Living in America has the very subtle & sneaky attempt to be blinded by glitz, glam, image, shiny, trendy and veneer. Whether we realize it or not, our culture bombards us with airbrushed faces, glimmery white teeth, body images that are almost physically impossible and lots more. If we aren’t careful, we can be seduced by image and forget that substance, character and integrity are very important.
With this in mind, I find it very interesting that the person who heralded Jesus’ arrival was the antithesis of image conscious – John the Baptist was very earthy and for that matter, so is Jesus. The Son of God, robed in splendor, glory and the ultimate glitz put on our skin, lived among us and was often mistaken for a mere man. May the Holy Spirit help us to reveal Jesus through our daily and earthy living 🙂
These are a few of my favorite things: peaches, pho, fresh coffee, clean sheets, snuggling with my kids, a good read, a heartfelt conversation, prayer, . . . . . And one generality that holds true for all of these things is “staying fresh”. For example, I recently bought like two boxes of peaches because I know that we are coming to the end of peach season & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE peaches. But the problem is that these peaches are getting “tired” – not as good as when they’re at the peak of freshness & season. Pho is another example of keeping stuff fresh – whenever I bring home leftover pho & it sits in the refrigerator, it gets gross.
I think this is also true in our relationship with Jesus. A stale, old and tired walk with Jesus can get pretty ugly. So here are a few ideas that could be helpful in keeping fresh with Jesus:
Bible reading: change your translation from time to time
spiritual conversations: talk with a friend about Jesus and what you like about Him
take a bath: sometimes we need to wash off some dirt & road wear;
fasting / prayer: periodically, it helps me to do something extra (fast a meal or a few days, take a lunch to pray, look for someone for whom to pray
time: it always takes my breath away when I consider that God considers my presence to be a present ,)
Seems like we all juggle lots of things: kids schedules with sports, practices, dr appointments, work responsibilities, relationship stuff, . . . the hustle, bustle & rustle of everyday living.
In all of these things, let’s be mindful to nurture in our hearts our relationship with Jesus. Lots of things want your attention so we must daily chose to fellowship with Jesus beyond the quickie “help!!!” requests. While these are important & good, our hearts are designed for deep fellowship with Jesus so lets yield to our design & align our values, focus & time to nurture the deeps with Jesus!
Our culture tells us that “more” isn’t enough. We need more money, more time, more status, more popularity, more followers, more friends, more activities, more education, more clothes, more muscles, more fitness, more image, more contacts, more influence, . . . . . . . I’ve been thinking about “more” in light of what the Bible says about the demands of our culture for more & increased provisions.
In the Bible, God is revealed as God our Provider / Provision in Genesis 22, when Abraham discovers the “ram in the thicket” as he’s about to sacrifice his son Isaac. Our culture thoroughly affirms the truth that God is our Provider and we revel in experiencing God’s provisions (in an already abundant country). But Abraham’s journey to experience God as his Provider was on the path of sacrifice. The whole journey that ended up with Abraham experiencing God’s provisions was the preparation and journey of obedience & sacrifice. Maybe what we really need is more sacrifice 🙂
Out of the frying pan and into the fire: I was reading about how David was trying to stay away from King Saul in 1 Samuel because Saul was trying to kill David. It’s really interesting to me that God sent David a prophet in 1 Sam 22 & told David to leave the stronghold where he was staying & go back to Judah, where he was more vulnerable to Saul’s attempts to kill him – out of the frying pan and into the fire.
No one likes to be uncomfortable or in difficult situations. If you’re like me, we often look for the paths of least resistance & opposition, along with the areas of greatest safety and comfort. But clearly, this wasn’t how God was directing David in 1 Sam 22. It seems to me that we often trust God the least when we are the most comfortable ,)
We have a joke in our family about my cooking – when the smoke alarm goes off in our house, it’s a good sign that we’re going to have a great meal and the more smoke alarms that go off, the better the meal. It’s become kind of humorous among all of us and we’ve become somewhat accustomed to a dinner time smoke alarm – which can be a little scary. Alarms are meant to alert us that something is amiss and should be immediately checked upon. When we get dull to alarms, things can become severely dangerous and God forbid that we should sleep through such alarms!
I wonder if there could be some alarms in our lives that alert us to spiritual lethargy, passivity and languor. I wonder if we don’t sometimes become so comfortable, settled, cozy and tucked into our daily routines that our spiritual lives become dull, shallow and even moribund. Perhaps God is making a clarion call to our hearts to shake off the allure of comfort that can unknowingly poison us with a sleeping sickness that deadens our senses to God’s alarms
The enemy of great is good, the adversary of excellent is average and the foe of extraordinary is moderate. Let’s love God with great sincerity, excellent pursuit and extraordinary passion.
Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope your day went well, with lots of peace, joy and enjoyable food 🙂 A few days ago, I posted about how I don’t really care for cooking turkey because of the litany of failed attempts my family has endured over many years. Well, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s turkey was totally tasty! It wasn’t burned, not too dry, not undercooked nor any of the other ways that I’ve ruined turkeys over many years – yahoo!!!
So here’s some encouragement. Think of something that you’ve been trying to get good at for a long time, then consider a few things:
perhaps the lessons you’ve learned from the failures just helped you to understand better what doesn’t work
be thankful that you don’t have to make the same list of mistakes – you can make new ones
perhaps you next attempt will be the one that brings you success
if you next attempt doesn’t succeed consider that you’re one step further from failure & closer to success 🙂
With Thanksgiving popping up in less than 48 hours, I am facing my age-old nemesis, the turkey. I think that I’ve figured out almost every way to ruin a turkey (undercooking, overcooking, offering a burnt sacrifice, along with many other accidents). So I’m totally keen to throw in a lasagna & call it good 🙂
But alas, I will do the traditional turkey & there’s a good chance that I’ll get it right this year – hope springs eternal. And this is exactly my point: hope springs eternal. Just because I’ve had a litany of turkey traumas doesn’t mean that this year is going to be another “challenge.” After a 1,000 failed attempts with his light bulb invention, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
I read this morning about how Samuel was working on picking the next king for Israel after Saul & was being introduced to Jesse’s sons, from the oldest to the youngest. When Samuel first met Jesse’s oldest son, Samuel thought he was a shew-in, but God quickly corrected Samuel & told him not to make decisions based on external appearances – God looks at the heart & isn’t influenced by what’s on the outside (tall, handsome, suave, etc). After meeting supposedly all of Jesse’s sons, Samuel didn’t pick any of them. Finally, Jesse mentioned that his last son, the smallest & maybe the least likely or eligible, was out herding sheep. Once they brought in David, Samuel knew he was to be the next king. David was the least likely & seemingly most ineligible – tiny but mighty. In my mind, tiny by mighty, was often a theme in David’s life (Goliath, fighting the Philistines, running from Saul, overcoming Absalom’s treachery & more). Tiny can most certainly be mighty 🙂
My son told me that he ate half of a rolly polly yesterday – I think this was during recess, but I didn’t ask for too many details. For most of us Americans, this sounds pretty gross, but it’s my own fault because I introduced him to eating beetles and grasshoppers when we were in Cambodia last year. Clearly, he’s overcome the standard Amercian resistance to eating insects & now he has a wider range of protein options ,)
So perhaps we can learn from my son’s expanding dietary pallette and pray that God would instill in us a taste & hunger for spiritual things more than natural things. Just something to consider on this lovely Fall day 🙂