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5 Brilliant Lessons Age Spots Taught Me

2 Sep

I didn’t know lion cubs are born with spots—brown rosettes—on their body. Almost like a leopard.LionCub_pogo_mm_Pixabay

A funny cartoon shows Daddy lion talking to his young cub.

“Don’t worry, Son,” the lion said.

“They’ll go away as you get older. They’re just youth spots.”

Youth spots are cute, but what about age spots?

Poet Elaine Bishop wrote, in “Poems of Hope and Humor,”

“When I woke up this morning, I found another spot.

I do not know what’s causing them, but I sure have a lot.

Grandma called them liver spots; that does not appeal to me.

Now I’m hearing age spots; Oh, Lord, that could not be.

I’d pass them off as freckles but that would not be true,

And I must always tell the truth whatever else I do.

As long as I’ve no name for them and I’m still in the dark,

I’ve decided I’ll call them my special beauty mark.” *

GrandmaDorothy_LOLWithGod_5BrilliantFactsAgeSpotsTaughtMeI always said I wanted to grow old like my Grandma Dorothy (pictured here). Yes, she had wrinkles and age spots, but her gentle spirit and kind heart always glowed.  She loved Jesus and it showed!

I just didn’t expect to see my own wrinkles and age spots so soon! 

As I sat in church one Sunday, I stared at my arm, counting the age spots:  1 – 2- 3 – 4. Oh, please! Enough already!

As I sat there, only half listening to the preacher at that moment, I was hearing another message. My age spots were “speaking” to me, and they taught me five important lessons. Brilliant lessons!

1. GET SMART: Use Sunscreen!

I haven’t been wise. Although I wasn’t a “sun baby,” since moving to California I’ve soaked up lots of sun just in daily activities. And I haven’t used sunscreen.

Damage is apparent, but it’s not too late to start. (I hope.)

I’ve read lots of home remedies for age spots (like a mixture of brown rice, agave nectar and lemon juice), and the market is flooded with potions for a price. (I’ll probably get emails from them!) But the truth is, we all get them. Some more, others less.  We need to get smart and use the sunscreen!

2. SEE REALITY: Beauty IS More than Skin Deep.

My Grandma is in heaven now, but I remember her true beauty. Whenever I looked at her face, I saw more than wrinkles and age spots. Her beauty truly was more than skin deep. Her beauty was deep within and it blessed all of her family and friends.

In extolling the virtues of the noble woman, the writer of Proverbs says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 HCSB).

Matthew Henry wrote, “…the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever.” **

I want that beauty of the soul, don’t you?

3. FACE TRUTH: You’re Terminal.

Hollywood celebrity Valerie Harper, diagnosed with brain cancer, said, “We’re all terminal; none of us are getting out of this alive.”

The Bible says much the same thing about our earthly existence. Unless the Lord comes to snatch us away (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we’re all doing to die (Hebrews 9:27).

We’re all terminally ill with a disease named “death.” 

Christians don’t need to worry about this fact. To be “in Christ” and to die is “gain” (Philippians 1:21). We go directly into the presence of the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

4. REDEEM TIME: Don’t Lose Opportunities.

Although we don’t know the final date for our tombstones, we have today to love and serve the Lord and people.

We need to “redeem” (buy up) every day, looking for opportunities. How?

There are many ways to redeem our remaining days. Here are just a few:

  • We can awake from our sleep and understand the times (Romans 13:11).
  • We can look carefully how we behave and be wise (Ephesians 5:15).
  • We can make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5b).
  • We can seek the will of God each day—our marching orders (Ephesians 5:17).
  • We can be filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18b) and under His control.
  • We can do all God calls us to do with all our might while there is still time! (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  • We can set our mind on heavenly things, because really, the truth is we are “dead” to this life—with our lives alive in and “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Don’t live in such a way that your final day is filled with regrets. Where you have sinned, confess and repent … and then move on! God has much to accomplish through you until your dying breath!

