Monday, May 25, 2015

IF THE MOUNTAINS CRUMBLE


"Wait until you see the view!"

So began the rather enthusiastic dialogue from our realtor, three years ago.

Of course I knew she was trying to sell a house, and so I took her words with a grain of salt.  However, in this case, her superlatives were truthfulmaybe even understated.

I will never forget walking in the front door of this house, making my way down the long hallway, and finally walking into the vaulted-ceiling living room.

With a view that took my breath away!

SOLD!

Actually, our beautiful blessing of a home has windows everywhere.  And each one has a view.  Stunning panoramas of the valley down below.  Tucked-in shady gorgeous trees.   Breathtaking vistas of surrounding mountain ridges. A visual *hike* right up the slope to a rocky outcrop just above our kitchen window.

But…the best and most majestic view is the one of the mountain peak outside our living room window.  (That's a photo of it below – though photos cannot convey the immensity of this mountain, nor how close it actually is!)


I have always loved the mountains.

Growing up as a child, my favorite vacations were always when we went to the mountains.  Now, don't get me wrong, our multiple trips to the beach were fun, too.  I'm still an ocean girl, after all.  But, whenever we traveled to the mountains, I somehow felt at home.

Like I was in my *soul place.*

You see, I think it's always been the size of the mountains that impressed me.  The wildness of their surroundings.  The whispers of immortality – like they'd been there forever – and would be there forevermore.

Mountains always gave me a feeling of security.

Mountains always spoke to me of God.

His majesty, His stability, His glory.

So, given the opportunity to live right below one, well, we grabbed it.  Sure, there have been many changes in my life since moving here.  And many of them have been very difficult, emotionally wrenching.

But, I have always appreciated the mountain peak right outside my window.

Of course, there have been some unsettling moments.  Like the summer when I watched threatening fire clouds billow over that same mountaintop. Or when we've watched helicopter rescues of hikers and climbers – a few of them ending in disaster.  And then, of course, there are those pesky earthquakes.

C'mon, people, we do live in California after all.

And there are four seasons in California – Fire, flood, drought, and earthquake!

When we lived down below, the earthquakes felt different.  You could sense them coming.  A slight, barely detectable rolling sensation began.  And just as you were saying, "Is that an earthquake?" – you'd feel yourself undulating like a staggering sailor in the middle of a stormy, wave-tossed tempest.

Up here in the mountains, the quakes are different.

Sudden, powerful, loud.

Out of the blue, you'll be startled by a huge jolt, with a thunderous crack, that leaves no doubt.

"THAT was an earthquake!!"


Earthquakes don't scare me too much.

And I've got to admit, I take great comfort in the knowledge that the mountain range surrounding us is made out of solid granite.

And though we get shaken once in a while, I feel rather safe and sound.

Some are not so lucky.

I think about the country of Nepal.  Hit with two huge earthquakes, and multiple strong aftershocks, their country and their people have been devastated.

I wonder sometimes.

Surrounded by the majesty of those Himalaya Mountains, including the highest mountain peak in the world – Mt. Everest – did they think they were safe?

Did they feel secure? 

Were they any different than I am?

You know, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are safe and secure in this world.  We can believe that we are protected and sheltered and out of harm's way.

But, this is an illusion.

There is no other security in this life besides The Rock.

God is the only thing that never changes.


You know, there have been times when I looked up at that granite peak just outside my window, and I've wondered…

What would happen if it crumbled?

What would I do?  How would I feel?

I'm sure I would be flooded with disbelief, shock, and terror.

But, even then, would I still trust God?

So what about all those times in life when our sense of security gets shaken?  

The times when life drops a bombshell and we are struck with disbelief.  Or when something terrible happens and we find ourselves in a state of shock. Or when fearsome circumstances fill us with terror.

What do we do when our mountainous illusion of security in this world crumbles?

I usually panic.

But my panic arises because I'm looking at the crumbling, and not at the covenant.


Thinking about this verse:

"For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10, AMP)


A covenant is a promise and a pledge.

And when it is given by God Himself, it cannot and will not be broken.

So, though the literal mountains and hills may crumble, though our faulty and fragile belief in earthly security may tumble in ruin, though our tenuous and brittle courage may fail in the onslaught of circumstances, there still stands forever a guarantee.  

An assurance of a future.  A hope.

And this is the solid ground on which we must take our place and establish a firm foundation.

Shaken, but not stirred.


I'm looking right now at my mountain peak.

Majestic, stable, glorious.

And yet, I know it is destined one day to disappear.

But not The Rock of my salvation.

And certainly not those of us who have grounded ourselves in the promises He will one day fulfill.

We are never to be forgotten.

Never to be lost.

Never to perish.


And on this we take our stand…

…never to be moved.


Selah.





The LORD
is a stronghold
in times of
trouble.

I will not be afraid. 



"It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock.  When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built." (Luke 6:48, NLT)

"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever." (Proverbs 10:25, NIV)

"Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." (Proverbs 3:25-26, ESV)

"The LORD directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand." (Psalm 37:23-24, NLT)

"Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." (Psalm 55:22, NLT)

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.  For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit." 
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, NASB)

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.  For he will rescue you from every trap...He will cover you with his feathers.  He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.  Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you." (From Psalm 91, NLT)

"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed." 
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NLT) 

"'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.   When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.'" 
(Isaiah 43:1-3, NLT)

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.  Let the oceans roar and foam.  Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!...The LORD of Heaven's Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress." (Psalm 46:1-3, 7, NLT)

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." 
(Psalm 23:4, NLT)

"For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, AMP)



Do you have *mountains* that are crumbling today?



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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 18, 2015

OH DEER...TRACKS!


Snow.

Yup, the last few days we have had an unseasonable (but oh so welcome) Spring snow.

Curled up in my blankets, with a roaring fire going, I have enjoyed watching the big, fluffy flakes fall to earth.

One of the things I really love about living in the mountains is the snow.

It covers everything with a powdered-sugar coating.

It's so pretty.  

And peaceful.  

Snow brings a *hush* over the landscape.  There's nothing like the feeling of being tucked warmly inside during the storm.  It's like there's no one else in the world but me and "The Hub."

Oh, and the deer.

That's something else I love about living in the mountains.

The wildlife.

And I especially love the deer.

We have a watering trough just down the slope at the side of our house. And we've added a salt lick.  Reassured by the "locals" that salt licks don't interfere with the deer's natural feeding patterns, we couldn't resist.

Our salt lick looks like a boulder!

So, it's great fun to peep out the window during the day to see if we have any company!

Last year we saw one mother deer with two babies.  And another mom with one baby.  They still drop by for a visit – though the babies are bigger now. And one of the mothers looks a little "chubby" – more babies soon to be born?

But where on earth are the bucks?

I do remember "The Hub" encountering one rather majestic male deer just down the road to our house.  (His picture is down below).  Oh, what a sight he was!  Wish we saw more of those guys!!

But he's been the only one.

We've seen some "teenagers" with little antlers just forming, but sightings of Mr. Stag have not happened since.  But, we have had the fun of finding some shed antlers on our property.

So, I know those guys are out there…somewhere.


I wonder…

Where do the deer go when we don't see them?

Where do they sleep?  Where do they go when it's cold and rainy and snow covers the ground?  Where do they give birth?  Where do they call home?

I know they're out there – and I've seen evidence of their movements in the snow.  Footprints galore.  And once, I saw a little guy following a bigger guy.  Little footprints carefully following in bigger footprints.

Which brings me to today's rumination.

(By the way, deer are known as ruminants.  So, clever pun, huh?!)

I am thinking about those deer tracks, and specifically about how those little ones follow their leader…

Deer have well-traveled paths that they traverse over and over.  They know where they're going.  And the little ones follow the big ones to find shelter, nourishment, water, and safety.

Such an example of how we should walk with the Savior!

He alone knows the path we should take.  He alone knows the well-worn ways. He alone is qualified to lead us.  His footprints are the only ones we should follow.


He knows when and where we sleep.

"You know when I sit down or stand up…You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do." (Psalm 139:2-3, NLT)


He is the place we must run to when life gets stormy.

"You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat." (Isaiah 25:4, NIV)


He has been with us since before we were born.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb…You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (Psalm 139:13, 15-16, NLT)


He alone is our true Home.

