PJ

PJ

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday has once again arrived. So pour yourself a cup of your favorite java and join me for a few random thoughts that I surely hope will be of help to you as you seek to walk with Jesus! 

1. Sin. Confession. Forgiveness. All extremely important. None get the press they really should receive! Let's face. All of us sin (Romans 3:23). We say mean things to others when angry. Our motives are often tainted with the desire to elevate ourselves. And who among us can say that we are ALWAYS loving God with all we have and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (the two great commandments - Matthew 22:37-40). Just this week I read an excellent article that provides excellent insights into this often overlooked area. Reading Keeping Short Accounts is well worth the investment of your time!

2. This coming weekend, we are encouraging our church family at Grace to fast in order to spend some quality time in prayer. The working definition of fasting which we are using defines fasting at "the abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.” Most often fasting involves abstinence from eating, but we are encouraging people to fast from media (unplugging in this digital world can be quite refreshing and will lead to having more time available to purse God. If you would like to learn more about this often ignored and little understood spiritual practice (which, by the way, Jesus assumes we will do as his followers!), you can listen to my Sunday message of last week. When was the last time you fasted in order to strengthen your walk with and your faith in God? 

3. Sharon goes for her post op appointment with her surgeon later this morning (during which she will get her staples out! - I think I will leave the room at that point!). She had her first outpatient physical therapy session on Wednesday. She came out of that in pain but encouraged. Both of these appointments are significant steps on her journey toward getting her knee/leg back into somewhat normal shape! Thanks for all your prayers and support. And please don't stop! We have a ways yet to go! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

Fridays keep rolling around ... and my coffee cup keeps getting filled to the brim with various brews of coffee (none of which are flavored by the way ... I mean, I like coffee so why disguise the taste, eh!?). So pour yourself a cup of your favorite coffee (and if you must drink a flavored brew ... just don't tell me!) and join me for another edition of Friday Coffee with PJ. 

1. Back on November 1st of 2015, my son Tim and his wife Kelly welcomed their third child and first boy into their family. Logan Ryan Smith had a smile on his face from the get go. And most times it's still there. Just last week our son was telling us about the reception he gets from Logan when he walks in the door after a day
Tim and little Logan
at the office. Logan squeals with delight and runs to him with arms outstretched that shout, "Pick me up, Daddy!" It is beyond obvious that Logan has been eager to see his dad return to the house. That, my friends, should picture how we as believers are waiting for the return of Christ. Consider Hebrews 9:28: Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Pastor, theologian, author (and one of my mentors from afar), John Piper, writes the following about this eagerness that we as followers of Christ should possess as we think about his return:



There is a phoney faith that wants only escape from hell, but has no desire for Christ. That kind of faith does not save. It does not produce an eager expectation for Christ to come. In fact, it would
rather that Christ not come for as long as possible, so that it can have as much of this world as possible. But the faith that really holds onto Christ as Savior and Lord and Treasure and hope and joy is the faith that makes us long for Christ to come. And that is the faith that saves. 

So take a long hard look at YOUR faith. Does it cause a desire deep in your soul that moves you to often pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:2). 

2. My wife continues with her recovery from her January 9th revision surgery (see post from that date which details the extent of the surgery). The past week and half have not been easy as the pain level with the revision has proven much greater than with the initial knee replacement. Throw in a minor speed bump with the pain meds she's been using and she's been dealing with some periods of intense pain. On the positive side, she has obtained almost 15 degrees more in her bend post op as compared to pre op! That in spite of the massive swelling around the knee. Sharon has had three visits from a physical therapist with another scheduled for tomorrow. She begins her outpatient therapy next Wednesday, with the post op appointment with the surgeon next Friday (for removal of staples, x-rays and evaluation). Thanks so much for all of you who have prayed ... and please don't stop! Both Sharon and I appreciate your prayers more than you know. 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for another edition of Friday Coffee with PJ!

