Monthly Archives: December 2011

Resurrection from the Bed

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I can’t raise myself from the dead.  Some mornings I can’t even raise myself from the bed!  When I do some thoughtless or stupid thing I reprimand myself with, “You’ve made your bed, now sleep in it!”  But the fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that even those troubles that I’ve created myself can be resurrected, resolved, recreated into something that will honor Him.  I can turn absolutely everything over to Him and trust Him to weed through the rubble and resurrect what’s dead.  That’s His business. My business is to pray- and obey (and stay out of the fray).  From the smallest resurrection (Lord, resurrect this day that has started so badly); to the greatest (Lord, the people of this nation, tongue and tribe needs spiritual resurrection), it’s no skin off His back to make it happen.  Actually, it was skin off his back and so much more, and he did it all to resurrect my dead-and yours. What does that mean to you?

I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to my God and your God. John 20:17

Jesus: Always Thinking of Others

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Nothing promotes self-absorption like stress.  I’ve honed the sullen sigh, the wrinkled brow and under-the-breath muttering to an Oscar-worthy form.  Go ahead-spill the maple syrup in the pantry and leave it to drip down the shelves; floss your teeth onto the bathroom mirror and sling the string in the sink (say it fast three times); feed the coffee creamer to the cat and put the empty carton back in the fridge; tell me you need the tax information by noon, and I just might use my broom for more than flying.

Enter Jesus.  Facing the ultimate stress of carrying our sins to the cross, he spent the day acting outwardly.  He cleaned up after others (washed the disciples feet), served a meal (the last supper) ate and pursued fellowship, prayed for others, took care of his mom, spoke forgiveness to those who harmed Him, and encouraged the sinner beside Him.  That’s the Son of God for ya.

His last hours have taught me a secret cure for both stress and self-absorption:  Pick up the phone and call someone who really has problems. Serve. Show hospitality. Pray. Take care of my family.  Forgive those who “know not what they do” and encourage the one struggling with sin.  For a minute there, I forgot about the seven billion people in the world, and… that it’s only one-sevenbillionth about me.    🙂

Fear: the Gift that Keeps on Giving

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Yeah, I woke up fretful again. I don’t know-maybe it’s just low blood sugar-but fretful about my kids; not the ones who don’t know Him, the ones who do.  Fretful that human philosophies and personal opinions will  supersede truth, yada,yada,yada ad infinitum. Stressed and distressed, Of course I prayed; and fretted about being fretful (fear: the gift that keeps on giving).  Then I read the Christmas account again, and found these two words in neon: FEAR NOT.  I suppose “a Savior has been born” should’ve shone brightest, but even the angels know that us humans can’t seem to grasp the greatest message until the obstacle of fear is addressed and dealt with. So “Fear not” to Mary, the angel said.  And “Fear not” to Joseph, too (more than once to him- I guess he was more a worrier than Mary).  “Fear not” to the shepherds.  And today, “Fear not” to me (quite a few times- I worry more than Joseph).  I’ve calmed down and oh yeah, now I remember- the Savior has been born.  All better. Comfort and Joy.

“…Because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”  1st Timothy 4:10

P.S.  There are over 365 references to “fear not” in the Bible?  That should get me through to next Christmas.  🙂

Christmas Presence

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Wow. Settle down, dear heart.  My mind is like a swallow darting here and there, absorbed in Christmas presents and forgetting all about Christmas Presence- Emmanuel, God with me.  I’m chompin’ at the bit to be “done” with my quiet time.  Really.  How ludicrous is that?  So I did a word study on the following verse:

“Surely I have composed and quieted my soul.  Like a weaned child rests against its mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.”  Ps.  131:2

Composed- to make level, smooth, still, set.

Quieted- silenced, stilled, die (as in die to all my crazy unnecessary Christmas projects)

Weaned- to deal fully with, amended, paid in full

Rest against- lean fully into, a state of rest, a position of leaning against the chest (able to hear the heartbeat of another).

Prince of Peace, may I set my heart firmly in You today, silencing all the voices tyrannizing my mind; May I die to the lusts of  Christmas.  For You have given Your grace-paid in full, amended all things concerning me today.  May I lean fully against You and listen for your quiet, steady heart that beats in love for this world.  

