Thursday, July 31, 2014

Original Intent

If you have spent anytime at all in your life around church, church people, or churchy things you may have heard a term there called "original sin."  It's the term that is used to define the state humankind is in since the first sin was committed by Adam in the garden of Eden.  When Adam sinned, we all sinned.  That two word summary is what is used to describe the mess we are, or at least the cause of the mess we are.

But I've been thinking a lot about something for several years, actually since I started reading the Bible in a serious manner, and my thought to you today is this:  The messes of our lives may be a result of "original sin," but it was never God's original intent for us.

What was God's original intent for us?

I'm glad you asked.

God's original intent for us is to walk with Him in the cool of the day at total peace and contentment.

God's original intent for us is that we would not know what evil is or what evil can do.

God's original intent for us is that we would be His children with all the privileges and perks of being called a child of the King of Kings.

God's original intent for us is that we would never be tainted by sin.  Never in our thoughts, never in our bodies, never in our souls.

God's original intent for us is that we would be free to serve Him wholeheartedly without the love and desires for the things of this world constantly battling for our attention.

God's original intent for us is to love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.

God's original intent for us is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

God's original intent for us is that we are His kids.

Despite what the "original" sin has done, it has never taken away the simple truth that we are still His kids, made in His image, with His original purpose still in place.

We are His original, made by an original God, for original things.

We were not made for despair or depression or disease or death.

We are made for joy and peace and health and life.

That design or intent never left when "original" sin first took hold of this world.

We were never meant to know the difference between good and evil.  God's loving heart wanted to protect us from ever knowing what evil looked like, tasted like, felt like, smelled like.

God's original intent was for us to live free and serve Him freely without fear or shame.

So this is all well and good you may be thinking, but it doesn't change the fact that we are still living in the results of that "original" sin.  True.  It doesn't.


Have you ever thought past the fact of the original sin and into the realm of what His original intent was for us?

Think about that.

Think about what in your life would be different if you lived your life knowing what God's original intent was for you rather than suffering under the hopeless knowledge that you are under the curse of original sin.

Doesn't that get your juices flowing?  Doesn't that whisper of hope get a little louder in your heart?  Don't you want to see where your life may go if you marinate in the juices of original intent rather than live your life suffering in the path of original sin?

I'm not going to give you a particular word or verse to look up today, I'm going to make you do the work.  But I will give you a hint of where to start:

Anywhere in the Bible.


The story of your original intent is weaved throughout its pages.

My favorite places to look though are in the letters the Apostle Paul wrote, especially Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians.  Peter and John wrote some good stuff too, along with the writer of Hebrews.

We were not created for original sin.  We were created with an original intent that was tainted by the first sin.

God's original intent for you was not that you be homosexual or anxious or a chronic liar or an adulterer or murderer or a schemer or a deceiver.  Even though you may be one, some or all of these things because of the original missing of the mark doesn't mean that you are meant to be those things forever!  Not at all!

God's original intent for you is that you love Him and love others with His love.  With the perks and benefits of being His kid following right behind you.  Freedom, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, goodness, the ability to remain faithful to Him.  That is what you are.  That is God's original intent for you.   That is who you were created to be all along.

Now is the time to start living that life, the life of original intent.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Dilaudid and Xanax don't cut it

Back in the days before I became a nurse I was somewhat, no maybe a lot naive.  It wasn't that I didn't know that people had problems and issues and dilemmas and struggles, I just didn't have access to those things up close and personal like becoming a nurse earned myself a front row seat.

Before I became a nurse I thought nursing was nice and sweet (mostly) ladies fluffing pillows and giving pills.  I had had the experience or two of being in the hospital as a patient with having babies, then having a couple minor surgeries, and still, my rose colored glasses perceptions remained.

Then I started nursing school and only then did I realize the extent of not only the stress and responsibility and expectations placed on the medical field, but I also began to see the true suffering of those seeking health care and those giving health care.

Almost over night my expectations of fluffy pillows and tylenol were thrown out the door and stomped on by the reality of people in not only physical pain, but deep emotional and spiritual pain.
My pillow fluffing skills were not going to cut it and there were not enough orders in the world for tylenol and dilaudid and xanax to quiet the spiritual nerve cells screaming in the bodies of my patients.

I didn't get into the profession until my early 40's and so my own personal life experiences have helped (or hindered, I'm not sure) me from seeing a patient in a different way than say a fresh young college nursing grad who has the head knowledge but not the life experience to look at a patient in a bigger picture than just the numbers on their chart and the history of their diseases and surgeries.

It's a conundrum to say the least.  And the continual debate on our health care system in the United States is not really getting to the root of the problem, in my opinion.

We're afraid of dying, we're afraid of pain when dying, we're simply afraid.   Patients are afraid major mistakes will be made at their expense and health care providers are afraid mistakes will be made by them.  Healthcare facilities are afraid of being sued and multimillion dollar lawsuits will have to be paid out.

I'm not telling you anything about this that you don't already know or haven't already thought about, have I?

I guess what's on my mind today is that the answer, in my opinion, to the health care debate and coverage in this country is to stop for a minute and try to see the bigger picture of what is actually going on in the human body.  Not just the cells and organs and tissues that we can see and regulate with drugs and surgeries, but let's look deeper into the whole person.

I don't think it starts or ends with an established healthcare facility either.

I believe it starts and ends with the followers of Jesus Christ, both in the health care field and outside.  We are regular consumers of the health care product too and we have the same fears of dying that the rest of the world does.  If we are going to an MD before even asking God for help and healing then why should anyone else who doesn't know Christ go to Him first?

I have a front row seat now to death.  The people I take care of, for the most part, are in the last place they will be before they die.  They've lived a life that has left them whether by choice or chance, unable to care for themselves, and too much of a burden to be cared for by family.

How did they get to that point?  Where did it start?

Did it start when they had to take blood pressure pills for stress?  Did it start when they found out they were diabetic?  Did it start when they were diagnosed as a schizophrenic or bipolar when they were a teenager?

The pills and wonder drugs and surgical abilities are truly mind boggling when you realize what they have done to prolong and maintain life, but still there is no cure for death.

So I guess I'm typing out loud here today, and wondering with my fingers on the keyboard, is the prolonged life drugs and surgeries and procedures promise really what the whole of a person needs?

It's easy to take a pill.  It's easy to look at numbers on a chart and say, "yes, this drug will help your blood pressure or your liver function or whatever it may be," but what if instead of first seeking an MD you first seek God, the maker of your beautifully designed body?

I'm not saying we don't need these drugs, and please, please don't flush yours down the toilet today, but I am saying, we don't need the drugs more than we need God.  There are illnesses that come just because of having a sin-tainted body, but there are also illnesses that come because the spiritual health in the body is so poor.

God has designed your body to work perfectly in sync with itself.  No part is more important than the next part and the parts that can be measured in labs also are a reflection on the soul and the mind and spirit.

I guess what I'm rambling about is, take a look at your health, your whole health, if you have the courage, not just your physical health but your emotional and spiritual health also.  You are going to end up dying, eventually.  You do realize that, right?  But when you do, let it be because you lived your life well and you came to the end of your days having lived at peace with God and at peace with yourself.

Face your past, acknowledge it, then let go.  Ask yourself, why am I eating more than my body needs?  Why am I smoking?  Why do I find comfort drinking away my thoughts?  What am I afraid of facing that I avoid by filling my body with things it doesn't need to feel alive?

Give God your cells, your blood cells, your nerve cells, your spirit cells first.  Then and only then, seek outside help.  Ask God to direct the course of your healthcare.  Ask God to give you the wisdom you need as you seek which treatments and direction you should take.  Ask God to give you peace in whatever place you end up settling in that you lived your life well.  Ask so you can know deep down in your gut that you trusted Him with your whole heart and health.

You may still need to take your medications, that's ok.  But at least you'll know that God has provided your health care to maintain a life you can live well, no matter what is your diagnosis.

To good whole health!



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A refuge for the refugee

Refuge:  shelter or protection from danger or trouble; a place that provides shelter or protection; something to which one has recourse in difficulty

synonyms:  harbor, haven, shelter, retreat, sanctuary

Psalm 5:11-12

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

As you probably know, if you've read a few of my posts, I get excited about words and I can get lost for hours connecting dots and thoughts with truths.

I like this verse above and I especially like this word REFUGE.

See, there are perks to being a child of God.  Good perks.  Life on earth perks.  Perks that only children of God get.

Those who take refuge in the LORD, who see Him as their shelter and protection from danger and trouble, who is someONE you have for recourse in difficulty, those people get some pretty cool perks.

