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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

Maybe it's because we, who live in a first world country, lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message Jesus conveyed when comparing bread to the word of God during His temptation. 


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The Daily Hustle

(Our daughter and family are missionaries to Cambodia.  My hubby and I live there half of the year, giving help to them as we are able.  Recently my missionary son-in-law was diagnosed with stage four cancer.  They are back in the states and our trips to Cambodia are on hold for now.)

My hubby and I  spend time every morning in our Cambodian town walking on the riverside across the street from our house, for exercise and prayer.  The daily hustle for food and shelter play out before us as we make our way down the street.  The Holy Spirit teaches us a spiritual lesson while we walk by life being lived along the river.

Maybe it's because we, the privileged, lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message Jesus conveyed when comparing bread to the word of God during His temptation. 

In His famous prayer, Jesus tells us to,”Give us this day our daily bread,” and we recite it solemnly with no real idea what it might really mean to work every single day for just enough money to be able to stop by the open air market on the way home, and then to start all over the next day because what you had the day before is in the stomach of your children.

On our walk, we watch the local iceman stop by the same roadside shop everyday and saw off a hunk of ice for the drink shop lady’s cooler because she does not have a refrigerator.  Pennies change hands and off he goes to his next customer.  Her drinks also sell for pennies.  They are both providers…hard workers.  There are no sick days for these people, no steady income, no government assistance.

They need daily bread.

Maybe it's because we, the privileged, lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message Jesus conveyed when comparing bread to the word of God during His temptation. 

As we make the loop around the end of the riverside, we notice several women standing knee deep in the river washing the daily catch of shrimp.  They are not the ones who caught the shrimp, their job is to clean it…for pennies.  Soon a man on a motorcycle arrives to stack three huge baskets of clean shrimp on the back of his moto and take the fresh shrimp to the town market for sale…for pennies.  We will see this same routine repeat again the next day.  There are no weekends off if they want to eat.

They need daily bread.

And then there are the custodians of the riverside, sweeping and picking up trash every day.  One of their jobs is to scrape out the weeds that grow between the bricks… by hand.  Their toddlers play nearby.  There is no day care for those who work for pennies.

They need daily bread.  If they don’t eat they will get sick and die.

Maybe it's because we, the privileged, lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message Jesus conveyed when comparing bread to the word of God during His temptation. 

Maybe it’s because we in first world countries lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message about bread Jesus conveyed when quoting part of Deuteronomy 8:3 during His temptation.  “…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”  Shouldn’t we hunger for His words when the belly of our soul is empty?  Shouldn’t we pursue it as if famished, never resting until full?  Shouldn’t we feed it to our spiritually starving children? Won’t they just get sick and die without it?

Father, give us zeal in pursuing daily spiritual bread as steadily as these Cambodian people pursue real bread.  Holy Spirit, remind us of the words of Jesus in John 6:25,  “…I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again…”  Nourish our souls Lord Jesus.

Maybe it's because we, the privileged, lack desperation for literal daily bread that we might not quite get the spiritual message Jesus conveyed when comparing bread to the word of God during His temptation. 

Blessings, Alice

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Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.


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It Didn’t Happen

Have you had something moderately bad happen to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse?  I originally had these thoughts in my former blog, 365 Days of Praising.  At that time My son-in-law had been mildly injured by a wire stretched between two trees.  The danger went unnoticed in the darkening evening.  Afterward, the family realized that a few cuts compared to something worse was worth exclaiming over.   I think those little moments pass us by without much notice on our part.  We dust ourselves off and keep on living, not giving the gift much thought.  I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

Go deeper by contemplating the  ultimate rescue and the things that didn’t happen when Jesus made the decision to sacrifice. Jesus deliberately made choices that set forgiveness of sins in motion.  

Jesus didn’t give into temptation in Gethsemane.

He didn’t run from prolonged suffering.  

He didn’t call His army of angels.

He didn’t use His power against humiliation.

He didn’t reject the nails. 

He didn’t go against His Father’s will. 

He didn’t hate the sinner that separated Him from God.

He didn’t hold a grudge against the Apostles for leaving Him.

He didn’t give into the devil.

He didn’t escape that final breath. 

He didn’t stay in the grave. 

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

  Blessings, Alice

I took this background picture when visiting a very ornate church building in Little Rock, Arkansas during one of my sister’s doctorate ceremonies before her graduation.

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There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.


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Two Ways to Bear a Burden

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

Without God

Bearing burdens without God includes lots of fear, stress, anxiety, and plenty of self-pity.  Burdens are heavy y’all.  It’s like the earth’s  gravity has increased and each movement is cumbersome and toiling.  My heart is heavy, my soul is heavy, and I get so tired.  Tired.  Wondering if the heaviness of what I am carrying will squish me right into the earth.  When my youngest son was hit by a Mack type Truck while riding a motorcycle in Cambodia, I was beside myself with fear.  God spared his life.  He survived with a broken pelvis and dented up arm.  But then the fever came.  Sitting in a developing 3rd world hospital was scary enough, but waiting for the fever to break caused me to just about come undone.

It doesn’t have to be a dramatic accident that causes us to lose it.  It could be the day to day living in an oppressive situation or the unending absence of an unanswered prayer.  It’s times like these when the enemy loves to lie to God’s children.   I can’t begin to understand God’s will, and why some things happen, but I do know that in life,  God requires us to go through hard times.  It may be for a  moment, or it may be for a season, but some things are just required.

