Friday, November 16, 2012

Fill Your Plate!

Thanksgiving is just a week away.   Recipes are popping up everywhere for pumpkin pies and cranberry sauces and mashed potatoes and the perfect lump-free gravy.   Grocery store shelves bulge with ingredients for the perfect meal.   Time to talk turkey!

Do you eat three meals a day?   Do you get enough fruits and veggies to fill your daily requirements?   Are you careful about calories, cholesterol, carbs, and fiber?  Do you pop a vitamin to be sure you have all your alphabetic needs covered?   Do you make sure that your body is well-nourished?

Would you consider it realistic to put yourself on a diet where you only ate one meal a week?  Or only took one swig of water a day?   Would your body suffer from such a regimen?   Would your ability to make decisions be affected?

Personally my ability to think clearly is affected if dinner is an hour late never mind only one meal a WEEK!   Spare me!

One missing meal and our stomach turns into a whiny toddler--growling, grumbling, cramping with pain:   "Feed me!  I'm hungry!" It's hard to ignore, and becomes a driving need to fill that empty belly.  To fuel our tank.

So, let me ask you this:  Do you nourish your spirit as carefully and as regularly as you do your stomach?   Do you take any spiritual vitamins?  What are you doing to make sure your spirit's daily requirements are met?  How do you keep your spiritual tank topped off?

In other words:   Do you read your Bible every day?

Are you starving your spirit?

The signs of an under-nourished spirit are manifested in your daily choices--are you numb to evil?  Desensitized to sin, accepting of immoral behavior, and unperturbed by lascivious living?  

Does graphic violence or repulsive language make your cringe?  Do sexually explicit lyrics or humor cause you to change channels?   Do you tell or pass along dirty jokes?   Do you tolerate behavior that once made you wince with disgust?

A starving soul will believe that whatever it wants, it can have.  Skipping church or not sticking around for Bible class or ignoring pleas for help with church projects--YOUR stuff is much more important, so you slap on an excuse and walk away.  

An under-nourished or starved spirit sees nothing wrong with wasting money or time on ungodly activities.  Never mind tithing or surrendering to the Lord's will.

Lord, help me change!

As important as eating is to the physical health of our bodies, so, too, is nourishing our spirit and our faith with good solid Soul Food, the kind that is only available in the Bible.

In the spirit of the season, here is a recipe for feeding your soul:
  • Find a quiet place to read and minimize distractions.
  • Ask God to send his Holy Spirit to bless your reading of His word
  • Read through a section with your mind engaged!   If you go blank or don't understand a section, re-read it.   Make an effort!
  • Answer (or try to!) the following questions:
    • Who is the writer?  To whom is this passage directed?
    • What do these verses tell me about God? about myself?
    • What does the passage really say or NOT say?
    • What does it tell me to believe or stop believing?
    • What does it tell me to do or stop doing?
    • What ministry does this passage urge me to have with others?  
    • How can I apply this to my life?  
    • How does this equip me to work in God's kingdom?
  • Pray again and ask God to help you live out what He has shown you here.
  • If you like, jot notes in your journal of specific points to remember or ponder.
  • Live out the principles the Holy Spirit has revealed; get to work in God's kingdom!

and often!

Four verbs from St. Paul (with a bit of cheerleading from me) explain this best:
and inwardly digest

(get the book out, 
highlight or journal, 
practice and do, 
'til God's Word becomes 
a part of what makes you YOU)