1. Thanks for your ongoing prayers for my wife on her journey toward healing with her Monday re-do of her original knee replacement. So far so good. We are hopeful that the journey which began on September 4, 2015 will be over at some points within the next few months. So thankful for God's faithful care throughout and the support of family and dear friends. Thanks to all of you who have prayed and continue to pray. 

2. One of my favorite Proverb in the Old Testament book of Proverbs reads, "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent" (Proverbs 10:19). This is a verse that so many people I know (including the guy in my mirror!) could stand to put into practice. All too often when we don't like something about someone or something we will often let someone else know about it. This certainly is not the way to encourage others to fight off the temptation of sin (Hebrews 3:13). Nor is it profitable in stirring others up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:23). So instead of running at the mouth (as so many of us are prone to do), let's think about what we are going to say and to whom we are going to say it. Together let's purpose on spreading joy and good will vs. anger and discontentment. Does God call us to be a disgruntled people (Philippians 2:14-16)? Or is his will for us to be joyful in all circumstances (Philippians 4:4)? The answer is obvious! 

3. One of the MAJOR weaknesses of the Church today is that so many Christians do not take sin seriously . . . or if they do, not nearly seriously enough (and I include myself in this evaluation). Just pause right now and take a look at the world around you. What do you see? Wars. Poverty. Murders. Addictions. Crime. Greed. Pride. Jealousy. Discontentment. Sexual immorality. Lies. Gossip. Prejudice. Disrespect for authority. Hatred. Slander. Lack of self control. The disintegration of the family unit. And on and on and on it goes. All these are manifestations of sin. And the Bible is clear. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And this is a wage we have all earned because all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23). So sin not only wrecks havoc in this life . . . but leads to eternal judgment in the next. So if sin is such a nasty thing .... WHY do we continue to play with it? Let's heed the counsel God through the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy (and by extension to us!) and "run from all these evil things and pursue righteousness and a godly life" (1 Timothy 6:11). And for those who are unsure of their eternal destiny due to their own sin and rebellion against God .... please take a moment to check out, Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

As Dorothy Said, "There's No Place Like Home!"

Sharon got the green light to come home this afternoon. So just after 5:00 we walked through our front door (Sharon using her walker, of course!). She had two PT sessions which left her physically drained (and in pain!) but encouraged. We realize she has a long path to walk on her road to recovery. She will have in home physical therapy until she goes for her post op appointment on the 27th. Then she will begin her outpatient therapy. Please pray that the healing that has begun will continue and the outcome her surgeon envisions for her will be realized. Having gone down this path before, we both realize it will be no picnic. But with God's help and the prayers and support of so many, we know that she can do this again. Thanks for your prayers!!!

And thanks for stopping by . . .
Pj

Monday, January 9, 2017

Post Surgery Update

Out with the old .... in with the new and then some! That pretty much sums up my wife's surgery this morning. The surgeon removed the knee prosthesis that was implanted during her original knee replacement of September 4, 2015 and replaced it with another one. He also inserted a rod in her femur for stability and and another smaller rod below the knee as well. In addition he removed the hardware used to repair her broken femur of November, 2015. Finally, he excised a lot of scar tissue from the original surgery and polished her knee cap (and removed the remaining cartilage - gluing a plastic "button" in its place). He was very optimistic that she will be able to "do well" once she recovers from surgery and gets through her physical therapy. She is resting comfortably now (the nerve block is good for about 12-18 hours), I anticipate a Wednesday discharge.

Thanks for your prayers and thanks for stopping by . . .
Pj

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's Friday ... so pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a few (and I hope) helpful thoughts as you walk through this world with Jesus Christ! 

