Blogtober 9th: A Tale of Two Gospels – Poverty vs. Debt

RembrandtProdigal

Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” Luke 4:18

The church’s primary work is spreading the gospel of Christ and making disciples.  I never stop being surprised at the widespread misunderstanding of this.  Some ministries get pretty creative in their pursuit to do this work, and naturally there are critics. One of those creative ministries states at the top of their website that they are “…an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively”.  It is a para-church ministry, (not a church) but it has come under scrutiny in recent years for how it raises and spends money. I watched the comments fly around online about it last summer, demanding that instead of using their collective $7 million budget for their own building projects, they should donate the money to help the state with the heroin addicts. This is assuming the people who gave the money don’t also give to their own church and elsewhere. $7 million is about 1/2 % of the $1.5 billion that was raised last year by candidates for the presidential election…and a failed presidential election for all the candidates but one. Did the people who gave their time, talent and treasure to the presidential election forget about the needy?

$7 million spent by Christians in creative pursuits to proclaim the gospel of Christ may seem very  frivolous, even to other Christians, but if our primary work is the proclaiming of the gospel of Christ, our first love and devotion is to Christ himself. I love this passage:

“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:6-13

My own giving will go to a church or a ministry whose primary work is preaching the gospel rather than a government recovery program or an election campaign, but if anyone else feels compassion for heroin addicts, look no further than your own hard earned dollars. Don’t give your money to a politician or a ministry you don’t feel you can support! That is our right and our freedom to give where we wish to give. Even better would be if you are a Christian, give to a Christian ministry that preaches the gospel and treats addictions or join together with like-minded people and start one yourself.

There is a fundamental reason though, that people get mixed up and think it is the church’s primary work to meet every social need society creates. It is the throwing over of the gospel of Christ in favor of the social gospel. A few years ago, a well-known, world religious leader said on more than one occasion that the core and center of the gospel is poverty. It was such a popular statement that it was even reported in the mainstream news, but why would the mainstream news care what a religious leader said about the core and center of the gospel?  They care because it was a statement about the social gospel, which makes an effective impact on people’s views and response to government policy. Regarding the gospel of Christ though, it misleads us into a deadly lie. Christ’s gospel is not about poverty, but about debt. It is about man’s sin debt to God. We cannot repay that debt, except with our own life. “For the wages of sin is death”. Are you willing to die for all of eternity, separated from God in payment for your sin? I don’t want that for you, I don’t want that for me, I don’t want that for Pope Francis or the Dalai Lama. I want to see everyone saved…but none of us can pay that debt to God with our donations, service and government policy. We each own our own debt, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

Making poverty the value at the center of the gospel obscures Christ’s gospel behind the social gospel, which is no gospel. It prevents people from hearing the gospel of Christ and responding right now for salvation. “Today is the day of salvation” The true gospel, the good news, is that Jesus paid your debt, and my debt and every religious and world leader’s debt on the cross by willingly laying down his perfectly obedient life. You can be materially poor and have no debts. Likewise, you can have material abundance and be deep in debt. Not everyone may be able to identify with what it means to be rich or poor. But everyone knows what it means to be in debt.

How is the debt paid? Every person’s most urgent need is to have their sin debt to God forgiven:

And the Lord said, “… I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” – Acts 26

You will notice there are no words here about poverty and the poor, but rather forgiveness which is a concept that means a great deal to someone who is in debt. A debtor who cannot repay is condemned:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. ” – Jesus, In John 3

~L

 

 

 


 

 

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Blogtober 8th – Adding Exercise

skechers

Love my Skechers

It is time to add more exercise to my routine. When I walk for only 15 minutes, my blood glucose level drops between 10-70 mg/dl. Changing my diet has given me the energy and desire to walk. It has dropped my blood glucose daily average by 20 mg/dl. That is a great start, but it isn’t enough. I have to make a special effort to exercise every single day. This morning I walked a block down from the house to a small park and walked for 15 minutes. I can certainly do that every morning. I listened to the bible reading plan I’m working on, in the YouVersion app today while walking.

The walk routine I plan to use is to do this before each meal, and my meal plan needs to be more uniform. Right now it is completely meatless and eggless, but I haven’t been as strict about avoiding dairy and keeping to a schedule. We are out of the house a lot and I eat out often. Cheese, milk, cream and butter are in a lot of things. Last night we ate out for our date night and I had a salad, pasta with zucchini and a mushroom sauce, but after starting it I realized the sauce probably has butter and cream in it. I was trying to avoid the cheese. My blood glucose was elevated this morning, I’m sure because of the pasta. I didn’t eat the bread or have dessert and I had unsweet tea with a lemon and a lime wedge in it. So, next week: No pasta or flour tortillas or bread. No cheese, no milk, in addition to the no meat or eggs.

I remember when my mother-in-law was alive and she started walking a lot in her retirement years, she used to say after a heavy meal, “Well, anyone want to go with me and walk it off?” I think there is a lot of wisdom in that. Maybe if I had walked *after* supper last night, I would have had a better report this morning!

