Faith Like a Taco

January 23, 2023 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea

Okay, so here’s an idea. A taco, but with a folded hamburger patty for the shell. Because nobody lives forever anyway.

It makes me want to imagine there’s actually a quote that goes, “Ask not for whom the Taco Bell tolls. It probably tolls for thee.”

I’m not sure how to stop my brain from coming up with new ideas that add fat content to my diet by the thigh-load. You’d think my cholesterol numbers would scare me straight. Of course, this is precisely why I don’t regularly have my cholesterol checked. Knowing might actually be a strain on my heart.

Some people don’t know that cholesterol can produce extra adrenaline that way. I do wonder if at some point my heart and thighs will together rise up and tell me enough is enough.

When it comes to faith, though, is there ever a point we feel we have enough? And how much would that be? Even the disciples asked Jesus to grow their faith (Luke 17:5) and they were eye-witnesses to the miracles of Christ. They heard His words firsthand.

This life is full of challenges. We need a faith that’s not merely “enough.” We need faith that’s meaty. Double-meaty, even.

We beef up our faith every time we remember exactly where that faith is placed. It’s not faith in faith. That’s just a lot of extra fat. Hebrews 12:2 refers to Jesus as “the author and perfecter of faith,” (NASB). Our “Author” creates our faith in the first place. The Greek word used there can also mean “captain.” The word for “perfecter” means “completer” or “finisher.” He originates, creates, generates our faith. He captains, steers, controls our faith. We can fully trust Him to perfect, complete, sustain our faith.

Take a look at the paraphrase: “No extra spiritual fat…Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in… When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3, MSG).

Each time we think of the One who originated and sustains our faith, and each time we remember the cross of Christ and all that’s been done to complete our faith, it revs our faith up all the more. We’re talking good adrenaline here. Not a strain on the heart. As a matter of fact, nothing is heart-healthier.

All the Lord has done for our faith is oh so enough. Our faith can rest in His “enough-ness.” The hymn says it so well:

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed;
I trust the ever living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

(“My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” by Eliza E. Hewitt in Songs of Joy and Gladness, 1891)
Let’s fix our eyes on Him and His “enough-ness” and let our faith pleasantly rest there. And let it flourish there.

Faith in Him. Faith in what He accomplished on the cross. It’s faith folded into faith. And that’s beefy—in only the very best ways.

Let’s Heed It!

January 18, 2023 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –  

The car swung easily into the parking space at the far edge of the economy lot at Denver International Airport. I wrote the name “TROUT Row M”, on the top of my return ticket printout so I could find my car when I returned home in a few days. Then I boarded the plane for South Carolina to teach at a conference for caregivers.

The conference was glorious though exhausting, little sleep and constantly on the go. Consequently, when I walked down the ramp into the airport weariness was in every step. I looked at my return ticket to confirm my parking section. “Trout M” as I remembered. I collected my luggage and struck out to find my car.

The problem surfaced as I walked to where I remembered parking, and my written note confirmed. My car wasn’t there. I stood, a puzzled look on my face, as the shuttle driver passed and asked if I needed a ride. Waving him on, I pulled out my ticket and looked again. “Trout M” was clearly written on my ticket. I walked all the way back to the terminal, just to walk out again as if that would solve my problem. I prayed.

The shuttle driver again paused as he passed looking to see if I might wave him down, I did not. I prayed as I walked up and down every aisle in the Trout section in case I remembered my space wrong. Still, no car visible. The shuttle driver passed yet another time and offered me a ride. I declined. Panic was setting in, I considered calling the police to report my stolen vehicle when the shuttle driver came by one more time. Exhausted, I boarded the shuttle to ride to the terminal considering my options.

After hearing my dilemma, the driver suggested that I look in the west Trout lot instead of the east Trout parking lot, even offered to drive me there. Sure enough, there was my car parked exactly where I remembered and noted. Only this time I was on the west side of the airport. It looks strikingly similar to the east side, just saying. (Same drainage, sidewalks and landmarks near where I parked). Embarrassed would be an understatement. The kind driver assured me it happens all the time, but noted it took me an exceptionally long time to accept his offer of help.

Isn’t that what we do sometimes? So independent, praying for help but refusing it when He sends it. I could have been home in the time I spent dragging my exhausted body and luggage around that parking lot.

Since then, I am more willing to accept offers of help and to seek wisdom. James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (NIV).
Proverbs 2:6 also encourages us to seek wisdom from God: “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (NIV). However wisdom will only help if we heed it.

March Madness

January 13, 2023 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Ah, March.

The old saying is that it comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb.

In my house it comes in with my husband’s siren call of “IT’S MARCH MADNESS TIME!!!”

Final four brackets are discussed around water coolers throughout the nation. The merits of coaching staffs, star players and recent injuries are rehashed as the pool of college basketball teams dwindles progressively throughout the weeks.

And I am left to twiddle my thumbs and wonder what the excitement is all about. Actually, I usually use the College Basketball play-offs as a time to catch up on my “to-read” list on my Kindle.

I’m not anti-sports by any stretch of the imagination. My blood starts pumping in late August as football season arrives on the scene. It’s a game I understand. The patient boyfriend of one of my best friends in high school spent many Sunday afternoons instructing us. He joyfully explained the game’s rules and nuances. He has the undying gratitude of my husband.

I also enjoy baseball, to an extent. Take me out to the ballgame and I’m happy to root for the home team and enjoy the peanuts and Crackerjack. Watching a game on television is equal to a dose of Nyquil to me, but hey, a snoozing wife is better than a nagging one, right?

