Friday, May 15, 2015

Get Some Sun Also

It's easy to take for granted.  But every day would be completely dark, cold and dreary without it.  As a matter of fact, the nations of the world would panic (and probably not survive for very long).  I'm talking about the sun, that massive star in our solar system which appears on a daily basis as the earth rotates on its axis.   The sun is absolutely huge, approximately 2,715,395 miles in diameter (over 1 million times larger than the earth).  In regards to distance, it is 93 million miles from the earth.  As a result, it takes about 8 minutes for light to travel from the sun to our planet. Unfortunately, it is speculated that the sun may eventually burn itself out.  However, gratefully, this probably will not occur for another 5 billion years. 

So, for now, the sun is a great thing to have around.  It will certainly last for generations and generations to come.

Hence, we need to take advantage of our glowing friend.  We need to walk in the sunlight, enjoy the growth of trees and flowers due to its warmth and light, and basically soak it in (without overdoing it and leading to sunburn).

Are you cold?  Get out in the sun.  Dreary or depressed?  A little sunlight should help.  Sickly?  Let the sunshine in.  Consequently, as long as it is shining, the sun does us all a world of good.



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Get Some Sleep

I have to admit as I write today that I am very tired.  I had an extremely busy weekend at work.  Long hours...little rest.  Essentially I'm pooped (or "bushed", to use an old term).  Gratefully I was off work today so I've had a little time to recuperate.  Yet, all in all, I'm totally exhausted.  I can hardly wait to go to sleep tonight.

Speaking of which, I did a little research on sleep today since it is so fresh on my mind.  Basically, we all need about seven or eight hours of sleep per night (good luck with that!).  However, there are ample benefits of getting enough sleep.  Some of these advantages of a good night's rest include:

1. Better health.  Lack of sleep can be a link to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
2.  Better sex life.  Sleep loss can possibly lower testosterone levels.
3.  Less pain.  Sleep may work just as well as some medications to relieve pain.
4.  Lower risk of injury.  It is speculated that about one in five auto accidents are due to drowsy drivers.  In addition, lack of sleep can make a person more prone to other accidents, e.g. falling, cutting yourself while chopping vegetables, etc.
5.  Better mood.  Simply, the more exhausted you are, the more cranky you'll become.
6.  Better weight control.  People who don't get enough sleep tend to eat more and exercise less.
7.  Clearer thinking.  Less sleep leads to more clouded thinking.  Have you ever done something unusual like leaving your car keys in the refrigerator?
8.  Better memory
9.  Stronger immunity.  People who get adequate rest are less likely to develop colds.
(taken from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/9-reasons-to-sleep-more)

Interestingly, the Bible gives an insight into the benefits of sleep.  After Lazarus had died, Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus had "fallen asleep" (John 11:11).  The disciples subsequently replied, "...if he has fallen asleep, he will recover" (John 11:12). Hence, I get the feeling that the disciples believed in the power of sleep.  If a person was sick, sometimes rest would be the cure.  If you have a hard time making a decision, perhaps the best course to take is to "sleep on it" and wait for your thinking to clear in the morning. Unusually cranky or irritable?  Go to bed.  Becoming more forgetful?  Maybe you need more rest.

Needless to say, sleep is a good thing.  Don't neglect it or you'll suffer the consequences.  As a matter of fact, I probably should write more but I'll be off to bed soon. 

Good night all!



 

 



Friday, April 10, 2015

Seasons Of The Soul

Well it looks like spring has finally arrived.  The weather is warming up.  The air conditioner is being cranked up at my house.  The winter coats and jackets are being stored away in the closet.  The grass is growing (actually more weeds on my lawn are coming up but the grass is soon to follow.  Thankfully, my lawn mower started up a few weeks ago after being idle during the winter).  The air is being filled with pollen (not necessarily a welcome site for allergy sufferers).  The days are getting longer.  Baseball season has started.   

