To China with Love

I hope you enjoy the video I made of our trip to China. I know it’s a little long and I have a short attention span, but trying to condense 12 days of the most amazing trip ever to the most exotic place ever is a little hard. Imagine it’s 1.5 minutes per day and maybe you’ll understand!

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The Bible is a LOVE story and a WAR story

As an author and an avid book reader, I am fascinated by the fact that God has written down His redemption story in a book that we can hold today in our hands. How amazing is that?

I freely admit that I don’t like romance novels or war stories. I’ve tried reading both, but I just can’t ever seem to get into them. And yet, the Bible is the greatest love story and the greatest war story ever told.

The Bible is a great love story from beginning to end. There is love within the unity of the Godhead. There is love between God and His creation. There is the relentless, unconditional love of God poured out to rescue sinful man by the death of His own Son, Jesus, in our place. This love story began in the garden of Eden and continues to present day.

The Bible is also a great war story from beginning to end. Satan and his fallen angels waging war against God’s surpreme creation, man. The battle within our own minds between selfishness and sacrifice. The battle between good and evil at the resurrection of Christ, Jesus triumphing over Satan, the prince of the air. This war story began in the garden of Eden and continues to present day.

Where do we fit in to this great love story and war story?

We are not the hero. God is. But we do have an important part to play in this great, true tale.

God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, making us not only His children, but His bride. (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:10, John 1:12, Revelation 21:9)

God invites us to fight the good fight of faith, resisting the devil and forcing him to flee, taking up the sword of the Spirit to wage the righteous war. (1 Timothy 6:12, James 4:7, Ephesians 6:17)

Do you believe that you are an important part of the greatest love story and the greatest war story ever told? Or does it feel more like a children’s fairy tale?

Remember – what you believe impacts how you think and live. Believe rightly, that you may live rightly. Love on and Fight on. I’m with you.

TWIG

Different Ways of Cooking Fish and Potatoes

I like just about any way of preparing potatoes. Potato salad, baked potato loaded with toppings, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, waffle fries from Chick-fil-a. I love them all.

But, fish … not so much. I’m picky about fish. I don’t like it raw or blackened or baked or smoked. I pretty much only like it battered and fried (with the exception of tuna salad sandwiches.)

And I’m picky about what kind of fish. I pretty much only like cod, like you find in McDonald’s fish sandwiches and Long John Silver’s fish fillets (with the exception of tuna salad sandwiches … and fresh red snapper fried and served in fish tacos.)

The other day the idea popped into my mind that our “pet sins” are kinda like fish and potatoes. There are some sins that appeal to me, while others don’t.

Wasting time watching hour upon hour of sports or blowing a afternoon shopping aimlessly at the neighborhood mall has no appeal to me.

Binging on Netflix documentaries and Facebook posts is calling my name. (Just one more …)

Getting in a fist fight or stealing from the neighborhood convenience store has absolutely no interest for me.

But, turning a cold shoulder on my husband to “teach him a lesson” or yelling at my kids when they’re moving too slow for my liking, will get me every time.

I need to be careful about judging other people’s “sins of choice” and remember that all of my good deeds are but filthy rags in comparison to God’s perfect glory.

I need to remember that any one of our sins are enough to separate us from a holy God.

Like the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18, the Pharisee’s greatest sin was the sin of pride. And the greatest answer to that sin is to humble myself before God, asking Him to have mercy on me, a sinner.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)

Playing with Lions

Yesterday, at my local Community Bible Study meeting, we were looking at Genesis 4 when Cain killed Abel, his brother. In Genesis 4:7, before Abel has been killed, God warned Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

The word, “crouching,” conjures up an image of a cat ready to pounce, doesn’t it? Well, apparently, I’m not the only one because our CBS leader proceeded to share a story of a man who was severely injured by his pet tiger.

Like Michal Prasek, a Czech man who was found dead in his own pet lion’s pen, we can underestimate the power of the “pets” in our lives. Today I’m asking myself, how am I naively playing around with a pet lion, thinking it’s just a sweet, little tame cub that won’t possibly hurt me, thinking that I’ve got control of it. But, really, that sweet, little cub is actually a lion just waiting for the right time to pounce. Like, 1 Peter 5:8 instructs us. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Remember, as my pastor is so fond of saying, “Sin will cost you more than you want to pay, take you further than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay.”