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

With God

My advice for bearing burdens with God, comes from the direct experience of failure.  Wallowing in my fear, I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten so far from God.  I took these measures to reset my faith.  First, I decided to admit my need for help to people who could remind me of scripture and pray over me.  I also found comfort in the promises found in the Word and in the declarations of God’s character…a sure way to fight the lies from the devil.    Sometimes I would fall asleep quoting particularly relevant verses over and over.   I also took deep spiritual comfort in the idea of sharing in Christ’s suffering.  Another way I fought my way to peace was to be grateful.  I made a list and used it when I prayed.  Finally, I admitted to myself that I had a problem with trust.  I begged Jesus to show me how to say “Not my will but Yours.”  (links to scriptures are included)

I love what Oswald Chambers said about burdens:

“Roll thy burden upon the Lord”– you have been bearing it all; deliberately put one end on the shoulders of God…Commit to God “that which He hath given thee”; not fling it off, but put it over onto Him and yourself with it, and the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.

There have been time when I have been so distraught that words can’t be formed.  Those final days when my mother lay suffering with ALS were a nightmare….a perfect moment to turn to the Comforter.  Beg the Holy Spirit  to take your groans of suffering to the Lord…and He will.  He promised.

Blessings, Alice

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We traveled a lot this summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible. My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there


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Look at the Other Book I Found in my Hotel Nightstand

We traveled a lot this summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible.   My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there

We traveled a lot last summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible.  I had never seen a Bhagavad Gita before and when Googled, discovered it is one of the Hindu books of scripture.  My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there.  Living in Cambodia where the people predominately follow Buddha and Hindu practices, I’ve discovered that Buddhism as well as Hinduism, are not only predominate religions of southern Asia, but are part of the cultural fabric in which they live…a way of life that has been passed down for centuries.   So I grieved the soul who placed a book of man’s words next to a book of God’s words.

We traveled a lot this summer and in one of the hotels, I was surprised to open the nightstand and discover a strange book along side the Gideon Bible.   My initial response, as a follower of Jesus, was extreme sadness for the one who placed it there

Upon reflection, my grief upon seeing these two books side by side has surprisingly been replaced with something else…hope.  Because in America, where zeal for one’s different beliefs promotes discussion, a chance for the name of Jesus to be spoken out loud just might present itself.  A seed just might be planted.  An example just might be set.  Someone just might seek God and if she does, she WILL find.  (a promise from Jesus)  These opportunities are not always available in Asia.  There are no Bibles in hotel nightstands there.

So,  may the one who placed the Bhagavad Gita next to the Bible become curious.  May she pick it up and wonder if there is more to life than endless reincarnations.  May curiosity overcome fear.   May a stiff, unused Bible from a hotel room drawer become her best friend as the living words lead her to Jesus.

When there is a Bible, there’s always hope.  I’m betting that is why the Gideon Society place a Bible in every hotel room to begin with.

i love 2

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Does God seem mean to you sometimes? Accusing God is a lie the enemy has been perfecting since his garden days. This is what I do when faced with confusing feelings about God...


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God’s not Mean

During times like these, where tragedy  is falling consistently upon humanity with floods, earthquakes, shootings, and other violence, Internet trolls love to make fun of God by posting demeaning statements about Him.     Beth Moore said that when bad things happen, people tend to fill in the blanks with one of two things:  God is mean, or my life is meaningless.

 

Does God seem mean to you sometimes? Accusing God is a lie the enemy has been perfecting since his garden days. This is what I do when faced with confusing feelings about God...

With all the negative noise, sometimes it is hard for a follower of Jesus to not get a bit distracted.  I will never forget the funeral of a beloved husband, where his wife was A-N-G-R-Y at God.  In her grief she blamed God for not answering her prayer of healing for her one-and-only love.   She was bold in her fist shaking, unlike those who tuck disgruntlement toward God into the heart in order to appear strong, but silently hold a grudge against Him.    Sorrow catches all of us off guard.  It rarely gives warning, and if it does, we are never ready for it….EVER.   We just have to be careful that the unanswered WHY that sorrow brings doesn’t create a barrier between us and God.   That’s just what the enemy is counting on.

The key to passing through the fire with purity of heart, is found in the example of Job in the old testament.  Job lost a lot.  He lost all of his children.  He lost all of his wealth.  He lost his health.  And Job lost the support of his wife.  She advocated suicide.  And what did Job do when news of sorrow reached his ears?  He fell down on the ground and worshiped.  Job 1:20-22  He worshiped because he knew the God He served.   He knew.  In contrast, my prayers of sorrow begin with me.  Me, me, me.  But Job celebrated the fact that God is worth his worship, even while in extreme pain.

This is where scripture comes in.  What does scripture say about God as opposed to the lies of the enemy?  How can I know  my God, just as Job did?

I have prepared my Bible for the day when I am faced with emotions of confusion…for the day when the enemy accuses God of misdeeds.  This helps me take captive every false thought. 2 Corinthians 10:5   This helps me know who I believe in.

Here are a few pictures of scriptures from my bible.   I have made these easy for me to find, even through tears.

Does God seem mean to you sometimes? Accusing God is a lie the enemy has been perfecting since his garden days. This is what I do when faced with confusing feelings about God...

God’s own words describing Himself.  Exodus 34:6-7

Does God seem mean to you sometimes? Accusing God is a lie the enemy has been perfecting since his garden days. This is what I do when faced with confusing feelings about God...

Exodus 34:6-7

Does God seem mean to you sometimes? Accusing God is a lie the enemy has been perfecting since his garden days. This is what I do when faced with confusing feelings about God...

2 Timothy 6:15-16

Does God seem mean to you sometimes? Accusing God is a lie the enemy has been perfecting since his garden days. This is what I do when faced with confusing feelings about God...

Yellow representing unapproachable light.  2 Timothy 6:15-16

 

Blessings, Alice

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