Does Snickers Really Satisfy?

I read a blog entry today that made me think.  The title was "On Mud Pies and Chewing Gum".  From what I can tell, the author of the blog was from a liberal, feminist background.  I clicked on the link in the midst of reading another article.  Her point is valid, and something we need to consider as believers.  Her basic point was, why do we have children in the world eating mud pies at the same time we have a candy company buying out a gum company for $23 billion (yes, billion) dollars?  She says, "it’s kind of sickening, people spending billions on such crap that they
don’t need to consume at all, while people are dying of starvation and
malnutrition."

I can’t help but agree.   I am guilty as charged that my snack attacks waste money and food that can be used to help be a part, allbeit small, of helping hungry people have a basic meal.

What are we willing to do without so others may have?  Sacrificing in that manner seemed to be the model of the New Testament church.

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any
of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had" (Acts 4:32, NIV).

Imagine the resources that would be freed up if we simply did without one snack item a day and committed the money to feeding the poor.  Let’s see, the math is as follows..a dollar a day, times 365 days a year, equals 365 dollars a year per person.  If each of the 8 million members that attend a Sunday service in my denomination (Southern Baptist) did that, the total amount would be 2,920,000,000.  2 BILLION, 920 MILLION dollars.  It may not cure hunger, but it certainly would put a dent in it.

Just something to think the next time we eat that Mars bar…

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Let Them Eat Dirt?

As I was scanning the internet for news, an interesting headline caught my eye…"Hungry Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt" .  I knew I must not be reading it correctly, so I clicked on the link
to investigate a little bit further.  Sadly, the headline accurately
described  the disturbing truth; because food prices are rising and
people make so little money, they are buying (YES, BUYING!!) dirt to be
able to make mud cookies to live on.

I
thought about the 3 good meals I had that day, and the numerous snacks
I didn’t need that I ate anyways and the abundant blessings and
resources God has provided to me, and it disturbed me that there should
be anyone that has to eat dirt to survive.  If we can’t be moved to
compassion, to examination, to repentance, to action when faced with
knowing there
are people around the world eating cookies made from dirt for dinner,
or worse yet, eating nothing at all and dying from hunger, then all we
have left is to pray.  To pray that God would examine our hearts that we might
regain the Lord’s compassion for the broken, bruised, wounded and weary
among us.  Jesus Himself said He came "…to preach the gospel to the
poor…" (Luke 4:18c, NKJV).  They are around us, among us, in need.
Our prayer…"Lord, give us compassion, mercy, grace and love to be an expression of
You in their midst."

Our Speech is a Heart Issue

I woke up this morning with Ephesians 4:29 on my heart.  "No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear" (Eph 4:29, HCSV).

Many other versions use the word "unwholesome" rather than rotten, but the principle is the same.  Speech is meant to build people up rather than to tear them down.  According to Jesus, a speech problem is really a heart problem.  "…for the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart" (Matt 12: 34b, HCSV).  How often do we use words to set people in their place? To make ourselves look better? To say something in private about somebody we’d likely not say to them face to face?  When these things start to happen, the reality is that we must come before God and ask Him to begin to examine our heart, for if the heart issue isn’t settled, the speech issue never will be.

Many a relationship and a church has been destroyed because our speech has not been sprinkled with grace.  Paul warned in Colossians that we should put "…anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech…" from our mouths aside (Col. 3:8b, NASB).  The conversations that take place about people behind their backs in the hallways in churches and around the dinner tables of homes are the ones that do the most damage.  We’re told to speak the truth in love.  However, much of what we say in private that we feel is true we don’t find a way to say lovingly to the brother or sister that needs to hear it.

May our prayer be that we would have a clean heart so that the purity of our heart before God would be reflected in our speech before men.

Are Your Passions Getting You Dirty?

As
I was reading my email today, one of the multitude of advertising
banners that you see every day with your email caught my eye. It was
for the laundry detergent Wisk. It showed a picture of a shirt, and a
daily calendar that changed to three different events during the day.


The first was in the morning…"soy latte", and it showed a stain of
the soy latte on the shirt. The next was "dog park", which then showed
paw prints on the shirt as well. The final one was "pasta dinner", and
it showed the stain from the dinner as well. My first thought was, "Who
would wear that shirt all day with all those stains on it"? Then, the
slogan came…"Your passions get you dirty. Our power gets you clean".

As
Christians, we need to ask ourselves the question, "Are our passions
getting us dirty?" That is where Jesus lived His life, letting His
passion get Him dirty. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
He allowed Himself to get dirty meeting the needs of others. He was
touched by unclean people (Matt. 8:18-22). He hung out with tax
collectors and sinners (Matt. 8:9-13). He let social norms fly out the
window to meet the woman at the well (John 4:1-26). He defended the
rights of the poor, the captives. the blind, the oppressed (Luke
4:18-19). He healed lepers by touching them and making Himself unclean
in the eyes of the religious establishment of the day (Luke 8:1-4).
Jesus got dirty, coming face to face with raw humanity. In Jesus’ day
it was the tax collectors and the lepers. Today, it is the homeless and
those with AIDS. We must get dirty to make a difference.

Our
response must be several fold. First, we must ask the question…what is
our passion? Is it to see the lost saved, the Kingdom of God grow, to
minister to those in need…or is it ease, convenience, power, money,
fame, fortune, safety.

We
then must ask, "Is our passion getting us dirty"? It has to be the
right passion, otherwise we spend our time building our lives on the
sand rather than the foundation. (Ps 127:1; 1 Cor. 3:10-15).

Then,
we need to "get dirty" in our efforts to see people come to know Jesus.
A clean church does a lost world no good. If our passions don’t get us
dirty, then His power won’t be able to have a chance to get a lost
world clean.

Loving God…Loving People

At the heart of this new blogging effort are several questions I feel confident many Christians are asking, if not of others, at least of themselves.  The questions I’m asking are…How do we love God with all of our hearts?  What will God need to do in our lives to mold us into His image?  When will we experience revival individually and in our churches and in our country?  What is true worship?  What does a disciple look like in the 21st century?  What must we do to make a difference in our neighborhoods, our country and our world with issues such as food shortages, homelessness, AIDS, and war confronting us daily?  What will it take of me and of the body of Christ for us to see God graciously send revival to our lives, our churches, our land?  Are we willing to pay the price to see it happen?

There are no easy answers, and I don’t claim to have any of them.  I just know that if we really claim to love God and love people, then we must grapple with these as well as many other questions and issues.  I really want to have an interactive discussion and journey together to find how God would have us walk with Him and join Him where He is already at work.