Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Thirty-nine is the number of inches that measure the circumference of my husband's protuberant abdomen, i.e. potbelly. Protuberant: it's times like these that I love the dictionary. After months of experiencing some discomfort while trying to bend over to tie his shoes, Matt has decided to do something about these 39".
Anyone who knows Matt is aware that the main ingredient of just about everything he consumes is sugar. The first two weeks of South Beach eliminates all sugar from your diet, which means that my husband will be going through some serious withdrawl. Pray for me. Pray for anyone that comes in contact with Matt over these next two weeks.
This whole concept of eliminating sugar and eating healthy is a new way of life for the man who can survive on vanilla cream donuts from D&D and hot cinnamon rolls from Bob Evans. Matt was always a stick growing up. When I first met him and began spending time with him, I remember seeing his belt laying somewhere and stammering at how incredibly short it was. It was more like a necklace, seriously.
Those days are gone now and despite the fact that I think he gets better looking as he gets older, (I like him beefier and it's nice for once to weigh less than your husband) I want him to be healthy. His body is not his own. His body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He has been bought with a price and as a result, he is called to glorify God with his body.
If you get a chance, read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Paul's command to glorify God with our bodies flows from his strong exhortation to flee sexual immorality. He's not talking about food and the need to eliminate sugar but I think there is still application we can make in regards to our eating. In verse 12 and 13a Paul says:
"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food - and God will destroy both one and the other."
The key here is that we are not to be enslaved by anything. Why? The answer rests in the truth of the gospel found in verses 19 and 20:
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
When I come face to face with such a clear gospel connection in the Word, I try to slowly walk myself through the truth, allowing each point to sink in. Here's how this one would go:
Because I am a Christian, the Holy Spirit resides in me. He lives in me. I am not my own anymore. My life doesn't belong to me. I can't do whatever I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it. I belong to Another. I belong to Jesus Christ, who shed his blood on the Cross to redeem me. He paid the full price for me by standing in my place and receiving the full wrath of God that I deserved. He bought me. All that I do in this body should aim to glorify Him - to make much of Him. Father God, thank you! Show me the things in my life that are not helpful and reveal to me the things that are enslaving me (v.12) so that I might adorn the gospel and bring glory to You.
Will Matt's 39" gut shrink?
I'm not sure, but what's most important is that he has chosen to respond to the reality that sugar has enslaved him. His heart is to please God and to bring Him glory, even in the area of his eating. :)
Friday, September 14, 2007
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? John 14:2
A place has been prepared for us! By our Savior! What could be better than that? Check out this great message on heaven from 1SingleDay by C.B. Eder: http://www.crosswaypa.org/pages/index.php?pID=207
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Yesterday, after weeks of daily wigglings, my Abbie-girl lost her first tooth.
She was outside playing and suddenly realized it fell out. With a mouthful of blood and her grimy little fist closed, she ran to the front door with pure joy on her face! In her excitement, the tooth escaped from her little clutch. For the next 10 minutes, Stephen and I helped her search frantically for the missing tooth. Abbie cried because she concluded that if the tooth wasn't found then she wouldn't be able to leave it under her pillow for the great tooth wizard (aka: Dad) to take and replace with some loot. Matt (aka: tooth wizard) assured her that with a letter of explanation left under her pillow, she still may receive loot.
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup of liquid egg substitute (I used Weis brand of egg beaters)
3/4 cup of shredded reduced-fat cheese (regular cheese would be fine too)
1/4 cup of diced green peppers
1/4 cup of diced onions (I left this out b/c cutting an onion hurts my eyes)
3 drops of hot-pepper sauce (optional but I went for it and loved it)
1. Microwave the spinach for 2 1/2 minutes on high and drain excess liquid.
2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups and spray cups with cooking spray.
3. Combine all desired ingredients and mix well.
4. Divide evenly between cups and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
They look pretty pathetic when you take them out of the oven...at least for me they did. I guess I imagined them puffing up like a good blueberry muffin, but not so much with eggs and veggies. After I left them cool down, I put them in a freezer bag and shoved them in the fridge. Each day I have pulled out two for breakfast, removed the baking cup, and reheated them for about a minute. They have a great taste and they are packed with 9 grams of protein so they really fill you.
A few days ago during my quiet time I was reading through 1 Samuel 30. Here's the background: The Amalekites came to Ziklag and burned down the entire city and took captive all of the women and children. They didn't kill them, but when David and his men returned to the city to find it burned and their families gone, they were in despair. Who wouldn't be?
Verse 6 says, "And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." Later in verse 8 we are told that David inquired of the Lord.
So here's my question: What does it mean to strengthen yourself in the Lord? Practically speaking, what do you do?