5. REMEMBER HOPE: You’re Promised Another Body!

While the Christ-follower’s soul goes to be with the Lord, the body is changed later (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16). Our bodies are raised “imperishable”—perfect and free from all death and decay (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

This is part of the blessed hope (Titus 2:13-14) of the Christian’s eternal life. Our mind can be in the beginning stages of transformation now (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16). But someday our lowly body will be transformed to be like our Savior’s glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).

Our new body will never wear out or grow old, never get sick or decay and never die! 

And no more age spots!

Which of these lessons from age spots speaks to you today?  In light of your aging, how will you cooperate with the inner transformation God wants to produce in you?

– Dawn

* “Seeing Spots” by Elaine Bishop, Poems of Hope and Humor (AuthorHouse, 2013), p. 9 (Emphasis mine).

** Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31

 

Chin Hairs, Cankles and Loving People

5 Mar

There’s just something funny about chin hairs … on women. Ok, maybe not so funny.

I read these comments about chin hairs this week:ChinHair_LOLwithGod_graphicFreedigitalPhotos

  • “Some days my biggest accomplishment is removing that annoying chin hair.”
  • “True friends don’t just tell you about your chin hair. They’ve already dug out the tweezers from their purse.”
  • “I refuse to call them chin hairs. We shall call them stray eyebrows.”
  • “Make me a promise. If I end up in a coma, will you come to the hospital and pluck my chin hair?”

Chin hairs are a fact of life for the “elder set,” as are cankles (chubby ankles) and a whole assortment of other strange and wonderful body changes.

I have to admit, for some time assessing the obvious changes in my own body made me want to hide away. In fact, at one point as a speaker to women, I found myself dreading the opportunities.

“They’ll be staring at my ankles,” I thought, and I chose to wear long pants on stage.

Before I left for a luncheon engagement, I used a searchlight on my chin. “What if I miss a stray hair,” I said. “Horrors! That’s all the ladies at the table will see!

The devil doesn’t care what he uses to discourage us from ministry. Even chin hairs.

Realizing my responses were silly, I decided not to give the enemy an inch.

“Satan, I’m going to this event, and I’m going to speak, and I don’t care if I do have chin hairs and cankles. I’m going to go … and I’m going to love on people!”

Yes, we want to look our best, but if we’re not careful, we’ll miss out on God’s work in people’s lives because we’re too busy examining all the reasons we’re “inadequate” or “weird.”

The truth is, most people don’t care what you look like. They care about whether you know how to love … whether you speak truth … whether you live an authentic life.

Things that matter.

So no, I’m not like the slim speaker with the dazzling white teeth, trim waist, long eyelashes and very long legs. But I am uniquely crafted by the Creator to reach and touch the people He has ordained me to minister to and serve. I have to quit believing the enemy’s lies and embrace God’s truth.

The scriptures speak of the foolishness of comparisons.

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12, ESV).

Comparisons aren’t anything new:

  • Rachel and Leah had a real comparison fiasco going on! (Genesis 29:17; 30:1).
  • Joseph’s brothers were envious of him to the point of wishing him dead (Acts 7:9).
  • Saul was jealous, comparing himself to the beloved David (1 Samuel 18:8-9).
  • And in the New Testament, Jesus’ disciples struggled with comparisons, wondering who would be greatest in the Kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4; 20:20-28; Luke 9:46-48), and who would be called to suffer  or spared in their near future (John 21:20-23).

God simply asks us to do our personal best and not worry about what others do. Paul wrote: “Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else” (Galatians 6:4, Living Bible).

There are a number of negative attitudes behind comparisons.

Envy doesn’t look attractive on anyone, and discontent can disfigure the prettiest face.

The devil loves it when we struggle with the pride of comparisons, thinking wrongly about ourselves (Romans 12:3). God created us the way He wanted us to be, and all we have is from Him. We have no right to puff up with pride (1 Corinthians 4:7). Instead, we need to honor and be good stewards of the body God gave us … to bring HIM glory.

