Friday “Walks”–Showing Honor or Dishonor to God by the Way I Treat My Body

Photo Credit: P. Booher

One night I was writing a post for this blog. I wanted to get it done, so I could post it that night, and meet my self-imposed deadline. The piece took longer to write than I figured it would. To add to that, I thought of some reference material to add. Weariness was settling in my bones and my eyes were feeling the effects of time on the computer, despite the blue-light filters in place. Finally I did the only sane thing to do—shut down the computer and go to bed.

It occurred to me that I honor God when I take care of my body, even in details like calling it quits for the night, instead of pushing through to completion. I honor God when I respect the body He gave me and use wisdom in how I do my activities.

I dishonor God with my body when I take foolish chances—like the day I crossed the road to retrieve a garbage can lid which blew half-way down the road. Coming back, instead of walking up the road farther to see oncoming traffic better before I crossed, I stepped out at a point where I had trouble seeing traffic—and faced a car coming up the hill. Thankfully, God chose to keep me from the consequences of my behavior. When I got into my yard, the Lord spoke in my mind, “I love you. You are worthy to Me. Don’t do that again.”

Every day, I have a choice whether to honor or dishonor God in the way I treat my body. Will I use wisdom, or will I act in foolish ways??

A few Scriptures to consider: Psalm 139:13, Psalm 103:13, I Corinthians 6:18-20

©P. Booher

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Re-blogging: Black Bear Visit

My friend at The Squirrelseye had a visit from local wildlife today.

thesquirrelseye

Bear at the bird feeding station

The deer that frequent our yard and the stray cats have been acting a little strangely for the last couple of days, and I began to suspect that a large predator was in the vicinity, and this morning my new neighbor’s garbage looked as though it had exploded. (I forgot to tell her about the kitty litter on top of the garbage bag trick.) My suspicions were confirmed when I looked out my bedroom window and saw this young fellow. Weighing in at about 150 to 200 pounds, he isn’t the biggest bear I’ve seen in my yard, but he was certainly the least timid. He even stepped to the window to say hello, which made me a little nervous, I must confess. Especially when my cat Boots jumped up to the sill and started to paw at the window. I wish the photos…

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Unrealistic Expectations=Burdens I’m Not Supposed to Bear

Last summer I realized Abby, the Companion Cat for our household, was declining in health. I took her to the vet’s at least a couple different times, and did what I could. After awhile I thought, “This is a fight I can’t win”.

As I look back on that time I wonder why I ever got on that train of thought. First of all, it made the situation too dramatic. Secondly, it put too much pressure on me. It wasn’t a “fight”—and as far as “winning”—did I actually think if Abby pulled through, she would never die? That’s ridiculous. Animals live, but eventually they die. We’ve had several cats, and a few dogs, and over the years, they all died.

I suppose the reason I got onto that train was my anxiety over my mother’s health. After years of enjoying good health, my mother encountered various problems. My anxiety over that revved up considerably and influenced my thought processes concerning Abby.

Abby died and my mother is having on-again, off-again health problems. Most days she does well, but other days, not so well. I started to board that thought train again, but remembered words the Lord gave me a couple years ago during another time of anxiety revolving around her care, “Her times are in My hands”.

Reflecting on this takes the pressure off me. Yes, I am responsible for helping my mother and showing her love. No, I am not expected to “win” any “fight”. There is no “fight” to “win”. There is just living with her and treating her as Jesus would were He here physically. The Lord is ultimately in control—of her times and mine.

A few Scriptures to consider: Ps. 104: 29, 30; Ps. 31:15; Ps. 139:15,16

©P. Booher

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The Human Cost of Drawing Conclusions from Watching the News

During the Vietnam War, the evening tv news played a huge part in how people thought about the war and the soldiers fighting in the war. Coverage of atrocities such as the My Lai Massacre affected the way veterans were treated when they came home. Many were spat upon, and called names. Most veterans did not participate in such horrible events, but they were treated as though they did.

