Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me

Since the start of this year (2019) I’ve been  avidly avoiding gluten and dairy products and so far I’ve been successful.7f7f0dce-8785-40e5-811d-c8cd9cee7cd7

I have an auto immune disorder (psoriasis) and I’ve discovered if I keep my distance from the two I can manage a little better. I’ve gone on these kicks before over the past couple of years where I give special attention to my diet and more often than not I’ve failed miserably…and I’m blaming bread!!!

Bread is my weakness! I mean who doesn’t love a loaf of homemade banana bread smothered in melted butter or a warm slice of garlic bread next to a plate of spaghetti (which I also bypass now due to gluten sensitivity)…

I’m a sucker for bread of all types.

Several years ago I was down in Mexico and had eaten days worth of Mexican food (which I love) but I was craving bread after a while. As it turned out our missions team headed out for a morning of shopping and happened to spot a bakery. I made a beeline straight for that store, probably even stopped traffic on the busy streets of Tijuana just to get there. I walked in and the smell about made me black-out. It was like Subway on steroids, it was glorious—dinner rolls, pastries, biscuits—sweet superfluous loaves of bread. I thought we’d stepped through the doors of Heaven.

I was sooooo completely amazed and overwhelmed that I walked out nearly twenty minutes later empty-handed!! I didn’t purchase a thing in that bread store and this was before I even knew gluten was a word! It was like too much of a good thing and I couldn’t make up my mind so I sporadically vacated, while the rest of my crew splurged. There was no reason I couldn’t have gone crazy and purchased one of every kind of bread in that bakery because at the time I wasn’t aware that bread affected my auto immune disorder.

These days though I’ve decided to be more conscious of my diet by totally eliminating certain foods in effort to make a healthier lifestyle. But I think back to that little bakery in Mexico every now and then and wonder how I’d hold up if faced with the temptation of my bread obsession and a store filled with baked goods situated on the other side of the road. Would I cross the busy street, feeding into that desire, burst through the doors, sniff around, and wipe out the shelves or simply and wisely recognize the temptation and keep my distance?

I’ve been using Luke 4 as an inspiration to steer clear of my “flour-y” nemesis. In this particular chapter Jesus faced temptation, interestingly enough it involved Satan, a stone, and none other than a loaf of bread!!!—so it really hits home for me.

Check it out: (Luke 4 summarized) The Holy Spirit had led Jesus into the wilderness where he would face temptation from Satan. Jesus ate nothing, but after 40 days he’d become very hungry and then the bad guy (Satan) shows up and says, “if you are the son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

I’d have been like, “Yes please!! And while I’m at it I might as well whip up enough homemade strawberry jam to spread over each slice!!”

But Jesus (fully man, fully God) knows his hunger needs to run deeper than physical food and he responds by quoting scripture, ‘No! The scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’

The very scripture that Jesus referred to comes from Deuteronomy 8:3b ‘People do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’

Jesus knew his satisfaction wasn’t in filling his tummy, but in fulfilling his soul by means of spiritual food through a committed and right-relationship with His Father’s will.

In each scenario as Satan continually tempted Jesus throughout Luke chapter 4 verses 1-13, Jesus struck Satan down by quoting scripture…

Oh how incredibly powerful is the word of God.

Finally in Luke 4:13 we read that the devil had finished tempting Jesus and left Him until the next opportunity came.

Until the next opportunity came…

For some it’ll be the temptation of a shopping spree when the money isn’t in the bank, others will struggle with lustful desires, some it’ll be alcohol tendency when the AA meetings fail to fill the void…and for myself the aroma of freshly baked bread.

Those temptations are always going to come and sometimes they’re a challenge to recognize but we must not be fooled by their existence. Temptations will for sure present themselves, not only in obvious ways but through deceit as well. We must ask ourselves is this the Holy Spirit leading me to do this or is this Satan’s way of throwing me off?

Know the difference: Satan will lead us astray from a godly perspective and goals, the Holy Spirit on the other hand will cause us to bring glory to God as we represent Him in our dealings by objecting to the defeat of temptation.

