Excellent Health

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I recently had my yearly check-up (which I try to stretch into two years!) and was asked to rate my health: excellent, good, fair, or poor. Hmm. It’s hard to give myself excellent in anything—that’s just how I’m wired, but as I talked with the nurse she assured me that it was OK! Then, after my exam, the doctor said that I was in excellent health! Really? Excellent? Well…

My biggest problem is my cholesterol at 241. 😦  I’ve struggled with it for the past several years and have been able to bring it down somewhat. I know that the numbers are to be @200, but I REALLY don’t want to be on medication already. So, for the past few months, I’ve worked to take off some weight and am taking Red Yeast Rice. The question is this: Is 241 an acceptable number and how can I say that my health is excellent with high cholesterol. (Oops! That’s two questions!)

Anyway, here are my thoughts: The doctor labeled my health as excellent because of all the other factors: don’t smoke, not diabetic, good eating habits, etc.. Now the question is, where do I go from here? Do I sit back and say, “I’ve made it! Excellent health!” and then stop exercising and eat doughnuts? For me, the report was a great blessing and it has encouraged me to work harder. I’ve hit one goal, so how about five more pounds.  What would that do for my cholesterol? How exciting!

What’s the point? Whether we are ministry leaders, parents, teachers, coaches, or leaders in the community, we need to remember to encourage those who look to us for leadership and example. If we continually say, “Well, it’s just not good enough,” our fellow believers, children, students, team members, etc. will become discouraged.  They may even quit or rebel against our leadership!

What kind of a leader are you? Can you give the truth without crushing the spirit? I believe the reason this scenario spoke so loudly to me is that for the last five or six years I have felt as though my numbers were never good enough.  I wanted to quit and yet I didn’t want to be foolish about my health. Can we look at the whole person and see where they are struggling and encourage them in their Christian walk without excusing sin? I believe we can and the secret ingredient is… the heart. Hmmm, I wonder if that is why “love” is the first attribute mentioned in the list of the fruit of the Spirit?

Tough Love—tough is the adjective, love is the all-important noun (in this case!)

And then there’s one last thought: What good is excellent health if my soul is unregenerate? I may live another 40 years! That would make me 99–29 more years than God prescribed for us in Psalm 90:10:

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

And so…

Having an “excellent” spirit is a hundred times more valuable than physical excellence in this world and the next!

 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalm 14:1

Advertisements

Lessons from an Inchworm

I’m standing at the kitchen sink, watching an inchworm “inch” his way up through space. He’s about seven feet off the ground and has about that much more to go until he reaches the nearest branch. I moved away to do another task and came back in a few minutes surprised at his progress. It seems like a lot of work and if inchworms have abs, they are in six-pack condition! Once again I moved on and when I came back to the sink, he was gone!

Do you ever feel like that little fella—working your way through life, working as hard as you can and seeming to get nowhere? Progress can seem SO slow, especially in our Christian walk. We are a volunteer army, and, sadly, some of the performance approval ratings or faithfulness would earn some of us a pink slip! (Do they even have pink slips anymore?) We don’t see much progress in our walk with the LORD. The Christian walk seems so hard and lonely at times.  Our enemy seems so strong and victorious! Woe is me!

Does that remind you of any great hero in the Bible? Elijah had just seen God rain fire down upon his sacrifice. 450 false prophets were running for their lives, and yet just a threat from the wicked Jezebel and Elijah was on the run asking God to take his life. Perhaps Elijah thought that Jezebel would turn from her lifelong habit of wickedness after seeing the power of God. Maybe he was just plain tired. We don’t know, but we certainly can relate to his heart-weary cry.

Now, we do not have the advantages of seeing God rain fire from heaven, send our lunch via ravens, have angels speak to us and feed us food (which energizes us for forty days!), or witness God’s hand in earthquakes, fire,

and a still small voice. Does that make our God different or in any way weaker? Absolutely not because we serve the same God!!! We “hear” his voice as we read His Word.

TESTIMONY: This past Thursday, I had a Book Talk where I talk about my books. That morning, feeling much like Elijah, I said to my husband, “Ugh! Why can’t I just be a normal housewife?” He wondered the same thing! His life would certainly be easier—no hauling heavy books from place to place, scrambling for his own lunch, watching his wife struggle, etc.

