Monday, October 18, 2010

Disease ....

I came across an interesting disease this week at work.  I helped take care of a patient who had tuberculosis.  Thankfully, we don't see a whole lot of that anymore these days.  But I got to thinking how similar our sin is to this disease, or maybe better, the way that satan attacks us with temptation.  Hopefully this makes sense to you, it just sort of struck me.

Tuberculosis can lie dormant for a whole life, you can actually have been exposed, but never have an active infection.  But this is not the usual course.  After exposure, your body encapsulates the bacteria that you've breathed into your lungs and therefore protects you from a full fledged attack.  But later in life, even years down the road, when your body is weak, or somehow compromised, the defenses can be broke down, and  an active and serious infection can occur, requiring months and months of intense, grueling treatment, with life long consequences.

It just struck me how similar the devil works.  We have all been born with a sin nature, even those of us that are now in Christ still struggle with this nature.  We are also exposed in this fallen world to sin on a daily basis and the temptation is great and serious. We have been exposed to the disease.  But as we are in Christ and are seeking His will, obeying His commands, and following Him, maintaining fellowship with the body, we are alert, and our defenses are up.  The bacteria of temptation and sin is now encapsulated, we are momentarily protected from temptation.  But satan knows when we are weak, in fact he waits on these times to prey upon us.  We may be becoming lax in our relationship with Christ and His church, rendering our spiritual health weak and compromised.  Our defenses also weaken and the temptation/disease can become active, infecting us in one way or another.  However as we are in Christ, this is not the end, there is hope!  But rest assured that it is not an easy path that we are on.  The treatment for TB (tuberculosis) is long-term running 6 months to a year depending on the severity, multiple medications are given, often they are not taken because of the severity of some of the side effects, but it is the only way to be cured.  This can be true in our walk after we've fallen into temptation.  We want to get better, be healed, and we are forgiven, but the road back is often hard, and it is so much easier to not take it, to stay lax and lazy, to pretend that it's not a big deal.  But there in the background is still this disease, that eats away at our joy, robs God of His glory in our lives, and renders us unfruitful. 

When we have a patient with TB, they are in isolation, and we take the highest precautions when caring for them, these precautions are called Airborne Precautions.  They are in a room where air cannot flow out into the rest of the hospital, the doors stay shut and there is a room between them and the hall to maintain a negative airflow.  When we enter we are gowned, gloved and wearing special masks to protect ourselves.  We take this disease seriously, because it is deadly, because it spreads quickly, because it's treatment is so harsh.  And we should.... but let me ask you this as well as I ask myself, do I think of sin and the temptation that I face in this same way?  Do I treat it as seriously as I treat a dreaded disease?  Do I make sure that I am protected and have my guard up when I am up against it?  Or do I let my guard down, not caring if I am exposed or that I might even expose others through my inattention to safety? 

I think it's safe to say that we all fear disease, especially those that are life threatening and serious, but do you and do I, fear sin the same way? 

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Lost is such a sad word. 

No one likes to lose anything or anyone.  I lost something this week... it was an opportunity.  I was taking care of a patient who, most likely barring a miracle, was going to die soon.  I had a student following me that day, helping to take care of my patient.  She asked me such a good question, and the moment was perfect, we were alone, except for my unresponsive patient, and it was so obvious.  She asked me how did I, personally, deal with death, as in seeing patients die on a somewhat regular basis.  I let the opportunity pass by, I even recognized it as it came, but shrunk back in fear to give her the right answer.  I felt the loss immediately after the moment passed.  And I still feel it now.  The student's instructor was asking me later how the student was doing emotionally with this, and she shared with me that this student had shown at a past time a questioning or a struggle with this aspect of nursing.  This girl needed answers and I gave her none that mattered. 

I want so badly to take that moment back, to tell her why I have peace, why I'm not afraid, why I have HOPE!  Lost is indeed such a sad word.  It is so forever, so permanent.  I pray that in spite of my unfaithfulness to "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;" 1 Peter 3:15, that God will allow this girl to hear the truth, through another means.  I gave up the privilege of sharing the reason for my hope, I gave up the privilege of being an instrument used of the Lord, I gave up an opportunity to glorify God by sharing what He has done, I gave up a chance for another to hear of Christ Jesus.  and why?  FEAR. 

Fear is a terrible thing.  Someone once said "if you do not have the fear of God, you will be afraid of everything else."  I did not have a proper fear of God.  There was a man of God in the time of King Henry VIII, the infamous King who had 8 wives and killed them for not producing for him an heir.  This man had an opportunity to come before this evil King, and through his mind ran this thought: Be careful what you say, the king is here, then came right after it: Be careful what you do not say, the KING of KINGS is here."  I allowed my fear of man to be greater than my fear of God.  I forgot that the King of Kings was there as well as this girl, and as well as anyone that could have walked in.  I was more worried about what she might think of me, than the condition of her soul and the just condemnation that she was under. 