They can be glad.  Even in difficulty.

They can sing for joy.  Even in danger.

They have a cover of protection over them so that we who love his name may rejoice in Him.

He blesses the righteous.

He surrounds them with His favor - his rason - to be pleased with, accept, delight, favor, grace, kindness, willfulness.

Those are some pretty good perks for being a child of God.

What do you have to do to receive such wonderful perks?

Take refuge in Him.

Go to Him for shelter and protection when the assaults of this world take hold.  Go to Him.

If you belong to God you are righteous.  If you trust God in the salvation He has bought for you, your perk as His kid is that you get to go to HIM for protection and shelter.

You GET to.

No one else but those who call on His name get to do this.  Not "good" people.  Not those who follow the laws and break none of the big commands.

No, the only ones who get to have the perks of being called a child of God are the ones who call on His Name.

Sure, those who don't call on his name appear to have some perks, some "blessings," but are they glad?  Do they sing for joy?  Do they sleep in peace?  Maybe, I don't know.

But I know I do.

I hope you do too.  I hope you remember, if you are His kid, that you can find refuge in Him for the difficulties you are facing right now.  I really do.

Take refuge in the Lord who loves you like no one else can love you.  Seek His safety and protection from life's storms.  Huddle in, under his arm, nestled on His lap.

For you are surrounded with His favor as with a shield.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When I am old I won't care if I wear purple

 I work among the elderly, the old, the young people in bodies that betray the spirit in them.  It's not how any of them envisioned their life to be when they were strong and agile and quick thinking.  When they could hold a spoon and wipe themselves and swallow quickly, not taking five minutes for a pureed barbecue sandwich to go down a pipe that once was eager to transport the nourishment to the stomach.

Now.  Now they are who they were once afraid of becoming.  Waiting for time to stop for them.  Watching the clock waiting for a son or a daughter or a grandchild to walk through the doors and take them back to a time when they were in charge, when they were strong.

It's not where they thought they'd be, but here they are, anyway.

Waiting.  Wondering.  Remembering.  Forgetting.  Hoping.

Some live in a time of yesterday and when asked how old they are they say, "nineteen," with a cheesy grin, even though they really are one hundred years old.

Don't we all have the nineteen year old living inside us, being betrayed by the body that keeps aging inspite of our belief we will never be old.

Maybe when our new bodies are delivered, when we're in the place of perfection, we will be at the age when we felt the most loved, the most needed, the most strong and agile.  When our minds were sponges and we were taking all of life in before the sufferings and discouragements found their way into our souls.


Writing with Heather.


Monday, July 21, 2014

An attempt to paraphrase in a poetic form

When Foundations are Revived
(A paraphrase from the first three chapters of the book of Ezra)

"Who wants to build God's church," Cyrus cried
to hearts worn out and and weak and oh so very tired.
"Your God has stirred this heart that rules the kingdoms of the earth
to help you rebuild His place of worship to glorify His worth."

"The God of Heaven has made it so,
just listen to what he's told me and I will help you make things go"

Cyrus called God's people both from far and wide
to give their all for the temple provide.

The survivors who'd run during Babylon's fierce plunder, 
those who scoffed the prophets as they warned
Now came out of exile with gifts
 as their broken hearts were awakened from a deep slumber.

Silver and gold, animals too, timber from Sidon and Tyre arriving from sea
The hidden temple articles, Nebuchadnezzar had carried away
Cyrus brought out and placed for the glorious display

The silver and gold numbered just over five K, the numbers of souls small in size too,
but working through fear of those watching around them,
the foundation was laid and the exiles surrounded.

The masons and carpenters being paid with food, drink, and oil 
lay the foundation of God's temple nearly forgetting the turmoil
that brought this great place to its utter destruction,
With God directing the course of its brand new construction.

Great celebration was heard when the foundation was laid
mixed in was the weeping of those who once knew
the magnificence of the temple of what once had been new

What once had been destroyed by stubborn hearts refusing to repent
but God, God of mercy never relents.
Pursuing those hearts sinking in mires of pride
He restores, he rebuilds, he makes all things new.

As the rejoicing and mourning were heard far away
God began a new thing, on a brand new day
He destroys the things that stand in the way
of the love he has for each of us everyday.

Stones don't love back, neither prestige, glitz and glam
Only God can love with a foundation that's true
And give new life to restore and renew.