Monday, May 4, 2015

"SPITTING STITCHES"


Yeah, you read that right.

Spitting stitches.

What on earth am I talking about?

The phrase "spitting stitches" refers to the concept that either permanent or absorbable sutures that are normally just under the skin poke through the skin and are palpable on the outside.

OK, yes, gross.

But, Marty (my granddog) knows all about it.

About six weeks ago, Marty developed a bump along his scarline.  Over the course of two weeks, it waxed and waned, until finally it got quite large and red.  Yup, off to the vet's again!

Turns out that Marty's body was having a reaction to one of his surgery sutures.  (You can read about his surgery here).  So, though the stitch didn't actually break through to the surface, it was causing all sorts of problems – which led to more money, two weeks of antibiotics, and another stint with the Cone of Shame.

Marty is fine.

And like the wonder dog that he is, he took all this in stride.

But the whole process got me thinking about how the body works.

Fine-tuned to survive, the body does all sorts of cool things.  And one of the things it does is fight off invaders that don't belong.  Like bacteria, viruses, and foreign objects.

Like errant stitches!

Dissolvable stitches are meant to dissolve.  (Well yes, duh).  But sometimes they don't.  And then the body takes over, and tries to repel them. Kinda like what happens when you get a sliver.  I remember once when a tiny piece of glass worked its way out of my foot a year after I had stepped on broken glass in my kitchen!

This process is called *rejection.*  

Our body's immune system is designed to seek and destroy any foreign object that it finds in our bodies.  Rejection occurs as the body's immune system responds to the invasive entity.  Without our conscious knowledge or voluntary direction, our body starts the processes necessary to protect itself and remove the offending object.

An inflammatory response occurs when tissues are injured.

Damaged cells release chemicals, causing swelling, and this helps isolate the foreign substance from further contact with body tissues.  The chemicals also attract white blood cells that "eat" germs and dead or damaged cells.


You might not be a medical person, but I find this fascinating.

And it provokes wondrous awe at how God created bodies to work (even doggy bodies!)


Now you know me, I'm always going to be looking for a *God lesson* – and here's what I'm thinking:


1) Our physical bodies are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully" made.  God, knowing the eventual ramifications of sin – that it would bring about disease, injury, pain – fashioned in-built defenses.  It's amazing to watch them at work.

"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it." (Psalm 139:14, NLT)


2) In the same way that our physical bodies can be "invaded," our spiritual beings are also subject to assault from things like temptation and sin. And since we were originally created perfect, sin is truly a "foreign object."

"When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned." (Romans 5:12, NLT)


3) Now, when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we also welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit.  And He's kinda like our spiritual immune system.  He works to seek and destroy sin in our lives.  He helps us to *reject* it!

"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the…Spirit [desires] what is contrary to the flesh." 
(Galatians 5:16-17, NIV)


I'm glad to say that though Marty was "spitting mad" at some stitches a while back, he's doing fine now.

And once again, his life has reminded me of some spiritual truths.

Bodies are wonderfully made.

And God has created some incredibly effective defense mechanisms.  The immune system is a miracle, in my opinion.  Mysterious, effective, strong.

And, in the same way, the Holy Spirit provides spiritual defense against the marauding onslaughts of temptation and sin.  He, too, is mysterious, effective, and strong.  


My friends, we are cared for immensely.  Our Heavenly Father has blessed our bodies and our souls with some pretty amazing stuff!

And I am so grateful that He helps me reject the things that don't belong!!

Here's to *spitting sin*!!





It's all good. 



"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up." (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)

"...now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:8-10, NIV)

"That...is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:20-23, NIV)

"Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." 
(James 1:21, ESV)

"Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]." (Romans 12:2, AMP)

"'I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.'" (John 14:16-17, NASB)

"The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.  So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living." (Romans 13:12, NLT)

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." 
(2 Corinthians 10:4, NIV)



Are you *spitting sin* out of your life?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SOLI DEO GLORIA, SMALL WONDER, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVALMONDAY'S MUSINGS, MAKE A DIFFERENCE MONDAY, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, UNITE, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, MOTIVATE & REJUVENATE MONDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, April 27, 2015

MY SELFIE


OK, let's just say that I am not a social media queen.

