Don’t follow the world’s advice!

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Follow your heart!

Listen to your body!

Two aphorisms glibly and yet soberly offered as though they were truth incarnate.

But the Bible teaches otherwise.  And I am learning –

  • NOT to lean on my own understanding
  • NOR to look to contemporary worldly messages to guide my thinking

As I journey with God, not having the guidance and parental examples of graceful, dependent Christian aging for inspiration, I am discovering to my surprise that God recycles His lessons.  Their very familiarity shocks me. Didn’t I just journal about this 2 months ago?  Didn’t I just discover this verse and sincerely pledge to let it guide me?

Yet, due to amnesia or just plain drifting or a diabolical plot, I HAVE forgotten.

But God is patient, apparently.

Walled garden

So once again, I have run back into my garden with its limits, relieved to be safely within the walls.  I shout with joy along with David and affirm, The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; Psalm 16:6a

Yes, dear friends, it’s about food again that I write.  I don’t know why I meandered away from what I had previously recognized WORKED.  But this time, God in providentially and lovingly allowing me to struggle through depressing self-absorption gave me deeper insight into the harmful thinking in which I’ve swum and lingered.

But it’s not fair!  I LIKE bread and yogurt and fruit and lots of salad stuff and veggies (and dark chocolate)…….

Yes, but as Paul says in chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians: “23 All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].

Please read the entirety of Chapter 10, for the context sets up an even more powerful argument to support Paul’s conclusion in verse 23.

So, yes – just as the Hebrews yearned for seemingly healthy food items, an ‘innocent desire’ – “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” Exodus 11:5we must keep in mind that they were enslaved.

So too have I been enslaved by my desires.  I NOW see that the food my body desires is NOT healthy for it.  (I get plugged up and bloated, which sends me spiraling into a self-pity party.  If it sounds ‘sick’, it IS ‘sick’.  It’s called S-I-N!)

Hence my conclusion – that when authors and experts proclaim that our bodies crave what is good for them, we must respond ‘Phooey!’ Would you offer the same advice to a drug addict or alcoholic? Maybe it’s just the opposite – that we must take notice of what our body sidles up to and flee!

As for the other dangerous adage about following one’s heart, I’ll leave that for someone else to tackle.

As for me, I’m going to stay within my garden and thank God for the manna He has provided me this day.  He alone knows what is best for me, for He created me.

The delight-filled duty of joy

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Do you realize that the God who created the entire universe, the one and only God,

  • is a happy God?  

 

If we are Christians, then we serve the Lord of Joy as His happy and glad ambassadors.

Dangerous Duty of Delight

 

John Piper’s book on joy

 

 

 

 

Once you SEE with open eyes that joy is both the fuel and result of biblical Christianity, then you can’t escape this doctrine.  The Bible is peppered with references to our joy, delight, pleasure and happiness in God.  Hebrew has several words like  ashar and simcha and sasson and the significant Greek word for this state of well-being is chara  (as in Acts 8:8 – there was ‘megas chara’ when Philip shared the good news of God who came to Earth as a man, aka the Christ)

Oil of joy

Here is how my morning thoughts have gone this week:

 

 

 

 

  • Focusing on what is permanent is healthier than meditating on circumstances, which in THIS world are always going to be temporary.
  • All the permanent facts of my life are AMAZINGLY and DELIGHTFULLY GOOD and HOPE-FILLED.  Nothing in my permanent future bodes ill!  It’s all going to be blessing.
  • My thoughts about permanent matters affect not only my moods, but how I relate to others.
  • If I am a Christian, then when I was regenerated, the Holy Spirit came into me and permanently, eternally altered my spiritual DNA.  The Holy Spirit is the archetypal agent of Joy.  I have Divine Joy, the 3rd member of the Holy Happy Trinity living with me, in me.  That gives NEW meaning to the assertion that the Joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • Joy of the Lord - butterfly

 

 

  • Part of my new makeup is gift – already imparted to me forever.  The Holy Spirit – God’s agent of Joy and Holy Happiness,  is both INSIDE me and around me.  Do you remember reading this fact? –  He has girded me with gladness (Psalm 30:11)

With all that God has done FOR us, He also trusts us and is training us to use some resources and tools that He now provides via His immaterial but living Word.  Daily we are to:

  •  prepare our minds for action. (1 Peter 1:13)
  •  PUT ON new clothes (Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Col 3:12)
  • Strap on our defensive gear, especially the Belt of Truth –  the outer part of that permanent Holy Belt of Gladness – (Eph 6:14) 

These are some of my prayer-filled thoughts that I engage in each early morning before I face the world.   They sort me out. They encourage me. They help me remember that I am NOT my own but His.  I have a duty each day to be ready to exude, offer, shed, share, sprinkle and spill out that counter-cultural vibe of true joy that comes from the God who is IN me, AROUND me, THROUGH me and definitely FOR me.

Everyone is saddened and heavy-ladened with something.  Everyone needs a lift.  We believers are permanently connected to a universe of grace.  We have NOTHING to lose! So be gratuitous with your grace. Your Father in Heaven will beam.  He will not chide you for wanton waste of living water.  The world is thirsty!

Addiction and joy

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