Tag Archives: Devotionals

#haveyoueatentoday?

Author: Jenni Newbanks

This past Friday, the women’s group at Blacksmith Priory were studying Romans, Chapter 7 when an amazing topic began to be discussed. To give you a little background on the study, Paul was writing about his internal battle with sin. This lead to the telling of “the Tale of the Two Dogs.” The tale goes like this:

A wise man said he had two dogs inside of him. One of the dogs is evil and mean and the other dog is kind and good. The evil dog fights the good dog relentlessly and when someone asked the man which dog wins, after quiet reflection the man answered, “The dog I feed the most.”

This retelling of an ancient Native American tale brought about a discussion that just exploded into something amazing. I talked about my personal struggles with “feeding the good dog” daily and asked my sisters in Christ to hold me accountable.

One of our regular members, Kelli McClellan, brought such a wise thought to the table. She said, “When I wake up and eat breakfast, I end up eating lunch and dinner throughout the day. When I wake up and skip breakfast, I could go all day without eating, without realizing how hungry I am and by the end of the day I am starving and will be satisfied with anything that does not take much work to prepare.”

This is how our metabolisms work. If you eat breakfast, it jump starts your metabolism for the day. This can also be applied to our “spiritual metabolism.” If you wake up every morning with prayer and the Word, you reach out to God more throughout the day.

Now let’s take this a step further, when you are choosing a church, you go to get “fed,” right? Some may find this as a foreign concept but this is ultimately what we are looking for, a huge “Sunday meal” to feed our spirits and set us up for the week ahead. A big problem in the church today is that many believers think they only have to “eat” on Sundays. Think about how you would feel if you were to apply that in a physical sense. That would be crazy if we only ate on Sundays, right!? I cannot stress enough how important it is to feed yourself spiritually everyday. Think of your spirit as one that feeds solely on the Word of God.

Imagine how empty and frail your spirit would become by Tuesday or Wednesday. Do you think your spirit would have the strength to fight , as Paul describes, “another law waging war against law of my mind.” (Romans 7:23) If we took our spiritual health as serious as our physical health we would feed ourselves daily, would we not?

And let’s think about the food you will feed your spirit. Will you be satisfied with a daily devotional written by a man that makes you feel good every morning? I would call this a “simple carb” for your spiritual diet. Simple carbs burn up quickly leaving the body just as quickly as it entered. What I will tell you is the Word serves up MEAT– Something complex enough to get you through to your next meal.

So it is simple. As members of the body of Christ, we are to hold one another accountable even for our daily feeding. Remind one another by asking one simple question. “Have you eaten today?”

Well…have you?

Advent Anyone?

“The Coming.”  That’s what the word “advent” means.  Depending on where, or if, you attend church, you may or may not be familiar with this term.  Even if you ARE familiar with the term, you may still be wondering, “the coming of what?”

The observance of Advent is certainly not a requirement, in a biblical manner of speaking, but I pray that with this explanation you might discover the usefulness of a conscious participation in Advent this season, whether individually or with your immediate family or your local church body as a whole.  In seasons past, I will admit that I have caved into an unhealthy amount of consumerism to go with my “Come all ye faithful.”  Containing the urge to get swept up in all the holiday sales and mad rushes to the department stores can be an extremely difficult thing to do in this country in the 21st century.  Especially with all the new gadgets they keep coming up with!  To some of us, it may come as a complete surprise that “advent” is not a reference to “the coming” of the next generation of game consoles or the new iPhone 23.

So what IS this “coming” about?

The word “advent” is an English adaptation of the word adventus in Latin, which is, in turn, a translation of the Greek word, parousia, which in the New Testament often refers to the Second Coming of Jesus.  So, in essence, we are not only participating in the lead-up to the Christmas celebration of the First Coming of the Messiah, but also looking forward to His triumphant return.  We not only get to read, tell, and share the story of the birth of the Savior and feel that Christmas marvel at realizing that “God-with-us” began in that familiar manger scene, but now is also the time of anticipating the magnificent and terrifying return of the Conquering King and His impending judgement of the World.  We can read the Old Testament prophecies about peace on earth and good will toward men, understanding and being thankful for the redemption and reconciliation we have been given as God’s people through this tiny bundle in a swaddling cloth.  But we can also dive into and meditate on the promises that this Messiah is not yet finished.   He will return!

These thoughts can be a sobering contrast to anxiously looking for the best price on Frozen merchandise and mind-numbing checkout lines at Walmart.  I’m not going preach about the immorality of our product-addicted culture or shame you about overemphasizing the red-clad fat guy’s behaviorist legalism you’re instilling in your kids (you realize that, right?), but I will simply put in front of you here, a fantastic opportunity to do something different this year.  In the evening before everyone heads to bed or in the morning before rushing out the door, take a few minutes to read to yourself or your family from one of the advent devotionals available.  You might be amazed at the joy it can bring.  Take time to remember what it is we’re celebrating.  Praise the King Who Came, Died, Rose, and is Coming Again.  Make a new tradition this holiday season.  Advent has already started, but it’s still not too late to catch up.

Our family has been enjoying this Advent devotional from John Piper:  http://www.desiringgod.org/books/good-news-of-great-joy   (It’s free to download!)