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.

Shedding Light

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I should attempt to do with this blog.  Hopefully you’ve noticed some things have changed as you entered the site just now.  Yeah, that’s the whole “attempting to do” aspect!  I’ve called it “Dave’s Blog” for a while now.  While it may be true that it is my blog, I wanted to do something to make it something a little better than that.  I know, it was a lame title– I’m sensing that you are relieved because I came to this realization and you didn’t have to tell me!

When I started thinking about what I’ve been using the blog to do over the last several months, it became apparent to me that I needed to make it some tie in to the devotional quality I’ve aimed for.  The “light” of course is the light of Christ, who is the light of the world. (John 8:12)  But it’s also a play on words in that, hopefully, the posts are shedding some light.  See what I did there?  I also thought the graphic at the top of the page with the sunshine was snazzy as it was juxtaposed with the darkness below.  This is symbolic of our world walking around in the dark without Jesus.  I take no credit for the theme of the blog– I just found it and applied it.  But it’s cool, though.  Tell me it’s cool.  Or at least it’s better than the awe-inspiring “Dave’s Blog”!

I’m 100% on the devotionals being the focus of the blog.  They may or may not remain titled “Dave-otionals” as they have been.  I like the name because it’s pretty slick, but I want to make very sure that 0% of the glory is for me so I’m in prayer over that at the moment with that name.  I’m open to some suggestions, all of you loyal readers.  As far as other posts, I’m going to limit the content to that which points towards Christ.  My personal life is boring.  It definitely doesn’t merit entire blog posts.  I think Facebook and Twitter might be the better mediums for personal stuff.  I’ve still retained the links to those places, and the Twitter feed is still up on the blog.

Hope you enjoy the new look!  (And let me hear some feedback!)

We’ve Got It Good, And That Ain’t Bad… Or Is It?

If nothing else,it seems like my aim is just to confound people with my off-center blog post titles.  This is going to be a tough one to write, though.  I don’t think that much of my topic fits into my humorous nature.  I’m talking about the subject of the global persecution of Christians.  Some of you probably started guffawing as you read that.  That’s fine.  As 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (NIV)  So, as opposers of the one, true God tend to do- let me have what you think are the “facts”.  Here’s what I know…

As I started doing some research, finding some videos, etc. for our youth group lesson I was more astonished than I had ever been.  The physical, brutal torture of professing Christians in much of the world today is of epic proportions.  I saw one video that showed three Christians being beaten, kicked, spat upon, and otherwise left for dead in India by Hindus.  In another, Iraqi Christians had to meet in an armed compound for fear of open violence against them.  In another account, a boy was forced by Muslims to gather the firewood that would fuel the fire he was to be thrown into.  I knew things were bad, I just didn’t realize how bad it was.  The one verse that got me was in 1 Corinthians 12:26 where it says, “If one part [of the body of Christ] suffers, every part suffers with it…” (NIV)  This was a huge reality check for me in that I never have truly been aware of the atrocities which are being perpetrated on Christians.  I had, I suppose, a “head” knowledge of them, but they sank down to my heart this time.

Ladies and gentlemen, America is not like these places.  In many parts of the world, there is no religious freedom.  You are either a Muslim, Hindu, or whatever the case may be- or you are, at best, ostracized.  That’s the best case scenario.  In the United States, and other countries with religious freedom, it is different.  There are no, or very few, physical atrocities such as these.  We have it good in that sense.  All we have to encounter may be some snickering and jeering now and then.  We may have to endure the occasional belligerent non- Christian attitude once in a while.  Someone may even talk about us behind our backs!  The bad thing, and I want to be careful here, is that we have no clue what true faith under fire is.  Of course, we all have trials and problems- each person’s are unique to them.  They need to be seen in light of James 1 and Romans 5:3-4.  These things need to be undergone so that perseverance and spiritual maturity can abound.  My only concern is: are we in danger of losing sight of what’s really going on in our world?  Has American Christianity become too lax in its approach to understanding the suffering of the global body of Christ?

Again, not my normal blog post… and at 520+ words, not the normal length for me either.  I hope this has given us some things to think about.  I hope, more importantly, this has given us some things to pray about.

Until next time!

NeedMoWriMo…Yo!

I’ve already seen some things on Al Gore’s invention (aka the Internet) that are hyping up NaNoWriMo.  Some of you know what this is, some of you don’t.  At the same time, there is another group that started sweating, even as they read it!  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  In this process, a person has to make a 50,000 word novel appear in the 30 days that make up November.  I’ve thought before that this would be pretty neat to try, then I realized that this is a sick, psychotic, twisted thing to do to yourself!  Therefore, I am going to be the champion of the everyman (or lady) and fight the government or whoever is in charge of this “National” thing.  Maybe Al Gore invented this, too…

I propose that there should be more WriMo’s from which people can choose.  I don’t know about you, friend, but coming up with 1700ish words per day and being a slave to a tyrannical (and self-imposed) deadline don’t sound like the best ways to spend November.  As a runner, I liken this to the craziness of an ultramarathon.  I’ve done a half (13.1 miles).  It wasn’t exactly a roll out of bed on the day of thing, but I was capable of completing it.  I can at least fathom what a marathon would be like (13.1 times 2, for the mathematically-challenged).  What I can’t understand is why you’d want to go further than 26.20001 miles!

