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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rising Above Food Wars

A question - "How do I keep the issue of personal food choices in godly perspective?"

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a young woman asking me how to avoid alienating people who choose not to eat a diet of whole foods. Here, in part, is her email to me:

I wanted to know your thoughts about living a lifestyle of eating optimum whole foods and avoiding processed foods. I've been trying to refrain from telling people what I've learned from my research about nutrition, but sometimes the topic comes up amongst my peers. At times I get the impression from others that they think my hope is not fully in the Lord. I get offended by this.

Isn't it considered a Christian liberty to have a lifestyle based on good nutrition principles? But even for me to mention anything about sprouted grains or pasteurization, people get sensitive and easily offended. I understand their sensitivity because I'm that way also.

I don't want something like this to ruin my relationships with other believers, but at times I get to the point where I refrain from saying anything about what I know and have learned concerning nutrition. I want to avoid others feeling uncomfortable.

What are your thoughts?


My response:
Self-Examination - Am I judging others?

Eating very conscientiously is important to me also. It is a liberty that no one should judge you about. Yet it happens. But nutrition is also something that I personally never talk about unless someone asks me about it. In fact, I most often take a very light-hearted approach if the subject happens to come up and joke about it to ease the other person's discomfort.

I blog about my food choices and post recipes that are healthy, but I would not post on Facebook (or other social networks) about this topic. Anyone of my friends from church can read that and people just do not understand how such food choices could make a difference. They tend to become defensive and often offended. I used to be the same way.

It's important to me that I make no one feel like I am judging them based on their food choices. I just don't take it so seriously in front of others that they feel an intensity from me, like it's all-important, though it is. That is what I am more concerned about rather than others judging me.

Prioritize - unity, love, ministry and Christ's glory are crucial

There should be freedom for any woman to come to me for counsel (regarding any topic) or fellowship, so I don't want food standing in the way of that. I don't want anyone feeling intimidated by my food choices. Loving others has to be first. My food choices are hidden behind my love for others, so to speak.

It is important what we eat, but unity is more important. The unity of the church has everything to do with Christ's glory, the gospel message and eternity. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).

"All people" - both in and out of the church - "will know that you are my disciples". If we, as the body of Christ, are constantly bickering over disputable matters (see note below)  like food, to outsiders we will look just like the world. As a result, the gospel message will be invalidated.

And inside the church, Christ will not be glorified either. Paul tells us in Romans 12:9a-10, "Let love be genuine...Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."

In Philippians, Paul tells us to be of the same mind and same love. "Do nothing from rivalry...but in humility count others more important than yourselves" (Philippians 2:2-3). And of course, we all know the wonderful description of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The church thrives when the love of Christ is the core motivation for all we do.

Understand that food choices are important for health but insignificant spiritually speaking

Consequently, I will not say a word about any food that is in front of me at church potlucks or when we are invited to someone's home. I eat everything I can get away with at those times. Yet, I will not eat anything that I know will cause me to be ill; however, I would never draw the host's or hostesses' attention to that food as an unhealthy choice.

There was a time when I could hardly crawl out of bed and ministry was impossible. But when I began eating whole foods my health greatly improved. For me to now intentionally eat foods that put me back in bed would be sin unless I had absolutely no other choice. People can ask if they'd like and I'd be happy to tell them that in whatever I do, even in what I eat or drink, I will do all for the glory of God (First Corinthians 10:31), both in showing love by not judging others and in not eating foods that keep me from ministering to others.

Though I am better off physically, however, regarding my food choices, I will never be better off spiritually speaking. Again the apostle Paul puts it well, "Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do" (First Corinthians 8:8). God does not hand out spiritual "kudos" for the types of food we choose to eat.

Respond in the opposite Spirit

As for those people who think I look down on them because of the way I eat as opposed to the way they eat, I yearn that they would know how insignificant this important part of my life is compared to my love for them. Could they see my heart, they would drop all their defenses and just enjoy the fellowship we have in Christ.

One person, in particular, asks me on a regular basis why I won't eat sweets at church functions. I tell that person, "Because I like to sleep at night". I'm also asked by this dear saint why I would ever get sick (presently) if I eat such a healthy diet.

First off, in answering these questions, I don't get offended. I love this person, so I respond in the opposite spirit. In a light-hearted way, laughing, I say, "If you think I get sick often now, you should have seen me seven years ago." I don't lecture about why sprouted grains are a better choice for me than whole or refined grains. I don't discourse on why raw milk has helped me, etc. I just answer that I can now function and minister when I couldn't seven years ago and laugh when I say it.

When another saint was critical, I invited that family over for dinner and fed them the most delicious meal I could that was organic and locally grown, etc. Their taste buds were delighted and surprised I think, but the topic never came up in our conversation. We just had such a great time and the subject of food has ceased to be an issue. In fact, that family's love for us has grown and there is absolutely no tension regarding this subject now.

Never harbor a hidden agenda

It is also of the greatest importance that you not have a hidden agenda in your relationship to others. Are you ministering with the thought that you might be able to influence others as they get to see how loving you are? God forbid it! Love then takes a back seat to your agenda and Christ will not be honored, nor will you in the long run.

If it should happen that the ones you minister to ask you for information regarding nutrition, let it not be because you had an agenda, but because you didn't. Your agenda must be love alone or it's not love at all.

Pray about all of this

Ask God to give you the ability to let any judgmentalism just roll off your back like water off a duck's back. Ask Him to give you an intense love for the saints, even especially for those who judge you. Make it a reason to love them all the more.

This is also something you can pray for - that your love would far exceed any important lifestyle choice to the point that you felt that choice was totally insignificant compared to your love for others. Your food choices are important, but compared to your love for others, your relationship to that choice should feel like hatred.

Keep a God-honoring attitude and eat for health
It's really all about your attitude. Love always wins the day as does humility. Consistently take the low road and think of others as better than yourself, especially those who are critical.

Keep up the good work of feeding your family in a way that produces the best health. God will never fault you for that. But He will fault you when food's importance exceeds your love for others, though He will not require that you eat differently, just that you think differently - for His glory.

How have you shown love to those who are critical of you regarding your food choices (or other "disputable matters")? How have you, as a guest in another's home, lovingly opted out of eating foods that are detrimental to your health?

Note: "Disputable matters" are matters that are not essential to the Christian faith. We are not defined as Christians by such matters, nor do such matters make any difference in one's standing before God. As the apostle Paul wrote in First Corinthians 8:8, "Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off (spiritually speaking) if we do not eat and no better off (spiritually speaking) it we do." (Parenthesis added are mine.)

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Rising Above Food Wars

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mother's Day and Other Days

Though this poem really should have been posted for Mother's Day, I figure that for those of us who are mothers, we're mothers every day of the year and so we need encouragement every day of the year as well as on our special day in May.


I found this poem in a little book about mothers when Robert and I went away for our anniversary last December and stayed in a very nice vacation house located in the midst of grape vineyards and cow pastures. We had a wonderful time. Finding this poem was just one of the little jewels that made the trip so special.

The one thing that stands out to me about the author of this poem, is that he obviously had a mother who prayed for him.

Here is Mothers and Others by Amos R. Wells:
Mothers and Others

Others weary of the noise,
Mothers play with girls and boys.

Others scold because we fell,
Mothers "kiss and make it well".

Other work with patient will,
Mothers labor later still.

Others' love is more or less,
Mothers love with steadiness.


Others pardon, hating yet,
Mothers pardon and forget.

Others keep the ancient score,
Mothers never close the door.

Others grow incredulous,
Mothers still believe in us.

Others throw their faith away,
Mothers pray and pray and pray. 

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Mother's Day and Other Days

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Terrible Thirst of Depression

First, My Hesitancy

Depression is not only a dessert-tsunami of the soul that seems to sweep away everything good in one's life, it also carries such a stigma that, even after being resolved, it inflicts a great deal of shame upon its victim. For that reason, I have to admit that I've been hesitant about publishing this post.


We tend to keep depression hidden even from ourselves. It's uncomfortable to talk about or even admit, especially for a Christian. When I finally opened up, it was remotely, through a blog I contribute to once a month. So though this post was first published on Keeper of the Home back in January of this year, I have been tentative about putting it on my own blog. Many of the women who read this blog are from my own church and I've wondered how it would be taken. Fears about what they would think crop up and I shrink back.


However, what I'm beginning to realize is that every time I get up the nerve to share this story with women I'm close to, I see tears welling in their eyes and hear them say things like, "Sharon, you're describing my life."

So I'm putting myself out there. I pray that God can use the period of depression He allowed in my life to edify, minister to and encourage other women. Here's my story...

An Unquenchable Thirst

Some months back, in a conversation over lunch, a younger woman (mid-thirties) confided to me how severely depressed she had been. I empathized with her, "I know what that feels like. I was depressed, until recently, for about four years." This woman - I'll call her Liz - responded, "YOU!? I never would have guessed it!"

She and many others never knew because I had covered it up. You know, Christians are not supposed to get depressed. As an older woman and leader among the women in my church, I was ashamed that such a thing could happen to me. I just kept smiling and saying things were fine. I wouldn't even admit the depression to myself, thinking of it, instead as "a time in the wilderness".

Like so many, I had experienced the terrible, unquenchable thirst of depression. I thirsted for God, but at the same time I wanted nothing to do with Him; I thirsted for joy, for the tears of sorrow that just wouldn’t come, for life, for death, for isolation, for comfort, for cleansing, for hope, for complacency, for passion, for sanity, for any kind of escape from the numbing prison of desolation I felt.

My friend, Liz, asked me, "How did you get better? Please tell me everything." The following is what I related to her and now to you, dear reader.

An Attempt to Resolve the Depression Through Diet, Sleep, Supplements, etc.

When I first began to realize that my melancholy wasn’t just a slump that would pass, I tried to treat it by adjusting my lifestyle. I recommitted to eating an optimum diet and faithfully took my supplements, which included, cod liver oil, vitamins D3, E, C, CO-Q10, magnesium and a once daily multi - all of which were high-quality pharmaceutical grade.

Sleep evaded me. Falling asleep was no problem. Staying asleep was, waking by 1 AM. I made changes to my schedule, consumed no caffeine, made sensible adjustments to the times we ate meals, etc., and of course consistently asked God to allow me to sleep. But it was not to be.

By dinnertime I was dead on my feet, "Surely", I would think, "I'll crash and sleep well tonight". But that was never the case. And taking a nap was an exercise in futility.

I read good books such as Tired of Being Tired implementing the suggestions for depression. But this approach was of no avail. Though I maintained the changes, I knew there was something deeper going on.

Thirsting For a Silent God

Worst of all was the alienation I felt from God. For many years, I had tasted of the goodness of the Lord on a daily basis - so connected to Him. I thought that nothing would ever change that. I so wanted that intimacy back.


When I read the Bible all I felt was the sting of a silent God. I thirsted for Him, but found no help for my parched soul. Guilt weighed heavy on me as a result of failing to connect with Him.

At one point I decided to read John Piper's book When I Don't Desire God, How to Fight for Joy but I couldn't work up the desire. Sounds funny, but there I was caught in that spiritual-oxymoron. I wanted God, but I didn't. It made me frustrated and angry that He would not disclose Himself to me.


My Lifeline

During this four-year period, I continued to teach a women's Bible study, not by choice, but because the Lord simply would not allow me to step out of ministry. Though it was extremely difficult to stay put, it was definitely God's tool for keeping my head above water, so to speak.
I absolutely dreaded teaching and who knows what the women got out of it. But as I studied, God encouraged me just enough to not give up on life. He fed me for others, but He was silent in the times I sought Him for myself.

Ministry became my lifeline. I remained connected to God’s people and to His word. But there was no joy in it and I felt like such a phony, such a hypocrite, which added more guilt to the depression.

Things Got Worse – Distractions and Cynicism

As this all progressed I began to discover many "good distractions". Blogging, digital photography and scrapbooking were some. I actually preferred the distractions. I knew this was nothing short of idolatry, but there seemed to be no way out.

Like David, I cried, “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death…” (Psalm 13:1-3).

An ugly cynicism swept over my mind and I doubted that I was even God's child.

What's Wrong Lord?

That gave me a little hope. I knew I could look nowhere other than to Jesus. Like Peter, I told Him, “Lord, to whom shall we [I] go? You have the words of eternal life…”.

David's prayer became my own, “Search me, O God, and know my heart...see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

This was the prayer God had been waiting to hear. It became my continued cry and He began to expose my heart. Over a period of several years, He revealed to me what I had not seen in myself – attitudes of unforgiveness, bitterness and pride. These were slow-burning, subtle attitudes that had formed over a period of years, so none of it had been obvious to me.

Along with these revelations, God granted me repentance and restoration. As He peeled back the layers of my offenses, I thanked Him for His sanctifying work. But it seemed like joy would never return.

A Book, Childlikeness and Joy

Though I had been forgiven for harboring bitterness, etc., I had not been able to reconnect with the Lord. I yearned for sweet times of fellowship, but I just couldn't seem to make it happen. My mind wandered, distractions prevailed and guilt compounded.

Then, in the spring of last year, God directed me to a book during the time my husband was in Uganda on a short term preaching and teaching mission. A Praying Life – Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller, caught my eye. Just the title ministered to me.

For the next two weeks, I cried and prayed my way through the book. God used it to release me from my prison of self-imposed guilt. With this book, He reminded me that I simply needed to come to Jesus messy, like a little child comes to his parents.
           
Image by usmcmorningstar
Miller writes, little children, "...come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right...God cheers us when we come to Him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers...Don't try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what's on your mind. That's what children do. They come as they are, runny noses and all. Like the disciples, they just say what is on their minds. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy...Jesus opens His arms to His needy children..."

So, with all my messiness, I ran to Jesus. And, O, how my soul soared. And the joy that came flooding in! I am now more tender toward the Lord than ever and He continues to make Himself known to me day by day in His word.

"If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." (John 7:37)

There are no words to express my thanks to God for His goodness. Even in His silence, He was shepherding me, leading me in His paths of righteousness, drawing me unto Himself and beside the streams of Living Water whereby my thirst was finally quenched.

Spurgeon said, "Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Though the soul be utterly famished, Jesus can restore it."

Yes! He can and He does.

Have you recovered from depression? If so, how did that happen?

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

The Terrible Thirst of Depression

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's REALLY Not Good for the Man to Be Alone!

At a loss for hearing words

Funny how words are transformed (or should I say deformed) when one's hearing isn't at full capacity.

Robert and I are starting to experience this phenomenon with each other. Life takes on a whole new comedic dimension.

The "Job"

But this past Friday it was my dear, sweet father-in-law who provided the laugh. Since his little studio needed desperately to be cleaned, I volunteered to do the job. Now, this shouldn't be necessary because the facility he lives in tacks on a tidy little sum for their housemaids to clean his apartment. But clearly, the housemaids are not as tidy as the sum they collect.

The bathroom was atrocious. With a 92-year-old male, who is wobbly on his feet being the sole resident ("it is not good for man to live alone" - boy, howdy! was God ever right about that!), perhaps you can begin to picture the need for a good cleaning in the bathroom. Believe me when I say, however, that I had not come close to imagining it to be in the condition it was. (What have those housemaids been doing for 2 years every Thursday in Dad's tiny studio when they should have been cleaning?)

Well, by now I'm just a little bent out of shape, rehearsing in my mind what I'll say to management (I'm capable of such lovely thoughts NOT!). But back to the story...


The "Other Thing"

Dad is sleeping in his recliner for most of the three hours I'm cleaning his itty-bitty place - specifically his bathroom and just part of the kitchen. Once in a while he wakes and says, "Sharon...are you still here?" No one ever took so long to clean before, obviously.

