Watch out for the proverbial “rebound”!

Rebound

That word has some negative connotations as well as some positive ones. Here’s a few negative examples:

After a failed relationship, an “emotionally needy” person who immediately jumps into another relationship without much, if any, careful consideration is said to be “on the rebound.” Also, after dropping some pounds, many dieters “rebound” and put all the weight back on, plus more!

A couple of months ago, I completed a 16-week-long diet campaign in which I lost 30 lbs. I was pretty happy about that and tooted my horn a bit with three posts about the experience as a potential motivator for others. But, from past diet experiences, I also knew exactly what was coming down the road. It’s a given. The body, a wondrous, God-designed and God-created “biomachine” is always seeking equilibrium. Lose thirty pounds and the body will fight “tooth and nail” to get those highly desirable, fuel-source fat cells right back on.

Losing all that weight took some discipline and effort. During my diet, I avoided many of my favorite high-calorie snacks and meals. But once I reached my goal, I rationalized that I could relax the discipline, treat myself “here and there,” and still maintain my new weight. Well, you know the story. A little ice cream and a few chips “here and there” was slowly morphing back again into a regular habit. Thankfully, I continued to weigh myself daily after I had achieved my goal and a trend showing the consequences of my relaxed eating habits began to emerge on my iPhone’s health app’s weight graph (see photo above). Fluctuating a few pounds up and down around a target/maintenance weight is fine, but I was on a steep trajectory to Yo-Yo Diet Land. OK. No need to panic. I caught it early. I ramped up my exercise regimen and ramped down my increasingly careless and undisciplined eating habits.

Spiritual application

Christians are spiritually reborn in Jesus Christ and we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, BUT we also still have our old sin natures and still live in a fallen world. There’s a spiritual battle going on around us every day and we can easily become neutralized and sidelined by the enemy. We’re always being tempted to “rebound” back to sin.

Just as a dieter (and former dieter) needs to hop on the scale each morning to gauge the stark truth about their physical weight, we need to get into God’s Word daily, which the Holy Spirit will use as a mirror to show us our true spiritual condition. Then there’s communing with the Lord throughout the day in prayer. There’s also worship with fellow believers at church on Sunday and admonition and exhortation from God’s Word from the pastor. I’m also grateful for my fellow believers here at WordPress for their exhortations and encouragement. In addition, my wife and I have a daily devotion time and we also provide “loving” (well, most of the time) feedback to each other about the reality of our spiritual condition.

Argh! Just like the unflattering data from the scale, that’s not always information that I enjoy, but I do need honesty regarding my walk with the Lord. Is there a fellow Christian in your life who encourages you and provides honest feedback? I could not stay on track with my health regimen without the honest feedback of our bathroom scale and I could not follow the Lord faithfully without daily Bible reading and communing with the Lord in prayer, and fellowshipping with other believers.

Postscript: Having discipline in our Christian walk is a good and necessary thing, but always keep in mind that our walk with the Lord is a relationship rather than a check-list.

“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” – Hebrews 4:11-13

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The Top Ten Christians of All Time!

Yes, it’s time to rank the Top Ten Christians of all time. So without any further ado, let’s get started:

#10

#9

#8

#7

#6

#5

#4

#3

#2

#1

What? A blank list of the “Top Ten Christians of All Time”? Yup, and you probably already know where this post is going.

A couple of Sundays ago, I was walking out of one of our local grocery supermarkets and a headline on the front of the local Sunday newspaper caught my eye; “Buffalo Bills: Who are the Top 100 players in franchise history?” We’re headed toward the start of the NFL football season and Rochester is in the middle of Bills country, so a headline like that is a good ploy to sell newspapers.

Unbelieving culture always tends to think in terms of Top Ten or Top 100 lists and who or what is the best at some particular occupation or function. It’s a competitive world out there and people are always trying to be at the head of the pack because that translates into prestige and $$$.

But Christians know that Jesus Christ was quite counter-cultural in His teachings.

“So the last will be first, and the first last.” – Matthew 20:16

Jesus came to save and to serve and exhorts those He has saved to also serve others in many ways, but most importantly, by giving out the Gospel to the lost. There are none who are righteous, according to the Bible, and saved souls do not have a single plea of their own except for the imputed, perfect righteousness of their Savior, Jesus Christ. A list of “Top Ten Christians” is really a contradiction in terms.

The world’s Top Ten and Top 100 lists can be interesting and even helpful in a practical way when it comes to the most effective, reliable, and pleasing consumer products, but the rankings of people according to some scale of greatness should ring hollow to a believer. All talents and capabilities are gifts from the Lord.

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15

Now, there are some religious groups that do boldly lift certain people up as “great.” Roman Catholicism, for example, canonizes certain people as “saints,” meaning they allegedly achieved an extraordinarily high level of sanctity in their lifetime. There are unofficial lists of the church’s greatest saints and greatest popes, but that type of thinking follows worldly models rather than the humble example of Jesus Christ.

Regrettably, there are times when genuine believers ape the world’s thinking and exalt certain pastors or para-church leaders in the same way the world exalts its movie star celebrities. We should avoid puffing up others and ourselves with pride.

The battle of the signs!

Last week, I took a trip to the Tops grocery store at the Panorama Plaza shopping center that’s near us and I happened to glance over at the Alpha and Omega Christian bookstore, also located at the plaza and right next to a GNC (General Nutrition Center) store, and the notion popped into my head to add a little something below the A&O sign in response to the GNC sign.

Many people nowadays are absolutely consumed with diet and fitness, as if they’re trying to stave off their inevitable demise. I mean, there’s people who spend a fortune at GNC every week on vitamins, protein powders, etc. Gyms are popping up everywhere and have become the temples of this new religion of staving off mortality. A healthy diet and some exercise are great, but if you haven’t trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and walk with Him daily, you’re just NOT “living well” and you have no real hope. The ol’ body’s gonna peter out eventually; it’s a forgone conclusion no matter how many reps you do or how many alfalfa sprout smoothies you drink.

“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8

Postscript One: Please, no irate letters! I’m not a huge fan of quasi-(c)hristian bookstores, which peddle a LOT of heterodoxy. This particular store stocks quite a few books from TBN prosperity gospel types and also has a Catholic section. But at least they do sell Bibles and “some” books from solid evangelical writers.

Postscript Two: Yup, my version of photoshop is pretty basic!

Remembering the Summer of 1969: Part 2 – the Manson Murders

This past Wednesday, we took a look back fifty-years ago to the heady days of the summer of 1969, when many young people naively saw the Woodstock music festival as a part of the dawning of a new era of peace, love, and universal brotherhood. See here. But just one week prior to the festival, a communal hippie “family” was wreaking havoc twenty-eight hundred miles away in Los Angeles, California; a calamity that would subsequently help to deflate the dreams of the “Woodstock Nation.”

Charles Manson (1934-2017) had been in and out of prisons throughout his young life, beginning in 1951 at the age of seventeen. When he was released from prison in 1967, he had spent more than half of his life behind bars. Manson, a charismatic personality, gradually attracted a large number of followers to his clan, mostly young, female runaways. Manson convinced his impressionable disciples that he was the “second coming” of both Jesus Christ and Satan, and they submitted to his absolute control. In Manson’s twisted mind, he believed the United States was headed towards a race war and that his role was to incite it.

An aspiring singer, songwriter, and musician,* Manson had previously been rejected by influential LA record producer, Terry Melcher (producer of five of the Byrds’ twelve albums). On August 8th, Manson sent four of his communal “family” members to Melcher’s former home to murder the occupants as part of his race-war strategy and probably also to instill fear into Melcher. Actress, Sharon Tate, eight-months pregnant, and four others were brutally killed. The following evening, Manson drove the same four followers plus two others to another house, eleven miles from the previous homicide, where they murdered a married couple and staged the scene as another faux racial attack.

Following the two grisly “events,” the entire Los Angeles area went into panic mode. The police investigation was slow going, but clues eventually led to the Manson clan and arrests were finally made in the first week of December 1969. The trial began on June 15, 1970 and the proceedings turned into a daily media circus with Manson and his brainwashed followers performing on cue for the press. But on January 25, 1971, Manson and the direct perpetrators of the LA murders were convicted and subsequently sent to prison for life.

The young people of the nation scratched their heads. Hippies living in communes were NOT supposed to be mass-murderers. The Manson murders revealed the Aquarian ideal of peace, love, and universal brotherhood had a very dark underside. In addition to the Manson killings, the Altamont Free Concert festival, held on December 6, 1969, which was planned as a “West Coast Woodstock,” was also marked by violence and murder.

The hope of the Aquarian dream of the summer of 1969 turned out to be a mirage. But there is real hope and His name is Jesus Christ! The Bible, God’s Word, says that we are all sinners and that we all deserve eternal punishment. But God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died for our sins on the cross. But He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and now offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Won’t you trust in Jesus?

Postscript One: Convicted Manson family killers, Charles “Tex” Watson and Susan Atkins both professed to have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior while in prison. I read Atkins’ book, “Child of Satan, Child of God,” thirty years ago. She died in prison in 2009. Were Atkins’ and Watson’s professions of faith genuine? I don’t know, but I do know Jesus Christ will save ANYONE who repents of their sin and trusts in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Postscript Two: The entire nation was shocked fifty-years ago by the brutal and ritualistic Manson “family” murders, but murder has since become quite commonplace in the United States. There were 17,000 murders in the U.S. in 2017. Mass-shootings are becoming an everyday occurrence. As of Aug. 5, there have been 255 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. And let’s not forget the GENOCIDE of 60,000,000 babies killed since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

*Two rock artists who had tried to help Manson land a recording contract were Dennis Wilson (d. 1983) of the Beach Boys and Neil Young.

Remembering the Summer of 1969: Part 1 – Woodstock

I grew up during the turbulent 1960s and I can remember that decade very well. Just about every day, there seemed to be something in the news about the Civil Rights movement, the war in Vietnam, or the burgeoning youth/counter culture movement.

Towards the end of the decade, young people had the optimistic hope that the old institutions were crumbling and that we were all heading into a new and marvelous era of peace, love, and universal brotherhood. In books, films, and music, especially music, writers and artists were anticipating this coming Age of Aquarius.

“But the age of truth will soon appear, Aquarius arrives…”
– from “Right Between the Eyes” by Graham Nash, written in 1968

A pop song, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” caught the imagination of the entire country just prior to the summer of 1969:

“When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” was originally written by Rado, Ragni, and MacDermot for the 1967 Broadway musical, “Hair,” but The 5th Dimension’s rendition caught the imagination of young people across America. The single was released in March 1969 and reached the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart where it stayed for six weeks in April and May.

I had just turned thirteen in the summer of 1969 and I was somewhat aware of the Woodstock music festival in Bethel, New York, about 230 miles southeast of Rochester, which was fully-billed as the “Woodstock Music and Art Fair – an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” The festival ran from August 15 to 18, and back in Rochester we heard daily reports on the television news that weekend about the New York State Thruway being shut down by the logjam of cars belonging to the festival goers.

When I returned to my Catholic grammar school in September, our resident eighth-grade hippie classmate, Bill DeFraine (d. 2016), was exuberant about the Woodstock “happening,” but was short on details. Those would come later with the release of the documentary film, “Woodstock” on March 26, 1970 and the triple-album, “Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More” on May 11, 1970.

There’s no need to get into the nitty-gritty details of the festival for our purposes except to note that thirty-two music acts had performed during the weekend in front of almost half-a-million concertgoers. Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young) would leverage their Woodstock appearance into becoming the “voice of a generation.”

“We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
– from “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell and popularized by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young* with their single version, released in March, 1970, which peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

There was no sign of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the festival. It goes without saying that few of the 400,000+ attendees (or the musical performers for that matter) were actually full-bore, new-age Aquarian astrologists, but most readily supported the festival’s faux-spirituality of “wine, women, and song,” including the nebulous notion of “universal brotherhood.”

Woodstock is now just a 50-year-old memory and many of the young people who attended the event subsequently became part of the very “establishment” they had previously claimed to abhor. The natural man is constantly searching and flailing about for some type of meaning to life and the universe, and the faux Age of Aquarius and the Woodstock Nation were just two more false hopes among countless others.

Jesus Christ is the ONLY Salvation and Hope. Learn about Him and trust in Him as your Savior. He doesn’t go out of style. He’s the eternal Rock Who never fails.