1. Here we are already six days into the year 2017! Wow! Indeed our days are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14). So given just how fleeting life is, how should we then live? For starters, don't waste your life! How many of us waste precious minutes in trivial pursuits (television, internet browsing, social media, video games, shopping at the mall, etc. - and if I stepped on your toes here, know that mine our hurting, too!). All of us should take stock in how we spend our "free" time and ask ourselves if we could be making better use of it (Ephesians 5:15). Time once spent is gone forever! In addition, we need to remind ourselves that this fleeting existence on earth is but a preface to the GRAND EVENT - ETERNITY! Keeping this in mind will help us make the kind of choices with how we spend our time in ways that matter - for this life and the life to come! The Apostle Paul urged the church in Ephesus to be "making the best use because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). Even though Paul wrote those words almost 2000 years ago, they hold true today. One quick look around is all you need to know that these days in which we live are indeed evil! So let's be sure to make the best use of our time ... seeking to honor God in all that we say and do! 

2. In last Friday's post, I mentioned that this time of year in which we close the books on 2016 and open new ones for 2017, is a good time of year to do some "soul searching." This is an activity, by the way, that the Bible encourages. For example, the Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy, urges his young mentee to "keep a close watch"



on himself and his teaching" (1 Timothy 4:16). To help you do so, I recommend the use of Don Whitney's Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year. And if you are really brave, you might want to ask someone who knows you well for input. Remember, blind spots are labeled such because they are very hard to spot in ourselves!

3. Update on my wife: Sharon's journey continues with another surgery this coming Monday. The journey began on September 4, 2015 with a total replacement of her left knee. It continued with a manipulation of that knee while under anesthesia on November 10th of the same year. During this procedure, her femur broke. She underwent surgery to repair the fracture the next week. The fracture took a long time to heal (orthopedic surgeon pronounced it healed in August). However, due to long weeks of being unable to put weight on the leg (or go for physical therapy on her knee), she is now in need of a revision of her original knee replacement. This will be done on Monday (along with the removal of the plate and screws used to repair her broken femur, etc.). So all that said, we covet your prayers as we begin yet another chapter. We find much comfort in your concern and prayers. But we find our greatest comfort in our God, knowing he is sovereign and he has a plan for us all! To him be the glory! 
4. As I close, I borrow words from the Apostle John which he shared with the readers of his third letter, "I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ: Special Wednesday Edition

I enjoy coffee on Wednesdays as well as Fridays (and all the other days, too!) ... and there was something on my mind that I wanted to share with any who stop by. So ... here you go!

Coping with life has a lot to do with perspective. One reality about the Bible that points toward its divine authorship is that it does not in any way "sugar coat" humanity and life. We are told that we human beings are not basically good people who sometimes make bad choices. Rather the Bible's view is that our hearts are "desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9) and we are born sinners (Psalm 51:5) and are "by nature children of (God's) wrath" (Ephesians 2:3). Kevin DeYoung sums up the Bible's view of humanity when he writes, "Our fundamental problem is not bad parents, bad schools, bad friends, or bad circumstances. Our fundamental problem is a bad heart. And every single one of us is born into the world with it." So as you can see, the portrait of humanity painted in the Bible is not flattering in the least! The Bible also does not speak of life in this world as "living on easy street!" Jesus himself weighed in on what we can expect to encounter in this life when he said, "in this life you will have tribulation" (John 16:33). No surprise, given that we are a broken people living in a very broken world. That is NOT a formula for a life of ongoing comfort and pleasure! 

So how do we cope with these cards we all have been dealt? First and foremost, we must take care of our heart problem. And there is only one remedy! The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Only Jesus can take our desperately sick hearts and heal them! And this healing takes place when we by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone embrace the gospel (good news) about Jesus, God's Son and our Savior. Once we do this, he doesn't simply repair our old heart - he gives us a new one (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have never made the choice to embrace Christ and his gospel, I encourage you to check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face