In retrospect, living just north of Birmingham, Alabama, this really wasn't a bad winter.  We had a couple of threats of ice and snow.  I think on occasion the temperature did reach around twenty degrees or so.  But all in all, winter was not bad at all.

Yet, sometimes wintertime is brutal with severe cold.  I can remember one year when the temperature plummeted to single digits in the 1980's.  As a matter of fact, several small lakes on my commute to work completely froze over.  It was a time when I basically went to work and then bundled up as soon as I got home.  There was no thought about lingering outside...it was just too cold.  Much of life was put on hold until the temperature started to climb.

Nevertheless, on March 21st, as it does every year, spring arrived.  What a welcome site to many!  The seasons still seem to come at their appointed intervals.

Life is also full of seasons.  There are those times when life is cold, dark and bitter, similar to the winter.  All you can do is bundle up and hold on.  On the other hand, there are refreshing times in life like spring.  The flowers are growing, the birds are singing, there is a sound of joyous laughter in the air.  Perhaps we would not appreciate spring so much if it had not been for the harshness of winter.

So, ultimately we should rest in the seasons which God provides.   Whether we are in a season of sickness and sorrow or a season of joy and happiness, it is all part of the seasons of the soul.  Michael and Stormie Omartian have a great song entitled, you guessed it, "The Seasons of The Soul".  Check it out below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ453A7rJDU






Thursday, March 19, 2015

Then It Happened

I went running a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon.  I knew I needed to run because I had missed the previous day (I think the weather may have been too wet to run).  I typically run on my off days so it doesn't give me many opportunities to run as I should.

Anyway, after going to church, leisurely reading the newspaper, and generally relaxing, I put on my running clothes and headed out into my neighborhood, excited to be back into my running routine.

Then it happened.  After I had only run about twenty yards or so, basically just starting to accelerate, I tripped on one of my shoestrings and hit the pavement hard.  I skinned my right knee, scraped up my palms some, and bruised some ribs on my right side.  As I was falling, I burst out a pathetic groan before impact.  I looked around but did not see any neighbors who had witnessed my mishap.  

I got up, noticed the visible bleeding from my right knee, and proceeded to continue my run, not knowing what else to do.  I mean, why not?  It was my off day.  If I didn't run today, I would have to wait several days before another opportunity.

This sudden accident reminded me of what sometimes occurs when I'm cutting grass.  I typically use a push type mower since my yard is not too big.  So, when it comes to mowing, in a sense I actually like it.  The sound of the engine, the sight of the grass being mowed down, the smell of the mowed lawn, even the exercise of it all, is something I enjoy.

Then it happens.  While mowing at a brisk pace, thinking about life or whatever I think about while mowing, I occasional stumble upon a big rock which causes my mower to abruptly roar at me.  Sometimes the obstruction is so large that the mower engine actually stops.  Thankfully, if the blade is not too damaged, I resume my lawn care.  I really don't have a choice.  The lawn has to be mowed.

There is an old saying which says to "get back on your horse" after a fall.  It is so true.  When things happen (sometimes abruptly), probably the best advice is to get back up, brush yourself off, wipe off the blood and keep running or mowing or whatever.  It may be painful for a season but there is no reason to sulk...there is still work to be done.





   

Friday, February 27, 2015

It Is Well With My Soul

It seems like my heart is drawn to stories of people who have endured great tragedy.  Take for example, Horatio Spafford, a successful lawyer and businessman who lived in the 19th century.  He  had invested in property in the Chicago area.  However, the 1871 Great Chicago Fire ruined him financially.  There was also a downturn in the economy in 1873 which added to his woes.  Planning to travel to Europe with his family, he decided last minute to send his wife and four daughters ahead while he dealt with some business issues in Chicago, planning to meet them at a later time.

Then unspeakable tragedy occurred.  His family's ship, the SS Ville du Havre collided with a vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of his daughters died as their ship sank rapidly.  His wife sent him a chilling telegram, "Saved alone", to tell him of the horrific news.

