ARE YOU WORTH IT?

When I first lived in Belgium, there was no such thing as MacDonald’s, Wendy’s or Burger King.  We did have our own fast food chain.  It was called “G.B. Quick.”  That was the misnomer of the century.  There was nothing quick about that fast food establishment.

For me, it was extremely annoying to be charged extra for ketchup.  In the tiniest of little paper cups, they splashed an ounce of the red stuff and charged five francs.

I decided I could buy a gallon of ketchup, set up a table outside the door, sell the ketchup for four francs, make my fortune and be fixed for life.

I feel the same way about paying $3.00 for a glass of iced-tea in a restaurant.  Do you know how much a tea bag costs?

The problem is, I remember when you could buy a Baby Ruth or Butterfinger candy bar for a nickel, but even nickels were scarce for those who grew up poor.

The blessing in our home was a Mama who knew how to stretch a dollar, to shop the sales, and make the cheapest cuts of meat delectable.

We live in a monetized world.  Everything has a price tag.  People are constantly assessing the value of their stocks and bonds, bank CDs, 401K, insurance policies, pension plans, welfare checks, food stamps, and minimum wage.  We even feel we must place some kind of value on the human life.

Have you ever wondered how much you are worth?  I dare say, “At times, because of the attitude of others or, perhaps, our own foolishness, some of us are tempted to feel we are worthless.”

The United States Government gives $600,000.00 to the family of a fallen soldier.  The worth of a victim, in a wrongful death incident, is determined according to that person’s projected lifetime income, whether he is a ditch digger or a doctor.

In 1924 Dr. Charles H. Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic and president of the AMA, placed a value on the basic chemical elements that make up the physical body.  He estimated that you are worth about eighty-four cents.

He said, with a laugh, “In the human body, there is enough sulfur to keep flees off a dog and enough iron to make an eight-penny nail.”  One of Dr. Mayo’s pet topics was the food we eat.  It seems our food is of far more monetary value than the body it nourishes.

Currently, in 2017, your skin is worth $3.50 and the basic elements are now worth $1.00.  (I spent more than twice that on my hamburger yesterday.)  Almost one hundred years have passed and our worth has only gone up sixteen cents.  At least we have not diminished in value.

Some of the most popular catch phrases of the modern age are, “I am worth it.”  “You are worth it.”  We use these phrases in an attempt to get something, sell something or just “feel good” about ourselves.  How sad to value ourselves by the size of our bank account.

Thomas Edison said, “From his neck down a man is worth a couple of dollars a day, but from his neck up he is worth anything his brain can produce.

In the late 1960s, pop singer, Peggy Lee made popular the song, “Is That All There Is.”  The song lyrics paint a picture of life experiences that never quite live up to our expectations.

The refrain says:  “If that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing

Let’s break out the booze and have a ball

 If that’s all there is.

This song implies that you can live as you please, if that’s all there is.

BUT—that’s not all there is.  For most of us the value of the human body is priceless, not because of its chemical makeup or even its brain function, but because of the life it cradles.  We are more than skin and brain and chemicals.  “That’s not all there is!”

Genesis 2:7 tells us, “God formed man out of the dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life.  The man came alive—a living soul!”

Think of it.  God breathed His own breath into man thereby infusing his flesh and bones with this inexplicable thing called “soul”—the part of him that lives forever—the thing that makes him who he is—that makes him a whole person—that makes him of value.

What are you worth?  God made you in His own image—He breathed into you His own breath.  What are you worth?

God thinks you are worth a whole bunch!  He proved this by paying the ultimate price, the life of His precious son, for your redemption, and if you belong to Him, the WORD is full of further proof of your value.

You have this promise in Zephania 3:17, “…He will rejoice over you with gladness…He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Would he do that, if you were a worthless piece of junk?  I think not!

Are you worth it?  God thinks you are.

THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS!  We still look forward to eternity with Him.

THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

THERE IS A BALM

For millennia, Scientist and Charlatans have offered us remedies for every human ailment-from leeches and bloodletting to present day miracle drugs.Medicine shows were common in the United States in the nineteenth century, especially in the Old West.  “Dr So and So” usually sold patent medicines or “miracle elixirs” sometimes referred to as snake oil, which, it was claimed, had the ability to cure any disease, smooth wrinkles, remove stains, prolong life or cure any number of common ailments.  Alcohol, opium, and cocaine were typical ingredients.  It is easy to understand why people, with no other resources, often fell for this hype.

Every day I see commercials touting the benefits of one drug or another.  Possible side effects are always included-headaches, sore toe, blurred vision, etc., and, “Oh yes!  You might die.”

By the time My Mom came to live with me, at the age of eighty-seven, she possessed a plethora of medications that were “absolutely essential” to her continued health. Each morning I placed her pills beside her breakfast plate. She hated those pills!

While she finished eating, I occupied myself cleaning up the kitchen reminding her repeatedly to take her medication. Coming back to the table, I asked, “Did you take your pills?”

“Yes,” she always replied.

Each night, after I helped her prepare for bed, we prayed together.

One night, she said to me, “I am so miserable.  I lied to you this morning.”  I told you I took all my pills, but I didn’t take those “nasty little Lasix.”

Those “nasty little Lasix” kept her running to the potty all day long.  She figured whatever benefit she was receiving from the medication wasn’t worth the hassle.

