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About Eric’s Wife

Some may say I am a "Stay at home Mom," but that is not even close. I am Eric's Wife. I have exhilarating strokes of genius, followed almost immediately by paralyzing pangs of self doubt and, for whatever reason, here is where I blog about it - warts and all. I serve a merciful God with a clumsy hand and at the end of each day I go to sleep thankful to be His servant and Eric's wife.

On Fasting

February 9, 2011

Let’s talk about fasting, shall we?  For years the word alone would make me shudder like the thought of running a marathon could.   My understanding of scripture is such that I never believed that fasting is necessary for salvation, just as running a marathon is not necessary to be called a “runner”; though both experiences can give deeper and more targeted direction to action.

My personal journey in this area is multi-faceted and I believe it will take more than one post to cover my thoughts, so let this post be an introduction to our discussion about the very beautiful, often neglected or distorted, gift that God has given us in fasting.

I can’t introduce this topic among Christians without first tackling Matthew 6:16-18 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

I think this scripture has put many a muzzle on a faster so that even the benefits and joy of fasting are not discussed to avoid the dangerous possibility of being like the hypocrites who only fasted for the glory of themselves.  I have learned much from people who fast and are willing to share their experiences with me. Were they to sit quietly, I would still be stuck feeling like fasting was a marathon intended only for the very pious and serious spiritual giants of the faith and not for me.

I hope we can agree that this is a necessary discussion and that my efforts here are to benefit and embolden God’s Kingdom.  Everybody ready?  Get your swim caps on and let’s jump in.

A Fast By Any Other Name…

The first point about fasting that I would like to make, and the only one I’ll be touching on today, is this: there are many things we can abstain from for spiritual growth, but when fasting is mentioned in scripture it is always a fast from food.  Our examples are many and I will let you do your own study, but wrap your head firmly around the idea that fasting from food is what is meant when you see fasting mentioned in the Bible.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have shut down Facebook for this month to free up the mountains of time I wile away there.  Some of you may also have such a past time that you feel called to set aside from time to time.  I feel that this can be a God led time and that such a fast is good for the mind and spirit.  Both fasting from food and distraction are not our gift to God, but rather His gift to us as we make ourselves more available to His Word, His pruning, and His touch.

I don’t want to get too caught up on this point, but I need to be clear that when I say “fasting” in future posts I mean from food.  If the notion of such a thing is as daunting and scary to you as it once was to me, please join me in the next few posts as I discuss what has become the single most life changing element of my walk with Christ next to Scripture.

When Amy Met Jonah

January 7, 2011

One thought that I have grown to love about Jonah is that it is an unquestionable example in the Old Testament of God seeking out the non-Jewish nations.  In my youth, I assumed that the Old Testament was strictly about God and the Jews and the New Testament was strictly about Jesus and the Christians.   In Jonah, the Old Testament, we see God interested in the saving of people who did not belong to the Hebrew nation.  They were not “chosen”, and yet they were. That’s pretty cool.

So, here we have Jonah: a prophet of God living among the Jewish nation.  The people around him look like he does, they talk like he does, and they believe like he does.  I imagine that he is comfortable with his life and work.  And then, God calls him out and tells him to go to Ninevah.

According to God, the problem with Ninevah was that their “wickedness has come up before Me”.  A study of history will tell you that Ninevah was at the center of all things wicked.  They were daily sacrificing children to their gods and goddesses.  There was a sexual element to their worship that likely meant that there was a good number of unwanted pregnancies, making sacrifice an easy and pious option for mending such a problem.   Ninevah was the capital of Assyria and the Assyrian armies made regular marches across the land and there were commonly known phrases that referenced the fear that would grip a mother’s heart when she heard the sound of pounding Assryian footsteps at the gates of their cities.

In short: Assyria was a terrifying place to visit and Ninevah was at the very heart of Assyria.

It is easy to assume that it was fear of Ninevah that led to Jonah’s decision to flee from the presence of the LORD, but that is not what Jonah says in chapter four.  Chapter four comes after Jonah has been swallowed by the fish, stewed in the fish’ belly for three days, vomited up by the fish and has made good on his promise to do as God commanded.   He told Ninevah that they were forty days away from being destroyed and Ninevah responds by fasting, putting on sackcloth and pleading with God for mercy.  And God has mercy.

The response of mercy is exactly what Jonah knew he’d see and didn’t want to see.  He wanted to see Ninevah destroyed and instead God had mercy.  He tells God, “…is this not what I said while I was still in my own country?  This is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish.  For I know that You are a gracious and compassionate God… a God who relents from sending calamity.”

Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah because he didn’t want to see God have mercy on such a disgusting and repugnant people.

This is where I can relate to Jonah and where I don’t like what I see.  How easy it is to sit in my comfortable land among people who look and talk like me and speak great punishment on those who “don’t know their right hand from their left” as God said about Ninevah.

My mercy is as great as Jonah’s.  I cannot recite his words without hearing my own whiny voice raging in my head.   The mystery of it all is that a merciful and gracious God would still use one like Jonah.  And one like me.

About Puppies… Or Is It?

December 15, 2010

Some time ago I read the complete contract that I signed with the (fabulous) direct sales company that I work with and it said that I was strictly forbidden from using the internet to solicit sales, hostesses, or recruits.

To avoid further invasion on this policy and for the sake of conversation, let’s pretend that I sell adorable puppies; cute, furry, kissable, sweet puppies.  To make my sales, I have hostesses invite me into their homes so I can show their girlfriends all my cute puppies and my hostess then gets a free puppy for her trouble.

When I first started selling puppies a year ago, and before I read the binding contract, I would make the occasional Facebook update looking for hostesses who wanted a puppy.  I made status updates about puppies.  I posted pictures of puppies.  I did everything I could do to market my puppy selling job short of actually selling puppies on the internet.

Six months in, I saw the blurb on my contract.  There was no getting around what it said.  It even called out “social networking sites”.  I decided that the policy was made by old people who weren’t hip to the wonders of the world wide web and made it my new practice to only break the policy sometimes, because doing it “kind of” is a lot different than doing it all the way.  Right?

Here is what I learned after hearing these standards laid out by one of those unhip old people: Those “old people” aren’t so dumb.  If these especially cute puppies can be sold online, what need is there for me to sell puppies in person?  They have the fear of the (well proven) slippery slope and have made their standard high to avoid my lose of income.

Have you ever signed a document that you didn’t fully read because you figured it was all pretty much legal mumbo jumbo and why bother?  According to my husband the most common lie told daily is, “I have read the above terms and conditions”.  I believe he’s on to something.

Going deeper into God’s Word has been a strikingly similar experience.  I have found that I signed a contract when I was quite young, agreeing to boundaries and standards that I knew nothing of.  When I learn of these standards, I often try to find short cuts, or ways around them.  I use the logic that Scripture was written for a different time, for a different people and does not apply to me personally.

It is my good fortune to be surrounded by good, sound teachers of the Word and I am often reminded that Scripture was not written to be confusing, it is not mumbo jumbo, and it is specific to me and this time.  God is no respecter of persons; this means that His Word is not more for one people than another.

Just as I finally came to know that it was time to stop carrying on as though I was smarter than people who had been in business almost longer than I’ve been alive, I have had to repeatedly be reminded that I am not smarter than God or His Word.  His grace is sufficient as I learn and His Word is sufficient to teach.