So, today:

Weigh in lbs          – Down 5 pounds since October 1st

Avg daily mg/dl     – Down 20 points since October 1st

6:00am – Blood Glucose 233 mg/dl

– Walk 15 minutes

6:21am – Blood Glucose 163 mg/dl

10:00am – Breakfast …2:00pm – Lunch…6:00pm – Supper

– Walk first for 15 minutes

– 6oz (min) raw colorful vegetables (unlimited)

– 6oz (min) cooked colorful vegetables (unlimited)

– 3oz beans (9oz max/day)

– 3oz fruit (9oz max/day)

– 3oz starchy vegetable (potato, squash – 9oz max/day)

– 3oz nuts (9oz max/day)

– Tea or water

Bible Study

  • Reading 1 Chronicles 18 – 23
    • Notables:
      • David counting the people of Israel
      • God not happy and offers 3 consequences from which to choose
        • David chooses to be delivered over to God’s hand rather than man’s
        • Thousands die by plague
        • David implores God to punish him and his house alone and not the others
      • Solomon, David’s son
        • God wants Solomon to build His temple
        • God says David spilled too much blood in His sight
        • Solomon will live in peace
        • David did all he could do before he died to help prepare Solomon for this task

Blogtober 7th – Be Kind Always, For it Could All Be Over in an Instant

I woke up with a headache, after sleeping in a recliner last night next to my client’s bedside. Tomorrow will mean a visit to the chiropractor. I also woke up with a conscience ache. I wasn’t kind yesterday. Whatever anyone else did or was doing makes no difference. I’m not responsible for them, I’m responsible for me. I looked for scripture to support me and the passage I was looking for did support me, but just a few words later it turned right around and cut me. I just won’t do it anymore if I have an ounce of control of my own thoughts and my own tongue. “Holy Spirit take control, take my body, mind and soul.”

 

Blogtober 6th – Eating Out

tacoholics

I was working in Henderson and Mark came with me, so we made it into a lunch date. It was a beautiful day and I said I wanted to try one of the restaurants down by the river. The only one open that had patio seating was TacoHolics. So, I tried to order as veg of a lunch as I could while still giving their food proper try. We had chips and salsa and unsweet tea with lemon and lime.

chips and salsa

Mark ordered a steak burrito which was more than enough. It filled the whole basket. I ordered bean burritos and instead of beans and rice on the side, I ordered a salad, with guacamole. The burritos came covered in liquid cheese and there was sour cream on the salad. Hmm. No meat, but Not vegan. In the interest of science, I ate them. 😉 My blood glucose went to 213. I did not walk today. Next week I will try again and change this entree to make it fit my eating plan.

wet burritos

We really like this restaurant. The staff is friendly and helpful and the food is inexpensive.  I want to go here often. So, I’m going to try and figure out what I can eat. I could probably have eaten everything on this plate without the flour tortillas and had no jump in my blood glucose levels.

gate

Maybe next week after lunch we will go walk along the river…

Blogtober 5th – Grocery Day

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Time to shop!

Its been a long time since I was confident enough to buy this much produce. If there are a lot of convenience foods in the house, we won’t eat much produce. If there are Hot Pockets in the freezer, the beans are ignored. We don’t make salad to go with the diGiorno pizza. Fruit smoothies don’t taste good with an Egg McMuffin.

In previous attempts to start eating plans created by someone else, and written in books, I’ve tried their techniques to be successful, like cleaning out the cabinets, complete abstinence from no-no foods or else start all over, fasting before I start, no dining out, make everything from scratch, etc. Maybe I just don’t have the temperament for these. For instance, Whole30 is the “start over” plan. So, if you get to day 29 and discover there’s glazed almonds in your salad that you ordered at a restaurant and didn’t notice until you ate some of it, you start over. There’s no Whole30 police watching you. Obviously, a sane person can ignore this directive and just move on, but it feels like cheating a game to me. I’m not playing a game. I’m trying to stay well.

So, this month, I’m striving for vegan. I’ve never done this before, but I’m finding it surprisingly easy to stay away from meat of any kind. I may be able to follow close to Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutrarian plan which treats meat like a condiment, after October is over. I want to try to make and drink more bone broth as well. The eating plans I have read about and studied and tried are all helpful in their own way and have taught me important things about nutrition, but what I am most concerned about is food that has traveled far, far away from God’s garden and was robbed of its value by the time it gets to our dinner plate. As a psychology student, I am intrigued by the evidence for psychological side effects from an overly processed diet. The physical effects are already well known.

Blogtober 4th – Breakfast

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Strawberry, banana & kale smoothie with a bowl of organic beans with salsa and avocado.

I don’t have enough time to make everything myself. I use Bolthouse Farms bottled fruit smoothie and I blend it with kale. The organic beans are just a can of Simple Truth Organic Tri-Bean Blend. The salsa is Frog Ranch Salsa and there’s nothing special about the avocado. I drink a lot of water. My water is flavor enhanced. I haven’t given that up and I probably won’t.

So far, this plan is working for me. We will see how it works in the coming days.

Brothers and sisters on the beach, awaiting hurricane Irma.

“Hallelujah, Holy, Holy, God Almighty, The Great I Am!
Who is worthy, none beside Thee, God Almighty, The Great I am!”