How can I be saved?
https://www.gotquestions.org/how-can-I-be-saved.html

Woodstock symbolized the idealistic hope of young people in 1969-70 and was widely believed to be part of the dawning of a new era of peace, love, and universal brotherhood. But the highly anticipated Age of Aquarius wasn’t to be. A few other events in August, 1969 took a lot of the luster off of the idealism of the “Woodstock Nation” that we’ll discuss on Friday.

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14

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Above: Woodstock’s official poster, advertising the event as an Aquarian exposition

*Quite revealingly, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, who had harmonized about peace, love, and brotherhood at Woodstock in 1969, did not reunite for their 50th anniversary this year because, basically, they can’t stand to even be in the same room together.

Sometimes calamities are a matter of only a fraction of an inch!

Sometimes in this life, little things, even VERY little things, can have BIG consequences. I’ve related previously that our house is surrounded by oak trees; our trees and also our neighbors’ trees, many of which bend over our property. The result is a MASSIVE amount of oak leaves that fall into the yard in October-November-December and must be cleaned up by “moi.” In May-June, a large amount of “catkins” (i.e., tree flowers) fall from the trees. What happens in both circumstances is the roof gutters become completely clogged up and when it rains the downspouts become plugged and the rainwater seeps over the gutters, filling the basement window wells, and then coming in through the windows and flooding into the basement.

I have to be extremely meticulous about keeping our gutters cleaned out during both time periods, otherwise I will end up mopping up the water on our basement floor, not an easy task with all of the stuff we store down there. Praise the Lord for our shop-vac! Despite my determined efforts to keep the gutters free of debris, I’ve had to clean up water on the basement floor at least once per year since we moved in fifteen years ago.

I did a very thorough job of cleaning the catkins out of the gutters this past May-June so when we had a torrential downpour while I was at work a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t too worried about it. But when I got home, I checked the basement and, sure enough, a good amount of rain water had seeped in and was on the floor. I immediately checked the suspected downspout and it was clear. Huh? So how did that happen? Well, I had a strong suspicion.

A few years ago, we had all of our gutters replaced. There’s a 36 inch strip of gutter situated near the bathroom window and above the basement window where the water had leaked in (see photo #1 above). Ah, I could see the problem!  The distance between the bottom of the gutter and the bottom of the fascia board at point A was 1 inch, while the distance at point B was only 3/4 inch (see photo #2 below). The gutter company had not been careful about how they installed the short strip of gutter. The short gutter piece was slopped the wrong way, towards the house! Anytime there was a really heavy downpour and the gutter filled up, a good amount of water spilled over the wrong-way sloping gutter, down into the basement window well, and into the basement. In this case, just a half-an-inch made a HUGE difference and I had to suffer the consequences.

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So, I got out my trusty tools, repositioned the gutter, and secured it. The space at point A is still 1 inch while the position at point B is now one and 1/4 inches (see photo #3 below). Rainwater coming into the gutter will now flow away from the house instead of towards it.

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Success! I’m grateful to the Lord for helping me to understand what the problem was and how to fix it. As I was thinking about this issue, it struck me that in our spiritual walk with the Lord, there may be sinful behaviors and habits in our life that we think are very small or minor, but that could lead to BIG consequences or even disaster. A little laziness. A small accommodation. A tiny compromise. What “little” sin are we hanging onto that is an idol in our life and has the potential to eventually overtake us?

Take inventory of yourself, brothers and sisters, and see if you have any sinful habits or behaviors that are “sloped the wrong way,” towards our own selfish desires and away from God. We are just weak jars of clay, but praise God for His grace and the Holy Spirit who works through us!

“I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.” – Psalm 119:59

“How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.” – Job 13:23

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7

The Top Ten Christians of All Time!

Yes, it’s time to rank the Top Ten Christians of all time. So without any further ado, let’s get started:

#10

#9

#8

#7

#6

#5

#4

#3

#2

#1

What? A blank list of the “Top Ten Christians of All Time”? Yup, and you probably already know where this post is going.

A couple of Sundays ago, I was walking out of one of our local grocery supermarkets and a headline on the front of the local Sunday newspaper caught my eye; “Buffalo Bills: Who are the Top 100 players in franchise history?” We’re headed toward the start of the NFL football season and Rochester is in the middle of Bills country, so a headline like that is a good ploy to sell newspapers.

