Something is comforting, not in the calories, but in the companionship, food can provide.
When life is good, we celebrate with ice cream, and when life is bad, we cope with brownies.
Any day can feel familiar and lovely when coupled with the coziness of Grandma’s recipes or the warmth of your favorite meal with your favorite people.
Although for all the goodness offered to us through food, it can also become something it was never intended to be, a friend.
Three years ago, it was a brand new year. A lot like today.
Flipping the calendar to a new year made life feel so much more wide-open than it had just a few weeks prior.
Dreams and options received new breath. Ideas that had felt impractical and unachievable now had a place at the table of “maybe we could.”
So I began to dream about all that we could do that year. All sorts of possibilities came to mind, but with it came the overwhelming question of where to begin on it all.
You’ve heard the saying that it is better to give than to receive, but today I want to challenge you that the opposite may actually be true.
Not because the saying isn’t biblical (it is) but rather to reveal if your “gift of giving” may hinder your ability to receive.
Our culture loves to pride itself on how capable we are, how much we give to others and how good we can be. But, if we take in account Scripture and especially the teachings of Jesus, then we are faced with the reality that it may not about what we give, but instead what we receive.
When you’re walking down the street in a group, and you pass by a blind beggar, what do you do? If it’s me, I avert my eyes and keep walking.
But what if that beggar knew your name and, as you passed by, he kept shouting your name louder and louder. Would you stop then?
Honestly, I have no idea what I would do, but three of the four Gospels in the Bible tell us what Jesus did.
In (Matthew 20, Mark 10 and Luke 18), Jesus is just outside of Jericho and as a crowd follows him and passes by a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the man asks what is going. When Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is near, he begins to call out, trying to get Jesus’ attention.
People tried to shush the beggar, telling him to stop and be quiet. But Bartimaeus would not stop. He knew that he might never get this moment again, so he called out louder and louder until he found himself shouting the name of Jesus.
‘Tis the season for wish lists and gift giving. And all around the interwebs, you can find ways to fill both needs.
However, even throughout the year, each of us has an additional wish list that we aren’t necessarily sharing with others; almost an unspoken wish list, if you will.
Things that even money can’t buy. Heart level things.
Like the mending of a hurtful relationship with your mother or father. Or the opportunity to finally quit your job and pursue something you love. Or the relentless longing for a child to fill your heart and home.
We may gather round dinner tables or smile across the church aisle over the next few weeks as if all is merry and bright, but deep down, many of us are wishing for something far more grand than a beautifully wrapped present under a tree.
The beautifully wrapped packages, the gorgeously decorated tree, the perfectly prepared meal. This time of year we all begin to make our dream lists about creating the warmest of holiday celebrations for our families.
While the details of our visions may vary, our hopes are similar. We want those who fill our homes over the holidays to feel loved, welcomed, and celebrated, with nothing missing from the picture perfect vision in our heads.
And so we hustle to the stores, bustle around the kitchen, and keep our hands busy prepping and planning so that the holidays can be all they were meant to be.
But, friends, have you ever felt harried by the holiday hustle? Does the stress of meal planning, house tidying, gift buying, and guest hosting wear you thin rather than fill you up?
If so, then I am here to tell you that you are not the only one.
Have you ever just needed a friend?
And most people I know have.
At one time or another, we all will need a true friend, someone who is willing to show up, even though it’s inconvenient, costly or hard.
This life, no matter how self-sufficient we are, is not meant to be experienced alone. Community is an integral part of the human design, but somewhere along the way to gaining 1K online friends and followers, we have lost our connection in understanding the need for real friendships in real life with the people right beside us.
One of the best examples we have of how to be a good friend came from Jesus. He was the master relationship craftsman and fine tuned the art of showing up and loving people well.
You may have awakened today in a hard place. Where down seems up, right seems wrong and easy seems so very hard.
Whether you are in a physical battle, financial struggle or even political fight, there are moments where each of us is given more than we can handle or comprehend, and the struggle wears us thin.
Friend, if that is where you find yourself today, then turn with me to (Luke 8) and see how Jesus handles us when our faith is painfully stretched.
The season of Thanksgiving is upon us. A time for feasting and fellowship, family and friends.
However, despite its name and festivities, this season of giving thanks can quickly be overshadowed with grocery prep, holiday planning and black Friday shopping.
So, friends, how do we slow down long enough to sincerely be thankful for all that we have before making lists of all the stuff that we still want?
Election Day is coming. For many, that means heading out to cast your vote for the next President of the United States, choosing your state’s governor or electing the local officials for your county or city.
Many months and millions of dollars have been spent trying to persuade your vote in a particular direction; to help elect the “best” candidate to lead our government into the subjectively “right” direction.
I have no idea which way you lean politically and honestly; I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care about politics, it’s that I’d rather rally with you around something that unites us instead of divides us. At the end of election season, God will still be sovereignly ruling and reigning in all aspects of our world. So let us be united as we follow Christ into our political future.