One seeks to find things to be thankful for
- it's not much, but our weather lately, meaning the last week or so, has been "warm" for this area at this time of year. Meaning we've been above the freezing point for most of the last week, and won't see that mark again for a few days. Or so we are told. We shall see. I'd be happy with 75° right now, and never ever EVER go below it. Your mileage may vary. In any event, I am grateful for the respite from snow and bitter cold.
- A quick look at the calendar says that we have less than a week of January left. February is not my favorite time of the year, but it means that we'll have only about seven more weeks before the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of "official" Spring. That's something.
- I've mentioned that we have cats. Well, actually, Dear Wife does, though one of them has decided he's mine. Whatever. So, we have to feed them, take care of "sanitation issues", etc. "We" in this case translates to Yours Truly. One of them at least has a "sensitive stomach", so the real cheap dry cat food makes him vomit. Which, of course, Yours Truly has to clean up. We'd been buying a higher-end, meaning no corn content, at the Wally Mart, sold under the trade name of Evolve. Worked. So, of course, Wally Mart quit carrying it, at all, even on the Ship-to-Store app. We found another source, only to find that it was now making him vomit. And further investigation revealed that they'd about doubled the price. Wally Mart started carrying that version on the ship-to-store, at a price THREE TIMES what it had been. Not an option on our very limited resources. Dear Wife went on line and found a source that would ship us a product that seemed close to what we'd been getting, at a similar price too. Good people, operating as Chewy.com, and we've been very pleased. But the first shipment arrived with the 20+ pound bag damaged in the shipping box and having spilled a good bit of the product. We notified them, sent photos. They sent a same-sized bag, free, to make up for it. So we essentially had two big bags of dry cat food for the price of one. This was in October. We therefore had enough that we don't need to buy more until late February. See what I mean? What could have been a series of issues has led to a relationship with a good supplier, and enough of the product to last months.
- As mentioned previously, Monday morning we were about 18 miles south of here so that Dear Wife could undergo a pretty thorough bone scan, checking the bones for status resulting from her osteoporosis. We expected a wait of several weeks before hearing results. Well, we got some hint of the results today. They're ordering up an infusion of a drug called "Reclast", trade name for Zoledronic acid. In a hurry. Now, that may not sound like a blessing, and I guess it's not, not really. But here is what is a blessing: the cost to us. The quoted price for this medicine is around $2800. Which we simply can't afford, it's much more than our total monthly income. And under our previous insurance, the co-pay would have been on the order of $380, which we could not afford either. But under our new plan, just in effect as of the first of the year, that co-pay drops to $28!! Which we can afford. Not by much, particularly with the out-of-pocket payments we just made last week, but we'll manage. Now, of course, given a choice, we'd have a miraculous healing of all of her ailments. That would be nice, but doesn't seem to be in the offing. God is making a way, when there seems to be no way. Good song like that, by the way. And, in that vein, the singer, Janet Paschal, was recovering from breast cancer when this was recorded. She had reason to believe this. So do we. And she makes reference to the situation we'll see in the Exodus, with Moses and the people, caught in an impossible situation, between the sea and Pharaoh's army. Yes, God will make a way. We've been learning that, bit by bit. If you listen to the song, listen to all of it. Oh, and several of the other singers there were in the middle of a flood of troubles too. As all of us are, have been, or will be. This is our testimony too.
- Lots more besides. The roof over my head, the bed we slept in, the clean clothes to put on, a functioning bathroom, food to eat. And the Lord's presence. There was a time in my life when I had NONE of these. None. He's been good to me. He didn't have to do that, but He did, and He has. Thankful doesn't begin to cover it.
- But even if He didn't, our focus needs to be on Him and His love. Not on the circumstances of the moment. I'm not good at that, usually. Getting a little bit better, perhaps. Not there yet, not by any means. There will always be yucky circumstances. Things that aggravate us, perhaps, or things that really are bad, things like sickness, pain, the loss of companionship or friendships, hunger, cold, all of that. The "stone in your shoe" matters. The "what idiot set these traffic signals so badly!" ones, the ones that a thousand years from now, or a hundred, or one, probably won't matter. But He will still be there. That's worth a lot, and sometimes we take our eyes off of Him. Faith has a lot to do with where our focus really is.
The Old Testament reading today continues in the Exodus, chapters 9 and 10.
Moses is still passing the Lord's message along to Pharaoh, "Let My people go!". And Pharaoh, unaccustomed as he was, to obeying anything other than his own wishes, refused, subjecting the people of Egypt to all sorts of terrible results. Several of which revealed the emptiness of that culture's faith in their false gods. And it wasn't over yet.
The New Testament reading is verses 1-20 from the 18th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.
This reading contains some material that the "name it and claim it" preachers, some of the ones you see on TV, use and generally mis-use. Getting a group together and uttering prayers in Jesus' name requesting, or demanding, some thing or action or whatever is somewhat based on this. It's not quite that way. I recently read an account of a lawyer who does a fair amount of "legal aid" type stuff, being a court-appointed attorney for indigent clients up on various charges. He related an account of some defendants, women in fact, who got together in a circle, and prayed loudly that the Lord would protect them and prevent their arrest, before they went out to commit robberies and burglaries. Somehow, I don't think the Lord was honored in that, and probably not amused either. Neither do the sometimes heartfelt prayers that your favorite team would win the Big Game. Need more examples? Do such things really honor Him? Don't think so. Now, I admit, that I do firmly believe in the reality of verse 20.