Unbelieving culture always tends to think in terms of Top Ten or Top 100 lists and who or what is the best at some particular occupation or function. It’s a competitive world out there and people are always trying to be at the head of the pack because that translates into prestige and $$$.

But Christians know that Jesus Christ was quite counter-cultural in His teachings.

“So the last will be first, and the first last.” – Matthew 20:16

Jesus came to save and to serve and exhorts those He has saved to also serve others in many ways, but most importantly, by giving out the Gospel to the lost. There are none who are righteous, according to the Bible, and saved souls do not have a single plea of their own except for the imputed, perfect righteousness of their Savior, Jesus Christ. A list of “Top Ten Christians” is really a contradiction in terms.

The world’s Top Ten and Top 100 lists can be interesting and even helpful in a practical way when it comes to the most effective, reliable, and pleasing consumer products, but the rankings of people according to some scale of greatness should ring hollow to a believer. All talents and capabilities are gifts from the Lord.

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15

Now, there are some religious groups that do boldly lift certain people up as “great.” Roman Catholicism, for example, canonizes certain people as “saints,” meaning they allegedly achieved an extraordinarily high level of sanctity in their lifetime. There are unofficial lists of the church’s greatest saints and greatest popes, but that type of thinking follows worldly models rather than the humble example of Jesus Christ.

Regrettably, there are times when genuine believers ape the world’s thinking and exalt certain pastors or para-church leaders in the same way the world exalts its movie star celebrities. We should avoid puffing up others or ourselves with pride.

Alistair Begg – The Kingdom of God vs. the kingdoms of this world

After my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior in 1983, we began attending at our first Gospel-preaching church and remained there for eight years. The church had a lot of good points, but also some regrettable ones. The church patterned itself after Jerry Falwell’s brand of fundamentalism and mimicked Falwell’s penchant for mixing Christianity with politics and nationalism from the pulpit. This and several other factors grated on us until we finally had to leave.

The universal church of all believers (and also faux institutional (c)hristianity) has been trying to define its proper relationship with the state for close to two millennia and has largely erred on the side of close collaboration. Roman Catholicism set the trend by adopting the Roman imperial model, the Reformers continued it to a degree, and the Puritans imported it to the New World with America being cast in the role of the New Israel.

In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Falwell and friends enlisted evangelical churches in the culture battles against advancing secularism and the war continues. The fallout? The church put the Gospel on the back burner and forged coalitions with political conservatives of various non-Christian traditions. More fallout? Growing ecumenism at the expense of the Gospel.

I’ve heard and read many presentations on the proper relationship between the church and the state, but the 25-minute sermon below, from evangelical pastor, Alistair Begg, might be the finest I’ve ever heard on the topic.

The Kingdom of God
Broadcast 7/24/19

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-kingdom-of-god/id91473880?i=1000445195961

Popular Un-Biblical Sayings and Adages

Last week, I submitted a post about some of my wife’s physical challenges and I made reference to that oft-repeated adage, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Well, as Christians we know that while it’s pleasant to have good health, it’s not the be all to end all. Our physical bodies have a limited shelf-life and as we age, the aches and pains increase and more serious illnesses begin to intrude. That’s obviously a generality. Many children have significant medical challenges. If you have Jesus, you have everything. Health, wealth, and all other temporal circumstances are fleeting.

There are many other sayings and adages that are used within popular American culture that are contrary to the Bible and sometimes, even we believers repeat them. Let’s take a look at a few more:

  • “We’re all God’s children” and “We all worship the same God.”

Everyone is God’s creation, but only those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone are adopted into God’s family. John 1:12

  • “He’s/she’s in a better place now.”

This one is quite popular at funerals, but in most cases the speaker presumes upon a nebulous “better place” that has no Biblical substance. Jesus said most souls are on the road to destruction. Matthew 7:13-14

  • “Nice guys finish last.”

The world teaches dog-eat-dog competition, but Jesus taught do unto others. Luke 6:31

  • “To thine ownself be true.”

We need to be true to God and His Word, not to our own imperfect ideas and opinions. Proverbs 21:2

  • “God helps those who help themselves.”

God certainly doesn’t want us to be lazy, but we should always have a a prayerful awareness that He is Lord and Master and sovereign over all of our circumstances, holding our very next breath in His hand. Psalm 62:5-12

  • “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Only God is good. This is a fallen world and we are all sinners deserving eternal punishment. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Mark 10:18

  • “She’s a real saint.”