Secondly, we must remember the importance of perspective and take steps to have the right one! Perspective (how you look at life) will go along way toward how you respond to it. Let me illustrate. For as long as I can remember, I have been a Penn State football fan. I grew up in Harrisburg, PA, which sits a mere two hours from Mt. Nittany. Saturdays for me often meant watching Penn State beat up some unfortunate foe who would dare enter the lion's den known as Beaver Stadium. Now for those of you who follow the Nittany Lions ... you know that recently PSU was barely winning more than they lost. Until this year! At the beginning of the season, pundits were picking Penn State to finish around the middle of the pack of the East Division of the Big Ten. A few (and I do mean FEW!) went out on a limb to predict a nine win season and a third place finish in the division. But NO ONE predicted what happened: an eleven win season and the Big Ten Championship! Now ... all that as background to what happened in Pasadena on Monday evening. In one of the most exciting, Rose Bowl games ever played the Lions came up on the short end of a 52-49 score, losing on a last second field goal by a very good University of Southern California team. The collective groan of Nittany Nation must have been heard throughout the country! I admit, I was among the groaners! Yet ... if you would have told me at the beginning of the season that PSU would have lost the Rose Bowl to USC in such fashion ... I would have been thrilled! What? Penn State in the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten Champs? Really? Wow! You see ... how we respond to disappointment in life is often determined by our perspective. 

So what should be our perspective on life (especially when it gets hard)? Well, I could say a lot on this, and I fear I have already overstayed my welcome ... so let me just quote Jesus, again from the Gospel of John: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Jesus Christ has overcome this broken world. He proved it when he rose from the dead on the third morning following his violent execution by crucifixion. Several weeks later, he ascended to heaven where he now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty (Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3). Together he and his Father are ruling over this world. Any circumstance, whether good or bad, that comes our way, first passes through their hands. Therefore, we can be confident that God is working ALL things for His glory (Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16) and our ultimate good (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4). Keeping this perspective will go a long way toward settling our anxious souls when adversity strikes! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday has once again arrived. So pour yourself a cup of your favorite java and join me for a few random thoughts that I surely hope will be of help to you as you seek to walk with Jesus! 

1. Sin. Confession. Forgiveness. All extremely important. None get the press they really should receive! Let's face. All of us sin (Romans 3:23). We say mean things to others when angry. Our motives are often tainted with the desire to elevate ourselves. And who among us can say that we are ALWAYS loving God with all we have and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (the two great commandments - Matthew 22:37-40). Just this week I read an excellent article that provides excellent insights into this often overlooked area. Reading Keeping Short Accounts is well worth the investment of your time!

2. This coming weekend, we are encouraging our church family at Grace to fast in order to spend some quality time in prayer. The working definition of fasting which we are using defines fasting at "the abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.” Most often fasting involves abstinence from eating, but we are encouraging people to fast from media (unplugging in this digital world can be quite refreshing and will lead to having more time available to purse God. If you would like to learn more about this often ignored and little understood spiritual practice (which, by the way, Jesus assumes we will do as his followers!), you can listen to my Sunday message of last week. When was the last time you fasted in order to strengthen your walk with and your faith in God? 

3. Sharon goes for her post op appointment with her surgeon later this morning (during which she will get her staples out! - I think I will leave the room at that point!). She had her first outpatient physical therapy session on Wednesday. She came out of that in pain but encouraged. Both of these appointments are significant steps on her journey toward getting her knee/leg back into somewhat normal shape! Thanks for all your prayers and support. And please don't stop! We have a ways yet to go! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

Fridays keep rolling around ... and my coffee cup keeps getting filled to the brim with various brews of coffee (none of which are flavored by the way ... I mean, I like coffee so why disguise the taste, eh!?). So pour yourself a cup of your favorite coffee (and if you must drink a flavored brew ... just don't tell me!) and join me for another edition of Friday Coffee with PJ. 

