Monday, June 16, 2008

The Doctor Will See You Now

Jeremiah inquired about healthcare (8:22). He saw a sick nation and called for a doctor and a cure. Israel looked like a dying man. Jeremiah called 911.

From the pages of the New Testament, the ambulance arrives and Israel is taken to All Saints Hospital. The physician on call is Dr. Paul.

Dr. Paul does a thorough exam, which is no surprise when you read what he wrote in his medical journal to Corinth, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

First, Dr. Paul checks the blood work. If the patient is anemic, then a transfusion is needed. It may sound complicated, but this is actually the easiest part of the exam. If the blood work does not come back JC+ (Jesus Christ positive), then the patient needs new blood. Only JC+ blood can defeat all diseases of the soul.

Dr. Paul then listens to the heart. With his stethescope pressed against the chest cavity, he listens to see if the heart has been quickened (Ephesians 2:1, 5). He also checks for calluses (Mark 8:17; Proverbs 28:14).

Dr. Paul then gives the patient a head exam, subscribing to the notion that most of us need our heads examined. He checks for a closed mind (Romans 1:28), a carnal mind (Romans 8:7-8), a blind mind (2 Corinthians 4:4), and a condition known as "highmindedness" - which is quite simple to check for...just look for a swollen head or chest (Proverbs 16:18).

The exam continues with a complete eye exam, checking for "wise-in-his-own-eyes" syndrome (Proverbs 26:12) and poor focus (Proverbs 17:24). A complete ear exam checks for itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4), heavy ears, and closed ears.

Dr. Paul checks the mouth and runs a battery of tests on the lips, tongue, voice, and throat, looking for lying lips, a deceitful tongue, and scars on the voice and throat from profanity, angry outbursts, and gossip. They leave really nasty and noticeable scars.

Just below the head, Dr. Paul examines the neck for a serious neck injury known as "stiffneckedness" (Proverbs 29:1). Dr. Paul then examines the back for two things. One, a stiff neck is usually accompanied with a bowed back. Two, he checks for Sonburn. If the patient has Sonburn, it is obvious he has turned his back on the Son.

Beyond that, Dr. Paul will check the knees to see whether they are locked or callused. Locked knees are a miserable condition because they will not bow in prayer. Callused knees are a healthy sign. He also checks the fingers. Although Matthew 7:3 mentions a different body part, an accurate diagnosis of this condition is called "finger pointing."

Finally, Dr. Paul checks the feet. A common disease among believers is paralysis of the feet. They simply will not go where God sends them. Generally, paralysis of the feet is a secondary ailment caused by hardheartedness, high-mindedness, poor vision, poor hearing, or some of the other conditions previously mentioned.

After a thorough exam, Dr. Paul subscribes a single remedy: repentance. This is a prescription Dr. Paul has great confidence in because he received it personally from the Great Physician who once said,
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to REPENTANCE" (Mark 2:17).

Getting back in line to get my head examined,
Perry Crisp

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Keep Going!

Freddie and I became good friends in high school. Freddie was a special ed student and had been in high school for a long time. He may not have been fully capable of learning educational information, but Freddie was incredibly capable of loving people.

Freddie would do anything you told him to do, as long as it was ethical. If you were a teacher or coach, he would heed your every command.

One day our football coach wanted to see how far each of us could throw a football. He gave Freddie an empty football sack and wanted him to retrieve the balls as we threw them. Freddie didn't understand exactly what we were doing or why he was holding the sack.

But when Coach pointed to the other end of the football field and said, "Freddie, run until I tell you to stop," Freddie took off running. I'll never forget the sight. Freddie was wearing gym shorts, a white t-shirt, and cowboy boots. He was running as fast as he could.

When Freddie was about 35 yards away, Coach yelled, "Stop right there, Freddie." Freddie kept running. Coach yelled again, "Freddie, stop!" Freddie kept going. Then Coach remembered Freddie's hearing impairment. It was easy to forget because Freddie read lips so well.

Freddie nearly reached the fence 30 yards on the other side of the end zone before he turned around.

I wish I had a little more Freddie in me. I give up too easily. I turn around too quickly. I second-guess the instructions and doubt the Instructor.

Most of us give up too easily. We stop when we need to keep going. We brake when we should accelerate. We "Garfield" when we should "Energizer Bunny."

In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were kicked out of Antioch. Threats were made. Violence was only a stone's throw away. And in verse 51, Paul and Barnabas "shook off the dust from their feet..." and kept going.

They went to Iconium. Again, (chapter 14) their sermons were met with threats of stoning. They kept going. They arrived at Lystra and kept preaching and healing in the name of Jesus. A combined posse from Antioch and Iconium rode into Lystra and led a mob to actually stone Paul to the point that they thought he was dead. They drug his body outside of the city and left him.

Paul got up and went back into the city! The next day, Paul went to Derbe. Then turned right back around and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch!

The message is clear: Keep going. Stand for the truth when others fall for counterfeits. Keep going in the right direction while others stray from the path or get comfortable along the side of the road.

Listen to the words of Paul as his bruises and cuts are still quite visible, "We MUST through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (14:22).

Excuse me while I try to catch up to Freddie...
Perry Crisp

Monday, June 9, 2008

Night Light

Something woke me up in the middle of the night. My eyes opened but I didn't move. I kept listening. A minute or two later, I sat up and listened. The bedroom was dark. I strained to see through the darkness and I listened for any unusual noises. I saw nothing. I heard nothing.

But I felt something. The familiar middle-of-the-night urge insisted on a trip to the bathroom. I threw the covers back, swung my feet to the floor, and stood up.

Something moved. Someone was standing less than ten feet away. He was right in front of me. I instinctively crouched down and froze, hoping he did not see me. But he must have. He, too, flinched and stood silent.

I waited for him to make a move. He didn't. My shotgun was under the bed. I knew that, but he didn't. That was my advantage. I had no idea what his advantage was. Did he have a gun or a knife?

I stood there frozen, thinking of what I would do if he made a move. My plan was to lunge forward into him, knocking him against the wall if he moved. He never moved.

My muscles were tense. Sweat ran down my face. The urge that got me out of bed had tripled in its intensity. I decided to make the first move. I could barely see him in the darkness. We had both been so still for so long, that I almost couldn't see him at all. I slowly, almost unnoticeably bent down a little lower to reach my shotgun. I thought I saw him move.

Then I noticed something unusual. My bedroom door was closed. That door was never closed. I left it open so I could hear the kids if they called out during the night. Why would a burglar/murderer/pervert close my door?

I made another slight move to reach under my bed. I didn't find my gun, but I did find a flashlight. Aha! I could blind him with the light and then charge into him. I jumped up and flashed the light into his eyes...

Oddly enough, he was wearing the same brand of underwear as I, and he was shining a flashlight at me! It was a "duh" moment.

Behind my bedroom door was a full length mirror. My burglar/murderer/pervert was me. I had been in a twenty minute standoff with my own reflection.

I remember thinking: "This is something I should never tell anyone!" But God said,
"Nope. Not only is this hilarious and embarrassing. It makes a good point."

What point? The whole scenario could have been avoided if I only had a little more light. Life is full of moments where a little more light could make a great difference in our decisions.

I was alone, but thought I wasn't. A little more light would have made that clear to me. I wasn't in danger, but thought I was. A little more light could have saved me a great deal of anxiety.

An endless supply of light is available to us. He who said, "I am the light of the world," wants to enter our lives and cast darkness out of every corner. Jesus is the light you need for the uncertainties you face.

He'll leave the light on for you...
Perry Crisp

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Angel Dust Flying

From Flox News, this is an urgent update on a rather bizarre story developing just outside the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

An undisclosed source has discovered an intelligence report which confirms activity within the New Jerusalem compound. The source does not reveal how this information was retrieved, but all indications are that the information is accurate.

From the report, Flox News has learned that an Angelic Army of massive proportions has gathered at Heaven's gates. Many of these angel warriors were seen stretching their wings and limbering up. One observer reported a great deal of "high fives" were being exchanged by the angels.

One particular angel of note was carrying a trumpet and making his way to the front of the multitude of angels lined up at the gate. Flox News is not sure what exactly this all means, but nothing like this has ever been witnessed before.

Our source believes something significant is about to happen. He also speculates that it must be something good because he has never seen the faces of these angels beam so brightly.

We now return you to your regular devotional.

It could be happening right now. What would you do if you knew the end was coming in three days?

I suggest you do it.

Get Right or Get Left,
Perry Crisp