Friday, March 26, 2010


I cannot get the word "beautiful" out of my mind.

Last week my stepmother, Martha Ellen, went home to be with Jesus. What an amazing experience it must have been to leave the dreary, gray hospital room where she suffered in pain and immobility, and enter into the rooms of the mansion that God had already prepared for her, where she was given a brand new, healthy body.

Later when I was talking with my sweet Dad about this, he shared with me how beautiful she looked when she passed away. He said she was more beautiful to him than ever before in that moment. He loved her from the inside out, and he knew her heart.

To the human eye, the word "beautiful" may not have been a word to describe her in her last days.

The cancer had taken its toll on her body.

Instead of seeing her normally cheery, rosy cheeked, healthy face, we saw a face that was small and pale. Instead of seeing her perfectly fixed hair, we saw remnants of hair that displayed the evidence of months of chemo. Instead of seeing her healthy body, scurrying around the kitchen and hanging out on the porch with her glass of wine, we saw a frail, fragile shell of the person she once was.

But in my dads eyes, and in Gods eyes, she was the epitomy of beautiful. As she was ushered into the arms of her heavenly Father, who had been waiting for her to come to Him, who had been standing by her side during this battle, and who had been preparing a wonderful place for her, she was beautiful.

My daddy said in that moment, she was the most beautiful sight that he had ever seen, and I believe him. In his eyes, she was more beautiful than she had ever been.

Beautiful, as he saw the presence of the Living Spirit take over her body, as she passed from this broken temporary world, to the perfect and eternal world.

Beautiful - maybe not in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of those who loved her and knew her, and in the eyes of God.

So often we get so caught up in trying to look perfect, partly because fashion and appearance seem to be at the forefront of every area in the media today. It is an endless game for approval that we all get caught up in.

But in the big scheme of things, in the bigger picture of life, physical appearance does not matter at all. Gods Word repeatedly tells us that His focus is on developing our inner beauty, so that it can be reflected in everything we do, and everything we are.

No matter what we look like on the outside, God only loves us for what is on the inside. He is not concerned with hair, makeup, weight, clothes, fashion or appearance. Regardless of whether we are healthy and active, or sick and fragile, He sees us as being the same beautiful person that He formed in the womb.

God is concerned about the heart, and when we love Him with all our heart - only then, are we truly beautiful..

Beautiful - because of whose we are, not because of who we are.

Beautiful - because we are made in His image, and nothing is more beautiful than Him.

Beautiful - because when we leave this world and enter the Fathers palace, we leave behind the old body, the old problems, and the old life, and step into a glorious place that our human mind cannot even comprehend.

I want to feel beautiful today, not based on what I see in the mirror, but what I see about me in Gods Word.

Remember how beautiful you are today, and focus your thoughts on how God sees you. Remember how those who dearly love you, see your beauty exuding from your heart regardless of what you look like on the outside, and that is the kind of beauty that really matters.

God never made a mistake, and true beauty is always in the eye of the Beholder.

* Will you join me in prayer for my friend Melissa today? Her sweet mom Becky discovered just how beautiful she really is yesterday morning, as she also lost her battle with cancer and left this world, to fall into the arms of Jesus.*

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gods Waiting Room

One of the greatest frustrations for Christians can be having to wait for God to act. We wait, sometimes for years, for our prayers to be answered, and our requests to be met, but still, we just continue to find ourselves in the waiting game.

In todays day and age, we are accustomed to things being quick, and instant. We are impulsive, spontaneous, and sometimes demanding. We want things to happen, and we want them to happen quickly.

We expect fast food to be fast, and when it isnt, we get irritated. We expect the ATM to instantly give us our money, so we dont have to wait in line inside. We pop food in the microwave and stand there with our foot tapping until its done. We use the self-checkout at the grocery store, so we dont have to wait on someone else to do it.

We have instant access to information through the internet, and would never consider going to the library to look something up. We engage in texting, instant messaging, emails, and facebook so that we can enjoy instant communication and feedback.

We like things quick, easy and convenient, and in this age of immediate gratification and due to living in a culture that thrives on urgency, waiting on God is hard.

