Tag Archives: food

Jeremiah 37, 21, 34; Psalm 79; James 5

The space between spiritual blessing and divine conviction: what am I doing when there? Working five days per week yields structure, routine, and purpose for me. Yet, come Friday, I’m like a child brought to the playground, letting loose of his father’s hand, running off to play. Well, almost. In reality, on Friday afternoon I eat a meal that I didn’t make, take up residence on the couch, and basically waste time dozing off and on while a mesmerizing box pours nonsense into my depleted, vulnerable brain. I started this habit several years ago when I lived alone and was suffering from loneliness and sadness.  It was my way of forcing the noise in my head to die down and the tension in my limbs to relax. Somewhere in this space, I hoped to find peace. Not unlike the drugs of addiction, really. A chemical solution to a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual problem, drugs anesthetize the hurt and pain or ignite and explode the numbing depression.

This space is, of course, a false interlude before the crashing realities return. Take for instance, the promise of peace when King Zedekiah commanded people to free their Hebrew male and female slaves, brothers to their Hebrew masters. God commanded that Hebrew slaves were to be freed after six years of servanthood, and for a brief time the masters let them go. Yet, it wasn’t long before the people were rounded up and taken back as slaves.

What went on between that time? Where did these Jewish slaves go? What were they doing? Did they lie on the beach each day, just thankful for a day without stress? Did they spend their days visiting family and eating home-cooked meals, or did they start projects around the house?

You may think my wandering thoughts are mundane and of little consequence, but let me ask you, “Do you look for that personal space where you can just do nothing if you want?” Why?

Why do we feel the need to get away? Why do we become weary? What disturbances in our world destroy peace in our hearts and why? James 5 has an interesting take on that space between suffering and salvation. Verse 7 – 8 says, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

This Scripture explains why on the morning after Friday’s down-time that I feel sick at my stomach (too much spicy food?), condemned in my spirit (seeking peace from a box on a stand?), confused in my mind (professing one thing, but doing the opposite?), and depressed and/or anxious in my emotions (wasting time, wasting energy?). I did not wait with the expectation that God may come right then. I did not establish my heart by seeking God’s instruction.

Well, one more Friday has vanished along with the regrets of a life that would have been better spent eating the Word which is sweeter than honey, looking for all that is lovely and uplifting, and waiting on God’s instruction for the night (might be sleep, could be holy visions…).

So I pray Psalm 79:

Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us… Help us, O God of our salvation…For Your name’s sake! So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

I ask, Lord Jesus, that I learn to wait with hopeful expectation of Your very presence, and to participate in the sweet joy of living in peace with You now, and definitely next Friday!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

2 Chronicles 29-31; 1 Corinthians 8

2015 is the year our family went gluten-free. A child’s Celiac diagnosis was an overnight household and lifestyle transformation. I spent a large part of this summer reading up on the disease, discovering new ways of cooking, and brainstorming new approaches to meals.

***

A good friend’s suggestion of a book study called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst seemed very unappealing since a brief description revealed it had to do with food and weight. But I checked it out from the library, and skimming over it turned to reading it, which turned to loving it.

***

I went to share a chicken salad recipe with another friend, who mentioned she was starting a (nutrition-focused) healthy eating plan. Suddenly, before I even understood what I was saying, I was ready to join her.

***

My Bible reading today was about a rededication of a temple to the Lord and ridding it of idols. It was about worshiping the Lord with thanksgiving and remembrance, with celebration and sacrifices. And, yeah, it was about food.

***

Lord, I’m learning about abundant life through you. All the things that were temporary pleasures or distractions are nothing compared to the joy I have in you. Thank you, God, for caring for me to show me and correct me and guide me to newness–and freedom.

Courtney (66books365)

(I did not receive compensation of any sort for reading or mentioning Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.)

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2 Kings 7-8; 2 Chronicles 21; Matthew 6

We are just over two weeks into my daughter’s Celiac diagnosis. I’ve spent that time researching the disease, joining online groups, reading (lots of) books from the library, cleaning out our kitchen, and removing foods we can no longer eat. I got a few cookbooks and was looking forward to relearning how to bake–but when I went online to price the cost of gluten-free flours, I was shocked. As much as I wanted to restock our pantry, it wouldn’t happen overnight.

A friend texted me, “”Listen, the verses that talk about not worrying about what we eat, etc. apply here to (this situation) too. It’s a learning curve and very stressful I know but God is going to direct your steps and He cares so much about (her) health and well being.” I wasn’t sure what verses she was talking about specifically, but they had a ring of familiarity to them. I admit, I was worried–especially when I went to get a loaf of bread and it was $8. I didn’t buy it.

