Waking up in the morning on schedule and starting your internal engine and getting it reved up to a high speed, shifting through the gears, getting into high gear quickly, and then keeping the pedal to the medal most of the day with planned pit stops is a skill that can be learned by anyone. It is much more difficult now at 67 physically than it was at 30, but way easier mentally, and really 80% of what I just wrote is mental. We carry on a conversation in our head constantly and the content of that conversation is what it is all about. If we include the Lord in our conversation all day long then we will be “hot, on fire, highly motivated, passionate”, which is the key to accomplishing a lot with your life, bearing much fruit for the Lord. For me the time that I spend every day with the Lord as a planned date talking to Him about people, His will for my life, my goals, problems etc while I am doing nothing else, is the key to the all day conversation while I am doing something. A totally devoted time with the Lord every day is absolutely essential to focus, energy, joy, wisdom, passion. So few believers take the time for that time with Lord when you are doing absolutely nothing else but talking and listening to Him. A commitment of a certain amount of time, a particular place, and a set time of day is super important to being faithful to this spiritual discipline. 15 minutes is a good starting goal for that daily time with the Lord. I write a lot of my prayers to help stay focused and in tune. The early church fathers felt like an hour a day was essential, and almost anyone can work their way up to that amount if they are faithful to an alone time with the Lord everyday. The energy, the focus and the motivation gained by this daily alone time with God more than off sets the time given doing “nothing”.
Rich Overton died today. He had cancer, Parkinson’s, and he was old, close to 90 I think. He was a good friend for years. He has been involved and faithful at JBC for years. Probably my fondest memories of Rich is when he did all of the rock masonry for the huge three crosses on the front of our sanctuary. He couldn’t climb ladders or the scaffolding so we took him up to the top of the scaffolding in a high lift every day. He would work away up there for hours in the heat almost every day for a summer. Rich had a great sense of humor and always smiled, he was the kind of person who always made your joy level go up. He is one of those people who I think of when I read
Genesis 25:8 “Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.”
With all the advances in medicine everybody is still going to die sooner or later. Rich loved Jesus with all of his heart and he is with Him now. I am a bit jealous, but I have a lot more I would like to do with my life before I join Rich, if the Lord lets me.
Patty and I got up this morning at 4 am and left for the hospital in Salem at 4:45 am, by 6 am we had all the paper work done and off she went to get a new hip. There was a screen on the wall with a bunch of numbers in different colored boxes. They gave us a piece of paper with Patty’s number and each color represented a stage in the process, so I could walk up to it any time and check and see how she was progressing. When she got to the pink box it meant they had wheeled her into her hospital room and we could go see her. Patty made the move from colored box to colored box right according to schedule, but she got hung up on the next to last box, she was in there way longer than was supposed to happen. Her blood pressure was to low and she had lost more blood than was normal so they needed to give her a transfusion. When I walked into her room and she saw me her blood pressure went right up to normal😄 You will have to ask Patty if that last part is totally accurate! But it was normal when I left and no one knows why except for me!! I got a bit woozy in the hospital which is normal for me so I sat in the recliner in her room and read “Happy Birthday” notes on facebook to me. That was very fun! After I left and came home they got her up in a walker and she got sick and threw up but she said that by this evening that she was feeling much better, and planning on coming home tomorrow evening. It was a good day in spite of the hospital, the surgery, the nauseousness, the unknowns. Today wasn’t a huge trial, but it was a pressure that we faced together trusting God and it feels good. I wonder what is next.
I rarely ever allow my mind to stay on a thought that is going to cause me to become anxious. Thinking about a possible outcome in the future that would be bad. There is very little probability that the scene worked out in our heads will even happen so justifying the thinking on the basis of coming up with a solution should it happen is a waste of mental energy. When my mind drifts over to thinking about a possible negative event I start reviewing Bible verses that I have memorized or I start praying for my kids and grandkids from the oldest to the youngest. But today I have had a very difficult time pulling my brain away from thinking “what if” concerning Patty’s hip replacement surgery tomorrow. I know lots of people have had the surgery very successfully but it is still major surgery. I won’t bore you with all the many different outcomes I imagined in my mind and how they played out. I got so mentally weary of continually jerking my mind back from the edge of anxiety and despair that for a bit of time I just gave into it and imagined the worst possible outcome. I decided to go to my office and work on my sermon for this weekend in case things worked out so I wouldn’t have much time this week. Sermon study, thinking, and writing is a total and complete focused time for me. I am in another world and nothing breaks into that world until I choose to surface for a break or I declare it finished. My sermon this weekend is about knowing God in a very real, genuine way and the result of that intimate relationship with the Almighty, Omniscient, holy creator of the universe. I finished the sermon and was quite pleased with what I believed was a good time of God giving me words that came from Him. So far this afternoon I have not had any problem with anxious thinking. We are leaving the house at 4:45 am so that Patty can be checked in by 5:30 am.
