Sunday Morning Coffee: Viruses are Nasty

I got up on Friday feeling just fine. Went to the dentist and still felt fine. It wasn’t until later in the day that all my muscles started to hurt, and I couldn’t get warm.  No appetite, and my temp went up a couple of degrees.

The only thing I can figure out is that I’ve been fighting a cold for a couple of weeks now, and maybe it finally decided to  leave, but not without a rip-roaring farewell party.  I’m still weak this morning, and can’t seem to get enough sleep. So far, the coughing and sneezing have stopped. Sure did put a stop to my plans for the weekend, though. I’ve been pretty useless.

So I’ve been thinking about how my virus can be compared to sin. It can creep up on you a little at a time.  Remember I Peter 5:8? “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

 

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Some years ago, I learned that there is a substance in a lion’s paws that absorbs sounds, so that when the lion is  stalking prey, there is almost no noise as each pad sets down on the rustle of grass and twigs.   That’s Satan, padding quietly about, looking for the weak, the one separated from the herd, the old, the sick. The vulnerable.

We are all vulnerable to temptation and sin.  And when it gets a strong hold, as in II Cor. 10: 4-6, it takes  the power of the Holy Spirit to  break the hold of sin and send it packing.  In the process,  there can be some damage, and confession and repentance must be a part of the process.

Just as we try to prevent physical illness by eating well, resting, exercising–so we must be on guard against spiritual illness by staying in prayer, in the Word, and fellowship with God’s people .  Physical health must be purposefully maintained. So must spiritual health be purposefully maintained.

 

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Ponderings

I don’t know if it’s learned or just born-into-the-brain behavior. I only know it causes BIG problems in a marriage.

There are men who seem to believe that their contribution is to earn a paycheck, and that’s it.  They’ve put in their eight hours, they provide financially, and nothing more is required.

That, of course leaves EVERYTHING else up to the long-suffering wife and their children, as they grow older, and can help shoulder some of Mom’s burden.

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These men truly seem to believe that all their wives do all day is–well–not much. A little cooking, a little cleaning.  Not much else, even though the men do nothing at all about maintenance of the house and property. If they enjoy doing so, they may engage in some yard work, sitting on a riding mower until the grass is cut. That’s how they “help.”  If the kids need to be driven to games, lessons, etc., that’s Mom’s job. Grocery shopping, Mom’s job. After all, what does she do all day but sit around watching the soaps?

One would think, in these days of women working outside the home just as much as men do, that this  type of behavior would be a thing of the past. Sadly, it’s not. Do the men learn it from their fathers?  Or is there a male gene that convinces them they have no business doing “women’s work”?

I am blessed to have married a man who never hesitated to change a diaper, soiled or just wet.  Never hesitated to mop up vomit  or snot, just figuring it needed doing and he was right there. He told me years ago, as he was cleaning up a wiggly child, that he actually enjoyed knowing he was making the baby comfortable and keeping diaper rash away.

Believe me, his willingness to lend a hand in no way diminished his masculinity, and I respected him all the more for seeing that I was nearing the end of my patience.  He was not a man who came home, expected to be treated like a conquering hero, and sat down for the entire evening while I cooked, cleaned up, got the kids to bed. He was a part of the process, unless he was unusually tired from the work he did.  When that was the case, I understood and expected nothing.

Maybe that’s part of the problem, though, for women whose husbands give nothing but their paychecks. Those women have learned to expect nothing, and guess what?  Nothing is what they get. If they do ask for help, they get “What do you want from me? I work my tail off all day to provide for you, and I’m tired!  You’ve had all day to sit around doing nothing.  No, I’m not going to help you. Figure it out.”

Those women do—they figure it out.  And they go to bed feeling lonely, unloved, unwanted and unappreciated. Their husbands don’t understand that getting all lovey-dovey at that moment isn’t exactly appealing to their worn-out, disappointed wives.

As I write, I’m realizing that this mostly applies to an older generation in which the wives were mostly stay-at-home wives and mothers.  Their husbands must have often thought that their wives had a pretty cushy time of it.  Unfortunately, there are women who don’t do much but the absolutely necessary, if that.  Maybe it’s in retaliation for feeling disrespected because they aren’t making any financial contribution. I don’t know.

What I do know is that this is an age-old problem, and it takes the romance out of a marriage pretty quickly. At some point, maybe I’ll write something directed a wives who expect their husbands to do far more than is reasonable. There is, after all, another side to every story.

 

Offer and Refusal

Isaiah  30:15-17. “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest shall ye be saved: in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift: therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one: at the rebuke of five shall ye flee; till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.”

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God, still offering forgiveness and mercy, tries one more time. He tells Judah that they need not fear their enemies if only they will return to Him, but they refuse.

“We’ll run away on fast horses,” they insist.  And God replies, “One man will chase five of you, and five of your enemies will chase all of you until what remains of you will be like a single pine tree on top of a mountain, or a single flag on a hilltop.”