Pleasing the Lord is what matters. We will give account to Him alone, and we have no reason to glory outside of Him (Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 10:17-18). He gives us good gifts, spiritual gifts for ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-18) and we need to be grateful.

Let’s spend more time loving and serving people; and if we have to compare, let’s spend our time comparing our lives to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)—not comparing chin hairs and cankles.

Where do you tend to compare yourself to others? Can you instead thank God for who you are and all that you have?

-Dawn

Graphic adapted, imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

3 Things God Remembers and 1 He Forgets

22 May

In her clever book, author Karen O’Connor lists 365 Senior Moments You’d Rather Forget. Some of my favorites:

  • Rolling on Biofreeze pain medication instead of deodorant.GladGodDoesntHaveAnySeniorMoments_LOLwithGod
  • Spritzing your plants with hairspray.
  • Forgetting, while in the middle of a staircase, whether you’re going up or down.
  • Dropping the mail you just got from your post office box into the mail slot, and taking home the ones you took to mail.
  • Planting sunflower seeds–and when they sprout, pulling them, because you think they’re weeds.
  • Offering to teach a class on memory enhancement, and then forgetting to show up for the first session.

LOL!

I’ve had my own senior moments, and two of them involved the automatic door lock button on my car’s keyring.

Once I pointed and clicked at my post office box–waiting for it to open magically. Another time, I aimed at my mailbox at home by the street. I was so glad none of my neighbors saw that!

I may be getting forgetful, but I’m glad God doesn’t have any senior moments. He is faithful to remember.

Three things God says He Remembers

1. He remembers His covenants.

God is faithful to keep what He has promised. We see this throughout scripture (Genesis 9:14-16; Exodus 2:23-25; Psalm 105:8; 111:5, etc.).

2. He remembers His own.

We are precious to our Father. In Isaiah 49:15-16, God says of Israel, “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. ‘Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands ….”

We see this remembering in Jesus on the cross in an interchange with a dying thief who asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom (Luke 23:39-43). Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus will remember us too. He’s preparing a home for His  spotless Bride (John 14:1-3) and He will come for her.

3. He remembers His mercy.

Luke 1:54-55 describes God’s remembered mercy to Israel–to all the Patriarchs in the Old Testament. And Christians can approach God’s throne with confidence because of that same mercy (Hebrews 4:16).

We receive mercy when we don’t suffer God’s wrath, even though we deserve it. Believers receive this mercy at Jesus’ expense (John 3:16-17; Titus 3:4-5). Because of God’s mercy, we are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

And what does God choose to forget?

He “forgets” the sins of His confessing children.

How is “forgetting” possible? How can an omniscient God–the Creator who forgets nothing–forget our sins?

Because God remembers mercy, He can choose to forgive our sins in Christ.

That is clear in these verses:

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25). For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

Ever had someone beg for mercy? You had a choice. You could hold it against that person or say, “Awww, forget it. It’s all good.” You purposed to forgive and put the person’s offense behind your back.

It’s the same with God, only on a much grander scale. It’s not that He can’t recall the offenses we’ve committed against Him. Rather, God chooses to put our sins behind His back.

The Bible explains God removes our sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). We are completely forgiven because of Jesus’ one-time sacrifice and declared righteous before God. There is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1).

It’s “all good.”

The incredible exchange wrought in Jesus’ sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21) made it possible for God to make this choice. It’s the same process that continues for us on a daily basis. If we agree with Him about our sins, He is “faithful to forgive” and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).

How are we to respond to God’s remembering and forgetting?

Because God remembers His promises, remembers us and remembers mercy, we can stand secure in the Lord. And because He “forgets” our sins, we are free in Christ. We can move forward in becoming more like Him (Philippians 3:13-14; Ephesians 4:22-24). We can gratefully spread the “fragrance” of our merciful God everywhere; and become “imitators of God, as beloved children” (2 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 5:1-2).

Christian, take a moment to thank God for all the ways He remembers you . . . and that He chooses to “forget” your sin!

– Dawn

Graphic: Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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