1. Back on November 1st of 2015, my son Tim and his wife Kelly welcomed their third child and first boy into their family. Logan Ryan Smith had a smile on his face from the get go. And most times it's still there. Just last week our son was telling us about the reception he gets from Logan when he walks in the door after a day
Tim and little Logan
at the office. Logan squeals with delight and runs to him with arms outstretched that shout, "Pick me up, Daddy!" It is beyond obvious that Logan has been eager to see his dad return to the house. That, my friends, should picture how we as believers are waiting for the return of Christ. Consider Hebrews 9:28: Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Pastor, theologian, author (and one of my mentors from afar), John Piper, writes the following about this eagerness that we as followers of Christ should possess as we think about his return:



There is a phoney faith that wants only escape from hell, but has no desire for Christ. That kind of faith does not save. It does not produce an eager expectation for Christ to come. In fact, it would
rather that Christ not come for as long as possible, so that it can have as much of this world as possible. But the faith that really holds onto Christ as Savior and Lord and Treasure and hope and joy is the faith that makes us long for Christ to come. And that is the faith that saves. 

So take a long hard look at YOUR faith. Does it cause a desire deep in your soul that moves you to often pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:2). 

2. My wife continues with her recovery from her January 9th revision surgery (see post from that date which details the extent of the surgery). The past week and half have not been easy as the pain level with the revision has proven much greater than with the initial knee replacement. Throw in a minor speed bump with the pain meds she's been using and she's been dealing with some periods of intense pain. On the positive side, she has obtained almost 15 degrees more in her bend post op as compared to pre op! That in spite of the massive swelling around the knee. Sharon has had three visits from a physical therapist with another scheduled for tomorrow. She begins her outpatient therapy next Wednesday, with the post op appointment with the surgeon next Friday (for removal of staples, x-rays and evaluation). Thanks so much for all of you who have prayed ... and please don't stop! Both Sharon and I appreciate your prayers more than you know. 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for another edition of Friday Coffee with PJ!

1. Thanks for your ongoing prayers for my wife on her journey toward healing with her Monday re-do of her original knee replacement. So far so good. We are hopeful that the journey which began on September 4, 2015 will be over at some points within the next few months. So thankful for God's faithful care throughout and the support of family and dear friends. Thanks to all of you who have prayed and continue to pray. 

2. One of my favorite Proverb in the Old Testament book of Proverbs reads, "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent" (Proverbs 10:19). This is a verse that so many people I know (including the guy in my mirror!) could stand to put into practice. All too often when we don't like something about someone or something we will often let someone else know about it. This certainly is not the way to encourage others to fight off the temptation of sin (Hebrews 3:13). Nor is it profitable in stirring others up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:23). So instead of running at the mouth (as so many of us are prone to do), let's think about what we are going to say and to whom we are going to say it. Together let's purpose on spreading joy and good will vs. anger and discontentment. Does God call us to be a disgruntled people (Philippians 2:14-16)? Or is his will for us to be joyful in all circumstances (Philippians 4:4)? The answer is obvious! 

3. One of the MAJOR weaknesses of the Church today is that so many Christians do not take sin seriously . . . or if they do, not nearly seriously enough (and I include myself in this evaluation). Just pause right now and take a look at the world around you. What do you see? Wars. Poverty. Murders. Addictions. Crime. Greed. Pride. Jealousy. Discontentment. Sexual immorality. Lies. Gossip. Prejudice. Disrespect for authority. Hatred. Slander. Lack of self control. The disintegration of the family unit. And on and on and on it goes. All these are manifestations of sin. And the Bible is clear. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And this is a wage we have all earned because all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23). So sin not only wrecks havoc in this life . . . but leads to eternal judgment in the next. So if sin is such a nasty thing .... WHY do we continue to play with it? Let's heed the counsel God through the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy (and by extension to us!) and "run from all these evil things and pursue righteousness and a godly life" (1 Timothy 6:11). And for those who are unsure of their eternal destiny due to their own sin and rebellion against God .... please take a moment to check out, Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

As Dorothy Said, "There's No Place Like Home!"

