Monday, December 21, 2009
It started as just a month, then two, and then I pushed it to the end of Lent. After that, I just kept pushing it back month by month. I realized that the cravings I had stopped after the first month. I found that what I really liked was the quick, convenient meal. There have been a few times that I've had to eat at a fast food place- on trips. But I opted for the grilled chicken wraps or salads.
Like I said, I really loved the convenience. I was too busy to stop and plan out what to eat...well, truthfully it was just easier not to plan out.
I live in a fast-paced society. One that values productivity, ease, and quick fixes. It seems I hear more commercials pushing the latest energy drink/pill instead of addressing the real problem: lack of rest. Fast food is much the same: an option for an overworked and underthought lifestyle that many have come to know all too well.
Ok. Enough of that. My challenge to you is this: quit or cut down on fast food. Go "cold turkey" or cut in half the fast food you eat per week. Make it a resolution. I promise you'll feel better & notice a difference. You don't have to give up fried food completely, but do try to cut down. Especially on the times you eat on the run. Eating could become enjoyable if you let it. So could sleep. Welcome the pause in productivity.
PS- yes, I do still have cravings. But they are few & usually come when I don't feel I have time for a sit-down meal.
Monday, December 14, 2009
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
Last week I had the opportunity to "uphold" (see post 1 of series) some of my fellow classmates. For many of us, the semester was full of doubts, frustrations, realizations, and everything between. Needless to say, it takes its toll on a person. I was glad to have the opportunity to encourage some of my peers and grateful for the chance to return the kindness and support that others have shown me this semester.
The previous two posts in this series have been about the self- how others help us and the importance of letting them do so. But how do we respond? At the risk of being cliche, how do we pay it forward? Do we give more than we recieve?
I don't have solid answers for you, but rather an encouragement to look for opportunities to do so. Look for times when people are struggling- both those you know and those you don't know. Then, be bold and quick to help. I think you'll find that "returning" the support and love you've been shown is incredibly fulfilling.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
"She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say,
'I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.' She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal." Hosea 2:7-8
Last week I accompanied a youth group on a trip to a corn maze. I had never done one of these things before and was curious to see what it was like - how difficult it was, how entertaining I found 'being lost,' and how the youth would behave during the maze. When it came time to go through the maze, I was partnered with a group of junior high guys. They seemed eager to get started.
They walked the first few steps, then started jogging. I reluctantly quickened my step and tried to post on twitter about the maze as I tried to keep up with the group that kept disappearing around the next bend. It wasn't long before the conversation started, "We've already been here." "No, remember..." We were lost. In a hurry to finish the maze, there was little though going into turns and navigation...most of us really weren't sure if we had "been there" before- it's hard to take mental notes on the run, especially when all the corn stalks look alike!
How often to we get so excited about something that we cannot contain ourselves and "sprint" after it? I am so guilty of this. I find something interesting, pursue it with all my abilities, and then wonder why it wasn't everything I expected. I often find myself way off track and wondering how I got there.
I guess what I'm saying is that I think the cliche "walk with God" is appropriate terminology. Going slowly allows us to be familiar with how we got there. Slow down, take note of the ways that God is working in your life and stop and look around.
Monday, October 26, 2009
"Relevant" has become somewhat of a buzzword for many churches today. I know I've heard a fair amount of statements about how the church needs to do this or that in order to be relevant (or perhaps 'more appealing'). While I'm no expert, I think that the verse above (which I've taken out of context on purpose) can serve as a battle cry for wanting a "relevant" church. I do think it's important for the church's teaching to be relevant, but I think that the interpretation of how exactly the church is to become relevant can be the point of danger.
We are the church. We are called by Christ to be different. I fear that too many moves to be "relevant" may result in a loss of identity. And this concern spills over into the individual lives of Christians too (myself included). I fear that in trying to fit in, we may forget that we are not intended to fit in. Evaluating the life experiences of Christ and the apostles with society will show just how much those who follow God stick out sometimes. We are called to righteousness.
Remember your calling. Minister to all people.
" 'Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." Exodus 19: 5-6
(If the Old Testament seems irrelevant, this same language is repeated in 1 Peter 2:9-12)
Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
" 'I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the desert,
through a land not sown."
Monday, September 28, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
"His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.
But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them." Genesis 50:18-21
After my recent theft experience, I was left to reflect and try to gain some understanding as to why it happened. I addressed this in last week's devotional. The other thing I thought about was how to deal with this... Genesis 50:20 is an easy verse to look at when one feel's victimized. But I don't want to talk about verse 20. I want to talk about Joseph's perspective, and his statement in verse 19: "Am I in the place of God?"
Joseph had every reason to be angry and every reason to seize an opportunity to get even. But instead, he was able to see and understand that it wasn't his place to get even. Instead of using his powerful position against his brothers (they sold him into slavery), he used his position to help them, thus repairing the family relationship. Maybe Joseph knew that he hadn't always been easy to get along with (see Gen. 37:1-10)... whatever happened, Joseph realized that there was no sense in repaying evil with evil. Instead, he worked for the good of all, and looked for a way to be the solution to the problem rather than adding to the bitterness and hatred.
We all need to take a lesson from Joseph's life. Use your opportunities and positions to mend relationships and bring healing in a wounded world.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." Matthew 6: 19
Last Monday night/Tuesday morning my car was broken into. I foolishly left my wallet in my car (I thought it was out of sight, but apparently not), and someone smashed the window took the wallet, a book of CDs, a cell phone charger, and some random other things. Of course, the biggest loss was my wallet- all of the cards that were in there, my driver's license... basically most of the ways that I can be identified as being me. I spent the rest of the day calling credit card companies, speaking with people at my bank, and talking to police... trying to figure out how to put things back to the way they had been. It was definitely a day to forget.
