Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Nose is on Fire

Long, long ago in a far away place...we used to use VHS tape to record events.  We'd use those tapes, and then tape from the copy of the tape.  Basically, you'd see the quality of the recording go down with each generation of copies.  Yes, it was a loooong time ago.

I remember one time I sat down to watch a Christmas Extravaganza that the music department had worked hard at presenting.  When you direct something like that, you don't get the whole picture - so I sat down (by myself) to watch the taped results of months of work and rehearsal and sweat and prayer.

You know what I remember about that tape?  Every time the camera was focused on my face, my nose looked like a flame was coming out of the tip of it.  My nose looked like a Bic lighter.  That's all I remember - large nose - fire coming out of said nose!  The quality of the repeated copying had made this phenomenon happen.  Super great.  Don't remember a single song - just that my nose was on FIRE.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when a dermatologist took what turned out to be a wart (what?) off of my nose.  She then decided to cauterize it.  I opened my eyes up and saw smoke coming from my nose.  Oh yay.   So weird.

What could I possibly learn from these two experiences????

Well, one is pretty big.  Stay close to the original.  The further we get from the original, the more chance that what we are seeing and believing is not real.  I watch people get further away from the simplicity and very power of the cross.  The simplicity of Jesus is powerful. but I watch people being drawn to things 6 degrees away from Jesus that sound much more exciting and prestigious and even spiritual than...Him.

The second experience reminded me that fire is necessary for healing at times.  Maybe I'll attack that thought at another time...

For now -
Jesus said - - -I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me. 
– John 14:6
Jesus said - - - forgive and you will be forgiven.
– Luke 6:37
Jesus said - - - “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves 
and take up their cross and follow me. 
- Matt. 16:24

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Toilet Paper Gratitude

I've traveled to places where there were stores, but no food on the shelves.

I've been honored to eat unwashed strawberries with dirt visible on them - it was the best that that family had to offer a guest.  I ate them with joy, even though I knew my system would deal with parasites for weeks after returning home.  

I've watched flies enjoy the food before we did at a picnic with abandoned children.  The food favorite was bread with meat grease spread on it.  Not a ice chest in sight.  

As we start the month of November - a month given to gratefulness - I have a vivid picture of the first time we went to Romania.  Things changed as the years went by, but the FIRST time we went - the toilet paper was so rough it had splinters of wood in it.  It was (dab don't rub) rough....and that was in the hotel we stayed at for awhile!  I took home a roll of that toilet paper to help my perspective stay in check.  

I'm a Costco toilet paper purchaser.  (I don't like to run out.)  Even at Costco, I stand and compare - deciding between namebrand and Kirkland - softer or larger roll.  Really?   

I have a challenge for you.  Will you deny yourself something - every day of November?  Not to lose weight and look better.  Simply to say "no" to your flesh and "yes" to gratefulness.  I am aware that it is a weird request - but as I write this, I really sense that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you what those 'deny yourself' moments will look like.  

Matt. 16:24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."

"When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. 
 A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude."
~Elie Wiesel