Renovation

If you’re a Facebook friend, you may have seen the pictures and videos I’ve been posting as progress continues on the renovation of my old, tired kitchen.  It’s a lot of work.  We’re so thankful for our friend Norm Yeager, who has spent the last few weeks visiting various friends to help out with construction projects.  He has spent at least three full days helping Terry, possibly more.  Memory dims. He’s leaving this morning to go help someone else for a couple of days before he goes back to his longsuffering wife. Thanks for letting him do this, Sherry. Such a blessing to so many.

Anyway.  Others have come to lend a hand. Joe Schmidt has helped us tremendously in supplying cabinets. Our son Dan has spent many long hours, and I’m sure there will be more.  He can be the muscle for things Terry can’t life or carry, and he also helps keep his dad’s ADD brain from shooting all over the place :)  Time Delp spent some time yesterday.  Our son Mike was here for a couple of days and helped take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  Today our son-in-law Aaron will be here for a while to help set some more cabinets and, I think, put down the last piece of sub-flooring.

I took a picture of Norm and Terry working on tearing up the ugly old brown floor. I captioned it, “When two good men work together, the job gets done.”  It’s amazing how much more four hands can accomplish, especially when the hearts and attitudes are in harmony. It’s been fun to watch these two work together.

normterry

So I’ve been thinking about  the scriptural passage that talks about how we are all a part of the body of Christ, all with different abilities, jobs, and gifts that are to be used together for God’s glory.  You can read it in I Cor. 12:12-31.  Some parts of the body aren’t so glamorous.  No one really cares to take a good long look at a liver or at the bowels, yet the body would die without both of these inglamorous parts. We’d rather spend time enjoying faces:  Eyes, lips, noses, hair. We love to look at those who are beautiful, and the older I grow the more I realize that there is beauty in every single human being because we are made in the image and likeness of God.

Some body parts have inglorious jobs. Feet get stood on all day. Baby toes are really cute, but not so much after they start running, getting shoved into sneakers, and smelling a little funky :) And think about noses.  Mine doesn’t work so well any more.  There are many things I can no longer smell.  The inside of a nose isn’t exactly a stunningly beautiful thing, but without our noses, with the hairs that help sift out dust and allergens,  we’d be in a lot of trouble. Noses get the breath to our lungs. We wouldn’t survive without noses.

Part of maturity in Christ is to be content, and even thankful, for whatever part of the body God has created us to be.  We are all necessary to the work. We are all loved and deeply valued by God. We are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10), His poetry, his masterpiece, His work of art.

Some have hands to build, and heads to understand how to do so.  Some have tongues to speak, sing, teach, and minds to help them do so. Some have the beautiful feet that run to spread the gospel of peace. Whatever we are, whatever the part of the body God has ordained us to be, we have something to offer. We can all be an encouragement to others.

Terry and I are thankful for those who have been such an encouragement to us in this huge job of work.  We have a long way to go, but Terry is one of those who has hands and a head to guide his hands in such work. He needs more physical help these days than he used to, and God is providing that help.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Aging: The Heart

I am not a medical doctor.  I am not qualified to diagnose or treat any medical condition.  What I share with you today is information widely available.  I am keeping it as simple as I can so I don’t make any egregious errors. It certainly has been interesting and enlightening–and motivating–to read on this topic this week.

The first thing that came to mind as I started looking for information this week was the scripture verse John 14: 1, “Let not your heart be troubled. . . .”

Before I talk today about some physical changes, I want to make application as well to emotional changes that occur as we age.  I’ve probably mentioned before that I heard a speaker years ago at a women’s conference who said, “If you are a negative, whiny, complaining, criticial young woman, you’re going to be a nasty, mean, miserable and lonely old woman.  You are becoming what you will be.”

That statement is true not only of our spiritual and emotional selves, but also of our physical selves. We need to be good stewards of these incredible bodies with which God has gifted us.

“A man is as old as his arteries.”
Thomas Sydenham, MD, English Physician, 1624-1689

Stretched end-to-end, the arteries, veins, and other vessels of the human circulatory system would measure about 60,000 miles. On any given day, the heart pumps about 1,800 gallons of blood through this vast network. In an average lifetime, the heart pumps approximately one million barrels of blood—enough to fill more than 3 supertankers—through the circulatory system.

(http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/aging-hearts-and-arteries/chapter-4-blood-vessels-and-aging-rest-journey)

High blood pressure and atherosclerosis commonly develop as we age.  At age 65, nearly 40% of all deaths are heart-disease related. As we grow older, that statisitic increases a whole lot.

Unless you live with your head in the sand, you know how important a healthy lifestyle is to the heart.  Smoking, lack of exercise, a diet rich in salt and unhealthy fats all increase the risk of heart disease; that risk includes diseases of the blood vessels and arteries as well. You can read in depth about cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis here.  Right now, I’d like to talk just a bit about how we can slow down the process so that our years here on earth are more productive, healthier, and less of a burden on our loved ones.