If we’re wise and self-controlled we’ll consider and model Jesus’ responses to Satan’s temptations in Luke 4. We’ll study scripture, fill up on the Holy word, and satisfy our longings with the Bread of Life (John 6) and reject Satan’s forceful attempts at throwing us off.

John 6:32-35  Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What are some of your temptation-struggles or weaknesses?

How do you deal with temptation?

Healed Through Forgiveness

Warning: This post may contain emotional content for some. I know it’s long but I’m putting it out here on the chance that it provides help to someone who might be struggling.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —Martin Luther King Jr.

I had just finished giving a presentation of my life story to a group of ladies. As I packed up my notes and props I noticed a girl whose face was covered in a stream of tears.

Oh no, was it something I said?? Way to go Alicia…My self-conscious way of thinking began to prod away.

Slowly the melancholy faced girl made her way toward me while the noise of music quietly played in the background.

My heart raced forward as I thought about what words may come out of her mouth…would I be prepared with a response or an answer..I’m just a woman who loves Jesus and wants others to know about Him….what if she needs help and I don’t know what to say…God you know I’m a writer, not a talker…

I felt incredibly unprepared for this moment. I hadn’t considered I’d be doing more than simply sharing my testimony, so the thought of anything beyond that certainly overwhelmed me. I quickly pleaded with God in my mind..I did my part God, I shared my story in front of these women, I’m not prepared to further speak—much less counsel someone if this is what’s about to happen…

She now stood right before me. My eyes met hers and I could see there was hurt deep within…she had my full attention…

“How did you do it?” she pushed the words through trembling lips without hesitation….How did you do it??? The words echoed throughout me. I paused long enough to collect my thoughts…

“How did I do what?” I asked with an empathetic whisper.

After-all I had just shared the disarrayed story of my life—starting with the responsibility I felt being raised by an epileptic mother, to experiencing life with a loving but drug and alcohol addicted father; and not failing to include childhood stories of a homicide in front of our California home, sexual abuse, and my own substance abuse as a teen and young adult and the poor choices I made in all of that. I had shared the pain I felt with my dad’s death and then how I finally had my come to Jesus moment in my late twenties.

I had covered many life lessons and emotions just moments before as I gave my testimony in front of this group of women so to pinpoint the one thing she was searching an answer for, would be a challenge in itself.

But it was the sexual abuse that she was referring to…“how did you get past the sexual abuse?” she managed to bravely stutter the words out. Continue reading “Healed Through Forgiveness”

Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining

I sat, securely in a harness, suspended from a cable about fifteen feet off the ground. My husband walked alongside my kids who were down below cheering excitedly. They pulled me and my attached equipment to the starting point where they’d release the rope and send me sailing on a zip line amidst a thickly wooded grassland.

Adventure? Yes.

Enthusiasm? Not from me at this moment.

When my family was invited to an evening of fun at what has been dubbed “magical” Narnia, we quickly accepted the offer. This tiny slice of Heaven belongs to our Pastor and his wife and sits on ten acres with a river gently flowing along the edge of the property. With four-wheeler trails, rope swings, a camp fire area, shooting range, zip line, and lots of space to climb, roam and explore, it really is a good time for an outdoor enthusiast and it’s entertained many over the years.

But as I sat anxiously, about to be whisked away, I was far from impressed but hesitantly persisted on—in hopes of overcoming my fear. Knowing the set-up was completely secure still didn’t alleviate my anxiety. I tried to ease my mind—It’ll be over in seconds…I’m probably the five hundred and eleventh person to use this zip line…my insurance deductible has already been met this year…my kids and many others have been zip lining all evening and they’re still in one piece…

Let me tell you, when you’re afraid of heights—NONE of these things matter—AT ALL.

Without warning, my family freed the pull-rope and there I went zipping along wildly at the expense of Tarzan and his chimp’s amusement, AKA Nate and kids. My emotional state heightened far beyond my physical suspended height, and when it looked as if I was going to smack a tree that sits way too close to the zip line trail it was game over for me. “I don’t like it!!” I shouted down to my amused onlookers.

And then just as soon as it began it ended. It was over. I made it to the end. I was safe.