Since I feel like I know so much and have Internet access, here are my suggestions:

NaShoStoWriMo (National Short Story Writing Month)  The entrant will write a short story every day for that month.  This is more do-able.

NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month)  A poem every day for a month.  And there needs to be a haiku limit… that’s kind of cheating.

NaHaNoWriMo (National Half-Novel Writing Month)  Write half of a novel in a month.  Seriously, this seems like a better way to do it.

NaTweeStoWriMo (National Tweet-Story Writing Month)  I’m dead serious about this one!  Write a story using one tweet per day… 140 characters.  I think this one would be every bit as challenging as the real deal!

Now, some of these sound like Indian names, while others sound like drinks to order from Starbucks.  My point is that these offer some alternatives to the current choice.  Maybe you’ll consider doing one of “my” WriMo’s.

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!

Money to Mouth-placement Ratio?

“Put your money where your mouth is.”  I believe that’s the old adage.  It stands to reason that the post wherein I make the bold claim of blogging twice a week comes at the absolutely most inopportune time for it!

I have two takes on this.  First, I receive no monetary support for my blogging, so I’ll make whatever outlandish claims I choose to make!  Ha! 

Not really… so the second take is that I have been jotting down some things i’d like to blog about.  “Planning to blog is blogging to plan”… or something like that.  One such topic is in the Dave-otional realm.  Having had our youth camp and looking forward to childrens camp I’ll be blogging about the phenomenon known as “Camp Neck”.  If you’ve ever worn a lanyard for a week, you’ll understand.

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!

My Views

As you read this title, I’m sure you were thinking, “Oh, great… here comes another political viewpoint/ rant!”  Maybe you thought I was going to give a theological dissertation of some sort.  How silly of you- I haven’t even finished the master’s degree yet (and no plans for the doctorate, by the way).  No, the point of this post is quite simple: I am trying to learn how to upload pictures to the old blog.  So I figured I would make a few people jealous with some scenery from my running.  These are all taken from my phone, and the location is pretty much just on my street… not bad, huh?  I am a mountains geek, much more so than a beach lover.  These were taken (I think) in October, if it happens to look a bit unseasonal.  Hope you enjoy (and that it works- it would make this paragraph a whole lot better!)

 

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Until next time!

Slaying the Dragon

I’m trying to determine what my blog is, exactly.  I want to do something to make a difference. I’m trying to do that in some of my more devotional-ish posts.  My post today is different, but still meaningful to me, and I hope to someone else out there as well.  This post came to me as a result of fixing my breakfast of natural peanut butter and sugar free cherry preserves on bread.  Honest!

I’m sure someone else out there knows of this phenomenon, but I got the one knife that’s actually different than the others in the drawer and far surpasses them in quality… at least as much as any butter knife can do this.  It was early, pre-coffee, so without really thinking I used my movie-voice (you know, the one that’s whispery with imaginary reverb and echo, and done with a terrible English accent) and touted this blade as “Excalibur!!” 

Now that in itself is, quite honestly, pretty sad.  It also merits WordPress emailing me to inform me I’ve been stripped of all blogging privileges.  But it doesn’t end there… thank goodness!  I’m sure some of you who know me may know that I am a type 2 diabetic.  Yesterday, and for the past two weeks now, I’ve been on a mission.  After running away from the truth and letting my training, weight, and consequently my blood sugar get away from me, I have gotten back into running (a sport I enjoy even though I’m pretty slow) and I’m starting to really care about the things I eat.  I’ve seen the ugly beast that this disease of diabetes is.  I’ve seen what it has done to my dad and it scares me.  I’ve had to realize that this is not the road I want to go down.  I’ve seen what it can do to me, falling asleep behind the wheel after indulging on some sugary stuff… with my wife and kids in the car.  I’ve been making some changes. That brings us to this post. I ran yesterday. 2.5 miles.  It’s just a short run for most people but a long one at this stage in the game for myself.  During the run, I laughed at myself for the “Excalibur” incident, but then I realized something:

Diabetes (and the host of things that go along with it, are exacerbated by it, etc) is like a dragon that I’m trying to slay.  I can’t kill the whole beast at one time, especially not with a butter knife- even a good one.  It’s scales are thick and it’s skin is tough.  The diabetes dragon is a formidable and stubborn foe.  It will take all the determination, will-power, tenacity, support, and stubborness of my own to keep it at bay.  With each needle prick, I hope to subdue the dragon and keep it from breathing its deadly fire. 

This morning the dragon cried out for a change… my blood sugar was down!

Until next time!