I really look forward to coming up with truly random and awkward titles for these posts. I don’t know if you had figured that out yet. But now you know. And since I know the curiosity is eating you up like my dog eats potato chips…lets get right into it!
Once Upon a Time
I am currently involved in three Bible studies. This first is a personal study on the book of Acts, the second is my Sunday School class’ study on Proverbs, and lastly is my women’s inductive Bible study on Colossians. I am somewhat of a Bible hoarder (and by “somewhat” I mean to every extent!). I have different translations & different footnotes. So every week, I read the footnotes on Acts from six different Bibles, then my Warren Wiersbe commentary. For my women’s study I read from J. Vernon McGee‘s “Thru the Bible”, Halley’s Bible Handbook, and then my six different Bibles. One of the Bibles I look through, is “The Case for Christ” NIV Bible. The footnotes were compiled by a man named Lee Strobel. To kind of sum his story up, he was an atheist reporter who set out to disprove the Bible. Now he’s the general editor of one. Everything he found pointed toward truth and not away from it. So, in reading about Colossians in this book last week…I came across something fascinating. I was blessed with a college education at a liberal arts college. I took religions courses and thoroughly enjoyed the skepticism. If you are wise enough to know you’re strong in your faith, and in turn strong enough to listen to skeptics without falling…you sharpen that double edged sword. I learned more about my self and my God learning about Buddhism and Hinduism than I did at church through my entire childhood. But I digress. As a liberal arts kid, I heard the term “the Christian myth” A LOT! (That one did bother me a little bit.) But a “myth” is a story. And should this life end and I find out my faith was wrong…it sure is a good story! Strobel addressed this in his footnotes. He spoke of how many would have us believe that the story of a resurrection was just borrowed from local pagan religions of the day. There is however, one big difference that he points out. Those stories, other stories we’ve heard, real myths…they all begin the same: Once upon a time. There is no basis of fact so there is no set timeline for the story. And here the Bible stands up and proclaims itself! We have names, we have times, we have cities, we have verifiable historical events recounted within the scripture. Our Bible, our “Christian myth”, did not happen “once upon a time”. Our faith story happened “once upon this time”.
Okay. If “Once Upon a Time” wasn’t intimidating enough…now let’s move on to perfection. The thing that Jesus was. The thing that we think we should be. The thing everyone knows we’re not. The thing Jesus wants least from us. Perfection has been coming at me in all of my studies recently. I don’t know if any of you have ever been overwhelmed by this or not, but I have a constant feeling of inadequacy. This Bible I’m reading…it’s full of things I can’t do. I try to…oh how I try! But I fail. Repeatedly. Fantastically. So what hope have I if I cannot uphold the commands Christ has given me? On top of my Bible studies I’m also doing five daily devotionals. The answer and the salve came this week in “Live Second“. They discuss Paul and how he still sinned. Paul sinned. If he can’t do it I shouldn’t even TRY, right? Wrong. They answered this question in terms that finally clicked for my poor little mind. “The mark of a follower of Jesus, of one who lives Second, is not perfection; it is the fight, the struggle to turn the tides of our desires toward the maker of our souls.” Finally, clarification. Oswald Chambers later last week would explain that we shouldn’t just fight to squash evil thoughts…but to replace them with holy thoughts. Break the cycle. And then sweet relief comes in Colossians 1:28. “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.” (NLT) That word perfect is the Greek teleios. That word. Means “mature”. I wear tiaras, have a plastic minion on my desk, loved stuffed animals, and dress my dog up in a bow tie when I go out in public…but I can reach for maturity. I wear a fragile temper, get angry, judge, use wrong language…and perfection scares me. But the two are Biblically interchangeable and equally attainable. Through Christ.
Okay…this has been really heavy! Time to lighten the mood a bit. So, I live in my parent’s basement. We’ve fixed it up real nice. But one thing that I don’t have…is a microwave. I have one…but every time it starts to warm something, it trips the breaker. So for the past year or so, my microwave has just been a big fancy clock. Well, my parents got it fixed for me last week. So Sunday night, I had a little bit of milk that was getting ready to go out of date. I also have a small pottery bowl I got for Christmas to make those mug cakes you see everywhere. So…let’s make a mug cake. What do we have grocery wise? Nothing. I have no eggs. I have no cocoa powder. I have milk…but I want to DRINK it. No eggs…no milk. Let’s google “5 ingredient vegan mug cake”. And there it was. I had every ingredient except one that I improvised myself and I enjoyed an ice cold glass of milk with a delectable chocolate mug cake. This shows me two things: first of all, God truly delights in bringing me even the smallest joy. Secondly…when in doubt: go vegan.