Monday, February 14, 2022

Bigger

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton,  

































The other day I was looking at pictures of the universe from the Hubble telescope and was astounded at the vastness of space.  I began to think about our universe, which is comprised of myriads of galaxies, stars and planets and solar systems.  Each of these is composed of various substances that are themselves made of atoms.  The atoms in turn are comprised of protons, electrons and neutrons.  These atomic particles are made up of sub-atomic particles called quarks.  For reference, the diameter of a proton is about a milimeter divided by a thousand billion.  The quark is smaller than that. So the vastness of the universe is simply a collection of infinitesimally small components joined together to create a cohesive whole.


Then I thought about plants.  We have many beautiful, large old oak trees in our city.  They are large trees, but at one time, they each were a single tiny acorn.  By the same token, tiny seeds planted with thoughts of the spring, turn into large plants bearing fruit in the summer.

The same is true of us.  As adults, we consider ourselves big.  But before we were adults, we were teenagers and before that we were children.  Before we were children we were babies.  Before we were born, we were fetuses (the time of fetal development from 8 weeks to birth.)  Before we were fetuses, we were a collection of cells known as a blastocyst.  Before that we were the two celled union of sperm and egg, called a zygote.  A zygote is roughly about 0.4 milimeters.  We were very, very tiny.

It seems as though all things that we perceive as "big" are either comprised of tiny things, or was at one time tiny.

Except God.  He has always been big.  

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."  Psalms 145:3

He has always been what He is.  He has always been big.  King Solomon, the wisest of all men, stated:

"But will God in very deed dwell with me on the earth?  Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house which I have built!"  2 Chronicles 6:18

God has never been small.  He has always been as He is now.  He has always been great.  He has always been God.  He has always been.

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God."  Psalm 90:2

This fills my heart with great comfort.  Each of us in our lifetimes will experience some very great things, some which seem wonderful and some which seem tragic.  Our God, Who  never changes, will be there with us for each of these if we have trusted in Him.  And He will always be the same.  He will always be great.  He will always be bigger than us, and bigger than any problem we encounter.  And He will always be for us.  The Apostle Paul asked the question well, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31.)

So the next time we face what appears to be an insurmountable problem, or we peer into a night sky and view the vastness of space, let us remember that our God is bigger than anything.  Bigger than our problems, bigger than our galaxy, bigger than our fears.  He is great and His greatness is unsearchable.


For Thou art great and doest wondrous things:  Thou are God alone."  
Psalm 86:10

"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."
Psalm 145:3



Friday, January 14, 2022

TPWK

One of my best friends recently got a new tattoo.  It is simply the letters "tpwk", which stands for "treat people with kindness."

Ashlee needs no reminder to treat people with kindness because she does that everyday.  We work together, so I have the opportunity to observe her in the best of times and the most stressful of times and she is always kind and respectful to others.

But the picture of her tattoo made me think about what it represented.  My first thought was the many references to kindness in the Scriptures:

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." 1 Corinthians 13:4.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  Ephesians 4:32.

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." Colossians 3:12.

"And to godliness [add] brotherly kindness: and to brotherly kindness charity." 2 Peter 1:7

The most striking of the verses in Scripture regarding kindness however, are those that speak of the Lord's kindness toward us:

"For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.  Praise ye the Lord."  Psalm 117:2.

"...turn unto the Lord your God:  for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness,"  Joel 2:13.

"...for I knew that Thou are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness."  Jonah 4:2.

None of us need to look to the dictionary for the definition of the word kindness, we know it when we see it.  When someone is kind to us, doesn't that make us feel good?  

The verb in Ashlee's tattoo really stands out to me..."treat." Now let us look to the dictionary.  One of the definitions of the word treat is "to provide with enjoyment or gratification."  When someone is kind to us, especially if we didn't expect it, isn't it like receiving a treat?  Isn't it something that brings enjoyment?  

Many of us have had the experience of giving a treat to a child.  Or, in our house these days its giving a treat to our dog.  This clearly brings enjoyment to them.  We have the ability, the capability to give a "treat" to everyone with whom we come in contact and it takes so little to do so.  Kindness is something everyone can give.  A smile, a nice word, opening a door, saying "please" and "thank you" are all simple acts of kindness.  The opportunities for kindness abound all around us if we will open our eyes to see them.

Let us look for ways to "treat" others with the joy of kindness.  It will brighten their day, lighten our own heart and will show the kindness of the Lord to others as we do so.



