I went to the store last night to buy fruits and vegetables. Nice green leafy lettuce, a firm green cucumber, crunchy orange carrots and the like were on my list. Junk food was not. I went to the produce department, picked out a tomato or two, some green peppers, the other things on the list and then I began to roam aimlessly down other aisles. I walked down the drinks row. No problems. I strolled down the crackers and chips row. Big problem.
I love Kroger's Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper kettle chips. A bag of these savory creations "fell" into my cart. I wandered down a few more aisles. Somewhere in the frozen food section, a question popped into my head. "Why am I carrying a bag of greasy potato chips toward the checkout stand?"
Just over a year ago, I finally gave up soda pop. I craved it every day for weeks after I quit. Eventually, though, my desire for fizzy drinks dissipated. I stopped wanting a sip every ten minutes. I turned down offers of Pepsi, my favorite cola, time and time again. Who needs it?
Back to last night's bag of chips. When the "why am I carrying these things" question came to me, I shook my head at my illicit longing for junk. Then I did what I had never done before. I pulled the bag out of my cart, set it down in the nearby ice cream cone display and walked away.
Can I kick the chip habit? I believe I can. I invite you to hold me accountable. No more chips. And...no more gummy worms. It's time to end the reign of junk in my belly.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Ever since I watched this murderous act, I've been thinking. Back in the 70s, I watched my fair share of end times movies. I remember one scene in particular from one of the apocalyptic thrillers. A man of faith was walked up several steps to a guillotine and his head was removed in a split second. My heart was in my throat, but I decided then that if I was called upon to give my life for Jesus, I could do it.
The feelings I had while watching what I believed was a gruesome martyrdom were much different at first. The length of time it took from the first cut to the finished decapitation was longer than the quick and relatively painless death of the man in the movie. I imagined how awful it would be to feel the first stroke of the blade across the neck. I wondered how long the pain continued after the vocal cords could no longer scream. Thinking about it made me sick. I felt for the priest who turned out to not be a priest as he lost his life at the hands of evil men.
My perspective has changed over time. The time of the cutting wasn't really all that long. Maybe a minute. While not pleasant, at least not as pleasant in thought as death by guillotine, it would be endurable. I've suffered pain for longer already. Granted, the pain I've gone through hasn't had the additional fearfulness the surety of death must bring, but still I've tasted agony once or twice. It is bearable for a minute or two or three.
This realization has led me to pray a prayer that may sound strange to some. I've been praying, "Lord, I give you my neck." I know martyrdom may never be my lot in life, but I want to make sure the decision is made now to choose Jesus over life. If I wait, I'm afraid I might chicken out when the large knives come out. My heart is in my throat again, but I know I could do it endure even the worst death imaginable with God's strength. It was, after all, his power that got Jesus through the much longer and more agonizing execution he suffered through.
"For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3)
Jesus has had my heart to do with as he pleases for many years. I choose today to give him my neck too. However he can use it. It is his.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
- Dishonesty – Sins of omission and commission. Telling lies, hiding things, telling half truths or pretending something is so that isn't. Withholding important information. Adding untrue details to stories and situations. Stealing, cheating, taking things that aren't ours and that we aren't entitled to. (From Don't Drink and Don't Die)
I've been guilty of everything mentioned here. I'm especially bad when it comes to adding untrue details to stories and situations. I went to the dentist last week and when they asked me if I flossed, I said, "Yes." I don't know why I did it. I have flossed. I flossed regularly after my last exam. I did it for weeks and then I quit. When I said, "Yes," I probably hadn't flossed in over a month. Why did I say, "Yes"?
I am working on this defect of character. With God's help - he knows I need it - I will be honest in all my dealings with others.