Forgotten how to be sorry

Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses a man’s conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God—”against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight.” Conviction of sin, the marvel of forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven man who is the holy man, he proves he is forgiven by being the opposite to what he was, by God’s grace. Repentance always brings a man to this point: I have sinned. The surest sign that God is at work is when a man says that and means it. Anything less than this is remorse for having made blunders, the reflex action of disgust at himself.

The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man’s respectable goodness; then the Holy Ghost, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness, never the other way about. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses; repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for the gift of tears. If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry.

— Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, December 7th devotional

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Something New

As I was reading from John Piper’s “A Hunger For God” today I learned something new and just so amazing.

After Jesus was baptized He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to begin forty days of fasting. This we are all pretty familiar with.  Did you know that when Satan came to tempt Jesus He quoted verses that all came from Deuteronomy?

“Man shall not live by bread alone.” Deut. 8:3

“You shall not tempt the Lord Your God.” Deut. 6:16

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Deut. 6:13

Why is this significant? Let’s look closer. Here is Jesus led by the Spirit into the wilderness- into the wilderness-and in order to fight the temptations of Satan, Jesus quotes these passages all from Deuteronomy, all of which are spoken to Moses to the Israelite about their time in the wilderness.

Here is a helpful way that John Piper teaches it in the book comparing Deuteronomy 8:2-3 to Jesus’ time in the wilderness:

You shall remember all the ways which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness (as Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness) these forty years (Jesus was there forty days) that He might humble you, testing you (as Jesus was tested) to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you be hungry (as Jesus was hungry by fasting) and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord (just as Jesus says to Satan).

So obviously there are too many similarities in these two stories to think it is coincidence. But what does it mean?

It means “that God is now, with the incarnation of His Son, preparing to deliver his people-the new Isreal-from the Egyptian bondage of sin into the Promised Land of forgiveness and righteousness and eternal life.”  Wow. Incredible.

I hope this makes your heart pound a bit the way it does for me. I see significance in pressing in through fasting when I find myself in a wilderness place. I see that it is through the test of fasting that my heart is revealed and my need for a Savior becomes so evident. I see that Jesus, in order to triumph, looked back on the promises of God and dug deep inside of Himself to stand on faith that above all His deepest appetite was for God and His will alone. I find strength and encouragement to know that the Israelites were tested, and even more so, Jesus was tested and in my testing I will triumph through my hunger for God over this world and what it has to tempt me with.

I would rather sit and feast at Your table, O God, then indulge in all the richest foods the world could bring me.  Awaken in me an appetite for You so great that my hunger for You is insatiable and the more I eat the more hungry I get.

“The weakness of hunger which leads to death brings forth the goodness and power of God who wills life. Here there is no extortion, no magic attempt to force God’s will. We merely look with confidence upon our Heavenly Father and through our fasting say gently in our hearts, ‘Father, without You I will die; come to my assistance, make haste to help me.'”-Joseph Wimmer

 

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I have but one voice, one heart and one sacrifice.

I have officially completed 7 of 60 days from the Lord’s Table. One week’s worth of insight and a new standards being set in my heart and life.

I was telling my friend Marissa about the program and my excitement for the physical and spiritual challenge it presents, to which she responded “that’s just so you, Kate”. I never realized it before, but I guess it is. When a certain note strikes a chord in my heart I enjoy rising to the challenge and desire the change that I see I am in need of.

The course encourages you to read John Piper’s A Hunger For God as you work your way through. I just started it today and am blown away. Totally shattered. And all I read was the preface and introduction. Srsly.

When I think back on my most intimate and special times with Jesus it usually includes a beautiful, outdoors setting. An early morning and a journal. A sunrise at the top of a mountain, a hummingbird’s company, a picnic bench near some black and white cows on a English countryside.  A starry night and a sleeping bag. All these memories are so precious to me. So sweet, just simple. I was in love with Jesus and felt Him so near. I wanted to share every moment with Him, like a best friend or a lover. All these moments are so wonderful, so poignant to me and they are so very, very long ago. The truth is I haven’t experienced a coffee date on a summer evening with Jesus in years. I miss it. I am homesick for those moments again.  I live off these old memories of the best times I ever had with my Best Friend.

In the past years in moments of worship or quiet times I find myself feeling an unsatisfying distance between God and I. Knowing we use to be closer.  I remind Him of the “lilies of the field” or the “fields of gold” where we walked. I ask Him to find me that way again. Pursue me again, Lord.  My heart aches for the romance that use to be.  I realized today that He has heard those prayers deep from my heart and has opened a door to those beautiful places once again. Except instead of jumping on a plane to England or hiking back up to Inspiration Point He is asking for something deeper, something that will require sacrifice.

Fasting.

The title of the Introduction I read today in Piper’s book was this- “A Homesickness for God”. I read those words and like a little shotgun in my heart I felt it strike me. This is exactly the yearning for the past that I have been feeling. Homesick. Homesick for the past. Homesick for beauty. Homesick for poetic love worth journaling about.  I am homesick for Jesus.

God is all his grace and passion for our relationship has led me to this point of education on fasting. I am discovering that He understands my genuine longing for our romance again and just like a lovesick boyfriend He has provided the train ticket to come and be with Him. The ticket will require  sacrifice from me. It means a willingness to let go of all the things that so easily cover over my deepest needs. The quick fix of food to comfort my insecurities and uncertainties.  Fasting requires me to surrender the cotton candy in order to be filled with the Bread of Life. A lasting and healthy choice.

