Should I Blame COVID19?

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I have a confession. I ate a family size box of Fruit Loops over a three-day period – by myself!

Terrible! I know!

I must say, I have not exercised self control as I sit under this curfew due to COVID19 – the pandemic which has nearly brought the world to its knees. This Fruit Loops snack attack is not good for my health (loads of sugar) nor for my waistline (I hope I can fit in my clothes when it’s time to return to work)!

I also recognize the reason I kept going back to what really amounts to empty calories, was because I wasn’t full, but also because sugar is addictive.

It made me think: What else in your life amounts to empty calories?

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At this moment, everyone simply wants the basic necessities of life, chiefly, food and water. Who cares about missing a New York & Co spring sale? Who cares about paying $80 for a makeover, when that could go towards grocery?  And is that planned trip to Disney more important than keeping a roof over your family’s head when both parents have been laid off? The $200 you might have been saving for dinner with a friend, now needs to help your grammy stock up in these uncertain times.

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The trappings of this life perhaps matter less to you by now. You may now realize that a lot of things we do are not necessary. They’re luxuries. I’m not saying don’t treat yourself. Don’t get me wrong. But in the grand scheme of things, if COVID19 hasn’t opened your eyes to the fragility of life and how it can be toppled over with little or no notice, I pray the scales be removed really soon.

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Today, I hope you are a bit more thankful for the things which matter. Interacting with the talkative old lady in the pew behind you. Sharing a meal with a colleague. That hug from your gregarious nephew. Let’s thank God for the little things – the things often taken for granted!

May this lockdown be a time of reflection. And when it is over, may we emerge as a more loving, thoughtful, compassionate people.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

 

How’s Your Spiritual Hygiene?

I find it a pleasure when I read God’s Word and see how I could take what occurred millennia ago and apply it to my life. One example of this came about as I read in Daniel 1 last night. Verse eight stood out to me: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

Daniel spoke about not defiling himself with the king’s meat, but as Christians, there might be ways we are defiling ourselves too. And when we are spiritually defiled, the scent is not pleasure. Jesus, the Son of the Almighty God above, said himself in Matthew 15 v 17-20:

17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Now this is in no way to say that we must not wash our hands before we eat; it simply means that it has nothing to do with our spirits being defiled. Now for the Christian, there are some things that we would partake in, but without speaking, you can hate someone; you may want that Marc Jacobs bag your colleague has, simply because you want to keep up with the style of other ladies in the office; without speaking, you can covet someone’s house or position; without going through with it, you can actually desire to be with someone else’s husband or wife or you might be married and fantasizing about the neighbour, a colleague, a deacon. Interestingly, Jesus said in Matthew 5 v. 28, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” This, itself, is proof that we become defiled from within our spirits.

Have you entertained gossip lately? Have you been judgmental – not knowing all the facts? Perhaps in your heart you know you are upset with someone and are finding ways to avoid the person as opposed to addressing the matter (I’ve been there, but had to repent to God and eventually say to the person how I felt). Maybe it’s those worldly movies you are watching, which are not spiritually enlightening.

These things and others shackle us spiritually. They tear at us and we become spiritually weak. This is just what the enemy wants.

I implore you not to eat the enemy’s dainties. Do not entertain him. Do not sit at his table. Like Daniel, we must purpose in our hearts to not defile ourselves. And we can only do that if we know what the Word says; we ought not simply be hearers of the Word, but doers.

How can you cleanse your ways from spiritual defilement? David says in Psalm 119 v 9: “…by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Give God What’s Right – Not Left!

I remember when I was studying online for my Master’s degree with Kent State University. It was two years of financial sacrifice, but also sacrifice of my time. I worked all day, then went home to conduct research, write papers, do homework and respond to classmates. Weekends, nights, early mornings, holidays, were not mine. So perhaps you would understand why I felt compelled to tour the campus, participate in graduation activities for international students, meet my favourite professor and walk across that stage!

But what I really wish to get across is the fact that I had to make major adjustments early into that Master’s program. I found that I would go home, eat and then head straight to a book or my computer. I then noticed I would finish LATE at night or sometimes not really be finished, but just decided because I was soooooo mentally and physically drained, I needed to shut down the computer or close the book.