…I thought about how at an earlier point in my life I had enjoyed the thrill of zip lining and other wild adventures.

But that was before a husband. Before kids. Before adult responsibilities. Continue reading “Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining”

The Bible: Too Incredible to Deny part 2

PART 2: continued from Too Incredible to Deny

The truth is I could beg a person who stands on the edge of believing to just trust Jesus…to just believe in Him. I could share my convincing testimony with someone; I could challenge him or her to watch the sun rise and fall or count and name the endless stars…to consider the complexity of a baby forming in the womb and then try to tell me there’s no God.

But when it comes down to it, none of those things can cause a person to truly know, love, and appreciate God the way the Bible can. Although a Bible (in its material form) can’t offer salvation, the words within can certainly lead a lost soul to the Lord. No matter how incredible the very thing we view and marvel over appears, the word of God is absolutely by-far the best proof of God’s existence. The Bible makes all of those things worthy of appreciation when we choose to acknowledge God as their Creator.

If you struggle to believe, if this just sounds too bazaar to you, then I challenge you to read the Bible for yourself. You’ll be entertained, motivated, shocked, held in suspense, wowed and awed as you read the history of:

women and men going from zero to hero

  • Moses’ leadership (read Exodus through Deuteronomy)
  • Rahab’s prostitution yet devotion to her family (Joshua 2 & 6)
  • David’s heart for God (1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2 & the book of Psalm)
  • Queen Esther’s life at risk (the book of Esther)
  • Matthew the despised tax collector (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

Continue reading “The Bible: Too Incredible to Deny part 2”

Part 1: Too Incredible to Deny

Just for the record as you read this post, I’m not referring to our foreign exchange student we hosted a few years ago. I’m a youth leader so I have a lot of interaction with jr high and high school kids and this post is in reference to one of the many.

I visited with a young girl who’d been in the United States temporarily. I asked her about her time here and if she’d enjoyed coming to church while she was here (something which was a new experience for her).

Her response: “I do like it, but I don’t believe.”

Me: “Really? Like you don’t believe in God?!”

Her: “No, I don’t.”

Me: (without any hesitation whatsoever, because I lack patience) “So what do you do??!! What do you do when you hurt, when you fear, when you worry, when the bottom drops out?! Where do you place your hope?”

She hesitated thoughtfully… but didn’t have an answer. Continue reading “Part 1: Too Incredible to Deny”

Blogger Recognition Award

Recently a fellow blogging friend sent me a notification that she’d selected me for a Blogging Recognition Award.

This blogging friend is Tina from God’s Kid Speaks. Check her blog out at http://godskidspeaks.wordpress.com/

She’s a fantastic writer with great insight, tons of wisdom, and a plethora of encouragement, and she had received the same award herself a few days before!

Thanks so much Tina for nominating me, this was a first for me also and I truly appreciate it!

I love that this award came at this time because my husband and I just attended an awards banquet a few weeks ago for the company he works for. Each of the employees were recognized and awarded for their number of years of commitment to the company. It was neat to meet and spend time with the CEO of this very successful company, to watch his humble presence and mannerism was absolutely remarkable! So the idea of awards was already fresh in my mind from that. Continue reading “Blogger Recognition Award”

Good Good Father

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Photo taken in Ouray, CO

Chris Tomlin (a Christian musician) sings Good Good Father, a song regarding and recognizing God’s immense love for us.

The other morning I listened to this very song and noticed I can finally get all the way through without choking up as I sing along to the words. I wasn’t always able to do so before…And I’m thankful beyond measure.

I’ve intentionally and passionately pursued Christ for the past five years, not perfectly but with great effort. I’ve read and memorized scripture. I’ve counteracted and demolished negative thoughts by applying God’s faithful word where fear and worry long to thrive.

But in all that, can I just be honest and admit that for a long time I failed to see that God loves, loves, loves me deeply and without limitations…He LOVES me with unconditional genuine love. Keep in mind I’ve believed in Him since I was a young girl, and was taught of His love from a young age but the idea and reality of His love never struck me until more recently.

Continue reading “Good Good Father”