A few years ago, a man who had served in the war came through my register line. He had a “Vietnam War Veteran” hat on. I thanked him for his service. He told me when he came home from the war, people didn’t thank him for his service. Instead, they asked him how many babies he killed, how many women he killed, how many children he killed. The pain he still carried inside was evident in his voice when he said, “I didn’t kill any babies. I didn’t kill anybody. But that’s all people asked about.”

To me, this man’s heart-felt pain illustrates the danger we fall into when we stereotype people from watching the news media. We see events on the news in which a certain group of people are prominently featured, and we stamp everyone who belongs to that group—political parties, practitioners of faith beliefs, or whoever—as having the same beliefs, thoughts, and actions as the people in the news. But each person is an individual, and while a person may share most of the beliefs of the particular group, that doesn’t mean the person is in total agreement.

Consider this: when we open our mouths but have closed minds behind them, our words can hurt deeply, as my conversation with the veteran showed. Our words not only hurt the receiver, they hurt us, because we give up the chance to learn something or to extend grace, if not understanding.

Scriptures to consider: James 1:19, 20, Ephesians 4:29

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–“Let Me Take Care Of It”

Photo credit: P. Booher

One day my mother was fussing as she struggled to fasten her seat belt. Hearing her sigh of frustration as I sat in the driver’s seat, I said, “Let me take care of it”. I slipped the latch for the belt into its place and she relaxed.

Afterwards I thought of how often God must want to say to us as we fuss and fret over a situation, “Let Me take care of it”. While we figuratively bang our heads against the wall, trying this way or that to solve the problem, God waits for us to ask Him for help. He wants to say, “Let Me take care of it”.

Scriptures to Consider: Ps. 103:13, Luke 11:9, 10, I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6,7

©P. Booher

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Don’t Judge Me; I Won’t Judge You

Please don’t judge me. You don’t know my background, my particular inner battles. You don’t know what support I’ve had, whether little or much. You don’t know as much about me as you think you do.

For that matter, I don’t know as much about you as I think I do. I really don’t know much at all. I know maybe a tenth about you—and that’s what’s on the surface.

We are all different; we all have our own inner struggles. We keep some things private, even from loved ones. There are some things that still hurt too much or are too embarrassing to share with someone else, unless it’s with the dog or cat.

There is much we assume about each other, but we do so without knowing the accuracy of our assumptions. We jump to conclusions and find there’s no net underneath!

So, please don’t judge me; I won’t judge you. Simply come alongside me and walk with me for a little while.

©P. Booher

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What Didn’t Happen–A Different Kind of Blessing

I usually think of blessings as the kind I can see—the kind that happened. Recently I experienced the kind of blessings which are in the “what could have happened, but didn’t” category. This was during a stretch of time in which my mother went to the emergency room twice in a week, and my car went to the garage.

One day while driving up a long hill, the car started to jerk underneath. I thought, Is that the transmission or the gas feed? The only way it didn’t jerk was if I really gave it the gas or if it shifted. I didn’t drive it often until I could get the vehicle looked at, but one time I did drive it was to take my mother to the ER—then drive it home at night when the hospital kept my mother for observation, a round trip of about thirty miles, which included many hills. After taking it to a mechanic, I found out the car needed the transmission flushed.

The blessings contained in my “car drama” include:

  1. the car didn’t break down on the road (very important, especially when taking my mother of advanced age to the hospital, and when driving at night)
  2. no prolonged damage to the transmission
  3. no damage to the engine (what affects the transmission can easily affect the engine)
  4. people—a neighbor and then a relative—who when needed, were willing to help me out by taking me to the hospital to pick my mother up and by taking me to the service shop to pick up the car
  5. at first, the service shop couldn’t get the transmission lines to hold the fluid. Believe it or not, I emailed friends and requested prayer for that specific situation. Later on, believe it or not, the shop called and said the pressure was holding; the car was ready for pick up. I choose to believe prayer made the difference—why else would the situation change??