As a result of living in this never ending state of immediacy in every other aspect of life, it is easy for us to become frustrated with God, His apparent inaction, His silence, and His obvious unhurried pace.

Have you ever waited for a long time in a doctors office, forced to wait an hour or more past your appointment time? I have endured this torture many times, and I will be honest and tell you, that I not a good "waiter".

As I sit in the waiting room, watching the clock tick away seconds on the wall, getting bored because I have already read every outdated magazine available in the rack, my thoughts begin to focus on impatience. The more time passes, the more my impatience begins to fester, and eventually my mind begins to wander.

I begin to wonder if the office staff overbooked the doctor and if he simply has too many patients. I begin to wonder why the doctor is not being considerate of my time at all.

I wonder why other patients, who came in after me, are being seen before me. I wonder if maybe I should just go home and try to see if I can fix the problem myself with over the counter medicines, or just wait it out to see if it goes away.

In fact, I begin to wonder if the doctor is even in the office?! Maybe he is not really there, and the nurses are just implementing stall tactics to try to keep the patients from leaving?!

The funny thing is, that this same line of thinking is what many of us do when we are waiting for God, myself included!

When we do not see Him working on our problem or answering our prayers in a timely manner, we begin to wonder if maybe He is just too busy.

We begin to wonder if maybe He just does not really care about us at all.

We begin to wonder if maybe He cares about other people more than us, because it appears He is answering their prayers before ours.

We begin to wonder if we should try to handle the problems on our own, and just leave God out of it.

We may even begin to wonder if God is even there, because if He was, would we not have seen a glimpse of Him by now?

Sometimes waiting, can cause wondering, and that wondering can lead us away from God, as we focus on our expectations of timeliness, instead of His.

I do not like waiting - on earthly things, or heavenly things for that matter. Waiting, whether in the doctors waiting room, or Gods waiting room, is simply just not something any of us want, or like, to do.

Maybe you are in Gods waiting room today. Maybe it is a new place for you, or maybe it is a room you have spent a lot of time in.

In this waiting room, maybe you are waiting for a sick family member to be healed; maybe you are waiting to be given a child; maybe you are waiting on a new job opportunity; maybe you are waiting on your teen to turn back to God; maybe you are waiting for a marriage to improve; maybe you are waiting on financial security; maybe you are waiting to overcome an addiction; maybe you are waiting on a clean bill of health; maybe you are waiting for a miracle.

There are so many reasons that cause us to end up sitting in Gods waiting room - just waiting. Waiting to see the One who has the authority to fix the problem, grant the wishes, answer the prayers, and make dreams come true. Waiting to see the One who can heal our hurts, ease our heartache, prescribe peace, and offer hope.

And that waiting is hard - but during the wait, we can choose how we will allow our minds to wander.

We can choose to wonder about Gods will and His timing, or we can choose to wonder whether or not His will and His timing matters.

We can choose to wonder about how we can stand strong in our faith, or we can choose to wonder if faith is all its cracked up to be.

We can choose to wonder about which verses in Gods Word may apply to our situation, or we can choose to wonder if Gods Word is really applicable in todays world.

We can choose to wonder about how God is going to act, or we can choose to wonder about whether or not He will act at all.

Waiting is a matter of faith, obedience, hope and trust.

It is an opportunity for us to lay everything at the foot of the cross, or to bear the weight on our own shoulders. An opportunity to fully trust God and draw closer to Him, or to turn our backs on Him and assume that since we do not see Him, He is not realy there.

In the eyes of the world, any type of waiting is seen as a negative thing, whether waiting on the doctor, or God. In fact, waiting causes negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, boredom, impatience and maybe even feeling trapped.

Waiting may also cause us to act in ways that we would not normally do, such as complaining, despairing, and leaning towards thoughts of hopelessness.

But waiting is sometimes exactly what our Doctor, the real Great Physician, ordered.

God’s concept of waiting is different than our own. It is not based on the mindset of frustration, impatience, or hopelessness - it is based on expectation, patience and His glory.

It is geared towards developing and growing our faith during the wait, providing opportunities for our minds to embrace His sovereignty, His loyalty, and His love.

Waiting is at the core of the Christian life, as we expectantly wait to see how He will carry out His will in our lives. It can be an opportunity to build our faith, trust and hope in Him, as we obey His commandment to wait on His timing, and His will for our lives.

