My other reaction to the thought of the reunion’s approach is – YIKES! I’ve gained about fifteen pounds in the last year (on top of all the extra weight I already had) and I really need to lose some weight. Oh, not because I don’t want anyone to see me with some extra pounds on. Goodness knows, they’ve all seen me this way before. *Sigh.* It’s just that I have plenty of nice clothes to wear and I don’t want to go out and buy any more. They still fit me, thank goodness, but if I could just lose ten or fifteen pounds they would look better on me. Let’s face it – no one wants to see my midriff bulge – er, bulging, or my middle-aged spread spreading. A little more room in my clothes might cover a multitude of sins (so to speak.)
Cheree gave me an excellent tip last week that really motivated me to get to work and gave me some hope that I might actually be able to lose some weight and keep it off – and not only that, but to do it almost painlessly! What is this wonder tip? you might ask. Actually it’s so simple I don’t know why I never did it before. Cheree has started setting herself just five pound goals with reasonable amounts of time between goals. She’s lost almost twenty pounds that way and looks great! When she told me what she was doing, something struck a chord within me.
I can do that! I immediately thought. No long-term goal that seems impossible in scope and in duration. None of the drudgery and deprivation of dieting that almost guarantees that when I give up and go back to eating “normally” any pounds I have lost will come galloping back – and then some. Keeping only that small five pound goal ahead of me and taking it slow and easy gives me a feeling of hope that I can do this! Then when I reach that little goal, I’ll set another one and gradually work toward it without all the angst that has always come with dieting.
A verse came to me as I thought about it this week. Proverbs 6:6, 9 says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise…How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” An ant is a tiny little creature. It can’t take huge steps or do great things. It does get up and get going, though, and in the end it accomplishes much. It is time to get to work, and even if I’m taking little tiny ant-size steps, at least I’m moving in the right direction.
There are so many areas of our lives in which we could apply this principle. The Bible also says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) We need to be wise as the ant. Get up, get going, do what we know is right. No more being sluggards!
And by the way, I’ve already lost four pounds!
Pumpkin, the Pampered Pet – I wrote last week about Julie and David’s new little dog, Pumpkin, the Perfect Pooch. Well, Pumpkin isn’t quite so perfect these days. She fell off her pedestal shortly after David left for San Antonio and has done a few naughty things now and then. She likes to dig holes and bury her treasures. She chewed one of Hannah’s play shoes. She nipped at Hannah when they were playing. And she did the ultimate crime – she peed on the new carpet once or twice. She is still almost perfect, though, in their eyes, so when they were faced with a decision about her last week it turned out to be an emotional dilemma.
Of course Julie and the kids wanted to go – but what about the dog? Suddenly, after only a couple weeks with the newest member of their family they were going to have to leave her. She couldn’t stay with them on the Air Force base, and they had no friends in Alabama who could take her. The thought of putting her in a kennel after having just rescued her from an animal shelter was upsetting to all of them, and who knew how upsetting it would be to Pumpkin? Julie had to choose between David and the dog, and of course we all know who won that one! Whew! She started looking for a kennel.
There was one called Noah’s Ark nearby. It was run by Christians, so Julie called and made a reservation. The next day she and the kids went over to check it out. It was awful. Wire cages on cold cement floors. The dogs were only taken out twice a day for fifteen minutes. The people were cold. Julie left in tears, and the kids were upset saying, “Mommy, we just can’t leave her there!” They all feared Pumpkin would think she had been abandoned again.
Julie started looking for someplace else. There was another kennel in a neighboring town that sounded hopeful. It was a pet “resort” and the difference between the two places was night and day. It was clean and bright and each dog got its own little room with windows looking inside and out, some down at doggie level. Each room had a different mural painted on the walls – one of Paris, and others of Venice, London, or Rome and so on. (Of course the murals were for the owners’ benefit, not the dogs’, but still it was a fun idea.) Each room had a TV (so the dogs would feel that human connection) and a little cot. They were taken out to the play yard four times a day, and often played with by the large staff in between times, as well. They were bathed and pampered throughout their stay. The place was very nice, to say the least, and everyone was friendly. They could see with their own eyes that these were not just empty promises as they watched the staff interact with the dogs that were there, and saw that the animals seemed to be happy and well-adjusted. Of, course, this all came at a price. The first place was $17 a day, and the “resort” was $37.50 a day! Ouch! It was a lot, but Julie just couldn’t leave Pumpkin at Noah’s Ark. She made a new reservation at the doggy spa.