How foolish we are to refuse God’s offer of confidence, quietness, rest, and strength; instead we trust our own abilities to take care of ourselves.  As that famous TV shrink would say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

 

Nothing Left

Isaiah 30: 12-14. ” Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this Word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:  Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And He shall break it as the breaking of the potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces: He shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.”

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Wherefore is like Because.  It joins what is about to be said with what has already been said.

Judah had scorned God, scorned His prophet, scorned His Word.  Their iniquity (sin) would be like a wall that has been breached, and would fall upon them so fast and so completely that there wouldn’t be much left but dust.  Not a scrap big enough to carry a hot coal, or to bring water up from a well, would survive the destruction.

This prophecy was fulfilled when the Babylonians, and later the Romans, laid siege to Jerusalem, leaving it a heap of dust.  It was not the Assyrian invasion of ch. 36:1-27, but the ruin of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar ( 2 Kings 25) and no doubt also the one  by the Romans in 70 a.d. (Matt. 24:2; Luke 21: 20-23).  No such complete destruction was made by the Assyrians as by the Babylonians and then Rome.

Sins of Judah

Isaiah 30:8-11. “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

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God told Isaiah to write a permanent record of the stubbornness, rebellion, and sins of Judah. He listed seven specific sins:

  1. Rebellion against God
  2.  Liars
  3.  Refuse to hear the Law of God
  4.  They tell the seers not to see
  5.  They tell the prophets not to prophesy
  6.  They despise the Word of God.
  7. They trust in oppression and perversity, and depend upon it.

The people of Judah told their prophets to tell them only “smooth” things, and I am reminded again of how we who call ourselves Christians  tip-toe around words that aren’t “smooth.”  We don’t like to say sin, Satan, hell, judgment.  Instead we say mistakes, The Enemy,  loss, and “don’t judge.”

The world has succeeded in removing the Blood of Jesus from the public arena, calling it too gory, while every violent video game splashes blood around as if it were water.

Preachers, you need to honor your calling and say the truth. You have a responsibility to NOT sugar-coat God’s message. Those of us sitting in the pews need to respect the straight teaching of God’s Word, never criticizing it for being too harsh when it is what God has said.

All this didn’t work out too well for Judah.  It won’t work for us, either.

 

Useless Gifts

Isaiah 30: 6-8. ” The burden of the beasts of the south: Into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches  of camels, to a people that shall not profit them. For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.”

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In the effort to recruit Egypt to their side against the Babylonians, Judah sent a caravan of  animals bearing gifts for Egypt. into “the land of trouble and anguish.”  When Nebuchadnezzar came against Egypt, it became indeed a land of trouble and anguish, and was unable to help Judah.

The irony of the next two verses is inescapable.  Judah was willing to send caravans of gifts into a land full of old and young lions, vipers, and fiery flying serpents.  That doesn’t sound too inviting, and after all that risk, Egypt refused to help.  All that, when they could simply have turned to God. No risk, no gifts needed, no frightening animals to avoid.

The vipers probably refer to a snake common in Arab lands, about two feet long and as thick as a man’s arm. They have a wide mouth, which they use to draw in a lot of air. When inflated, they eject the air with such force that the sound can be heard a great distance. They are extremely poisonous.  Makes me think of some politicians.

The fiery flying serpents  seem to fly from tree to tree, and even dart upon their prey to sting with a deadly blow. They are termed fiery because of the strength of their venom.

“Their strength is to sit still” could also be translated, Rahab, do nothing; or, Dragon, sit still–implying that Egypt would be of no help to Judah.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Signs of Fall

I know it’s been fall for several weeks now, but really, here in my corner of PA, fall doesn’t set in really hard  until right about now.

So how do I know it’s really fall?

Daylight Time change.

More leaves on the ground than on the trees.

I need a jacket.

TERRY needs a jacket.

The raspberry garden is done. We ate the last ones two days ago.

Terry lit the oil stove that heats our living room and most of the rest of the house.

We keep our bedroom doors closed during the day. Don’t need them heated.

I’m now using my puffy bedspread and a heavy afghan. You’ll know it’s winter when I tell you I’ve put on my heated mattress pad and brought my down comforter up from basement storage.  Two comforters?  Well, sure!  Why not?  I’ll be twice as comforted 🙂

Frost on the punkins–and the cars.

 

Dozens of flocks of geese and other birds arrowing south.

Winter squash is abundant. There’s a produce stand near us that has Hubbard squash. It’s tempting–best squash there is–but they’re much too big for just the two of us.

I’ve just about finished switching out my closet from short sleeves to long, light fabrics to heavier, dresser drawers from short-sleeve tees to long sleeves, and the sweaters are coming out.

I’m thinking about my Thanksgiving menu.  I’m well enough, strong enough, to do it here this year, I think. We’ll find out.

I am thankful that, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, I am relatively pain free. I can do most of the housework, the laundry, and the cooking again.  Terry still cooks on Wednesday and Thursday, because I work until 5 those days and he’s happy to have supper ready when I get home.

You know, even as I write, I realize how thankful I am. Just thankful in general.  We are blessed in so many ways.

Happy Sunday to all of you.  I hope you’ll be in church somewhere today, a church where God’s Word is central.