The Good

by Rhonda, March 25, 2024

Yesterday I ate a lot, and I do mean a lot, of potato chips. I paired them with a soda, a cookie, and a brownie.  Sometimes when I get very stressed out, I tend to eat junk food and I've been working on a very stressful project at work.  I loved every minute of my junk food buffet, but there's always a side effect (at least there is when you get older).  Now I don't feel the greatest after downing a truckload of kettle chips.  And I will refuse to get on the scale until I feel better about myself (don't deny it, you do it too.)

I suppose I should go to God with more important things, but today I'm asking him to help me stop my potato chip eating extravaganza.  I'm stressed and I'm tired and I want to eat terrible things and lay on the couch and watch YouTube.  Please don't bother me while I watch my favorite podcasts.  

Any extreme in our lives, except worship of God, is not going to be good.  I struggle with this because I am an all-or-nothing kind of person.  I'm running a marathon or I'm on the couch.  I'm engrossed in a hobby or I want nothing to do with it.  I'm reading ten books or I'm reading no books.  Its difficult for me to find moderation, simply due to the way I'm wired.  I always have to look to Jesus to lead me out of my extremes.

He shows me that I live a life of extremes because I'm a perfectionist.  I'm too hard on myself and I'm unable to enjoy life if it doesn't feel perfect to me.  He is far gentler, far more forgiving of me than I am.  He knew I wasn't going to be perfect when He created me.  Somehow I haven't gotten the memo, though, and I still have some pretty high expectations.  When I fall short, out come the other extremes such as junk food or binge television watching.  Or late night QVC shopping.  OK, let's move on.

Life requires moderation, whether it pertains to eating, finances, hobbies, or basically anything outside of the worship of God Himself.  For some, it comes easy.  For others like myself, finding moderation and balance is a constant battle.

This is why I need Jesus every day.  I am unable to find balance without Him reminding me to see life for what it is, not what it isn't.  Perfection is always looking for flaws and ways to improve someone or something.  But, God doesn't look at life this way.  He sees good even in the imperfect.  His eyes are always looking for good in our hearts.  

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.

He's not looking for the bad.  He's looking for the good so He can give support to them.  Isn't that an amazing way to look at life?  His focus isn't on what's not there, His focus is on what is good, and how He can help those who have good in their hearts.

There's a lot of lessons in that verse for me.  If I looked at life this way more often, I would eat less potato chips.  If I looked at myself this way, and focused on finding ways to better support the good things within me, it would be life-changing.  Have you ever thought about what life would feel like if you looked for the good within you?  If, for just one day, you stopped thinking about the bad and only looked for the good and thought about how to support it?

Maybe we should all give it a try.  If God looks for good in us, He is the one to set the standard.  

We should follow His lead. 

The Simplicity

by Rhonda, March 14, 2024

When Jesus taught lessons in the Bible, He kept them simple.  When He taught principles, He didn't overcomplicate things or make a gigantic list of rules everyone had to follow.  The Bible mentions in several places His followers were amazed by His wisdom.  But, I also think part of the amazement was in the simplicity of His answers.

I'm currently making my way through Leviticus (painful), and the lists of rules and regulations are dizzying.  Everything was so complicated, and if you ask me, unattainable.  I try to skim through some of the chapters because they're repetitive and difficult.  I can't imagine actually living through it, because simply reading it is exhausting.  There's a lot of discussion around actions that make a person ceremonially unclean, and the amount of time one must remain in an "unclean" state.  If I were part of the Israelites at the time, I probably would have set up a tent in the unclean side of the village and parked there permanently with a pile of bacon (no pork allowed).  There ain't no way this girl was going to make it.  

But, then Jesus changed everything and made it all so much simpler.  He focused on love instead of ceremony.  He taught mercy.  He preached forgiveness.

The world is becoming more complicated.  Politics are complicated.  Relationships are complicated.  Going to the doctor is complicated.  Paying your taxes is complicated.  Figuring out your schedule is complicated.  We may not have all of the rules the Israelites followed in Leviticus, but our lives are no less complicated today.  

The simplicity of Jesus and His message of love is refreshing.  

"Love your neighbor as yourself." 

"You who have not sinned, throw the first stone." 

"The truth will set you free."  

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

He takes the chaos and confusion out of the most complex problems.  I can recall time and time again going to Him in prayer with a problem.  Countless times He simply tells me "Love".  I don't always want to hear that, but He's usually right (He is God, after all).   I am overcomplicating my life and need to love others.  That's His calling card, a simple solution for complicated problems.  But, it makes sense, doesn't it?  Truth is simple.  Lies and deception are what makes things complicated.

If you're struggling with a decision and aren't sure what to do, bring it to God.  He is going to give you an answer that makes sense in its simplicity.  

I can recall agonizing over whether to meet up with an old acquaintance from high school that I really didn't want to see.  I felt guilty for saying no to the invitation, yet I didn't want to say yes.  I took it to God and asked Him what to do?  I didn't want to be rude but I didn't want to be around someone who still wasn't a nice person and had long been out of my life.  

God's answer to me was simple.  Are there spiritual benefits to this meeting?  If there's something to this meeting that brings you closer to God, then attend.  But if there's not, then feel free to politely decline and move on with more important things.

His answer was simple.  I was spending far too much time concentrating on something that ultimately didn't have spiritual consequences.  I was free to move on with my life.  So, I politely declined.

Do you know how long I was embroiled in that crazy decision?   I really have to learn to take things to Him much more quickly.  I will save myself some serious time and suffering.  He untangles problems, and He makes life peaceful.

God is still guiding his children today, all we have to do is ask for His help and look for His answers that will simplify our lives.  He loves us so much.