Friday Coffee with PJ

Today is Friday ... so that means another cup of coffee (or whatever your favorite cup of brew might be ... but on a cold morning like this, I sure hope it's hot!) and a couple of random thoughts for your spiritual growth!

1, Yesterday I heard a report about Americans and their lack of effort in the area of cyber security. In spite of the data breaches that we hear about every day, most people are not following the advice of security experts to change their passwords every so often and to stay away from the really simple passwords that people use. The reality is that few ever change their passwords and almost always use very simple passwords (which I get because it is downright frustrated to get locked out of an account because you can't remember your password). But how simple are these commonly used passwords. The most common is "1-2-3-4-5-6." The second most common - "password." Ouch. Mine, at least, are a bit more difficult than that!

As I think of this lack of cyber security, I am reminded of the security we have in Christ. We do not have to worry about passwords and changing them regularly. We are absolutely secure in our salvation because it is Christ who keeps us (John 10:27-28). And there is nothing in all the created realm that could ever rip us out of his hand (Romans 8:38-39)! We are forever firmly in HIS grip!

2. On Tuesday I had an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. It was a good discussion about my current condition, and what might have to happen if significant improvement does not occur (which is rather unlikely to happen). I asked a lot of questions, and he took the time to answer them to my satisfaction. I was no sooner out the door of the exam room, when I remembered a question I had forgotten to ask. Spotting the doctor down the hall filling in my chart, I walked over his way and got that question answered. Moments later, as I pulled out of the office and began my drive to my next appointment, I recalled another question I had meant to ask and did not (lesson here: write down your questions ahead of time!). So, yesterday morning I placed a call to his admin assistant. Getting her voice mail, I left a message which included the question I had failed to ask. Needless to say, I am still waiting a call back. After all, the doctor is quite busy between seeing patients and performing surgery. So I will patiently wait to hear from him. But in the spiritual realm, we never have to worry about connecting with our Father in Heaven. He is always available to hear from us, day or night! And that you can forever count on!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

"You've Had a Rough Go of It!"

The words I chose for the title of this post were spoken to me yesterday by my orthopedic doctor. It was said in the context of me telling him why I came in a week earlier than originally scheduled (my original appointment, scheduled for next Tuesday, was preempted by the need to have a surgical procedure related to my kidney stone attack back in September - which, by the way, had pushed my biceps surgery back a week). Dr. Dragann remembered the week delay. And then he said, "You've had a rough go of it!"

Well ... I am not going to complain. For the first 58 years of my life, among the MANY times I have been in hospitals, only twice was I there as a patient - two trips to the ER for stitches, both in the head -- no comments please! :) So I am grateful to God for His goodness to me across the years. And now, for reasons known only to him, I have had a "tough go of it!" And it isn't over yet! As a result of the bicep surgery, apparently when my arm was positioned for surgery, a condition that I had (which I did not know I had) flared up. The condition is called ulnar impaction (or abutment) syndrome. In plain language this means that the outside forearm bone (the ulna bone) is impacting the wrist bones ... causing pain and a lack of both mobility and hand strength. So what does this mean? Dr. Dragann told me that there is a chance it could improve on its own ... "How big a chance?" I asked. "Hmm a small chance" he replied. So I asked him what the options were if it did not improve. He informed me there are two surgical options ... one arthroscopic in which they go in and basically shave off the top of the ulnar bone. The other is to take a section out of the middle of the ulnar bone and then rejoin the two parts with a metal plate and screws. According to him, he has seen much better results with the latter. I asked him what the recovery time was like ... and, well, let's just say if I have to go that route I will be asking God for more grace! He assured me that all will be good in the end (and added that he had the same surgery done on his one arm/wrist).

