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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

The Eucharist Diet: How is this Working?

posted by Mark Herringshaw

January 11, 2010

Day 10

Weight: 203 lbs

Weight lost: -3

 

Come, all you who are thirsty,
       come to the waters;
       and you who have no money,
       come, buy and eat!
       Come, buy wine and milk
       without money and without cost.

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Why spend money on what is not bread,
       and your labor on what does not satisfy?
       Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
       and your soul will delight in the richest of fare (Isaiah 55:1-2)

I’m down three – count ’em three – pounds in 10 days. I did not exercise Sunday or Monday because I’ve been over the top busy. And last night we had BBQ ribs for supper. Depending on the time of day you’re reading this, that is either a cause of envy or cause of sympathy in you. At any rate, they were superb. Our family of six – now seven – was celebrating the arrival of our dear Chinese “daughter,” Kim who lived with us two years ago and has now returned for graduate studies in Minnesota. She’ll be living with us for a time. Her homecoming called for a feast… Seems I’ve found several excuses for very eating well the last few days…

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Still, I’ve managed to drop three pounds, without intention or sweat or flogging myself with denials. My only change in behavior has been a daily celebration of communion. Last night Jill (my wife) and I shared it together just before we went to bed. Sweet.

 

I really do believe something is beginning to shift in my relationship with food. It’s not magic, but perhaps it’s a miracle. “My soul is delighting in the richest of fare…”

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Absence: I will be off line from blogging about The Eucharist Diet until Friday this week. Every year in January Jill and I head away for three days for a retreat praying and planning our year. It’s been a great tradition for us. This year we’re going to The Wilderness in the woods of Western Wisconsin and we’ll be staying in one of their small handcrafted log cabins. I’ll be continuing this Eucharist discipline but I won’t be able to blog about the results until later this week.

 

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Until then… Bon Appetite!

 

“The Eucharist Diet” adventure is my six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage.  

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Mark McGwire Lives in Denial… Say a Prayer for Him

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Disgraced ex-baseball star Mark McGwire finally sobbed out his steroid confession yesterday. No one was the least surprised; no one should be the least bit impressed.

 

I once cheered for McGwire who hit 583 career home runs with Oakland and St. Louis, and is best known for his 1998 record-breaking home run duel with Sammy Sosa (also a steroid customer) by hitting 70. Today, I’m cynical. Yes, try again, Mr. McGwire.

 

I’m not the least bit impressed with McGwire’s efforts at PR rehabilitation. Confession is one thing, repentance and honestly “facing the music” is quite another. While I cannot judge another man’s heart, I can hear and understand plain English. “Big Mac” added a revealing caveat to his seemingly obligatory exercise in public remorse that leaves no doubt: His tears are more about regret at being caught than admitting deception and culpability in the trauma he has caused the little boys game he got paid a fortune to play, not to mention the devastation his actions have had on the imagination of all of us “little boys” who played the sucker for his feats.

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Specifically McGuire lives in denial: When asked if he could have still hit 70 homeruns in 1998 without the help of steroids he answered – with a straight face, “Absolutely. Look at my track record as far as hitting home runs. They still talk about home runs I hit in high school. I was given the gift to hit home runs.”

 

“Absolutely?” Are you kidding? That’s the whole point Mr. McGuire. You took these drugs to cheat an advantage. And now you still have the nerve to ask us to give legitimacy to your career? It will never happen. Let that fantasy go. The first step to your redemption, which now will have to be outside of baseball is to come clear and clean about the consequences of actions.

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For those who believe they must and can “repair” their own damages, real redemption is impossible. While we continue to insist on casting ourselves in the best light possible and trodding the well worn path of restoration laid out by public relations experts, we’re still doomed and don’t know it That pattern is all too familiar. Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Koby Bryant and many other tainted “stars” have walked the course of public remorse, with a caveat to save just a bit of face. It’s never fully worked…

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So try again Mr. McGuire. It’s all or nothing. Only when you go low to the level of total brokenness is your redemption possible. Only at the point where you save no sliver of self respect and cry for help – grace – from the only One at this point who can and will lift you up, can you hope to recover a glory, this time a glory not your own.

 

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That’s my prayer for you.

 

I’ve written about my own experience with brokenness and repentance in my latest book, “The Karma of Jesus.” Yes Big Mac there is redemption, but it won’t come through drumming up your own efforts at good Karma. It will only come through seeking help from the outside…

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“Hey Tiger, I’ve Screwed Up too, and Yes, There is Redemption…”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Brit Hume is still catching Hell for his public comments that Tiger Woods should consider converting to Christianity from Buddhism. Hume implies that Woods’ belief in an impersonal “Force” running the Universe leaves him no room for redemption. If Karma is all and in all, then atonement short of our own efforts is impossible. And who after all can atone for such major public screw ups as Woods’ has displayed?

 

I’m sympathetic of Tiger Woods because I too have screwed up in my life as well. No, I haven’t cheated on my (equally gorgeous) wife. This is not a public confession of that stripe. But I’ve hurt her seriously on other ways, with my words and my not so subtle arts of manipulation. I’ve found ways to get my way. And more than once I’ve needed to seek forgiveness and pardon and healing. If I were ever left on my own to find reconciliation, our marriage would have ended long ago. I’ve needed help. I’ve needed God… And I’ve found him.  

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I’ve written about the healing Jill and I have experienced in my latest book, “The Karma of Jesus.” The story is in Chapter 7, for those interested. Tomorrow I’ll post a portion of that story. Yes Tiger, there is redemption, but it won’t come through drumming up your own Karma. It will only come through seeking help from the outside…

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The Eucharist Diet: How Hungry are You?

posted by Mark Herringshaw

January 11, 2010

Day 10

Weight: 204 lbs

Weight lost: -2

 

“I have food you know not of…” John 4:31

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I’m in a reflective mood this morning, needing to ponder and pen some basics, to remind myself what I’m doing here and why. Bear with me…

 

I love to eat.  The tastes, the aromas, the subtle textures, even the sight of food fascinate me.  God could have packaged our necessary nutrients in vitamin pills.   But no, he made kiwi fruit and brook trout and new red potatoes and honey and…  Food.  It is a huge part of our lives.  And more than just sustenance, food means fellowship with friends.  In the feast of our Lord food is even worship!  Jesus loved to eat.  In the gospels we often see him eating at feasts, or in the home of some repentant sinner, or turning water to wine at a wedding banquet.  God blesses food!  It is one of his many precious gifts to us. 

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Jesus is sitting beside Jacob’s well in Samaria.  His disciples have gone off to town to retrieve some food.  Jesus is tired, and thirsty, and hungry.  But as he sits and waits for his lunch and strikes up a most remarkable conversation with a wayward woman.  In her excitement the woman leaves Jesus and runs to town to tell the town’s people that she has found the Messiah.  Now the timing of this story is fascinating.  Just as she is leaving the disciples return from town with some food.  They say “eat Master.”  But Jesus responds “I have food you don’t know about.”  What food?  Did someone bring Jesus something to eat?  The mystery flies over the disciple’s heads.  “My food” says Jesus “is to do will of Father.”  What is Jesus saying?  He is acknowledging another energy source.  He is claiming that his ministry to this women has literally revived his strength.  Truly, Jesus did live by bread, but not by bread alone.

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We humans are not mere animals.  Of course we need nutrition to feed our bodies: proteins and carbohydrates and minerals.  But our spirits are fed by a different Life source.  Unlike any other creature we co-existing in two universes: the world of time and space, and dimension of the spirit.  And both realms require their own energy systems.  When our stomach is empty, we fry a hamburger or make a salad.  But what do we do when we’re spiritually hungry?

Nutritionists use to talk about the four basic food groups: dairy, meats, fruits / vegetables, and starches.  The Bible talks about basic spiritual food groups as well. To feed our spirits we need to balance our diets with:

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·         Milk: the elementary truths of the gospel (Hebrews 5:12).  We need to understand the fundamentals of our faith. Knowing truth feeds our spirit. 

·         Meat: the “solid food” of righteousness (Hebrews 5:13). We need to move beyond knowing the basics to live-out our faith in a righteous lifestyle. Practicing truth feeds our spirit.

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·         Fruit: the evidence of the Spirit in our transformed character and transformed relationships (Galatians 5:22).  We need to live our faith in our love for one another. Practicing love feeds our spirit.  

·         Bread: the bread of life is Jesus himself, his own body, and now His church (John 6:35).  We need to experience the presence of God. Knowing and practicing the presence of God feeds our spirit. 

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“God, I have food… Along with Jesus, this is what I say and claim. I have food that you have provided, and both physically and spiritually I am filled and content and nourished, already. I thank you for this. Thank you for the food you provide me. I don’t need more. I have enough. I have plenty. In Jesus…”

 

“The Eucharist Diet” adventure is my six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage.  

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