Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just Blood!

I do want to caution anyone who is squeamish - you may not want to read further.

I was reminded today of a friend, Linda. She was an unfortunate victim of a self inflicted injury. While closing the back sliding door to her van, she did not move her hand out of the way. The result was the door slammed on her hand and severed one of the joints on a finger on her left hand. Her immediate concern of course was the pain and then secondly her over whelming thought was "I want my finger whole - put that part on ice!!!"

Her family took her to the local small town emergency room. The doctor on call looked at her hand and assured her that he could stitch up the end and she would be just fine. When she explained that she wanted her whole finger - he shook his head and told her it was not possible - they just did not have the know how, the technology or the Dr. who could do that kind of surgery at that hospital. She looked at him and then asked, "Who can?".

She found out that there was a special hospital in downtown San Francisco that did this type of surgery. She and her husband took the ice chest with her severered digit and headed 2 hours out to San Francisco to the hospital.

She arrived there, was examined by a specialist. He did x-rays and scans on her hand. He evaluated her medical history, took some blood samples and then sat her and her husband down. He explained that yes, he would do their surgery. He also explained that there was less than a 95% chance that the surgery would take - that there would be some drastic measure done that would immobilize her for at least 2 weeks. She signed the waivers and was prepped for surgery.

A couple of days later I heard that she was in desperate need of blood donations for a transfusion. I called her not knowing if I would speak with her or a family member.

Linda picked up the phone. She was glad to hear from me. I asked her about the surgery and the need for blood and here is what she told me.

The digit had been sewn back on to her finger. The surgery had taken 10 hours due to the nature of nerves, tendons, muscles and very small vessels in her finger. She said that there was only one way that her finger could possibly heal. For two weeks, she had to hold her hand over the side of the bed. A hole had been drilled into the end of her finger so that blood could drain through it. The blood dripped through the hole in her finger and over and through the surgically reattached tip. It was the blood actively flowing through her finger that would allow it to heal. Her other arm had a catheter that gave her blood continuously - she received a new pint of blood every four hours.

I don't know about you, but when I heard about this blood treatment - it had some spiritual implications to me. You see, it is only when the Blood flows through us that we are healed, that we are attached to a body, that we have the possibility of reviving dead flesh and having new nerves and feelings begin in our lives.

The difference, Jesus had the surgery on our behalf. He allowed himself to be severed from the Father, had wounds pounded into His hands and feet that allowed His Blood to flow. His blood flowing is what heals us. He transfused His Blood into our dead lives.

You see, with Linda, there was a 95% chance that the surgery would not work. With Jesus, there is a 100% chance that His surgery will work. His Blood, my life, His way. Glorious!!

So, the odds - 100% chance of death without Him - or 100% chance of life with Him. Pretty awesome odds.

As for Linda, the last time I heard, she was getting her nails done - all 10 of them.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nothing to Say

I started and stopped and erased three different Blog topics. You see, I truly want this Blog to be more about what God wants me to say and not what I think. In a world where so many opinions are prevalent - I do not want to just be another opinion; useless words written to fill in space and waste your time and really do nothing to glorify God.

So with nothing to say, I will point to a different place that has plenty to say and promises yet to be claimed. These are the verses I have been meditating on lately and have been blessed greatly. Read and be blessed -

 24-28 "'For here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God! (Ezekiel 36:24, The Message)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

He Knows What We Need!

God reminded me recently of my first answered prayer. Now understand this - it was not the first, or the last time I prayed, but it was the first time that I KNEW that God had answered my desperate cry with the answer I needed...but not necessarily what I wanted. (I am smiling as I write this)

This was in the Spring of 1989.

I was a new Christian. I knew that there were changes in me and that something extraordinary had occurred the night I said yes to Jesus. I had no doubt that God was real and that Jesus had sacrificed Himself for me, a sinner. What I had doubts about was did He actually hear ME when I prayed? I just did not know.

Doug and I had two little ones in diapers, and another who was growing faster than we could afford new shoes and all 3 kids were sick with chicken pox. We had a car that had blown a head gasket and had bald tires, and bills that kept on coming in. In other words, life - complete with all of it's surprises and things that get thrown at you and are normal.

I did what any desperate wife low on finances and little common sense would do - I started entering "free" sweepstakes. You know the ones I'm talking about..."Send in the proof of purchase to enter for a vacation", "Write WINNER on a card and enter to win a new car", and of course everyone's favorite, "The Publisher Clearing House Sweepstakes". If these were the only ones, I would not be writing this; I entered 100's of these.

Okay, so I am being very transparent as to my desperation mindset. I know that no one else could ever have done anything as silly. Right?

After months of not hearing anything, I was pretty depressed. In fact so much so, my co-workers were really worried. I didn't smile, I cried all the time, and spoke to no one. I was low.

One day as I drove down the road, I yelled out to God (yes, yelled) and said, "God, if you can hear me, please, please let me win just one of these sweepstakes. I am desperate and nothing I am doing is working. If you let me win just ONE, I will never enter another sweepstakes again." (Gasp, yes, I made a deal with God.)

Days went by. Nothing. No answer for 3 days.

On the forth morning I came home from work and sitting on my doorstep was a large box from UPS. I dragged it into my foyer and sat down on the floor.

