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Food

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Food. Our need, our want, our lifter and our downfall. 

I like to eat. I like to eat sweet things and I like to eat bread. I like to eat alone and I like to eat with a group. I like to go out to dinner and I like to cook. Food brings people together like nothing else can. We console one another with it when someone passes away. We use it in celebrations like when someone gets married, has a baby, gets a promotion or a good grade. We use it for fuel when our body is weak. 

But too often, we abuse food. We abuse our body with food. We put in too much. We put in the wrong kind of food. And when we do that, we are neglecting and, in a sense, abusing the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” When you stop and consider that, eating that extra piece of cake takes on a whole new meaning. 

The problem is that I rarely stop and see things from that perspective. I just go about my business, eating this and that, thinking that, “oh, tomorrow I will do better.” Unfortunately, tomorrow is a long time away. I need to look at this thing and address it now. I don’t want to be a size 0 but I do want to feel good about myself and be able to look at myself in the mirror with a positive outlook. I want to be able to use my body in the way that the Lord wants me to use it. If I am sick from a preventable disease just because I was too focused on my own selfish desires, I can’t work or serve like I need to. Remembering that can be quite a challenge. 

This week, when you are thinking about what and when you eat, think about this – What are you going to eat? Will it fuel your body or fuel your desires? When are you going to eat? Are you hungry or are you bored? 

Remember, we are to glorify God in all that we do. Are you glorifying God by what you eat?

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A Process

Philippians 2:12,13 – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Yesterday was homecoming at my church. We celebrated 128 years of service and dedication to our little community. It was a great day. We heard great singing and great preaching. We had several feet of amazing food and enjoyed a great time of fellowship.

One thing I heard in amongst the messages yesterday was this – Salvation is not an event but rather a process. Now, before you get all in a fuss, hear me out. It makes sense. 

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are saved. We have been rescued from the grips of hell and are on track for an eternity in Heaven with Him. But our experience, our closeness, our budding relationship with Christ should not stop the moment we accept Him as our Savior. It needs to keep growing, keep changing, keep enlarging. It should be a process that moves upward each and every day, closer and closer to Him. 

Sometimes the devil wants to convince us followers of Christ that we have done all that we need to do by accepting Jesus as our Savior. Yes, the devil still whispers in a believer’s ear. He may not be able to have you for his own, but he can trip you up as often as possible. He wants you to sit on your salvation like it is an event – something that happened and now we move on and away from it. Yep, you’re going to Heaven, now sit back and wait for it. 

That’s not what Jesus had in mind. He desires a closer and closer relationship with us. Living for Christ is not a religion, it is a relationship. It is something that takes work. It is something that requires a choice. It is something that insists upon a decision that every moment of every day will be devoted to the One who died for you. 

Salvation is not just an event, it is a process.

Today, and the rest of this week, remember, it is a process of growing closer and closer to Him each and every day. It is a process of choosing to trust Him with everything. It is a process of growing. It is a process of doing the things that you feel He has called you to do – using your gifts that He has bestowed upon you. Go out there today and grow. Grow, change and draw ever closer to the One who is in control of the sun and the moon. 

The waiting game

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Who likes to wait? Who wants to sit around wondering what will happen? Isn’t that the reason we sneak a peak at the end of the book? Isn’t that when most people find trouble – while they are waiting?

We are a “I want it and I want it NOW” kind of people. We despise waiting. But it seems like our life is full of waiting – doctor’s offices, grocery store, traffic – you name it, and I have probably waited for it. 

Waiting can be a tricky thing. There are times that require us to wait and see what happens. There are other times when we think we know what’s going to happen, but we still have to wait. 

Waiting can teach us or waiting can harm us. It can teach us patience and trust. But when we ignore these lessons, we often find ourself in anxiety and trouble. 

Some people approach waiting with worry. They feel they have no control and therefore they become fearful and anxious. They dwell on what cannot be controlled and become concerned that horrible things are going to happen. 

But the other side of the coin is to trust and be patient. That is the hard part. While waiting, one can learn to turn it all over in prayer. Every last detail can be laid at the cross for Jesus to handle. That too is tough. We like to think that we need to carry just a little bit. We think that it is necessary to hold on to something just in case. This shows mistrust. This is an indicator that the trust factor isn’t fully there. 

Oh, it sounds easy – “Just pray about it and let God deal with it. He’s got it all under control.” And yes, that’s absolutely true. And that’s what our heart is telling us but our minds are spinning and churning out scenarios that can bring us into a stew. 

So, how do you make the two things work together- mind and heart? I have no idea. Let me know if you figure that one out. I think we all face this challenge of waiting, worrying and trusting. It’s tough. 

