And Then It Is Winter

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For this final article in the Year of our Lord 2017, I’m sharing with you a story I’ve had in my files for some time, author unknown, slightly revised by yours truly:

Time has a way of moving quickly and catching us unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, newly married, and embarking on my new life with my new spouse.  Yet here it is, the winter of my life. How did I get here so fast? Where did all those years go?

Through the years I remember seeing older people and thinking they were years away from me. The winter of my life was so far off I could not fathom it or imagine what it would be like.

But here it is. My friends are retired and getting gray. They move slowly. Some are in better shape than I’m in. Others are in worse shape than I’m in. But like me, their age is beginning to show. I am now those older folks I used to see but never thought I’d actually be.

Taking a nap is not a treat anymore, it’s mandatory! If I don’t take one on my own, I just fall asleep where I sit!

So now I enter this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and loss of strength and ability to go and do things I wish I had done but never did!

At least I know that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last, when it’s over on this earth, it’s NOT over. A new adventure will begin! The Bible calls it heaven!

If you’re not in your winter yet, let me remind you that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, do it quickly! Don’t put it off too long!

We have no promise that we will see all the seasons of our life. So live for today. Say all the things you want your loved ones to remember about your love for them, about God’s love for them, and about all the things you have done with them in all the years past!

Thus ends the story. Although I’m in the winter of my life chronologically, I feel like it’s actually still the fall. Good health is a gift of God that is often taken for granted until it’s gone.

Life is God’s gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to him and to those who come after you. It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. Today is the oldest you have ever been, yet the youngest you will ever be. So enjoy this day God has given you.

In whatever season of your life you happen to be living at this moment, Terry and I extend to you the assurance of our prayers for a blessed, healthy, and happy New Year!

 

 

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Hoffman, Heroin, Hard Core Addiction

Credit: Politico.com

Credit: Politico.com

The recent death of Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman demonstrates some of the challenges we face in this country. Hoffman, 46, played roles in Capote, Magnolia, Almost Famous, Hunger Games, Mission Impossible, and Charlie Wilson’s War.

He was found dead Sunday, Feb. 2, in his T-shirt and shorts with a needle in his left arm. Depending on what report one reads, also found were anywhere from several to seventy bags of heroin — in his $10,000-a-month Manhattan apartment. He is reported to have told his friends before Christmas: “If I don’t stop [using heroin] now, I know I’m going to die.”

In an Associated Press article on Hoffman’s death, Meghan Bass wrote: “News of the death of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose seemed like an echo from the past, a blurry memory of a dangerous drug that dwelt in some dark recess of American culture.

“But heroin never really disappeared. It surfaces in waves, with the latest one currently stretching across the nation, driving up overdose deaths and sparking widespread worry among government officials. Fueled by a crackdown on prescription painkillers and an abundant supply of cheap heroin that’s more potent than ever, the drug that has killed famous rock stars and everyday Americans alike is making headlines again.

“More than 660,000 Americans used heroin in 2012, health officials say – nearly double the number from five years earlier – and users tend to be more affluent than before, living in the suburbs and rural areas rather than the inner city.”

Others who interviewed his alleged drug dealer conjecture that Hoffman had a “hard-core” addiction and injected twice as much heroin per day as a typical addict. That could have amounted to ten bags of heroin every day.

The questions this story begs in my mind include:

  • What are the primary causes of heroin addiction?
  • Who are the “hard-core” heroin addicts in America?
  • Do I know any of them? If so, I don’t know that I know them.
  • What can we as individuals or as a church do to help those already addicted?
  • Perhaps even more importantly, what can we do to prevent such addiction and its demonic consequences from attacking young and not-so-young people in America and beyond, including people we know and love?

Pastors, church leaders, civic organizations and governmental officials at every level would do well to put these questions on their agendas, prayerfully and powerfully finding answers to an obviously complex and difficult dilemma!