Accepting Corn Chowder By Faith

I’m not usually one to be tied down by food squeamishness.  I’m just at 6 feet tall, and I reside in the upper 230s to lower 240s.  I like me some food.  When Jenn and I were getting to know each other, it didn’t take her long to figure out that I would pretty much eat a food–granted it was not still moving.  That being said, I raised my eyebrows to a recent food purchase she made: corn chowder.   Now, I’m a big supporter of the clam chowder hailing from the place where they paahhk the caahh by the haahbaah.  Corn chowder?  Well, it may be an area of expertise to some but I’d never ventured into that “field”… until today.

My hesitation was rooted in some pre-conceived notions I had regarding some less-than-stellar corn puddings I’ve partaken of in the past.  It was an unfair comparison, but one that had me thinking that I was taking a big step of faith.  Then I saw it.  It was like a beacon to me.  A lighthouse shining its light, showing me the way to safety.  “Flavored with bacon”.  I abandoned any faith-stepping, and went out on sight there.  If it’s flavored with bacon, then I’ve just been armed with all the info I need pertaining to its eligibility for edibility.

In our daily walks with the Lord, isn’t that what we do a lot of the time?  Don’t we abandon our faith and trust in God and give in to making sure we “see” what we’re doing?  It requires a great deal of faith to accept Christ as your Savior.  The world at large doesn’t understand this commitment we make to Him, which is unfortunate, but true.  We have to go out on a limb, spiritually speaking, when we ask Him to save us from our sins.  That’s just where the faith journey begins, though!

Go back to the eating analogy (which I’m entitled to do as a Baptist!)  we don’t just eat once in our lives, and then abandon it do we?  I hope not!  We keep on eating… and eating… and- you get the point.  In our Christian lives, we don’t just accept Him in a bold move of faith and leave it at that.  We keep on practicing (or should) that same boldness and that same faith day in and day out.  If we have to test out our spiritual faith food by giving it the visual OK first, we’re missing the point.  2 Corinthians 5:7 tell us that we are to “live by faith, not by sight.”  In those things that God is trying to get us to do, we shouldn’t wait to see the label and see that it’s “flavored in bacon”.  It could be, and it could not be– but if it’s God’s will for us, then we’re a lot better off accepting it!

Oh, by the way- the corn chowder was delicious (and I could hardly taste the bacon–see where that got me?!)

Until next time.

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Had It All Figured Out(?)

Just when I thought it was safe to assume that I knew some of my future plans, God throws a change-up.  He’s a good pitcher, and, looking back at my Little League career with a .047 batting average, well…  I guess that speaks for itself.  The line from the song that goes: “If you want to make God laugh, make a plan” seems appropriate!

What am I talking about?  Well, I had it all figured out in regards to my seminary degree and time left, etc.  I was going to go the easy road and finish in the Spring with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.  Whoo-Hoo!  This is my second Masters degree, by the way, so I had talked myself into changing from the 90 hour Master of Divinity-industry standard-most people go for an M.Div, to this.  Well, I started looking at (since I had to go into Spring 2012 anyway) another degree just three teeny classes longer.  Hey, Spring 2012/Fall 2012- what’s the difference?

This is the point where I called Liberty University to make it official, wasn’t caller #45 for a change, and was told that if I was 100% sure that changing to my “new” plan with a Master of Arts in Religion was going to be it (as in final/kaput/finito/done) then they could do that.  If there’s any chance I might want to go further- do the M.Div.  Ohhhhhh, the agony!  The horror!  I started to realize that maybe I shouldn’t put God in a box… maybe I should leave this thing open.  Hmm.

I started thinking of some things at this point.  No, persecution of the saints wasn’t where I was going… I thought of the many biblical characters that tried to get out of doing things that God had commanded.  Moses tried to second guess, and talk God out of the idea of leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  Elijah went on the run- even after the victory at Mt. Carmel!  Thomas, well, he was a doubter.  Ananias got squeamish at the thought of going to anoint Saul, who had killed Christians to that point.  Now, I know that my going to seminary isn’t some kind of Scriptural mandate from God.  What I’ve had to realize as it hit me squarely in the face, is that we are supposed to keep God first and honor Him, even in the little things we do.

So I blog before you today, a student enrolled in the M.Div. program.  Instead of being 1 class or even 4 classes away from a seminary degree, now it’s 21.  (whimper)  But I can really feel God saying that I’ve been a little bit childish on this one.  Now, I have no clue if my future will have me putting a “Dr.” in front of my name.  I know for right now that all I’m supposed to do is be obedient and go through the next several years of classes.  I’ll let God throw the pitches, and will practice trying to hit a little better from now on!

Until next time.

Blind as a Bat

I had a dream.  (No, not that one…)  I had a dream that for some reason I went blind.  Some clarification is needed here.  If you’ve ever seen my glasses I wear at night once the contacts go out, you’ll know this isn’t a far reaching idea.  These things are old school- the last frames I had before switching to contacts… in 1994.  I don’t think the technology (or my parents’ budget) was where it needed to be to make my glasses not look like things to see far away… like to planets.  Or the future.

But in the dream I had, I was really blind.  I don’t remember much about most of my dreams, but in this one I remember the blindness being totally new to me.  I was trying to figure the whole thing out.  There were several things I had to learn, or re-learn, to do.  Driving was one… no, just kidding.  Things like walking around the house were tough.  With a baby and a two year old, clear paths aren’t the norm.  Making coffee was a different endeavor.  Getting dressed was tough, too.  What if Jenn had already left for work?  It would take a whole new system of organization to ensure I wasn’t totally mismatched!  Sadly, my sense of fashion is also not too far of a stretch from this dream-reality.

One thing that I realized would change was pretty scary, too.  I wouldn’t be able to read the Bible!  Now, I know there are audio and Braille versions out there.  The thing I realized is from the aspect of having God’s word hidden in my heart.  I’m talking about laziness here… being blind to the gift that God has given us!  What good does a concordance do to a blind person?  That whole scenario of, “Oh, I remember a verse that says something like ______.  Let me look that up.” would be gone.  It hit me that I’ve really neglected the memorization aspect that Psalm 119:11 talks about:  “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

In countries that face no persecution for owning, reading, publicly using, and talking about the Bible we don’t see any application for this.  There are countless believers in countries where none of these things are allowed.  For them, to obtain even a page of Scripture is a great occasion.  I’m sure they don’t waste the moment by just reading it and then giving it little or no thought.  I’m sure they pore over it, and literally hide it in their hearts so that it can’t be taken away- even if the physical printed version is.  The next few verses of Ps. 119 talk about God teaching us and of recounting, meditating and considering, delighting, and not neglecting the word.  I wonder how much of that we are really doing today.

If, like in my dream, you suddenly became blind… how would you feel about what you have already hidden of God’s word?

Until next time!

Camp Neck

There’s a condition that I’ve become aware of this summer.  It is called “Camp Neck”.  It is the direct result of wearing a lanyard with a name tag attached to it for about 17 hours per day, and doing that for 5 days.  Ironically, it is not for the duration of the camp that this becomes a problem- it is actually after the camp is over that one experiences the condition.  What are the symptoms of Camp Neck?  Are they serious?  Life threatening? 

Camp Neck (hereafter CN) is a phenomenon wherein, the affected person(s) will actually feel the lanyard even though it’s not there.  (I italicized that for extra dramatic effect… did it give you the heebie-jeebies?)  I was saved from CN in our children’s camp because I got one of the little clippy-type name tags, but after our youth camp… I was feeling the effects of CN for a week!  It should serve as a warning to us all.

And why is that, you might ask?  Well, I’m sure that any camp has some kind of message/information/skill that is intended for the campers to retain- to keep with them for more than just the camp itself.  As this is pertaining to ministry stuff, I place a great deal of importance on the aspect of keeping the messages, devotionals, and time spent with God with me afterwards.  In other words, CN should get into our spiritual lives (and for more than a week, too!)  It is my prayer for the children and youth at my church and all the other churches represented at our camps this year to keep what they learned and apply it. 

I want to have CN all year and all my life, as a matter of fact.  I don’t want it to happen just at a camp, or a conference, either.  I want it to extend to messages I hear throughout the year, to my daily quiet time, and to my all-around worship of Jesus.  I really am hoping that I feel, not a lanyard’s presence, but God’s presence with me wherever I am.  This isn’t just for the under 18 crowd either, folks.  We can all acquire CN… we should all acquire CN!  Think about what these two Psalms talk about in regards to the presence of the Lord:

Psalm 16:11 says, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  Wow!  The path of life, and an abundant one at that.  Eternal pleasures.  Those are some good side effects.

Psalm 89:15 says, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.”  We are blessed when we walk with Him.  When we are remembering, serving, following, worshiping, and glorifying God we are blessed.

Until next time!

Read the Fine Print

I ran across a website with some tips on blogging/writing the other day- www.jonacuff.com  He is the blogger of “Stuff Christians Like”, a very funny parody/satire of modern Christianity.  His tips were interesting, and I’ve been thinking about them and how to implement them into this blog.  One thought in particular was that there is an unwritten contract between the blogger and reader. 

To take it a little further (and paraphrased a bit) he mentions that in randomly blogging about whatever on whichever days, the blogger breaks the contract that the reader understands, which is “this is what I expect from your blog”.  If that’s the case, then I’m in for some major lawsuits!  I’ve been in a state of wondering lately about exactly what my blog should be.  I’ve noticed that I have my own little style of devotionals, quirky and weird sometimes, but still applicable for Scripture guiding our lives.  I am going to call them “Dave-otionals”.  Not to bring any focus towards myself, mind you.  I just think the name works.  If you can come up with a better one, I welcome your suggestions!  The next idea I have is the whole running/diabetes/dieting thing.  I am seeing in my life that I am becoming passionate about fighting this thing for real.  I really do need some help with a name for that one, though. 

I guess, then, here’s the official (but not legally binding in a court of law) contract for my blog:  I will post an aforementioned “Dave-otional” each week.  I will post an entry into the not-yet-named running/diabetes/dieting category each week as well.  If, by some chance, there is a random thing that just has to be shared it will be done… most likely by Twitter or Facebook, but it could be blogged.  Maybe.

So there it is.  Did you read the fine print?  Made sure that you knew what you were getting into?  I did… I think.  Better get cracking on the next post soon!