7:54 AM
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3 KJV   King David is credited with the writing of this Psalm while he was being held prisoner by the Philistines.  It was a situation that caused him to be fearful, after all, David had killed Goliath, their champion and routed the Philistine army many years earlier and this looked a lot like an opportunity to avenge their champion and restore Philistine pride.  The Hebrew word translated afraid in this verse is rendered, fear 188 times, afraid 78 times and terrible or terrible thing 29 times in the King James Version of the Bible.  David was not just a little nervous here.  He was afraid for his life.   Fear was not a new emotion for David.  He knew it as a shepherd when he single-handedly fought lions and bears to protect the flock.  He knew it as a youth when he faced the giant, Goliath on the battle field and he knew it when he was hunted by a jealous and enraged King Saul.  The lessons for us in this passage is twofold.  Firstly, fear is not a unique...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/18/2016 7:48 AM
 “…seek peace pursue it.” Psalm 34:14b “If I could just get some peace…!”  It’s the harried cry of a busy mother with no time for herself.  It’s the stressed out response of the busy professional starting the next big project with all of the other demands still snapping at his heels.  It’s the cry of the chronically ill patient who can see no end to their suffering.  It’s the desperate plea of the financially overextended as they look at the ringing telephone knowing instinctively that it’s another harassing call from a debt collector and it’s in the nocturnal tears of someone in a volatile and complex relationship. One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 34.  I love the way that it shows God present, interested and active in the lives of hurting people.  Verse twelve poses the question; who wants a good long life?  The answer that follows includes some restrictive imperatives.  Don’t speak evil, don’t tell lies and don’t do evil things to people but the second part of verse fourteen says what we must do to have...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/5/2016 10:59 AM
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Mathew 5:14-16 NKJV   Jesus makes a bold statement declaring that his followers are the light of the world.  It is also a great compliment because it associates his followers with him.  He declared himself to be the light of the world, promising if any believed in him they would not walk in darkness.  The verse above states that those who are the light of the world have a responsibility to illuminate the world around them. T.D. Jakes states in one of his sermons that light is disruptive, it disrupts darkness.  Darkness can no longer be the same when light is present.  The light that lit the house in Jesus day was a simple oil lamp that produced about as much light as a candle.  When lit, it was placed on a lampstand that allowed more light to fill the room....
By SMH Webmaster on 6/29/2016 9:26 AM
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3 KJV Nature begins each day with worship.  The sun gradually climbs up from below the horizon, its light gently breaking upon the earth.  With every passing second, its brightness increases, coloring the sky with a thousand different hues.  Brighter and brighter it grows, as if directed by a celestial conductor, directing it into a magnificent crescendo until it burns in its fullness, emitting heat and light, declaring, as the Psalmist says in 19:1, “the Glory of God.” The birds begin their morning with a song, quietly at first, then one by one as they awake, each adds its own part to the morning composition, which brand new, makes its debut performance each and every day.  The sound of their chorus clings to the air and is carried on the wind, a morning worship song to their creator. The Psalmist joins in the song of nature by raising his voice in the morning so that his morning...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/20/2016 3:26 PM
 “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31   In 1979, Bo Derek and Dudley Moore co-starred in the romantic comedy, “10”.  A story about composer-playwright in mid-life, pursuing the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, described as an eleven on a scale of ten. Ten is the sought after, perfect score pursued by “Dancing with the Stars” contestants.  Cosmetic companies market products that promise but never deliver, perfect skin.  Imperfect parents want perfect kids with perfect teeth and perfect GPA’s.  What is it about human beings and our quest for perfection?  Is perfection the standard?   The Bible says that God took six days to create the earth and at the end of day’s one through five, as he reviewed the day’s work he declared it, “good.”  On the last day of creation as God reviewed all that he had made, including living creatures and human beings, the Bible says it was, “very good”.  The earth was fresh from...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/13/2016 3:25 PM
“But we had to celebrate and rejoice because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32   Jesus told three stories for this parable.  The first is a story about a lost sheep, the second about a lost coin and the third about a lost son.  The stories are tied together by two common threads; we demonstrate the value of that which is lost by the lengths to which we will go to recover it.  The second thread is that we demonstrate the value of what was lost by the enthusiasm with which we celebrate its restoration.   The shepherd left his ninety-nine other sheep safely in the fold and went in search of the one lost sheep.  The woman turned on the lights and swept the whole house, moving everything until she found the lost coin.  The boy’s father constantly looked for his son, hoping every day, that he would come home again.   How did the sheep, coin and boy get lost?  One of the characteristics of sheep is that they are prone to wander off.  Sometimes it is because...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/6/2016 10:44 AM