I am not on Facebook.  Neither am I "linked in."  I do not tweet, smartchat, flickr, or instagram.  (Though I have been known to google).  I am not a tumblr.  And, silly me, I still think "meerkat" is a cute wild animal, and "periscope" is something on a submarine.  Evidently I am not a very pinteresting person.  

My blog is my one shining example of staying current with the times.

But, I admit, I do like taking photos with my *intelligent* phone.

And I have been known to spy on look at other peoples' photos.  I especially like the people who post publicly.  This allows me to watch their lives unfold without the commitment of joining anything.  (Kinda like buying a gallon of ice cream and then hiding all the spoons so you don't have to commit to eating it).

Some people take really interesting photos.  Like small pieces of portable art, they are colorful, exotic, beautiful, dynamic.  Some people are very talented, even with a phone.  Other people are just silly.

Really, is there any need to post something every day?

And really, is it necessary to bombard the internet with copious amounts of selfies?

(Interesting sidenote: The term "selfie" was discussed by photographer Jim Krause in 2005…Initially popular with young people, selfies gained wider popularity over time.  By the end of 2012, Time magazine considered selfie one of the "top 10 buzzwords" of that year; although selfies had existed long before, it was in 2012 that the term "really hit the big time." – From Wikipedia)


People enjoy selfies because of the control they give self-photographers over how they present themselves.  Therefore, selfies are normally flattering. Well, duh.  And, don't get me started on celebrity selfies. 

But really, I have to ask…how self-absorbed can we get?

Now I'm not knocking the innocuous fun of most of social networking. But then again, I think it's a symptom of the general disease of human nature.

We are rather enamored with ourselves – with our SELVES.

It occurs to me that this preoccupation with self was the root of the first *fall from grace.*  

Can't you see Lucifer snapping selfie after selfie as he admired his beauty? Thinking that he was "all that" he toppled himself right out of heaven.

Then there's that second *fall from grace.*

Adam and Eve, again focusing on themselves, fell into the trap of self-aggrandizement and pride.  After their terrible sin, I'm not thinking that any selfies were taken.  They would have been too unflattering to the human race.


But, we must not point any fingers.

After all, here we are, so many years later, suffering from the same fixations.

Humans are an interesting bunch.

We can be narcissistic or self-loathing.  We can be egotistical or lack self-esteem.  We can be self-sacrificing or selfish.

Sometimes, even as believers, things can be confusing.

We are taught to die to self, and yet to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are unworthy to achieve eternal life on our own, but we are worth saving.  We are taught to turn the other cheek, and love our enemies, and yet told to stand firm against opposing forces.

We can be prideful – even in self-deprecating ways.

I don't think I'd like to see a selfie of my heart.


Fortunately, there is an alternative.

There is another view.

And it was accomplished on a cold and dismal day when Someone hung from the cross.  And later, when He triumphantly walked out of a tomb.

Can you imagine if Jesus posted a couple of selfies on those days?

One a picture of unspeakable horror and suffering and pain.  A gloomy portrait.  Singularly unflattering.  

And then, a couple of days later, another photo full of glorious light.  A glowing Savior's face.  A miracle of joy.  

The most beautiful picture ever taken.


So, as we negotiate the crazy world of social media, let's be mindful of our tendencies and preoccupations.

Let's remember that *self-ease* can only come by believing in the One who paid the price to redeem us from ourselves – our SELVES.

Let's remember that though we are unworthy of His grace and forgiveness, He deemed us eminently worth saving.

Let's remember that we are not "all that"but neither are we wretched worms.

Our true selfie can only be found by viewing ourselves through the lens of Jesus' righteousness. 

And only by following Him, can we ever hope to look like Him…

His selfie.

The most beautiful picture ever taken.