One day, a friend showed up with a bag of gluten-free (GF) products for us–brownie and cookie mixes, crackers, pasta. I was completely taken off guard by her thoughtfulness. Another day, another friend showed up with GF energy bars, a dinner mix and a pasta. A few days later, a neighbor gifted us with almond and coconut flours. Another friend showed up during a thunderstorm with GF waffles, a variety of boxed cereals, pastas and tortillas. And even yesterday, I had been at the grocery store to get corn pasta to make a quick dinner with meat sauce, I thought longingly of a garlicky bread that would be perfect with the dinner. I eyed a little GF loaf, at least a third the size of its wheaty cousin, for $7. I didn’t buy it. But later in the afternoon? I received a package in the mail with boxes full of gluten-free muffins, cookies, and two loaves of bread–purchased for us by a loving relative. (I made garlic butter and put it on one of the loaves.)

My husband and I have been repeatedly amazed at the outpouring of love and generosity.

My heart has been for hospitality–spending time with others and feeding them. But under the new diagnosis, I worried about cross-contamination and cost. How would I keep up?

The same friend who texted me early on in this journey sat at my house last week and said, “If God has put it on your heart to offer hospitality, he will provide. Keep doing what he has wired you to do.” I thanked her for reframing my thoughts.

I am not surprised to read verses today on God’s sovereignty and provision.

Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.”

The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” Kings 7:1-2, NLT.

And it was so.

And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land.

“Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!”

“Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence. Kings 8:5-6, NLT.

Shazam!

And the verses my friend texted me about? Matthew 6–the verses waiting for me this morning.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34, NLT. (Emphasis mine.)

Thank you, God, for your constant reminders that you’ve got this. The whole world. In your hands. Thank you for these scriptures, that I can come to you and you already know.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 19-21; 2 Chronicles 17; Psalm 129; Matthew 1

Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. 1 Kings 19:5-6, NLT.

June was a stressful month with a doctor, a specialist, a hospital. When I brought my child home, I was humbled and grateful at the provision of friends–dinners that lasted us for days. I felt refreshed, and in no time at all I was back to my old Superwoman ways of thinking. Having a child’s health problem removed (so I thought at the time) was a weight lifted. I was already making plans.

A Monday diagnosis put a halt to them. “Celiac disease … schedule with the nutritionist … bring (her) to see me at the end of the month.”

Two kids in the car looking at me.

“What’s for lunch?” one asked.

“I’m not sure,” I said.

I reached out to a few friends I knew who were gluten-free. It was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start and couldn’t get in with the nutritionist or the specialist until weeks later. Websites. Books. Cookbooks. Friends emailed me some recipes to help me along. I found online support groups for parents and caregivers–and even more information: get rid of your bread machine, your muffin tins, your scratched skillets, your wooden spoons. Read the ingredients of your soaps and shampoos. Clean out every inch of your kitchen.

I was vacuuming crumbs out of my freezer. I bagged up pastas, soups, cereals, and mixes and gave them away. Some friends came by with gluten-free food gifts the kids would like: brownie mix, mac and cheese, spaghetti, crackers. I researched flour blends and other ingredients I would need in this new kitchen. Friends gave me names of stores where they find good deals. A neighbor gave me packages of coconut flour, almond flour, corn flour.

Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. 1 Kings 19:7-9, NLT.

When I read of Elijah sleeping against the broom tree, I slowed down. I thought of the whirlwind and stress that beat down on me those weeks in June. I thought of the food gifts and support from friends. I thought of the tasks laid out before me and how daunting the road appeared–of managing the myriad responsibilities and also relearning how to cook. Where was the pause button?

I read of the windstorm, the earthquake and the fire. I read of God’s voice in the whisper. Elijah was afraid, likely overwhelmed, navigating a wilderness, and God met him where he was. (No one is out of his reach.) When Elijah told Him how he felt, God told him what to do.

Lord, thank you for this diagnosis so we have a starting place to bring healing to my daughter. Thank you for your generous provision through friends with food gifts, advice and support. Thank you for pioneers who have gone before us on this path, making it easier for us to follow and giving us good recipes to enjoy. Thank you for meeting me that morning on the bench and hearing me. Thank you for answering my prayer for direction and help, so that I can get our home in order. Thank you for caring about the details of our lives.

Courtney (66books365)

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