Spirit food: Eat this; not that

 

Proverbs 27:7
A person who is full refuses honey, 
but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.

Did you ever look at a friend who wasn’t being treated well in a relationship – and knew it – and wonder why that friend kept taking the kind of treatment she was receiving? Maybe her boyfriend was a cheater. Maybe he was cruel in some way. Maybe he ignored her. Whatever the hurtful behavior…it was bad; and, she stayed in it. You just couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t break it off and move on.

How about a friend who had some sort of life-damaging issue, addiction or behavior? An eating disorder, promiscuity, hoarding, self-harm, drug use, isolation?

I remember seeing a news clip probably 20+ years ago when Robert Downey, Jr. was being sentenced AGAIN for drug issues. This brilliant, talented, valuable man said the most heart-breaking, tortured thing. “It’s like I have a gun in my mouth and my finger’s on the trigger and I like the taste of metal.”

We’ve all done the same in one way or another. Because of some need or deficit. – some hunger in our lives, we learned to eat the bitter until it tasted normal or sweet to us. The danger is two-fold. We establish an appetite for the bitter and unfullfilling. And because it cannot satisfy, our appetite for it increases and we eat more and more while remaining forever hungry in that area.

I will occasionally see articles on the internet aimed at helping us make better food choices. They’re called, “Eat This, Not That.” The premise of the articles and website is to do “swaps.” Instead of “that” choice at the grocery store, restaurant, salad bar, etc., choose “this” better thing that will be good for you and taste wonderful.

Maybe we’re eating self-pity, loneliness, judgmental and critical thoughts and conversations, feelings of inferiority and unworthiness, offense and hurt, envy, jealousy, strife and arguing, shame and guilt, resentment, condemnation…the list goes on. Let’s get our fingers off the trigger and the metal out of our mouths. We need to belly-up-to-the-bar and have a heaping helping of the crazy sweet love of God. We need to get so full of “this” we cannot imagine eating another bite of “that.”

Here are some tasty morsels to chew on:

*Your love, Lord, is priceless and unfailing and isn’t withheld from anyone (Psalm 36:7)
*
I am the temple of God and I meditate on His unfailing love (2 Corinthians 6:16, Psalm 48:9)
*
His love for me reaches from earth to the heavens and His faithfulness to the skies (Psalm 36:5)
*
I flourish in God and trust in His unfailing love forever and ever (Psalm 52:8)

*You, Lord, are compassionate and gracious, not angry with me and Your love and faithfulness for me is HUGE! (Psalm 86:15, Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17)

*Nothing can stop Your love for me. (Romans 8:35-39)

*Your love for me will never end. (Psalm 136:26)
*
You love me and You are delighted with me. (Zephaniah 3:17)

*Knowing You love me so much brings peace and quiet inside me (Zephaniah 3:17)
*
You love me so much, You sing over me – with joy and celebration (Zephaniah 3:17)
*
You are with me and because You love me, You bring your strength and power to save me. (Zephaniah 3:17)
*
Your great loving-kindness compels me into closeness and intimacy with you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

*You don’t love me because of anything I’ve done to earn or deserve it – You love me just because You love me. Just because You are Love. (Titus 3:4-5)

*Because You love me, Father, You sent Jesus for me. Through Him, who I am is completely different than who I was or could ever be without Him. (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Feeling a little spiritually and emotionally hungry? Starting to reach for a bitter bite? Reach for “this” and not “that” as quickly as you realize what is happening. Make the “swap.” Taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8) Purpose to change your spiritual and emotional appetite and it will change every aspect of your life. It really will. He promised. We have His Word on it! Take a big bite out of His love!

God is good and He adores us!

http://debbyberry.com/2017/07/700/

The promise of new and better

God is up to nothing but good

 

 

God is always, ALWAYS up to something good for us. Even when this life, this broken world, other people, or our own choices bring us difficulty, disappointment or pain…He’s ALWAYS got a plan that will bring the good and make things whole – when we believe it and receive it.

That may not always look like I think it will or even how I think it should. But He does work everything to my good. Even when “everything” isn’t good…He will turn the end result in my favor. Bring good. 

Whether it looks a little bleak or a whole lot of awful, think something like this, “Well, this is going to be interesting. Whatever He is working out to make His goodness and my belonging to Him obvious has got to be pretty wild. But, I WILL see it. That’s just Who He is. That’s just who I am to Him. He said so.” (Romans 8:28 and other scriptures)

God is good & He adores us.

God’s heart towards us is loving

 

 

Want real peace? Begin to meditate on the immense, endless, measureless love of God. Specifically for you. For me. For your best, most loved friend. For the person who has hurt you most of all. For us all. Never failing love. No matter what.