This is not by any means a flattering post, and I do not take pleasure in displaying my unfaithfulness, but at the same time, I hope that others will learn from my failures.  And that I, too will be able to look back on this and remember this feeling of loss, and not let another opportunity pass by. 

Oh the terrible cost.
of opportunities lost.

God opened the door for me to walk through
but, I didn't listen, I didn't do

I rightfully feel shame
there's no one else to blame

Why didn't I speak?
what made me too meek?

Was that their only chance to hear?
Oh why! did I hang back in fear.

Lord, forgive me
the one, you've allowed to see

The truth, which I kept inside
about You, who, for me, died

Make me eager, my hope, to share
Today, Lord, this is my prayer

Saturday, September 4, 2010


     I went to our first Doctrine Class of the year tonight. (we usually break for the summer) I LOVE doctrine class!  I am always so excited to start again.  We have been doing an overview of the bible throughout the past few years and are just starting the New Testament with the intention of going through the gospels by the end of next Spring. 
    Anyways as we started tonight one of the questions asked of us was what we expected or hoped to get out of this year's study.  I hadn't thought about it and didn't really have an answer right away.  But as I thought about what we would be going over and focusing on, there was one thought that permeated my mind.  What I really wanted could be simply summed up in a few words.  I wanted to know Jesus! 
   I want to clarify that I do not mean to say that I don't already have a personal relationship with Him, and don't already know some of what the bible has to say about Him.  But what I really mean is that I want to know Him anew, in a closer and deeper sense.  It amazes me that the more I seem to learn about Jesus the more I realize how little I know and how much more I have to learn.  I also know that the more I learn about Jesus the more I love Him.  I once read that if we loved Jesus as we ought to, everything else would fall into it's proper place and perspective.  I wish I could say that I know this from personal experience, but unfortunately I, all too often, am grieved by my lack of love for Him. 
     I remember listening to a cassette tape as a child called "Let's go up to the Mountain", on it they discussed the sermon on the mount (geared towards children of course) and they talked about how as we know Jesus more we grow closer to Him and love Him more.  The question was then asked "How do I get to know Jesus more?"  and it was so simply answered.  "How do you get to know anybody more?  by spending time with them!"  By being in God's word, studying and meditating on it and by going to God in prayer we develop a closer relationship to Him. 
     This is what I want.  I want Jesus.  I want my love for Him to increase to such an extent that it just oozes out of me and is visible by those around me!  I want them to see Jesus in me!  I wish that this could happen passively, that I could go to study, listen, and it would just become a part of me automatically.  But this is not the case, it requires me to move.  James says in chapter 4, verse 8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded."   To grow in my knowledge of God and in my Love for Him I must first draw near.  To get what I want out of this study, I am going to be required to engage myself wholly in it, not just every other Friday night when we meet, but in study, prayer, and preparation throughout the week.  My steadfastness in these things has always been an area of struggle, I grow lazy and weary, I oftentimes want quick results and am not patient in waiting for the Lord to work in my life.  I am so thankful that He does, and that despite my utter failures again and again, He remains faithful.

Lamentations 3:21-23   "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope, the Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning, Great is Thy Faithfulness"

Philippians 3:8 "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The best the best place...for the best result

"How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By keeping it according to Your word"
                                               -Psalm 119:9
"Your word have I treasured in my heart,
     that I might now sin against Thee."
                                               - Psalm 119:11
"The law of his God is in his heart;
    his steps do not slip."
                                              -Psalm 37:31

       I have been reminded of these verses lately.  The top two I memorized as a child and the third I found in my cross-reference while looking at the other two.  They were brought to mind after the first few days of my new job.  I quickly saw that there was an influence there, and not one for good.  I saw how quickly I could be dragged down into the muck and mire of sinful thoughts and conversation.  I also saw the desire of those around me for me to join them in their sin and corruption.  This scared me.  I didn't want to have the filthy mouth and mind that they said I would have soon enough.  I wanted to remain holy in this world so enslaved to sin. 
     The Lord brought these verses to my mind, reminding me of how this could be accomplished.  The simple question of how I can remain pure is answered in the first verse, by keeping/acting/following according to God's word. 
      The second verse shows me more, it shows me another specific way to avoid sin, and that is to treasure God's word in my heart.  To know it, memorize it, meditate on it and to value it.  Psalms 19:10 says of His word "They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb."
       The third verse tells me even more.  The law of MY God is to be written on my heart, it gives me one of the reasons why it is to be precious to me.  This isn't just any one's words or thoughts, they are MY GOD'S!   It also says that while my God's law is in my heart my steps will not slip.  I was reading a sermon from Spurgeon on this verse and he pointed out the importance of this word "step".  He says:

 "Here is a man who has God’s word in his heart, and you notice that he takes pains about his steps. A step is a very little thing; we must take a good many hundreds of steps to walk a mile; but good men take notice of little things. The man, who has the law of God in his heart, is scrupulous and conscientious about thoughts and imaginations, as well as about words and actions. Hence, the promise in the text is suited to him, for it is a promise about little things: “None of his steps shall slide.”

