Day 15: Forfeiting Grace

Church was wonderful yesterday, as it was the previous Sunday. I drove home, on day 14 of breaking up with food, amazed that it was day 14! Not amazed at myself or anything I had done, but amazed at the grace of God, grateful that He had empowered me over these past 2 weeks. Awed by the increased sensitivity to Him and to the Holy Spirit that has come as I’ve stopped running to other gods. As it says in Jonah:

“Those who cling to worthless idols
    forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
    will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Jonah 2:8-9

Yesterday, I basked in gratitude.

Today? Eh. Started the day with a lovely walk with a friend. When I got home, I realized I either lost the new bottle of my migraine supplement that has been helping me, or perhaps the bottle got recycled. Who knows? But it’s gone and it’s not sold anywhere locally.

Then another thing happened and another thing happened and I’m reminded why I eat. Food brought me short-lived feelings of joy among the challenging moments of life. It brought distraction. It brought false satisfaction.

But I go back to Jonah again:

“Those who cling to worthless idols
    forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
    will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Jonah 2:8-9

If you’re not familiar with the story of Jonah, you really need to be! The book of Jonah is only 4 chapters and could be read in one sitting. God called Jonah to go preach at a place called Nineveh, but Jonah ran the other way. Long story short – because of his disobedience, Jonah was thrown overboard by the men on the ship he was using as an escape. Jonah was then swallowed by a big fish that God provided to save him. The above verses were part of a prayer Jonah prayed, and right after, the fish deposited Jonah on dry land.

Jonah’s worthless idol was his pride (which he actually continued to cling to, if you continue reading).

But I want to be different. I don’t want to cling to worthless idols anymore. I can’t afford to forfeit any grace. I want my life to be a sacrifice of praise, and so what I have vowed (truly breaking up with food once and for all), I will make good. I will choose to trust.

And I will give all the glory to God in the process.

Bible Reading: Romans 6 (Sunday) and 7-8 (Today)
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Lent: Moderation & Consecration

Lent is upon us.

Recently, my kids were quite sick. During that time, I was surprised by an unexpected blessing: I had to slow way down.

When I was sitting with a sick kid or stuck under a sleeping baby, my iPhone options were boring me. Thus, I got back into the habit of actually reading books!

We were also unable to go to church due to lingering illness, so I read Acts 22 (no special reason – I’m reading through Acts and that’s the chapter I was on), as well as that day’s reading from My Utmost for His Highest. Then we watched a pastor friend’s church service over the internet.

As I found a few minutes to pray, I was thinking of the upcoming Lenten season and what, if anything, God would have me do during that time. The line “Make My Life a Prayer To You” came to mind.

So I began to sing through the lyrics:
Make my life a prayer to You, I want to do what you want me to,
No empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise
I want to shine the light you gave Through Your Son, you sent to save us,
From ourselves and our despair. It comforts me to know you’re really there.

Oh, I want to thank you now, for being patient with me
Oh, it’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what you say
Oh, you’re coming again, coming to take me away

I want to die, and let you give Your life to me, so I might live,
And share the hope You gave to me – The love that set me free,
I want to tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I made up inside my head: You’re God, The Son, You’ve risen from the dead.

I want my days to be free of rituals and compromise of any sort. I want my entire life, every moment, to be a living sacrifice, wholly devoted to serving Him and others. I know there are areas that I do still falter or willfully disobey. I want to learn to submit them to Him.

This Lent for me will be a time of moderation & consecration, a time where I ask God to cleanse my life of any idolatry (the song “Give Us Clean Hands” also keeps coming to mind), a time to continue on the journey of becoming all God created me to do so that I can do all the things He has called me to do.

And when I falter and I am not able, I will choose to remember that He is able.

He is Jealous for Me

“He is jealous for me.”

A line from a song by John Mark McMillan, made famous by Dave Crowder and the Jesus Culture.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14

“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:24

Words spoken by God, made famous by Moses.

A jealous God. An all-consuming fire.

“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Psalm 24:3-5

Idols of today are not likely statues or little gold calves. They may be a nice house, a fancy car. A relationship. A certain body size. Food, sex, power, romance. Making God’s unconditional forgiveness & love conditional. Refusing to accept that you are created in His image. Shame, condemnation. Hiding from His love.

What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give…..An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought…. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”

Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods

“He is jealous for me.”

As we sang this song today in church, I thought: I want to live a clean life. Pure. I want to be holy, as He is holy. I want my life to be uncluttered, my mind to be clear and confusion-free.

Because He is jealous. Because He is good. Because all I want is all You have.