I looked at it and noticed that it was filled to the top with small boxes and that the very top box had my name and address. All the other boxes, 49 of them, had other peoples names and addresses. I opened the box addressed to me and dumped out the contents. Inside was a bag of Dum-Dum Lollipops and a letter. This is what I read:

Dear Mrs Milton:

Congratulations! You are a Third Place Winner in the Dum-Dum Lollipop Sweepstakes. We appreciate your entry and hope that you and your family enjoy this special bag with new flavors. Again, thank you for your entry and Congratulations.


Sweepstakes Committee.

Now I don't know about you, but if I had not been sitting on the floor I would have fallen. I started laughing. Then I started snorting and laughing. I had tears rolling down my cheeks, I was holding my sides I was laughing so hard. I rolled around on the floor and laughed some more. Then I thought about what Doug would say if he could see me and I laughed even harder. I truly do not know how long I laughed, but once I stopped I noticed something. I didn't "hurt" inside anymore.

I realized in that moment that God had answered my desperate prayer and given me what I "Needed" - not what I "Wanted". I thanked Him for answering my prayer according to His wisdom. I knew that what I had needed more than anything else was laughter.

I learned that day how truly I am blessed despite my circumstances. Every once in a while when I get a bit focused on the storms around me, God reminds me of that Sweepstakes I once won. That's all I need.

As for the rest of the box, I did get them back to the UPS and they delivered them to everyone else who had won. I wonder if they giggled when they opened their boxes.

Oh, and I never have entered another sweepstakes.

P.S. The kids grew up, they always had shoes that fit on their feet, a wonderful person fixed our engine for just the cost of parts and someone else gave us tires. Bills still come and are payed. God provided then and now - He always does.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Balanced Life

As a reminder, this is my rattle can. The stuff I write in here is stuff rattling around in my head that God is dealing with me about. So with that in writing...

Doug and I have been married 24 years now and heading very quickly for 25 (it really is true that time moves faster as you get older). In all those years, I have always held my marriage vows and kept Doug as my only - in other words, I have been faithful to him in heart, in mind and in deed. I would love to be able to say that about my relationship with Jesus.

A little over twenty-one years ago I said "Yes" to Jesus. He had wooed me for years. I can think of seven people from high school, college and early adult life who all were faithful to share what He meant in their lives. I finally listened in 1988 on a cold November night.

Since that day that I committed to accept Him as Lord of my life and Savior of my soul, it would be wonderful to say that I immediately started serving Him and have continuously done so since. It was in fact almost 2 years later before we looked for a church - no one said that was the next step. Sure, I prayed a little more and there were absolute changes in me, but I did not know what to do.

I would love to say that through the years I have committed to a life where Jesus is number one. I have said He is. I have tried different times to make it so.

The truth is, I chose to live the majority of my life with Christ adhering to the "modern day" version of being a Christian - The Balanced Life. You know the one that I'm talking have work and home and church and friends and sports and so many other things happening - and they are all compartmentalized in the proper place with minimal overlaps. Just one kicker - I have found that it is not biblical.

As I study the Word, it reveals what is needed. Jesus says, take up your cross, leave your family, turn your cheek, give your shirt, love your enemies, walk humbly, be submitted to authority, do no evil in kind and thank your Heavenly Father for everything. I looked through several concordances and the only balance I found was this - "Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself." Paul said in Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. If we are living a Balanced life according to the world's standard - who are we trying to please?

This blog today is not about condemnation or even to bring guilt on me or anyone else - it is about knowing truth and then walking it out. I know that the closer I get to Jesus and the more I get to know about Him and what He did for me, the more my own depraved and sinful nature is revealed. Thank God for Grace and Forgiveness - it is from this that I have redemption and can lift up my eyes to see where my help comes from. He is the Truth and He is all Loving. The Bible says "that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". The Just for the unjust that we might be brought into the very presence of God, reconciled with our Creator and King.

Do I have all of the answers figured out and am I walking out a true faith? Hardly. The truth is that I don't even know all the questions and am at times stumbling through my days. I do know however that God's Grace is perfect and extends to me even on those days.

Glory - that God loves me so much, He gave me balance in my sinful life by offering a sinless sacrifice in Jesus to pay the penalty for me and each and everyone of us. Amen and Amen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time for a Change

It's funny how this time of the year makes everyone look at their belt lines and consider their options. I know that I do. I mean, after all, I did indulge over the holidays and now have the proof of it. I am achy, my blood sugar is out of whack, I feel sluggish and my clothes don't fit. There - said it.

There are so many options that are willing to take your money and time. I know that the plans I have been on in the past that did not work were frustrating at best and dangerous at the worst. I was talking with a friend recently and decades ago she paid to go through shock treatment to help lose weight. The best one ever was very simple and emphasized eating things the way they are with out all the added goop we like to pacify ourselves with. That plan did not fail me - I failed the plan when I stopped doing it. While I was on it I lost 62lbs. Went off of it and gained it back.

So, what is the answer?

I wish I knew an easy one, but there is not one. So the low down truth is this: As easy as it has been to put this weight on, it is going to take work, determination, patience and perseverance and trusting that God has my back.

This past Tuesday I went back on the plan that I know will work. I have set up with other people that see me and also an online forum to help with accountability. I have set my short term goals, planned rewards to go with accomplishing those goals, and have started forward. I have increased my quiet time, decreased my TV time, and am working at increasing my activity level. Through all of that, I do not want to lose sight of God - even though what I am doing is good. I need to always keep God first and not let my plan take first place in my life.

I was inspired to make a change. Now I have taken the steps to do a change.

Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