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

“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:

The Super Bowl Ball: It’s Official!

AP Photo, Wilson Sporting Goods Football Factory; Ada, OH

As the crowd cheers and the confetti flies, its easy to overlook one of the most important players in this year’s Super Bowl:  the football.   

The Colts and the Saints didn’t just pick up their favorite balls from the local Walmart in Miami on their way to the game.

Noooo, the official Super Bowl balls have been carefully stitched together at The Wilson Sporting Goods Factory in Ada Ohio since the Green Bay Packers tromped the Kansas City Chiefs, 35 to 10, at the first Super Bowl game in Los Angeles in 1966. The football’s measurements have to be just so, “28 inches end to end, 21 inches around the middle, and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces”.**  No more, no less.

Wanna see how it’s done?

So, if the ball says Wilson, the NFL knows they can trust it.  In the same way, we can trust in the name of the Lord our God:

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

And just as Wilson knows footballs, God knows people and sews them together with skill and love.  See?

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”  Psalm 139:13-14

And, just like the players huddle together to form the best plan for their ball, God has formed the best plans for us:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

The Football’s prayer:  (highlighted words/phrases are links to the verses we’ll be praying.  If you like one, in particular, you can click on it and copy it down to “store it in your locker” [Ps. 119:11] for future play. 🙂 Same for the verses above. ) Let’s pray:

“Oh, Father in heaven, you are the best coach there is.  Better than Vince Lombardi, who lead his team to win the first Super Bowl in ’66.  You have the BEST plays.  Help me to follow your lead and trust that in your hands is a safe place to be.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”

Do you know The Coach ?  Click on the pic below to be introduced:

Vince Lombardi, Time Magazine cover, "The Sport of the 60's"

What do you think?  Got any thoughts to add to this post?  Comment below…

** ball facts from Journal Star, 2/7/2010, front page

Who Dat?!!

 

 

Super Bowl celebration in New Orleans

 Never mind the rain, c’est une belle journée in New Orleans for a Super Bowl Parade!  (that’s Cajun for, “It’s a beautiful day!”, I googled 🙂 )  

 

And what will ring in everyone’s ear as they fill the streets of New Orleans: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?!”

And why will the cajuns be shoutin’ this? The Saints’ quarterback, Drew Brees, and his wife try to explain it to Katie Couric: 

 

You know,  our heavenly père (that’s cajun for father, don’tcha know) calls us saints. ( Click HERE for a list of verses that shows that.)  

And we saints have a team of enemy tacklers that surround us every day.  Although they don’t wear  jerseys and shoulder pads and we can’t see them as easily as the Saints could see the Colts at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, they’re just as menacing and always hovering about trying to “beat dem saints”:  

 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12  

And we would be too faible (cajun for weak) and soon be estropié (crippled) if we tried to face them without our uniforms: 

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
 
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:13-17) 
 
And when we’re armoured up and following our coach, who can defeat us?!  Shout it with me: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?!  Nobody!!!”
 Now, pray it with me!  

Drew Brees with son after 2010 Super Bowl victory

(We’ll be praying Bible verses, so click on highlighted sentences, if you like, to see which ones we’re praying.  If one stands out to you, you can write it down to “hide it in your heart” )   

Oh, Father in heaven, thanks be to you who gives me the victory in Christ..  If you are for me,   who can be against me? 

 Who shall separate me from your love?  ‘Shall  trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things I are more than a conqueror through him who loved me. 

“So, Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dis saint?!  NO BODY!!!  Thank you, Jesus!  Amen!”  

Are you on the team? Click on the confetti to join the victory parade:  

  

confetti photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adoseofshipboy/216516964/in/photostream/   

Super Duper Bowl!

The Saints were the underdog team going into this year’s Super Bowl.  Their running back, Pierre Thomas  had “numerous doubters” about his abilities as a player in the past.  And noo one wanted their quarterback, Drew Brees after a shoulder injury awhile back.

And, remember, it wasn’t too long ago that Katrina left their home dome in New Orleans  filled with cries of pain and despair instead of victorious shouts of “Who Dat?!”

 So, the chance to win the Super Bowl this year meant a lot for New Orleans.

And, they won!!!!!  Go Saints!!! 

You know, we’re on a team, too, Christian; a team full of down-and-outers:

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” 1 Corinthians 1:26

God is our coach and he picks His players very carefully:

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are,  so that no one may boast before him.”  :27-29

So, are you an underdog? You’re on the right team!  Have people doubted you’re abilities? You’re on the right team!  Have you been put-down, under-rated?  You’re on the right team!  Go saints!!!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   2 Corinthians 12:9