The No Excuses Diet- a month later

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I’ve lost 22 lbs. on my No Excuses Diet (which, if you read my original blog on the subject, simply means there is no excuse for not losing the 30+ pounds I’ve gained since moving to Utah).  I just got back from a Christmas celebration in California and in spite of See’s candy, crab dip, cheese cake and you name it, and baking the usual Christmas fare (English Toffee, double-ginger cookies, chocolate covered everything (cinnamon bears, pretzels, apricots, and anything else I could find in the cupboard-except the green olives and dill pickles), I’ve still lost a pound in the past week.  I ate a little of everything  and a lot (at least 2 dozen) white chocolate/crushed peppermint dipped pretzels.  By a little, I mean one taste-or in the case of See’s, I started to eat a piece and then decided that my english toffee was better, so I opted to eat an equal size of my toffee instead.  I missed a whole 5 days of exercise and didn’t do my usual jotting down of everything that passes my lips (sans toothpaste) and still. It was kind of a test for me.  Could I ask the Lord to direct my eating and then listen (that’s the hard part), and then obey (the hardest part).  All I can say is I thank the Lord.  He cares about seemingly insignificant stuff.  But is it insignificant?  Not so much.  When I was at my highest weight, I was tired. I wanted to sleep-especially after lunch.  I still take a nap occasionally, but I’m not bone-tired on a daily basis. Also, I don’t have the sharp pin-prick feeling in my toes or the sudden, intense sense of anxiety that would come over me-especially at night.  My stomach has quit feeling like I’ve been punched in the stomach and mentally I’m more alert.  Diabetes runs in my family and I think some of these symptoms were a precursor.  I sometiimes thought, “What more does the Lord have to do to bring this issue to my attention?”  It certainly was easy to justify eating- I mean, we have to eat, right?  It’s not like drugs, alcohol or cigarettes that can be flushed down the toilet and be done with. But maybe it’s not insignificant,as all these things affect my ability to serve others and by doing so, serve the Lord.  I also feel more positive.  Is that pride or selfish ambition?  Well, only God knows.  But since Satan likes to hound me coming and going, I’m trusting that to the Lord, too.  Of course pride is always a temptation, but isn’t there a vast amount of self-consciousness in being over-weight?  Besides, I was just explaining to a friend of mine the difference between ambition (the satisfaction that comes with using the talents God has given us) vs. selfish ambition.  Ambition is running the race as if to win.  Selfish ambition is tripping the runner next to you!

Here’s a little recipe for the Holidays:  To your coffee, add a tsp. of pwd. cocoa (unsweetened)), some Splenda or Truvia to taste, a few drops of peppermint extract and a quick squirt of canned whipping cream (2 Tbs/15 cal), and you’ve got a special holiday sipper under 20 calories. Put a sprinkle of crushed candy cane for extra “umph”.  Then thank the Lord for all the amazing things He’s made for us to eat and enjoy- just don’t “delight yourself in fatness”!   The bite-sized things I eat, do, say, and think, tally up to- well- my life.  So, in all my calorie-counting, may my life count for the most important things, the most important One:  Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Beyond Comprehension (this post is not for the faint-hearted)

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I was a bit confused when my close friend from Burma asked me what materials are used to build bridges here in the U.S.  Then she explained casually that it is not uncommon for bridges in Burma to be made of human skulls as supports-and not by people who have died of natural causes.  “Do you have any of those in the United States?” she asked. She went on to described the situation and the fear it brought-especially in the summer, especially for girls.   It took me awhile to comprehend all she described; I’ll leave out the shocking details.  I did a bit of research and found that she spoke the truth. As Americans, I fear we know very little of the extent of depravity of some cultures-I only know my own sneaky little nature, and it’s bad enough.  But thanks be to God for His cure-all:  “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21 Would you pray for the Karen of Burma today?

Worth the Weight in Potatoes

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Picture two 10 lb. bags of potatoes.  Take one potato out of one of the bags.  Now you have 19.5 lbs of potatoes and that’s how much weight I’ve lost.  Whoopee!  Not hard work-I haven’t told myself no on any particular food and I’ve eaten everything from Baklava to Pumpkin Pie, mashed potatoes and gravy.  BUT I don’t eat 3 pieces of pie and a mound of potatoes the size of the Alps.  I do eat something healthy that I enjoy so that I don’t eat junk.  And, I exercise if I eat too much. For instance my daughter Grace and her fiance made these amazing pumpkin-penuche cookies.  They are the very best cookies.  I ate two of them.  Total:  260 calories.  So I got on the tread mill, watched the pilot and first show of The Office and walked off 260 calories. Those cookies are worth it.  But some things aren’t:  saltines, stale vanilla wafers, candy picked off the top of my gingerbread house-nah, not worth a workout.  So really, as with just about everything else in life, it’s about choices, paying consequences and not pretending ignorance or making excuses. I didn’t HAVE to work off those cookies, I could’ve just made some adjustments tomorrow in my eating, but I want to remind myself that there is a cost to some things, and since I’m not satisfied to “just maintain” around the Holidays, I walk.   Besides, my love-hate relationship with the treadmill is becoming more love and less hate.  That can’t be a bad thing.  A lot of the time I don’t want to spend a whole hour on the treadmill.  But guess what?  15 minutes four times a day accomplishes the same thing.  I just do what I can.  And isn’t that what allows us to accomplish anything?  We honor the Lord when we do what we can and count on Him to do His thing in us and through us.

What worked this week:  eating more high fiber tortillas.  I love those things.  There’s a new artisan corn and wheat tortilla that is really yummy.  Add 1/4 cup seasoned black beans, 2 T. cheese, 1 T. greek yogurt and hot sauce.  Total:  200 calories and a wonderfully filling meal.

Keep some really good apples (none of those mushy, tough skinned, tasteless orbs) on hand for when the hungries hit or you’re out and about and need a fast food to get you over a hump.  Buy the biggest, firmest, juiciest apples you can find.

What didn’t work:  Thinking I can behave myself around a peanut butter jar.  Maybe some day, but not now.