Category Archives: Food for the Soul

The Bible, Devotions, quotes, etc.

Cure for the Common Cold

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‘Tis the season for depression, anxiety, and general discouragement. I try not to give it much credence, except to acknowledge it, and carry on. To do otherwise leads me deeper into the dark cave of self, where the bats live. The medical term for the resulting condition is, “She’s gone batty”.
I’m especially vulnerable this time of year as everything gets multiplied: busyness, social connections (I mean, c’mon-a person can only take so much of even the nicest people); expectations, loss, expenditures, and the five extra helpings of mashed potatoes with gravy. Additionally, discouragement often follows a spiritual “win” (See Elijah below).
Often the practical cure for my common cold of heart is to rest, eat light, and serve someone.
Sometimes, though, I need to feel depressed or anxious because something’s amiss -which is a palatable way of saying, “Excuse me, Ma’am, your sin is showing”. Whatever the cause, trusting implicitly in Emmanuel, literally, “God with us” (that’s you and me), carries me gently into the wide open fields where I once again, “run in the paths of His commands.”

Here are some passages to meditate on: Psalm 23, 1 Kings 19, Psalm 91
I’ve highlighted some here:

“He makes me lie down…”
“He restores my soul”
(Psalm 23)

And 1 Kings 19- the story of Elijah, to remind us that after a spiritual victory, depression is not uncommon, and the answer is often very practical:
“He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

Ps. 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you may seek refuge.

Grace for Breakfast

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I walk to the corner market almost every day to get my cultural fix. Not only does the little Mexican market have the best and cheapest produce in town, but the lusty Latino music brings out my inner Salsa, which I keep to myself. Mostly. I do tend to walk the aisles with a little more wiggle, and have sometimes thumped melons to the beat, pretending to be checking for ripeness. Sadly, the music becomes well-behaved as more customers show up.
The panaderia trays, stacked high and sweet, with cheese-filled rolls and breakfast breads typical to hispanic appetites, chant in Latin, “Carpe diem! Carpe panem!” At the far end of the market is a counter where men in work boots sit with mugs of Nescafe and platters of what look like sacred offerings to Mother Mary: eggs and tortillas, crowned with slices of avocado, tomato, and fresh cheese. A bottle of hot sauce stands at attention, nearby.
On a recent summer morning, when the sun was already giving off more than its fair share of heat, my five-year-old grandson and I walked to this market, greeted along the way by neighbors engaged in the daily therapy of hand-watering their lawns.
As we entered the market, we met milk and honey on the other side: a small freezer full of creamy Mexican confections: fresh strawberries n’ cream, rum raisin, rice pudding and mango. Well. It WAS breakfast time, so I solemnly explained to my grandson one of the many blessings of being a grandma: I could decide what we’d eat, and when. So one cantaloupe and a pound of cherries later, we were out the door with our two icy breakfast bars. His, the rice-pudding flavor, which he immediately pronounced to taste just like gag-nog (his favorite drink), and mine, a raisin-y mellow yellow with rum flavoring. We sauntered home to the backyard hammock, and lay there, pretending to be squirrels.
Pushing my toe against the dirt to keep a slow swing, and licking a drip forming on the edge of my ice cream, I thought, “Right here, in the middle of straight-laced, law-abiding Salt Lake City is this oasis, this…Grace. Law says, “Stick with the known, the predictable, the safe. And no dessert until after dinner.” Grace says, “Let’s Dance and have ice cream for breakfast!”
Through Jesus Christ, “… you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. ” Romans 6:14 (NLT)
Yes, there’s a need for law- but I am so glad Jesus fulfilled the law, so we can have grace for breakfast. And Lunch. And Dinner.

Travel Companion

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My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.    Job 42:5

If you really want to get to know someone, travel with them.  You’ll discover their raw essence-and yours, for better or worse.  You may be relieved by your travel mate’s ability to adapt in stressful situations,  or be amused to find a seemingly “go with the flow” personality becomes anything but, when the “flow” is a public toilet in rural Asia.  By public, I mean plein air, and by toilet, I mean ditch.  We may think we know someone, but the truth is, we won’t really know them until we’ve traveled hard times together.