“Hurry up and wait!” That’s seems to be a common theme some days in my life. But you know what, there is a reason that I need that lesson. I’m waiting on a much bigger event than getting my teeth cleaned – I’m waiting on the return of my Savior. 

And as I wait on Him, I’m learning to trust Him in the little things. I’m  trying to learn that I don’t have to know all the answers right this second. I’m trying to learn that it’s okay to have uncertainty in some things (just not eternity). I’m trying to learn that there is a reason that I’m waiting. 

You will probably find yourself waiting sometime today, I can pretty much guarantee it. So what are you going to do while you wait? Will you sit there and wiggle and squirm and wonder and stress out? Or will you calm down a bit, pray and count your blessings? Maybe it will be a bit of both scenes, that’s probably my answer. I’m trying to learn more of an holy way to approach things, but it is a process. It takes time – more waiting. 😉

Don’t DIY

Genesis 15:1 – ” After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

“Do-it yourself” stuff is all the rage. There is an entire app just for one to look up anything and everything that you can do for yourself. There are stores devoted to getting things around the house “fixed up” by Harry Homeowner himself. We like to do things ourself. In a world where you can get just about everything done by someone else for a price, it feels good to know that you accomplished some great feat all by yourself.

But there are some things that we just cannot do ourself – salvation, for one thing. We cannot attain our own salvation. We can’t work for it. We can’t buy it. We can’t steal it. It has to be given to us. Praise God! I don’t think I could handle the stress of trying to accomplish that task!

There are other ways that we try to out-do God. We try to protect ourself. Now, sure, there are things that we can do, items we can have on hand and such, that will protect us. Security systems, firearms, pepper spray, self-defense techniques, car seats and seat belts, wellness visits to the doctor – these are all ways that we can protect ourself. But as a follower of Christ, we have the best protection we could possibly imagine – we have God as our shield.

When I did a study of the armor of God one time, I learned that the to used for “shield” isn’t some small, dinky, upper body covering thing. No, this “shield” is more like a door that you hide behind. It is huge and all-protecting. You don’t have to worry about anything getting past that thing! The only way to get hurt while having this shield in your armory is to leave it behind.

This is the protection that God is offering everyone who puts their faith and trust in Him. This is the kind of protection He was offering Abraham. This is the same protection He offers you and me today. How cool is that??

In the last part of this verse, God describes Himself as Abraham’s “exceeding great reward”. Now, we LOVE rewards. We love accolades. We love bonuses. We love experiencing and seeing the fruit of our labor. And we want it now. No delayed gratification- that’s for the birds!  We are like that little girl from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. We whine and ball our fist and get all red faced while screaming, “I want it now!”  We never have been good at waiting.

God had promised Abraham a son. Abraham and Sarah were just as bad as us about waiting. But God had promised to be Abraham’s “exceeding great reward”. God promised to be all the reward that Abraham would ever need and/or want. He has made that promise to us today.

It’s the idea of being forward focused. It’s remembering that the best is yet to come. It’s accepting that things may never be the best while we are here and serving Him, but one day, oh one day, I can’t even explain how good things will be. I can only read and try to comprehend how good Heaven will be. I can’t imagine that kind of reward. But I believe with all my heart, that if God said it and/or promised it, that it is a guarantee!

So let me encourage you today – stay behind the shield and remember that the best is yet to come. Sometimes that can be challenging. We don’t want to wait for God to rescue us. And we certainly don’t want to wait to get our reward. But just like that ketchup commercial used to say, “The best things in life come to those who wait.”

The Day After – Revisit

This is a post from one year ago today. Enjoy!

Titus 2:11-14 – “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Have you ever disappointed yourself? You get caught up in doing something that has no eternal value and you find that you have wasted three hours. Wasted. Totally gone. No way to get back that time – ever. Then you come out of your stupor and think about all the things that you could have done in that time – all the things you should have done. And then you come across this verse and the guilt continues.

We were encouraged this weekend at church to live each day with the thought in mind that today could be the day of the Lord’s return, to look for that “blessed hope”. When I came out of my stupor of wasting time, I realized that I was not living this verse at all. I was not being a peculiar person. I was not zealous of good works. I was frustrated and mad at myself.

It’s tough to have a good rest of the day after that. I kept thinking of all the things that I could have done in that time. I asked God to forgive me. I know that He did. I John 1:9 reminds me of that assurance. But the question is, how am I going to make today different? God has given me life this morning. He has given me another opportunity to live out these verses. He has provided me with breath and choices today. Today I have to choose to live more like Him.

Princess, I want you to know and understand this – when you mess up, Jesus stands waiting to forgive you. And when He does, you have to forgive yourself. You have to choose to turn and walk away from that bad decision and move on. You can’t wallow in the could have and should have beens. That is exactly where the devil wants you. He wants you to feel sorry for yourself for the choices that you have made. When you do that, you aren’t being peculiar. You are acting like everyone else.

