MAGNUM-SIZED TEMPTATION

What is your "Magnum?"

What is your “Magnum?”

MAGNUM-SIZED TEMPTATION

Have you had these little packages of heaven? Magnum–A creamy vanilla bean ice cream covered in silky chocolate, dabbled with goodies like caramel, almonds or toffee. OMG. Absolute deliciousness. Such a treat when it’s110 degrees out (and the commercials are ridiculously funny.)
I bought four packages when I was expecting company (and they were on sale two-for-one)! I devoured one as soon as I got home and then totally forgot about them. Even forgot when my company came! (What can I say—I am over 40 now.)

It has been two months since I brought those Magnums home. In the freezer they sit, all intact, save the one I ate that day.

Now that summer is over and I failed once again to lose “those ten pounds;” I have decided to get serious about my swimsuit body for next summer.—Small changes over time will produce big results. Right?

So, I am giving up cheese and dairy.

Actually, this is a BIG HUGE CHANGE for me—I have pizza easily 3-7 times a week and have been known to eat a cheese and fruit plate for dinner many a night. And then there is the coffee creamer—Seriously??!! Do they put drugs in it?–It sometimes is the only reason I get out of bed! Especially the Cinnabon creamer. Mmmm…

I digress.

So, I have given up cheese and dairy during the week (Let’s be realistic). Ever since this decision, I swear to you those Magnum ice cream bars have been taunting me. Despite the fact those little gold minions of chocolate beauty sat in there for two months without my even giving them a second thought; post “no-dairy decision,” I cannot open the freezer door to get ice without their sparkly, beautiful gold wrapping blinding me. One even jumped out to me—like it wanted me to save it from its lonely existence next to the frozen peas and neglected pizza! I cannot watch TV without thinking about them. If the temperature’s over 100, they are on my mind.—So…EVERY DAY!

God knew we would struggle and has us pray: “Lead us not into temptation…” (Matthew 6:13)

Temptation taunts in many ways.

My subconscious even struggles. Last week I dreamed I was face deep in a lasagna and cheesy pasta buffet and gorging on the saucy deliciousness. I awoke from this dream with a smile spread across my face as I could taste the garlic cheese bread…THEN BAM!—my smile was instantly wiped clear when I remembered the decision; (Seinfeld’s soup-Nazi style):

NO CHEESE FOR YOU!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” (23rd Psalm)

This table of temptation is different for everyone.

Whether your table contains heftier tempters like alcohol and drugs, sex/lust, the greed for money; or more subtle ones such as pride, gossip, selfishness, cheese…

“…You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows” (23rd Psalm)

With Christ, there is a way out.

“He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

With Christ there is a power beyond your own that you can tap into:

“…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (1 John 4:5)
And when you rely on Christ working in you, He will strengthen you in those areas.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So, as I close the freezer door (sans-Magnum,) and I sip my black coffee, I pray your day is filled with the power of Christ to overcome whatever “Magnum” is seated at your table.

FIERCE LOVE

fierce love

FIERCE LOVE
“I will cease to live if I cannot be with you.”

Sounds Shakespearian, or maybe a line from “50 Shades of Grey,” or a RiHanna song?

It’s all about context.

Now-a-days this could be a codependent red-flag if spoken by a boyfriend, lover, stalker, etc.
Change the context; it changes everything.

–Scene change–
Picture these words being spoken by a parent or grandparent who, through no fault of their own, is faced with the thought of being denied access, sight and time with their beloved young child or children.
Though I am not a parent, I have been witness to this type of love; a fierce, almost angry, wild love.

Altruism: the sacrificial love of one for another.

It is a willingness to set aside your very life for the life of someone you love so intensely that life wouldn’t be worth living if they aren’t a part of it.

Soldiers do it for the love of their country.

A parent will step in and sacrifice for their innocent children.

This love is found between siblings, partners, families and spouses who willingly lay down their life to save their beloved.

But what if you were asked to sacrifice your life for something you didn’t care that much about?

Envision being asked to die for your abuser.

Or, for a follower of a different faith that harmed your country;

Or, the ex-boyfriend who dumped you for the larger breasted, more popular girl in school.

What about for the friend who betrayed your trust?

Or, being willing to give your full life for the child who turned away from all your teachings, stole from you and chose a drug ridden path on the streets…

**gulp**

This type of love happened.
This love happens.
This love is available to us because of Jesus.
It is the love He demonstrated on the Cross.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-7)

God, our father in heaven, loves us with such intensity that he sent us the ultimate sacrifice so that we would not cease to live. What He accomplished on the cross makes a tough life worth living, makes death not final and turned everything on its head. It’s the upside down that made things right; the death of an innocent for the lives of the unworthy.
It is the most quoted and therefore the most recognizable verse: John (3:16) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

He seeks us out when we are lost. He calms the storms of the seas of our life. He provides daily for our strength and gives us a hope worth clinging to when all else seems void.

Just know that no matter how unworthy this life can make you feel; that no matter what shames haunt your heart and, despite the burdens that weigh down your willingness to carry them one second longer, you have One that knows you, One that empowers you, One that believes in you, One that died for you because of His fierce, fierce love for you.