Surgery. My surgery went fine. I remember being in the hospital in the pre-op room telling the anesthesiologist about how I'm resistant to some medications, pain killers, and anesthetics. I wanted to make sure he knew I was "special," and to take extra care -- not that I am neurotic about it or anything. He looked at me with a knowing kind of look......I woke up in a new place. The surgery was finished. That was easy.
So far, I've lost ten pounds. That is what happens when they fix a hiatal hernia. They go in through little incisions in your abdomen, take your stomach and esophagus, pull them back down in place, wrap another part of your stomach around the esophagus, and suture it in place. This way no more acid reflux! Anyway, you wake up and the Doctor says things like, "Here, eat this soup broth for 7 days. Oh, and you can have Jell-O, mush, pasty mush, and mushy mush, to eat. Don't even think about normal foods like pizza, hamburgers, steak, lasagna, etc. No, don't even dream about them for a while. I'll tell you when you can start on solids." Well, seven days after the mush diet, I'm 10 pounds lighter. The good news is that I have absolutely no more acid reflux and don't have to take any more medications. It is wonderful! Where's my acidic coffee so I can pour it down my newly yanked esophagus and enjoy the pleasures of that wonderful elixir?! Cofffffeeeeeeee! Wooooohoooooooo!
For those of you who prayed for me, I really want to thank you for your support. Surgery is always intimidating and it is great to know there is prayer support.
Also, my wife who had hand surgery three weeks ago is still recovering well. She is using ir more and it is strengthening.
The Bible and Archeology: Do you realize that there hasn't been a single archaeological find that has ever contradicted the Bible? Do you know that the Bible is extremely accurate about places and times? Do you realize that many archeological groups in the Middle East use the Old Testament as a guide in doing archaeological research? Its true. Why is it so accurate? Because God has made sure it is accurate. Because the people who copied the biblical manuscripts did such a fantastic job through the centuries that all of the ancient manuscripts of the entire Bible agree within 98.5% of each other. The 1.5% of differences are mostly very minor spelling and grammar issues. The Bible is amazing not only because it is been preserved so well, but also because it tells us about God's unfolding plan in history that has led to the Son of God dying on the cross for our sins. Amen and thank you Lord.
Image of God: We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). What does that mean? Does it mean that since we have a body of flesh and bones that God does too? Not at all. The image of God is the phrase used to describe those attributes of our nature that are similar to God's. For example, we can think, reason, love, and hate. We can be loving, self-sacrificing, and compassionate. It is these types of qualities that we possess because we are made in the image of God.
Furthermore, it means that all people are worthy of being treated properly with respect, love, compassion, etc., because they too are made in God's image. So, think about it next time you find yourself behaving to someone in a manner that suggests they are not made in God's image.
To the cross again. I am a sinner. I don't want to be a sinner. But I am. I have sins that still get the best of me. In fact, there are sins that I have confessed to God so many times that I feel like I should just make a recording of a prayer of confession, carry it around in a small tape player, aim it heavenward, and just play the tape several times a day. But that would rob me of something special: God Himself.
The Lord saved me knowing everything about me. He knew I would continue to commit sins. Yet, He chose to save me. He knew I would have to struggle not to be an arrogant, lustful, prideful, jerk throughout my whole life and would fail countless times. Yet, He chose to save me. He knew that I would try and bargain my way out of guilt, out of repentance, and out of accountability. Yet, He chose to save me. He knew about the sinfulness of my being and the deceitfulness of my heart. He knew everything! Yet, He chose to save me. Why? Why me? Why did He save me? One thing I know. It is not because of anything in me. Not at all. It is because of everything in Him: love, patience, kindness, humility, compassion, empathy, sacrifice, and so much more. I am saved because of Him and His love.
So what do I do with these persistent sins? Do I just give into them and say, "Well, that's the way I am and God's going to have to accept me this way"? No. Do I say, "I can't help it so I am not going to worry about my sins,"? No. Do I give into them so many times that I don't feel their conviction anymore? May it never be. Instead, I go to the cross again, and again, and again, and again. You see, I just don't have anything else I can do.
Let me start again. I am a sinner. I don't want to be a sinner. But I am. I have sins that still get the best of me. But, I keep going to the cross with them, every time, and I mean every time. Every time I fall into the same old sin, I go to the cross, confess it, and ask forgiveness...again. When I fall again, I go to the cross again. You need to do the same thing. You can't let your sins get you down. You need to go to the cross, no matter what. You must go there. You have to.
I need to let you in on a secret. Don't pass it around too much, but...I'm weak and susceptible to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). I used to think that being a Christian meant absolute victory. But, I have found that it means struggle, that victories are very real, but so are defeats. This Christian walk is not that easy sometimes. In fact, it can be quite difficult. That is why I have to keep clinging to the cross. I don't have anything else I can do sometimes. I can't make any deals with God about my sin. I can't guilt-whip myself for my sins until I feel "worthy" enough to go get forgiven! I have absolutely nothing I can do but to continue to resist sin, judge my sins as sin, confess them to the Lord, ask Jesus to forgive me yet another time, and continue to cling to the cross of my redemption, that place where my Lord God bought the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). That is all I can do. That is all you can do.
The older I get the more I realize I how much more I need the cross. The more I see my sins reflected against the purity of Jesus, the more I realize I need His cleansing sacrifice. I used to think that the cross was the place where I first met Christ and "got forgiven" and that now my Christian life consists of church, good deeds, confession, helps, etc. But, more and more I am realizing that the cross of Christ needs to be central in my life, my heart, my family, my love, my speech, my writing, my thinking, and, of course, my confession.
What about you? What is the center of your life? Or better yet, Who is the center of your life? Who do you go to for help with the deepest of needs, the deepest of confessions? Go to Jesus. Go and seek the Lord Jesus, confess your sins to Him. Receive His forgiveness. He knows all about you.
To the cross again I go.
There is nothing else I know.
Its strength is all I need.
Where Jesus for me did bleed.
To cleanse me of my sins
To give me strength within
Jesus alone I know.
To the cross again I go.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (NASB).