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Gray head

Proverbs 20:29 – “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.”

Yesterday, I had a patient that was a young teenager in Munich during World War II. I had a million questions to ask her, but since it was our initial meeting, I kept them to a minimum. 

As I was laying in bed last night thinking and praying about my day, many of the people I have treated in the past came back to my memory. I saw their faces. I remembered their story. I remembered our story. It made me smile. 

I have been so blessed to have had so many truly amazing and history filled people in my life. I treated a man who survived the beaches of Normandy. I have treated people who have overcome significant medical incidents. I have treated many completely ordinary people with extraordinary personalities – beautiful souls with hearts to share. I have treated people who have challenged me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have cried in the bathroom because they passed away. I have listened to them cry and have laughed profusely with them. I have been there when they did something they never thought they could do. 

So as I was thinking about all of this, this verse came to my mind. The thing that I have right here and right now is my strength. Oh, I’m not ready to compete in any competitions but I can hold my own, so to speak. But I try to be strong emotionally and spiritually too. Sometimes people need that just as much as they need my physical strength. I do this because one day, I will be the gray head. I will be the one telling stories and crying with some poor soul that has to try and teach me how to get in and out of bed. Truly, I hope the Lord comes back before then. But if He delays, I know He will send me someone like me to laugh and cry with. 

My point is this, our aging population is vitally important. They have so much to offer. We can’t neglect or forget about them. They need love and compassion and respect. God has them here to teach us and nurture us and love us in a way that we don’t yet comprehend. So reach out to that person that is struggling to get their groceries in the car. Reach out to that neighbor who can’t easily bring in their garbage cans. Take some time to listen to their stories and hear the desires of their heart. God has them here for you. Love them. Happy Friday. 

Family Devotions

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

One of the things we have been doing every night since we have been on vacation is have family devotions. Each night, one of us has done a devotion, including the kids. 

And let me tell you, hearing my children read from the Word and expound upon what they have read and tell everyone of us what it means to them, well, my heart is full. 

The insight they have floors me. They have done such a good job at bringing in what we have seen and done with the verses God has laid on their heart. 

It has been a bit of a challenge for them. They have never done anything like that before. They have never really spoken in this manner. But it is good for them. They are learning to share God in a whole new way. 

It is my prayer that they will remember not only the beauty they have seen and the laughs we have shared, but that these family devotions will be a part of the treasures that they have stored up in their hearts. And it is also my prayer that they continue to fight the good fight and that Christ will always be their Leader. Happy Monday. 

The never-ending sausage

Matthew 14:15-20 – “And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.”

My niece (1st grade) and two nephews ( 3rd & 4th grade) were visiting us yesterday. And as we sat at the table having lunch, somehow the discussion turned to a never ending piece of sausage. Yes, I promise, we were talking about a never-ending sausage link. 

And that opened the door for me to say something about Jesus feeding the 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. My one nephew said, “I always thought He just gave them a tiny little bite,” as he held his fingers super close together. And I reminded him, “Nope. The Bible tells us that they were all filled up AND had 12 baskets of food leftover!” He had never really stopped to think about that before. 

These are Bible stories that we have heard all of our life and sometimes we fail to appreciate the magnificence in them. Jesus showed Himself as God that day. Nothing could contain His power. Nothing could stop His provision in these people’s life. 

And the cool thing is, He is still wanting to do that very thing in our life – He wants to provide and love and care for us. We just have to let Him. 

So the next time the discussion at the dinner table turns to a never-ending piece of sausage, remember – there’s a Bible story for that too! Always look for any and all opportunities to teach someone about Who He is!

Revisit – Good Monday MorningĀ 

This was posted July 27, 2015. It made me chuckle because it is as true today as it was then. Enjoy. 

Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Good Monday morning. 
I just returned home from visiting family this last week. We had a long drive yesterday and I really didn’t get much sleep while traveling. So, this morning I was stumbling around my kitchen trying to remember how to make coffee and put away a few things, when I dropped a can of root beer. It goes to spewing all over their floor. I tried to put my finger over the hole enough to get it to the sink. This worked somewhat but not enough to save me from having to spot mop the floor. 
Good Monday morning. 
What does this have to do with walking through the shadow of death you might ask? Perspective and attitude. Surprisingly, I handled the situation quite well. No harsh words uttered. No bad thoughts passing through my brain. Just “well, I have to clean this up.” Maybe it’s because I’m so tired that I can’t muster up the energy to get mad. Maybe though, God used this moment to remind me that it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how I choose to respond to it. And I feel like I chose well. “Very good, young patawon!” (I told you I’m not quite all here this morning!)
Good Monday morning. 
Let me encourage you today to let it roll. Let perspective and attitude be what keeps you afloat today. Don’t let Satan drag you down with mishaps and upsets. Show him that God is on your side by choosing to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with no fear. 

The Power of a Gift

Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”

Gifts. We all love them. We love do-dads and widgets and practical things and things to eat – it doesn’t matter; we love gifts!

But as I was reading in my Bible yesterday, God laid it on my heart to further explore the word “gift”. 

Here in Ephesians, the word for “gift” means a sacrificial present. In other words, the gift cost something extreme. We all know that that cost for salvation was – God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. 

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Here, the word for “gift” means a spiritual endowment. An endowment is something given without expectation of return in payment but does come with the expectation that the receiver will utilize and work with what is given for a determined end. You receive wages for the work that you do. You receive an endowment with the expectation that work will follow to accomplish some goal. Death is the wages for working at a sinful life without Christ. Eternal life is the expected outcome from the free gift of salvation. 

The free gift of salvation is not something to put on a shelf and look at from time to time. No, the free gift of salvation should be seen more in the light of receiving a major appliance as a gift. When someone you know gives you a stove as a gift, you don’t put it in your kitchen and look at it. You use it. You feed your family with it. You make food for others on it. You provide comfort and assurity with it. Looking at it gets nothing done. Looking at our salvation does nothing to advance the will of God that all men should come to Him for salvation and thus eternal life. We need to use it. We need to share its’ blessings. We need to tell other people how to receive such a magnificent gift. 

So today, get out there and share your gift. It wasn’t given to you to make you look pretty. It wasn’t given to you to beat someone over the head with it. It was given to you to multiple and grow. It was given to you to bring others to Him. Be nice – share. 

New Year, New Mantra

Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Let Him be seen in 2017. 

So yesterday at church, we were talking about a mantra for the year – a phrase to sum up what we, as a local New Testament church, want to achieve this year. Well, a couple of us came up with this phrase – Let Him be seen in 2017. 

Why did God lay this upon our hearts?

We need to let Him be seen in our life. We need to stop hindering Him. We need to take the spotlight off our own selfish desires and allow Christ to shine in and through us. 

We also need to pray for His immenit return. It is coming soon. We need to be asking that He hasten it. That’s kind of a scary thing to pray for – it means I need to be ready. That’s a blog post for another day. 

So what do these concepts have to do with the verses above?

We won’t let Him be seen in our life if we don’t trust Him completely. We have to reject our own thoughts and ideas for our future and fully rely upon Him. That’s tough as well. That means giving up what you think is right and believing that Someone you can’t see is fully in control. We are a tactile society. We like to see and touch things in order to make them real. I can touch and feel my Bible. But I have to believe in my heart that it truly is His Word to me. And I do. That is how I touch Jesus, for now. But I trust Him. And as much as I trust Him, I want to trust Him more. I want to give over more control. I want to see Him do more in my life. But that means I have to get out of the way. 

That means that I have to acknowledge Him more. As John said in John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  I need to acknowledge Him more and me less. 

Let Him be seen in 2017. 

So here is the challenge for the year – choose to show others Him instead of you. Because when they see more of you, they see more of what makes You unrighteous in His eyes. But when they see Him, they see the potential for love and grace and mercy that He extends to every man, woman, boy and girl. 

The Encourager

Deuteronomy 3:28 – “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”

Encouragement. We all need a good, hefty dose now and then. We need someone to come alongside of us, wrap their arm around our shoulder and hear those words, “It’s okay. You got this.”

Too often, however, sometimes I find myself looking at that encourager and laughing at them. I want to say, “Seriously? Do you SEE what I’m up against?”  I don’t allow the one trying to lift me up to do so. Whatever good they are trying to build up within me, I’m tearing down just as fast as they build. 

Why? Why is that? Why do we reject emotional and spiritual and, sometimes, physical encouragement? 

Pride. “I don’t need no body’s help!” (Yes, I know it’s horrible grammar but it paints a more realistic picture. Work with me here!)

Pride is a horrible, ugly monster that creeps out of us at the most yucky of times. Here we are, wallowing in the mud and someone offers a hand to help and we push it away by trying to convince them it’s a spa treatment and we like it. When in truth, we are bawling our eyes out on the inside. We want their help but pride keeps us from accepting it. 

In these verses, God is telling Moses to go and have a few words with Joshua to build him up. He needs to be encouraged. He’s about to take over as leader of the children of Israel. I underlined “children” because that’s how they acted most of the time. You know, kinda like us…..

Joshua needed all the encouragement he could get. And know what? He took it. He gobbled it up like a Thanksgiving turkey! He knew he needed all the wisdom and encouragement Moses was willing to offer. 

We can learn a lot for Joshua. When someone tries to encourage you, take it. Gobble it up! Don’t be stubborn about it. Don’t try to be all cool about it. Take it in! God knows something you don’t know and He is using that encourager to get to you and build you up. 

Listen. Listen well. God is speaking. He wants you to hear.