Nuggets: Be Unashamed of Your Body

I think Heaven should have a special appeal to all those who have struggled with body image. Not that Heaven isn’t just plain awesome, period. But, the way it’s described in Scripture, tugs my formerly eating disordered heart in a unique way.

I’ve recently listened to Pastor Chip Ingram’s series on Heaven and I highly recommend it! One of the things he presses, is that Heaven will not seem incredibly foreign. It’s not something that we can “only imagine”. Heaven is the place that God dwells, it’s where He wants to live and where He wants to live in close, face-to-face relationship with His people for all eternity. It’s actually very like what He created in the first place. And we have a pretty good description of Eden in Genesis.

My favorite line in all of Genesis is verse 2:25, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

Can you imagine (perhaps this is where we have to employ imagination) what it would be likely to be completely unashamed of your body?

We are told that we will have new, glorified bodies but we will have bodies. Psalm 139 expresses God’s intention and pleasure in the unique way He sculpted you and me. He wants me to look this way! He is happy with the way you turned out!

So, set your sight again on the eternal. Don’t get hung up on the things that moths and dust will corrupt. One day, you’ll look at yourself and truly see you as God does–with pleasure, joy and peace.

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Nuggets-What Are We Supposed to Be Thankful In?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. “

What has that meant to you in the past?

How have you heard it preached?

Grit your teeth and thank God that your life is falling apart, your spouse left, your kid is a practicing prodigal, you’ve got cancer or any other possible terrible circumstance?

Or, perhaps you’ve put the verse into practice by saying, “God, thank you inSPITE of all I’m facing. InSPITE off all the terrible things, I will be thankful.”

But that’s not really what it says, is it?

” … give thanks in all circumstances … “

That little word “in” isn’t too hard to understand. It just means “smack in the middle of”(my personal definition). It means, even in the middle of the crap, the crud and the costly, find something to be thankful for.

We can and should start with the Gospel: “That Christ Jesus came to save sinners,” (1 Timothy 1:15). 

A Play by Play of Forgiveness

Misty Moring

Forgiveness is not some cosmic brain dump.

Neither is forgiveness an arbitrary scribbling over of the past.

While it’s wonderful to relish in the relief of God’s forgiveness toward us, it makes sense that should know exactly how it works, because God commands us to forgive as we have been forgiven. (Eph. 4:32)

One of my favorite Psalms actually gives us a play by play description of forgiveness. Forgive the simpleness of this short Bible study. I promise it’s nourishment for your soul!

Check out Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). This is a list of the benefits of knowing God. But in truth, none of the benefits of knowing our Creator-Father would exist aside from the forgiveness through Christ that enables us to reconcile with and have a relationship with our majestic God.

Fittingly, David starts with the benefit of forgiveness.

  1. Forgives all your iniquities: Here God pardons sin. Pardon is another word for absolution. As far as God is concerned, sin is gone. (Check out verse 12 of the same Psalm.) We say things casually like “pardon me” and hope that before he’s taken another two steps, the guy we just ran into with our grocery cart has forgotten what we look like. That’s pardon.
  2. Heals all your diseases: Okay, so diseases here is the English word, and it works but doesn’t cover all the ground of the original Hebrew. This word is comparing the effects of sin in our lives with disease. Not only does God forgive and pardon our sin, but he restores favor (or health). He puts us back in good standing, in good health. All his right anger toward us is replaced with favor.
  3. Redeems your life from the pit: This word means to ransom or avenge. To this point, God’s grace toward us has taken place between us and himself. However, the moment we sinned, we signed an agreement with the devil. We chose to do things his way (“all wrong doing is sin” James 5:17, “if you’re not for me your against me” Matt. 12:30) The moment we sinned, Satan had rightful claim to our souls, but God (through Jesus) steps in here. He avenges our wrong and ransoms us from certain death.
  4. Crowns you with steadfast love and faithfulness: Think of a crown of glorious jewels encircling your head. Then, imagine being encircled by a protective wall. This word “crowned” means to surround like a protective wall, with steadfast love and faithfulness. Not only do these wonderful attributes adorn you, they surround and protect you.
  5. Satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s: Within the comfort and protection of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness, ransomed from evil’s vengeance, in perfect health and completely pardoned, all our longings and desires are satisfied. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” When we realize all that has been done for us, it delights us! It fulfills us. It is enough–more than enough. All of our longings, desires, hopes, dreams and needs have been met in the benefits of God!

The Simple Key to Relational Bliss

keys

I sometimes find it radically difficult to please my husband … and my friends, and my parents, and the dog (actually, he’s pretty easy), and those I work for and those I edit for and … myself.

Do you?

Ever feel like you’re a fragmented failure?

This complaint, or wise observation, is nothing new. Everyone has heard the adage, “You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

But let’s get real–we all still try–and we all find it exhausting. I wonder too, if those of us who call ourselves Christians try harder than others to keep everyone around us happy. After all, we are called to honor others above ourselves and told that whatever we do for the least of these we do for Christ. We are also told that they will know we are Christians by our love–right? So don’t we have to constantly strive to evidence that love to them?

And then I’m tired. And then I fail. And then, I don’t really want to try again tomorrow. How are we supposed to do this?

I have found the incredibly simple key to relational bliss. Are you ready? You’re not going to believe how simple this is–not easy, but simple.

Quit trying. 

That’s it. 

Quit trying to please everyone, prove your love to everyone, validate your Christianity to everyone. Just stop it. 

Galatians 1:10 says,

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I think Paul is going beyond the idea of simply trying to impress people, but actually admonishing us to drop our social standards, to ignore the typical expectations of us in each of our relationships. Then, we use all that reclaimed energy to focus on pleasing only one person–God.

But what happens if I forsake all my efforts to show my husband how much I am committed or quit worrying what my kids think of me? What happens if I quit trying to be the best of faithful friends?

What happens? That’s when you get it. That’s when it fall falls into place.

You see, when we please God, the fruits of His Spirit begin to grow and ripen. Suddenly, just by sheer proximity to the Savior we become more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful and self controlled. By focusing with laser intensity on pleasing the Savior who is our righteousness, we become the kind of people we need to be in each and every other relationship.

You can study more about this topic with me by grabbing a copy of my book: Beyond Belief: Jesus Saved You, Now What?