Category Archives: Christian reflections

Hungry Lions

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I know everyone’s probably still reflecting on the stone that covered the tomb, but I have opened my Bible to “Daniel in the Den of Lions” for the past 2 days. I found myself reading about the stone that was brought to place over the opening of the den after Daniel was thrown in with the lions. My NIV Bible says they placed it there “so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.” If ever there was a situation I’d like changed, it would be if I were hangin’ out in close proximity to some hungry lions.  

Let’s think about it because this is one of those stories I hadn’t paid much attention to since Sunday school days. Anything resembling food catapulted near some large cats would soon be non-existent, right? I’ve seen those kitties chase down some pretty quick creatures on TV. If indeed, that meal was set before them on the proverbial “silver platter,” what would keep them from chowing down? Their instincts would take over. If an animal is hungry, it’s not like my 4 year-old who has to have a certain shape of gluten-free mac and cheese, it’s not going to be picky. Daniel should have been rare, dead meat. It wasn’t a “what” but a “Who” that kept them from dining in. Daniel had a real relationship with the Almighty. 

People face “situations” all the time: death, depression, anxiety, sickness, past trauma, stress, the list goes on and on. Why aren’t they instantly rescued? Why do they have to endure so much? I’ve found myself in a place where I get aggravated, to the tune of: “If You can, WHY don’t You?” Many of you, I’m sure, are uncomfy speaking to the Creator of the universe in this manner and I get that, but me and God, we’ve been through some stuff. He’s the One that’s been there no matter what and I can’t say that about too many. Even a close family member physically can’t be there every single time you need them to be. So why isn’t God plucking people out of these precarious tragedies and showing the world how awesome He is? 

In my ponderings, I go back to Daniel 6:10 that says once ol’ boy learns that there’s been a new rule made, he goes home to do what he always does 3 times every single day: gets down on his knees and prays and thanks God. Are we doing anything like this? I saw a meme the other day that said complaining about God not speaking to you with your Bible closed is like complaining you’re not getting any texts when your phone is turned off. This hit me as absurd—who’s turning their phone off?? Could this be the problem? Have the cat videos, as cute as they may be, taken up valuable space in our lives? Do we really need more gardening quick tips or can we just go out and plant the garden? Do we require more recipes on variations for “Crack Chicken”? Silly, I know, but I dare you to keep track of how much time you spend looking at your phone. I’d be willing to bet it’s more than 3 times a day. 

Can we do more to build up our faith and put our trust in Him and His perfect plan? Daniel’s situation did in fact change drastically…despite the big bad rock. And yours can too. Believe it. 

 

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Doubt-Filled Shoe

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There’s a line in a song, Do It Again by Elevation Worship, that I simply can’t let go: “I’m still in Your hands, this is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet.” Now, let me start off by saying that I adore this song. I truly want God to “do it again” when it comes to my healing. When I read about Lazaurus or the woman with the blood issue, I think “God, where’s my miracle? Do it for me too! Do it again!” And I believe that He will. There’s a super-good reason He hasn’t done it completely. And even if He doesn’t heal me, for whatever reason, I’ll be ok with that. (It took me YEARS to get to this point in my thinking.) So even though I love this song, there’s a sticking point for me. It’s in the 3-letter word: “yet.” 

“Yet” is defined in the MacMillan dictionary as being “Used in something that has not happened or is not true at a particular time but will probably happen.” (Emphasis added by me.) Isn’t that just like us? God has NEVER failed us, but we, being the faith-filled believers we are, need to leave that space there…juuuuuuuuust in case. Like we’re waiting for the other doubt-filled shoe to drop. It’s been a few years, you know, of God being God and never once has He ever failed anyone, no matter the situation. BUT we have this “confidence” that seems a little twisted to me. We have confidence that He’s never failed any of us…yet? 

There’s power in our words (Proverbs 18:21: The tongue has the power of life and death) and some can say, “Oh you’re overthinking this” which guaranteed I am. It’s what I do. And then I write about it. 

There have been many times in my life when I’ve thought (and prayed) “God! If you can, then why aren’t you??” If you can heal me, why am I dealing with this pain? If you can save that guy, why is he going through all this mess? If you can calm the storm, why is it still raging? I don’t have a problem telling you this because I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking. And I know there’s a reason, but I don’t know it. And that’s another issue I have, WHY in the world can’t I know the reason, God?? (I’m chuckling as I type this, picturing Him shaking His head, amused. He gets me.) 

I don’t think adding “yet” to the statement that He’s never failed us screams confidence of any sort. It’s amazing how much doubt a 3-letter word can hold. It speaks to our level of faith. We have to leave that door open, just in case. What if we’re wrong? What if we’re wrong about all of it? What if THIS is the time that God is going to fail us? We certainly can’t tell we’re trusting in Him by the words that come out of our mouths at times. If we truly believed that God has never and will not ever fail us, would we speak differently? Act differently? Go about our days and life goals differently? Of course! Where is our faith? He’s never failed me. He’s never failed us. 

It Isn’t Well

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What if it isn’t well with my soul, God? What if everything in my world just got shaken to the point of never being the same? I’ve never known shock or loss or heartache such as this.  

I know my world shaking doesn’t throw you off your throne, but I think that brings about more questions than answers for me at this point. You are on the throne, right? Why aren’t you stopping these things from happening? I know you can make all the bad turn into good and work out for the best, but why bother doing that? Why not work good for good without the mess?  

Hearts are shattered. Rivers of tears flowing. Your people are hurting and I’d love with all my heart to be the one saying “It is well” but I can’t. It hurts too bad for that right now. God, I know you’re good. I know you weep with us. But why would you if you don’t have to? I know you have a plan, but why would that plan involve removing the pillars of the foundation for your kingdom? We need you now. You gave your life so that we could have ours. It’s a very sad one right now. I know we don’t have to understand everything. Maybe we wouldn’t feel better knowing all the why’s, but it sure feels like that would soothe the pain somehow.  

We continue to look to you Father for comfort when we need it most. The enemy is doing exactly as you said he would: stealing, killing, and destroying. And you are doing exactly what you said you would: comforting, providing, healing, and bringing peace. God, I’m empty and numb. I need you to fill me up with everything you’ve ever promised. You’ve never let me down and I know you won’t start now. I hope you will lead me to the place where I’m able to say “It is well.” 

Christian Chickens

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In Luke 7:33-35 (NLT) Jesus says “For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” 

Do you ever feel like you just can’t win? It struck me today (not literally…although it kind of felt that way) that Jesus didn’t live ashamed. I know this may seem remedial to some of you, but don’t you feel as a Christian sometimes we keep our wisdom-filled mouths shut when we shouldn’t and our judgy hearts scream out judgment when they shouldn’t? I feel like Jesus is saying, “Look, it doesn’t matter what I do here, you’re simply not going to accept me. You either will or you won’t. And if you don’t, that’s your choice. I’m surely not going to force you.” It’s just not His style. And boy, does He ever have style… 

Do you ever feel like you have to shrink yourself down when around people who don’t believe the way you do? Or that you’re not educated enough to speak on such subjects? Or that you are a peacemaker and not a confrontational person, so that is the reason you don’t address controversial topics? After all, Jesus came to bring peace on earth right? (Matthew 10:34) Didn’t He? Nope. Does love always present as peaceful? I don’t think so. This makes me a little tense because I like happy, non-arguing people. 

But, are we going to “love” people right down into their forever graves? God says we are never alone, but that we have so little faith. Is it possible we can be truthful and upfront about our beliefs without being judgy? Can we do it and keep everyone happy and peaceful? Do we need to worry about that or can we let God do what He does best? 

 

 

Dirty Ice Cream

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Smith Wigglesworth said, “You must have a brokenness to get into the depths of God.” Psalm 34:18 lets us know that the “Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” I haven’t met many Christians who haven’t been through some “stuff.” That word “stuff” covers a lot of ground. Loss, hurt, disappointments, tragedy, physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, just scratches the surface it seems. People are amazingly resilient, but without God, I can honestly say I don’t know how anyone would make it through a fraction of it. Without truly knowing that God is in control and that He’s not shakin’ in His proverbial boots, many of my own days would have sucked even more. (How’s that for waxing poetic?) I’m just trying to be honest here.  

This life is hard and to say it stinks sometimes just doesn’t cover it. And I can’t do “churchy” when real people have real problems. “I’ll be praying” doesn’t cut it when brokenness threatens to take over. Don’t misunderstand me, prayer works, and if more believers were doing more of it, we’d be changing more situations. God will answer your prayer. I believe that. The brokenness that unbelievers feel must be the most gut-wrenching, detrimental emotion because I know my own brokenness is that way sometimes with God on my side. Jesus loves me, and He loves me so much He allows me to grow. That means life isn’t ice cream and rainbows and puppies. That ice cream may fall in the dirt, the colors fade into dreary gray, and that puppy pees everywhere. That’s real life. And for real life, we need to turn to the One Who created it. He’s not responsible for cleaning up our messes, but for some reason He helps us out of so many of them. We’re here for a reason and we can’t lose focus. Losing focus is the easiest, wide path. Truly learning Who God is and how far His love reaches for us individually should be on our To-Do list for the days/weeks/months/years ahead.  

