Forty-Seven

It is 82 degrees outside and my elderly neighbor, Bill, is sitting outside in his lawn chair, shirtless, with his firepit blazing?? He is on the phone with someone. His radio is loud with 80’s music. He is shouting over the radio into his phone. And I am sitting in my room just giggling every minute or so.

Western PA is experiencing some awesome weather. It will most likely be short-lived, because this area is notorious for its anything-but-ideal weather. Rain is moving in tonight, and as usual, the wind is beginning to pick up a few hours in front of the storm; that is typical here, too. We can get some wicked wind on the front edge of a storm!!

I am back to teaching kids’ Sunday School each week – 3rd and 4th graders. Last week we talked through Jesus’ baptism, but the focus was on the word “unique.” That is a super fun word for 3rd and 4th graders, especially when the teacher loves words more than anything else!! I thought the spelling of the word would be an automatic stumper for this group, but more knew how to spell it than didn’t.

We are starting a long term project: memorizing the books of the Bible in order. It is becoming critical for God’s people to know His word much better than they currently do, starting as young as possible. The ideal place to begin is with the actual layout of the Bible as a book. Did you know it contains 23,145 verses and the King James Version has 783,137 words? It took about 1500 years to write and 35 authors were involved. My kids love these kinds of facts, because they love to spout them out to others, like family, and appear super smart!

In keeping with the theme of unique, John the Baptist was a pretty unique dude, right? Camel’s hair clothing, locusts and honey for food. The kids decided he dipped the locusts in honey in order to make them tastier?? No, thank you…

This area is expecting an influx of the 17 year cicadas, and it will be cool for the kids to see those and remember John’s diet.

Of course, locusts also remind me of one of the plagues coming in the tribulation at the 5th trumpet!! I am just readier-than-ever for the Lord’s rapture, so my mind seems to have a constant focus there!!

Back to unique: as unique as John was, he didn’t hold a candle to Christ!! I would love to have walked and talked with the human Christ when he was on the earth. Seeing miracles of healing and multiplied food and walking on wildly churning water and turning water into wine. I have a feeling the love that seeped from His pores would have let anyone know who came near him that He was other-worldly.

Lots of attempts for normalcy trying to happen around my neck of the woods, but they aren’t working; COVID cases are spiking again. I am just so very tired of listening to those who are mean about how right they are and how wrong everyone else is?? I do not expect everyone to think alike, but I do expect everyone to be kind, and to tolerate the views of others. COVID is an exercise in kindness that most are failing.

I have one friend, who has been a friend for almost 40 years sitting in as opposite a camp from me as you could possibly sit where COVID is concerned. She is that person who REFUSES to wear a mask and, thus, is asked to leave businesses all the time; she loves to tell anyone who will listen (or not listen) how wrong they are to be following the COVID mandates, etc. I would rather be cooperative and not make enemies, because then my testimony for Jesus doesn’t get tarnished??

There has to be a line, however. The word of God stands true and firm, and when something goes against what God has put in place, then there is need for action. In these current times, people seem to be creating rules of their own and disregarding the Word? The media has a lot to do with the attitudes in the world because they seem to like broadcasting lies and stirring up trouble.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is going well. I cannot examine each day on its own, but if I look at a week as a whole, I am usually feeling a level of success. I am still eating between 11am and 3pm. The issue I continue to have is bingeing in my window. I am not sure what causes this to be a thing, and I am equally unsure of what to do to prevent it. God is so good and provides so much help; all I have to do is take the help and determine to discipline myself. But that area of self-discipline is certainly my point of weakness.

When I have a good week of eating and toeing the IF line diligently, I will lose 3-5 pounds. For a binge eater, the secret to success is not turning around and gaining it back due to bingeing. Most days I count calories as my safeguard.

I often am reminded of Paul’s thorn in the flesh talked about in 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 when I start to lament this illness I don’t seem to be able to overcome. There is nothing specific said about the illness, or thorn, as Paul calls it. People can guess, but Paul never said for sure what the infirmity was. But he does say that it was given to him to keep him humble. Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away and he was always told that GOd’s grace would be sufficient for him; Paul’s weakness would be overshadowed by God’s immense strength.

So if this scenario was good enough for Paul, what more can I expect?? Paul was this incredible human that followed hard after Jesus!!

I have actually been trying to consider the possibility that I have a thorn in the flesh to carry with me for life, to keep me humble, to cause me to draw on God’s strength as I stomp on my personal weakness.

Even more than deciding to tolerate a possible thorn is the idea of thanking Jesus for the thorn and learning to live a humble life with that thorn in tow!

Until next time,

Debi

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