5 lessons I learned when the lights went out

One winter night an ice storm hit my city. My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. We couldn’t cook, wash clothes, or watch TV.
As inconvenient as that was, the thing I missed most was light.

LIGHT -Matthew 5:14-16

From Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out-www.watercresswords.com-exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

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The day my lights went out

On a cold December morning I awoke to no electric power in my house.No heat, no coffee,no hot breakfast, no television happened that day.

During the previous night rain fell, quickly turning to ice so thick that it brought down exposed power lines. It also took down tree limbs which in turn knocked down more power lines. By dawn, a city of a half million people was largely without power, including my home and clinic.

Upon arising, we started navigating the challenge of life without electricity. We had no heat, could not cook, wash clothes, watch TV, use our computer, or recharge our cell phones.

So, after opening our automatic garage door manually, we drove around looking for an open restaurant , finding traffic signals not working, and many businesses also closed. I didn’t go to my clinic since it didn’t have power either.

Somehow we made it through the day; it was something of an adventure at that point. But at sunset, we faced an evening and night in the dark.

My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. By the third day my clinic reopened so I had access to a computer, could charge my phone, and had a warm place to spend the day.

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As inconvenient as all the other things were, the thing I missed most was light.

I felt grateful to have candles and flashlights, but they weren’t the same as being able to flip a switch on the wall or turn the switch on a lamp and have bright light flood the room.

By living in the dark for 5 days I learned
I should not take light for granted.

Natural sunlight lasts from 8 to 14 hours per day, depending on where you live- unless you live at the north or south pole,where you may be in darkness for 24 hours part of the year. Once the sun sets, you are in darkness unless you create light in some way.

Light is a great equalizer.

It didn’t matter who you were or what part of town you lived in. Rich and poor and everyone in between experienced the power outage. Some people already had generators or were lucky enough to find a store with one for sale. Otherwise, you were in the dark.

Life without light is difficult.

Sitting in the living room listening to our battery powered TV (now a relic) by candlelight, wrapped up in blankets wasn’t too bad. I just had to remember to take a flashlight to go to the bathroom or into my closet to change clothes. With no power or windows to catch a little moonlight, these areas of my home were pitch black. We couldn’t cook, and could not safely store cold food-I had to throw everything in the refrigerator and freezer away by the third day. We quickly tired of peanut butter and crackers. Dirty clothes stayed dirty for the time being.

a sketch of 5 lit candles in a row
image from Lightstock.com, affiliate link
It takes work to produce light.

Power company crews worked around the clock, helped by  crews from other cities and states. It still took 2 weeks to get power back to everyone. It took even longer to get all the broken tree limbs picked up from  streets and yards and hauled off to a central site for burning. Subsequently the city undertook a plan to trim trees that posed a hazard to power lines  and to bury power lines.

Light should be shared with others.

Residents and businesses who had power invited others in , providing places to eat, wash clothes, charge phones, and stay warm. We were all in this together, and everyone seemed to make an extra effort to be kind to each other.

New York City at night
We enjoyed a view of the lights of New York City from the Empire State Building

Related scriptures about light 

Mark 4:21

Luke 8:16

1 John 1:5-7

Previous posts in my series on Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount . 

Opportunities to do good

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

God's Promises for Women NIV Bible
God’s Promises for Women NIV Bible
God's Promises for Men NIV Bible
God’s Promises for Men NIV Bible

exploring the HEART of light

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope, love spelled out in wooden block letters
Faith Hope and Love , a graphic from Lightstock.com

The surprising blessing of discomfort

Also well known and often quoted is a daily devotional book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, by Oswald Chambers. Some call it the most beloved devotional book of all time. 

Matthew 5:3-10

The Beatitudes make up several verses of the Biblical book of Matthew .

Matthew recorded these lessons that Jesus taught in his “Sermon on the Mount”, some of the most well known and often quoted verses of the Bible.

a ceramic cross with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-10

(To support this blog, there are several affiliate links in this post. I hope you find them useful, and if you purchase anything through them, you are supporting this blog’s mission.)

Finding “Our Utmost”

Also well known and often quoted is a daily devotional book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, by Oswald Chambers. Some consider it the most beloved devotional book of all time.

Oswald Chambers

Chambers was a Scottish Bible teacher in the early 1900s who was popular due to his penetrating examination of the Bible. After his death his wife Biddy chose many of his talks and published them as a book of daily devotions.

Now almost 100 years later, Christians still find comfort and challenge from his pointed observations and interpretation of scripture.

Here is an excerpt from the devotional for July 25 in which he reflects on Matthew 5:3-10.

“The Beatitudes seem merely mild and beautiful precepts for all unworldly and useless people but of little practical use in the stern world in which we live.

…we have to decide whether we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words.

The teaching of Jesus is out of proportion to our natural way of looking at things and it comes with astonishing discomfort to begin with. “

Oswald Chambers’ book continues to be available in print and now through modern technology another way to access his insights-

the My Utmost for His Highest app for iPhone and iPad

Read daily inspiration from My Utmost For His Highest in the edition of your choice.

  • 365 days of thought-provoking devotions.
  • Automatically opens to the current daily reading.
  • Join the conversation on each day’s reading.
  • Set reading reminders.
  • Download on the App Store

Listen to music inspired by the devotionals

 
The Beatitudes-The surprising blessing of discomfort-watercresswords.com

Author Kim Phuc Phan Thi also referenced a Beatitude in her memoir Fire Road 

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6)

“I would run my finger along those phases, wondering if those words could really be true. If I pursue your ways, God, will you really satisfy that which is hungry in me?”                    

excerpt  from FIRE ROAD 

                                Read my review of  FIRE ROAD 

Thank you for considering  the affiliate links  and advertisers that support this blog. You are helping it grow and support those who offer medical care to the sick and needy throughout the world.

Share your personal reflection

After you read through the Beatitudes, leave a comment- which one makes you the most uncomfortable and why? Is it good to feel uncomfortable sometimes?

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Please share this post and come again to Watercress Words for more  

words of faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha                 

And now these three remain-faith, hop and love, as read from a Bible
1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

Just as there may be many ways to define or describe being blessed, there are many ways to define health or describe being healthy. I addressed this in a previous post that I hope you will read.

This section of the Bible book Matthew is known as The Beatitudes.

Matthew recorded these lessons that Jesus taught in his “Sermon on the Mount” , some of the most well known and often quoted verses of the Bible.

a ceramic cross with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-10
The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-10

The dictionary defines  beatitude as “a state of utmost bliss or supreme blessedness.”

Beatitude inherited its blessedness from the Latin word beatus, meaning both “happy” and “blessed.” In the Bible, the Beatitudes are a series of eight blessings, such as “Blessed are those poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And in 1958 writer Jack Kerouac coined the term “The Beat Generation” because he felt its members were seeking beatitude. (vocabulary.com)

Most modern English translations of the Bible use the words blessed or happy in these verses. The Easy-to-Read version calls it “great blessings.”

The Amplified Bible lives up to its name using several different words to express these sentiments. These include

  • spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired
  • forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace
  • inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect
  • joyful, nourished by God’s goodness
  • anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature
  • spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor
  • comforted by inner peace and God’s love
  • morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Just as there  may be many ways to define or describe being blessed, there are many ways to define health or describe being healthy. I addressed this in a previous post that I hope you will read.

 

 

Improving health with 7 life elements

(Here is a brief excerpt)

Spiritual Wellness – what brings, peace, harmony, and purpose to our lives.

woman with hands bowed in prayer

Our sense of ethics, morals, right, and wrong is usually based on what we believe to be true and meaningful,  and likely involves faith and support for an organized belief system or religion. Without belief in something, our lives can drift aimlessly and we can fall into restlessness, doubt our purpose, and lose hope for the future.

Both states-blessed and healthy– may be determined

not by what we have, but by who we are,

not by what we get, but what we give,

not by chasing them, but by living them.

Maybe they are both a journey, not a destination.

The Beatitudes- How to be blessed, happy and healthy- watercresswords.com

I’ve written more about the Beatitudes and other lessons from the Sermon on the Mount. Here is one.

 

 

 

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6)

“I would run my finger along those phases, wondering if those words could really be true. If I pursue your ways, God, will you really satisfy that which is hungry in me?”                    

excerpt  from FIRE ROAD 

                                Read a review of  FIRE ROAD 

Thank you for considering  the affiliate links  and advertisers that support this blog. You are helping it grow and support those who offer medical care to the sick and needy throughout the world.

 

 

 

Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more words of

faith, hope, and love

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha                 

1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

Blessed to be a kid

Blessed to be a kid #Jesus#Matthew19#NLT#TyndaleHouse

Jesus Blesses the Children

Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188. All rights reserved.

 Bibles and storybooks especially for children

These are affiliate links.

 

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As a member, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more. Earning points is easy—you’ll receive 25 points just for signing up!

You can also earn points when you:

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This post featured photos from our volunteer trips  to VietNam, El Salvador, Zanzibar, and Mexico.

Another post for you to consider

Touching lives in Panama-Tuesday Travels

a man making faces at a little girl

Share the HEART of health

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Weekend Words of  faith, hope, and love

(1 Corinthians 13:1)

1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

Have a blessed week. Dr. Aletha 

Called to be hands and feet

helping others should not be an option #Mark5,#Matthew8#NewLivingTranslation#myreaderrewards

Weekend Words from

nurse, vietnam, patient

Mark, chapter 5, NLT

Then a leader whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet,  pleading fervently with him.

“My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”

 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him.

When they came to the home  Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.

Dr. Aletha examining an infant on a volunteer trip

Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,”which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”  Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

doctor holding a patient's hand

Excerpt from NLT WOMEN’S DEVOTIONAL  from Tyndale House publishers

NEW LIVING TRANSLATION WOMEN'S DEVOTIONAL

“We live in a culture that idolizes health, independence, and strength while it shuns illness and weakness. Yet at some time in our lives we all find ourselves in real need of someone’s help. In some cases, we must swallow our pride and humbly reach out to receive the help offered, because we find ourselves in an extremely desperate situation. That’s when all pretenses of self-sufficiency have to be discarded.

But what about accepting help from others? This step can still be very difficult. As believers in Jesus, we are called to be his hands and feet here on earth. Sometimes we will be the one bringing aid and comfort to others; sometimes we will be the ones on the receiving end. The amazing thing about God’s family is that we share his healing touch as we share our stories of his love in our lives and help each other through difficult times.”

You can receive this and other e-devotionals by email  free by joining the

myReader Rewards Club  READ.REVIEW.REDEEM myReader rewards club

As a member, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more. Earning points is easy—you’ll receive 25 points just for signing up!

You can also earn points when you:

  • Shop at Tyndale.com or NavPress.com
  • Refer a friend
  • Write reviews
  • Take surveys
  • Sign up for e-newsletters and e-devotionals
  • And more!

My Reader Rewards Club is a great way to earn free books and Bibles for yourself, friends, and family! Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts HERE.

(By signing up through these links, I also have a chance to earn free books that I may review for this blog.)

Considering disability in Weekend Words

How do see the disabled? Do you see them at all? #blindness#Jesus#JohnPiper

 

John 9:1-5, Contemporary English Version 

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth

Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”

“No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him. 

As long as it is day, we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work. 

While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

LIsten to or read Dr. John Piper’s thoughts on how we should respond to those with disabilities.

Don’t Look Away from Disability | Desiring God

Dr. Piper has written over 50 books, which you can review at this link –

Dr. John Piper books  (an affiliate link)

 

Also featuring Dr. Piper

Fifteen Tactics for Joy – Devotional by John Piper | Solid Joys

Easter

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

via Luke 23 NIV – Bible Gateway.

 

statue of Jesus
statue of Christ at the Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, photo by Dr. Aletha

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Please visit this newer post

The HEART of Easter

                              Dr. Aletha