Psalm 118:8 is the exact center of the Bible. It is the verse that is found between the shortest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 117), and the longest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 119). It is the verse that tells us of Gods perfect will for each of our lives, perfectly placed right smack in center of Gods Word.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (NKJV)

Waiting requires trust. Waiting requires taking the focus off of ourselves and our timelines, and putting our trust and hope in the Lord. Waiting requires obedience, as we succumb to Gods sovereignty and recognize that He is God, and we are not.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. (NKJV)

Are you in Gods waiting room today? Let your mind wander.

Spend some time wondering about the hope that can be found through Him; about the trust that you can place in Him because He holds the answers to all things; about how you can walk in obedience by putting your trust and hope in Him; about the peace that you can feel in the middle of a storm; about the excitement that you will feel once you are able to see how God has been sitting right beside you in the waiting room all along.

Maybe there are some benefits to waiting, and just maybe, patience truly is a virtue after all.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

She Speaks scholarship opportunity!

Happy Monday everyone! We are having some serious sunshine in the Carolinas today, and I have never been more happy to see it. My heart is in need of some golden warmth this week. Brings a smile to my heart, and my face.

I have something so exciting to share with you, if you have not heard about it yet. For the first time ever, Proverbs 31 has three full scholarships available to attend the She Speaks Conference! These scholarships are being made available by Cecil Murphy, who is a Proverbs 31 supporter and offers amazing newsletters for writers, and you can click HERE to check them out and/or subscribe to receive them.

If you have ever wanted to attend She Speaks on July 31-August 1, then this is your opportunity to win one for free! And it is a $575 value!

Registration for the conference has only been open for a few weeks, and the conference is already half full! If you have been considering looking further into Gods call on your life to be a speaker, writer, or womens ministry director, or you are just in need of some serious spiritual encouragement to take that first step, dont delay in getting signed up!

Below are the rules, from Lysas website, for the She Speaks Scholarship Contest. Also, if you want more details about what She Speaks is all about, visit Lysas site, or visit the She Speaks site at

Scholarships Entry Rules:

1. You must have a blog. You must link back to this post.
*** Please note, if you do not have a blog- don't fret. An amazingly generous blogger has donated a scholarship we'll give away to those who e-mail their entry to with the subject line reading "She Speaks Scholarship Entry."

2. Write a post on your blog that tells others a little about the She Speaks Conference and why you would like to win a scholarship.

3. If you want to post the She Speaks button on your site, that would be great! But it is not a requirement. We do request that you include a link both to this scholarship opportunity post as well the She Speaks Conference website .

4. Have your post up by Friday, March 26th, 2010.

5. Enter to win by linking below. *** VERY IMPORTANT***Please be sure to link the specific page that your entry post is on. Our team of judges will be reviewing the entries and I will post the winner on Friday, April 2, 2010.

6. The winner of this contest will be awarded a scholarship for the cost of one person’s registration for the 2010 She Speaks conference.The value of this scholarship is $575 which includes your conference materials, conference registration, 2 nights at the conference hotel and meals associated with the conference. Please note it does not include any travel expenses. Also, you will be assigned a room mate or you have the option to pay the extra charge for a private room.This scholarship is non-transferable and can not be traded for cash.

So get hopping, and get signed up! If you have ever longed to attend She Speaks, but finances kept you from going, this could be your perfect opportunity! God already knows which three special women are going to win this amazing opportunity - and it could be you!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The day my frown turned upside down

Yesterday, I was in a bad mood. And just in case I had forgotten about my said bad mood, my two daughters reminded me about it this morning, pointing out several things I had done or said which proved that I was, in deed, in a bad mood.

I have to admit, I was in a bad mood.

But I had good reason.

On Saturday morning, my family and I piled up in the car and drove three hours to visit my step-mother, who was admitted to the hospital last week. In her battle against lung cancer, she has had to have her lungs drained of fluid a couple times, and this time, one of her lungs collapsed, requiring hospitalization and around the clock care.

When we arrived to her hospital room, she was laying in the bed, looking very weak, frail and quiet. As I watched her lie there, speechless, breathless, helpless, and motionless, my heart began to feel heavy. I had to fight back the tears and remind myself that I had to be strong, for the kids, and for my daddy.

But in my heart, I was weeping.

I so longed for the days when she was scurrying around the kitchen, making cinnamon bread and delicious Paula Deen recipes, spending lazy days on the porch smelling the beach air, and playing with the grandkids.

But now, the scene is much different. She has very little strength left, and what she does have, is slowly fading. I wanted to do something for her, anything, but there was nothing I could do, but wish to the depths of my heart that I could scoop her up, nurse her back to health, and help give her the strength she needs.

But I have no strength to give, and any strength I might have will do her no good. My strength has no power.

This morning as I read Gods Word, I came across a verse that crept into the little cracks in my heart that so needed to be filled with something sweet of God today.

Deuteronomy 11:8 "Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter."

In this passage in Deuteronomy, through the mouth of Moses, the Lord is instructing the Israelites about their soon-to-be entrance into the Promised Land. He has been reminding them of all the miracles and amazing things that have happened during their journey, but He knows, based on their history of actions and attitudes, that they are easily tripped up with things that pull them away from God, cause them to doubt His sovereignty, and take their eyes of Him.

The Lord warns them about taking their focus off of Him, and reminding them that the only place they will find strength, is through Him.

But, He also wants them to understand that their strength will not come from an overwhelming desire to be good or simply believing in Him. Their strength will not come from carrying out rituals, sacrifices, or processes.

Their strength would only come from full and wholehearted obedience to all of the Lords commands - including how they live their every day lives.

Deuteronomy 11:9 says "If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors and to you, their descendants..."

Verse 18 then says "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine."

The Lord made it clear to the Israelites that He was the only One that could give them strength, and today, that is where we must look for strength as well.

Christ is where our true strength comes from, through obedience.

Not merely obedience to a special task that God calls us to do, but obedience in our willingness to walk in His words and commandments every day.

To walk in His light with our thoughts, words and actions. To walk in His peace when we face doubts and fears. To walk in His joy when we cant find any reason to be joyful in the middle of a hard trial.

Each day brings new challenges and hardships. And every day we are required to get out of bed and make a choice about where our strength will come from.

Thank goodness, that every day we are given new opportunities for us to get stronger and stronger in Him.

What struck me today about this verse in Deuteronomy 11:8, is how God is telling us to walk with Him, and in His Word, and follow His ways - every day - not only when we are feeling too weak to face life on our own.

He is commanding us not to try live life in our own strength, and then one day when a storm hits, suddenly turn to Him for strength.

Daily obedience = strength for every day. Even if our physical weakness is a reality, our spiritual weakness only comes when we take our eyes off the source of our power.

Philippians 4:13 is a popular verse that people use when talking about strength, because it says "For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength."

This verse is commonly used to encourage people who are going through a tough time. But what is most important, is the understanding that this verse does not just mean that strength will come because we know Christ. That kind of strength only comes from a personal relationship with Christ; a relationship based on love, obedience, and a full, unwavering commitment. A relationship based on a promise to obey.

The inner, emotional strength we desperately need when faced with hard times, can only come through our daily obedience of trying to live a life that pleases Christ, and our daily repentance as we fall woefully short of doing so.

Today I am still sad about the situation of my sweet daddys wife, who has been a part of our family for over 16 years, but I am in a better mood. I do trust God to give me strength to face the hard days when they roll around. And believe me, I will be fully relying on Him to provide the strength that I cannot find on my own.

Knowing that He will be there with me, holding me up, helps turn my frown upside down, into a smile.

    The day my frown turned upside downSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Special Marriage Building Opportunity!

    Hi friends! I have something special to tell you about, especially if you participated in my recent 14 day Marriage Challenge.

    My P31 sister Melanie Chitwood will be conducting two conference calls on marriage this month, called "Building a Marriage that Will Last a Lifetime."

    Here is the description of the call content (from Melanies blog):

    We all hope our marriage will last forever, but what are we doing today to ensure that happens? A marriage that will stand strong in good times and stressful times requires a choice each day to invest our best in our marriage. This two-part conference call will provide practical tools and will renew your desire to build a better marriage.

    Taking lessons from her own marriage and God's Word, some of the practical tools Melanie will focus on include how to:

    • build closeness as you identify and respond to your husband's top needs
    • decrease conflict as you learn to embrace one another's differences
    • increase effective communication by understanding the way your husband thinks
    • strengthen your marriage through divorce-proofing strategies

    Doesnt it sound awesome? Melanie has two books out, What A Husband Needs From His Wife, and What a Wife Needs From Her Husband, so she has lots of experience and knowledge about strengthening marriages, and I encourage you to consider participating!

    The call will be two parts, Thursday March 18, 8-9 pm and Thursday March 25, 8-9 pm -Eastern Standard Time. The cost is $20 total.

    You can register for these conference calls by calling Melissa at the Proverbs 31 Ministries office at this toll-free number: 1-877-731-4663.

    Once you've registered, the conference call number will be emailed to you, and then you just dial in at the appropriate time, and listen as Melanie talks. There will be a time for interaction, discussion, and Q&A, or if you prefer, you don't have to talk at all! Plus, the call will be recorded, so if you can't listen at the time of recording, you'll still have access to listen to it later.

    So if you are interested, call Melissa and get registered today!

    Special Marriage Building Opportunity!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Spiritual Prostitution

    I have to admit, I dont like the title of this blog post. I do like the word 'spiritual', but I do not like the word 'prostitution'. In fact, just the thought of that word elicits thoughts of terrible sorrow, pain, shame and sin. It is a word that is filled with sadness, disgust, disturbing thoughts and shattered lives.

    As disturbing as it may be, this term can be found in the Bible.

    In Leviticus 20:6, the Lord is talking to Moses about the life instructions that he should communicate to the Israelites on behalf of the Lord. In this verse, the Lords says, "I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community."

    One of the things He specifically forbid them to worship was Molech, an awful pagan god, worshipped by many people who fell away from the sovereign God of all time. This god required horrible sacrifices, and the brainwashing that people experienced as a result of following this satanic practice, caused them to do terrible things that they would surely never have done if they were in their right heart and mind.

    But what I also thought was interesting in this verse, is that the Lord also warned about "putting their trust in mediums". Now if you have ever seen those television shows about houses being haunted, you may think a "medium" is only someone who seems to think they can talk to ghosts and spirits from the other side (an obviously fictional show, even though they try to say they are real-life stories).

    But in todays culture, it is easy to fall into the habit of expecting other people, or things, to be able to tell us about the future, the dead, and anything that seems out of the scope of our human knowledge. And anything that we look to for information about life, besides Gods Word, would fall into the category of "medium".

    I found several definitions of a "medium", which included: an intervening agency; channels of general communication; a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living; a filtering substance; of or pertaining to the human soul or mind; of or pertaining to some apparently nonphysical force or agency.

    One popular "medium" that many people fall prey to is reading horoscopes. Personally I have always steered clear from horoscopes for several reasons - 1) because they are usually silly and dont even apply to my life, and 2) because I have always thought that worshipping the stars, or consulting with anyone who thinks they posses the same power as God, is not something I wanted to be involved with.

    The basic purpose of a horoscope is to gain insight into a person’s character based on their birth date, and foretell their future. Horoscopes are supposedly based on the basic belief in astrology, that planets and stars exert an influence upon our lives.

    Lets put this in perspective - horoscopes are created by people who think they have special knowledge, such as astrologers, mediums, fortune tellers, palm readers, psychics - under the belief that they really do have the power to predict events in a person’s life.

    As far as I am concerned, I think it is a little disturbing that most major newspapers have a horoscope column. It is also amazing how many websites there are dedicated to this practice. I never cease to be amazed at how many Christians read these things regularly, and sometimes, even believe them, and seriously count on what is said to become a reality in their life.

    I think if we are not careful, even as Christians, we can become consumed with checking out our horoscope each day, "just to see". We tell ourselves that we dont really believe in them, but just want to see if it somehow does seem relevant.

    But after a while, even though it is a seemingly innocent habit, it can become a "medium" that we begin to believe has some truth to it, and is relevant in our actual lives. We may see similarities in the horoscope to what actually happens to us, which slowly, quietly, and inadvertently changes our minds into thinking, "hmmm, maybe there is something to this star worship stuff; maybe it really can tell the future".