Other blessings were that my mother did not have any strokes. Instead, she had what is called “vasovagal episodes”, which were scary enough to me, but were not strokes. Another blessing is the caring and thoughtfulness shown by the nurses and staff at the hospital to both my mother and me. A visiting nurse came the other day and gave me tips on how to help my mother. She told me that if my mother has another episode like that, I can call any time and a visiting nurse will come, check my mother, do blood work, take it to the lab, and contact my mother’s doctor. We wouldn’t have to go to the ER. Finally, while sitting at home waiting for the call to pick up my car, I started counting the number of family and friends who would be willing to help me out with a ride. The number was higher than I thought; I have more support than first realized.  When I told that to my pastor’s wife, she remarked that was evidence God was standing by me in my troubles. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

While I didn’t want these troubles to happen, I found out when they do, blessings show up right there in the midst of them. It isn’t all bad news. That’s important for me to remember.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Walking a Different Way

Photo Credit: P. Booher

It occurred to me that any time I act in a way I’m supposed to in order to please God (choosing humility over envy, for instance) and I don’t act in a way I am used to acting, I am taking a step forward in faith. To me it’s in faith because it’s choosing a different attitude than I’ve done before. I’m “walking on different ground”, so to speak. For me, it takes a bit of courage because attitudes and thought patterns can become so engrained in your heart and mind that it seems those old patterns are what you are to do. But those old patterns don’t lead to happiness, joy, and peace. The new patterns do, and that’s refreshing and calming.

Scriptures to consider: Romans 12:1,2,9-21, Romans 15:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, James 1:19, 20, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 34:4, Psalm 37:1,2,7

©P. Booher

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The Blessing and Power of Self-Control

One day I read a devotion on self-control, and thought about how much of a blessing and a power that is. The  devotion focused on three people—David, Nabal, and Nabal’s wife, Abigail. Their story is found in the Old Testament book of I Samuel 25:1-35—a passage in the Bible which has as much drama and action as any movie.

David and the men with him were on the run from King Saul and his army. At a time when possessing many animals meant wealth, Nabal was a wealthy man, having thousands of sheep and goats. David did the shepherds a favor by protecting them and the animals from thieves. But when David and his men requested food from Nabal, his refusal was full of contempt. Incensed at his reply, David led his men out to kill Nabal and his household.

Hearing of the impending danger, Abigail, rather than wringing her hands and wondering what to do, got busy. She loaded food for David and his men onto donkeys and sent them ahead. Then she rode out to meet David. When Abigail met David, she respected him by getting off her donkey and bowing down before him (which both women and men did in that culture to show respect to someone).  She told him she had not known of the conversation between his messengers and Nabal. She reminded him that her husband was known throughout the countryside for being unreasonable and surly. Abigail honored David by telling him she knew he would be king of Israel in God’s timing. (She knew that Samuel the prophet had already anointed David as king some time before.)

The gift of provisions, but more than that, the self-control Abigail demonstrated enabled David to regain his self-control. It prevented him from killing many innocent people. The power of self-control blessed many people that day. It leads me to the question: If I show self-control today, how many people will be blessed? What situations will be made better than they might have been? I do have power to exercise control over my impulses.

©P. Booher

Author’s Note: I need to give credit where credit is due: the inspiration for this post came from a devotion written by Pastor Seth McClymonds.

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Nature’s Breaking News Flash!

Purple Crocuses
Purple and white crocuses

Yes, the crocuses are blooming! I took a stroll around the house yesterday afternoon just to get some fresh air and to feed the birds. A few days ago I’d checked the backyard to see if the crocuses were up, but didn’t see any sign. But yesterday—yes, the purple crocuses and lavender crocuses are blooming, with more to come. The ones shown in the pictures get the afternoon sun. 

I took the top layer of leaves off the flower bed out front, and crocuses are pushing up there too. They aren’t blooming yet, but will be.

Crocuses are a welcome sign of spring, no matter how mild the winter has been. For my neck of the woods, winter showed a mild side in December. January was far different, as the mean side of winter made itself known. February and March have been varying, with some warmer-than-usual days and some very cold nights. 

When I worked, my job as cashier/sales clerk meant a lot of customer contact. Come this time of year, as I waited on people, I always remarked about the crocuses blooming, and invariably people smiled and you could see relief on their faces, no matter whether the winter was mild or harsh. Sometimes we exchanged a bit of conversation about it. It was good to have something good to talk about.

©P. Booher

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