So I take to trying to explain to him why I'm there so long. "You know, Dad, as it turns out, no one that we call the cleaning lady, has ever really scrubbed this place." I'm telling him that I plan to talk to management. I tell him that I'm planning now to come and clean weekly. And I'm telling him this and that and the other thing. I think it was the "other thing" that threw him off. But I didn't find out what the "other thing" was until I was back home and he called me.

Rewind

Back up a bit. While I was telling him this, that and the other thing, he hung his head and said, "I feel bad that you think you have to do that." Now I thought he was referring to my cleaning his wee little abode once a week. Wrong!

Anyway, I tried to comfort him by telling him that I enjoyed mopping up, scrubbing down, chiseling off, digging out and hauling away the stuff that should never be a part of one's domicile. I gave him the line - you know the line - about how you love spending time with the person who feels bad...in this case spending time working my already-boney fingers down even closer to the bone. (But, really, I do enjoy being with him!) Seems he wasn't convinced though.

Rewind X 2

Backing up even more...Why is it that older folks hang onto everything? Dad eats downstairs in the dining room. He doesn't always finish his meal. I don't know that from watching him eat. I know that from opening his refrigerator and finding 789 little styrofoam containers (that might be a slight exaggeration), complete with lids, filled with every leftover food item he'd not eaten in the dining room for the past two years, now unrecognizable as food, of course.


Then  there was the plastic cutlery. Naturally, Dad had saved them - all of them, carefully carrying them from the dining room to his tiny, space-challenged kitchenette, where they remained untouched after he'd meticulously arranged them in the hundreds of sytrofoam cups (perhaps another exaggeration) he also transported. After all, you never know when a whole warehouse load of flimsy forks, knives and spoons will come in handy while you live alone and already have enough stainless steel cutlery to feed a large family. You just never know now, do you?

The Phone Call

Well, since this post is about Dad's hearing loss and the "other thing" that he heard me say that I know I never would have said in an eternity - since that's what this post is all about - I guess I ought to cut to the chase.

So, I get home and the phone rings 30 minutes later. It's Dad. He begins, "Well, I just spent a half hour talking to management and told them about your plans. Forget it! They aren't going for it."

Now you have to understand that I still think he's talking about me coming once a week to clean. You also have to understand that my dear 92-year-old father-in-law is not easy to understand, especially over the phone. His dentures don't fit right and it sounds like he's talking under water...with a New York accent to boot. I'm a country girl so it wasn't easy deciphering that first part. But it all went downhill from there.


The next part of the phone conversation with Dad took me back to the play telephones my sister and I used to make from cans when we were kids - you know when you played that game called "gossip". What I heard was something like, "Herna merewp mleir my place erhaotppt fainting." Fainting? I asked, "Dad could you repeat that?"

"I said, jeoruaptn mof o feia said you oofb lomojne shouldn't be bereag sainting. You gotta give up that idea! (Every once in a while he comes through loud and clear.)

"Give up what idea? I'm sorry, but could you please say that again, Dad?" Now he articulated, "u owper gotta jdf g forget about fainting!"

"Dad, did you say, F-A-I-N-T-I-N-G?" I've resorted to spelling to Dad now. "You ads tun cdf can't paint.!" Oh! He said "PAINT". I can't paint. He's telling me that I can't PAINT!

"But Dad, I never said I was going to PAINT. I said I was going to CLEAN once a week."

"Well, forget it. They won't let you do that. They hire their own painters."

Play it again, Sam Dad

Oh well, I guess I'll just show up next Thursday to clean. Most likely I'll throw out two dozen more forks, and knives and spoons and 27 more little styro-containers from the frige. And Dad and I will talk.

I'll keep you posted about the dialog.


Posted by Sharon Kaufman

It's REALLY Not Good for the Man to Be Alone!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Only Jesus Satisfies


Tim Challies had this video posted on his a la carte article today. I enjoyed it so much that I just had to post it here on my blog. This testimony, given by a young man named Tom Martin, is really precious. God is in the business of changing lives and sometimes we see His sense of humor woven into the story. Be encouraged...

