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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
Paul Harvey told a story about a lady who was overweight and blamed
it on the traffic on the city street. She would go to bed at night and the traffic
outside her window would keep her awake. So, rather than lay there
awake, she’d get up and eat. Her reason for being overweight wasn’t
her overeating or a physical problem she had, but rather the traffic
An initial sin or mistake leads to regret … which is followed by some destructive coping mechanism … which brings more sin and mistakes … which prompts more regret. On and on the downward spiral goes
Some of the coping mechanisms we turn to include "drugs, alcohol, overeating, gambling, pornography, escapism, or inappropriate relationships. When we rely on these things to cope with guilt and hopelessness, we find that regret begets regret - and the cycle continues."
Susan Wilkinson, Getting Past Your Past, 40
GIVING TO MISSIONS
Americans give $700 million per year to mission agencies.
However, they pay as much for pet food every 52 days.
A person must overeat by at least $1.50 worth of food per month to maintain one excess pound of flesh. Yet $1.50 per month is more than what 90 percent of all Christians in America give to missions.
If the average missions supporter is only five pounds overweight, it means he spends (to his own hurt) at least five times as much as he gives for missions. If he were to choose simple food (as well as not overeat), he could give ten times as much as he does to...
"Inflation is a lot like overeating: it makes you feel so good, right up to the time when its too late to correct it."
A woman approached a well-known preacher who had just returned from the mission field in a third world country where occult worship was wide-spread and he had seen a great deal of actual deliverances from demon possession in the power of the Holy Spirit. He had preached on that subject, telling stories of the things he had seen there. The woman proudly announced that she had recently attended another man’s ‘deliverance service’ and been delivered of a demon of overeating. The preacher smiled and said, ‘Miss, I want to warn you about something.
The first time you walk past the window of an ice cream parlor and see someone eating a hot fudge sundae, that demon is going to come right back’.
WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?
Some of you are familiar with the name, Morgan Spurlock. He produced the documentary "Super-Size Me." He has produced another lesser-known production titled "What Would Jesus Buy?" Please note: I am not recommending the movie it is a bit distasteful but it makes a good point. The movie follows a fictional minister named "Reverend Billy" and the "The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir."
He is travelling the nation warning the masses of a pending "Shopocalypse." He was arrested in Times Square for preaching a two-word sermon "Stop Shopping!!!!" Starbucks has a permanent restraining order issued against him.
The review of this movie says this: "Religion aside for a moment, there's a terrible addiction that has swept across this country, and it's one of the nation's best kept secrets. Mostly everyone will tell you that it's a really bad thing, but nobody can seem to stop doing it. And it doesn't come cheap, nearly sixty percent of us are in long term debt because of it. No, we're not talking booze, drugs or overeating. It's shopping. And over 15 million Americans may in fact be addicted to it."
Spurlocks' intention is to inspire real reflection when it comes to exactly what this consumerized holiday season is all about. Reverend Billy and entourage put out a wakeup call to mall junkies everywhere, exorcising the demons from assorted cash registers and credit cards as he urges consumers to return to a more authentic relationship with Christmas.
If you want joy in your Christmas I'd recommend you heed the sermon of Reverend Billy and seek "a more authentic Christmas." I recommend you look to the only One who can bring joy to your world.
Maybe we could start my filtering our Christmas through Jesus' two core values and making them our core values.
Mark 12:29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
CHECKOUT – these words from Buchanan about borderland, they are powerful and very sobering;
Most Christian I know are stuck. We feel caught in jobs we barely endure and often despise, in relationships that plunder us and deepen rather than remove our aloneness, in activities that are soul wizening (to become dry, to shrink) in their triviality and yet insatiably addictive. We squander jewels and hoard worthless trinkets. We experience harrowing emotions over mere trifles and can barely muster a dull ache over matter of shattering tragedy. We feel we’ve no time and no energy for the things that we know matter deeply, even eternally, but waste much time in silly diversions. We are impatient with our child’s longing to spend ten minutes with us at bedtime, but then we waste an hour in idle telephone chatter or two hours watching the latest studio-produced pointless video. We gossip even though we’ve made repeated resolves not to. We envy, resent, judge, avenge, sulk and overeat. We read People magazine – maybe even playboy – but not our Bibles. We feel that everyone else’s has more money, longer vacations, newer cars, nicer clothes and fewer things going wrong with their hot water tanks, cars and children than we do. We wonder where the freedom is for which Christ set us free. AND this secret fear haunts us: Is everyone else fulfilled and I’m the only one who’s not? Or even worse: is no fulfilled, and we are all just playing a charade that we are?