Caterpillar to Butterfly

Galatians 6:15. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”

God no longer looks at whether or not we keep the law.  He looks at the heart, to see if it has been made new.  What matters to Him is that the caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly, free to spread its wings and fly as it enjoys the grace of being unlocked from its cocoon, and its landlocked body becomes renewed and set free.

I know a young man who accepted Christ as is Savior when he was a pre-teen.  He never really grew.  He lacked a father, and there were no mentors who came in and discipled him.  He knew he was saved, but  it hasn’t been until recently, after he fell into terrible sin, that he’s been broken-hearted and willing to completely surrender to the Lord.  He’s growing by leaps and bounds now, soaking up scripture as if it were his lifeblood.

This is his transformation.  He’s been a caterpillar for years, figuring he could make everything perfect by his own efforts.  Only now is he willing to accept not only salvation, but the wonderful grace of Jesus that has the power to heal and restore.

It’s wonderful to watch him become a butterfly.

Farewell to a Friend

I always write these posts the night before I post them, so I’m sitting here, at 9:30 p.m., at my computer deciding that I’m going to step away from my normal routine.

We went to the memorial service of a friend of over 40 years’ standing.  He died of pancreatic cancer a couple of weeks ago, and the family wanted to make sure all the relatives who needed to travel would be able to enjoy the service.

The church auditorium was full. I’m guesstimating maybe 500-600 people were there tonight.  Lots of family, lots of friend, lots of friends who were like family.  It was really like a big family reunion, and it was wonderful.  Of course there were tears,  Rich was a kind man, gentle in his manner but very strong in his faith and practice. His children adored him, and he and Diane were married for just over 50 years. They created together a rich heritage for the children and grandchildren; a heritage of giving, serving, encouraging, and loving others. The hundreds of people who were there to honor Rich was testimony to their legacy.

The music was amazing, uplifting, and brought me  to tears.  There’s nothing quite like singing together with several hundred other people who all love the music the same way.

At the end, two men that I love to hear sang the wonderful song Almighty God.  It’s a magnificent song, and I was mopping my eyes all the way through.

We know Rich is in heaven, praising the God he loved and served all his life.  We rejoice that he is free of pain, enjoying his new body, singing with the heavenly chorus a hallelujah that I just can’t wait to hear, and to join in singing.  Still, we will miss him.  This is going to be a year of firsts for my friend. Diane is a strong, godly woman, and she’s going to need that strength to get her through the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, and so on. She will cry, because that’s what she does.  The tears will bring her relief, and she will enjoy Christmas with her family and friends.

Sometimes it seems like there have been too many funerals, but I know there are going to be lots more before it’s my turn to see the Lord. It’s a sad farewell, but a glad hello for Rich.

Glory in the Cross

Galatians 6:14.  “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by wwhom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

I love this beautiful verse, so simple and clear. I cannot and must not glory in myself.  The only cause I have to boast is in the cross of the Lord Jesus.  It represents that I, as a believer, should have been crucified to the things of this world, and the world must be crucified to me.

Hoo Boy!

On my present journey to better health, I need to get more exercise.  What I really mean is that I need to GET some EXERCISE!

Walking hurts my back after a very short time. I detest calisthenics.  Don’t think I’m up to lifting just yet.  Maybe later.Of course, the son who could help me with that has gone and moved to California. . . .

Anyway, my doctor and I agreed that swimming would be an excellent choice, since it’s non-weightbearing and I have always loved to swim.  So I joined the local YMCA, and this afternoon I dipped my toe into the water for the first time in maybe 25 years.

The pool looked excessivley long from my perch at the shallow end.  Does anyone have binoculars?

A woman on my right was happily knifing back and forth. A gentleman on my left was doing a very comfortable-looking backstroke.  I kind of felt as if the lifeguard was waiting for me to DO something–besides standing in water up to my shoulders watching other swimmers.  So here we go.  Deep breath, push off, get the rhythm going. Stoke, stroke, breathe. Hey!  I still remember how to do this!  Made it all the way to the other end pretty comfortably.