       I need to take care to look at the little things!  I know that one of the principles that I have been taught has been that the biggest failures and sins of men always started with a small compromise that may not have even been in and of itself evil, but was the first step in a downward spiral.  I have seen this to be true in even my relatively short lifetime.  What can seem so small can become so HUGE!  Spurgeon goes on to say:

Our old proverb says, “Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves;” and the same rule applies to our actions. If we are careful about our little, actions, the great ones will be pretty sure to be right. Oh, that we were all very guarded about how we act at home! Oh, that we were careful about our speech as we sit around the tea-table! Such a little thing as that may do almost infinite mischief. I believe the worst evils in the world arise out of little things.

      So I need to be watching my steps, not looking for huge sins and compromises, but at the little things.  Do I stay and listen to a conversation that heads down an impure path?  Do I laugh or smile at crude humor?  Do I begin to think that maybe I'm being to uptight about things and should just relax?  These are just some examples of the little things that I need to beware of.
   I don't know how many of you there are that read this, but if you do I would certainly appreciate your prayers, that the word of God would be treasured in my heart that I may not sin against my God.  I need to take the best thing, put it in the very best place and trust the Lord for the best result!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

what is needful...

While talking with a friend tonight, a passage was brought to mind.  Luke 10:38-42 is a passage that many of us are familiar with as the story of Martha and Mary.  Martha is busy in her preparations for the Lord and His disciples and Mary is sitting at His feet.  Martha becomes upset that she is doing the work by herself and asks the Lord to tell Mary to help her!  Jesus replies that there is only one needful thing, while Martha worries and is troubled by many, and this is the thing that Mary chose, a thing which would not be taken away from her.  That one thing is sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to His every word.  I found it very interesting in reading a few commentaries that the three times Mary is encountered in the scriptures, she is at Jesus' feet! (John 11:32, John 12:3 and here in Luke 10)  What a wonderful place to be found! 

The one thing that is needful is as George Whitefield said "the care of the soul"  and here it is contrasted with Martha's cares of the body.  To adequately care for her soul, Mary had to sit at Jesus' feet, she had to listen to His words.  In speaking of the importance of this he said:
           "What seems most great and most important in life, what kings and senates, what the wisest and greatest of this world are employing their time, their councils, their pens, their labors upon, are trifles, when compared with this one thing. A man may subsist, he may in some considerable measure be happy, without learning, without riches, without titles, without health, without liberty, without friends, nay, though "the life be more than meat, and the body than raiment," Matt. 6:25, yet may he be happy, unspeakably happy, without the body itself. But he cannot be so, in the neglect of the one thing needful. I must therefore bespeak your regard to it in the words of Moses, "it is not a light thing, but it is your life," Deut. 32:47."
The one needful thing that is often a challenge for me to remain faithful doing is sitting at my Lord's feet as Mary did.  I think about all of the other things that I "need".  A job, a husband, food, shelter and so forth... But God says that only this one thing is needed.  He also says in Matthew 6:33 " But seek ye first the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you" in the previous verses it is speaking of our worries for our physical needs, but He reminds us of the one needful thing and at the same time assures us that the rest is taken care of.  I love the word "but" the verses before say that the gentiles are seeking earnestly for these "earthly" needs, BUT YOU, that's right, you, you aren't a gentile, you are Mine, and I don't care what they are doing, BUT YOU, seek first My Kingdom, that's right, this is your priority as my child, and then in His goodness He relieves our fears about our "earthly" needs as well, and all (not some) these things shall be added to you.  How good He is!

What an amazing thing that Mary was known for.  It makes me wonder what I will be known for? What about me will those around me notice?  I too, like Mary, want to be found at Jesus' feet.   

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A friend shared this poem with me today and it really encouraged my heart and I wanted to share it with you too!


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said,
'Child, you must wait.'
'Wait? You say wait!' my indignant reply.
'Lord I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'Yes,' a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'No,' wo which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!'
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, 'You must wait.'
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled at God, "So, I'm waiting... for what?"
He seemed, then, to kneel
And His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give; and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want-
But you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me;
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that, 'My grace is sufficient for thee."
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' my answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "Wait.'"
Pages 99-100 of Heather Paulsen's book "Emotional Purity"
Isaiah 40:31
"Yet those who wait for the LORD
will gain new strength;
They will mount up on wings like eagles,
They will run and not grow tired,
They will walk and not become weary."
Phillipians 3:8
"More than that, I count all things loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,"
Jeremiah 9:23-24
"Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not a
mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that
I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;
for I delight in these things." declares the LORD"