Temptation comes in all forms. Our enemy knows where we are weak, so what I struggle with may not be what you struggle with. But there’s always a process to temptation. The wise person will recognize the strategies of the enemy and run away. Start to notice what happens the next time you’re tired, bored, lonely, hungry, up way too late, or home alone. God has not abandoned us to our desires. He has given us wisdom in the Scriptures to win the war against temptation. If you remain simple, lacking sense or direction, you’ll continue to get walloped every time temptation strikes. But if you grow in wisdom, it becomes much harder to convince you to be gullible again. Be wise. Leave your simple ways and live.
I’ve never fasted during Lent before because it was always felt like obligation instead of obedience to me.
But this year, I’m realizing there are some things that are distracting me from reading/writing/connecting/seeking. I’ve made a folder on my phone and put those time-suck apps in it and hid it on my last page, turned off all notifications, and deleted all shortcuts everywhere so I’m not tempted to break my fast. These apps aren’t bad. I’m not fasting what’s evil. I’m fasting from what’s distracting. I don’t know the combined hours (plural) I spend on these in a day but I really felt the conviction this year that I could be making my faith in Jesus stronger with the simple discipline of fasting.
So in lieu of going dark for the next 40 days (facebook isn’t a distraction), here’s what’s coming up:
- My daughter is turning 3
- We’re taking our youth group on a mission trip
- I’m turning 32
- I’ll probably eat an epic meal or two
- I’ll probably see some great sunsets
- It’ll probably snow again
- I’ll probably think of a new joke or two
That was easy.
During the next 40 days, I hope to finish the book I’m reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, get back in the habit of daily Scripture reading (I’m like 2 years behind on my 1 year reading plan), and generally just draw more near to Christ. Because the point of Lent isn’t just giving something up for a short time, it’s about Jesus. And I want to honor Him with my time.
The next time you go out to eat (maybe this weekend?), have your party put their phone(s) down in the middle of the table (hang with me, this is not going where it normally does.)
Make sure each person goes to http://tap.unicefusa.org/ on their mobile browser.
Because for every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone, a day’s worth of clean drinking water will be donated to a child that needs it.
So make your next meal out count. (Plus you get the added bonus of, you know, connecting with people that are there instead of being connected to people that aren’t).
Proverbs was written for teenagers. It was written in a way to help you gain understanding for living the kind of life that pleases God. But no matter how old you are, we ALL have areas in our life in which we are “simple.” That means there are areas in my life about which I am still untrained, unskilled, or unclear. In order to grow in my faith, I need to continue to seek the wisdom found in Scripture. We are constantly being invited to choose wisdom or to choose folly. And it’s hard because some parties seem like they’ll be more fun. I get tired of forfeiting Mahogany’s and settling for McDonald’s. So as for me, I’d rather choose the pain of obedience rather than the pain of regret. And that’s what Proverbs 9 is all about: accepting the invitation to live a life of wisdom that honors God.
Adelina Sotnikova gave Russia its first gold medal in women’s Olympic figure skating. And there’s already talk of controversy, primarily because this 17 year old was considered a dark horse. It seems like an unfair knee-jerk to me.
I was a dark horse once.
In 2001 the Varsity basketball team I was on was picked as a dark horse at the district level. No one really expected an average skill, relatively short, primarily white team to win out in district, easily win the Area playoff game, and make it to the regional quarter-finals (especially since it had been ~30 years since the last time a Friendswood team went that far).
And though we carried the cloud of the dark horse, we advanced. It didn’t mean we cheated the system. It meant we rose to the occasion when the time called for it.
So did Sotnikova. Let her have her moment. She’s just a kid.
The first verse is famous. It draws people in. A-ma-zing grace! how sweet the sound…
The second verse is familiar to the dedicated. It has a following (which means they can still keep their eyes closed) ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear…
The fourth verse is the crescendo. It leaves an impact; makes a statement; draws everyone back in. When we’ve been there ten thousand years…
But the third verse gets skipped. Sometimes they just don’t have time for the third verse. Sometimes it’s because the third verse isn’t well known. Maybe nobody’s comfortable with the third verse because they’ve never heard it sung. Maybe they didn’t even know it was there.
Most of us feel like this at one point or another.
“what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
We have to be OK if we are the third verse.
Because there’s still poetry in the third.
There’s still truth.
There’s still revelation.
There’s still beauty, honor, purpose.
3. Thro’ man-y dan-gers, toils and snares, I have al-read-y come; ‘Tis grace hath bro’t me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.