Crash, But No Burn

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Details: After some abdominal surgery and I was ready to head home, I decided to get some exercise with quick walking through my hospital floor. Without realizing, my right foot tended to drag just slightly, catching that foot on the pavement and throwing me hard to the concrete.

My foot felt a bit wet, so I looked down to discover that my assumedly blue blood was crimson red, and lots of it. Within just a couple of seconds, many hands materialized to keep me still while analyzing my condition. With my bones apparently still in place, the medical folks hefted me from the floor and deposited me in a wheel chair.

After just a few more seconds they had me back in the hospital room and began sowing me back up. That began the most thorough testing I’ve ever seen. The first thing I noticed was my glasses’ left temple piece was flattened, preventing any good TV viewing. Next I discovered some internal brain bleeding, which is not a good thing. The news they gave me was I had better take no more falls, or that could kill me. Shortly thereafter I needed to go to the potty.

I awoke in bed after my unconscious crashing to the floor and bashing the bathroom door opened. At least that unintentional embarrassing movement failed to hurt my feelings. Then they had to code me. I didn’t even experience some white light upon entry to the nether world.

They questioned me about such complex issues like my name, which had temporally escaped my notice. Other amnesia-related questions such as my location and date were also beyond my grasp. I did, however, recognize my family, but without their names.

Things gradually came back to me. I still can’t remember the nursing home’s name or its location(mental block). But it does make sense hear it. The Thought Cops (mental therapist) practiced some of the most cruel exercises, like requiring the date and telling me what was on the pictures they showed me.

My driving was another issue. Until they decided I was in my right mind they refused to allow me to drive. And I don’t like cabs. After a couple months I now have permission to drive. What a wonderful convince.

Apparently my improvement will come slowly, and the experts tell me I’ll never get full recovery. People tell me that I’m so much better than I was, though it’s hard for me to see it. All I can do is praise God for what I have and not regret what I don’t have.

Remember What?

What’s inside YOUR noggin?

I’ve long wondered why I am the way I am. Did we go by alphabetical order in the memory recall and self-control line when I was created? Was it luck of the draw?

King David, by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, wrote: Psalms 33:14-15 NKJV From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; (15) He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

Often I forget about God’s sovereignty, His craftsmanship, His artistic ability. Years ago, like a thunder clap, I realized that God doesn’t make junk, that we aren’t trapped by our bad habits and corrupted self-image. By the Word of His mouth He fashioned my inner self, and He keeps track of all my works. He doesn’t ignore me and He most certainly hasn’t forgotten about me. Any lacking or loss of my faculties is due to sin corrupting His perfect creation.

When David wrote, “He fashions their hearts individually,” he referred to God placing within each individual a hunger for Himself, so regardless what we’ve done and where we are, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Remember King David’s prayer: Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. (Psalms 33:22 NKJV)

It Seemed Significant At the Time

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve had a thought while reading or listening to the Bible, but because I wanted to finish the reading I failed to write it down. When I return to the spot that jumped out at me, it seems to just blend in with the rest of the passage, and I wonder why it seemed significant.

My memory has never been stellar, but as I age, what memory I had gradually seems to ebb away. Most of my contemporaries will answer my concern with, “Oh posh! You’ve got to expect that as you get older.” Maybe so, but it is none the less frustrating.

Now, what was my point with all this?

Ah, that’s right. I seem to be exchanging my marvelous powers of recall—yeah, right!—for a broader perspective on life. I have always, and still do, pray for my Father to give me His eyes (a nod to Amy Grant here).

So easily I fall into the fleshly trap of viewing people and circumstances through the eyes of carnality. What could be an occasion for growth and blessing, I turn into a thorny problem. Will I ever learn Job’s lesson?

Job 42:1-5
(1) Then Job answered the LORD and said:
(2) “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
(3) You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
(4) Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
(5) “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.”

Before Job’s tribulations he knew of God, and that was enough for Him to be obedient, but his faithfulness during his trials matured his faith and brought him into a personal relationship with his heavenly Father. Job knew, and I’m learning, that my loving heavenly Father never allows trials without a purpose.

Praise God for His loving kindness toward us!

