Sodas, Saints, and Sin

big-gulpIf you’re like many Americans, you may believe that bigger is better.  Super-sized meals may be the  proof that this is faulty reasoning and that moderation might be a better approach to life.

In 1950 or shortly thereafter, McDonalds was selling 7 oz sodas, burgers that weighed in at 3.9 oz, and French fries in a portion of 2.4 oz.  Following the bigger is better mantra, the servings at McDonalds have increased  to 42 oz sodas, 12 oz burgers, and 6.7 oz fries.

The result of all this fast food grazing, is a raising in the average weight of Americans.  Women now weigh about 18.5% more than they did 50 years ago and the weight of the average man has increased 17.6%.

I find it interesting that during this same time period there has been both an increase in physical cravings and a decrease in spiritual appetite.  I’m not saying the food industry is the cause of our spiritual malnutrition, but we are a nation that is spiritually anemic.

The prophet Jeremiah ministered in a time like this.  It was a time when people had forgotten God and a time when the emphasis was physical and not spiritual.  It was to these people that Jeremiah said:

“My people have done two things wrong. They have abandoned me, the fountain of life-giving water. They have also dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that can’t hold water.”  ~Jer. 2:13

A society that turns its back on God is one that embraces a philosophy that simply cannot hold water.  It might grow in size due to government programs, and it might increase in weight due to financial gain; however the only true hope is to return to the “fountain of life-giving water.”

Water of Life

People are more focused on the weather and the lack of moisture then they have been for a long time. I inquired last week about the water levels at El Dorado Lake and was told we are down more than 4 foot.

Even though we are in a drought, our water woes are nothing compared to the global need for water. The following facts are from
• More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.
• Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
• Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (i.e. slums) with no sanitation facilities.
• 780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.
• An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.
• More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.

Knowing that water was a precious commodity in His time, Jesus used it to illustrate a truth: Everyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life (John 4).

The next time you open the faucet to get a drink of water, think of the less fortunate around the world; and, think also of the Living Water.

Is It Who or Which?

For sake of clarity, some new verisons of the Bible have made their appearance on the shelves of bookstores.  An example of this is the New Kings James Version (NJKV).  It is an update of the King James Version(KJV) that was printed in 1611.  The KJV had quite a few archaic words that were updated in the NKJV.

This attempt at clarity has muddied the waters in a few places.  Phillipians 4:13 is one such case:  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (KJV).  In the NKJV which has been updated and changed to who (Christ who strengthens me).

While there is truth to both the KJV and the NKJV, I believe the use of who misses the point of Paul’s teachings.  No one doubts that we find strength in the who of Jesus Christ; however, the point is we are strengthened in the which or the doing of the Christian experience.

Case in point is the time Jesus went to the mountain to pray and the disciples went to the sea of Galilee to fish.  While He was engaging in prayer, the raging sea was about to swamp their boat.  This was a learning lab that involved 9 hours of whiching that would prepare them for future endeavors.

The design of the lesson was to teach them that Jesus is present even in the storms of life.  As He was drawing near to the boat, He saw them cowering in fear.  He quieted their fears, and calmed the sea with a few words:  Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.

Notice that Jesus said, It is I–present tense.  He is not a has-been-god of the past, or a hope-so-god of the future.  As Pslam 23 says, He is present–The Lord is my shepherd . . .

Here is a thought to keep you thinking.  It is the heartache of the past and the trials of the present that which you into shape to face the future.