Friday, August 19, 2011

Heart Cath Report (Goofball Edition)

video

The video speaks for itself, I suppose. (No, I'm not referring to how plain it makes it that I'm a goofball.)

I had a heart attack in June, 2010, initially undiagnosed. It damaged 40% of my heart. After the diagnosis was made at Mid-Ohio Cardiology in Columbus, I underwent a heart catheterization at Riverside Methodist Hospital, also in Columbus.

Today's cath procedure was indicated by a stress test I took last week. It indicated a slow flow of blood in the heart. The cath showed no blockages.

However, my heart has not bounced back as fully as the doc would have liked. So, in October, as a precautionary measure, a defibrillator will be implanted in my chest. Should any arrhythmias develop (there have never been any previously), the defib will send electrical impulses to ensure that the heart beats uninterruptedly.

Got home after dinner with Ann at Cosi's. Relieved and happy. Thanks to everyone for their prayers. God bless!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Insecurity and Egotism

“Insecurity results from egotism,” someone wrote on Twitter recently.

That single sentence so jarred me the moment I read it that I neither responded to nor noted the name of the writer. The words have made me think and I’ve concluded that while insecurity may have many sources, personal vanity is definitely one of them.

Taking myself as a test case, I know that many of my insecurities—whether over talking too much, saying the wrong things, getting a sermon or project I’m planning just “right,” meeting new people, wondering whether I’ve worked hard enough each day, or, very specifically, going to my fortieth high school reunion as I did several weeks ago—are born of a desire to make the “right” impressions on people, to be seen as competent and proficient and a “good guy,” to please people, to be esteemed.

How stupid of me!

As a Christian, I believe that, through Christ, we know that God loves us as we are, leaving us with nothing to prove, assured that He gives us His Spirit to help believers in Him to become all that we were meant to be, no matter what other people may think of us.

I know that, in reality, I only play to a gracious audience of One. But too often, my vain desire for affirmation from those whose word about my life ultimately doesn’t matter can cause me to quake in fear instead of living with love and abandon.

God, help me to get over myself and get out of the way as Christ lives in me.

[By the way, my reunion was a blast!]

Why God Doesn't Overwhelm Us

Why does God veil His glory in a crucified Savior? Why doesn’t He just come on strong and overwhelm us like a Super Bowl halftime show?

The simple truth is that we couldn’t handle that kind of revelation of God. Exodus 20, in the Old Testament recounts God giving the Ten Commandments to His people Israel through Moses. It was an event accompanied by stunning signs of God's presence. Just after the giving of the commandments, Exodus says:
When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die." (Exodus 20:18-19)
Human beings in the unveiled presence of God see their distance from God’s holiness, perfection, and power. Instead of overwhelming us, God comes to us in the God-Man Jesus, bringing forgiveness and peace with God to all who believe in Him. It’s Jesus Who makes it possible for us to approach God as our Father and it’s in Jesus’ Name—and not in our own merit or power—that we can come to God in prayer.

Even in Jesus, the suffering servant, though, Peter and others who spent time with Him, saw the almighty, perfect God and their distance from Him. Once, Jesus performed a miraculous sign. Peter was overwhelmed and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

But Jesus never goes away from those who honestly submit to and trust in Him. God is holy and infinitely powerful. But God also loves us. That's why He brings salvation "from below," coming to us as a Servant, rather than from above as a conqueror. It was only as a servant Who dies on a cross that He could take our punishment for sin, conquering sin and death through His servanthood.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chestnut Ridge Park

video

My wife and I were feeling bummed on Monday night because a heart catheterization I must undergo will prevent us from taking a long-planned vacation. (Ann took responsibility for the planning, arranging for us to visit friends Michigan and Minnesota and a crossing of Lake Michigan via car ferry from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

But a recent nuclear stress test showed that there is a minor issue affecting blood flow to the heart at the site of a stent implanted in my heart after I suffered a heart attack last year.

The catheterization is a precautionary measure. The cardiologist's assistant says that absent my heart attack, the issue at hand wouldn't warrant a heart cath.

But my cardiologist is very thorough. Despite our disappointment over the scrubbed vacation, we appreciate the doctor's thoroughness.

So, on Monday evening, we went to Chestnut Ridge Park near Carroll, Ohio, one of the great parks in the Columbus Metropolitan system. With temps in the 70s at the time, there was a breeze that held the promise of autumn. We briefly walked a trail, then settled on a deck next to a large pond. It was beautiful to look at and wonderful to listen to the silence. I also enjoyed watching the many fish swimming just below the pond surface. (Only those under 15 and those over 60 can fish there.)

It reminded me again of what beautiful world God created.

It was perfect.

Your prayers for my health would be appreciated, especially if it's determined that a new stent will have to be implanted.

(By the way, the close-up at the beginning of the video is my attempt to show all those fish. If you look closely, you can sort of make them out.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Question

Who do you think will represent the National and American Leagues in this year's World Series?