Mr. Spafford then sailed to Europe.  As he passed the area where his daughters had died, he felt led to write the hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul." This glorious song states:

"When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul."

So hard to focus on just one line of this wonderful hymn.  Yet, as a believer in Jesus, the first verse really captures my attention, urging me in whatever situation, to proclaim "it is well with my soul."  In peaceful times, it is well,  In sorrowful times with waves of grief, it is well.  In good health, it is well.  When dealing with cancer, it is well. 

Furthermore, Kristene DiMarco has an encouraging song, based on Horatio Spafford's old hymn.  She sings how through it all, my eyes are on the Heavenly Father.

 Is it well with your soul?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Looking For That "Joseph" Moment

I love the story of Joseph in the Bible, found in Genesis chapters 37-50.  I admire Joseph for several reasons.  First of all, of the many people listed in the Bible, Joseph is never listed as doing any kind of wrong or making mistakes (such as I have made).  Not that Joseph was sinless, mind you.  He is just described as devout even in the midst of dire circumstances in life.  You could say he made it to the finish line without any blemishes in his faithfulness to God.

In addition, Joseph endured some horrific trials.  As a boy, he was sold by his jealous brothers into slavery and was carried off to Egypt.  Even as he began to become successful in his life, he was wrongly accused of rape and put into prison for multiple years.  I believe I heard someone say he was incarcerated unjustly for well over ten years.  Although he prospered somewhat in the jail, I imagined he wondered if he would ever be released.

Then it happened.  Pharaoh had a series of dreams that no one could interpret.  Joseph had previously interpreted some dreams for some fellow inmates and was summoned by Pharaoh.  With divine wisdom, Joseph described vividly to Pharaoh of the coming famine in Egypt as revealed in his dreams.  This is especially the part or the verses I like:

"So Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.  You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.'"(Genesis 41:39-40).

Isn't that wonderful?  Joseph went from zero to hero in mere moments, from the jail to the palace, from being a prisoner to being a prime minister.  His transformation is what I call the "Joseph" moment.  Life becomes joyous, all needs are met, living becomes fun again.

We all need these Joseph moments in life.  When dealing with cancer, it's refreshing to hear the doctor say things like, "All scans are clear" or "You've been cured".  No more chemotherapy, no more hair loss, no more fatigue, no more nausea, no more hospitalizations, no more blood transfusions.  Life is good again.

Of course, Joseph moments don't simply apply to cancer.  They can occur in any situation in life when a drastic change is needed.  For example, I know I need a Joseph moment in my finances.  It seems like I'm constantly struggling to pay bills, wondering if I'll ever get ahead, worrying if I'll ever be able to make needed repairs in my home.  You could say I'm in a financial dungeon.

Yet, Joseph had his day, even when things seemed rather hopeless.  Perhaps my day is coming soon as I remain faithful.





 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hard Work Provides Opportunities For Success

Last night my Bible study group was discussing a passage from Acts chapter 2.  We talked about the beginnings of the modern day church.  According to Acts 2:42, the early Christians did four specific things, that is, they were "continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."  In other words, the development of the church didn't just happen.  It took hard work, commitment, an "all-in" attitude to keep the fire going. 

In most things, success doesn't occur overnight.  I'll give you a modern day example.  My stepson is a great trombone player.  He is currently in graduate school, hoping to teach music in college one day.  He is a gifted instrumentalist, but his performance skills have not magically appeared.  While he was living at our home, he spent countless hours practicing the trombone, sacrificing time for other things to perfect his skill.  The trombone has required total commitment to advance to his level.

So, except for a select few people in life, there really isn't an easy way to success.  Whether this involves overcoming adversity such as cancer or becoming proficient in a musical instrument, hard work provides an opportunity for victory.  One day, the perspiration, the tears, the agonizing choices, the sacrifices, will all pay off.