Oniomania:  It’s That Time of Year

Planting-Onions-1861281I remember the first time I saw oniomania in print.  My eyes read the word as onion-mania, and my brain processed it as a strong desire related to onions.

My confusion was the result of the God-designed partnership that exists between the eyes and brain in which they work together to interpret conflicting signals from the outside world. Even though it may not be reality, we see whatever our brains think we should.

Because the brain processes an immense amount of information as fast as it can, it uses any available shortcuts. According to Stuart Anstis, a vision researcher, the brain has “to find a minimum hypothesis to cover a maximum amount of data.”

When my eyes saw the onio prefix of oniomania, my brain took the shortcut of associating onio with onion.  This is the difference between perception and reality or feelings and facts.

Oniomania is an uncontrollable desire to purchase things, and during the gardening season it could influence your seed purchases.   What about onionmania?  Is it an uncontrollable desire to eat, smell, use, or plant onions?

Are you an oniomaniac?  Are you controlled by an overwhelming desire to purchase the goods of this world and fail to invest in the world to come?  This was the mistake that was made by the fool who built on the shifting sand instead of the solid rock:

Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock.  Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!   ~Matthew 67:24-29

What is it that compels you and drives you during this season of your life?  Is it the need to fit in with the world and your group of peers, or to be fit for the world to come and to please the peerless—Jesus Christ?

 

Just Like My Dad

Like_Father_Like_SonYesterday was the first day of 2016, and it’s the day that many people announce their resolutions for the coming year.  I you read this blog yesterday, you know that I encouraged you to “join me in making at least this one resolution for 2016:  I will be a disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ.”

I based this resolution on John 15:7-11: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.  I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you].  If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.  I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.”

When I was studying this Scripture, I read the Amplified version, and it offers some interesting concepts related to our resolution:

  • This first item is the one that caught my attention: Jesus said, “I love you just like My Dad loves Me.”  This is an eternal, never-ending, and unfailing love.
  • The word “remain” is used several times. In many versions of the Bible, it appears as “abide,” and the idea isIf you abide in Jesus, and His words take up residence in your life, you will attentively observe His teachings and strictly maintain a walk that is in step with Him.
  • An obedient life is a prerequisite to answered prayer.
  • Remaining or abiding is not a Sunday experience, but a lifestyle.

When you think of the 4 points above, I hope you realize that joy, not happiness, is the focus of each of these.  Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

The Bible only uses the word “happy” or “happiness” about 30 times, while “joy” and rejoice” are found around 300 times.  You will never find true contentment in the contents of merchandise that has been neatly packaged and gift wrapped.  It is not the result of the final score in one of the many football games played at this time of the year, and its not found in the empty promises of politicians.

Joy can’t be purchased and it’s not the victim of circumstances; it’s the fruit of a genuine relationship with God that perseveres.

Even though Paul had been arrested and jailed, he had learned to be “content” regardless of his situation, and He said: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

I hope you use these 4 points throughout 2016, so you can be “disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ.”

The ISM Prism

prismThe answer to the question is Psalm 23. More often than not, when I ask a family what Scripture they would like read at the funeral of their loved one, they reply: “Psalms 23.”

While this Psalm is very poetic, it is much more than that—it is also jam-packed full of promises! The six verses of this Psalm is vivid imagery that presents God in the language of a caring and loving shepherd, and it offers hope to God’s struggling sheep in their darkest hours.

The first three words speak of God’s eternal presence: “The Lord is.” The word “is” is present tense. The verse does not say the Lord “was,” or the Lord “has been,” or “might possible be.” It tells us that the desire of God is to be your personal Shepherd at this exact moment and in every future second, minute, hour, and day of your life.

God is present now and with Him is the essence of His attributes. He is present with His empowering grace, abundant mercy, and His loving-kindness. He is present in His awesome greatness, His truth, and in His almighty strength.

Because sheep have a tendency wander off and get lost, He is also present to light the path you walk and to shine as a lamp to your feet. He is the ever-ready, ever present, power-packed God.

Whatever your task might be for today and whatever the trial may be, remember these three words: The Lord is. To really embrace the truth of this, drop the “the” and replace it with “my.” Say it now: “My Lord is.”

When you get a chance, put a smile on your Shepherd’s face, and shout it out: “My Lord is!” This “ism” is a beautiful prism that opens new possibilities to enhance your relationship with your Shepherd.