I’m not going to talk much about bad habits because I’m not equipped to help with them. I just know the old jingle, “I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t go with the boys that do.”
On a more serious note before we move on, my father died of throat cancer at age 50; I was 13. In 1960, we didn’t know much about the health hazards of smoking. We just knew Baptists weren’t supposed to do it, but they did anyway, and it was not the best, but okay because we were eternally saved. But Daddy didn’t have to have the AMA or the Baptists to tell him his prognosis. He told my mother, “This is killing me.” So, don’t smoke, and if you already do, ask God to lead you to someone who can help you quit. Your life is too valuable. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Take care of it before it’s too late.
Now for the good, but sometimes hard W’s
David doesn’t like to walk around the neighborhood. He prefers Fisherman’s Bend. There we not only get physical exercise; we plan and dream about the near and distant future, watch the Santiam River flow–and flow it does! And just be together in God’s green Northwest USA. It’s great when you can take your grandkids along.
Oh yes, and the best way to walk at Fisherman’s Bend (or anywhere) is with one of David’s handcrafted walking sticks.
If it’s getting close to dark or I have to walk alone, I settle for the neighborhood walk. But this is not all bad. In the neighborhood, you can prayer walk, praying for each neighbor as you pass his house. You can wave or even stop and chat if he’s in the front yard–that would be in June after it stops raining in Oregon.
How often should you walk? More often than I do. We try to go about four times a week, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Remember, we live in Oregon. Maybe in June we’ll make up for it and walk 15 times a week.
Drink water! It’s okay to drink coffee, tea or juice–or even on rare occasions a soda–but when you’re drinking these things, it means you’re not drinking water!
There’s not much more to say about water.I prefer mine with ice. Any way you pour it, just drink it!
Be in the Word–God’s Word. Satan will give you every reason not to do this. Kick him in the shins! Find a place and a time and have a plan. I’m now studying the Psalms of Ascent with our church ladies. Rich stuff. When I get behind, I’m the loser. Again, just do it!
As as child, for whatever Freudian reasons, I didn’t learn to do physical work as I should have. Again, I was the loser. I now find it rewarding to work–in the garden (though I’m far from a gardener) in the kitchen, cooking and washing dishes (I’m better at dishes than cooking, but I like to eat). When I lay my head on my pillow at night and I’ve worked with my hands, there is a satisfied feeling.
Work alongside your kids. Hopefully they’ll follow your example. Better they work with you than smoke with you. So, get busy!
What a great habit to get into. Not just at church–and it’s not just singing. It’s adoring someone. The best Someone I know to adore is God, the Three in one–God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
I will tell you a crazy habit of mine if you promise not to tell anyone. You see, I am an alphabet nut. I even make my lists in alphabetical order. (Did you notice my W’s are in alphabetical order?) During the night when I can’t sleep, I think of attributes of God, starting with A: Almighty, Bulwark, Creator…I don’t think I’ve ever made it to Z before I fall back asleep. But if I did, I guess I’d say, ruler of Zion. I also do the same with hymn titles: A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Because He lives, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. I sing as many verses as I can remember. It’s okay, David is deaf without his hearing aids, so I’m not disturbing anyone unless it’s the neighbors. If you’re under 69, you’ll probably want to song the praise songs. This is not the war of the worship music. So, just do it!
I could add one more W: Sit down, relax and WEAD a good book!
About 26 years ago, before the Addison’s Disease was discovered, (see “The Addison’s Battle,” http://nowwhat.cog7.org), I struggled to know why I weighed only 79 pounds, why I could barely walk up the stairs, why I couldn’t eat.
A verse came to me: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Why this verse? Why not one about God’s care for me? Why not one about healing? Why not a verse about God working everything out for our good? I think I may know the answer: When a middle-aged lady turns to skin-and-bones, it’s difficult for her to think or talk about anything but herself. This reminder said, “Marty, it’s still not about you. It’s about Me, and when you get that straight, your problem might find a solution.”
Layer-by-layer, I’ve found, and continue to find, solutions. God provides the right doctors, encouragers and common-sense answers–and a great husband and family just when I need them.
Several years ago, when I visited a friend in the hospital, I saw a young man standing in a corridor. Likely a loved one had a critical illness. He exclaimed over-and-over, “Jesus!, Jesus!, Jesus!”He spoke clearly, did not seem out of control. I knew he wasn’t a crazy man. He simply knew the only Person with the answer: Jesus!
My two daughters live 30 miles away and 30 air hours away! Instead of worry, I’d like to whisper it as I lie in bed, wanting God to protect these my children and my children’s children: Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Though I once weighed 79 pounds, I now sit at my computer with swollen feet, thinking I could pop them with a pin. I struggle to find shoes my feet will slide into. Other physical issues concern me. Though none of them seems critical, I want this to be my response, asking for help from the Great Healer: Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Nearly a week ago, we elected a new leader for our great country. Some like him, some don’t. If we like him, we might trust the president instead of the King of kings. If we don’t like him, we may give up and not trust anyone. So, let’s trust God no matter what our political leanings. Only He and our individual and collective hearts turned toward Him can make the big difference in our troubled souls and troubled land. Instead of rioting, let’s shout it from our homes, our neighborhoods and our cities–and in the streets: Jesus!, Jesus!, Jesus!
