Saturday, April 30, 2011

Naked and Unashamed

We all want to be naked. We all want to go back to the garden where nothing was hidden. Instead, we all do a lot of work covering ourselves with fig leaves.

The world is obsessed with sex but what we really want is to be naked with someone and unashamed. To lay in the darkness; to know that this person next to me knows me and still loves me.

I want friendship where I am transparent. I want people to know everything about me and to still love me. Or even just one person.

I am afraid. I am filled with shame. I am a lousy person. I am not competent. I am a failure. I am a sinner. I have committed big sins. You don't know how bad I really am. There are many reasons to cover with leaves.

Fig leaves; they come in many styles and sizes. We all look very fashionable but inside we hurt - big.

I want to be naked.

Philip

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love Wins or Jesus Wins?

Good contrast on the Rob Bell controversy regarding hell.

First video is his ad for the new book. Second is a creative, thought for thought response.

Love Wins?


Jesus Wins!


Thanks to Randy Alcorn for a tip on the second.

Philip

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Obsession

I love the smell of Obsession...but that is not what I'm going to write about today. But since we are here I must say that with all my good feelings toward Obsession both the Man and Woman versions they are mere teenagers in the grown up world of scent. I love the complex and multi-layered smells of Incense Rose or L'Air Du Desert Marocain by Andy Tauer or how about Timbuktu by L’Artisan Parfumeur or CozĂ© or Rien?  But now I'm obsessing. I love things that smell good. Food, flowers and skin all go there or not. In the last couple of years, through gifts and tips I amassed a small fortune in fragrance. As I run it through my mind it is close to a thousand dollars that the shelf of bottles next to my bed represents. It is a treasure of fragrance that will last for many years. Speaking of treasure, frankincense and myrrh were two gifts given to the Christ child; two things to burn or wear because they smell good. And what about the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume? It was worth close to a year’s wages. Obsessive behavior? The religious leaders and Judas thought so. It could have been given to the poor...

Obsession. The first time I was accused of it was in December of 1973. I had been a Christian for only weeks. My life had flipped a 180. It was as if the sound of skidding tires were heard for blocks and the wheels were cranked tight as the car spun around and roared off in the opposite direction.

There was a young girl I was attracted to and she felt the same. I had heard she was a Christian. We shared some times together. Then one night came the words that sounded a lot like accusations of obsession. I should slow down. I didn't need to be moving so fast in this Jesus direction. Well as you might guess that was the end of that.

With tires spinning (and heart hurting) I continued on. Even as a baby in the faith, I knew where I had come from even though I didn't know where I was going. My obsession with Bible reading had informed my changing mind that this Jesus thing was worth going all out for. The path was narrow and few would find the way - that's what Jesus said. No more leisurely broad road for me. If you want to read more about that story and see the pictures click here.

So fast forward thirty-some years: I have a family and a good job. I haven't done well with either; lots of mistakes and regrets. Many miles are behind me. One of the things that deeply bothered me was that I had become very overweight and food had become an obsession. I know it but I have neither the will nor power to change it. Then something happens. I'm not sure why or how but the day has come. Where do my will and the hand of God collide? All I know it was like my conversion so many years before. Miraculous. I am going in another direction. I confessed to myself, God and others: I need to lose weight - at least 50 pounds. I have no idea how but I am moving in the opposite direction. I am losing weight. This all started about 37 weeks ago. Interesting as I think about it, I have been a Christian for 37 years. All of that time overweight. A little at first, just a few pounds - barely noticeable and very acceptable. As the years passed the pounds increased and so did my shame. I had an obsession with food and had no will or power to do anything about it.

I have now lost 70 pounds. I started at 211 and am now at 140. That's almost a third. Again I am accused of obsession. When will I stop? Actually that is a matter of prayer. I still have a small amount of belly fat. It's called VAT (visceral adipose tissue) and makes you at risk for type 2 diabetes, coronary vascular disease, and some types of cancer amongst other bad things. That was news to me. I used to think all fat was the same but apparently this kind is significant.

So I want to finish well and stay well. I don't want to get close and quit. I don't want to leave the fat, even a small amount especially this kind.

Obsession? I see it as cooperation with God. He has given me grace and power to walk this road. I will not take that lightly. I will cooperate with him until I reach the place He wants me to be. I will not be content with close or good enough.

Here is a link to other posts about my weight loss journey.  

Philip

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Got Suffering?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

So comfort and suffering should be ours in abundance? The latter sure goes against the American dream. I know I have had some of both but I'm not sure I have ever had serious suffering. I hear about what people in other countries go through for believing in Jesus and I can't compare it to what I have experienced.

One thing for sure, there is grace to help us through the hard times and going through them with a brother in arm sure helps, especially if that person has walked the path before.

Another thing is that life has enough trouble without our stupid stuff adding to it. Drugs, alcohol, bad friends and bad decisions will surely add more sorrow to life. Walk slowly and choose carefully.

Look around for a hurting person who could use a little comfort. Remember what it felt like to have an arm around your shoulder when you were hurting and then pass it on.

Philip

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Losing Weight - The good and bad

My wedding ring
For years I had not been able to wear my wedding ring. It had become too small for my finger. No, my finger was too big for it. A little over half way through my weight loss journey I remembered the ring. I dug it out of my drawer and cautiously slipped it on. With joy I could again wear it.

One of the first things that changed when I started eating less was my heartburn was gone. Previously I could not sleep at night unless I took an antacid.

Another change was snoring. My wife tells me I don't snore anymore. The kids say they sometimes hear it but for sure the bone-shaking noise is gone.

A bad thing about losing weight is that I have had to buy new clothes - something I don't like to do. My waist went from 36 to 31. I kept my belts but have had to make new holes and cut off the ends. My beloved jean jacket no longer fits.

I have noticed that having lost so much insulation, I am much colder. A good thing is that I don't sweat like I did before. Even in the winter, the smallest exertion at work would lead to profuse sweating. In the summer my shirt was soaked most of the day. My forehead was like a waterfall that I had to continually mop.

My energy level has increased. I had forgotten what it was like not to feel tired and weary. Even walking up the stairs from the basement left me winded. Now I can beat my kids in a foot race. That is small compared to having more energy at work. It hasn’t helped my pitching though. Recently my attempt to pitch a ball to Andy was met with the comment, “Let me guess, this wasn’t your favorite sport in school.”

My life has changed. Or maybe it has returned to what I once had. The slow increase of pounds through the years robbed me of many things. Such slow change is hardly noticeable - that's the problem. I learned to live with many bad things, not realizing they didn't have to be that way.

Having lost 69 pounds now, I am amazed and shocked at what I had grown to tolerate. Thankfully I hadn't yet experienced major health problems caused by excess weight but I am sure that was right around the corner.

God gets the glory in all of this. I know that all of the determination I possess was not enough to sustain me. It was grace and power from God that has kept me going for eight months and that will enable me to continue the rest of my life with the good changes that have happened in my life.

Well that's my story so far.

Here is a link to other posts about my weight loss journey. 

Philip

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