All of those who repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are saints. The Roman Catholic notion of individuals who are so holy that they were unquestionably able to merit Heaven and were canonized as “saints” is anti-Biblical. 1 Corinthians 1:2

  • “What goes around comes around.”

If all of us got what we deserved, we would all go straight to hell, but God is not the god of Hindu karma. The Good News! is “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

  • “A man was crossing the street when he was run over by a truck and died. He then walked up to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates…”

The above is a variation of the opening line of many a joke, that presupposes the Roman Catholic teaching that Peter and, by proxy, the pope and the Catholic church, control who enters into Heaven. Jesus Christ is the only Savior! Acts 4:12

  • “You only live once.”

An appeal to hedonism. All those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone are re-born spiritually and will live with Christ forever. Until the Lord takes us home, we are to devote our lives to serving Him. John 5:24

  • “It would be just my luck if…” or “With my luck…”

Luck is not part of a Christian’s reality. Romans 8:28

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There you have it, my short-list of un-Biblical adages and sayings. Can you think of any others? I’m certainly not volunteering as Deputy Barney Fife in charge of scrutinizing Christians’ use of popular anti-Biblical adages, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we (I’m including myself) should all be more careful with the words we use.

Oh, quit crying over a silly bee sting, you BIG BABY! 🐝😥

Last week, I submitted a post about some of my wife’s physical challenges and our need to cancel our vacation trip to Germany to visit our grandson. Now, I’d like to tell you about a HUGE medical problem that I had. Er, well, it actually wasn’t such a serious problem, but it was very bothersome nonetheless.

The Friday before last, it was a toasty ninety-degrees outside here in Rochester along with some very oppressive humidity. The forecast for Saturday was the same, so I was determined to mow the lawn and get it over with prior to the weekend. I was mowing the backyard and doing pretty well in the heat, when I suddenly felt a very sharp pain in my right leg. I looked down and noticed about ten angry bees buzzing around me. I had run over the home of some ground-nesting bees with the lawnmower and they obviously weren’t very happy with me. Overcome with anger at being stung, I marched into the garage and grabbed the insect spray and soaked that bees nest like nobody’s business. Not one of my better moments.

I finished mowing the back yard as well as the front and took a shower, especially concentrating on washing the area of the bee sting. I’ve had many bee stings over the course of 63 years and after the initial pain, they always faded away after a day or two. However, last summer I was walking along the Erie Canal path with my wife and a bee stung me in the foot. Over the course of a few days, the sting area swelled up and itched like crazy and I ended up seeing my doctor for some antibiotics. And just like that occurrence, the skin area of this new sting began to redden and swell up. I woke up at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning because the sting site was itching like crazy (photo above). I couldn’t go through another night like that so I went to a nearby Urgent Care facility and asked for some antibiotics. The doctor prescribed some Prednisone instead, and by Tuesday the pain, swelling, and itching had pretty much disappeared.

So why am I now so sensitive to bee stings? Ach, I’m falling apart.  It’s quite amazing how one little sting can have such a huge impact on your days and nights. Bees are a part of the Lord’s intricate creation and they do so much good by pollinating plants and flowers. I’m also a big fan of honey on my morning cereal. The bee population has dipped quite a bit due to insecticides and I surely didn’t help their cause. The bee sting and all of the drama over a little skin puncture reminded me that we live in a fallen world in frail tents of human flesh. Even a “little” accident or illness can thoroughly upset our entire apple cart and rock our world. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of my flimsy mortality and my dependence on You. And thanks, too, for doctors and medicine!

“The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:9-10

Postscript: What? There’s more to this whine fest? Just like something out of a bad “Twilight Zone” episode, as I was mowing the lawn this past Friday, I mowed over the same bees’ nest and was stung ONCE AGAIN, this time on the lower left leg (photo below left). I applied some over-the-counter anti-itch lotion, which was ineffective and ended up going to Urgent Care yesterday for another prescription of Prednisone. Must I now wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt when I mow? Needless to say, the underground bees’ nest took a major “hit” involving an incendiary liquid following this second incident (photo of charred remnants, below right).

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