Shiny Things

So this week I started another attempt at dieting. Since I’ve yet to find a diet that tells you to eat more sugar, of course, sugar is out. Where I work there are several areas and desks that have candy sitting on them. They are free for whoever wants to partake.

The day I started said diet I was walking by one of those desks. There was a new kind of candy, different from the usual. It had shiny wrapping on it. My natural instinct was to go towards it. Just as I was about to reach for the shiny wrapped candy (first day of diet mind you), I realized that this was not a good move and walked on.

As I walked away I got thinking about how Satan tempts us with shiny things and tries to entice us. There are multiple verses in scripture that talk about being enticed. They all are warnings. Just a couple are, Proverbs 1:10 (NASB), “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” and James 1:4 (NASB) “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” Not that one little shiny piece of candy was sinful; however, eating when I knew I shouldn’t would have not been good. It would’ve been wrong to what I’d committed to doing.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:1-2

We don’t need to let sin entice, encumber, and entangle us. What a picture! We get caught by those shiny pretty things, and then they start to weigh us down to the point of being entangled which will trip us up every time. Don’t give in to that first piece! Don’t walk towards that enticement.

Instead, remember we have Jesus to fix our eyes upon. We need to focus on Him and all He has done for us. Life is a race that we need to run with endurance. God gives us that endurance and courage. Just like I walked past that shiny piece of candy, even in a greater sense we need to walk past the sin that entices us–big or little. Take hold of God’s hand, and let Him run that race with you. Be encouraged friend, with Him you will be able to say no to those things. With Him you will win!

 

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org

Teaching Like Jesus Taught

Do you ever sit in church, listening carefully to the sermon and realize, “WOW! I do that!”? A couple months back this very thing happened to me.

I have always loved using the common things in life to teach. For example, we have a bird feeder in our backyard. During the winter months I put bird food (the block style) in the bird feeder. Well, the squirrels found it. Their antics brought great entertainment.

As I stood watching this process one day, I was impressed with the fact that this is how God’s family should function. You see, the squirrels would climb the pole to the feeder. They ate and picked at the block. As they did seed fell to the ground. The birds would then pick up and eat the seed. Sure they flew to the bird feeder too, but they enjoyed eating what the squirrels had dropped to the ground as well. As spring came along, the rabbits even joined in the banquet.

This is so much like the family of God. We provided the food for the birds. The squirrels and birds took turns eating from the feeder, and then they helped feed those who were weaker and couldn’t make it to the feeder (the rabbits). In return, we have been entertained, and there has been a certain amount of pleasure knowing we were giving food and pleasure to the creatures by our house.

God has created us and provides for all of our need. In fact, He has promised to supply every need of those who love God and “have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Those who have been blessed with ample supply share it with others and encourage them. It builds relationships. In turn, we bring glory to God and (I’m sure) make Him happy. We all need to work together.

This is just one example of lessons found in everyday life. Anyhow, back to that day in church. I was listening as our pastor was talking about how Jesus taught using object lessons from common things. It struck me: “I love teaching like that!” What a fun realization!

Do you see spiritual lessons in common things? I challenge you to try. It’s fun and encouraging.

Share with us spiritual lessons from common things that you have discovered on your journey.

The Two Chapter Test

Whenever my children were assigned a book to read for school, I avoided arguments about whether or not they had to by implementing what I called The Two Chapter Test.

The Two Chapter Test was simple. Whenever I required a book be to read, they could not argue with me about it until they had read two chapters. Then (and only then) would I engage in a discussion about why they should or shouldn’t have to read that particular book. If their reasoning was sound (and I could justify using another resource) we would use something else.

The usual result of The Two Chapter Test was that they read the whole book without complaint. Once they had given it a chance, they were hooked.

You are probably expecting me to tell you to give the Bible The Two Chapter Test so I’ll pause here to suggest you do just that every day–give the Bible The Two Chapter (or Section or Verse) Test. See if it doesn’t leave you wanting more.

As valuable as The Two Chapter (or Section or Verse) Test may be to kick start your Bible study journey, the lesson I have recently learned is how this test applies to all areas of my life–ministry, work, fitness, homemaking, etc.

One of my children recently took a job that requires them to be away from home for the majority of the next five months. After their first day, I received a text at 1:38 am. They were convinced they had made a mistake and wanted to go home. Twenty minutes later, after telling them not to make any decision in the middle of the night and to call in the morning, I headed back to bed. When they called several hours later, Tim and I reminded them of The Two Chapter Test and encouraged them to wait until the end of the week before making any decisions–to give it the equivalent of The Two Chapter Test. Two days later they apologized for their frantic middle-of-the-night texting and said they were enjoying themselves and wanted to stay.

I realize now that I’ve approached most of life that way. Homeschooling is a prime example of how this has worked in my life. I never said I would homeschool four children all the way through (25-30 years is a long commitment). I didn’t want to read that particular “book.” I always said that we would homeschool “this year” and think about “next year”–my Two Chapter Test. Each year I would say the same thing until, before I knew it, I was finished. Once I jumped in and tried it, I just kept going until that part of my journey (the book) was done.

There have been many times when I didn’t want to do something, but once I started, I just kept going. Once I tried it, I even enjoyed the experience as a whole (not that their weren’t challenging parts to get through on occasion).

So on this life journey, I encourage you to take up the challenge currently before you and give it The Two Chapter Test. See what happens!

 

Have you ever given a life project the equivalent of The Two Chapter Test?
What happened?

Are you being led to a Two Chapter Test now?

Do you have a favorite verse that would help someone who needs to jump into a project?