Life Launch

Daily Post: Catapult

At precisely 4:30 am this morning, as the alarm on my phone went off, I catapulted off the bed so as not to be late.  We were leaving at 5:00 am sharp and sometimes it takes awhile to get moving.  In another time, and another place, 4:30am was no stranger to me, as I was often in my office by 5:00 or 5:30 am on a daily basis.  Thankfully, I sleep until 6:30-7:00 am on most days.  On those rare occasions when I sleep later, I never catapult from the sheets. I roll out of bed slowly, hoping to wobble into the day at a more leisurely pace.  This allows time for my morning ablutions, turning on the coffee, reading the morning news, checking my favorite sports team’s performance, and generally easing into writing my daily blog.  

The zeal in life for me is often found in the motivation of what the day holds.  If I’m going to the Dentist, I drag my feet and leave at the very last possible moment, because heaven forbid I should arrive early for the painful experience of seeing the man in the white lab coat.  On the other hand, should I be so blessed to have a tee time at my favorite golf course, I am up and out of the house with time to spare.  Many days, there is nothing special planned at all, and those are hours so challenging to fill with meaning and purpose.  I’ve learned the fine art of “being” on those days.  It all starts with being aware (on purpose) of all the blessings I’ve received, the joy of being generally in good health, and giving thanks for this season of my life.  These purposeful actions launch me into life.

I’m reminded of a narrative from Scripture where one day a man blind from birth was suddenly and unexpected catapulted into a whole new existence.  The students of Jesus asked, “what caused this man to be born blind?”  The answer was startling to them.  He explained that neither the man, nor his parents were the cause, but this specific man was born in this condition “so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3). Jesus proceeded to do a truly disgusting thing (by today’s standards of medical practice).  “He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes.” (9:6).  The follow up action on the part of the blind man was simple:  “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.”  According to John, the eyewitness, the man went, washed, and came back with his sight fully restored.

Imagine seeing the birds he had heard without seeing, the sun that burned his skin, the friends whose names he knew but had never seen.  Now this man, was a man motivated to launch into life.  Every day for the rest of his life, he awoke with a renewed excitement for what this day might hold.  On those days when I stumble and bumble through my morning, in a listless sort of “ugh” state, I try to remind myself about this blind man.  How blessed I am to be alive!  I’m healthy, I have my sight and my mental faculties are mostly in order, so what’s not to love about living?

Today, wherever you are, whatever your plight, whatever your pain, or joy… launch into life! 

Mugwump and other Nostrums


Patent medicine (do not confuse this with Pharmaceutical patents) can also be called a “nostrum.”  Nostrums are often widely advertised, purported to be over-the-counter solutions (medicine) with little regard as to actual effectiveness.  The wide-spread fraud resulting from snake oil (liniment) salesmen resulted in the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration instituting serious regulations to prevent fraud.



For those who’ve read “Li’l Abner” comic strip, Sagwa was the nostrum which inspired Al Capp’s “Kickapoo Joy Juice.”   Mugwump, Sagwa, and Swamp Root, are just a small sampling of the early 19th century patent medicines, which (contrary to popular belief) did in fact have results, although many times with very dangerous results due to the ingredients of the elixir.  One example is a medicine advertised as “infant soothers,” which contained opium, as it was legal at the time.  An ingredient often used was “catarrh snuff” which contained cocaine, also legal at the time.  Nostrums were purported to cure just about everything from tuberculosis to cancer.  Every manufacturer always included a published list of testimonials regarding their product.  The illnesses they claim to be healed were (most of the time) almost always self-diagnosed, which makes every claim highly suspect.

As you might expect, it reminds me of a story regarding The Healer, where those observing the obvious miracle which took place, tried everything in their power to debunk the truth of it.  It goes like this…

Jesus and the disciples are walking along one day and passed a blind man.  Naturally, the inquisitive disciples posed the question of their Master, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  You see the mindset here right?  Every malady known to man, must be the result of sin, at least that’s seems to be what their question implies.  But watch what happens with the answer Jesus gives.

John 9:3-5
“It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”

As the narrative goes Jesus spat on the ground, used the spit to make a couple of clay mud salve pies, and put this on the blind man’s eyes.  Then he told the blind man to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  When the man obeyed this simple command, the Bible claims, “He came back seeing.” (vs.7)  His friends, his neighbors, and his family were so shocked by what had happened, they could not believe it… “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”

The Jewish leaders cast dispersions on his character, and Jesus’ character, suggesting they were both just con men, deceiving the people with their lies.  Long story short, this man born blind had to defend his experience so many times he became exasperated with the process that he gave this amazing and glorious testimony of exactly what happened to him.

John 9:30-33
“Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.  We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.  Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.  If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

Why did Jesus heal this man?  Jesus told us why right up front.  It wasn’t about advertising false nostrums.  Jesus said this healing was to be done, “so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  Jesus authenticated His own claim to be God’s Son, when he healed a man who was born blind… no one else has the power to do that!

Why is this important?  Even the man born blind had to deal with the reality of this truth.  So Jesus asked the man, after it was all said and done, after the leaders had dismissed him… “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  The man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus explains, “… the one who is talking with you.”  In that moment the man stepped over the line of faith and declared, “Lord, I believe.

What ails you physically today may not be curable with modern scientific technologies or drugs.  What ails you spiritually can be cured, by the One who calls Himself … the Light of the world.  This is no nostrum.  This is a fact captured in the now world renown favorite hymn, Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now, I see! 

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