The morning came for their trip to San Antonio. They planned to drop the dog off at the kennel with some of her favorite toys and blanket. On the way over Joshua said, “I sure hope Pumpkin’s room looks out on the play yard instead of the parking lot!” Julie laughed and asked, “Oh, so now she needs a room with a view?” Sure enough – Pumpkin got the “Isle of Capri” room, with a window that overlooked the play yard. Pumpkin went off happily to her luxury suite and Julie and the kids drove off happily toward Texas.
Later Julie was telling me that the TLF (Temporary Living Facility) they got on base in San Antonio was a cracker box, without even a table where they could sit down as a family to eat or play games. “In other words,” I laughed, “you all are staying at Motel 6 while the dog stays at the Marriott?” The good thing was that the TLF ended up only costing them $2.50 a night, which made up for the exorbitant rate they are paying for the dog’s spa.
Is there something wrong with this picture? We have laughed over it all week, and honestly, I would have done the same thing. Hopefully Pumpkin will suffer no harm to her psyche and will come home to them a happy, secure little pup.
The difference in their accommodations made me think of the difference between our earthly home and the one we will have in Heaven someday. We invest a lot of time and money on our earthly homes, but no matter how comfortable or pretty or even grand we make our homes down here, they cannot begin to compare to the home Christ is preparing for us in Heaven. Jesus said, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2, 3)
The word “mansion” is better translated “apartment.” I remember the first time I heard that, back when I was a teenager, I thought, “Ew, I’m disappointed! I‘d rather have a mansion than an apartment.” Since then, though, I have realized how much better that “apartment” in the Father’s house will be than a mere mansion! We will be with the Lord, in His own home, rather than living here and there in this corner or that of Heaven. After our separation from Him, He wants us right there with Him, never to be separated again for all eternity. And after reading the descriptions of Heaven we find in Revelation, I can guarantee you that even an apartment in the Father’s home will be far grander than any mansion or castle we could have enjoyed here on earth!
I don’t know that we will be pampered in Heaven. It appears in Scripture that we will spend our time worshipping Him, ruling with Him and doing some sort of work for Him. Whatever He has in store for us, though, will be wonderful! Who needs pampering in Heaven anyway? Everything is perfect there, so we won’t need stress or pain relievers! Ahhh – I’ll be a happy pup!
Preaching on Prophecy – Speaking of heaven and eternity -- I have been enjoying an extra-special blessing this week. I happened to catch a program called Turning Point on WMBI (Moody Bible Institute’s radio station) on my way home from church last Sunday night. It is with Dr. David Jeremiah, a well-know pastor. I enjoy hearing his preaching whenever I get a chance. On this particular night he was preaching the second of a three-part message called “A Glimpse into Heaven,” taken from Revelation 4. This message was a part of a larger series called “Escape the Coming Night”, a study on the entire book of Revelation. The twenty-five minutes or so I heard that night on the radio whetted my appetite to hear the entire message, so Monday morning I decided to check on the internet to see if I could find the other two parts.
Sure enough – I found it in a couple different places. The radio program is archived at www.oneplace.com/ministries/Turning_Point just as it is heard on the radio, with the announcer and everything, and divided into the half-hour segments. I found the entire message, though, without interruption at Dr. David Jeremiah’s own website, www.davidjeremiah.org/radio. And to my delight, the entire series of forty-three messages was there as well!
All week long I have spent every morning listening to three or four messages at a time, trying to catch up to where they are now in the series (it started on March 4th, I think.) What a blessing it has been! The messages have been so good that as I finish each one, I can’t bear to stop listening. I’ll think, “I need to stop here and get to work,” but then I say to myself, “Oh just one more!”
It is interesting and exciting to hear what God has planned for this earth and our future in Heaven, but even beyond that, it is awe-inspiring! Revelation is a hard book to understand sometimes, but if you study it carefully, you will see that oftentimes the Bible itself tells you how to interpret the symbols used, either right there in the passage itself, or elsewhere in Scripture. For instance, the first chapter of Revelation is giving us a description of Jesus as He is now in Heaven. Verses 12, 13, 16 say, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” Then a few verses down it tells us exactly what the candlesticks and stars are: “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:20)
The biggest blessing to me so far in this study has not been the intrigue of seeing the future, but of seeing Jesus as He really is right now in Heaven, and how He will be when He returns to this earth again someday soon. We have a picture in our minds of how we imagine Jesus was when he walked in Palestine 2000 years ago. What we see is Revelation, though is far different than our usual perception of Him.
It has been a great study so far, and I am eagerly looking forward to hearing the rest of the messages. I just wanted to pass this information on to you, in case you would be interested in receiving this blessing, too. If you are, go to the Turning Point website at www.davidjeremiah.org/radio and click on the interactive map to Revelation. All forty-three messages are there. Enjoy!