How To Scratch Life’s Itches As Effectively As a Hound Dog was always impressed by the scratching ability of my dad’s old hound dog, Pooh-pooh.

In my opinion, few animals can scratch an itch like an old hound dog. When they find an itchy spot they slap a paw on it and shift into “high-speed-scratch” gear.

Old “Pooh-pooh” had a high-speed scratch mode that was a thing to behold. Little varmits didn’t stand a chance.

One of my grandsons told me that he itched somewhere or other all the time. He didn’t seem to have a problem so I concluded that it was just the normal seven-year old noticing things that most of us don’t pay any attention to anymore.

I imagine you itch somewhere right now. Stop and really think about it. Concentrate. Did you find an itch? Or two? Did you feel silly searching for itches? Aren’t you glad you read Coffee Stains so that you can notice things like that?

Or does this encourage you? “… dust mites feed on the dead skin cells we shed, and they live all over our homes, on sheets, pillows, curtains and clothing. A typical mattress may contain anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites.”

Sleep well tonight. (By the way, who counts these things? Do they use a magnifying glass?)

I imagine that a life without itching would be wonderful. Oh, there are bigger problems, for sure, and getting rid of itching doesn’t rank up there with solving the problem of hunger in the world.

Most of those millions of little bugs that crawl over your skin serve a useful purpose, at least according to people who are expert at this sort of thing. As we said, they eat dead skin and whatever (the varmints do, not the experts). You actually need them, but that’s probably part of why you itch.

Ah, life without itches! Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Probably not. You’d be a fat Christian sumo wrestler in your heart with no challenges in life, no places to scratch, nothing to do but eat, sleep and enjoy things. And when you have what you want all the time, eventually you don’t enjoy it as much anymore.

You wouldn’t even get to burp as much because burping seems to go hand in hand with itching and scratching, at least for guys. And all the dead skin those little things eat would just pile up on you and you’d be flaking instead of itching.

Most of us are facing itchy personal spiritual battles, temptations, trials, or tough situations not of our own making. You say, “David, mine’s not an itch. It’s a full-fledged rash all over my body.”

Could I give you some hints for effective scratching?

First of all, realize that there will be tough times, not all the time but sometimes. That’s not negative. That’s the Word of God. “In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (John 16:33, Amplified)

When tough times come don’t panic. Get out the ointment of the Word and apply it to your life and situation. Seek Jesus with all your heart. “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Prov. 3:5, 6 The Message)

And when you itch, keep your attitude right. Sometimes we face injustice, difficult people, grayness of life, lousy weather, or life spinning out of control. It’s so easy to walk around with a face that would curdle milk, making life miserable for everyone else. “If I’m going to suffer, I’m not going to suffer alone.”

And we rob God of praise that belongs to Him. Who can really praise when he’s busy making pickle faces?

Trust that God is for you. Say it, “God is working all things for my good. He’s for me, not against me. Weeping may last for a night but joy is heading my way in the morning. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Play that song in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Replace those misery melodies with praise songs. Make your attitude please Him.

When we get our attitude in line, everything else seems to follow.

Serve Him where you are, in the situation in which you find yourself. You may wake up in a scratchy situation, some place you didn’t want to be. Instead of spending your days pining to be somewhere else, get up and serve God where you are.

Paul, bound in chains, informed the great men of his region, “That’s what I’m praying for, whether now or later, and not only you but everyone listening today, to become like me—except, of course, for this prison jewelry!” (Acts 26:29, The Message)

Paul didn’t quit preaching just because they jailed him. He took every opportunity. Maybe that itch is an opportunity that God wants you to scratch right where you are.

So, if you’re itching today, just stick that paw of yours right up behind your ear and scratch for dear life. Start “scratching in faith.”

How do you deal with the “itches” of life? Share your thoughts with other readers of Coffee Stains by replying to this email.

Hum …

Here’s the thing about proving skeptics wrong: They don’t care. They won’t learn. They will stay skeptics. Instead of working so hard to prove the skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers. Seth Godin

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