Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spiritual Anorexia

What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you believe about yourself? Some women have spiritual anorexia. 

Anorexia is a deadly disorder that effects mostly young women. When they look in the mirror, they see a distorted view of themselves. No matter how thin they are in reality, they see themselves as fat. They begin starving themselves--they quit eating--often until they die. 

How do you measure your life? Do you constantly give in to the belief that you are a failure? Do you ever feel like a huge red rubber stamp has emblazoned the word, "Loser", across your forehead? What measuring stick are you using? Certainly not God's!

From the day Eve first gave the serpent a foothold into her heart with his half truths and outright lies, he has been trying to capture ground in our minds, as well. He doesn't have the nicknames: Father of Lies, Accuser, or Deceiver for no reason. His sole purpose is to darken God's truth and light in our spirits. 

He hates God's love for us. He hates God's redemption of us. He hates the power God gives us to overcome in our lives. He can't win over God outright, so he attacks us, His children. 

Sadly, once we have kids, spiritual anorexia seems to have a 100% rate of being passed onto our children. Our kids will believe what they see in our belief system about ourselves rather than what we tell them. 

My kids have often heard me say, "Quit talking about my kid like that!"  I'm not talking to their friends or another adult. I am talking to them-- when they slide into the habit of putting themselves down. They will comment on their looks, their grades, or their talents and quickly rubber stamp, "Loser" across their foreheads.   

I'm here as a believing parent to correct their thinking during those tumultuous years of growing up. I hug them and point out the truth of what God believes about them and what I believe about them. They grin and I think secretly love to hear me yell, "Quit talking about my kid like that!" 

I wonder-- if we listen during those times when our hearts rage against us with the lies of "failure" or "loser"--might we not hear another voice.  Our heavenly father saying-- or yelling, "Quit talking about my kid like that!"  And He is talking about you, His precious child.

For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Zephaniah 3:17
What is your favorite love message from God to you from His Word?  Share it below. It will bless us all.

For more spiritual refreshment, visit Spiritual Sundays.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In a Nutshell

Mission statements are all the rage in corporations, universities and organizations. They are kind of like goals in a nutshell.  I've even heard pastors and teachers encourage  families to develop a mission statement. 

According to Wikipedia, a mission statements is: a formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company or organization

The mission statement consists of: 1. a statement containing the reason for using your product 2. a statement of some desired future state (vision) 3. a statement of the key values the organization is committed to 4. a statement of major goals.

Reading through Acts, I discover that Paul received a mission statement from Jesus during his conversion on the road to Damascus. 

I am sending you to them (your own people)
to open their eyes
and turn them from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan to God,
so that they may receive forgiveness of sins
and a place among those who are sanctified by faith
in me. 
Acts 26:18

It has
1) reason for using the product - leading others to faith
2) future state - forgiveness of sin and a place among the sanctified
3) key values - Jesus Christ
4) major goals - opened eyes and turn from darkness and Satan to light and God

This mission statement is one that also gives direction to me as a mom--a Bible study leader, a grocery store shopper, a carpool driver, ..... I should walk through my days with this mission statement as my focus. My conduct and speech should cause others to have their eyes opened and turn from darkness and Satan to light and God. Wow, and I thought I was just a mom. 

It just proves once again that there really is nothing new under the sun; mission statements have been given by God for years. They aren't just something dreamed up in modern board rooms. 


For more spiritual refreshment visit Spiritual Sundays. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is always more fun when Dad plays. 

When my first two girls were little they would listen for   their dad's car to pull into the garage. That would then send them on a run, squealing, to find the perfect hiding place. He always came in and played along by asking where his two little girls were. 

My husband pretended to look for them under the couch and in the fireplace. They giggled until he found them.

This changed when a new baby arrived. Dad made a point of coming home for lunch every day that first week. 

The girls heard the garage door go up and they squealed. Dad came through the doorway but he went straight to find the new baby--he forgot to look for his daughters. 

After ten minutes I had to remind him that two little girls were hiding, waiting for him. They weren't giggling--they were hurt--to be forgotten. 

I sometimes try to hide from my heavenly father. I am no different from many of the people in the Bible. 

Adam made coverings from leaves and hid from God in the Garden of Eden, hoping God wouldn't notice his sin. That must have been a comical sight if it hadn't grieved God so much.

Jonah didn't want to do what God told Him to do. He thought he could just walk off the job by taking a boat headed in the other direction. God had such a unique way of pursuing him to get him back on track. 

King David's song in Psalm 139 tells us of the impossibility of hiding from God:

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
If I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and light around me to become night--
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

What a blessing to know that my heavenly father won't forget me, even with so many children. 

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can't even count them:
they outnumber the grains of sand!

Ever tried to count the grains of sand at the beach or the stars in the heavens? That is how many times God thinks about you. 

We can hide our face from God, push Him away, run away, turn our back on God or even dress in spiritual fig leaves. God doesn't forget us or give up. We are His children forever pursued by Him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rest in Peace

Looking for a good time this weekend?  Try a local graveyard. 

Family picnics with games and entertainment for children are now popular events at cemeteries. Skydivers, musicians and even clowns are invited to perform. Wall Street Journal reports on this new marketing campaign for this sector of business that needs a boost. 

It is all considered outreach to get people through the gates of the final resting place. Normally visitors come when in the midst of grief but the mortuary business wants to change that and have families come for fun times. They want to sell cemetery plots.

Preparing for the afterlife is not a bad idea. Heaven, bestselling book by Randy Alcorn, points out that we would never travel overseas without studying where we were going. We would probably do web searches and have a stack of Rick Steve travel books next to our bed. 

Yet, many of us remain unprepared to face eternity and clueless about where we are going. It doesn't have to be that way.

Jesus spoke of heaven over and over in the gospels. It doesn't have to be the vague mysterious place most of us think it is. We can read and study about our forever home. 

Above all we shouldn't be like the farmer mentioned in Luke 12:16-22. Jesus described the man as a fool to be unprepared for death for it comes unexpectedly. Being so focused on this earthly life keeps us from developing a rich relationship with God-which is what He wants with us. 

Lord, help us see the many ways you attempt to draw us into relationship with You, the Creator of the Universe. Open our eyes to the wonders of creation that speak of Your great love for us. May we hear you speak our name as you beckon us to call you Abba Father, Daddy. Amen


For more spiritual refreshment visit, Spiritual Sundays

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Words

As mothers, we feed, rock, change, clothe, and entertain our babies from the first day we bring them home. Then the list starts over and over as we continue this sometimes messy work until the lonely single digit hours in the dark of night. 

Many mornings when a new little one was in our home I learned that birds make beautiful songs before the sun comes up. I had no idea what I had been missing.  

Dads are awesome, but it's a rare father who takes over most of this work. In case you wonder, the studies show that your husband is typical if he leaves the bulk of the newborn nurturing to you, the mom.

It is a thankless job. The biggest response will be complaints and will come at the top of your baby's lungs, if you aren't fast enough or the formula is too cold. 

You long to move past this stage and finally interact with your charge and hear your baby's first words. It would be nice to hear her say your name. 

Finally, the day of first words arrives and Dad walks in the door. The first words from your little charge will probably be, "Da Da!"

Those first words are precious, even if you think they are misguided. It's pretty universal, though. Moms do the work, Dad's get the first words. The words are still precious. 

God longs to hear our first words. Not, "Thou" or "Heavenly Father" but "Daddy."

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery
leading again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of adoption,
by whom we cry, "Abba, Father." 
The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit
that we are God's Children.
Romans 8:15,16

God longs to have the kind of relationship where we call him Daddy or Papa. That is what Abba means. 

We are His children. If the idea of calling God, Father, is making you cringe, it may be because your relationship with your father makes your cringe. 

Try it.  Pray and call Him Daddy. He longs for us to crawl in His lap and talk to Him as a little child would. 

May the cry of our hearts be Abba Father - Daddy! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Picture Perfect

What does pizza have to do with purity? 

To my teenage son, there is a connection. On a ride home from a ministry camp he told about a devotional he heard. 

The boys in his camp heard the challenge to remain pure in mind, heart and body. They were encouraged to save themselves for marriage. 

"It's like pizza, Mom." 

I glanced at him as I rolled to a stop at the red light. This was going to be interesting.

"You know," he continued, "before you are married, you can give away one piece after another. You meet the girl that you want to marry and she comes offering an x-large meat lover's pizza.  All that you have left after giving your pizza pieces away is a skimpy, thin crust, cold leftover half of a pepperoni pizza."

His older teen sister piped up from the backseat. She attended the same camp but in the girls' session she heard a different story. 

"It was a cake--a pink one. You want to keep the whole thing with all the decorations to give to your husband one day."

My two teens looked at each other and shrugged. It works. Pink cakes or pepperoni pizzas--they both offer a perfect picture of purity. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Is Your Faith a Hobby?

Where would you look for a Christian magazine at a secular bookstore?  It took me seven minutes to locate the issue I needed.

I looked through the magazine display that covered one whole wall. I perused current events, arts, and philosophy.  Hmmm! No religious magazines. I stood on tiptoe rifling through issues on the top shelf.  I crawled around on the floor checking the bottom row. Ahhh!

Found.  Bottom shelf - ankle level - between women's issues and crafts. It didn't even have a category sign. Yuck! Is that the world's image of Christianity? Some kind of hobby only of interest to women, like knitting or scrapbooking?

This revelation pierced my heart.

For the message about the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing 
but to us who are being saved 
it is the power of God. 
1 Corinthians 1:18

The news headlines read things like: War!  Poverty! Famine! Earthquakes! Turmoil!  Those were on the upper shelf. 

Top billing on the magazine racks went to self-improvement, home-improvement, and movie stars with messed up lives. 

The mish-mash of messages screaming from the shelves reflected the mish-mash of cries from around the globe. The answer to the world's problems was on the bottom shelf and could only be reached on your knees.  I didn't like the lack of prominence for the Christian magazine but perhaps the approach - on your knees - was right on.

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