But basketball? I don’t get it. It’s a lot of frantic running around for a couple of hours until the last two minutes of the game. Then somehow, those that play basketball, are able to bend the space-time continuum and stretch two minutes into a half-hour. Endless time-outs, fouls and free throws create the ultimate drama for my husband, while I’m left scratching my head wondering why he bothered to watch the other 38 minutes of the game. I’ve told him before, they should just put two minutes on the clock, and 64 points for each team, then let them battle it out for the win.

As amusing as my limited sports knowledge is, why am I writing about it here? Well, it occurred to me to look at basketball as an example of how to live my life. I tend to take my life very seriously, running frantically from goal to goal, project to project, just like those players on the court. Trying to “score” in the game of life. But in reality, my main objective should not be in running myself ragged, but in using every moment, like those last two minutes in a game, to its fullest. To appreciate each second of the day that God has given me and use it to draw closer to Him. And besides, some of the most exciting moments of a game are played in those final seconds. I hope I can look back at the end of my life and know that I have, to paraphrase from Paul in Acts 20, “Finished the race and completed the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”

Right in Front of Us

January 6, 2023 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Two Facebook friends sent me the same photo on the same day. In the photo, a white dog (my friends claimed looks a lot like my own pooch, Roscoe) was stretched out asleep on a white furry rug. I had to look carefully to see the dog, so blended in with the background.

The caption read: “Day 3: Humans Still Think I’m Lost.”

It reminded me of photos a clever friend showed me—some before and after pictures of animals “hidden” in plain sight. A white dove resting on a patch of snow. An owl in the shadows of a cluster of branches. A gray squirrel scurrying over a rocky hill. A green parrot nestled in jungle brush. Even a giraffe standing in a thicket of spotty tree trunks.

Until someone pointed out the animals’ locations, I just didn’t see them! And when I did see them, I rolled my eyes and asked my friend, “How could I miss that?”

But then again, I sometimes can’t see my car keys, even when they’re “staring at me,” right there on my desk. (Please, no jokes about messy desks being a sign of genius. Mine is simply a sign of a messy desk!)

But my point is, sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of us. Direction from God. An opportunity to serve. An answered prayer.

Maybe we’re too busy to stop and focus. Perhaps we’re distracted. Or maybe we’re simply blind to the wonders of God working in the world.

So much in the culture tries to rob us of the wonder of seeing God and His deeds. We’re so easily entertained, so quickly distracted. And we get a corrupted or diluted version of who God is from the media.

Our hearts fight against this wonder too. When we live in the flesh, rather than walking in the Spirit, we’re likely not alert to the true nature of what God is doing.

And finally, our enemy, Satan, conspires to shut down the wonder. He tries to hide the facts. He is, after all, the Father of Lies.

The world, the flesh and the devil. No wonder it’s so hard to see. So, my prayer is, “Open my eyes, Lord, to who you are, and what you are doing every day.”

Believing God helps me meditate when I store scriptures in my mind and heart, I memorized this scripture to remind myself of the wonders of God: “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5 ESV).

It’s true! Our wonderful God does wonderful things. Don’t miss what’s right in front of you!

O Magnify—And Liquefy

December 31, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

People say that to survive a volatile stock market you should have plenty of liquidity. That’s why I’m thinking about investing in water.

When you’re investing in water stocks, I wonder if you get to decide whether to buy the hydrogen and oxygen together or separately. I don’t know, chemistry was never my thing. Knowing me I’d mix up my formulas. A couple of extra dashes of oxygen and instead of H2O I could end up with something like H2O2. That might be a better investment stock-wise, but it falls way short when you’re thirsty…what with it being hydrogen peroxide and all. Although, bonus. Instead of investing or drinking I could just forget the whole thing and go color my hair.

Sometimes I can almost convince myself this is my real hair color. Then again, it’s probably just a pigment of my imagination.

I had to laugh one time when I was whining about having to get my hair colored so often and my husband suggested I take some time off from coloring. Husbands. They’re so cute. I told him I wasn’t ready for that kind of time off. A total gray-cation? No thanks. I’d dye first.

Hair color is one thing, but it’s a pretty sure bet nobody wants me messing with chemical elements or any of their atomic structures. There’s a rather frightening thought.

I do, however, love thinking of Jesus as our “Living H2O.” Makes me thirsty just thinking about it.

An ardent thirst for the Lord leads us to a place of worship. Worship is our right response every time we contemplate our glorious God and every time we seek Him. When God told Moses to tell Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so they can worship me,” (Exodus 8:1 NIV). God set in place the plan to free His people. But He didn’t simply free them from slavery. He freed them so they could worship Him.

Our salvation came at great cost. God freed us from the slavery of sin so we could worship Him. Not merely freedom from something. But freedom to do something. Worship. He wants an intimate relationship with each of us—one in which we recognize Him as the great God of the universe.

As we thirst for Him, He does satisfy. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water,’” (John 4:10 HCSB).

The more we thirst for Him and seek Him in worship, the more we see the Lord tweak all the other thirsts. Frustrations and challenges, fears and angers, heartaches and failures—they fall into perspective at our altar of worship. It’s like we drink in His glory. And that will quench.

So even if the stock market totally dries up, I think I’ll forget about all that and simply shoot for staying thirsty for everything Jesus. And I’m not even going to worry about the H’s or the O’s.

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