But then I had to go back, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it doing the crawl, so I turned around and employed  my backstroke.  That went well.  Stop and rest.  Go again, side stroke.  Stop an rest, other side back. Crawl again, gulped water about halfway down the lane, flipped over and backstroked the rest of the way. Stopping after each lap to catch my breath was a good choice.  I think I did a total of 10-12 laps, which actually makes me feel pretty proud of myself. I’d been afraid that one lap would do me in.

Okay, so I figure I’ll have the time and opportunity to swim two, maybe three days each week.  I can feel it in my shoulders, legs, arms right now, and a little in my back. Not bad.  Right now I’m sitting in my living room easy chair, using my laptop, enjoying a small Granny Smith apple with some low fat string cheese.

Really living the life these days.

A Fair Show in the Flesh

Galatians 6: 12-13.” As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”

Making a show in the flesh refers to circumcision and to the outward rituals of Judaism which any unsaved man could keep without being restricted otherwise.  Weak Christians were tempted to go back to Judaism because they could escapte persecution and more easily conform to the outward appearance of righteousness without really commiting themselves to anything.

The Judaizers desired that Christianity become just another Jewish sect, reflecting on all the outward working of keeping the Law, and bringing glory (they thought) to Judaism itself.

I Think I Need a Therapist

This morning my mind is occupied with something other than a Friday Counseling Issues Post.

First, for the second time this week I was rudely awakened by machines. Three days ago, around 3 a.m., I heard a very unpleasant, rhythmic bleepbleepbleep, unrelenting and loud. I stumbled out of bed and followed my ears (there’s a visual for you) to the living room, where my cell phone was guilty of the racket. Somehow or other, the alarm had been set.

I didn’t do it. Not on purpose. I have no idea how it happened. Mumblegrump. Shuffled back to bed but didn’t sleep soundly. Had to be up at six.

Last night, I was in a blissful sleep coma when once again I hear beepbeepbeepbeep, high-pitched, unrelenting, and annoying.  I considered finding a hammer.

It was our microwave.  It has a “reminder” feature on it that I’ve never used. Terry had mentioned last night that he’d accidentally bumped it, but thought he had it turned off.

Apparently not.  I informed him this morning that if he ever does that again I WILL wake him up and he will be assigned to the doghouse for an indefinite period of time.  Grrrrrrrgrumblemump. What really ticks me off is the way he snorts and chortles when I threaten him with dire consequences. He is not properly respectful of my powers.

But now to get to the real thorn under my saddle.  I finally waved the white flag of surrender with my doctor and volunteered to see a dietician.  I’ve made a concerted effort for the last five months to drop some flab, and have gotten exactly nowhere. My doctor is delighted, as if she thinks the dietician has a magic wand that melts fat.

Thing is, it’s not that I don’t know WHAT to do.  I just don’t WANT to do it. I’ve eaten piles—yea, verily, MOUNTAINS of salad in my lifetime, and I’m still fat.  I hate being fat. Hate it with a passion. I’ve done every diet known to mankind, and a few that aren’t.  I’ve lost lots of weight over the years, gained it all back and then some when I go back to eating like a normal person.  What really bugs me is that I’m married to Jack Sprat.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean. And so, between the two, they licked the platter clean.

So this morning I’m going to pay someone to tell me what I already know. What I’m hoping is that having one-to-one accountabiity will help me stay on the straight-and-narrow. And my doc says this woman has lots of great ideas that I may never have thought about.

Here I go again.

Do Good

Galatians 6:10-11. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.”

Paul wrote this letter from prison. He had very little freedom of movement, and apparently he did not have his usual access to an amanuensis, or scribe.  Most of his epistles were dictated.  This one, he wrote with his own hand, and it must have been difficult. We know his eyesight was failing.  The idea that his comment refers to the extremely large size of the actual letters is not founded on anything in the manuscripts or in any scripture text.  He was simply pointing out that what he had to say was so important that he decided to go ahead and write the letter himself, without his usual secretarial help.

He also admonished the Philippian believers to be sure, whenever they had the opportunity, to treat all people well, and especially fellow believers.  Be generous, he said.  Be liberal in giving and helping.  Uphold each other  in word and deed.

Love one another.