Archive | February 2010

You ARE what you eat!

Feeling blah, sluggish, cranky, nervous?  Maybe you’re eating too much junk food.  Toxins (dyes, MSG, preservatives) can cause “neurobehavioral” problems according to a recent headline.**

sorry, oreo's 😦

Symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) have been linked to toxins in packaged foods such as fish sticks, tater tots, soda, and, God forbid, cookies. 

I wonder if the same thing doesn’t make it hard for us to pay attention when we read the Bible or sit in on a sermon.  Our minds race with random thoughts….(ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION HERE?!)

And a steady diet of our toxic culture can definitely lead to “spirituobehavioral” problems; apathy, sin, and the like.

What have you been eating lately?

Chew on this: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Isn’t that sweet?  Now sink your teeth into this:

“…you are precious in My sight, …you are honored and I love you..”  Isaiah 43:4

And, for dessert (careful, this is rich):

 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10

The Balanced Diet Prayer“Oh Father in heaven, Thou art very great! (Psalms 104:1)  Greater than Oreos, greater than Pepsi, and worthy of my attention.  Please direct my heart to love you and to be steadfast in Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”

Know Jesus?  He knows you!  Click the pic below to eat at His table 🙂

 

**Journal Star, 2/26/10, “We are we eat,” by Clare Howard, section C1

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“This crowd gave me wings…”

“This crowd gave me wings.  It was one of the best races of my life…” ~ Canada’s speedskating Olympian, who scored the bronze medal in the 5000-meter race, the last race of her career.

That’s what we’re supposed to do for each other in this counter-cultural Olympic race we run as Christians.  It’s not easy, and the cheering on we receive can make all the difference between winning or giving up on the sidelines.

Who have you encouraged today, be it with a written note of thanks, a pat on the back, a prayer of support, a hug?  Go on! Give someone wings!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“…. encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessa lonians 5:14

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

The Olympian’s Prayer:

“Oh, Father in heaven, You love me so much and want me to be a winner.  And You are “able to make all grace abound to [me], so that in all things at all times, having all that [I] need, [I] will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)  Please show me how to encourage my friends and family to be winners.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Do you have a life coach?  Mine is Jesus Christ. Click the pic below to join His team:

Speedskaters photo from: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/10/26/sports/olympics/27celski_ringsblog/blogSpan.jpg

Cream ‘O Wheat Faith

My thoughts this morning at the stove, “The Cream of Wheat might not like the heat, but without heat, I get no breakfast treat.”  (It rhymes. 🙂 )

And sometimes, when God’s cooking up something special for us, he has to apply some heat.

“…because the Lord disciplines those he loves… Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:6a, 10-11

Are you feeling some heat?  You might not like it,but remember– you’re never alone in the flames:

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“God doesn’t always give us answers, but He always gives us Himself.” ~~ Chip Ingram

“…and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.  Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”  He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Click here to read the rest of the story in Daniel 3)

An old, old devotional, Streams in the Desert, is recommended reading in the heat.  This excerpt was especially encouraging to me when I was in my own furnace once.  Read it  here . ( If you can’t now, bookmark it for later.  It’s really good.)

And, speaking of recommended reading, the link on the right, “I’m Suffering!” is chocked FULL of encouraging words and articles.  Great for bookmarking, as well.

Let’s pray:

“Oh, Father, thank you for loving me.  You know what’s best for me and I know I can trust you during the hard times.  Every cook knows without heat, the bread don’t rise, and You’re the best cook of all, so help me to trust that you’re cooking up something really good in/with my life when I feel the flames.

Give me patience in the oven.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Finally 🙂 Here’s Louis Armstrong singing “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego”  Enjoy!!!

Start at the top. It’s all downhill from there

Downhill from where? From the safety of his wings, of course…

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

From what hill are you hurtling yourself on a daily basis?  The speeds are astronomical, the turns death-defying.  Are you prepared?

“I knew what I had to do, I knew what type of run I needed to take. I had to attack and I did that,” she added. “I made it down. It’s awesome, it’s all I ever wanted.” ~~ Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold, Women’s Downhill, 2010 Olympics.

Do you have a plan of attack?  Do you know what you have to do, what type of run you need to take?  Start on His hill:

” To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.” ~~ Psalm 3:4

To win,  you need a good coach.  Mine is Jesus.  He’d love to coach you through your day to day route.  Click the pic below to hear how you can join his team.

Lindsey Vonn

The Victor’s prayer:  Oh Lord, You are and You are a Rewarder of them that seek You. (Hebrews 11:6)  I am seeking you now because I want to start each day on the heights with You, knowing” it’s all downhill from there” :).  Thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Start on His hill…Your soul He will fill…with truth, peace, and love…and help from above…to choose the best way…as you go through your day….