I left him and went to do my devotions. This was the title of one particular devotional: What Will You Do With What You’ve Been Given? The biblical example was taken from Esther!  My first book is a modern-day Esther story! Was God speaking to me? ABSOLUTELY! Was I ready to quit? YOU BET! Will I? NOT UNTIL HE SAYS, “WELL DONE!”

So, as Dory would say, “Keep on swimming!” As Columbus sang in Ron Hamilton’s, Great American Time Machine“Sail on!” As Paul told the Corinthians: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:58

This was our theme verse for our children’s club years ago. FYI, just to help you remember them, here are some motions to make it stick:

Therefore, my beloved brethren (palms out, outward sweeping motion),

 Be ye steadfast (pound fists together for each word),

 unmoveable (slap hands to sides—stand straight like a good soldier!),

 always abounding (big circles with both arms)

 in the work (palms up) of the Lord (point up),

forasmuch as ye know (point to head) that your labor (palms up)

is not in vain (palms down circling in then down in an outward sweeping motion)

in the Lord (same as before but end with a good slap just for emphasis!). 1 Cor. 15:58

Safe Haven for Husbands

michalWhere would that be, a safe haven for husbands? Well… it should be with his wife: Proverbs 31:11

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

The heart of her husband trusteth in her, And he shall have no lack of gain. (ASV)

The heart of her husband has faith in her, and he will have profit in full measure. (BBE: Basic Bible in English)

The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain of need of [dishonest] spoil. (AMPC: Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

There it is! But what does it look like to have a wife in whom he can trust, have faith in, believe or rely upon? Sadly, I can tell you about the opposite from my own experience. 😦 A husband does not feel safe to trust his wife because…

  • She expects the impossible from him. He doesn’t make enough money. She might not say it right out in plain words, but her complaints about not having this or that say it loud and clear.
  • She does not trust his leadership. She questions every decision right down to the salad dressing he chooses! On a bigger scale, she argues with him over major and minor issues presenting possibly the most deadly situation for raising godly, secure children: a divided front!
  • She doesn’t listen to him. He could NEVER share his heart, his hurt, or his struggles in fear that she will either ridicule him, make light of his difficulties, or explain why he’s not thinking right.
  • She WILL NOT FOLLOW. Even though she complains that he doesn’t lead, often it is the outcome of years of failed following on the wife’s part. If you will not follow in the little things, what makes you think he will lead in the difficult places?
  • She does not share his dreams or vision. If he would ever decide to share his ideas, she looks at him with one eyebrow raised. Words are not necessary.

When David brought the ark into Jerusalem, he was excited—very excited and for obvious reasons. His last attempt had ended in failure and the death of Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6, 7). For three months, the ark is housed by Obededom and God blesses him.  Meanwhile, David is getting his heart right and makes preparations to move the ark properly—according to God’s law. His heart is clean and his actions are right. He is…

  • Acting with gladness (2 Sam. 6:12)
  • Offering sacrifices every six steps! (v. 13)
  • Dancing “before the LORD with all his might” (v. 14) [NOTE: The film King David (1985) really gets this scene COMPLETELY wrong! They make his dance to be sensual. There is no place for sensuality in worship and it goes against the grain of David’s character to portray it as such. –just my opinion!)

Michal, David’s wife, looks out the window, sees David “leaping and dancing before the LORD” and she despises him (v. 16). There are so many reasons for her to be out of sorts. Their culture was so different from ours, but her words to David when he comes home to bless his household are classic bitterness.

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! (v. 20)

Will David go to her again? No. His words are caustic and cruel as well. The chapter ends by saying that Michal never has children. She is not even referred to as David’s wife but as the daughter of Saul. How sad!

As wives, we could certainly side with Michal and list a dozen “yes, but he…” We are not married to perfect husbands and our husbands do not have perfect wives, but when trust is gone, the cornerstone of any marriage crumbles!

Love him! Listen to him! If he has not felt safe with you, dear wife, rebuild that trust little by little and watch your marriage flourish! This might be very hard for you depending on your situation, but try it—what do you have to lose? Remember, Beauty and the Beast:

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends
Unexpectedly

Just a little change
Small to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared

Beauty and the beast

Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before and ever just as sure as the sun will rise

Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the beast

Songwriters: Howard Elliott Ashman / Alan Menken

Beauty & The Beast lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

 

Back to School or Back to Knowledge?

sch-supp3-rockwell3

Thou Hast Rejected Knowledge

BY HENRY M. MORRIS, PH.D.  | FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 20

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)

This lament over the ancient apostasy of Israel embodies an agelong principle that surely applies to those nations today that once professed Christianity but are now dominated by humanism. Our own nation is experiencing an awful scourge of moral anarchy among our children and young people, and the reason why is because their parents and grandparents have largely “forgotten the law of thy God.”

America—particularly its intellectual leadership—has “rejected knowledge,” so its people are being “destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This ignorance exists despite an abundance of supposed actual knowledge (i.e., “science”) in our educational institutions, for such facts are almost universally taught in a secular context. Our teachers have forgotten that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Even in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and schools today, there is often too little emphasis on knowledge and too much on experience. Christian faith is not “feeling”; it is a volitional commitment to a true intellectual understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” said Christ (Luke 13:5). The Greek word for “repent” means “change your mind!” One can only believe right if he first thinks right, and this requires true knowledge.

Listen again to Hosea’s warning: “The LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy [i.e., kindness], nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7). HMM

 

The Most Beautiful Sight (AKA When Satan trembles!)

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

This week at our Mom’s Morning, several of the young mothers shared about their mornings—how they got up early (while it was still dark!) and had their devotions. Each one shared the precious wonder of quietness as they drew near to God before little feet began to patter. That is one of the most frightening things on earth in the eyes of our Archenemy. In fact, I can only think of one other thing that would be more frightening to him—fathers having their devotions!

These young women gather regularly to study God’s Word as it is expertly applied to parenting by Paul Tripp. (14 Gospel Principles That Can Drastically Change Your Family). They share their struggles and openly express their failures and shortcomings… and Satan trembles.

Raising children has never been easy. Every era has its own set of challenges. We recently watched a movie as children were pulled from their parents and shipped to another location because Hitler’s army was coming. I can’t even begin to imagine the heart-wrenching horror of having to do such a thing. Sadly, in my home state of Pennsylvania, we read once again about the unspeakable abuse of children in the Catholic Church. How do you parent through something like that? Michael Pearl states that “for the first time in the history of the world, Satan has mainline, 24-hour-a-day, intravenous access to the hearts of children… into the brains and hearts of children” (No Greater Joy, March/April 2018 p. 25). With the enemy’s ability to encroach our homes, we must be doubly on guard to protect and nurture our little ones!

But… there are parents who are fighting back! They are building a wall of protection for their children, staying alert to the strategies of a most artful and expert foe! They fill their homes with the sounds of God’s music. They faithfully come to church with their little ones. They guard the eyes and ears of those precious little souls who are in their watch care. But most of all, they are looking inward and allowing God to change THEIR hearts to be more like the Master, and that, my friend, is Satan’s worst nightmare! When moms make the effort to rise before their children to spend time in the Word, Satan trembles. When they not only read the Bible but apply it to their hearts and lives, Satan shrieks. And when they allow the Holy Spirit to use what they have gained from the Word to change to be more like the Master, Satan fumes. They whisper those sweet words of Jesus into their hearts and then into the ears and hearts of their children, and Satan flees! What a beautiful sight!

Are these moms perfect? They would tell you, no! Do they have perfect children? No again, but they are determined to what it takes to mold their children into soldiers for Jesus Christ, ready to do battle against the Enemy when it is time for them to take up their swords.

As Satan’s time of total defeat draws nearer he is ratcheting up his attacks. We can see signs of that everywhere, but I am so thankful for this next generation who are determining to “hold the line.” It truly is a beautiful sight!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.3 John 1:4

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:7,8

Press, follow… persecute?

 

58265602-1533303821908

How is your “press” going? Are you “pressing?” I’m not talking about removing a wrinkle in your shirt—I’m talking about checking for a possible wrinkle in your life.

