The Sound Side

daniel2Every year we go to the Outer Banks, a barrier island off the east coast. Our house’s worth is measured by its distance from the ocean as in oceanfront, ocean view, one block away, two blocks away, etc.  I never tire of the sudden sight of the magnificent ocean as we climb the steps over the dunes, and there it is. The wind picks up and the sound of the waves is volumes louder just as we make our way over the dunes. Families litter the beach staking their claim for the day with beach tents, chairs and umbrellas, and sand castles. This year we brought my dog and stayed in a little house on the sound side that allows pets, many blocks away from the beach. The house wasn’t much but the beauty of the sound in my backyard took my breath away. In all the times we visited this area, I’d never come to look at the sound. It took the love of my furry little friend to force me to turn my attention from the magnificence of the ocean to see the quiet beauty of the sound. Love will do that to us. Love opens us up to new experiences and possibilities we may not have otherwise considered. It reveals the deep and hidden things we never saw before. When I think of love, I think of God because God is love and the most beautiful, deep and hidden thing He has revealed is His son Jesus Christ. In Him is the fullness of God’s love for us.

Nutritarian Lifestyle: You are beautifully made

The Lord waits patiently for you; go to Him and tell Him that you love Him.

Nutritarian food will slim us down because foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans fill us up but not with heavy, calorie-laden foods. Small amounts of animal proteins help too. Drinking smoothies in between meals or eating whole fruits can satisfy hunger between meals and re-energize the body. Stay away from too many grains and do not eat processed foods.

Anything that comes with a long list of unidentifiable ingredients listed on the back label is processed. Lunch meats, packaged and frozen meat products, canned meals (spaghetti, lasagna, etc.) packaged cheese, packaged crackers, snack foods, and packaged soy products are not part of the nutritarian diet. Dr. Fuhrman writes that if it doesn’t look like where it came from (chicken to chicken nuggets or oats to little o-shaped circles) then it is most likely a processed food.

Processed foods are prepared with too much salt or sugar or fat (or all three) which is poison to our bodies. Many of the nutrients that our bodies need to function properly are striped from processed foods. However, all processed foods (like Pirate Booty) are made for taste; not nutrition. We become addicted to the sugars, salts, and fats in these processed foods to the point where we feel sick (weak, dizzy, headaches, lethargy, confused thinking, etc.) without them. For years I experienced a weak, dizzy feeling that could only be relieved with sugar. Now a fruit smoothie gives me the energy I need and my weak, dizzy feelings are gone. Out of all the benefits of a nutritarian diet, permanent relief from that weak and dizzy feeling really sold me on this way of eating.

I hope if it hasn’t happened to you yet, that one day you will see a reflection of yourself and you will be content with what you see. God has wonderfully made you to be the very singular creature you are (Psalm 139:13-18). He is constantly aware of you to the extravagant point that he knows every hair on your head (Matthew 10:30). Humans are his most precious creation on earth (John 3:16), and He wants to be constantly present to you (2 Corinthians 10:5). You can be certain of this because of one thing: that he died for you as Jesus Christ who lived on this earth and whose glorious life is recorded in The New Testament. He gave his own life so that you could live with him eternally (1 John 5:5-12). The fact that the awesome deity of the universe died to be with you should tell you how precious you are and help you to know that you are beautiful in His sight; not next week when you lose five pounds, or next summer when you maybe can wear a swimming suit and go to the beach, or after you somehow put right this horrible wrong you’ve done, but right this very minute, just as you are, the God of the universe is gazing lovingly upon you (1 John 4:7-12).

Tell God that you love Him, that you acknowledge the sin in your life, and that you accept the sacrifice Jesus made for that sin by dying on the cross. He is waiting to hear you (2 Peter 3:9).

Love and Hate

And, speaking of diabolical, I want to write that God hates sin. God hates the diabolical tricks set up to entangle us in sin. Some folks have a problem with saying God hates fill-in-the-blank, but I know he hates sin. He doesn’t hate the sinner, no He loves the sinner, but he hates sin (Proverbs 6:16).

So what is sin? Anything that stops us from living a full life in the presence of Him who is life. We are such a fragile living thing, so prone to sin, like a rose who is prone to disease and insects. (And we are pretty thorny too, but that’s another blog.) For example, people constantly suffer from addiction to one thing or another. Food addictions cause a lot of trouble, especially sugar and salt. Not that food is a sin, but the abuse of food, the root of the cause of how we turn to food and not to Him is sin. We are prone to addictions because we are supposed to fill that constant need with Him. And God hates that. He hates anything that keeps us from worshipping Him (praying, singing, meditating and actively loving). He hates it when his children go to bed with stomach aches because they ate too much of the wrong thing, or ate too often. He hates it when his children look in the mirror and the sadness of their own reflection overwhelms them. He hates it when his children find themselves sick with life-threatening diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. He hates it with a wrath and a fury that burns like a fire (Hebrews 12:29). Understand that, and we will understand a small inkling of how much God loves us.

Take for an example of His love my savior, Jesus, who was by the way, a real person who walked the earth; not a legend. He took all the sin on Him by going to the cross. He bore the sadness, the pain, and the death of it so that we might have a way out of it. He killed a part of himself so that we might fully live–The Living God suffered Death (Psalm 22), the ultimate hated thing (Luke 9:60). Looking at the flip side of God’s hatred of sin is His love for us. If we want to know how much God loves us, know how much He hates anything that stands in the way of a relationship with Him, and how much He sacrificed Himself by taking what He hates upon Himself for our sake. This is my beautiful Jesus, my Old Testament Warring God, the Consuming Fire, the Jealous One (Deuteronomy 4:24 and a gazillion other places) who hates sin and humbled Himself to love us (Philippians 2:8).

God is a Marine

UGH! Did you ever wake up with the sinking feeling that you are losing the battle against “the FLESH”. Dun, dun, dun, dun. Making wrong decisions even when you know they are wrong? It’s a rebellion, pure and simple and a constant battle to do what God wills verses what I will. Saint Paul describes it this way in Romans 7:15, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Sin is like a disease in our spiritual lives and we must try every day to do a little better. Not because we will go to hell, because we won’t. We are in Christ forever when we tell Him in prayer that we want to belong to Him and accept Jesus as the offering for our sinful selves. It’s not what we do. It is what Jesus did that saves us and it is because of this amazing love that we keep trying.

So this morning I woke up and there He was, solid as a rock. God does not abandon the sinner. He says, “Go and sin no more.” Even if you slip up every day, every morning He says the same thing. He is like the marine that stood guard over Cody Green, the 12 year old boy who battled cancer all his life. His short life did not give him an opportunity to realize his dream of becoming a Marine, but on hearing of his own heroic battle, he was made an honorary Marine. Three times in his fight against cancer he came out winning, but on the night of the last day of the battle, one young man dawned his full Marine uniform, drove to the hospital where Cody was dying, and stood guard outside his door the last night of his life.

Friend of mine, Jesus stands guard at our door even when we are dying in our sin. He stands by us and takes the punishment that should be ours so that we may try again another day. Wake up to a new morning, sinner, and peek out your door. God is your Marine standing guard.

Prayer: Oh tender Lord, what beautiful love reigns in the heart of Jesus who by his sacrifice has shown a greater love than any has yet seen.  Amen

Cody’s Story: