That's the Book: 2nd Thessalonians
I spent the weekend at a work conference. We were out at the beautiful Skamania Lodge. During one of the breaks a friend of mine talked me into doing the arial course. I bought a t-shirt because I couldn’t see myself dangling up in the sky between trees in work attire.
As I signed the lengthy waiver I noticed the government license and inspection which were prominently displayed in the office. Nice.
The first step in the process was putting the gear. I synched and paid attention. Tightened my helmet.
We went through the training course which was down on the ground. Practiced clipping on and off.
My trust was not in myself. I know myself. Slightly uncoordinated, out of shape, not terribly aware of my own surroundings. Good chance if left to my own devices I'd fall and break my head.
I did trust the equipment. The government inspection. The trainer. The people who came off the course just as I was going in. They all looked like they survived and were even smiling. I trusted the clips and wires. And those big beautiful trees. I trusted the trees to do what trees do. Stay put.
You see the sermon here right? My trust is not in myself. My fear is not in the wind or the height or gravity. Because my trust in the trainers and the trees was greater than the fear.
The view was fantastic up top of the world. The perspective changed.
2nd Thessalonians is a short book. Just three chapters. A quick reminder to the people Paul had already spent great time with and had written previously. The book has two main points;
1. To commend the people for their faith and perserverence. They had already proven by their track record that faith in Christ was a wise move.
Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5
2. To tell them to hold on in tough times because their faith in Christ to hold them would prove stronger than their fear of their future. It's not that there is nothing to be afraid of. It's just that God is stronger. He stays put.
With this is mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11
I certainly had reason to fear climbing up in the trees and dangling a hundred feet up on just a wire. But the harness, the credibility of the company, the evidence of other participants and the structure of the trees bore more weight than my fear.
Same thing with faith. The future does hold uncertainty. There are people and movements opposed who would seek the downfall of a believer. But Christ is more certain. And this is the message Paul sends to those believers at Thesanolica.
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 15-16
It's the same message I send to you. Yes. The future is scary. Yes. There will be painful things to come.
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:2-5
Pray, and watch those ahead of you who have persevered. And remember clearly where God has proven in your life to hold you steady and upright. He is certain to catch you if you fall. So go ahead. Enjoy the view.
I love the book The Lucky Few and have followed this fantastic family on Instagram the last several years. You can read my review of The Lucky Few HERE.
I'm excited to announce there is a new book! Scoot Over and Make Room by Heather Avis just released and is sure to be a stunner. I'll be reading and reviewing soon but wanted to encourage everyone to grab your own copy.
Check out the book trailer below.
The food you eat significantly contributes to your body mass index (BMI), which is an overall measure of your body fat ratio. While exercise and portion control can help, the most important factor when it comes to weight loss and food is eating the right foods. Unfortunately, there is a common belief that eating well means spending your entire paycheck at the grocery store. The good news is that this simply isn’t true. Below, we will take a look at a few of the benefits of changing your diet, but first, here are a few tips on how to manage your nutrition on a budget.
Your first and most important priority when it comes to shopping well on a budget is to determine where to get the best deals. During the spring and summer, this will likely be your local farmers market. However, if you do not live near one of these local co-ops, it’s wise to stick with budget stores like Walmart. If you shop online, you can find Walmart coupons and cashback opportunities (ebates.com/walmart.com is one great way to get cash back) that can help you keep your budget under control. The retail giant also offers grocery delivery from many locations throughout the US, and the delivery fee was recently cut to $4.95. Shopping online, whether for shipping or direct delivery, is the best way to save you from impulse buys.
The Effects of Food
It’s well accepted that eating fewer calories and exercising is the best way to lose weight. However, according to Harvard Health Publishing Contributing Editor Eva Selhub, MD, the food you eat affects how you feel on a neural level. Part of this is because your intestinal tract produces a chemical called serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates, among other things, mood and appetite. Further, eating certain foods and taking a probiotic supplement, has been shown to reduce anxiety levels. Fortunately, probiotics are relatively inexpensive. If you’d rather not add an extra pill to your daily routine, you can pick up buttermilk, yogurt, and sauerkraut for less than five dollars each at most grocery stores. All three of these foods are proven powerful probiotics that can improve gut and overall health.
Losing weight can lower your risk of diabetes and other diseases. This can also improve your financial situation since you will be less likely to require more than routine medical care and preventative services. Once you establish healthy eating habits, your weight will likely stabilize, meaning you can get more use out of your wardrobe. The money you save on junk food, doctor visits, and clothing can be used to pursue other health-related endeavors, such as investing in top-notch hiking equipment or exercise gear.
Speaking of exercise, when you pay attention to your diet, you are more likely to want to engage in physical activities. If you don’t have the extra cash to hit the gym, there are many free ways to up your activity level. TheEveryGirl.com suggests clicking around YouTube for videos from personal trainers or practicing yoga from the comfort of your own home.
Still Not Convinced?