I also noticed that when it was time to pray, it was quick, just to acknowledge God at the end of the day and I wasn’t spending as much time in His Word. Note, I was doing something positive – studying for a degree. This would result in advancement in life, but while studying for higher attainment of something natural, my spiritual life was being sapped.

As a Christian, you know when you’re not spending quality time with God. You feel it. Just think about how many of us can spend over an hour at dinner with a friend or loved one, chatting about the latest happenings in our lives. It’s like nothing to watch a movie that is over an hour. And we have no problem spending hours – literally hours – at theme parks. After all, we have to get our money’s worth – right?! I sure do!

But what about spending time with God?

What woke me up besides the emptiness I was feeling, was also passing a church sign that said, ‘Don’t give God what’s left. Give Him what’s right!’ That immediately resonated with me and even to this day, though I’ve previously and since passed many church signs, that is the one which stands out to me. It is the one I remember and have shared with others.

I have found that it is easy to be busy doing good! There is nothing wrong with volunteering for charity, mentoring youth, studying towards a degree etc., but that quiet, personal time in prayer, study of God’s Word and meditation – more importantly application of that Word – are extremely important for spiritual sustenance and growth.

The Word of God is bread. It is water. Just as the body needs food and water to survive, so our spiritual bodies need food and water for sustenance.

I encourage you to be intentional about your time with God. We give the world and family LOTS of our time. What about God, who gives us life, health and strength to do the things we do?

As Paul admonishes in 1 Timothy 4:13, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.’ The Word of God is God’s blueprint for living a godly life right here on earth.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

What are You Eating?

I have put on a few pounds in the past year – more than I wish the scale would record. I confess that it all has to do with what I have been eating and the fact that I’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle. I can’t recall the last time I went for a walk in the form of exercise.

In the past year, I’ve gotten into eating bread and rice again. I’ve also been eating way more snacks than I should, whether chips, chocolate, cupcakes etc. The reality is, I’m sweet mouth – BAD (like my mom)! I also LOVE a good baked bread. I recently went to a function where only two of us were at a table of 10 and I GLADLY ate lots of the bread in the basket. I was secretly happy the table wasn’t full. I didn’t have to share that good-tasting, fresh bread.

I honestly ate quite a number of these!

Essentially, I’ve been putting junk in my body. Lots!

That’s from a natural standpoint. I often look at natural things and make spiritual connections and the question is, ‘What am I eating spiritually?’ What is taking up most of my time? What am I filling up on? What about you? Is it WhatsApp? Facebook? Is it Meghan and Harry? Is it The Today Show? Is it CNN? National Geographic, sports or Greenleaf (I watched it one Sunday at a gathering and HATE the way the church is represented)?

In and of themselves, some of these things might seem innocent, but are you consumed with anything? Be real. Do you reach for the remote control quicker than the Bible? And even if you are turning to a Christian station, are you watching the pastors on TBN, 3ABN, The Word Network or on YouTube more than you are picking up the word itself? Don’t get me wrong – we learn from others, but even those should never take precedence over our own personal connection with God through His Word and prayer.

Today, I focus on the Word and remind you of what Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:13, “Give attendance to reading…” and in 2 Timothy 2:15, where we are admonished to “Study to show ourselves approved…rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Further, the only way we can be, “…doers of the word, and not hearers only…” is if we actually feed ourselves the Word and obey it.  

So have you thought recently about what sinfully delicious, caramelized, mountain of sugary goodness you’ve been filling up on? Are they empty calories or healthy for your spiritual life – helping you to sustain that relationship with the Father?

For me, it’s definitely been social media, inclusive of WhatsApp. And although I do not post foolishness or trivial things, I have sometimes allowed social media to be a distraction and eaten a gluttonous plate of it. Social media has its positives, but sometimes we spend too much time on it. It could very well become a distraction from getting into the Word itself. We must be careful of the wiles of the enemy; he is crafty. Today, I am reminded of a prayer session I had with one of my brothers on the 23rd May, 2018. It stood out to me to the point that I typed it in the Notes section of my phone afterwards: “May she not get distracted with the cares of this life and focus on Jesus.”

My questions to you: What are you eating? What are you filling up on?

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah