My First Stress Test

Yesterday, I had my first stress test. That is, a treadmill stress test for those with hypertension or heart concerns. It was not stressful though. The hospital staff were nice and friendly and I enjoyed the time with the doctor and the nurse. They even allowed my wife to watch and take some snapshots as they tried to wear me out on the treadmill haha!  It was actually a test on my heart condition. I also had an ECG and 2D Echo. These were all requested by my cardiologist when she found out that my last visit to her was last January of last year.

Stress test

And just this morning, I had another blood test. I hope to get all the results tomorrow and hopefully present all these data for my cardiologist’s analysis. I actually feel good at this time but I just thought that I just need to have a checkup after the passing of some time. It was a good opportunity to have my heart checked since I was already in the hospital anyway when I had my nose checked.

Oh well, I’ve never been hospitalized in my life. But as I become a senior citizen in a few months, I guess physical checkups are becoming a more important thing to do which during my younger days I hated to do. But I’m always thankful that the Lord has given us life and love to enjoy with him, with our families and friends and with everybody. Enjoy life for as long as God has given us life to enjoy. In Christ, we live and move and have our being.

My First CT Scan

Several days ago, I had my first ever CT scan done on my head. I never expected to have one but that was what the doctor recommended. My wife actually had her first ever CT scan done on her head as well when she slipped on the floor and the back of her head hit the edge of the first stair tread. Thankfully, the result was good. She had 5 stitches. That was about a year or so ago I guess.

For some two months now, I somehow lost my sense of smell and taste. It developed gradually until I can no longer smell even the strongest of odors. That was my complaint when I went to the doctor.

The EENT doctor checked deep inside my nose with a long instrument that can see inside my nostrils. He probed both nostrils. He called the procedure as endoscopy. It was my first time to experience having an instrument inserted into my nose. The doctor was good at it. I did not feel any pain at all. Just a bit of annoyance knowing that something foreign was deep inside my nose. After that, he showed me in his computer what he saw. It was like a movie getting inside both my nostrils haha!

The doctor said things seemed to look good but he wanted to be sure. He recommended a CT scan. He wanted to eliminate his suspicion that I may have suffered a stroke. Before the CT scan, I had a blood test and some liquid was inserted into my veins which was needed for the CT scan I was told. That liquid made me feel bad after about 8 hours. To make a long story short, the results showed that I did not have a stroke.

I still can’t smell nor taste and I’m taking a lot of medications to hopefully clear my sinus of whatever is blocking my sense of smell. The doctor said I now have sinusitis and it’s my first time to have this kind of sickness. Hopefully, I’ll get well soon. I’m getting old—a reminder that in Christ we live and move and have our being. Thank you Lord for the life and love you allow us to enjoy now and in the future.

Separation from God: The Ultimate Lie!

Separation: The Ultimate Lie

According to theologian C. Baxter Kruger, the ultimate lie is separation — that is, separation from God. And yet, this is the prevailing teaching in many Christian circles today — maybe, without us realizing it. This is evident in several evangelistic methods used by some Christians today. In some of the illustrations that are used for gospel presentation, a huge gap or “great divide” is normally shown to illustrate just how man is hopelessly separated from God. This is a prevailing view—that man is separated from God right now.

Works Orientation

When the gospel is presented in this way, our natural response is to ask: “How do we get back to God?” “How do we get God back to us?” “What do we do?” Salvation then becomes dependent on what man should do to cross the gap. Repent, believe, do something, charms, “do this,” “don’t do that,” “touch not,” “taste not,” food restrictions, fasting, keeping the Sabbaths, rules, incantations, self-flagellation, prayers, etc.—all done in order to get saved. This leads to a works-oriented frame of thinking and lifestyle trying to “develop holy, righteous and perfect character” all throughout life in order to get saved!

Additionally, in this prevailing theology, Jesus merely becomes a “solution to the problem” of sin — a “tool,” a “means to an end” or the “bridge” in order to cross “the great divide.” Jesus is merely “Plan B” because Adam failed (“Plan A”). Salvation is conditional — based on repentance and faith. Sin, death, hell and Satan become the focus and attention of their discussions and in their gospel preaching and less on Jesus Christ himself! This is real bad news!

“It is Finished”

But we know that we have already been saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). By God’s amazing grace, he has already forgiven us even before we said, “I’m sorry” (Luke 15:20-24). We know that Christ has already done everything that’s needed for all mankind to be saved. He did it already without asking for our consent. Salvation in Christ is already a reality. It’s not a potential gospel which will happen if we “repent” and “believe.” It is already true! Through Christ, We are now reconciled with God! Will you repent (change your mind) and believe this truth? That is the real question that God wants us to respond to—in light of our true reality in him.

Denial of the Incarnation

“The view that man is separated from God is a flat out denial of the incarnation which is staring us in the face” says theologian Dr. C. Baxter Kruger. Through the incarnation, the God who saves (Jesus), became one of us (Immanuel)! That is a dynamite message! Through Jesus Christ’s incarnation, man is now united with God for all eternity! Our humanity is united to Christ’s humanity making us one with him. Divinity joined humanity in the person (hypostasis) of Jesus Christ! Theologians call this as the hypostatic union. Man has been predestined to be adopted as his sons from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:5). Jesus is “Plan A” and there is no other plan from the very beginning. Jesus is not “Plan B” because God’s plan got messed up by Adam’s sin—“the fall of man.” But in most Christian preaching nowadays, how often do we hear about the incarnation and the atonement? Not much really—except maybe during Christmas and Easter.

Plea for Theological Evangelism

Although Christians acknowledge that the incarnation and the atonement are mighty important doctrines of the Christian church, there’s not much talk about it in the churches throughout the year. Rather, the focus is on sin, death, hell, Satan, separation and a focus on what to do to get saved!

The late great theologian Thomas F. Torrance’s plea is this: that we Christians should return to a Christ-centered teaching (didache) and preaching (kerygma),that is, “to theological evangelism, grounded upon the incarnation and the atonement.” Our preaching and teaching should be grounded on the incarnation and the atonement at every opportunity!

United not Separated

The God who saves (Jesus) is God with us (Immanuel)! While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He did not wait for us to become clean, holy and righteous. He has already united himself with us, despite our sins! We have already been reconciled with Christ (Romans 5:10). It’s union not separation.

We are now in union with Christ. We are not separated from him. This is our current status and true reality in Jesus Christ. It’s been God’s plan all along. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit would like to have a relationship with us. They want to include us into their inner circle of life and love for all eternity. It’s time we change our view or “change our mind” (that’s the meaning of the Greek word, metanioa which is translated as “repent”) and believe who we really are in Jesus Christ. It’s union not separation!

In view of the fact that God loved us first, that God already saved us and included us into his life and love, in light of who God is and who we are in him, therefore, let us repent and believe! Let our gospel presentation start with union and not separation.