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More than Beautiful Dust

27 Aug

PigsWallow_PigForumI saw a picture of two pigs (a hog and a sow) in a mudhole.

The hog, with an exasperated expression, turned to the sow and said, “I think I’m having a mud-life crisis.”

In another picture, a huge Daddy hog placed his piggy arm around one of his piglets and pointed to a mudhole.

“Son,” Daddy Hog said with obvious pride, “In a few years, this will all be yours.”

Dr. David Jeremiah tells the story of a conversation between an atheist and God. The atheist challenged God, saying, “I can make a man, just like you say you did.”

“Ok,” says God. “Go for it.”

The atheist thought and said, “OK, first we’ll need some dirt.” 

And God said, “OK … but get your own dirt.” 

LOL!

Now this is going to feel like an odd transition, but stick with me. It’s all about dirt, mud and more.

Psalm 103 is an incredible testimony to the wonders of God’s mercy and grace. God loves His children, forgives their sins, and cares for those who fear Him with great compassion. It is God’s steadfast, eternal love, David said, that continues to sustain and blesses us.

But it was verse 14 that recently spoke to me in a deeper way:

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (ESV).

Dust.

In The Message, that verse reads this way:

“He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.”

Mud.

It was hard enough to read that I am dust … but MUD!

God does not forget what we are made of. He remembers He formed us from the dust, dirt and mud of earth (Genesis 2:7; 3:19). He remembers why He shows us such pity, such amazing mercy and grace.

Even the strongest of us have frail bodies, souls and minds compared to His matchless wonder. He understands our misery. God knows we are subject to decay, that we will be buried in the earth from whence we came.

Were it not for God’s great mercy, we would all be destroyed under the wrath we so completely deserve, for there is not one soul who seeks after God (Romans 3:11) without His touch from heaven.

And in His compassion He brings strength to our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

During our short time here on earth, as Christ-followers, we are being transformed.

I had a funny thought today. Yes, we are still dust, but …

As we are sanctified (made holy) with the truth of the Word and the Spirit as our tutor, we are becoming beautiful dust.

And we are destined to be MORE than beautiful dust!

We are becoming like Jesus, and in the final resurrection, our bodies will be changed. Glorified! Just as Jesus, in his resurrected body, retained the scars from His crucifixion (John 20:25, 27), even so our recognizable bodies will be resurrected.

We will receive transformed, “glorified” bodies like His (Philippians 3:20-21).  Our ‘perishable” body will be raised “imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:42, 51-52).

I sometimes forget I am destined for heaven, that I should live for eternity. I know I’m not alone in this forgetfulness. As the poet and author Carl Sandburg wrote (and not even in a theological sense):

“There’s an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”*

Ouch, right?

God wants me to mount up with wings as an eagle (Isaiah 40:31), but I keep sloshing around in the mud. I forget where I’m heading. But I rejoice God does not.

While I live on earth, I am the recipient of His incredible mercy, forgiveness and grace. And I am thankful this sinful, decaying body will be changed in eternity.

I am destined to be far more than beautiful dust.

 – (Note from Dawn: I know I have changed the imagery several times in this post. One minute I am mud; the next I’m sloshing around in mud. But I hope something, somewhere in this rambling spoke to your heart and encouraged you to live for the Lord today.)

 – *http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/mud.html

Graphic: Pigforum.com/Why-Wallow.html

 

Surviving the ‘Dog Days’

31 Jul

DogDaysOfSummerI watch my dog cool down every summer as August approaches in hot San Diego. Roscoe sits on the cool wood floor and camps out in front of our revolving fan. Sometimes he turns his head toward the fan, and I laugh as his ears fly out behind him. He moves his head back and forth to catch every bit of the cool, refreshing breeze.

As August continues, I often find him panting there. And believe me, there have been days I’ve wanted to join Roscoe on the floor!

It’s always tough going during the “Dog Days” of summer – unless you’re at the beach. Or running your air condition most of the day. ($$$$$$$!!!!)

I wondered where the phrase “dog days” came from.

I discovered in the Northern Hemisphere, these days occur most often in July and August. During this time, a constellation named Orion (the Hunter) appears in the sky. It is near the constellation Canis Major (greater dog), and according to tales about the constellations, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs.

A star in this “dog” constellation, on the front of the dog’s neck, is called Sirius (the Constellations_OrionAndCanisMajorDog Star). It’s an extremely bright, intense star. As July/early August arrives, Sirius seems to get “lost” in the sky; but the ancients knew the “Dog Star” was still there. And they felt (logically, to them) the searing, bright star added to the heat of the season.

The Romans called these days “Caniculares dies,” or “days of the dogs.” According to Wikipedia,  the Romans even sacrificed a red dog in the springtime to appease the supposed rage of Sirius. Apparently they believed the star was the sinister cause of the “hot, sultry weather.”

These are tales from ancient mythology, but the name stuck. Weather-casters still refer to the “dog days of summer.”

Spiritually, I have days when I struggle in some “heat.” It plum wears me out until I look for the place of rest.

While some “heat” comes from the circumstances of life, there’s another kind of “heat” that comes from within.

King David understood this. He spoke of a particular time when this “heat” seemed to suck the life out of him. David said in Psalm 32:4:

“For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

What was David talking about? We find out in the next verse: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 5).

When we hide and refuse to acknowledge our sin, it adds pressure and stress to our life like “the heat of summer.”

Sin weighs heavy on our soul. Soon, we feel depleted — our strength and vitality plummet. Suffering spiritual “heat stroke,” we suffer until we seek relief.

The marvelous blessing is, there IS relief. Sin brings guilt, but that’s a good thing!

Guilt is God’s gift to us to drive us toward His love and forgiveness.

To “survive the heat,” must come to the Lord in brokenness and repentance, baring our sins before Him; then we can sit in blessing (v. 1), covered by the cool breezes of His forgiveness.

Do you feel like your strength is “dried up” under the weight of a particular sin? Where does this psalm say you can find relief and the blessing of refreshment?

– Dawn

Constellation graphic from here.

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