Lent, pt. 25

I played Sagrada tonight with my wife and some friends of ours. It was new to the three of them but we still had a good time playing.

sagrada 1

The name, Sagrada, is a word that I didn’t know. The other couple knew some Spanish and they said it meant holy or sacred.

They were correct. It is the Spanish word for ‘sacred’.


That got my mental wheels turning.

Colossians 3:17 says that whatever I do, do it as service to the Lord, giving thanks to Him. That would be my paraphrase you just read.

So tonight, as we ate food and had conversation, we were serving our Lord.

Sure, there was a board game in the middle of all of it but that can be set apart for God too.

I just thought the fact of the name, Sagrada, meaning ‘sacred’ was really cool,

Anything I do, I can do it for God.

During this Lent season, take away this encouragement;

Your life and the things you do can be sacred. They can bring glory to God.

So live…Sagrada!

sagrada 2

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Lent, pt. 6

A big juicy hamburger makes a fantastic meal.

hamburger

But why is it that eating meat during Lent is forbidden?

And fish on Friday is okay?

Some things I just don’t understand.

I do, however, understand that God set dietary restrictions for the Israelites in the Old Testament. They could only eat certain things. There were also proper ways to prepare the meals. So yes, I get that some things are meant to not be eaten.

But I also feel that Jesus changed all of that stuff. He did not come to abolish or take away the law but rather, he fulfilled it!

We are no longer bound by the law but by grace!

If you are fasting specific things for this time, I commend you. I have fasted and it can be really difficult!

But, if you are just blindly following some religious rule that has no meaning for you, I urge you to rethink your motives.

And then go eat a hamburger!

Pretty sure that God cares more about the condition of your heart rather than the contents of your mouth!

eating a burger

Cinnamon Melts and Salvation

Twice a month, I meet my pastor for some mentoring time. We usually meet at a McDonald’s that is close to both of us. I would say that I eat breakfast maybe there once every 4 to 5 months. He usually gets coffee or water. It is not the food that draws us but our conversation.

McDonald's logo

But this post has nothing to do with talking to my pastor and everything to do with the food because yesterday, I decided to eat.

Baihley (Yes, she had an ‘H’ in her name) was the cashier yesterday. This conversation is not exactly word for word but pretty close.

 

Me: “Good morning! I would like a Bacon, Egg, Cheese Biscuit please.”

Baihley: “The meal or just the sandwich?”

Me: “Just the sandwich please. And a small orange juice. Oh wait, and the Cinnamon Melts please.”

Baihley: “Ok, the total comes to $7.21.”

Me: “Um….I only have $7. Change the…”

Baihley: “I got this, hold on.”

Me: “What?”

Baihley: “The total comes to $5.23.” (She had a big grin on her face at this point)

Me: “Thank you. Not necessary but thank you.”


 

I do not know if Baihley is a manager but she gave me Cinnamon Melts for free.

1 Bacon, Egg, Cheese Biscuit = $3.19

1 Small Orange Juice = $1.79

1 Cinnamon Melts = $0.00

 

I am no one special. I had no coupon. It was not a special item on the menu. In fact, as far as I could tell, there was absolutely nothing that should have allowed me to receive free Cinnamon Melts. I did not deserve it. I did not earn it. I did nothing. It was all Baihley. I just said ‘Thank you.’

Here is that same paragraph with two words changed:

I am no one special. I had no coupon. It was not a special item on the menu. In fact, as far as I could tell, there was absolutely nothing that should have allowed me to receive free Forgiveness. I did not deserve it. I did not earn it. I did nothing. It was all God. I just said ‘Thank you.’


 

God is so extensively rich and vast in His love and mercy. He already paid the price. I have accepted His gift and now follow Christ with all my heart. Get past your past. Stop trying to earn something that is un-earnable. Your works-based mentality can keep you from experiencing God. Live today for Him. Say ‘thank you’ by living for Him.

Your actions will never earn salvation, they will only display it.

 

Dopplegangers and a turkish waiter really make life better.

Did I mention that I went on a cruise in May? If you are sick of hearing about it then stop reading. I think this will be the last post I will make about it. Maybe…maybe not. We’ll see. =-)

So you have heard about the food. Swimming with sharks? Did that one. Just being on such a huge vessel with so many options. Wow! It really was one of the best vacations that I have ever taken.