These verses in Titus encourage us to be different, to see things differently. We have a reason to do so – Jesus. All that Jesus went through for us, all that He suffered, and all He asks is that we choose to be different and follow after Him. Life is going to happen. You will make bad choices. Jesus will forgive you. It’s what you do after that forgiveness that makes you peculiar and zealous of good works. So get out there, princess, and look for that blessed hope while you are living a life worthy of Him.

Lesson in forgiveness

Matthew 18:21,22 – “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

At the beginning of the week, my daughter came home telling me that they were discussing this verse in her social skills class. Her school has different electives that the students must take to improve overall well-being. This is one of them.

Anyway, it has been interesting to see how God is weaving this lesson through my life this week. Yesterday, she came home with homework that required her to think of times in which she would need to forgive. None of them included the incident that happened last night.

She and I had decided that we would do our nails last night. My daughter is constantly doing her nails. She has already put one mark on the coffee table and one mark on the end table with the fingernail polish remover. My husband was not too happy over that one. And then last night, as she was watching television, she spilled red nail polish on our rug in the living room. Panic mode!! I’m grabbing washcloths, my iPad to find out the best way to remove it, hair spray, rubbing alcohol – you name it! I had every imaginable item that I could conceive to get it out of the carpet. All the while, I’m trying so hard not to yell and scream at her. It’s kinda funny how roles reverse. My husband was the calm one in this incident while I played that role with the nail polish remover.

While we are scrubbing and discussing the best way to get the polish out, my daughter sits down in near tears and says, “I can’t do anything right.” “No baby, it’s not that you can’t do anything right,” I said, “it’s just that sometimes you forget to pay attention to what you are doing. You can do lots of things right.” That was the turning point in the whole drama. My eleven year old daughter’s self-confidence hung in the balance in that moment and I could not let her down. I had to practice forgiveness. And when I did, the nail polish didn’t matter any more. What was more important than a stain on the carpet was that she needed to know that her mom believed that she was still awesome even though she spilled red nail polish on the carpet.

Isn’t that what we want from everyone? We want to know that our mistakes do not diminish our worth in their sight. Forgiveness allows that. Forgiveness puts away mistakes and does not bring them up again. Oh, we might remember them and learn from them, but we do not hold them against another when we truly forgive.

Once again, Jesus is our ultimate example. He forgave us all our sins before we even knew how to commit them. He loved this old, sinful world enough to die for it. And He forgives. O, does He forgive. Psalm 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Now that is a sin-forgetting action. That is forgiveness. All we have to do is ask.

So today, Princess, people are going to disappoint you and maybe even hurt your feelings. But do something extraordinary- forgive. Forgive even if they don’t ask for it. Forgive all the more if they do. There should be no limit to your level of forgiveness. Sometimes it might be harder than others, but it should never be something that you refuse to give.

And by the way, you really can’t even see the nail polish on the carpet unless you get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight and really look. God blessed us with a rug that covers a multitude of sins!😊

Temptations

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it .”

My husband teaches the teen Discovery group at our church on Wednesday nights. This week, his lesson was on temptation.
He had the kids to fill out note cards with times when they feel tempted. One that was very common, that I really don’t think about, was their language around their friends. You know, I remember those days when sometimes you just really wanted to talk like the people you are around, but you remember that talking like that is not the right way. Nowadays, I still have people who chose words that I don’t speak but it doesn’t bother me as bad. But I do notice that people notice that I don’t use foul language and they will try to curb their language or apologize when they use words that they know I don’t say.

Ok, back to the thought. Temptation. We all face it each and every day. I am trying to cut back on my sugar intake. We are going on a really nice trip this summer and I don’t want to look like a beached whale in my bathing suit. So, cut back on the sugar. Well, it seems that everywhere I turn there is something sweet to eat or drink. It has been a challenge to go to my favorite restaurants and not drink my beloved sweet tea. But I’m doing okay. I have only had two small cookies and one gluten free brownie in the last three weeks. I have decided to go back to real creamer because I just can’t take the taste of sugar free creamer any more.

My point is this – when we are tempted, it won’t be more than we can bear. You can go through it without fear of doing it alone. Jesus walks with you. And if you go through it, He will provide a way out of it. Sometimes temptation can be avoided. But sometimes it is unavoidable. You just have to go through it.

And when you reach the other side, you are stronger. You have faced the temptation and you have rejected it and because of that rejection to sin, you have added another layer to your armor. You are more spiritually strong. You are more mentally strong. You know that if you can face this temptation, you can face any other one that comes your way as long as you are walking with Him.