He’s not holding one thing against any of us. Not one thing. Doesn’t matter how broken. Doesn’t matter how bad. Doesn’t matter how unforgivable in the minds and hearts of others. Doesn’t matter if it is hard to forgive ourselves. (See Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17, Isaiah 43:25)

God’s heart towards us is loving, good, kind, merciful, to bless, to heal, to give.

God is good & He adores us. He really, really does.

Sin is dirty business…

 

“You never know how good it feels to be really clean until you’ve been really dirty.”

This was said to me about taking a shower after doing some pretty dirty work. Hot, dirty, unpleasant work. It immediately struck me in my spirit.

Sin. The filth. The degradation, decay, and stench of it. I’ve been there. You, too.

In John 7, a woman of less-than-sterling reputation is lavishing love and gratitude on Jesus while He visits Simon (not Simon Peter), the Pharisee. Simon is disgusted that Jesus would be so kind to her given her reputation and past.

John 7:47 (NLT)
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown Me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
 
What I love about this whole passage is that Jesus isn’t saying that her sins were worse or bigger or more numerous than those of the Pharisee He was addressing. He was confronting the Simon’s perception that her sins and mistakes made her unworthy while Simon had no sense of his own issues. He thought that he needed little to no forgiveness. So often, we look at what others have done and think of ourselves as having needed less forgiveness. Or, having needed more forgiveness. The reality is that whether we have a Pharisee’s perception of ourselves as pretty clean or this dear woman’s awareness that our sins were many; we have all needed the finished work of the cross. Forgiveness and redemption. All sin is sin. We’re the ones who’ve categorized it into what is and isn’t as dirty. It’s all the same to God. It all required the cross.

The awareness of forgiveness. Not necessarily for things done naked or with a weapon. Murder. Adultery. Those, too. But equally for things that happen in our hearts, minds, and with our words. His forgiveness eradicates our wrongs. No matter what we’ve done. Gone.

The correlation between our awareness of His grace to our ability to love is clear.

1 John 4:19 (NLT)
We love each other because He loved us first.

Struggling with being judgey (judgmental), harsh, or critical? Struggling with what it really means to love the Lord? Especially with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength (Easy to quote. Hard to understand. Impossible to do on our own.)? Struggling to be good to people who aren’t being good to you? Struggling with a spirit of competition or superiority? How about condemnation and shame?

Take it back to the most basic place. Focus on His love for us. His grace. His favor. His goodness. The absolute, unconditional love of the Father. The sacrificial love of Jesus. Redemption. Newness. Blessings. For us. For you. For me. The goodness and mercy of the Father.

We’ve all been forgiven much. When we revel in that grace…that love…that mercy…that goodness…we will love richly and freely and generously. We will live more consistently in the understanding and expression of the righteousness that He gave us as a gift. We will love much.

It is like living fresh out of the spiritual shower we all needed so desperately and Jesus so lovingly provided…

God is good. And, He adores us.

And it was very good…

Creator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m by no means a professional photographer; but, I am pretty passionate about taking pictures. It’s deepening my wonder and awe at the extraordinary detail and beauty in all of God’s creation.

Stunning. Truly. As in, I am stunned.

Someone we know and love dearly and deeply is a gifted photographer. He’s won awards and has been an art photographer for over 40 years. He made a decision in his 20’s that it was what he would do. No safety net. So, his love and livelihood are the same. His photography. He’s not just a photographer. He’s an artist with a gift and an eye for beauty that could only come from God.

He and his wife (and their very special dog) are in our hearts in a way that defies the short time we’ve known them. Just a few months.We love him. Deeply. We enjoy him. Immensely. He’s brilliant and talented and wonderful. 

Yet, somehow, he looks through that lens and sees overwhelming beauty and doesn’t seem to realize that it isn’t accidental and didn’t just happen through a sequence of scientific events. Really, my beloved friend? REALLY? You take amazing pictures of mountains and lakes and flowers and animals and skylines and architecture and miss the hand of God in it all? In sunsets and sunrises and trees and birds? In clouds and stars and lightening and rain?

I send our friend a picture I’ve taken every day. I occasionally show him the scriptures I put on them for posting online. He critiques my “work” and we have an opportunity to discuss what I see when the pictures are taken. I can sense the softening of his view of all of my “faith crap.”

It’s amazing how God is revealed in the work of His hands. See it. Share it. Show it.

God is good & He adores you. He adores our friend, too. And that makes me smile.

Simple things…

donkey in trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are surrounded by beauty and so much to truly be in awe of. Don’t let the desire for the spectacular deprive you of the appreciation and wonder in the presence of the ordinary. Because the ordinary is actually pretty spectacular.

God is good & He adores you!

debbyberrysignature

God is good & He adores you!

peaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God is good & He adores you!

debbyberrysignature

Let gratitude abound!

so much to be grateful for