Me and Ashlee on Nurses' Day.



Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Shimmering Trail of Unseen Origins

 I was walking Ellie the other day and noticed something shimmering on the sidewalk.  A snail had left trails on the sidewalk that sparkled in the sunlight.  As Ellie and I continued down the street, I thought about that snail.

I never saw the snail.  I didn't know if the snail was young or old, or the purpose of his journey.  What I did know was that he crossed the sidewalk and in doing so, left a trail of his travels.  The trail itself was not pretty, but when the sunlight caught it, it became a glistening strand.

The snail caused me to think about myself.  I encounter or pass many people in my daily life, most of whom I do not know.  I don't know their names and they don't know mine.  I know nothing of their lives, their families or what they do with their days. But I didn't know the snail either and his trip across the sidewalk  impressed me enough to sit and write about it.  Why?

Because what he did reflected the sun.   The beauty of the snail's trail came not in the trail itself, but in the sunlight it reflected.  The shimmer, the glistening, the sparkle was not of the snail, but of the sun, and that sparkle made me smile.

Oh, may I be more like the unseen snail on the sidewalk.  May I live my life in such a way as to leave a trail that glistens in the light of the One true Son.  May His light so shine upon my path that others are led to Him by the shimmer they see.  May my passing someone's way lead them to see His Light and their faces turn up in smile because of the sparkle it imparts.  And most of all, like the snail, let me forgotten in the process.


Let Me Be Forgotten

Words by Glen Davis

As the dew which brought sweet manna,
and then quietly stole away.
I long to be forgotten, Lord,
to seek no accolade.

For each day the light grows brighter
as it shines in your dear face.
Only One is due all honor,
and only One inhabits praise,

So let me be forgotten, Lord.


Yes, I see it, Lord, no I see them,
those prints upon Your hands,
and I know that ’til forever 
the cry of Heavenly lands

 will sing bless the name of Jesus,
praise to the Father be,
as by the Spirit’s humble heart
we fall unto our knees.

So let me be forgotten, Lord.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Invincible!

 Invincible!  

That's how I felt when my patient tested positive for Covid-19 the other night!  Only my cape was a gortex gown and my N95 mask was covered with an additional medical mask and face shield.  But I didn't feel invincible because of what was on me, but rather because of what was in me.

I have had two Covid vaccination shots plus the booster, I have now had Covid and I have also had the monoclonal antibodies.  Grace, a friend of mine at work who also had Covid when I did, remarked that we were probably the best people to take care of Covid patients that night.

I am not a stranger to caring for Covid patients, in fact, I was the nurse for the first delivery of a Covid patient in our hospital. (You can read about that here.)  I have never felt undue fear in the role, but I have always been very careful to take all the necessary precautions.  

But this time I felt different.  Although I still used all the personal protection equipment, I didn't feel that my protection came primarily from what I wore, but from what was circulating through my body.  I knew there was something inside of me giving me a strength, a protection I didn't normally have.

How true this is of the Christian.  We aren't strong because we have puffed ourselves up to be.  In fact, the Apostle Paul stated this about himself:

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."  (2 Corinthians 12:10.)

He could make that statement because of the verse that came before it.  Paul was speaking of the "thorn in the flesh" the Lord had given him, and how he had asked for it to be removed.  This is what Paul said God's response to him was:

"And He said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' "

Paul then affirms, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2Corinthians 12:9.)

As we walk the Christian life, we are not strong, loving, peaceful, kind -- any attribute you want to include -- because of ourselves.  No, it is entirely because of Christ who lives in us, as the Scriptures tell us,  "Christ in you, the Hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27.)  We are strong because He is strong in and through us as we trust Him by faith.  We are loving because He is love in and through us.  It is Him, it is all about Him, as we by faith trust Him to "will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13.)

Taking care of my Covid patient, I felt strong, powerful, almost invincible not because I am those things, but because of the natural and injected antibodies flowing in my body.  In the same vein, we have the attributes of the Holy Spirit because He lives in us.  Just as I trust those antibodies are helping me against Covid, we trust by faith the Holy Spirit works in us.

One of my favorite passage which speaks to this is found in Galatians:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; 
yet not I but Christ liveth in me:  
and the life which I no live in the flesh 
I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave Himself for me." 
Galatians 2: 20



 I couldn't resist posting this picture that circulated during the first year of the pandemic.  It touched my heart and I am grateful its creator.