Sharon got the green light to come home this afternoon. So just after 5:00 we walked through our front door (Sharon using her walker, of course!). She had two PT sessions which left her physically drained (and in pain!) but encouraged. We realize she has a long path to walk on her road to recovery. She will have in home physical therapy until she goes for her post op appointment on the 27th. Then she will begin her outpatient therapy. Please pray that the healing that has begun will continue and the outcome her surgeon envisions for her will be realized. Having gone down this path before, we both realize it will be no picnic. But with God's help and the prayers and support of so many, we know that she can do this again. Thanks for your prayers!!!

And thanks for stopping by . . .
Pj

Monday, January 9, 2017

Post Surgery Update

Out with the old .... in with the new and then some! That pretty much sums up my wife's surgery this morning. The surgeon removed the knee prosthesis that was implanted during her original knee replacement of September 4, 2015 and replaced it with another one. He also inserted a rod in her femur for stability and and another smaller rod below the knee as well. In addition he removed the hardware used to repair her broken femur of November, 2015. Finally, he excised a lot of scar tissue from the original surgery and polished her knee cap (and removed the remaining cartilage - gluing a plastic "button" in its place). He was very optimistic that she will be able to "do well" once she recovers from surgery and gets through her physical therapy. She is resting comfortably now (the nerve block is good for about 12-18 hours), I anticipate a Wednesday discharge.

Thanks for your prayers and thanks for stopping by . . .
Pj

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's Friday ... so pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a few (and I hope) helpful thoughts as you walk through this world with Jesus Christ! 

1. Here we are already six days into the year 2017! Wow! Indeed our days are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14). So given just how fleeting life is, how should we then live? For starters, don't waste your life! How many of us waste precious minutes in trivial pursuits (television, internet browsing, social media, video games, shopping at the mall, etc. - and if I stepped on your toes here, know that mine our hurting, too!). All of us should take stock in how we spend our "free" time and ask ourselves if we could be making better use of it (Ephesians 5:15). Time once spent is gone forever! In addition, we need to remind ourselves that this fleeting existence on earth is but a preface to the GRAND EVENT - ETERNITY! Keeping this in mind will help us make the kind of choices with how we spend our time in ways that matter - for this life and the life to come! The Apostle Paul urged the church in Ephesus to be "making the best use because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). Even though Paul wrote those words almost 2000 years ago, they hold true today. One quick look around is all you need to know that these days in which we live are indeed evil! So let's be sure to make the best use of our time ... seeking to honor God in all that we say and do! 

2. In last Friday's post, I mentioned that this time of year in which we close the books on 2016 and open new ones for 2017, is a good time of year to do some "soul searching." This is an activity, by the way, that the Bible encourages. For example, the Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy, urges his young mentee to "keep a close watch"



on himself and his teaching" (1 Timothy 4:16). To help you do so, I recommend the use of Don Whitney's Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year. And if you are really brave, you might want to ask someone who knows you well for input. Remember, blind spots are labeled such because they are very hard to spot in ourselves!

3. Update on my wife: Sharon's journey continues with another surgery this coming Monday. The journey began on September 4, 2015 with a total replacement of her left knee. It continued with a manipulation of that knee while under anesthesia on November 10th of the same year. During this procedure, her femur broke. She underwent surgery to repair the fracture the next week. The fracture took a long time to heal (orthopedic surgeon pronounced it healed in August). However, due to long weeks of being unable to put weight on the leg (or go for physical therapy on her knee), she is now in need of a revision of her original knee replacement. This will be done on Monday (along with the removal of the plate and screws used to repair her broken femur, etc.). So all that said, we covet your prayers as we begin yet another chapter. We find much comfort in your concern and prayers. But we find our greatest comfort in our God, knowing he is sovereign and he has a plan for us all! To him be the glory! 
4. As I close, I borrow words from the Apostle John which he shared with the readers of his third letter, "I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Friday Coffee with PJ: Special Wednesday Edition

I enjoy coffee on Wednesdays as well as Fridays (and all the other days, too!) ... and there was something on my mind that I wanted to share with any who stop by. So ... here you go!

