I reported to you all a few weeks ago that, after much prayer and then finally hearing a clear word from God, I began (with Penny) a plan to eat healthy - something I have struggled with most of my life. I want to briefly update you today.
I was given a plan and a start date - plant-based diet and October 1 - and understood that God was in control of the whole situation. My confidence came from that and that alone. And it still does.
So, I have lost over 25 pounds, my energy level is way up, blood glucose is normalizing (no meds), and best of all I am relaxed in what GOD IS DOING in my physical life.
My intention today is not to "brag" about what I have accomplished - because "I" have done nothing except ask and receive this from God. That is the "secret" friends. I, like probably many of you, have spent countless hours striving to become the "good Christian" I thought I was supposed to be, including in my physical life. But it never worked.
And it never will. This strife always leads to failure, frustration, and guilt. It never leads to abundant life. Only Jesus provides that for us.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)
I pray that today, whatever is burdening you, wherever you are striving (and failing), you will simply give over to Jesus, who is completely trustable and able, and is madly in love with you. He will gladly give you rest.
You are loved!
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Choose Real Life!
I like the phrase I’ve heard and used before – “a nice little life.” It refers to what many of us try to build for ourselves. We realize that, for the most part, we are basically just like everybody else. We are born, life happens to us and around us, and then we die. So, in the meantime, we try to make things as pleasant as we can. We are careful, try to stay out of trouble, grab a few moments or days of pleasure when we can, and hope disaster doesn’t strike.
In short, however, it’s actually a practical atheism. I mean, where is God in the life I described above? There may be religion in there and hopefully some moral values. But where is the eternal, loving, merciful, transforming God in that formula?
Jesus addressed this question.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39
An important and paradoxical statement. Wouldn’t you agree? How is it possible to find life as the result of losing it? We have to redefine life.
Friends, you and I are only living to the degree that we’ve surrendered our lives to Jesus in the Kingdom of God. True life is eternal, Kingdom-based, and powered by God’s love. Anything – ANY OTHER KIND OF LIVING – is fleeting and meaningless.
Abundant life is available to us. If we surrender and abandon OUR efforts at life-building, we can then experience the life of Christ. But only then. We can’t have it both ways. God won’t force His blessing on us. He won’t demand our love and obedience. He patiently draws us, like a lover wooing his or her beloved.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
But often, pride stands in our way. Humility is required to “lose your” life. Surrender will be sweet, though.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
God is an endless universe of love, help, healing, and power. His Spirit longs to empower us with everything we need to live the full and abundant life.
So, we can do the “nice little life” thing and hope we scrape through without too much trouble. And even if life is pounding away at us, we can try to “hang on.”
Or, we can surrender completely and take the wonderful life already planned and prepared for us in God’s loving arms.
So, which is it? I hope and pray we will choose life – real life.
You are loved!
"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
We believe that there is nothing more important to man than to be reconciled to God through His Son. We want to know Jesus more and more and to help others do likewise. We desire to be obedient and Christlike by being doers of the Word and not just hearers only (James 1:22). We want to be salt and light to the world by following the Luke 4 mandate where Jesus describes His ministry. We will seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit at all times as He leads us into the specifics of our ministry work. We will work from our Spiritual gifts and calling with a servant attitude doing all of this to bring glory to God and not ourselves. And we will be intentional in working to resolve spiritual, relational, and material poverty in our community and anywhere else where we may have influence.
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