Tom Martin Testimony from Covenant Life Church.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Only Jesus Satisfies

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Read Your Bible by Ruth Graham Lotz




"The unfolding of Your Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." (Psalm 119:130)

"You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever." (Psalm 16:11)

Let Ruth Graham encourage you, as she teaches how to read your Bible. This is basically the inductive Bible study method.



You might want to start by deciding on a book of the Bible to read through. Set aside a time each day to meet with the Lord and plan to meet with Him at the same place every day. Like Ruth Graham in this video, read just a portion of the book - 4 or 5 verses - and then study those verses by asking the questions you've learned here: 1) What does the passage say - list the facts; 2) What does the passage mean?; 3) What does that passage mean to me? What lesson applies to me in the passage?

Don't set an end date to have your Bible book read. Just be faithful to meet with the Lord daily and work your way through the nook, passage by passage, notebook at hand. When you finish, you will basically have written a commentary on the book you've studied. It will be for you something you can refer back to in months and years to come.

Make sure to pray before you start and as you answer the questions, be personal in your answers, applying the lessons to your own circumstances. Besides the commentary you're writing, this will also be a diary to look back on in years to come. It will be a testimony of what you were facing at the time and how God faithfully carried you through the trial or time of waiting, etc.

"For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach His statutes and rules in Israel." (Exra 7:10)


Posted by Sharon Kaufman

How to Read Your Bible by Ruth Graham Lotz

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Unfathomably Happy, Rejoicing God!

Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing."

Can you even begin to imagine this scene in heaven with the God of the universe rejoicing over rebels He has redeemed by His Son's shed blood? WOW!!! Unbelievable!

When we are satisfied in Him, when we are joyful in Him, when we love Jesus, when we rejoice over His steadfast love to us...in other words, when He is our utmost treasure and foremost LOVE, He exults over us with singing. LOUD singing! He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with gladness.

The closest I can get to imagining this panorama in heaven is a scene from the movie Babe, where Farmer Hogget is nursing Babe back to health and just can't help getting up and...well just watch this video and jump for joy for God is doing this very thing when you treasure Him and His Son.


And the following video will be our response, as God's children, to His wonderful rejoicing and care for us! Oh, I love this. My heart just soars to think about how our amazing God rejoices over His satisfied, joyful children. And what does His rejoicing over us do but serve to create more endless joy in our hearts, lives and service to Him.

Don't miss what this little guy is doing while he is sitting on the couch. Notice what he has in his hands and watch his every move in relation to the video he is watching (the same one of Farmer Hogget above). Think about how we should respond to God's tender care for us in the lives of others. This little child so aptly illustrates how we should pass along the love and rejoicing God has poured out on us, becoming like Him in all respects.


Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Our Unfathomably Happy, Rejoicing God!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Childhood - It is A-Changing

In my growing up years, playing outdoors was the default-activity for kids.

In the current age of technology, a child's default-activity has changed dramatically.

This video is quite an eye-opener. Today's children are so challenged as are their parents to escape from the "norm" - this age of technology - which is taking its toll on all of us. This is not just important, it's a matter of life and death. Please take 5 minutes to view this very important message.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Childhood - It is A-Changing

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An Open Door for the New Year

A Prayer

A. W. Tozer wrote the following prayer in his book, The Pursuit of God. This is my heart's cry also. I know that I am in great need of God's work of ongoing grace. Otherwise, my heart immediately begins to grow cold and unmoved by the Cross of Christ.  It's just our natural inclination as we live on this low plain.
"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long."

A Challenge

As we begin this year of our LORD, 2011, may I encourage you to simply take Christ's promise to heart each day, beginning today, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).

Invite Him in to sup with you, sit at His feet and taste again His incomparable goodness. It will never grow old and should you take this challenge to heart, I can assure you that, though you may face many difficulties, 2011 will be the most glorious year thus far of your pilgrimage in this misty lowland.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

An Open Door for the New Year