This is true of our relationship with the Lord.  Job, the poster-child for “Life is Bad and Then We Die”, traveled the terrain of humiliation, loss, grief and pain beyond imagination- I mean, really- boils?  Was that necessary?  I imagine the outbreak came right after Job looked around at the dung heap his life had become and said something like, “Well…at least I still have nice skin.”

In the end, the story of Job plays like a country song, “ …Got the wife back, the kids back, and the critters, too…”  But more than the return of all his earthly rewards was this:  Knowledge of the Holy One.

Do you want to know Christ- really know Him?  The good news is, this is God’s will for you.  The bad news is, it comes through suffering, the Great News is, the intimacy found in the fellowship of suffering with Christ surpasses pain.  Not many of us will suffer as Job did, thankfully, but with the sufferings we are given, will we allow the Lord to make Himself known to us, teaching us to say, “I knew of You, I knew about You, but now I know You”?

When traveling, it’s so comforting to travel with someone familiar with the territory, someone who won’t “ditch” you.  Jesus has traveled all regions of suffering, and He who traveled before us, travels with us.

Lost Cause

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I prayed God would give me a love for the lost.  He answered that prayer.  I just didn’t expect the lost to be the ones I love!   My heart agonizes for them.   Yet it is a selfish agonizing in some ways.  I love them.  They are my lost. But the world is full of His Lost.   I better understand “for God so loved the world…”.  I want Him to reach my lost, and He wants me to reach His lost.

“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”  Rom.10:14

Lord, help me to look beyond my own needs to those who need You.  Help me to feel the same urgency for Your lost as I do for mine.  

Bridezilla, Part 2

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I just checked the world population clock.  I discovered at this very moment,  it’s really only 1/7,o35,505,938ths about me (and ticking).  That right there should cure any Bridezilla behavior.  But God must know I need a little extra assistance getting out of my Southern Belle-style attitude and as usual, the help  was right there in my daily reading, Colossians chapter 3:  “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”.   Each of these qualities in verse 12 are exact opposites of my Bridezilla self:   The opposite of cool or careless indifference is compassion. The opposite of abruptness, sarcasm and rudeness?  Kindness.  The opposite of being bent out of shape when things don’t go MY way?  Humility.  The opposite of harshness, flippancy? Gentleness. The opposite of annoyed and stressed?  Patience.  If I’d just “Say Yes to the Dress” found right there in Colossians Bridal Shop, everyone around me would consider it a very happy occasion.

Lord,  HELP!  The zipper is stuck on this ill-fitting dress of self-focus!  I want to be the “bride who has made herself ready” by exhibiting Your Designer Trademark:  LOVE.

 

In the Way

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“I being in the way, the Lord led me.”  Genesis 24:27b

Eliezer, Abraham’s servant had a daunting task on his TO DO list:

Go find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son.

So Eliezer prayed, committed himself to God and God’s way, and God answered. Eliezar later said of the miraculous answer,

“I being in the way, the Lord led me.”  Gen. 24:27b

Being “in the way” of obedience and faith, allowed God to direct him.  When asking for God’s guidance, we will either be in the way to receive His direction by trusting completely in Him, or we’ll just be in the way!  Jesus is The Way.  If we keep ourselves in Him, we will find ourselves in just the right place at just the right time for His Will to be done.  What’s on your “impossible TO DO” list?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  Pro. 3:5,6.

Lord, lead me as I get out of the way, and get in The Way.

Keeping up Appearances

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In the book of Acts Chapter 5, the first Calvary Chapel experienced a “vival”- we can’t call it  revival, as the church had never been alive before. Amazing growth and amazing grace ensued, and then, amazing housecleaning. A couple in the church are literally “slain in the Spirit”, all because they lied about what they gave in the offering.  Imagine the soberness (and healthy fear) that ensued at the news of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s deaths!  These  two wanted to look as good, as spiritual, as generous, as committed to Christ as the next guy- and died trying.  It’s enough to sober me up fast!  Do I appear to give more, be more, do more, than the books in heaven record?  Then maybe I’m in danger of exiting the church in a most embarassing way:  “Wow!  Laura was fine a minute ago!  Here, you grab her feet, we’ll get her arms.”  Lookin’ good ends up lookin’ really bad. But that’s the whole problem-it’s not about appearances, God looks on the heart.  That should be enough to make me squirm.  And, pray for revival.  A revival of one.

Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”  Acts 5:4