Brainbow

Hey brainiacs, try sorting this out, let alone creating it.axons and dendrites For the uninitiated among you, Brainbow is the process by which individual neurons in the brain can be distinguished from neighboring neurons using fluorescent proteins. By randomly expressing different ratios of red, green, and blue derivatives of green fluorescent protein in individual neurons, it is possible to flag each neuron with a distinctive color. This process has been a major contribution to the field of connectomics, or the study of neural connections in the brain.

Right, and if you think I came up with that spiel, your brain is tied in a bow. While trying to imagine the human brain’s staggering complexity is daunting, that apparently random mass of neurons, axons and dendrites is far from infinite. Imagine the feat of engineering required to design such an organic thinking machine, capable of drawing relational data from a lifetime of memories, visual and conceptual, nearly all of which only surfaces when needed for thought.

“But,” as the TV pitchman said, “that’s not all.” That same miraculous, thinking machine balances cognitive conclusions based on new, and remembered, perceptions, with emotional responses linked to said lifetime of memories, then intercepts those past emotional responses and moderates them for application to the new situation, and hopefully, if the brain is functioning as designed, takes all that into consideration and generates a neuromuscular order for arm to bring the finger to the edge of the nose to scratch that bothersome itch.

And the brain that produced that complex task came about through random mutation guided by the Law of the Jungle. Evolution? Yeah, right!

SELECTIVE MEMORY

My wife Nancy believes my memory picks out what it will keep handy and what it will throw away. To her, that choice is based on what is in her interest versus what is in my own interest.
        Pleas of innocence, unfortunately, fall on deaf ears, as I must grudgingly admit to some—purely unintentional—consistency in my forgetfulness. On other occasions, however, my memory drops things I desperately want to remember, to my ultimate frustration.
        Wouldn’t a purposeful, selective memory come in handy? We could remember everything that is important to recall, and forget the thoughts that drag us down or limit our potential. Those we love would benefit from our forgetting their accidental gaffes and offenses. A clean slate can be a beautiful thing.
        Memory preserves events from everyone’s past, events we would rather forget. Past unthoughtful words, lapses of character and corrupt thoughts that prick our consciences, become lashes that stripe the backs of our minds long after we’ve begged forgiveness and made reparation.
        We recall the guilty feeling we get when a state trooper hangs in our car’s rear-view mirror; “How fast am I going? Did I violate some obscure statute and attract his attention to my driving?” What a relief, when his patrol car finally roars past, leaving us to continue down the road without having seen flashing lights in the mirror.
        That trooper’s vision can’t penetrate our minds and consciences, leaving our skelletons safely in their closet. Imagine, however, standing before the all-seeing Judge, weighed down by memories of our past offenses, some of which we have tried to correct, and some we have burried deep in the closets and basements of our minds. His memory has no involuntary dropouts, and you feel naked under his penetrating gaze.
        If only we could make some excuse that would matter. If only our goodness could compare in the slightest way to his perfect holiness. The prophet Isaiah gives us the Judge’s perspective, But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
(Isa 64:6 KJV)
        Since we have no basis on which to cop a plea, what hope do we have for an eternity of peace with God? Jesus’ apostle Paul voiced his own despair when considering his personal uncleanness, For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
(Rom 7:14-25 NASB)
        If this renowned man of God could make no claim of personal righteousness, what of the rest of us?
        Contrary to popular Christian lore, Jesus did not come two centuries ago to show us the way to his Father God. Rather, hear his own words, the kernel of his good news to humankind:
        Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
(Joh 14:5-7 NASB)
        Some feel that such a view is not inclusive enough. They throw out a smoke screen of questions like, “What about all those who have never heard of Jesus?” Or such pseudo-wisdom as, “There are many ways to every destination.” Through the crystal-clear eyes of faith, however, we see the absurdity of such questions and philosophies. Jesus’ eternal truth contradicts and rides above all human wisdom.
        How, then, must we be saved from sin’s shackles? God’s simple truth is, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Rom 10:9 NASB)
        Jesus said, “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God.”
(Luk 12:8 NASB)
        And what of all our clever excuses? For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Php 2:9-11 NASB)