"Selfie Incognito"



"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe." (Ephesians 1:18-19, NASB)

"For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6, NLT)

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV)

"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2, ESV)

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 
(1 Corinthians 13:12, ESV)

"'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.'" (Matthew 5:8, ESV)

"Even after my skin is destroyed, 
Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 
Whom I myself shall behold, 
And whom my eyes will see and not another.  
My heart faints within me!"

(Job 19:26-27, NASB)


"I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes." (Job 42:5, NLT)




He must become greater, I must become less.
For God so loved me...




How do you view your *self*?  How does looking through the eyes of Jesus change your perspective?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, MAKE A DIFFERENCE MONDAYS, MOTIVATE & REJUVENATE MONDAYS, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, FIND STABILITY, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, UNITE, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAY, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, LIVING PROVERBS, TUESDAY TALKRA RA LINKUP, TELL HIS STORYA LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, WISE WOMAN, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WOMEN WITH INTENTION WEDNESDAYS, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, GRACE AT HOME, BELOVED BREWS, EVERYDAY JESUS, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, SHINE, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, A GROUP LOOK, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, GRACE & TRUTH, TGI SATURDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, SATURDAY SOIREE, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, GIVE ME GRACERECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, SUNDAY STILLNESS



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, April 20, 2015

TAKING FLIGHT


Flying.

I don't do it often.

But when I do, I really enjoy it.

I feel fortunate that I am not inordinately afraid of flying.  I am able to suspend my imagination, and block out the seemingly impossible physics of getting humans in the air.

My favorite part?

Take-off!

I love that thrill of acceleration, the sensation of being pressed back into my seat.  I love racing down the tarmac.

And then *the* moment…

The plane lifts off the ground and I soar into the sky.

Breathtaking!


A few weeks ago, I had to travel to the Midwest for some family business. And I was eagerly awaiting the flight.  The day before, I carefully tamped down, crammed full, packed one carry-on piece of luggage.  I was traveling with my brother who did not want to deal with baggage claim.

I complied.

Everything went so smoothly at the airport.  We even found out that we were "pre-screened" for the security check, and breezed right past the long line! (Which was great.  I didn't have to remove anything, nor subject myself to the invasive x-ray machine!!)

A snap!

We boarded the plane, taxied down the runway, and took off.

Glorious.

But, a few short moments later the captain's voice came over the loudspeaker:

"We are flying into an extensive storm front.  Expect some turbulence for the first hour."

I guess I've had good luck flying.  I've never really had a bad flight.  For the most part, my flights have been smooth and uneventful.

So, I admit, this caused a flutter in my heart.  (Flutter?  More like an earthquake!  Though you have to be on the ground to feel an earthquake, just sayin'…)

Well, at least he warned us.

And yes, it was quite turbulent.  I never had to use the airsick bag, but let's just say that it was a close companion.

But feeling queasy and nauseous wasn't the worst part.  The worst part was what the turbulence did in my mind.

Remember me mentioning that ability to "suspend my imagination"?  Well, turbulence has a way of splashing a big dose of reality on you really fast. Trust me, I became very aware of this indisputable fact…I was NOT on the ground anymore.

As if I needed that frightful bit of information confirmed (I didn't…ahem), this airline had a little interactive screen you could play around with.  And yup, right there at my fingertips was the truth:


Altitude: 38,056 feet.

Ground speed:  554 mph.

Outside temperature:  -68 degrees F.


All of a sudden, my illusion of safety and security was invaded by the realities of air flight and the certain knowledge that I was NOT IN CONTROL.

While I was white-knuckling through that first hour, I got to thinking. There had to be some lessons here – (besides the obvious – that flying is not a "natural" state for humans!)

And then, I began to see the many parallels –


Life is kind of like a plane flight.

It can be very exciting.  We fly from one adventure to another, sometimes out of breath, often in awe and wonder at the scenery, and fooled by the illusion that we are in control.

Until we hit turbulence.

And all of a sudden, that sense of safety and security comes crashing down and we are confronted with reality.

Life in a broken world is not a "natural" state – we were made to live differently – and in many ways we are careening through our days totally in danger of falling and crashing.

In so many ways, we are totally at the mercy of the whims of circumstance.

Sometimes life makes me queasy and nauseous.

Sometimes panic threatens to overrun my feelings and invade my thoughts.

Sometimes I want "off the plane."


We've all felt this way before, haven't we?

And yet, as the flight settled down, I started to think about some other things.  Like how the Bible talks about having eagles' wings.


"...how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles?
...how can you say God ignores your rights?
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint."

(Isaiah 40:27-31, NLT)


Evidently we earth-bound creatures are meant to soar the spiritual heights.

We are not meant to "crash and burn."  We are not to be "grounded" in dismay, discouragement, or despair.  We are meant to rise up beyond our circumstances, to ascend past our feelings, to fly to the heights of God's purposes with strength, His strength.

We cannot do this alone.

When turbulence hit our airplane, I was totally at the mercy of the elements.

Except…

Except for the excellent training of the pilot.  Except for his knowledge of flying, far greater than mine.  Except that his hands were firmly on the steering wheel, which is more accurately called a "flight yoke."  (Interesting term, huh?!  Take His yoke upon you...).

Except for his trustworthiness.

It is the same with God.

He knows all about how to live life, for He created it.  He still sits on His throne, and His hands are firmly on each one of us.  Steering us, guiding us, uplifting us, teaching us how to fly with Him.

And yes, He is trustworthy.

Some other verses speaking about eagles:


"For [we] belong to the LORD;
[We are] his special possession.
He found them in a desert land,
in an empty, howling wasteland.
He surrounded them and watched over them;
he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.
Like an eagle that rouses her chicks
and hovers over her young,
so he spread his wings to take them up
and carried them safely on his pinions."

(Deuteronomy 32:9-11, NLT)


So, because we belong to The Eagle, He alone can help us to fly like eagles.

And even though life makes me a bit (a lot??) queasy and nauseous sometimes, even though I often panic when I remember that I am not in control, even when I am living outside of my comfort zone at the mercy of circumstances, even when I want to get "off the plane"…

Even then, I can trust Him to bring me home.

Soaring.





God does whatever it takes
to help eagles fly...

God removes
the soft coverings
to remind us,
That this life is painful
and full of
sufferings,
And its solution is to
soar
in spiritual realms.

- Dr. Ram Mehta
September 25, 2014














"Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold." (Job 39:27-28, ESV)

"'You yourselves have seen...how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself.  Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine...'" (Exodus 19:4-5, NASB)

"'...for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.  And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.  On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies." 
(Malachi 4:2-3, NLT)


"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;

Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle."

(Psalm 103:1-5, NASB)



Do you need the strength of the Lord today to soar like an eagle?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, MAKE A DIFFERENCE MONDAY, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, UNITE, MOTIVATE & REJUVENATE MONDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, TELL HIS STORY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYSA LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, SO MUCH AT HOME, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WISE WOMAN, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION WEDNESDAYS, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, EVERYDAY JESUS, GRACE AT HOME, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, SHINE, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, BELOVED BREW, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, A GROUP LOOK, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, TGI SATURDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, SATURDAY SOIREEFELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'M SPEECHLESS


Speechless.

I know, I'll bet you never thought you'd hear that word come out of my mouth (irony intended).

My family agrees.

In fact, "The Hub" just went out the front door and declared, "Yup.  I definitely see pigs flying."

At a loss for words.

Seems downright impossible for me, doesn't it?

Sometimes being speechless is a good thing.  It can arrive in a moment when we are confronted with great beauty of some sort, some wonderful act of love, or some unbelievably impossible thing being accomplished.

For example, I've been struck speechless at the sight of a beautiful sunset.  Or upon receiving a gift that overwhelmed me.  Or at the unbelievably impossible sight of ten less pounds on the scale.

These are good times to be speechless.

But then, there are other times when words won't/don't/can't flow freely because we are overwhelmed with other not-so-good feelings.

