Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

I love You Dr. Patch June 28, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 6:44 pm

          My head was reclined and my jaw pried wide open.  What seemed to be a large piece of a popped latex balloon stretched from gum line to gum line as metal instruments clanked in my mouth.   Three bespectacled faces crowded my view as the dentist, his assistant, and a trainee peered into my mouth.  What a wonderful way to spend a morning!

          As far as dentist visits go it was pleasant enough…well, except for the whole yucky tasting numbing gel, the brain piercing sound of the drill and the unnerving feeling of just how close to your brain they are working.   I am not a big fan of going to the dentist, but I am an even lesser fan of my teeth hurting.  Honestly, my current dental office is exceeding gentle and kind so I really should be better about those pesky checkups. 

  Today’s visit brought to mind one particular dental visit I experienced many years ago.

          I was having a perfectly normal day at work when all of the sudden one of my teeth, a molar in the farthest recess of my mouth, decided to let me know it was there.  It seems insufficient to say it was a toothache.  The intensity of the pain brought all of my day’s plans to a halt.  Within minutes I was in the dentist chair of good ole’ Dr. Patch. 

          Dr. Patch was an elderly gentleman who sort of reminded me of that Tim Conway character from the Carol Burnett Show, you know, the one who shuffled around incompetently, minus the incompetence of course.  Dr. Patch settled me into his chair and began to investigate the source of my discomfort.   It did not take long for him to locate the culprit.  One poke from his little metal hook and I slid out of the banana shaped dental chair and landed on the floor with a thud. “Oh, sorry about that.” he said as he and his assistant helped me back into the seat.  Apparently I had a rather large cavity on the backside of  a back molar. 

          “Well, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news” he pronounced.  “The good news is I can make that pain go away, the bad news is I’m going to have to take that tooth.”   The fact that the idea of him pulling a tooth did not even remotely concern me gives you an indication of just how uncomfortable I was.  “Dr. Patch, you had me at “I can make that pain go away,”” I replied.

          I have no memory of what happened after that.  I’m pretty sure a considerable amount of laughing gas was used.  As my head began to clear following the procedure, I noticed the dental assistant snickering to herself as she busily cleaned up the work area.  “What’s so funny?” I asked.  Apparently, while under the spell of the gas, I professed undying love to sweet Dr. Patch.   I was so relieved to be free of my pain that I uttered, “I just love you so much Dr. Patch.” over and over again with tears of joy rolling from my eyes.  The assistant no longer even attempted to hide her laughter as she recounted my proclamation of affection.  Let’s just say it was a tad awkward when he reentered the room.

Who wouldn’t love the one who has taken away a painful burden? 

          That is one of the reasons why I love God; He has taken away the burden of my sin.  I love God because He loves me enough to forgive me of my sin and provide a way for me in this life.  Sometimes the relief of knowing I am out from under the weight of the eternal consequences of my sin is overwhelming.  I find myself crying with joy and praising Him, especially when I’m in church, singing praises and hymns.  Yet, it is also common for me to forget how much grace I am given.  When this happens, I find myself acting less like someone who loves the Lord and more self-centered.  I always want to be aware of the greatness of His mercy and grace.  I never want to stop loving Him with a love that is as sold out and service oriented.  I want to live out my love for the Lord with the passion that flows from one who has experienced great relief!

I think each time I brush my teeth from now on I will consider His mercies, remember His grace, and start my day mindful that I am out from under the burden of my sin.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ (by grace you have been saved)” Ephesians 2 :4&5

 

 

 

BBQ Fingers for God! June 22, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:19 pm

          I was clearing my desk area when a memory fell to the floor.  I have something I call my “fall apart Bible”.  This is the Bible my parents gave me when I was in high school.  It has seen many years and continues to be my favorite place to spend time in God’s Word.   The pages are worn, which means they fall open easily to favorite passages.  Perhaps the biggest problem is that its binding has given up trying to hold onto the first pages of Genesis as well as those thick blank pages found at the start of most books.  I have them collected and stuffed in my Bible cover because years ago I documented some sweet memories on those blank pages.   As I picked up the stiff papers I looked over my scribbling in the faded ink.  There, amidst numerous other documented moments in the life of my daughter, was a memory I had almost forgotten.

Ashley, age 10…as I put her to sleep and brushed her cheek with my fingertips : “we had barbecue last time you did that”… “What?” I replied…  Ashley: “I remember thinking how good your fingers smelled”.

          I am not too sure why I felt compelled to write this down in my Bible, but I am glad it was there today. 

       An aroma can trigger everything from memories to emotions.  Scents can cling and linger.  They can delight or cause us to squinch our noses in disgust (yep, just made up that word “squinch” hopefully you are picturing a pinched forehead and wrinkled up nose).  Aromas matter.  We mask foul odors in our home, treat odorous bacteria with deodorant, gravitate toward Cin-A-Bun stores, and veer away from decaying matter.

           Soooooooo, what kind of aroma are we giving off?   It is not the odor of our being that exist due to,  or lack of, personal hygine, that I speak of…I am referring to the aroma of Christ.  In 2 Corinthians Paul speaks of the aroma of Christ.  Victoriuous generals would parade their captives and soldiers through town.  Crowds would cheer and the sweet smell of burning spices would fill the air.

          Christ is our victor, we are His captives ushered before the world to testify to His victory.  As the gospel of Christ is released through Christian testimony, it is a sweet smelling aroma. 

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”                                                2 Corinthians 2:14&15

We are sort of like those barbecue scented fingers…our testimonies are a sweet smelling reminder of something VERY good, even better than barbecue…the grace of God through His son Jesus Christ!

 

No Fork! June 15, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 2:19 pm

          There was no fork in the road.  I am certain of this.  There was no time in which I stood before two varying paths and chose one, and yet, somehow I ended up on a different path than planned…a wrong path leading nowhere.    Yep, it sounds like a life analogy (and of course it is), but I am actually referring to my most recent jogging endeavor.

          I decided to go for a jog at a local park.  Burk Lake Park boast of a lovely lake that is surrounded by over  4.5 miles of well cared for bike/walking trails.    I confidently plodded along encouraged by the numerous runners of various shapes and sizes that had also taken on this morning task.  Seriously, when a woman not more than 5ft. tall and certainly over 60 years of age passes you not once, but twice, you feel compelled to keep moving.

          The trail is about  3ft. wide and is primarily packed ground and gravel.  I was moving along and taking in the beauty of my surroundings when I noticed the trail getting a bit more narrow.  Eventually I was dodging low hanging branches and swerving to miss rather large rocks.  When I had to stop entirely to climb a huge tree which had fallen over the path, and when the thick underbrush of the woods formed an impassable wall before me, I decided I was somehow off track. 

          Apparently small trails had been worn down by other travelers over time leading from the main path to the lake’s edge.  These side paths extended like fingers on a hand and soon I was jogging up and down each one trying to find the original and actual trail.  Eventually another runner joined me down one of these wrong paths.   We may have both been off track, but I knew we shared a common destination.

        I followed him.  You see, even though he was just as imperfect as I was, notice he was also on the wrong path, he DID seem to have more experience.  I came to this conclusion by judging his appearance.  With a head of gray hair, he stood atop two VERY muscular legs.  His skin clung tightly to chiseled calves, the tell tale sign of lifetime runners.  He also sported what I call the “batman utility belt,” a belt that holds everything from cell phones and keys to power bars and water bottles, another clue he was an experienced runner.   Soon we were both back on track. 

           I was amazed at how obvious the trail seemed to me now.  I still cannot imagine how I managed to get off it.  The good news is that the unplanned diversion forced me to jog farther than I thought that I could.  I was excited when I realized I had surpassed my goal that day.  The bad news is that even with this experience behind me I cannot say with certainty it will not happen again. 

          Life is a lot like that I think.  Sometimes we end up going a different direction than planned.  Sometimes we veer off our intended path.  We may be prepared to stand before life’s various “forks in the road” and make life altering choices, but what happens when we miss a turn or turn when we should not…when there is no obvious “fork”? 

          Should you find, as I have before, that you are not where you intend to be, that you somehow got going a wrong direction,  now is a good time to find your way back.   Some of the steps I used to get back to my car that day may apply…

 

  1. Admit you are “off track”.  At first, I tried to pretend I knew where I was, it did not help.  It only resulted in me jogging confidently into a wall of leaves.  It does not help when we stubbornly continue to go the wrong way, fully aware we are misdirected.
  2. DO NOT isolate yourself.  It may be embarrassing to let others see where you are or admit how “far off the path” you have gone… but isolation will not lead you home.  
  3. Find someone to follow.  Find others who are going the direction in life you desire.  They may not always be perfect either, but there are always people who can be good examples  and encouragers.
  4. Verify this person’s ability to help you.
  5. a. Do they LOOK like they know where they are supposed to be

    b. Do they have the proper equipping…are they walking the walk

          I am not entirely certain that getting “off track” is avoidable…but  I think there are things that may reduce the chances of getting lost along the way…

  1. Pay attention…there may be many things distracting us, but seek God each day… “God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee, my soul thirsteth  for thee…”Psalm 63:1
  2. Follow a map/directions…God did not leave us here without instruction or guidance, He has given His Word and the Holy Spirit. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.” John 14:26

I am thankful that our God loves us so much, that even when we veer off the path He gives us grace.  He loves us and desires us to return to Him.  I am without words to describe the times He has taken my missteps and turned them into His triumph in my life.  Much like getting lost that day lead me past my goal, He can turn our detours in life into His glory.

 

My “Sweat” Heart June 7, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:47 pm

          I sweat when I workout.  I do not “glisten” or “perspire,” I SWEAT.   The level of moisture I was sopping off my face with a towel during my time at the gym was not a surprise.  It was an extra “good” workout.  That is what my friend and workout buddy called it…apparently “good” is another way of saying extra long, hard and grueling.   Our trainer, Sara, is much too enthusiastic about her job.

          So, there we were, working hard and dutifully following the directions of our tormentor/trainer when suddenly I heard Sara gasp.  “Teri! You have a heart on your shirt!” she exclaimed.   Yep,  that wonderful sweat I mentioned earlier managed to pool down my spine and soak into my shirt forming a perfect heart shape on my back the size of a small dinner plate.

          Suddenly, I was getting way too much attention as everyone, including another trainer in the room, wanted to see it for themselves.  I suppose I should be thankful it was the shape of a heart and not the face of the Virgin Mary or Jesus, as that would have solicited even more looks and notoriety.  It did not take long for us to come up with numerous comments, all worthy of eye rolling: “you sure wear your heart on your shirt.” “You’re such a SWEAT heart”, “my heart sweats for you” and so forth..

          It was a brief event.  The workout session ended.  The heart eventually evaporated away.  The shirt has been washed, dried, folded, and put away.  My sweaty heart faded quickly, but it has had a lasting impact on my thoughts lately.

          Sometimes, we think what is in our heart is as plain as the sweat soaked image displayed on by back that day.   We hope others can see God’s love in us, a reflection of His grace.  However, just as the sweaty image was fleeting, so is our ability to always do the right thing.  We try to be the person God calls us to be, but in our own effort, we find failure.  It is only when we rely on Him and His grace that we will find the ability to reflect His love.

          I’m not sure if I would actually want what was in my heart so clearly displayed for all to see.  How would others react to what would appear on my shirt?  How would I react to the visualization of the truth of my heart?  What if everything we thought and felt actually presented itself symbolically on our attire throughout the day?  Honestly, I think I would spend A lOT if time asking people who saw it to forgive me.

Matthew 12: 35 reminds us,

“A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”

This week, I am searching my heart and looking to Him.

Search me O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24