Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thank God for Nose Hairs!

“I think of myself as a nose hair,” Susan said and all the ladies burst out laughing.  I chuckled too as she described her part of the body of Christ, but inside I was thinking: Nose Hairs are Important!

We were having testimony time at our woman’s retreat and Susan was telling of God’s power to raise her off of her sick bed two years ago.  She is getting around now and spreading her joy to others but she is homebound. She relayed to us how she was feeling bad that she was not able, at this time, to help people out with her nursing skills anymore.  God had told her she had something very important she could still do.  She could pray and intercede for those in need.

When I was told that the chemo drugs I would be taking would cause me to lose my hair, I thought about the hair on my head and my eyebrows and eyelashes.  I never really thought about how much hair we have all over our bodies.  But eventually I lost all of it – yes even my nose hairs.

Now, losing nose hairs may not seem like a big deal, (unless of course you need one of those nose hair clippers to keep yours under control.)  But the first time I stood up and a big drip came running down and out my nose I discovered that nose hairs matter.  At first I had no clue what was going on with the drippy nose- just figured it was some new side effect from the chemo drugs.  But thanks to the Internet I discovered that nose hairs not only protect us from dirt going into your sinuses but also catch any leaks coming out!  I quickly learned to have a tissue on me at all times for those unannounced, unpredictable drips, and to never take those nose hairs for granted!

But back to testimony time.  I maybe should have stood up after Susan testified and declared the importance of nose hairs to our body.  But I didn’t.  But I want to declare it now. 

Nose Hairs you are important!  We need you!

God has so wonderfully made our bodies that every single part is precious and important.  Of course the same is true of the body of Christ – his people - all put together so wonderfully - each person so precious and so important to the function of the whole body.

I am so thankful for the nose hairs in my life –yes for those that are now back in my nose and those (if Susan is correct in her assessment) who pray.

A pastor–friend recently said to me “You are a walking miracle!”  Yes, I know in God’s graciousness he has healed me.  “There were so many people praying for you,” he went on to say.  Yes, because of prayer chains, there were people all over the country praying for me.  Some were close friends and relatives, but others were people I will never meet in this lifetime, but people who took time to lift me up before the Healer, the great Deliverer.  I am so grateful.

So for Susan and nose hairs everywhere I want to say, “Thank you!” Thank you for catching the drips and keeping out the dirt.  Thank you for making the whole body stronger and keeping it healthy. 

We all can pray.  We all can praise.  We all can bless another.
No matter how you see yourself, you are important and what you do matters!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog Day 2016 - No Shadow for Phil!

Groundhog Day 2016  - No Shadow for Phil!

Punxsy Phil doesn’t see a shadow and neither should we!
I’m not talking about an early spring here -although that would be great! I am talking about not retreating into our cozy den when phantom shadows appear.

This idea of shadows has been bouncing around my head for the last month.  But today seems the perfect day for it to emerge out of the of the portal of my mind and have some light shine on it!

It all started when I read these words from Ann Voskamp in her advent devotional. “And once the light of Christ shatters your dark, shadows forever flee your shadowlands.  There’s no going back and living in the dark; you live in the impenetrable, safe Light of light, and Christmas never ends for you.” 1

Wow! Christ has shattered my darkness and transported me from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light but sometimes I feel like there are still shadows lurking.  Why?

Shadows can come from many things: past pain, disappointments, rejection, betrayal, addictions or even sickness.   Shadows of fear of failure, inadequacy and lack can meet you at every turn. They may have you retreating into your cozy den: scared to try something new, or afraid to take the next step.  Sometimes if shadows persist long enough they become a shadowland and you just resign yourself to live there.  But whatever your shadows are, and however they got there, when they are brought into the Light of God’s presence they will vanish.

If I am looking directly into the light I cannot see any shadows.  It is only when I turn my back to the Light or turn to the side that shadows appear. When I look to Christ, the Light of the world, and focus on Him I will not see shadows.  So I need to look ahead and not behind.  I need to put past failures, mistakes and sins behind me and quit dragging them into each New Year.  They are in the past and I can move ahead unencumbered when I leave them there. As written in Isaiah I need to forget the former things and open my eyes and see the new thing God is doing.2

Remember the good. Forget the bad.
Turn toward the light and the shadows will disappear.

So is it as easy as just turning?  And how do I turn?  Sometimes it is not easy.  You need others to help. You need others to pray.  Getting into God's word, and meditating on His promises is a great first step.3  Praise is also a great way to get refocused and turned around.  Spending time magnifying the Lord, remembering His faithfulness, and sharing His love with others will go far in keeping you in the light. 4

Today is a new day.  This is a new year.  Things can be different.
Don’t let the shadows of yesterday's failures paralyze you or drag you down.
Look up!  Follow Jesus the Light of the World.5

1 The Greatest Gift -Ann Voskamp pgs. 139, 140

2 (Isaiah 43:18-19) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

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

4 (1 John 1:7) But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin.

5 (John 8:12) Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”