Coping with life has a lot to do with perspective. One reality about the Bible that points toward its divine authorship is that it does not in any way "sugar coat" humanity and life. We are told that we human beings are not basically good people who sometimes make bad choices. Rather the Bible's view is that our hearts are "desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9) and we are born sinners (Psalm 51:5) and are "by nature children of (God's) wrath" (Ephesians 2:3). Kevin DeYoung sums up the Bible's view of humanity when he writes, "Our fundamental problem is not bad parents, bad schools, bad friends, or bad circumstances. Our fundamental problem is a bad heart. And every single one of us is born into the world with it." So as you can see, the portrait of humanity painted in the Bible is not flattering in the least! The Bible also does not speak of life in this world as "living on easy street!" Jesus himself weighed in on what we can expect to encounter in this life when he said, "in this life you will have tribulation" (John 16:33). No surprise, given that we are a broken people living in a very broken world. That is NOT a formula for a life of ongoing comfort and pleasure! 

So how do we cope with these cards we all have been dealt? First and foremost, we must take care of our heart problem. And there is only one remedy! The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Only Jesus can take our desperately sick hearts and heal them! And this healing takes place when we by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone embrace the gospel (good news) about Jesus, God's Son and our Savior. Once we do this, he doesn't simply repair our old heart - he gives us a new one (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have never made the choice to embrace Christ and his gospel, I encourage you to check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face

Secondly, we must remember the importance of perspective and take steps to have the right one! Perspective (how you look at life) will go along way toward how you respond to it. Let me illustrate. For as long as I can remember, I have been a Penn State football fan. I grew up in Harrisburg, PA, which sits a mere two hours from Mt. Nittany. Saturdays for me often meant watching Penn State beat up some unfortunate foe who would dare enter the lion's den known as Beaver Stadium. Now for those of you who follow the Nittany Lions ... you know that recently PSU was barely winning more than they lost. Until this year! At the beginning of the season, pundits were picking Penn State to finish around the middle of the pack of the East Division of the Big Ten. A few (and I do mean FEW!) went out on a limb to predict a nine win season and a third place finish in the division. But NO ONE predicted what happened: an eleven win season and the Big Ten Championship! Now ... all that as background to what happened in Pasadena on Monday evening. In one of the most exciting, Rose Bowl games ever played the Lions came up on the short end of a 52-49 score, losing on a last second field goal by a very good University of Southern California team. The collective groan of Nittany Nation must have been heard throughout the country! I admit, I was among the groaners! Yet ... if you would have told me at the beginning of the season that PSU would have lost the Rose Bowl to USC in such fashion ... I would have been thrilled! What? Penn State in the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten Champs? Really? Wow! You see ... how we respond to disappointment in life is often determined by our perspective. 

So what should be our perspective on life (especially when it gets hard)? Well, I could say a lot on this, and I fear I have already overstayed my welcome ... so let me just quote Jesus, again from the Gospel of John: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Jesus Christ has overcome this broken world. He proved it when he rose from the dead on the third morning following his violent execution by crucifixion. Several weeks later, he ascended to heaven where he now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty (Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3). Together he and his Father are ruling over this world. Any circumstance, whether good or bad, that comes our way, first passes through their hands. Therefore, we can be confident that God is working ALL things for His glory (Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16) and our ultimate good (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4). Keeping this perspective will go a long way toward settling our anxious souls when adversity strikes! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Are You Preparing for Eternity?

Our journey on earth is but a breath ... a heart beat when compared to the expanse of Eternity. We all must remember that how we live live in the here and now will impact our experience in the then and there.

Thoughts on how biblical truth impacts all of life.