I Love Choco Pies!

Yes I love those little chocoloate covered, marshmellowy delights. Apparently they are a huge hit in North Korea, and according to this article, they are selling for up to ten bucks each on the black markets of North Korea. It is crazy to me that I can just pick up as many boxes of these as my car can hold on my way back from work while there are people who are searching these out on the black markets.

Also, in Taiwan, I came across this crazy scene of people lining up for a newly open store:

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This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but here were people lining up as far as the eyes can see, and it actually wraps around the building more at the end. It’s about a two hour wait, can you guess for what? Krispy Kreme! Yeah, right? Who eats Krispy Kreme nowadays? Not that I have anything against them, but that was so 1990s.

These are reminders for me of the ridiculus excess we enjoy here in America, to a point where things highly coveted by others are simply afterthoughts for us. And unfortunately this carries over to our faith as well. How do we view our Bibles? Most homes probably have at least one, and most of us have more than one. I can think of eight that I own right now, and not to mention those we can pull up on our phones and computers.

We have access to so much, but sadly appreciate it so little. It’s a sobering thought that there are believers who are willing to be arrested or even killed for owning a Bible while I have several simply collecting dust. This is not meant to illicit guilt, although we can get there pretty quick if we extend this line of thinking to so many other things that we freely enjoy.

We do have a God who gives good gifts, so I am not saying we need to give all our things away. But I hope at the very least I can engender some appreciation of the things that really are of worth, and perhaps get us to pick up that Bible that’s been just lying around. Not because we feel guilty, but because we see it as the invaluable treasure that it is: the very words of God.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Medical Hypocrisy

Wow, it’s been quite awhile since I last posted. After taking a little break over the holidays, it’s been hard to overcome the vacation inertia to start writing again. That’s a spiritual lesson in and of itself.

I read Medscape’s Family Physician Lifestyle Report 2014 this morning and I found it quite interesting. I’m not sure where they got the numbers, but in this study, 48% of family physicians reported being overweight, with a BMI >25. This is second only to surgeons, who came in at 49%. If you are curious, dermatologists were the least heavy at 23%.

Whatever the specialty, it does seem like not many doctors (or any healthcare provider for that matter) lead the healthy lifestyle that they preach to patients day in and day out. It’s always funny (and sad at the same time) to see cardiologists taking smoking breaks between doing caths and stress tests. Most people know I have quite the sweet tooth.

Dr. Nick always talked about how he was practicing medical hypocrisy, promoting health when he himself weighed more than 400 lbs. If you haven’t taken the time to watch this short clip of his testimony, it’s an encouragement. By the way, happy belated birthday Dr. Nick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqnOnMUT6cU

Our patients are better served when our lives are congruent with the healthy living that we are promoting. In the same way, as Christians, our testimonies are more powerful when our lives line up with what the Bible teaches. Unfortuantely, many are turned away because of the hypocrisy that they see in the church and in professing Christians.

How are we doing? Do our outward actions match our inward convictions and the truth of Scripture? For the legalists among us (myself included), do our outward “good” actions come out of a transformed heart? Or are we doing things simply out of duty because it is what “good” Christians do.

Obviously all of us are not where we should be, and we need the grace of God not just to save us, but to sustain us as we seek to obey Him. But my prayer is that we would not just do loving things, but become loving people as we grow more in Christlikeness so that we are transformed both inside and out.

 

 

 

Resolution Time!

Not my favorite time, but alas, it must be done! As an old retreat speaker used to frequently say, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” If we don’t want to stay the same, we need goals to work towards. And of course as Christians, our ultimate goal is to be united with Christ in our heavenly home as Paul proclaims in Philippians 3:13-14: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

We really ought to be making goals not just once a year, but throughout the year. But we can’t just make goals and expect change to come about. Why is it so hard to change? Related to that, why is it so hard even for Christians to change even though we have the Holy Spirit and we are a new creation? I did a series last year based on a Talbot class I took last year, but the short of it is that while we have a renewed heart, or a will to want to obey, we have already developed an engrained pattern of living. And so not only do we need a regenerate heart, we need to unlearn old habits and replace new ones.

That process, which really is the process of sanctification, unfortunately takes time, and more unfortunately, takes effort. Of course we want to recognize that ultimately no change is possible without the grace of God in our lives and the power of the Holy Spirit. But, we can’t just will changes to come, we have to come alongside of and participate in what the Holy Spirit is doing for change to come about. What are some things that can be helpful in that process?

1. Make a plan: Envision what changes you would like to see, and ask yourself what will it take to get there. Do you need to rearrange your schedule? People you need to take to? Things you need to get rid of? Be specific (and I would add, be realistic) and write it down.

2. Get accountability: Ideally, find someone who wants to do something similar and make your plan together. But even if no one wants to do it with you, asking to be kept accountable will help.

3. Do it! There really isn’t any short cut in forming new habits except by doing them. How many days does it take for new habits to form? Not sure, but if you do something everyday it’ll probably become a habit =).

My resolutions?

1. Read more: Not just the Bible, but just books in general. Time to utilize my Goodreads app! Some books I would love to get through this year: Martin Llyod-Jones’ Preaching and Preachers (currently reading), Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections, Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. I want to aim for one book a month if I’m not in school.

By the way, if you want to read more this year too, here’s my unbiased recommendation. I heard it’s good =). If you have Goodreads, you can enter for free giveaway!

2. Pray more: This makes the list every single year. Especially praying with my wife.

3. Maintain my weight: Forget getting cut or buff. I will be happy if I gain no more weight this coming year. My plan? Julian Michaels, rollerblading, and basketball.

I need to work out a better plan for 2 and 3.

Happy New Year everyone!