It is with fasting that I am able to turn to Him and say, “This much, O God, I want You.”

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…to follow their own devices.

Day three of The Lord’s Table brought conviction, hope and complete dread of the 24 hour fast I start tomorrow.

It is simply embarrassing how much I love food. No, like I am IN love with food. The course is asking us to change our eating patterns for 60 days. Every fourth day is a 24 hour water-only fast and the very suggestion of that makes me feel defensive and angry. Don’t you dare tell me not to eat. Don’t you know how awful I’ll feel? Don’t you know I have a 18 month old son I have to chase around all day? And on top of that you expect me to exercise? Seriously? Don’t take away my source of satisfaction and relief. I need food.

So here’s what is wrong with me. First of all no one is taking anything away from me. I am voluntarily taking this course and no one is making me do any part of it. Second, the very reason I am so terrified is the reason I need to. If that makes any sense. In other words, if even the thought of giving up food for a day in order to draw closer in dependence to Jesus  makes me feel afraid than I obviously have a problem.

I am no different than the man who insists he drinks just to relax but then reacts in violent rage when alcohol is taken away.  I don’t eat just for nourishment. I eat to treat my nerves, my fears, my uncertainties and insecurities. I eat from emotion and not simple sustenance.  It is this reason that I must step forward and surrender my kitchen cabinets. I choose to be obedient to what this program is asking of me knowing that it’s not about addictions,or food, or even me. It’s about Jesus and complete unhindered fellowship with Him.

I choose to forgo the table I have made for myself that time after time ends in shame and disappointment.  I will sit at the Lord’s Table tomorrow and feast on His word and drink His living water.  Fill my mouth Lord.

I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.

12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices. — Psalm 81:10-12

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The Lord’s Table

I recently began a 60 day online course designed to address over-eating and all the complications that go with that.  It goes far beyond the boxes of anorexia or bulimia, although it does include those. It addresses those more common, usually unspoken, eating habits.

I have only done 2 of the 60 days but so far I have unwrapped some juicy bites of truth that really explain a lot about me. I grew up in a family that used food for lots of reasons. To celebrate good news and accomplishments, to enjoy a summer evening or have special time together. It was a “treat”. It always included some sort of unhealthy food, usually ice cream or cakes. Sometimes it was just a snack from the gas station of an apple pie or cupcake. It was always delicious and it was always special and I loved it. Thinking of it now makes me feel nostalgic for those sweet times sitting on a bench on a warm night with my Oreo blizzard slightly melted with my family all near by. The food wasn’t the source of the joy, the special times were, but now as an adult the food is the thing I run back to to make me feel protected and happy again.  The food is the thing I use to try and recreate the feelings of protection, joy, peace and, really, just fulfillment.

This course, The Lord’s Table is doing an excellent job walking me through a buffet of truth. It makes me verbally acknowledge to myself and my accountability partner that I use food to fill my emptiness.  That I do not view food simply as a source of nourishment, but really as a source of happiness. It’s an empty well that I dip into time after time and only come up more thirsty.

My motivation for taking this course is not necessarily to lose weight, although I wouldn’t mind if that was a bonus side effect. No, my real motivation is because I know in my heart that the more I tear down the things that don’t satisfy, the more I will draw close to the One who will. Ultimately, this is what I want. Just to be closer to Jesus. I want to know what it means to have Him fulfill me in those empty places and not look for food, or whatever, to be a quick substitute.  And let’s be honest, if it wasn’t food it would be something else.  I have a whole list of things I use to fill those empty places.

I want to be the woman at the well who, after believing Jesus when He said he could quench that constant thirst and need, left her water pot and ran to tell others the good news. I guess in my case instead of a water pot it will be my dinner plate.

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I’m back.

After not posting for a while, quite a while…almost 2 years to be exact… I am back.

A lot has happened in two years. In fact it is just too much to recap so let’s just say I am now a mother to an insane toddler, I am an ex-jr. high youth pastor and an almost-certified birth doula. I am married to the most talented graphic designer in the state of Colorado who now works from home, which has been relocated from Denver to Greeley. West Greeley, to be exact. Yes, there is a difference between east and west Greeley-It’s mostly in the smell.

It’s easy to summarize and make it sound like all that change was quick, easy and painless, but that would be a lie. I find too many blogs presenting a false life captured by expensive cameras and perfect lighting. My life does not look like that. It never has. I don’t shop at Whole Foods. I don’t eat at trendy, organic restaurants for brunch on Sunday morning after I ride my cruiser through City Park. Not that I would mind doing those things, I would love it. It’s just not the norm like so many tend to present as theirs.  I eat at Mimi’s when I want a good breakfast and I shop at Wal Mart when I am buying toilet paper.  My life couldn’t be more normal or mundane…or perfectly beautiful.

The past two years have been so full of turmoil, change and dreams coming true that I don’t think I should even try and fill you in. I just couldn’t be accurate enough to do it justice. So let’s just jump right in to the center of life now. Afterall, these are the days…

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scariest cake ever.

freaky_baby_cake

Is it a baby or an old man in a blanket? Maybe it’s inspired by Benjamin Button. Either way Michelle.co.uk should rethink this cake idea. Where do you cut in? Do people get a slice that includes a toe or an eye? Is it red in the middle?  I would be requesting a corner piece for sure, one that only has a bit of sheet and blanket, thank you very much.

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