In Some Ways, On Some Days

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I need for people to see that I never gave up. That I did the best I could with what I was given. My goal is not to be useful or worthy or successful, but to do what God put in front of me to do. I refuse to be less than that. I have battled and when I say battled, I mean, battled physically, emotionally, and spiritually to just be where I am today. I give no credit to the enemy of our souls, but in some ways and on some days, I’m thankful for the battle. I’ve never been stronger. Even on the days that I don’t fill my water glass to the top because I don’t have the strength to lift that much weight to my mouth and I have to take a nap after I take a shower, I thank God that I can and do win in the end. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I am healed. I don’t understand why I still have to battle. I know the scriptures say that He bore my sickness and carried my pain (Psalms 107:20) and that I have abundant life (John 10:10) and that His Word is life and healing to all my flesh (Proverbs 4:20-22) and that He bore my sins in His body on the tree, so I’m dead to sin and alive unto God and by His stripes I am healed and made whole (1 Peter 2:24, Romans 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:21). I know all this in my heart. Some say we need to remind God of these scriptures and I don’t buy into that. (Like I can educate the Creator?) God’s memory works just fine. We’re the ones that need reminding. If we reminded ourselves as much as we look at our phones, think of where we’d be.

Confucious said “It doesn’t matter how slowly it goes as long as you don’t give up.” In my opinion, this whole health journey I’ve been on has taken way too long and I’d happily take a pill to make me better any given day, side effects or not, but that isn’t what God has planned. If it was, I’d have those pills in my medicine cabinet and they’d be on some auto-refill plan. I won’t give up. I’ll get discouraged every now and then because God made me into a human being, not a robot, but I won’t give up. I will not quit.

When you see me at the gym, that’s me not quitting. Do I feel like being there? Probably not. Do I feel better when I’m done? You bet. Will I pay for it for the next couple days? Maybe. When you see me at the grocery store trying not to lose it with 2 kids, reading labels and identifying what doesn’t have gluten, corn, dairy, eggs, soy, legumes, and GMOs in it because my body can’t handle those, that’s me not giving up. Even though I’d rather just collapse with a bag of chips and ½ a dozen donuts. When I have to say no to meetings or group get-together’s or church functions or birthday parties everyone’s having, that’s me not quitting. That’s me knowing myself well enough to know that I  am the only one protecting my energy reserves, knowing full-well that they are easily depleted if not tended to properly. I will not give up and I will not back down. THIS is how I fight my battles. 

Prayers for all who battle “invisible illnesses” today and those who support them in so many ways. 

Clear Skies and Confirmation

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“Many times when people are recovering from illness, they follow a strict diet that brings balance back into their eating habits. Find balance in all you do, and keep the enemy away from your door.” Joyce Meyer 

This was in my devotional reading today. This statement makes me feel so adult. I don’t typically read devotionals, which my mom finds hilarious since I’ve assisted in writing one. It’s just always seemed so disciplined and routine to me. I’m not really a routine-kinda gal and it’s not because I don’t want to be. I try to keep routines. In fact, I have one hanging in the kitchen, I just forget to look at it. My day would run so incredibly smoothly if I could only do step 1 first, then follow it with the other steps! It doesn’t happen this way, but that doesn’t keep this ADD gal from striving for just that. 

I’ve been tackling this autoimmune stuff with diet lately and I’m in my third month of the autoimmune protocol diet. This game plan avoids eggs, nuts, seeds, chocolate, soy, dairy, sugar, gluten/wheat, rice, oats, legumes, nightshade veggies (potatos, tomatos, eggplant, peppers), food additives like guar gum and carrageenan, NSAIDS (medications for pain such as ibuprofen/acetaminophen), and alcohol (haven’t touched the stuff since March 12th, 2009. Thank you Jesus!) This is not a diet to lose weight, although I am. It is a healing diet, a somewhat of a system reset, then reintroductions of certain foods to identify if they have a negative effect (I.e. inflammation) within my body. It’s very difficult. It requires discipline and focus. 2 concepts I have yet to master on any level. I’ve prayed for God to heal me like He did the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48) In fact, I’ve imagined myself touching his clothes as He walked by and feeling magnificent! And there have been times that I have literally felt so good I can’t even describe it, but they are very short-lived, as in a-few-minutes-short. I believe that it’s coming one day and if He didn’t have a good reason and a plan, I’d be in perfect health. After all, I was the one who trashed this temple of mine for quite a few years. Seems only fair I’d experience some consequences somewhere along the way.  

This venture has been a long one in my mind, although I know I have it much better than some. There’s a tendency in this journey to become self-pitying, especially when you’re not eating anything other human beings eat. But today, today is a new day, with new mercies and clear skies. I’m thanking God for His unique ability to give us signs that we’re on the right track, no matter how rough that track may appear.