The Greek word for press is more often translated as “persecute” (24 times–the only thing I can figure is, if you are going to persecute someone, it says something about your dedication to a cause!), but it is also translated as “follow” or “follow after” ten times. (I’ll list some of those verses at the end. I thought they were very helpful. Comparing scripture with scripture is one of the best ways to study the Bible and gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.)

Philippian 3: 14 is the only place which translates the word as “press,” and the illustration which Paul is alluding to is that of a runner pushing himself towards the finish line. I’m not a long distance runner (unless you consider running to the mailbox 50 feet away as a long distance!) but I would think that the most difficult part of the race is the middle where you cannot see any signs of the finish line, and isn’t that where we spend most of our time?

people doing marathon

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

So, that makes me throw out another question: Can you see the prize? According to Paul, the prize is not just crossing the finish line but a “high calling” or the race itself. Winning the race is not just a single moment of completion but the culmination of hours of running and training!  Commentator Albert Barnes puts it this way:

 

God has called us to great and noble efforts; to a career of true honour and glory; to the obtainment of a bright and imperishable crown. It is a calling which is “high,” or upward—that is, which tends to the skies. The calling of the Christian is from heaven, and to heaven. Compare Proverbs 15:24 (The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath), He has been summoned by God, through the gospel of the Lord Jesus, to secure the crown. It is placed before and above him in heaven. It may be his, if he will not faint or tire, or look backward. It demands his highest efforts, and it is worth all the exertions which a mortal can make even in the longest life. (emphasis added)

We all need to be “pressing,” diligently seeking to finish well. I’m not sure how that translates for you today. It may mean not hurling angry words at a clerk or fellow driver or thinking the worst of someone who chooses not to do what you think they should. OUCH! Or perhaps for you, dear mommy, it means showing patience to those little gems who are driving you crazy!! (Showing them patience does not mean letting them have their way, but guiding them in the right way with a right heart.)

Each of us has a race to run, and every born-again believer’s race should include a local church. OUCH AGAIN! (I’d better stop all the toe-stomping or no one will read my posts!) Seriously though, there are shut-ins, doctors, and other occupations that just cannot be in church on a Sunday morning but too often, we make all kinds of excuses for missing out on the best part of the week! Here’s the last question:

Can you honestly say that you are running your Christian race well and not be involved (concerned, occupied, implicated, immersed, enmeshed, entangled, aboard, participating, on the team, with us, on our side—all synonyms!) in your church? A very famous preacher said this:

Today thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the body suffers. God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. He created you for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for you to do (Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.). Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God.

I can certainly “Amen” that statement! Do you need to follow the Nike motto and “Just Do It?”

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:13-15

Here are some of the verses that use theGreek διώκω (diōkō) translated as “follow after:”

Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (This verse actually had the Greek word in it twice.  I’m not a Greek scholar, but it looked as though you would say, “Let us, followers, therefore follow…”)

1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Phl 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after,  that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

1Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

My Mission Field

 

cogan house viewThis photo is my desktop screen.  I LOVE it! It is also my mission field. You may say, “But where are all the people? What do you have, I ministry to cows?” No, but there are folks in them there parts! God did not call us to the foreign field or to the city.  He called us to a zip code which has about 3,000 spread over approximately 64 square miles. (VERY rough figuring!) That’s not a whole lot of people! But…

  • Are there people who have not trusted Christ as their Savior? YES!
  • Are their families that are broken? YES!
  • Are there families that are searching for the truth? YES!
  • Are there elderly who need to see Jesus? YES!
  • Are there teens who need hope? YES!
  • Are there children who need to hear the Gospel? YES!

What does your mission field look like? Do you have a mission field?  Is there something that God wants you to do? For example…

  • Does the cashier need a friendly word and smile from you? And maybe even a Gospel tract?
  • Does a neighbor need to know that you care?
  • Does a family member need help? Or even a heartfelt Gospel letter?
  • Could you bake a cake for a busy mom or even watch the kids while she goes for groceries?
  • Maybe someone in your church needs a listening ear or an encouraging phone call or a smiley face text.

All of these ideas are little seeds that may someday bring forth fruit! Go! Enjoy the summer! Plant some seeds in YOUR mission field! And maybe, just maybe, the Lord will even allow you to see some sprout!

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. John 4:35