There is so much written about how we eat.  If you’re going to believe all the hype out there, you really can’t eat much of anything without risking cancer, heart disease, and general pollywoggles of the diflammatorium.  Health gurus and nutritionial specialists can’t seem to agree on a lot of things–butter or not butter?  Bacon or not bacon?  That list is endless.  I remember when margarine was touted as the savior of the health of mankind, and it has since turned out that the stuff is only one little molecule away from being plastic. Blech. There is NO margarine in my refrigerator!

Food is obviously important, but I want to stress here is the common sense approach. It’s a no-brainer that we need to avoid too much sugar and fat.  If you shop on the perimeter if  your grocery store, you will do pretty well.  All the processed empty calories are in the middle shelves.  Most of those aisles we can blow right by without missing much.  What’s on the perimeter?  Produce, dairy, meat and seafood.  Usually the bakery, too, which you have to close your eyes to as you whip your cart past it at lightning speed :)

The key is deep, dark color, whole unprocessed foods, and no added sugar or fat. It’s the way our grandparents lived, and their rate of heart disease was a lot lower than ours.

Exercise never loses its importance.  This is my biggest stumbling block. Inherently lazy, I find a lot more pleasure in a cup of tea and a good book than I do in a brisk walk on a cold/hot/windy/humid/wet/snowy/icey day.  Get the picture?  I KNOW how important it is for my heart that I move, walk, get up off the couch.  I wish there were a pill to give me the will.  A “will pill.”

We’ll talk about diabetes in another post, but I mention here because I have learned that the minute you are diagnosed with Type II, you are also a heart patient.  Type II can be controlled with a little self-discipline.  Diet and exercise play a huge role

What happens to the emotional and spiritual condition of an aging person who develops heart disease?  Most typically, depression can set in, and old-age depression is not the same as depression that younger people can experience.  Older people who are sick or debilitated because of heart disease often feel useless and hopeless, and their last years  become nothing more than ticking off the days until they die.

That’s not cool. There is help out there, tons of information on how to improve your heart health and thereby improve your overall health.  We need to live as much as we can until we lay these old bodies down to die.  Live until you die. Don’t die years before your body gives out on you.

A Parable

Matthew 24:32-33. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise, ye, when ye shall see all these thigns, know that it is near, even at the doors.”

This is an uncomplicated, straightforward parable.  The fig tree  puts forth leaves, and that is a sign that summer is near.  Just as people can see from the leaves on the fig tree that summer is coming, so will the people of the era of the end times see by all the signs that Jesus taught that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is very near.  They will indeed be able to lift up their heads, for Redemption is coming! They will see the flash, see the angels, hear the trumpet, and see the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords as He comes from the heavens, gathers up His elect from all the corners of the earth, and prepares to take His place on the Throne of David.

Angels and a Trumpet Sound

Matthew 24:31. “And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Visible angels will accompany the Lord Jesus when he returns to earth. He will not come alone and helpless as He did in Bethlehem.  These angels will not be ethereal beings that we can see through. They are literal beings that will come with Him. They will come with the great sound of a trumpet.  My, I’d love to see and hear that trumpet.  I wonder if it will be the shofar that Israel has used for centuries. They have a unique sound, one that can be heard for miles around. This particular trumpet will surely be heard around the world!

“His elect” in this verse refers to the believing Jewish remnant who have preached the gospel of the kingdom during the Tribulation period. They will be gathered from the four winds, or four directions, of the earth:  North, south, east, and west.

I don’t think any of us can even begin to imagine what a dramatic, intense, and amazing event this will be. No one will be any more thrilled to see the sign in the sky, to see the lightning flash, to hear the trumpet sound, than those who have survived the Tribulation to see the Son of Man return to His rightful place.

Sun, Moon, and Stars

Matthew 24:29. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”

We’ve all seen lunar eclipses, or pictures of them.  This year, there have been two “blood moons,” which has a lot of people speculating about the end times being upon us.  No, these are simply unusual events of the cycle of the universe, and not the description of what will happen in this verse. The first blood moon was in April of this year; the second in October. The third will be in April next year, and the fourth in November. They are predictable because of the phases of the moon and the revolution of the earth around the sun.

The events prophesied in this verse will be far beyond “unusual events of the universe”!  They will all occur at once, at the end of the Tribulation. The sun will go dark, the moon will go dark, the stars will fall. There will be no astronomical explanation or prediction for these events that will happen suddenly.

And then, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Haggai 2: 6-7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come…

God is going to shake things up. Those remaining on the earth after the Tribulation will experience such fear, such awe! The heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land  are going to tremble, and THEN He Who is desired of ALL nations will come.

It gets better from here!