I consider myself to be reasonably healthy.  However, I do have an issue with arthritis, and there is the pacemaker, which must be checked bi-monthly because I am totally dependent upon it.  My heart goes into A fib time to time, and so on…        My pantry looks like a pharmacy.  Morning and evening I have a fist full of pills to swallow.  I don’t really mind that so much, but something does concern me.  How do multiple pills designed to do multiple tasks find their way to the proper place once they slide down my throat?  For example:  How does that little yellow rectangle find its way to my thyroid, and how does the white football arrive at the seat of my cholesterol problem?

I am a woman of faith, but I must admit that I have very little faith in the ability of these little pieces of colored chalk to take care of my health issues.  Yet, I follow the doctor’s directions without fail.  I dare not do otherwise.

Fact is, there is no human produced cure-all for our physical needs. You know that!  Sometimes medicine works and sometimes it doesn‘t.  Risk always accompanies any medical procedure.

A certain “Balm of Gilead” is mentioned three times in the Bible as an example of something with healing or soothing powers. This rare, high-quality ointment, used medicinally, was produced in Israel, in the region of Gilead, east of the Jordan River.  Some botanical scholars have concluded that the actual source was a Terebinth tree.

Many medical properties have been attributed to this highly sought after ointment.  As a result, “Balm in Gilead” has come to signify a universal cure in figurative speech.  No wonder it was the most costly product of Palestine.

In Jeremiah 8:22, the prophet mourns for the spiritual condition of the people of Judah.

“Is there no Balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?  Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?”

Jeremiah is saying, “Why doesn’t a doctor come with this healing ointment and bind up the wounds of my people?”

While it is true that there is no cure-all for our physical needs, there is a sure cure for our spiritual wounds.

Just as that fragrant balm drips freely, of its own accord, from the Terebinth, so also does the ointment of God’s grace flow freely from Calvary’s cross.

Jesus, our “great physician,” applies the balm of His grace to our wounded heart and troubled mind and ravished body bringing healing from the inside out.

“There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. 

  There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.”

If you are suffering today, open your heart to Jesus, Your Great Physician, and allow Him to apply his healing grace to your life.

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

 

 

           

LAND THAT I LOVE

 

In 1938, beloved composer, Irving Berlin, wanted to write a “peace song“-an anthem that would inspire his fellow Americans to live in harmony.  This Russian-born Jew, who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1893, had already lived through one world war and knew another one was coming.

After several attempts, he decided to revamp a song he had written in 1918 but never published.  Thus was born “God Bless America.”

The song appealed to the national psyche offering a kind of collective prayer for the unease over an impending war.

In 1940, both the Republican and Democratic parties adopted the song as their own.  Critics said, “Why should God bless America and no other country, and what about separation of church and state?  Some even questioned why a Russian Jew should speak for America.

Thinking about Independence Day, America‘s birthday, I have been singing this heart-stopping song.  “God Bless America land that I love.”  I realize that it is an incredibly personal song.  I love this land-not “we,” not ‘someone else.”  I love this land!

Upon reflection, I cannot help but remember when I left these shores to become a resident in another country.

On August 25, 1975, I boarded a plan in Phoenix, Arizona and headed east-final destination, Brussels, Belgium.

I had been to Europe as a tourist, but now I would become a long-term resident in a country where I had never been.   At the same time, I was happy and sad-excited and fearful.  I was headed away from everything I had ever known to a place where I knew nothing-not even the language.

If someone had asked me at that moment whether or not I loved America, my reply would have been an emphatic, “YES!”  I am a patriot.  I am a flag waver, but until I lived on foreign soil, I had no idea how much I appreciated the land of my birth.

One-thousand-year-old Brussels is a beautiful city green and luscious surrounded by verdant forests and dotted with ponds, but it wasn’t home.

I learned quickly that as a foreigner I must register with the police and report to them yearly.  I could not change residence and move across town without notifying the authorities.  I must, at all times, carry an official identity card proving who I am.  I must have a government issued residence visa in order to stay in the country.

Now, the USA must have similar regulations, to one degree or another, for foreign residence, but I had never experienced such things, and in some ways, it seemed an affront to my integrity.  The freedom I had always enjoyed was now limited.

The language barrier was especially difficult.  It was amazing to hear a two-year-old spouting fluent French when I could scarcely say “Bon Jour and Au Revoir.”

When homesickness threatened to overwhelm, I drove past the American Embassy just to see “Old Glory” hoisted high waving at the world.  How could a piece of fabric, no matter how large, bring such pride and comfort to my heart?

In the language school, I was surrounded by students from many parts of the world.  Most of them would have given the shirt off their back to get to America.

Many of my Bible College students longed to come to the country I had left behind.  What a revelation it was to meet people who would willingly give up citizenship in their homeland in order to become an American citizen.  I could never do that!

Berlin’s song says, “God…stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above…”

My heart is heavy today.  “…From the mountains to the prairies, to the ocean white with foam…” the darkness of night has settled on our beloved land.  Because of sinful pride and selfishness, violence and unreasonable hatred permeate the very atmosphere.

On September 11, 2001, our American Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol building and sang, “God Bless America.”  It was a thrilling moment.  They were one that day, but the unity didn’t really last.

It is time again to pray, “God Bless America.”  That is our only hope.

In II Chronicles 7:14, God spoke to King Solomon saying, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

The apostle Paul admonishes us, in Romans 13  “…be a responsible citizen…respect your leaders…love other people as well as you do yourself.”

God gives us the formula.  We must humble ourselves, seek Him in prayer, abandon our sins and He will heal our land.

GOD BLESS AMERICA – AGAIN!

 

THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!