Fair Food

Escape routes are only useful if you recognize them

Every time I watch an action movie, there’s always some point where the hero needs to escape. Not necessarily retreat. But escape a falling building or escape a burning car or escape from the bad guy’s hideout. It never fails. And I can’t help feeling that if we only needed to escape from physical danger, we would all probably be doing pretty well. But it’s rarely physical danger we need to escape from and more like danger from the way we think.
Physical danger can be pretty obvious. You know and realize that you’re in danger and look for a way to escape. But danger that comes from the way we think is harder to identify. Most of the time, we don’t even think it’s dangerous so we power on through without stopping to realize that it might not be a wise choice.
Best example: the way we eat.
Fair Food
Fair Food – Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson, KS

I was looking for a photo to feature this morning, and I couldn’t help but put up a shot of a tasty treat that only comes around at fair time. Yes. Krispy Kreme Donut Burgers. I have no idea what they taste like. I’ve never tried one, and I’m not really interested in trying one. I’m sure they’re good. And you know? Eating one once a year is probably perfectly fine, but Americans don’t eat things like this once a year. We eat all the time. And we rarely think about the consequences. We’re the richest people in the world, and we eat like it.

And it’s not just food. It’s exercise. It’s faith. It’s friendships. It’s family. It’s giving. It’s everything. And the dysfunction all starts with the way we choose to think. I blogged earlier in the year about how we can choose to change the way we think, and the verse today is about how God can help us accomplish that. Today’s verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13.
 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Check out the last sentence: When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
I can speak from personal experience on this one because God has truly proven Himself faithful. I can’t tell you how many times God has opened a door and provided an escape route for me when I was torn with indecision, to sin or not to sin. In those circumstances, when my mental strength was wavering, I knew I was facing a choice but I didn’t think I could resist . . . and then the phone rang. Or someone would come to the door. Or I would get a text message. Or my power would go out. Or any number of random things would happen to take my mind off the subject, and when I returned to the thought, I could see it from a different angle and realize that I didn’t have to choose to sin.
It’s the same with any temptation. Being tempted doesn’t mean you’re sinning. Everyone is tempted. But as a Christian, you don’t have to choose to give in to temptation and God will always provide a way out for you. You just have to look for it.
Like John McLane or Jack Bauer or Martin Riggs looking for a way to escape the bad guy’s hideout, keep your eyes open every day. Because we’re tempted every day. And on those days when we feel weak mentally, we need to be aware that the temptation will be harder to beat. And if we’re not already looking for a way out when it hits us, we might get stuck.

The New Year’s Resolution Wagon keeps losing people . . . .

How’s everybody doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? It’s just over halfway through January. Is everyone still chugging right along? Or have your good intentions fallen by the wayside?

I’m actually kind of surprised that I’m still blogging every morning. I figured I would probably accidentally sleep in one morning or throw my alarm across the room and go back to sleep (actually, I can’t do that anyway because I have to get up to reach my alarm; I did that on purpose). But it actually feels nice to still be doing what I said I would do at the beginning of the year, and I’m praying that I have the discipline to continue. 

It’s good for me to communicate like this, and I know it certainly keeps my focus where it should be for the whole day. It’s funny to me because so many of you have told me that what I write on here helps you too, and that’s awesome!! But I am totally talking to myself most of the time. I was telling a friend yesterday (Shout out to Ethan!) that if anything I write at this time in the morning actually makes sense, it has to be God because I am the farthest thing from a morning person in the universe.

I’m honestly not very good at New Year’s Resolutions. I think I said that when I started. I don’t usually make them because I usually can’t keep them. And I don’t like making promises I can’t (or won’t) keep. But I guess that’s something people do a lot. As much as I don’t like it, I know I still do it. Our word just doesn’t mean as much as it used to because so few people keep it and so few people actually mean what they say.

I was reading the verse of the day this morning and the only thing I could think about was what would it be like if God didn’t keep His promises? Wouldn’t that be awful? Think about all the promises that He’s made to us and what would happen if He decided one day that it was too much trouble? I’m so thankful–so very thankful–that God isn’t like that. I’m so glad that when He says He’ll do something, we can have no doubt that He will do it.

The verse this morning is 1 Corinthians 10:13.

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

 This is another verse Bible-thumpers will get all riled up about, all usually focusing on the last part of the verse. That God never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can stand. But very few ever see the middle of the verse. God is faithful.

One of the best messages my pastor ever brought was on this one verse. Ironically, he preached it the Sunday before September 11, 2001. And to this day, one truth out of that message still follows me everywhere: “When we are less than we should be, God cannot be less than He is. He is faithful.”

It’s who God is. Faithfulness is one of God’s defining characteristics. He is faithful. He is trustworthy. If you trust Him with something, He’ll take care of it because that’s what He does. And you shouldn’t worry that it won’t get done because God has it under control. God can’t deny Himself.

Now, that’s not anything like saying God can create a rock He can’t lift; that’s stupid. What that means is that God isn’t limited by our human weakness. The word can’t has no meaning to Him because there’s nothing He can’t do; He is who He is and He has no reason or need to be anything else. The ability to do things or say things that contradict what is right and true isn’t a strength; it is a weakness, a flaw brought on by our fallen natures. We hear that God can’t do something and instantly we think that He’s limited in someway and therefore can’t be God, but the truth is that we are the ones who are weak. If we were strong — if we were perfect — we would never do wrong.

It encourages me because I know that no matter where I go or what I do or what I get into, God will always be there. And He will always be faithful to forgive me when I screw up. And, boy, do I screw up. It happens more than I would care to admit.

So if you’ve fallen off your New Year’s Resolution wagon, what the hey? Get back on it. Be faithful to it. If you’ve said you’ll do it, do it. Imitate God by keeping your promises. And when you screw up, God will forgive you. Because He promised He would and He always will.

He is faithful. And that makes me want to be faithful to Him.