Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have a standard grace I say over my food. It’s lame but my brain sometimes goes on autopilot when I pray. My all-purpose food blessing goes something like this:

Lord, thank you for this food. Bless it and let it be nourishment for my body. In Jesus name, Amen.

But lately, I’ve been convicted about it and I’ve been trying to make sure my heart is in every grace I utter. For instance, this was one of my recent prayers for grace:

Lord, thank you for allowing me to have food when others in the world don’t. Thank you for not having to watch my children starve to death. Amen.

Now the moment I finished this prayer, the gravity of it struck me. My children have eaten almost day of their lives. I’ve eaten for over 13, 500 days (and I’m telling my age) but some people haven’t lived that many days, much less eaten than many days. I’m grateful that God saw fit that I wouldn’t have to live a life of extreme suffering but my gratitude sometimes feels inappropriate.

The root of my prayer is “Lord, I thank you that I’m not as bad as others,” which sound a lot like the prayer of the publican in Luke 18:11-12. The publican thanked God that he wasn’t like the sinner who prayed nearby. I don’t think I have the same problem with pride as the publican, but it does feel odd to be grateful that I don’t suffer like others.
Should I feel this way?

After a moment of consideration, I realized that it’s not that I shouldn’t thank God that I don’t have to suffer but I need balance. I should thank God for everything He does, like I Thessalonians 5:18 commands us to do. I should give thanks in the good times, when I have food but I should also thank Him when life breaks my heart. I should be as grateful while I’m suffering as I am when I’m not. I should be grateful for the hard times God allows in my life and grateful for the trials He prevents me from experiencing.

So in every thing, (food or no food, problems or no problems) give thanks; for his is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tea & Read: A Memory Between Us

Title: A Memory Between Us
Author: Sarah Sundin
Rating: Spend the Day Sleepy!

I love a good book. As a matter of fact, few things make me happier than a great book…except a great sequel. If you’re in the market for a great book, check out. A Memory Between Us, by Sarah Sundin is the second book in her Wings of Glory series.

Sundin continues to amaze with her knowledge of World War II. Her description of England and conditions in the military during that time is so realistic I expected to hear bomb sirens and airplane motors every time I opened the book.

The characters also jump off the page, too. Jack and Ruth are well-rounded and engaging, which makes their relationship complex and provides for some great moments of romance. The rest of the supporting cast adds another wonderful dimension to the story.

The most praiseworthy part for me was the topic Sundin tackled. She covers a topic that I with more books would deal with the same upfront and frank matter. As the book progressed, I suspected the direction the book was going to take, but still the climax had me biting my nails.
Both of the books in this series are great reads. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series to see if Sundin can top herself again.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Meditations: I Believe

For as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is dead also.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve read this passage or heard it quoted. I know this passage. But with each year of my life, I’m beginning to notice how dangerous “knowing” scripture has become. This is not the “I’ve written you word in my heart so I might not sin against you” type of knowing. It’s when scripture becomes so causal that the impact is lost.

It has come to my attention that I sometimes have a habit of “knowing” scripture like learning my multiplication tables. Once I’ve learned them, there’s no need to go back and review them. But like I said before, this is dangerous. God’s word “is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Romans 4:12). And alarm bells should ring if we can read the word and not get cut.

Lately, I’ve been studying the book of James and, praise the Lord, I got sliced deep from a seemingly dull passage, a passage I know like my multiplication tables. Namely, the portion of James 2 that describes how Abraham was justified by how he acted on what he believed. He was prepared to sacrifice Isaac because he believed that God’s promise would come to past. His works, or actions, made his faith perfect (James 2:22).

After I read this passage, (and in an attempt to stop the bleeding), I asked myself, if someone looked at what I did and had to guess what I believed, what answer would they give. What would they say I believed? Not that my actions are somehow creating faith, but everyone acts out of what they believe. Let me give you two extremely different examples.

Mother Theresa spent years of her life helping the poor and unloved in Cambodia. She lived among them, cared for them and was a walking example of Jesus’ compassion in the world. She believed that God loved all people and He wanted his followers to show compassion on the “least of these.” From what she did, it is clear what she believed. She was willing to give up everything, even things that others would consider basic necessities, to care for the sick and disenfranchised.

On the other hand, Andrea Yates, a mentally ill mother of five, believed that she should be punished for being a bad mother. Her belief drove her to drown all five of her children because she believed that she had somehow damaged them beyond repair. She, like Mother Theresa, acted on what she believed.

Both these women solidify the principal that actions come from belief, now comes the hard question: What do I actually believe? In taking a short inventory of my life, I don’t like what my actions are saying about my faith. I had to question lots of my actions and try and find their origin in my faith. Sadly, as I did this, it was easier to see what I didn’t believe than it was to see what I did.

So here is my short (but painful) list:
• I don’t believe Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If I believed this, I would be worried about so many situations in my life. If I believed all things works for my good, I would embrace both the good things in life and the bad with hopeful expectation.
• I don’t believe Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I don’t know if I don’t believe the strength part or the doing part. If I did, I do more of what I know He’s strengthened me to do.
• I don’t believe Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” If I believed that, then maybe I wouldn’t fight against His will so much and I would complain less.

I could go on, but in the interest of time (and pain), I’ll stop. And if this post cut you, add pressure until you figure out what you really believe.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to list one more thing that I beleive: I believe that God is greater than any problem I'll ever have and He is still working on me.