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…" 
(Ephesians 2:19, ESV)



And He will eternally be our source of shelter, nourishment, water, and safety.

"He will cover you with his feathers.  He will SHELTER you with his wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection." (Psalm 91:4, NLT)

"Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.  Cry out for this NOURISHMENT, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness." (1 Peter 2:2-3, NLT)

"'…those who drink the WATER I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.'" 
(John 4:14, NLT)

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in SAFETY." (Psalm 4:8, NLT)



As I enjoy this beautiful and unexpected snow, as I ponder the lessons of deer tracks, I am warmed by the thought that my Lord leads me.

All I have to do is follow…

…in His tracks.


"You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him." (Deuteronomy 13:4, NASB)





He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He causes me to stand on the heights.
As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.



"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'" (Jeremiah 1:16, NIV)

"You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you.  You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.  You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you..." (Deuteronomy 5:32-33, ESV)

"I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.  I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well." (Psalm 119:101-102, NLT)

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11, ESV)

"Your own ears will hear him.  Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left." (Isaiah 30:21, NLT)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." 
(Psalm 119:105, ESV)

"Enter through the narrow gate...For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14, NASB)

"Therefore Jesus said again, 'Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep...whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'" 
(John 10:7, 9-10, NIV)

"The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out.  Their King will pass through before them, the Lord at their head." (Micah 2:13, NIV)



How closely are you following The Leader?



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


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 11, 2015

I HATE BEING SICK


I really, really do.

And as I type this, I am sick.  Yuck.

The inside of my nose feels like it's been torched by a flamethrower.  My throat feels like I've swallowed fiberglass.  I can’t taste my food because my sinuses are so plugged up.  My body feels like I've gone twelve rounds with a heavyweight boxer.  My head is doing a rather fantastic job of imitating a jackhammer.  And I just might have a fever.

You can probably tell, too, that I am not a good sick person.

I complain…a lot.

First of all, I'm just mad that I'm sick in the first place.  Somehow I view it as a personal failure.  Like there's something wrong with me because I can't fight off each and every germ that comes my way.  I get angry with my body for being fragile.  I also get kinda perturbed because I am the queen of waterless soap.  Seems like I should be rewarded for my cleanly habits with ever-present good health, right??


Second, I don't do well with the symptoms.  

I am annoyed by symptoms.

I get frustrated with stuffiness.  I don't like having my ears painfully plugged up.  "What??"  I can't stand trying to find a comfortable position for my aching joints.  (Just call me The Princess and the Pea – although you might want to wait until I'm not sick anymore…)  And I hate waiting the 2 or 3 days it takes before my very sore throat gets *coated* and I can swallow easier.

Of course, I also try incessantly to discover why I got sick in the first place. I do this because then I reason I can avoid doing this again.  But, in this crazy world, there are innumerable places that we come in contact with "stuff" – and we are always susceptible to invasion.  Even in spite of waterless soap.


When I'm sick, I get awfully cranky moody.

I start feeling sorry for myself, and I want company all the time.  My poor husband.  He can't disappear for five minutes without me calling him.  "I'm lonely.  Where are you?  Come sit in here by me."

Illness = Instant Regression to 5 Years Old.

I sometimes cry – though I try to limit crying until my throat feels better. Nothing like a good sob to inflame fiberglass.  So, usually I just whimper a lot.

And, I just love how I look when I get sick.

My long hair is all tangled in the back of my head like the rear side of a tapestry.  I avoid brushing my teeth.  My eyes are watery and red.  My skin is pale.  I stay in the same clothes for days.  I am a living example of the verse in 1 Peter that says, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…"

Nope, not winning any pageants here – unless it's "Mrs. Congested Uncongeniality of 2015."


But, I've got to tell you something – "The Hub" is an amazing nurse.  

He brings me all sorts of stuff, and sits with me, and mutters nice words of pity and encouragement.  He rubs my feet and pats my head, and really does all he can to make me feel better.

He tells me he'd rather be sick than me.  That he'd take it upon himself so I wouldn't have to suffer.

And you know what?  He means it!!

And in these blistering days of brain fog, I realize one thing that's true.


