Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life... he who feeds on this bread will live forever" (John 6:35 & 58)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Jewish Law required lepers to shout "unclean!" (Leviticus 13:45) in order to warn others to stay away and avoid coming into contact with their disease.  I remember years ago reading one Biblical commentator expound upon the reasons behind this particular dictate.  He believed this practice was instituted by God to not only warn and protect people from the affliction of leprosy, but it was also meant to incite compassion within the heart of God's people and prompt them to pray for those less fortunate.  Sadly, it was used solely to judge and alienate the "unclean" from the rest of society.

That got me thinking... what about now?  What things do people cry out today through their words and actions that generate my judgments rather than my prayers? 


The list goes on and on.  We know them.  We've been hurt by them.  And sometimes we have even been them.  But maybe if we dug a little deeper, we would see these actions and these people are really crying: HURT!  SCARED!  BLIND!  BROKEN!  ALONE!  SAD!  Ultimately they are crying out, "unclean."

What modern day lepers do you encounter?  Jesus offers some advice for dealing with those who might incite our wrath or condemnation rather than our concern.  It may not be easy, but the righteous path rarely is. 
"...I tell you who hear Me: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."  (Luke 6:27-28)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Church Is Full Of Hypocrites!

Hypocrisy is defined as: "a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess."

It's certainly a trait most of us condemn.  It's also one of the most common, (and I'm starting to think a little canned) responses I've heard as to why people choose not to go to church.  We've all heard it before, maybe you have even said it a time or two yourself: "I believe in God, but I don't go to church because it's full of hypocrites!"

Well, DUH! 

But if hypocrites are all you see, then you're not really paying attention... we are WAY worse than that!  You missed all the selfish liars, cheats, blasphemers and crooks, just to name a few.  Real followers of Christ aren't people who think they are perfect.  Rather, they know they are sinners who have been saved by grace.

Funny how that same standard isn't applied across the board.  There are hospitals, universities and courtrooms full of hypocrites and yet we don't forsake medicine, education, or justice.  There are plenty of hypocritical farmers around the world and everyone I know still eats.  I'll bet the fashion industry has its fair share too, but nobody seems to mind that very much when the rack is 50% off. 

So if folks are so quick to condemn hypocrisy and avoid any semblance of double standards in one area but not in others, isn't that... well... a little hypocritical?  Hmmm, maybe they do belong in church after all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let All The Things Fall!

Like most busy women (and men) out there, I feel overwhelmed at times.  Between juggling kids, husband, church, school, home, practices, work, shopping, cleaning, volunteering, (and everything else in between) there are many days I feel a lot like Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat up on his ball.  I keep telling myself, "no matter what... just don't let all the things fall!"

Can anyone relate? 

But maybe we do need to let all the things fall... for just a little while anyway.  And make some time for the Maker of Time.  To illustrate this point, I wrote a poem about it... in the tradition of Dr. Seuss, of course!

Oh Great I AM, oh Great I AM,
I have no time, oh Son of Man!
Life's too busy for me to stay,
Life's too crazy for me to pray.
There's dishes & laundry & mopping the floor,
A long list ready for the grocery store.
There are beds to make with toys everywhere,
Money is tight and I found more gray hair!
The toilets have rings and our faucet still drips,
My old jeans don't like my post-baby hips.
Oh Great I AM, oh Great I AM,
Please lend a hand oh Son of Man!
I need all the help your grace will allow,
I need coffee and sleep and patience RIGHT NOW!
I'm forever late despite all my rushing,
The car's a disaster... do my teeth need brushing?
What's that You say?
We need time alone?
Just a second dear Lord, let me answer the phone...
"Don't answer," You say?  Oh Lord don't You know?
I'm the wife-mother-friend-aunt-sister-daughter-volunteer who's running the show!
"Yes, you've been busy," The Lord said with a nod,
"But who you are first is a child of God!
You spend your day running,
To and fro with much haste,
But time spent with Me is never a waste.
I have big plans for your life & blessings to give,
I came and died for you,
So that you might live!
I'm patiently waiting, just seek Me out!
Bring Me your faith - bring Me your doubt.
I can help with family and friends,
Even neighbors to boot -
I work all things for good and in you produce fruit.
There's just one condition for all I've in store:
I desire your whole heart... nothing less, nothing more.
So what do you say, Mom?  Try Me out, know Me better!
Read that Good Book I wrote, it is My love letter.
I know life's not easy, but this promise I keep -
Your Good Shepherd's with you,
I never leave My sheep!
So what's this you say - you've no time to pray?
But try it!  Try it!  Without delay!  Why not start this very day?
Make some time to pray today
and then you may, yes you just may,
Find that in prayer, you will want to stay!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Yolk's On Me

To give everyone a little bit of my background, I was raised on a dairy farm in the heart of America's Bread Basket, the Central Valley.  Growing up being surrounded by all that land and freedom to roam, you'd think it was paradise for me as a kid.  You'd think. 

But I just wasn't, shall we say, the "outdoorsy" type.  The only farming I ever did was planting my backside in front of the T.V. every chance I had.  I would have rather watched "Green Acres" than actually play in them.

Keeping that in mind, fast-forward to my teen years.  I decided I wanted to be able to say I'd read the Bible cover to cover.  (Not so much because I cared to know God better, but more to brag about how well read and cultured I was.)  Anyway, I started out with Genesis 1:1 and did pretty good for a while.  Then I hit all those "so-n-so-beget-what's-his-face" and he went on to beget some other dudes.  Needless to say, I had a change of heart.  I figured the Old Testament probably didn't even count anymore, so why not skip it and go straight to the New Testament? Not my original goal, but still something to brag about.

The Bible I was using wasn't a Study Bible or contain any commentary, (I didn't even know they had Bibles like that) so in many ways I was on my own to figure things out as I read.  Looking back, I could have simply asked someone for help... but that would have been way too easy.  Besides, it would have also meant there were some things I didn't know and I was not about to admit that!

Sure didn't take long before I came to Matt 11:29 where Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Huh?  Yoke? 

Like I said, you'd think being a farmer's daughter, living on a farm within a farming community I would know a yoke was a harness for farm animals used for... you guessed it: farming.  You'd think.

To make matters worse, apparently I wasn't much of a speller either.  Because after reading that passage, I couldn't figure out what following Jesus had to do with eggs. 

(Not YOLK Nanci: y-o-k-e.)

Illiterate or not, I came to a point where the Bible (and ultimately God) didn't make sense.  I had reached the limit of my teenage understanding.  And in that place, I had a choice.  I could either walk away from His Book that had confused me, or I could press on and continue my pursuit despite a lack of explanation or understanding.  I chose to continue reading and dig deeper.  I chose to accept there would be things that went beyond my level of knowledge.  I chose to believe in His Truth even when I had more questions than answers.  What about you?

What do you choose when God doesn't make sense in your life?   What happens when you have reached the limits of your own understanding?  Perhaps things are going on in your world today that leave you with more questions than answers.  If so, I encourage you to keep at it!  Don't give in or give up.  Isaiah 55:8 tells us: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.  Even when you cannot see what God is doing, He is still at work.  Ask Him for the wisdom and strength to carry on!

BTW, in case you might be wondering... the Old Testament TOTALLY still counts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the beginning...

I am so excited to begin this blog.  It is all new to me, so you'll have to forgive my learning curve.  The suggestion came about from a friend (and former church secretary.)   She had learned I was able to give some mini "sermonettes" after announcements at church on Sunday mornings & wanted to know if I kept a record or blog of them.  And voila!  Carbivoreblogspot was born.

I pray my words bring about God's glory & your good.