There is one aspect that I have not shared much in-depth about from my experience. We set sail on Sunday. On Monday, we met another couple. This couple, Fred and Wilma*, turned out to be our best friends for the week. We spent almost all of our time on the ship with them! They even changed their dinner reservation so they could eat with us! And that brings me to another point. Our waiter, George*. You see, George was fantastic! I think the food tasted better because he served us. But let’s get back to Fred and Wilma.

doppleganger

Fred and Wilma were Doppelgängers for my wife and I. They have kids. Church is a huge part of their lives. We all enjoyed the shows. Fred and I were excited about the sports stuff. The wives kept finding things they had in common. We kept talking about our lives and sharing our experiences. There were so many connections! It was eerie at times. I would say that the cruise was twice as nice because we met this couple. Everything was so much more enjoyable because we got to share it with them.

And then there was George. He was from Turkey. From the first night at dinner, his smile drew us in. Of course he was knowledgeable and could answer all of our questions. Any server should be able to do so. But it was his demeanor and attitude. We were completely comfortable around him from the get go! By Friday, I didn’t even look at my menu. He ordered for me. And he hit a home run every time! One night, we (me, my wife, Fred, and Wilma) all laughed really hard. I asked about some berry, fruity dessert thing. George, with an expressionless face, said, “No.” He denied me of that dessert! It was awesome! There was no malice in his voice. It was as if he knew what I liked and also knew that the particular dessert I inquired about was not right for me. He just said no! That was a running joke for the rest of the trip.

waiter

Doppelgängers and a turkish waiter make life better. Life is all about relationship. Sure, my wife and I would have enjoyed the cruise even if we had not met these three wonderful people. But nearly as much. Everything was enhanced and improved because we had a relationship. Almost every problem or conflict in our life can be traced backed to a broken or injured relationship. But, when the relationship is good, life is so much better. Example, read this post again. =-)


 

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Jesus was speaking of relationship. The devil seeks to break relationship. God wants to mend it. See John 10 and 2 Corinthians 5.

My time is up so I leave you with this: Are you relationship with God? You can be today. Click Bad Words #2 for more information.

 

*Fred, Wilma, and George are fictitious names to protect their privacy. And that picture of a waiter is not George.

Once a year then once for all. Pretty awesome.

My tan is fading. Bummer. My memory is still sharp though and I have a great memory from my cruise. Let me tell about it, alright? =-)

People had told me that you could eat anytime you wanted to while cruising. Really? Anytime? Yes. You could get food literally, anytime of the day or night. My wife and I met some friends on the ship. We ended up hanging out with them most of the week. Around 11:30 or midnight, we would find ourselves at the Cafe Promenade. Pizza. Yep, right out of the oven. Hot pizza. There were desserts and sandwiches as well. But I liked the pizza. It is a lasting memory for me.

cafe promenade

So it is true. You can get food 24/7 on a cruise ship. Wow.

Let me rephrase that last statement. A person has access to food 24/7 on a cruise ship.

That word, access, caught my attention.

Along with food on a cruise ship, there is something else that we have access to 24/7.


The book of Hebrews is one of my favorite books. There are two specific verses that I want to point out. They are both in chapter 9.

Hebrews 9:7, “But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”

and then verse 12, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

temple layout

The book of Hebrews is filled with comparison. In this instance, Christ is being compared to the High Priest of the Old Testament. Verse 7 is talking about the priest. The “he” in verse 12 refers to Christ.

  • Every year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the most holy place with animal’s blood to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. This was God’s way of bringing forgiveness to the people. Once a year.
  • When Jesus was crucified, he took on the role of high priest. However, he did not enter the earthly temple. He entered the heavenly temple. But Jesus had his own blood to bring forgiveness. Once for all.

Do you see the difference? And what a difference it is! And because Jesus used his own blood and entered the heavenly temple, eternal redemption (forgiveness) can be obtained!

YOU AND I NOW HAVE ACCESS TO GOD. Complete, full, and unhindered access to God. We can be forgiven. Life can now be truly lived because of the access granted to us by Christ. Forgiveness for sins is already been paid for.

I just need to ask.


And being forgiven is far better than pizza at midnight at the Cafe Promenade on the Navigator of the Seas sailing in the Caribbean Sea.

Why don’t you try both and see which one you like better? Bon Voyage!