Like the past week of craziness in my life.

I was off-the-hill for my monthly visit to my family and to take care of my mom.  When I go down there, I live with her, do errands, visit my sons and my daughter-in-law (and Marty!), and race around to accomplish a myriad of other *in-town things* that aren't easily done when I'm home in the mountains.

Some visits are great.  Others are, well, challenging.


So, here's the list of insanity that was my week:

1.  Son #2's truck died.  I had to drive him back and forth to work for five days (and he likes to be up-and-running at 6:00 AM).  Brought back memories of middle-school, which wasn't necessarily pleasant for either one of us.

2.  Taxes – need I say more?

3.  Well, I will say more.  Our accountant made a mistake on our taxes (to be fair, the computer did something wrong).  At any rate, I caught the mistake and it was fairly easy to fix, but it required another trip back-and-forth to his office (I made a total of three - total driving time: three hours).

4.  OK, and one more thing.  Let's just say that Uncle Sam doesn't owe us any money this year.

5.  Went to mail all the above-mentioned taxes, including property taxes – (which are also due in April, making this month a real wallet-buster) – and was confronted with a huge line.  (Like a thousand people at least).

6.  Upon entering, one guy was yelling at a postal authority.  He was really angry, really loud, and it was scary.  I was afraid that this guy was going to go crazy and start hurting people.  Especially when he started "stamping" his feet.

7.  As I'm filling out some paperwork, I notice a package next to me.  I ask the guy closest to the package, "Is this yours?"  He says no.  So, I checked the address.  It was being sent to "SHIPPING DEPARTMENT" and had a weird return name and address.  Thinking it could be something dangerous, I picked it up and turned it in.  It was really, really heavy.  Only later did I stop to think that if it had been something dangerous, like a bomb, I would have set it off.  Helpful, but dumb.

8.  I went to two places to find the nutritional drink that my mom likes for breakfast.  Yup, they were all sold out.  And, the place where we used to buy it no longer carries it.  Can you say: Certain Valueless Store.

9.  When I stay with Mom, I use the powder room instead of her bathroom. This trip the sink plugged up and would not respond to anything.  And then, the toilet plugged up, too.  I plunged myself to China, no luck.  Looks like it's Plumber Time (not to be confused with "Hammer Time" – though I was dangerously close to resorting to that!)

10.  One night at my mom's I was awakened by rather startling noises just outside the house.  Squealing, snarling, growling, banging around on the wall. I decided that midnight was NOT a good time to investigate whatever Freddy Krueger was up to.  Story to be continued…

11.  The morning of the day I was leaving to come home, I noticed that several large cormorants (birds) had graciously used my mom's dock for a bathroom.  I decided to be a champ and hose it off.  

12.  As I was walking down the outside stairs to the patio, I came upon Freddy Krueger's *scene of the crime.*  There was blood everywhere (fortunately, no carcasses).  I saw little raccoon footprints.  I'm afraid that some roof rat probably lost this "cage match" confrontation.  It was so gross.

13.  Stepped around the mess for the time being.  After all, I had poop to clean up.  Well, wouldn't you know it, the hose on the dock had a leak and I got sprayed with water.  Then I couldn't get any water pressure.  There was another hose at the side of the house – and yes, it was right next to the Elm Street massacre.

14.  Hosed off most of the blood.  Then pulled out the hose to full length.  It didn't fully reach the dock.  So, though I wasn't really able to get rid of the excrement, I did a fine job of re-wetting it.

15.  I finally managed to pack and leave my mom's, and decided that I truly deserved a treat for my most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week.  I decided that I deserved a Big Mac.  On my way home, I stopped in and ordered one.  Anxious to get home, I decided that my lap would make a good tray.

16.  Laps are not good trays.

17.  As I was trying to steer out of the parking lot with one hand, and attempting to pick up my burger with the other hand, I proceeded to flip the entire thing over the side of my seat.