My husband is being like Christ to me.


Here's how he’s doing that:


1) He commiserates with my infirmities

I've often wondered if Jesus ever got sick.  The Bible tells us that He is our High Priest, tested and tempted in every area that we are.  So, I'm going to assume that He felt the travails of being human, including being sick.

And if not sick, He certainly understood physical pain.

Jesus, uniquely God and man at the same time.

So, He knew what it was like to live without pain and disease and suffering. He knew what it felt like to be omnipotent.  But, He also chose to enter the human condition – to experience the limitations and liabilities of being finitely ensconced in a frail and faulty body.


Therefore, Jesus empathizes with my illness.

"This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do…" (Hebrews 4:15, NLT)


2) He ministers to my needs

This is also what Jesus did.  He met people where they were – sick, blind, lame, faithless, angry, depressed, lonely – you name it, Jesus was there, providing what people needed.  Of course, the ultimate need that Jesus took care of was our "sin sickness."  He did what it took to procure a permanent cure.


Always and forever, Jesus takes care of our needs.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)


3) He gives me comfort and encouragement

Oh, indeed!  And is there any better comfort than knowing that Jesus cares for us?  Is there any more encouragement than knowing that these temporary ills are just that – temporary?  When our bodies fail, our spirits can soar in spite of them because of the hope we have for the future.


Jesus whispers promises of eternity to me.

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…" (2 Corinthians 4:17, ESV)


4) He keeps me company

You know, being ill or physically impaired is really a lonely place.  It can be very isolating to suffer.  Sometimes people are "there" for us initially, but over time their presence can disappear.  After all, it can be hard to be around someone who isn't well.

One can be reminded of their own frailties.  Or they can tire of the demands of the afflicted person.  Or they succumb to the depressing circumstances.  Or they just run out of words to say.

But really, the very best comfort is just the presence of someone else.

In the beginning of his travails, Job's friends got it right – "Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights.  No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words."  (Job 2:13, NLT)

Sometimes that's all we need.

No words, no clich├ęs, no platitudes.

Just someone's presence.


And the unflagging and unchanging presence of Jesus is something that we can count on in every single moment of our lives – now and forever.

"'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)


5) He'd be willing to take my place

You know, it's rather amazing to me when my husband tells me he wishes he was sick instead of me.  I've been known to say that to him, too, but maybe not always as sincerely!  His pain at my pain is plain to see.  He would do anything to spare me discomfort.  He's so unselfish that way.

And Jesus – oh, do we need to say more about His self-sacrifice?!

He actually DID take our place.  He did indeed transfer our pain and suffering and sin onto His own shoulders.  God's pain at our pain was so intolerable that He sent His own Son to do something about it.

And Jesus willingly obeyed.

The Bible tells us that some of us might be willing to lay down our lives for another person.  

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die." (Romans 5:7, NIV)

But, would any of us ever think of dying for a traitor, a terrorist, or a murderer?  Would we sacrifice our lives for someone who was absolutely "no good"?  I think not.

But this is what Jesus did.  

He died for us – when we were still sinners, and therefore abhorrent to God's perfect holy character.  He died for us – when we were still enemies of righteousness.  He died for us – when we didn't even fully realize that we needed Him.


He died for us – He took our place  because He loved us.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." 
(1 John 3:16, NIV)


So, my friends, are you sick or suffering?  Are you physically maimed or hurt? Are you groaning in the confines of your diseased and dying body?

Are you discouraged by the affliction of being human?

Then take heart!

For we have Jesus.

The One who commiserates with our infirmities, ministers to our needs, gives us comfort and encouragement, keeps us company…

And not only was willing, but did indeed take our place.


Can you hand me a kleenex?

And not for my stuffy nose this time…

My heart is overwhelmed by my Savior's presence.






My New Best Friends 




"The LORD nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health." (Psalm 41:3, NLT)

"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." (Psalm 73:26, NLT)

"So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV)

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NASB)

"...after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen." 
(1 Peter 5:10-11, ESV)

"'...I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.'" (John 10:28, NASB)

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'

And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'" 

(Revelation 21:3-5, ESV



What helps you deal with physical infirmity?




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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

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?



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