If you are still not convinced that you can eat well without blowing your budget, consider the actual cost of your current diet. By some estimates, eating poorly will run you more than $16,000 per year while eating like a fitness model will cost you less than half of that. To compare: a breakfast of donuts, a meat bagel, hash browns, and coffee is just under six dollars versus a breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, and fruit, which totals about a dollar. As you can see, the less expensive meal not only cost less but is also full of protein, whole grains, and fruit.
Remember, you aren’t saving anything — including yourself — but eating poorly. Changing your diet one meal at a time is the best thing you can do for yourself, and sticking to your new healthy menu will help you enjoy a lifetime of wellness.
Image via Pixabay
I love to paint. The girls and I can spend an evening together chatting and painting and I come away relaxed and hopeful. I'm really a hack. But I enjoy it so I keep on On our recent vacation I signed up for the daily watercolor class. I could get used to that life. Good food, beautiful views, time to paint.
When I paint a little it helps me appreciate really good art. Helps me slow down. I see the world in new ways.
Sometimes a little time away helps me see things I didn't notice before. For example, this little painting with the people at the cafe clearly has another table of guests behind them. Maybe I'll make some time to finish it tonight.
What do you do that enriches your life?
We woke up this morning to a front yard full of pink flamingos. We'd been out of town for the last bit so had forgotten about this fundraiser for our church mission trip this summer to Zimbabwe. My youngest giggled and informed us she knew they were coming. Apparently my baby sister put us on her hit list. I'm pondering this morning who to send our friendly pink interlopers to visit.
I have a coffee cup at home given to me by a good friend. It says "Be careful or you'll end up on my blog."
Fundraising is more effective when it's fun. Little tip there for life.
In 2010 I went on a mission trip to Rwanda and came home with a souvenir. Latent Tuberculosis. A couple of doctor visits, xrays and skin tests later and I was a member of a new positive club. As a result I spent nine months on antibiotics, undergoing periodic liver tests and managing odd diet restrictions. Eight years later I still find myself grateful whenever I read mention of TB, consumption or other accounts of wheezing, coughing heroines dying on couches. Another age and that would have been me.
When the doctor told me my diagnosis and the required treatment I grumbled for a few days and then kicked my attitude into gear and dealt with the facts. I had TB. Didn’t want to have it activate. Didn’t want to spread the disease to anyone else. Didn’t want to die. So I took the medicine.
I didn’t like it. Didn’t really understand it. But I was grateful for the cure and that’s all that really mattered.
Good Friday hits me in the same place. I don’t know why sin requires blood. I don’t like the violence of the Roman crucifiction. It’s sad and awful and gross and humbling. The idea that the Creator of everything came to be with his people and they mocked and killed him makes my stomach hurt. The fact I believe my own mess was part of his pain is burdensome. (I don’t live there....I’m an Easter girl....but on Good Friday the reality strikes close).
I know people who looked at the cross and the questions it raised and walked away, They rejected the solution because it made them uncomfortable.
jesus said he came to seek and save the lost. When you are sick and someone offers a cure can I recommend you take it?
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Good Friday isn’t fun. It’s painful. But it’s oh so good.
I really like to eat. I married a fantastically talented and thoughtful chef. It was one of my better decisions. My girls and I are always thrilled when he tells us the dinner tonight is special. Tonight's meal was a Holy Thursday dinner complete with homemade unleavened bread, watercress bitter salad, roasted garlic, olives and apple raisin relish. It was delicious Each item had symbolic meaning back to Passover and the last supper Jesus had with his disciples.
The night before Jesus died he took the time to make preparations for the traditional dinner. He found a room. Invited his guys. He served dinner. He included everyone even though he knew they would let him down, would run away and would betray him.
Jesus knew this evening was going to be his last on earth. He could have preached a massive sermon, performed miracles, chased hypocrites out of the temple, walked on water, raised the dead. All important. But his very last action before going to the cross was dinner.
Why I think dinner matters? Because my girls tell me things about their lives when we slow down enough to listen. Because my soul reflects on what really matters when I sit and pay attention to what is directly in front of me. Because when I'm sad or friends are hurting and we share a meal we generally feel better at the end. Perhaps not totally healed from our troubles. Likely not. But at the end of a good meal made by someone I know cares about me I feel hopeful, encouraged and rested, Dinner has a special magic.
Our crazy culture preaches fast food, multitasking dinner, grabbing a bite and eating on the run. I believe one of the best things you can do to invest in your kids, to work on your marriage or to dive beyond shallow friendships is to share an actual dinner. Put the cell phones in the other room.
Take the time. Eat dinner with your people. It's holy work.
The day my mom and my daughter spent at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of my favorite memories. Sad day today. The burning of this beautiful building makes my heart understand the laments in the Bible when the temple fell. And it reminds me that all things here are temporary.
We spent part of yesterday at a family funeral for a cousin who battled cancer at far too young an age. Today my chest is constricted. I am distracted. Sadness is an appropriate response to tragedy and loss.
I'm preaching the laments to my own soul. Feel deeply. Grieve greatly. Stand in solidarity with those who have lost. And also - hug people tighter, forgive faster, travel more often, give more generously. Live big and bold. Its temporary here but its beautiful. And the beauty is a reminder of the things that are eternal.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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