Whether you’re tired of your big fat feet; whether your kids live in Australia or next-door; whether you like or dislike our present leaders, let’s allow God to increase in our lives as we decrease. In the end, I believe we will increase in ways we never imagined, as we cry, Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Do you want to be made well? (John 5:8)
I’m sure that’s a no-brainer for this man stuck on his cot for 38 years. But, what about you and me? Do we want to be healed–physically, emotionally and spiritually?
“Illness worked for me…” A quote from my yet unpublished article, “My Name is Not Addison.” For some of us, illness works. Maybe we get out of chores. Maybe we don’t have the energy to figure out how to untie our complicated emotions. Or maybe we don’t want to heed God’s commands–or we don’t trust Him for healing of our body, mind and soul.
NO THANKS, LORD, NOT TODAY
As I promised, we’re going to talk about health–not wallow on our cot. So, let’s move right along and allow God to take us off that bed of physical, emotional and spiritual affliction.
After all, when we’re standing up straight:
Of course, we will have the burden of making our bed every morning.
Rise, take up thy bed and walk. (John 5:8)
My friend, if I write about it, I’ve probably gone through it or am still going through it. So, let’s bear with one another in our ups and our downs.
(Disclaimer: There are many in this world who have severe handicaps and yet serve God faithfully and with a full, happy and productive life. This article simply addresses the desire to be whole and all that God intended us to be.)
Like everyone, I have a story. I almost succumbed to whooping cough at six weeks of age. This and other factors likely contributed to the word “sickly” written across my forehead. Since that time 69 years ago, I’ve struggled with physical and emotional illness. At age 43, I developed Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency). At first, it was no big deal–I simply popped a steroid pill every morning and went on my way. As I’ve aged, it has become harder to stay healthy. I now find myself with diabetes and other endocrine and autoimmune diseases. But my blog posts this month will not be about illness, but rather about health and what nuggets of scripture teach us about being well.
I believe God wants His people to live in physical, emotional and spiritual health. This doesn’t mean we won’t have a crazy rare disease or at times question our abilities or our spiritual growth. It means we must rely on His amazing grace when the physical, emotional and spiritual collide–or when the tears come at night and we wonder where to go next in this maze of emotions and symptoms–when all around, expectations from others are mounting.
Join me this month as we:
- Talk about the desire to be well.
- Learn to give more time to Jesus than to our aches and pains in our everyday conversations.
- Strive to give up unhealthy habits.
- Become more positive even in the ups-and-downs of our lives.
- Rest–physically, mentally and spiritually.
Please see my online article, “Addison’s Battle,” at nowwhat.cog7.org . Also, purchase a copy of Twenty-Five Days Around the Manger, either in hard copy (from me or Amazon) or on your favorite e-book reader (free from most companies).
I welcome your comments.
Go in health!
Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled.”
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,
Charles Wesley, 1739
Just for fun, imagine with me that there’s an angel named Herald. I think it would play out something like this:
“What’s the big deal about Herald? Everybody thinks he’s the best angel.”
“Maybe he is. You’re jealous.”
“No I’m not. He toots his own horn like he’s somebody special.”
“He’s not tooting his own horn. He’s telling everyone about the new king.”
“King? He’s a baby. You see one baby, you’ve seen them all.”
“Oh I don’t think so. This baby is special.”
“How do you know?”
“I just read about him.”
“Oh that’s right, you’re the reading angel. I can’t do that either.”
“Don’t feel bad that you’re the angel in charge of getting people out of the mud. That’s an important job.
“Anyway, listen to this: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
“I’ll talk to you later. I gotta get one of the shepherds out of the mud so he can go see the Baby King.”
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…Luke 2:9a.
This is just one of the 25 entries in the book, TWENTY-FIVE DAYS AROUND THE MANGER. You can get your Kindle copy in a few short weeks.
The following is my introduction to TWENTY-FIVE DAYS AROUND THE MANGER, which will be out in Kindle form the first part of October. Just a little something to whet your appetite.
To My Favorite Chicken Thief
Little Georgia Lou’s father had an old car in the yard. It didn’t run, but didn’t have to for her purpose. Georgia Lou excused herself from the breakfast table. She quickly did her chores so she could go out and get in the car. She took her hymnbook, rolled the windows up and sang to the top of her lungs, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.” This and other old (yes, they probably were old even then) hymns kept her occupied much of the morning. Looking for cheap entertainment for your kids? Keep your old clunker and purchase a used hymnal.
But yes, as she grew, she became a little wild, as teens will do. It was Halloween night. She and a few friends found an old dark farmhouse. There it was, a chicken coop. They couldn’t help themselves. It simply was too easy. One of them (surely not my mother) grabbed a hen through the fence. They went to a vacant lot and built a fire. They then cooked and tried to eat the chicken. “That was the toughest chicken I’ve ever eaten — before or since.” With that, I think she learned her lesson. For the next eighty-five years she has been an upstanding, law-abiding citizen.
Mother and I laugh, cry, pray — and even talk together when she can get a word in edgewise. I have recently started doing more of the cooking. She is so gracious. As I bring out still another new recipe, never does she say, “Why don’t you do it the old way or just throw a roast in the skillet?” Instead, she says, “Do you want me to chop your onions or brown the meat for you?”
I’m thankful for this closet singer turned temporary outlaw turned blessing to many, whom I call Mother.