18.  I opened the door to discover that two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun were delightfully arrayed all over the side of the seat, the floor, and the door of my car.  Not to mention my lap (tray).  Cleanup on aisle Sharon.

19.  Did I drive off at this point, you ask??  Oh no!  C'mon people, I deserved that burger!  Went through the drive-through and got another one.  And a chocolate chip cookie, which I decided I really deserved.

20.  Made it home finally, after 2 hours and 45 minutes of driving because I had bumper-to-bumper traffic for a while – on a Saturday.  Evidently some Las Vegas and San Diego travelers don't leave until 3:00 in the afternoon on Saturday??  Or a bunch of people decided to pull a flash mob just for my benefit.  (Definition of flash mob: a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, before quickly dispersing.  Sounds like most of Southern California freeway driving – except for the quickly dispersing part).


I hope you've had a chuckle at my mishaps.  But truly, that last incident with the Big Mac was kinda the final straw.  And though this week was full of little stuff, there are other bigger issues and concerns that rumble through my mind all the time lately.  So often I find myself looking to the sky with my hands raised and no words upon my lips.

I am finding that my prayers can't keep up with my feelings.

Do you ever get like that?

Sometimes the only prayer I can utter is, "Lord, You know…"

I was talking to a good friend the other day.  She's fighting cancer – and to make matters worse, she just found out the brakes on her car are worn out. We were commiserating about the times when we feel so inundated with *life* that we cannot find adequate words to say.

And I reminded her of these most powerful verses:

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27, NASB)


I'd like to make two points about these verses:

One, we are listened to and heard.  Even when our prayers are not lengthy, particularly "pious," or well-worded, God still bends down to catch every single thing we say.  And, He even hears the feelings underneath the words.

Two, when we don't know what is the right thing to pray for, when we are at a loss for words, we can be assured that intercessory prayers are being offered in perfect alignment with the will of God.  Isn't that wonderful?!  Lately I have felt tremendous relief knowing that when I cannot express my feelings, I can rely on Someone else to fill in the blanks.

The Holy Spirit is a good friend indeed.

Finally, I'd like to add the verse immediately preceding these verses in Romans, and the one following them.  It is very powerful context.

Verse 25: "But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."

Verse 28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."


Do you see the *faith sandwich* here?

Bread: If we have hope, and hang on to it with perseverance, we will also learn how to wait...with eager anticipation.

Meat: The Spirit helps us in our weakness, interceding for us in perfect alignment with God's perfect will.

Cheese: The Spirit searches our hearts and expresses our thoughts and feelings with groanings that are too deep for words.  In other words, when we can't speak, He does.

Bread: Knowing we are heard, knowing that the Spirit aids us in our prayers, and holding on to the hope that we have, we can now be assured by the Truth that all things work together for God’s good purposes.


That, my friends, is blessed assurance.

And at the wonder of these verses, the fullness of these promises, I am left…

…speechless!







Well,
shut my mouth! 




"Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great, so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet the Holy Spirit supports them.  The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for; as a sanctifying Spirit, works and stirs up praying graces; as a comforting Spirit, silences our fears, and helps us over all discouragements.  The Holy Spirit is the spring of all desires toward God, which are often more than words can utter.  The Spirit who searches the hearts, can perceive the mind and will of the spirit, the renewed mind, and advocates his cause.  The Spirit makes intercession to God, and the enemy prevails not."  (From commentary by Matthew Henry)



"[Jesus speaking]: 'I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.'" (John 14:16-17, ESV)

"'When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.'" (John 16:13-14, ESV)

"'…when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.'" (John 14:26, NLT)

"For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, NASB)

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Ephesians 6:18, NIV)

"'…do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.'" (Matthew 10:19-20, NIV)

"…because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.'  Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child.  And since you are his child, God has made you his heir." (Galatians 4:6-7, NLT)

"When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession – to the praise of his glory." 
(Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)

"…build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life.  In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love." 
(Jude 1:20-21, NLT)



Are you speechless today?  How does trusting the Holy Spirit's intervention on your behalf bring comfort to your soul?



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