    That is when horoscope reading becomes scary, and would begin to fall under the umbrella of spiritual prostitution.

    I know there will probably be some people who think I am blowing this horoscope thing way out of proportion, and maybe some people who just think I am being overly 'religious', and turning something that is just "fun and interesting" into a seemingly ridiculous idol worship.... but for some reason, it has really been on my mind lately.

    My take on this is simply based on the fact that the Bible has a lot to say about this subject, and that is the source I go to when I need some insight I can count on.

    Aside from the verse above in Leviticus, we read in Deuteronomy 18:10-14, that God expressly forbids divination, sorcery, and hidden arts, and any source of guidance or information about the future, outside of Gods Word and prayer, is to be rejected completely:

    When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering (note: which is one of the things that Molech worshippers did).And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.

    Our trust about the past, present and future should be in Gods hands only, and He should be the only One to whom we look to to guide our paths. Faith in anything besides God is skewed, transfers our thoughts, and is actually detestable in Gods eyes. This instruction that God is to be our only guife in life is reiterated in Proverbs 3:5-6:

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,and he will show you which path to take.

    So if we consider the real meaning of just these two verses alone, astrology is the polar opposite of Gods commands to His children, and goes strictly against the Bible.

    Horoscopes not only advocate and encourage us to have faith in something other than God, it can also be considered a form of divination, which means 'the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means; or prophecy.' In other words, spiritual prostitution. That is a little scary if you ask me. Just sayin.

    We cannot determine God's will for our lives through reading horoscopes, and trying to do so, is a direct violation of the covenant we made with God when we accepted Him as the Only Way.

    As Christians, we are called to read the Bible, believe the Bible, love the Lord, and give Him the responsibility of being our only guiding Light. We are to pray to Him only in order to gain wisdom, guidance and hope for our future. We are not to look to any other 'medium' for that type of information, and when we do, we are setting ourselves for trouble.

    Consulting anyone, or anything, about the future of our lives is a violation of Gods instructions, and can soon become a barrier to us hearing Gods voice when He does speak to us.

    I dont know about you, but I certainly dont want the word "prostitute" beside my name in the book of Heaven! And I most definitely do not want to be cut off from the community of God. And lastly, I dont want to be brainwashed, or have my idea of truth swayed at all, allowing myself to be slowly, and unknowingly pulled away from God, and into the hands of something or someone that will cause me to lose sight of the real Truth.

    If you are interested, do some research on Molech. What you will find will not only be disturbing, but you will see the mangnitude of sorrow and sin that occurred in the lives of formerly God-fearing people because they slowly began to believe in something other than God.

    On Tuesday I wrote about the importance of caring for our temples - this post goes right along with that. One of the most important things we have in our temples, is our heart. Guarding our heart against anything that is not of God, will keep our Temples holy and pure so that God can dwell there, just as He has promised to do.

    What are your thoughts on this subject?

    (due to some recent spam problems on my blog, I am having to moderate all comments for a while. I will approve your comments for posting throughout the day, so dont get worried if your comment does not post immediately. Thanks for your patience!)

    Spiritual ProstitutionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Caring For The Temple

    I had a somewhat wierd conversation on Sunday with my sixteen year old daughter, Morgan.

    As I was driving her to church Sunday night, I drove through Wendys to get her a quick bite to eat. She had hardly eaten anything all day and said she was starving, which prompted her to order a Double Baconator Combo - you know, the hamburger with two thick patties, 6 strips of bacon, cheese and everything else, plus greasy fries and a large drink.

    I tried to convince her to get something else, but she reminded me that she was "starving!", and promised to eat it all. Now Morgan has always been small and petite, with a perfect figure, but I warned her that if she kept eating like that, it would eventually catch up with her as far as weight is concerned, plus it was very, very unhealthy. Then the conversation took an interesting twist.

    Since I have been studying Leviticus in my daily bible reading, which focuses on the building of Gods Temple by the Israelites after they had left Egypt and were in Mt Sinai, I apparently had "temple on the brain" symdrome.