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:25   Life can often seem unfair.  When for example, you have practiced a healthy lifestyle, you’ve never smoked, you’ve exercised regularly, managed your diet well, the only time you ever drank alcohol, was a sip of champagne at a wedding and now, at sixty years old, you’ve developed colon cancer.  Life can seem unfair when your promising high school student is about to graduate at the top of her class with offers of full scholarships from three universities, but she is found dead under suspicious circumstances.   At times like these, when things go badly or seem terribly unfair when you know you have done the right thing.  When you think God should have taken better care of you because, you’ve been good, and it seems like he doesn’t, what do you do?    If you are anything like me, the temptation is to complain to God and ask, ”Why me?” or “Why this?”   The account of Paul and Silas imprisoned for preaching the Gospel seems like one of those times.  They have both sacrificed, left their families at home and experienced hardships and ridicule.  They have been beaten, mocked and stoned, all because they have chosen to follow Jesus.  Now, as if to add insult to injury, they are arrested and imprisoned and are awaiting possible execution.  What do we find them doing?  Singing and praising God, loudly enough for the entire prison to hear them.  What is really significant is that they do not appear to be worshiping in the hope that they will be released, they are worshiping just because they love God....
By SMH Webmaster on 5/31/2016 11:14 AM
“He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.” Luke 13:6 (NKJV) Parables are stories or illustrations from which the hearer can extract meaning and direction that have the power to transform destiny. When Jesus used a parable, and he did so quite often, he did not always explain its meaning. Instead, he often left it to his hearers to figure out what it meant for them. The fig tree in this parable grew in a protected environment, a vineyard.  Here it received the best of the gardener’s attention and resources. It had every advantage to grow and to do that for which it was created, produce figs. After having been the recipient of all this attention, this particular fig tree had failed to yield a crop for three consecutive years. It looked like it could produce fruit. Its foliage was green and lush. It had produced fragrant and abundant blossoms, the promise of fruit, but somehow the promise was never fulfilled. After having...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/23/2016 8:47 AM
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,” John 17:21 NIV   The most famous prayer that Jesus prayed is known as the Lord’s Prayer, some refer to it as, the Our Father. It’s a prayer that most of us have prayed since we were children and for many, it provides a structure or framework for our prayers.  It begins with worship, then moves to submission of our will to his.  Then there are a series of requests, for our daily needs to be supplied, for his forgiveness and for the spirit of forgiveness to be in us, for victory over temptation and finally for deliverance from evil of ever kind. Then it closes with worship and adoration that acknowledges God’s dominion, power and glory.   There is another lesser known prayer yet interestingly, it the longest prayer that Jesus prayed. Recorded in John’s Gospel chapter seventeen, it is a special prayer for three reasons: who is praying, who is being prayed for and what is being requested. First of all who...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/16/2016 8:20 AM
Elijah, a mighty prophet of God, was called upon by God to deliver the bad news to Ahab, king of Israel, that there was going to be a three year drought because the people had turned away from God and were worshiping the gods of the surrounding nations.  God made provision for the prophet by sending him to live in a ravine east of the River Jordan where he would have water to drink from a brook and where the ravens, at God’s command, would bring him meat and bread daily.   After some time the brook dried up and God sent the prophet to a poor widow in Zarephath whom he was told would provide for him until the drought was over. When he met her she was in the midst of preparing a last meal for her and her son.  The story goes that the prophet asked her to make him a meal first and assured her if she did so, the little provision that she had would last until the drought was over.  She trusted him and somehow there was always enough for her to make one more meal for them every day until the drought ended.   It seems that God sometimes has strange ways of meeting his children’s needs.  He sent ravens to bring a daily supply of meat and bread to his prophet.  He allows a brook the only source of water to dry up, he sent the prophet to a poor woman who had so little she thought she and her son were going to die after they ate their last meal....
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Shawnee Mission Medical Center
9100 West 74th Street
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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913-676-2000
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23401 Prairie Star Parkway
Lenexa, Kansas 66227
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