Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do.
Having a variety of choices appeals to both me and my family.
And if I get out of being the resident short order cook for one evening, that is always a bonus.
One of my friends cannot just order off the menu.
I will refer to her as Sally.
If you have seen When Harry Met Sally, this will make perfect sense.
For those of you who have not, suffice to say that she will customize her order, adding or deleting this or that, or making substitutions.
It always makes me chuckle.
She deconstructs her meal every time.
This dining out experience got me thinking about how we try to make our faith “made to order”.
We deconstruct our faith.
With the free will God has given us, we sometimes try to order it just the way we would like it.
I will have God on Sunday, with a side of Christmas and Easter.
Please hold the small groups or Bible studies.
Can I substitute reading the Bible for a movie with an uplifting message instead?
Before we know it, we have watered down our relationship with God into an ala carte experience.
Friends, I am not throwing stones here.
I need this message.
Maybe you do, too.
God wants us to be fully filled and satisfied.
Our Heavenly Father nourishes us through the Word.
“But Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man is not to live on bread only. Man is to live by every word that God speaks.’” Matthew 4:4 NLV
We cannot hear the words He speaks to us if we are not spending time with Him.
Going without eating for days leaves us feeling weak.
Going without being in His Word and presence also leaves us weak.
And just like we are more susceptible to illness when we are undernourished, we are also more susceptible to the enemy when we are only filled on Sundays and holidays.
We take in food and drink to strengthen our bodies.
In the same way, we take in the Word to strengthen our souls and prepare us for whatever life brings our way.
“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6: 13-18 MSG
God wants us to have a daily diet of His love and grace.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6 : 11 AMP
But God is not only referring to bread that fills us, but also to the Bread of Life that sustains us daily.
“Jesus replied to them, ‘I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].” John 6:35 AMP
Made to order : our way or His way?
Which way will you order today?
It was a heartbreaking post.
A woman who for decades dedicated her life to military service, was deployed multiple times overseas and sacrificed so much was told she did not qualify for a particular program that offered the care that she needed.
What does it take to be qualified?
My mind wandered to others areas where this word qualify stands out.
The Boston Marathon immediately came to mind.
Having some friends who are runners, I know that you have to achieve a certain time in order to qualify for this prestigious race.
The dedication it must take to prepare for one of these marathons, the daily training and commitment amazes me.
But even with all of the training and sacrifice, it is still possible to be denied a spot.
According to the Boston Athletic Association, there were over 30,000 applications received from qualified runners for registration last year.
Just over 23,000 were accepted.
Due to field size limitations, over 7,000 people, despite being qualified, were not accepted to participate.
It does not seem to make sense.
Qualified but not accepted.
Can you imagine the heartbreak of knowing you have sacrificed so much only to be told you are not accepted?
Yet some of these runners made the sacrifice anyway.
So did Jesus.
Because of Him, I am both qualified and accepted.
And I know that I am not qualified because of anything I have done.
“By ourselves we are not qualified in any way to claim that we can do anything. Rather, God makes us qualified.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 GW
I am not sufficient by myself, but through Him I have what I need to be qualified.
The sacrifice that makes me accepted was not my own.
It was HIS.
There are no field size limitations that take me out of the race.
There is a spot for everyone.
“My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not true, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you?” John 14: 2
Everyone who believes qualifies to be a part of His kingdom.
Qualified and accepted.