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I can remember the morning like it was yesterday morning. Matt was home and there was a nurse coming to our house to obtain some medical information from us for our life insurance policy. My Mom had just called me with an unexplainable voice of concern . She told me to turn on the television. The nurse arrived at our door just moments later and after a very brief greeting, I explained what was happening in New York and the three of us sat on the couch watching everything unfold. It was horrifying.
I don't know anyone personally who died in this tragedy. Not a single person. But that didn't seem to affect the way that the event gripped me. Just 7 months after the attacks, in early April, my husband I traveled to NYC for the day and actually spent some time at the site and the surrounding areas. I tear up even now as I remember the area where "missing people" photographs and memorabilia filled the block by an old church. There were photographs of kids, dads, moms, friends, fiances, grandparents....people just like me. There were stuffed animals set out, blankets, candles lit, and other special items. We walked through the area slowly, reading the notes posted and looking closely at the faces of those missing.
John Piper's words from "The Pleasures of God" helped me to apply sound theology to this event - not in a cold, distant manner and with trite unemotional answers, which I had already attempted to do myself. He helped me to grasp the bigger picture, with joy, peace, and a solid confidence in the character of God. In chapter 2, entitled "The Pleasure of God in All He Does", he shares about the death of his mother in 1974. She was in Israel on a tour bus with her husband when a van with lumber tied on the roof swerved out of its lane and hit the bus head on. The lumber came through the windows and killed his mother instantly. He shares that when they saw her body ten days later, after the funeral home did the best they could, his sister fainted and his father wept over the coffin for a long time.
p.68 "What was my comfort in those days? There were many...and underneath all these comforts, supporting all my unanswered questions, and calming my heart, there is the confidence that God is in control and God is good. I take no comfort from the prospect that God cannot control the flight of a four-by-four. For me there is no consolation in haphazardness. Nor in giving Satan the upper hand. As I knelt by my bed and wept, having received the dreaded phone call from my brother-in-law, I never doubted that God was sovereign over this accident and that God was good. I do not need to explain everything. That he reigns and that he loves is enough for now."
For another great John Piper nugget, check out "The Great Steel Cross."
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Stephen's fear of storms and his passion to build and create made for some very interesting and specific prayers. Before we prayed, he reminded Abbie and me that God is sovereign over the storms and that we could pray that He would not send them to this country, which would allow them to build stronger homes in case storms come later. He prayed that the people of Bangladesh would find strong materials for building strong homes since there probably wasn't cement available.
While I don't remember all the details of his prayer, what I did recognize is that when a situation touches a personal fear or passion/interest we have, our prayers are often different. My son's prayers are usually quick and to the point but this time around, when both a passion and fear met, he prayed for much longer and prayed specifically and with genuine emotion.
Made up primarily of Muslims, there is estimated only 0.72% Christians living in Bangladesh. Please take a moment to prayerfully travel to this country with us and ask God to move through the power of His gospel.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Something different about this time around is the way we officially began. We sat together and I read aloud from "You Can Change The World - Volume 2: Learning to Pray for People Around the World." Afghanistan is the first country we learned about and prayed for and if you look closely in the picture of the map below you may see a small photo of Abbie and Stephen in this war-torn country.
We went through Volume 1 of this book series two years ago and the kids loved it but I never continued with Volume 2. After spending a day at a friend's house I saw how she had a world map on her kitchen wall and picture of her daughter pinned on a particular country that they were praying for. I was inspired and knew that I had to pick this back up with my kids.
Bel Air, Maryland is a far cry from Kabul, Afghanistan but we were able to pray specifically for some of the needs of this country and for the furtherance of the gospel. What an amazing thought that while we sat at our dining room table and prayed, God heard our prayers and petitions for the people of this country, the people He created, and He will use our prayers to accomplish His sovereign work.
What a mysterious privilege prayer is!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
His message was entitled "Bags Packed and Ready to Go." He began by asking us a few questions:
- am I living packed up and ready to go?....my answer, no. I'm not packed up and I don't want to go right now.
- is Jesus everything to me?....I want him to be but on most days I'm running after other things.
- am I so in love with Jesus that to die is gain?...I don't want to die, I want to see my kids grow up.
- am I more concerned with the trivial than I am with the eternal?....yep, the trivial often rules me.
C.B. referenced a message that really impacted him entitled, "Joys Eternal Increase" by Sam Storms. It is actually on the Desiring God website and I wanted to provide you with the link which will allow you to watch or listen to the sermon.
If you're anything like me, and I hope you're not, messages from retreats and conferences and even Sunday services can fade away rather quickly if I am not careful to go back over my notes and apply a bit of truth that I learned.