    I mentioned to Morgan that she should remember that her body was Gods temple and that she should take care of it, and part of taking care of it, was eating healthy. She replied by saying (through her facial expression of utter confusion), "are you trying to tell me that eating this hamburger is a sin?!".

    The conversation went on for several minutes, while I attempted to explain to her how she needs to fill her body with healthy things and consider how she takes care of Gods temple, while at the same, she continued trying to convince me that eating a hamburger was not a sin.

    Now trust me, I do not believe that eating a hamburger is a sin!

    But after reading so many countless details over the past few weeks about the Tabernacle, I have a new found appreciation for its sacredness. I have a newfound reverence for it, understanding that the Lord actually physically resided in the Temple by virtue of a cloud, and a new appreciation for caring for the Temple.

    I read of the thousands of details and countless hours of work that were devoted to building the Tabernacle (the tent-version of the Temple), and the many rules and requirements that God set forth about honoring and caring for the Temple.

    I also recognized that God did not take the caring for His Temple lightly - in fact, if someone did not obey His rules, He made sure they paid for it dearly. I am so thankful that we have Jesus now!

    And Jesus is exactly my point.

    In the New Testament, we are reminded many times about how we are now Gods dwelling place, instead of a tent. We no longer have to worship or pray or converse with God in a specific place, because He lives within us.

    1 Corinthians 9:16-17 says "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."

    At first glance, that verse implies an overwhelming responsibility. Understanding that we truly are Gods temple, and that we are the only ones who can take care of it, and that He has commanded us to do so, can be a little intimidating.

    But thank goodness for us, caring for a Temple is not near as hard as it used to be for the Israelites. We do not have to live in fear that we will mess up, because Jesus is here to give us grace. But lets think about how we can care for ourselves, Gods Temple,in modern terms:

    - The original Temple had walls, although made of cloth. But their purpose was to protect the holy contents that were inside. In the same way, we also have to be on guard against anything that would harm the truth and love in us. We have to choose to guard and protect what we put into our hearts and minds, and keep our faith strong and upright.

    - A lot of cleaning took place in the Temple, and we need to keep our Temples clean as well, through purity of heart, by making choices that would please God and by steering clear of sin and temptations to do things that we know are not pleasing to God. Through this cleanliness, we can live life in such a way that other people wonder what we have in our Temple that is so holy and wonderful.

    - The Temple was built for worshipping - God calls us into worship every day. Taking care of our Temples involves spending time with Him and in His Word, knowing that He is available to talk to us every day, any place, any time, since He resides within us.

    - The Lord spoke in the Temple, sometimes just to Moses, sometimes to many, but His voice was heard. The Lord is still speaking to us, in our hearts, and in may different ways, but taking care of our Temples requires actively listening for His voice, expecting to hear it, and obeying the commands that we hear.

    Most of us would probably admit, myself included, that maybe we dont always take the best care of our temples - our bodies, our hearts, our minds. How easy it is to forget that we are the Lords holy dwelling place.

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

    That is a powerful statement - "honor God with your body".

    So how we do that? Does that mean never eat another hamburger or doughnut? Of course not! God does not expect to have perfect bodies, sleek figures, or infallible eating habits. He is not concerned with what we wear, what color our hair is, or how many wrinkles we have.

    1 Samuel 16:7 says, "Then the LORD said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

    God cares more about what is inside our Temples, than what it looks like on the outside, but I think He also calls us to remember that sometimes our outside choices, affect what is getting inside our hearts, minds and bodies.

    We are called to take care of Gods Temple in every way, through healthy eating and exercise,through modesty, through purity of thoughts and actions, through what we watch on television, through the activities that we engage in, through the friends that we choose to hang out with, and through the decisions that we make every day of our life.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the nutritional content (I use the word 'nutritional' lightly) just to see what damage could be done through eating a Double Baconator Combo. The results showed a whopping 1590 calories, 79 grams of fat, 2640 milligrams of sodium. If you ask me, that sounds a little sinful - guess that is why it is so delicious, tempting and satisying! Sometimes the things that seem great, are exactly the things that take our eyes off of the Temple.

    I think I will head out to Subway now, and get a salad. Smiles.

    PS Just for the record, Morgan could not eat the whole thing - thank goodness that was just too much food for one little belly.

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