I am really upset about one thing though. Sounds like my "stellar" golfing career is over. He told me he had to give up golf after his surgery. Oh well, I guess I can live with that!  :)

Thanks for stopping by ... and THANKS for your prayers,

Friday Coffee with PJ

I apologize for being a bit absent from my blot of late. Just a bit busy. So glad our staff is reading Kevin DeYoung's excellent book, Crazy Busy together. I sure have needed what he is writing!  So ... now that I am back ... and since it is Friday ... pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. With winter half over (meterological winter runs from Dec. 1st to Feb. 28th.), I can begin to relax a bit. With my arm still in the healing phase, I am still limited with what I can do with it. One of the limitations is "no snow blower!" So I am very thankful that to date, our snow fall has been minimum. I do realize that many of our heaviest snow falls come in February. I hope this February will be an exception! But as we are presently in "mid winter" it strikes me as to how quite it can be outside. In just a two months ... the birds will be filling the air with their mating calls and songs. But right now, there are few chirps to be heard! It's just because of the season we are in.

Life is a lot like the differing seasons we experience each year. We go through different seasons of life. I am now entering my more mature season. This season is known for many things ... among which are more physical ailments. For me that has meant a kidney stone attack (Sept. 7th) ... and now a follow up to that kidney stone attack with a surgical procedure scheduled for January 27th, and a surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon (Sept. 18th) ... with a subsequent case of "frozen shoulder" and "ulnar impaction syndrome"). Of these two complications, the shoulder is doing better (about 90%). The wrist and hand have a long way to go yet. So as I have said before, growing older sure isn't for sissies! But through it all, God has proven himself faithful. And even though there have been times I have been discouraged, holding onto to the reality that God is in control has helped me immensely to stay positive most of the time. Thanks for your ongoing prayers!

2. The amount of hatred, violence and strife on this planet must grieve the heart of God! Ever since Cain committed humanity's first murder by slaying his brother Abel, mankind has continued down this bloody path. The ability of some people to coolly and casually take another person's life chills my blood. I would find it difficult to kill an animal let alone to murder a human being. Now ... Jesus has something to say about murder. But he takes it to another level. He states that if we are angry with another, we are guilty of murdering that individual in our hearts (Matthew 5:21-26). Sooo ... can you think of anyone you hate? If you can, it's time to get down on your knees and ask God to forgive you. Then reach out to that person with the love of Christ. After all, if God could love us even when we were defiant rebels, constantly shaking our fists in HIS face, then who are we not to love even those who misuse and abuse us? (see Matthew 18:21-35).  Ask God to give you the grace you need to do this.

3. There is a lot of talk about the flu this winter. Apparently this year's flu vaccine is ineffective due to the mutation of the current strain of the flu virus. Numerous places have been placed on quarantine to prevent this sometimes deadly, but always physically debilitating disease from spreading. Oh that there was an effective vaccine for a disease that continues to fester and spread among Christians. I am referring to gossip. Gossip is like a disease because of the damage it does to the body of Christ. But unlike a disease, which often comes upon us in spite of all of our attempts to avoid it, we can say "NO!" to gossip. Just stop talking about others to others! Just today I heard about one Christian accusing another Christian of sinning ... but talking to yet another Christian about it! My friends. This MUST stop! So take that piece of flesh that wags between your jaws and cheek it! Make sure that before it starts wagging, that you think about what you are going to say! Use Ephesians 4:29 to guide your talk. And for help, pray Psalm 141:3. You will be better for it!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Happy New Year 2015

Change. As we welcome yet another year, change is already knocking at the door of our lives. All of us fear change, and how it may rock our world. But change does not have to be unwelcome. We all could use a healthy dose of change! Here's a quote from a former pastor of mine and a prolific author. Take a moment and read through what he has to say. And then take another moment to pray about it. You will be better for it.

"We all fear change, of course. It makes us anxious. But change is precisely what we need. If we are spiritually moribund, we need to be brought from a state of spiritual death into a state of spiritual life through the gospel. If we are lethargic in our discipleship, we need to be awakened to the glories of a renewed life in Christ. If we are indifferent to the spiritual state of others, we need to be alerted to their peril apart from Christ and be moved to take the gospel to them." (James Montgomery Boice)

Thanks, Dr. Boice, for those challenging words. And thank YOU for stopping by, 

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday morning means COFFEE! (frankly, every morning means coffee for me)! So why not pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join m...