Yesterday I finally got my 1949 Ford pickup All fixed and on the road. The C-4 automatic transmission quit working, and I bought another one that was rebuilt and put it in. A friend helped and we finally got it in and it works great. This morning I drove it to church and parked it in the front in the handicap parking spot where everyone could see it. I got lots of compliments on the fine looking old pickup. The pickup is one year younger than I am. It is a 1949 Ford pickup but everything in it is mostly new. The fenders are all fiberglass and new. The bed is steel but still it was all built in 2010. The block of the engine is 1949 but all the rest of the parts are less than 10’years old. An old pickup that is mostly all new. I wish I could do that! An old body that was really mostly all new! Patty is going in on Tuesday for a hip replacement surgery. A brand new hip in an old body! It doesn’t change the fact that her body and mine are getting older and older and it won’t be long now before they just quit working. I have Parkinson’s and my bladder doesn’t work any more and other body parts will probably quit working in the next couple of years. It could be depressing, but every day I remind myself that my citizenship is in heaven and that I am anxiously waiting for my savior to take me home and give me a new body that is eternal. How does that body work? I don’t know but I do believe that God who created everything including the largest star and the ecoli bacteria is more than powerful enough to make my new body.
Our church is having a conference this weekend that started tonight on “Evolution vs Creation” put on by “The Institute for Creation Research”. The guys who spoke are scientists with earned PHD’s in a variety of science fields who knew what they were talking about. As I listened tonight I was struck with a thought, people in today’s culture tend to believe anything on the Internet is true when in fact very little of it is. Also people automatically believe that if it is taught in school it must be true. Evolution is taught in schools as scientific fact, but most of what is taught is theory. I also realized that the experts who support and push evolution as the source of human life do so not on the basis of intelligent reasoning based on scientific discovery and proof, but on an emotional desire to do away with God. God represents holiness, and ultimate authority, and judgment which we as as humans with a great deal of pride rebel against, and what better way to eliminate God than to reason Him out of existence. The Bible says, “it is appointed into to man to die and then comes judgment”. I believe that at this judgment I will be declared by God forgiven and accepted into His presence forever because I have personally trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe this because the Bible says it is so. If there is a God He certainly would communicate to us, and the Bible is the most viable source of that communication. I know many who strongly disagree with my belief. I guess we will find out some day who is right. If I am right, those who disagree with me will have a long time to to think about it.
I am sorry I haven’t written my blog for a couple of days. I forgot!?! Seems strange that I could forget to do something that I have been doing almost every night for over a year. But that is the sad truth. I have a list of daily duties that I check every night to be sure I haven’t forgotten anything. I call them my “Daily Dozen Duties”. The list includes Bible Reading, a time of self examination and confession of sins, prayer and other things like that. I didn’t add my blogging to the list because it would have been thirteen duties and it would have ruined my cute, easy to remember aliterated motto. I often forget to take my Parkinson’s medicine until I am reminded by the increased shaking of my hands. I am trying very hard to firmly establish the habit of writing any thing down that I say I will do for someone else. It is so embarrassing to tell someone that I will do something for them and totally forget. Faithful men keep their commitments, and blaming my memory is wimpy. Now with this smart phone technology with an App for notes as well as a calendar that I can set to have an alarm go off to remind me there really isn’t any excuse except I forgot to put it in the calendar. I have been spending about 30 minutes every day memorizing Bible verses trying to keep my memory sharp by the mental exercise of memorizing the Bible. I have the extra bonus of getting God’s Word in my heart and having the power of it work on all my thinking.
My sermon this weekend was about how to become humble instead of proud. That is such an important pursuit in our life. Pride is more of an underlying motive for all that we do than a clearly defined character trait. We were created by God with glory, great glory, but the first time we sinned we lost most of our glory. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. We now have this “glory hole” in us that creates this craving for glory. Most people attempt to fill the “glory hole” with our own accomplishments and the praise we can elicit from people. I often say, ” I can do all the right things for all the wrong reasons”, the wrong reason being to feel good about myself. One of the blessings of being a follower of Jesus is that God the Father will give us glory. He gives us His glory when we remember to ask him for some of it. I often have strong feelings of being a failure in life. I know that those feelings are from the demons that surround me trying to get me to turn my back on the Lord. When those feelings come, and they always do the key to getting glory from God is to ask him for it. When I ask God for s strong sense of his glory he always answers. A person who gets all their glory from God is free from performing for people. That is real freedom.
About the only time Patty has been to the hospital in our 46 years of being married was giving birth to our 8 kids. In 10 days on my birthday she is going in to Salem for hip replacement surgery. I get a new wife for my birthday😄 Patty said that she expects me to wait on her and take care of her for the next month after she gets home. I am not sure what all that means but I bet it results in some interesting blogs. We have both been blessed with exceptional health most of our lives, but the old bodies are wearing out. It will probably get worse in the days ahead, but we are both committed to trusting the Lord and not complaining about the trial and inconvience of health issues. We are both looking forward to when we get to heaven and get our new bodies. That will be nice.
I typically put in about 12 hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and then 10 hours on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday I take the day off to recover from the weekend and on Friday I take the day off to get rested up for the weekend. I enjoy Friday’s and usually work on one of my hobbies or interests around the house with a break for coffee about every hour. Today I wheelbarrowed gravel all over my place. I graveled the path to the greenhouse. I filled in all the potholes in our driveway. I hauled about 10 wheelbarrow loads into my new greenhouse. I spread gravel around the house at the door ways and around the house. It was hard work, but I had a good time and felt good about the work that was accomplished. I am careful to read 12 chapters in my Bible everyday, to pray for family and church. On Fridays I spend an hour praying for the service that God would work in and through me that the sermon I preach would give all who listen a genuine encounter with the living God of the universe. I usually sleep in a bit on Sarurdays so I enjoy staying up late on Fridays eating ice cream and reading in some good books. Thank You Lord for a good day. About all that is left is a half hour soak in the hot tub.