During all of the phone calls and waiting around, I tried to see the positive: maybe someone really needed that cash more than me. Maybe someone will actually get more play out of those CDs... but everything seemed to be about the other person. I didn't want to be selfish, but really 'What was in it for me?' Answer:
All of these things can be taken in a matter of moments. All of these things can be replaced in a few hours (or through some phone calls). Many of the things that we value so much really aren't worth as much as we make them out to be.
I take comfort in knowing that the one truly invaluable thing I have cannot be taken from me.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
Monday, September 7, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
The king of Nineveh suggests that the people of the great city may not be beyond saving... he calls for confession and for them to repent from their sinful ways. Maybe Nineveh won't "be overturned" (v. 4b) as the prophet Jonah had declared to the people of the city.
The thought of a merciful God is not exactly what most people picture when they think of the 'God of the Old Testament.' Usually, people think of a wrathful, warrior God in the Old Testament stories... so the king's hopes could easily be called overly optimistic. But then again, "Who knows?"
Trying to walk the path that Jesus walked can be an incredibly frustrating task, and frustrations can easily turn to guilt or hopelessness. We can start beating ourselves up over stumbles and struggles, and at these times it's easy to think that we are unforgivable. However, we must learn from the king: recognize your faults, repent, and ask for God's grace and forgiveness... for we know that we worship a God who freely gives grace to all that ask. We must stop limiting God by believing we know the limits of God's grace.
Trust in God's steadfast love, and let God be your provider.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
"One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong,and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done." Psalm 62:11-12 (NIV)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
In recent conversations and some of the reading I've been doing, I've
been encouraged to be more bold with my faith, and more transparent about my life. So I'd like to share this:
Last week I was playing a softball game with some of the men from our
church. During the last few games, I had grown tired of hearing my teammates complain about bad calls. It had eaten at me for a while. So when a few of our players
began pleading a case to an umpire, I rolled my eyes and stated (loud
enough to be heard over the banter), "Just Shut up."
I went on to state that I was tired of our complaining. It made the
game less enjoyable. It made us look like whiners. I wondered how we
were being Christ to the umpires as we questioned every close call. I
wondered what image of Christ we were presenting to those within earshot.
However, I failed to be Christ-like to my own teammates. I
unneccessarily scolded them, spoke to them in a very un-Christian way.
Sure, my intentions may have been good- to get the guys to glorify God
through their actions (even on the softball field), but I did it all
wrong. After the game, I did take time to apologize and explain my frustrations. I hope that the team can, 1) forgive me, and 2) begin to make an effort to live as we are called, even on the field of competition.
I think sometimes I take this whole Christianity thing too lightly. I
struggle to let it direct my entire life. I know i've been the one
complaining and arguing before, but I showed little patience for my teammates. And, as evidenced in the story, I've definitely lost my temper once in a while.
What kind of life do we lead when we aren't at church? What do our actions say about Christ when we are competing, stressed, irritated...? Are we encouraging each other to live the gospel daily?
God wants to change every part of your life, not just the parts you're
comfortable being Christ-like in...all of it. What are you holding on
to? Where in your life do you need to be transformed? Be unashamedly Christ-like.
"In everything, set them an example by doing what is good. IN your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2: 7
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long,
for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
You'll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You'll sink our sins
to the bottom of the ocean." Micah 7: 18-19 (The Message)
Monday, March 30, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
"He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet." Proverbs 27: 7
Have you ever felt that God is just not working in your life? Maybe church just doesn't seem to be uplifting? Or perhaps your quiet time/devotional time isn't producing as much knowledge and encouragement as you hope for? And you finally find yourself wondering where is God in all this?
God is not absent, you're probably just feeling satisfied...but that doesn't seem to make sense, because you're far from satisfied. Perhaps a better term is that you've lost the hunger. You no longer seek God. You go through the motions, perhaps out of habit or obligation, and you no longer crave that intimate moment with the One who sustains you. If you're "loathing honey", try something different- change your 'diet' up a little...look for nourishment in places you never thought could offer anything spiritual.
This week: ask someone else how they encounter God when they're feeling down and disconnected...then try it!
Monday, February 9, 2009
We are constantly hoping for independence. It's one of the goals that many of us spend our lives working toward. There are numerous types of independence, so the word can mean different things to different people. But often we feel that a successful person is one that has lots of support, but doesn't need any of it. But we do need support. We're not meant to be completely independent. God created us to be in a relationship with our Creator. It is impossible to feel whole unless we have a relationship with God, and this relationship is through Christ.
Perhaps a more universal goal is happiness. Independence, at least the complete kind, is not possible if we hope to maintain happiness. We are sustained and encouraged by the Spirit. The sooner we learn to depend on God, the sooner we will find that we are content and truly happy. I pray that you will come to understand this as the psalmist did:
"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." Psalm 33: 20-21 NIV
Monday, February 2, 2009
"'Everything is permissible'—but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible'—but not everything is constructive." 1 Corinthians 10: 23
Paul writes this to the church in Corinth, addressing their concerns over eating food that was considered unclean because it had been offered to idols. Yesterday's sermon was about this same topic. However, I just want to use Paul's words as advice for wise-living.
We live in a world that offers us a lot of fun. Thanks to free will, we are able to do whatever we want. However, we learn early in life that for every decision there is a consequence. It's easy to get comfortable with the things of the world that seem fun, but ultimately Paul's words ring true: just because we're allowed to do something fun, doesn't mean it's good, or that it's not going to cause harm to us or to someone else.
This week, strive to do only things that are beneficial. Don't be like me- I didn't think about the physics of what I thought would be fun and I paid for it. Think ahead, ask God to give you the foresight to see things that could be physically, emotionally, or spiritually damaging.