Most people I know don’t usually think about dieting until after the holidays but I thought I’d get ahead of the game by beginning now. I’m diving in with a couple of relative stories. Bear with me. This diet will revolutionize your life if done properly.
We now have a white cat hanging around. Seems we’re running a half-way house for strays. I saw it limping in our yard and discretely put out some food for it. I asked Bob if he saw it and he said, “Yes!” with some disgust. He had went out to our partially enclosed basement entryway and there was the cat.
“It was out of the box eating. It hissed at me,” he said. How well do I know my man? I had the exact same thought that he spoke out loud to the cat before he even told me. “I said, ‘Don’t you hiss at me. You’re sleeping in my cat box, eating my cat food, so don’t you hiss at me!'”
Got me to thinking about the Israelites in the backside of the desert on the way to the Promised Land. God had been and was in the process of meeting their every need but it wasn’t enough for them. In the words of the stray, “Hiss-s-s!” In our language, complain, Complain, COMPLAIN! Until finally, the LORD’s cup was full of it. Moses told the whiny lot of them:
“When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. . .’ ” Deuteronomy 1:34-36 NLT
(By the way, Joshua, son of Nun, was also permitted to enter the Promised Land along with Caleb, but everyone else, nope.) Just think of it, a whole generation exempted from their land because of their complaining. Lest we think complaining is of little consequence, let us remember the Israelites’ lesson. Then again, before we’re too hard on them, let’s take a peek in the New Testament:
But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. . .” John 6:43 NLT
Whoa, wait. You mean people were still complaining?! I wonder if He said that in the same tone I would have said that to my children…?
A couple of months ago, my daughters and I were in a circle of prayer with Mum. As the Spirit directs, she is sometimes used in words of knowledge. She looked at Beth and said, “You are to go on a diet.”
Her sisters and I immediately chuckled. It seemed fitting that the girl we dubbed “the food police”, due to looking for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and high grams of sugar, was being instructed to go on a diet. After my initial amusement I was excited. Beth has had periodic bouts with acne that have ripped at her self esteem. I thought, Wow, the LORD is going to give her a specific diet and she will be healed.
Beth began to complain. (Ah, people are still complaining. Seems a chronic fault of the human race.) The girls detest when we’re eating certain foods or taking specific herbs to deal with health issues.
“This isn’t a diet like you think,” Mum said, smiling. “The LORD wants you to go on a diet of praise. No more complaining.”
I was ready to shout “HALLELUJAH!” Out of my 3 children, Beth is most likely to complain. She picked up the nasty habit from her rather lovely mother 😉 . And it is quite annoying.
Her edict to praise could not have come at a better time. Soon after, our household was in an emotional uproar. My heart had been broken, and as women are generally born sympathizers, the girls were feeling my pain. We were all voicing our pain and our angst. Except for Beth.
I could see her huffing while slamming dishes around in the sink. “Praise the LORD,” Beth grumpily said. “That’s all I can say because I’m not allowed to complain. Of all times not to be allowed to complain.” Then she shut up, continuing to take her anger out on the dishes.
I burst out laughing. Indeed, “of all times” for the LORD to call my lovely would-be complainer to a diet of praise. It was the perfect time. Somehow, laughing out loud righted the world. The emotional pain I felt eased and I had hope. It was like the sun broke through in the middle of a long dark night.
Life is hard. But there is always something to be thankful for. If you’re reading this, you can see, you have modern technology (for better or worse 🙂 ), and I have a notion you have a heart seeking after God. And why was Caleb permitted to enter the Promised Land when an entire generation was not? “…because he has followed the Lord completely…” He didn’t complain, he trusted the LORD, and was ready to fight for the promise that was given. We’re on the right path. Let’s not mess it up by complaining!
Gratitude may not take inches from our physical problem areas, but it will remove great weights from our shoulders. There’s much to be said for the peace of mind that comes from giving it all to the One who holds it all.
Join me today in looking at our problems through the lens of praise and see them for the opportunities they could be if left in the LORD’s capable hands. I truly believe that we are surrounded by impossible people and situations that have “Miracle” written all over them…and miracles are what they’ll become if we’ll handle them with trust and praise. May we continue to walk humbly with our Savior remembering that all things are possible with God. We were never meant to do this alone and praise is what transports us into His presence so we never need to. Bless His holy name!
Let the shackles fall off today as we join Go Fish in singing praise to our LORD.
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15 NLT