So grab the Bible and read…tell Him all of your need…He’ll listen, He will…when you start on His hill. (G. Young)

Lessons from the Luge

click pic for source

Ever feel like an Olympic luger, racing through life so fast any little bump or hole could hurl you over the edge?  Maybe you need to slowwwww dowwwwwwn.  The 2010 Lenten Season is upon us and Christians of all faiths are more and more taking advantage of this time of reflection and repentance to slow down, take a deep breath in and out, and strengthen their faith for the race ahead.

My friend, Amy, recently wrote a great post on the subject.  Grab a cup of tea and enjoy: Looking to Lent

p.s. please pray for the family of Olympic luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili as they cope with their loss.

photo borrowed from the Telegraph.co.uk. Click on image for full story.

Hudson Taylor

J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)

My last post featured a challenge from a young soldier stationed in Iraq.  It was a challenge to every soldier of Christ to read the Bible and , more importantly, DO what it says.

Coincidentally, I came across a similar challenge in J. Hudson Taylor’s autobiography.  Mr. Taylor was one of the first missionaries to inland China and started the  China Inland Mission.  He was kind of a radical among missionaries of the time as he and his fellow workers gave up their refined English clothing for Chinese dress and traded their tea and crumpets and silverware for rice and fish and chopsticks.  see below:

His writing style is a little more, shall we say,” stuffy” than Stephen “Blu” Mack, soldier in Iraq’s, since it was written so long ago, but the message is just as loud and clear.
Enjoy this short-ish quote! Or as J. Hudson Taylor might have said, “Be enriched to the fullest degree!”  🙂 ~~
Note: He’s talking about the time before he became a Christian:
“It may seem strange to say it, but I have often felt thankful for the experience of this time of skepticism.  The inconsistencies of Christian people, who, while professing to believe their Bibles,were yet content to live just as they would if there were no such Book, had been one of the strongest arguments of my skeptical companions; and I frequently felt at that time, and said that if I pretended to believe the Bible I would at any rate attempt to live by it, putting it fairly to the test, and if it failed to prove true and reliable, I would throw it overboard altogether.
“These views I retained when the Lord was pleased to bring me to Himself; and I think I may say that since then I have put God’s Word to the test.  Certainly it has never failed me.  I have never had reason to regret the confidence I have placed in its promises, or to deplore following the guidance I have found in its directions.”  ~ J. Hudson Taylor

Questions: What do you think it means to “put God’s Word to the test”?  In which of God’s promises do you need to “place your confidence”?  Remember, “all the promises are yes in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Oh, that we would all place our confidence in God’s promises, like Hudson Taylor.

To that end, let’s pray “The Chopstick Prayer”:
“Oh, Father in heaven, you are so good.  You gave us the Bible to show us how to live (2 Timothy 3:16) and you gave us the Holy Spirit to help us to do it (Acts 1:8).  May I please be like a pair of chopsticks in Your hand, doing whatever you will.  In Jesus’ name, amen!”

Here’s a book about Hudson Taylor you might want to buy and read by yourself or with your family . There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter.  Click on the pic for ordering information.

Steve “Blu” Mack, soldier in Iraq

Stephen "Blu" Mack in Iraq

  My friend’s son, Stephen,  has recently traded his cozy midwest life for a ticket to Iraq, and his blue jeans for army-issue green. 

And in this note  posted on Facebook, Steve “Blu” Mack, soldier in Iraq,  shows he’s been, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses before him, meeting with God in the desert.  

 (Steve Mack, far right, above)
 
” Here’s a really easy question to answer:  When was the last time you read your Bible? … I mean really read it and not just sat down for five minutes and realized you had something else going on and then left, but I mean sat down and just talked to God.   

“That’s something that I have been really blessed with out here in Iraq, is a bunch of down time that I have been able to spend in Gods word and grow closer to Him. That’s the whole point of the Bible isn’t it? …

 “How can a young man keep his way pure by living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you O’Lord, teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statues as one rejoices in great riches.” Psalms 119:9-14.   

”  I love reading the Psalms because it shows a what a real relationship with God can be like. It shows us that God wants so much more of us then just Sunday mornings and a couple nights a week.   He wants our whole lives,  just like in a marriage.  When you get married you don’t say,  “I’ll love you for 5 out 7 days a week.”  If you did,  you wouldn’t be married that long. It’s the same thing with God. God’s calling on us isn’t just a 9-5 job, it’s a life style that we have to commit to.   

“We have to be willing to pick up our own crosses and follow Him. “For if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

Now that means getting into the Word and praying, not just on Sunday mornings, because when Friday rolls around, that daily bread you got on Sunday won’t do you any good. That’s pretty much it, and I’d really like to hear any input anyone has on this or anything else. Thanks and God Bless.” ~Stephen “Blu” Mack

Are you following The Leader?  Click on the pic below to learn how to fall into formation: