Just One Drop

Because I have Celiac Disease, I have to be vigilant in looking out for possible sources of gluten (bread being the most obvious).  This also forces me to plan ahead where anything edible is concerned, so I am certain to have food I can eat when the need arises.  Even communion poses a problem for me if I haven’t planned ahead.  I know Jesus is fine with me skipping the bread part, if need be, but I’d rather partake fully.

As part of a wonderful worship service at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, communion was served.  I had come prepared with my little piece of corn cracker to take when the others had regular matzo.  I was safe . . . or was I?  When the elements were being passed down the rows, I realized the people were reaching over the little wooden goblets on the tray to pick up their piece of bread.  Since only one crumb dropped into the cup would create a problem for me, I kept my eye on the cups farthest away from the bread.  Reaching for one of those safe cups, I hesitated a moment when it looked like they were almost empty.  Since it was my only choice, however, I picked up the cup.

As the elements continued to be distributed, I considered more carefully what I had in my hands.  When I looked at that single drop of wine in the bottom of my goblet, I sensed the Lord reminding me, “It only took one drop.” Wow!  Jesus only had to shed one drop of His perfect, sinless blood to cover all our sins . . . but He gave so much more than was required.  He gave it all!  Superabundant sacrifice!  Superabundant forgiveness!  Superabundant mercy!  Superabundant grace!  Superabundant love!  For you.  For me.

Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP  17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

Just One Ingredient

What a difference a year makes!  A year ago, I had a procedure (endoscopy) in which the doctor looked into my small intestine, took some pictures and a biopsy, and confirmed the results of an earlier blood test for celiac disease.  In brief, this is an autoimmune disease that can go on for years without being diagnosed, in which vitamins, nutrients, etc., are not absorbed properly, if at all.  If it continues without diagnosis and treatment, it can cause many seemingly unrelated problems throughout a person’s body.

It was one thing to find out what was at the root of my problems.  It was another to know that the only treatment (not cure) is eliminating gluten completely from my diet.  Some of my symptoms had gotten bad enough that the thought of changing my diet to get relief was a welcome one.  When I realized how drastically everything concerning my food had to be changed immediately, however, the welcome turned into being overwhelmed!

Fast forward to the present.  Because of so much information available on the internet, as well as several well-written books I have read, I’ve learned much of the language of a gluten-free world.  I’ve learned how to navigate menus and ingredient lists, and to be assertive for my health in restaurants.  I still have to think about what I will eat ahead of time, since I can’t snack on just anything anymore, but that is my normal now.  What a difference a year makes!

Better even than the adjustment to a new way of eating, the major improvement in my health is wonderful!  The majority of symptoms I had listed as being related to the celiac disease have improved or completely resolved.  Other things I just considered “Kay quirks” have also improved since the gluten was eliminated.  Taking just one ingredient out of my diet has put my physical health on a path of improvement.  The longer I’m on that path, the greater my health.

Despite all the symptoms by the time of diagnosis, I could have decided it was too hard to make the required changes.  I could have continued eating as always, causing a decreased quality of life, as well as lifespan.  It really wasn’t much of a decision, as radical as it was, because just getting the diagnosis was God’s first answer to my prayers.  I had needed His grace in the midst of not knowing what was happening in my body, and I needed His grace now to live this new lifestyle.  As promised, His grace has been sufficient.  Now I can see the physical healing that I could only hope for a year ago.  Now I can see what He knew when we started on this path.

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

I was only asked to give up one ingredient.  Just one.  But what a difference doing without that one ingredient has made in my life.  How much improvement has resulted, including the time I possibly gained to continue sharing the love of Jesus with others!  I need to remember this the next time Daddy points to something in my life that needs changing.

Where Is Your Hope?

As I read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, a new insight came to me that increased a personal revelation from the Lord.  Follow along with me as we look at this story from the perspective of where we put our hope.  The story involves two servants who earned more with the talents they were given than the one who buried his, but it is so much more than that.  It’s all about the hope of their hearts.

Nothing in this story indicates the master had promised a reward for the servants’ time and effort; however, all their needs were already met as part of his household staff.  The first two did not set their hopes on what they would receive for attending to the master’s business while he was away.  Their hope was in their master, so they were busy doing what would be to his benefit, seemingly without thought of personal increase.  When the master returned, they were rewarded abundantly, on top of what they already had!

The third one missed out entirely.  As one of the servants, he lived with all the benefits of being part of the master’s household, just like the others, yet he was ungrateful and spiteful.  I don’t know where his hope was, but it wasn’t in his master.  His misplaced hope caused him to have wrong thinking and bad attitudes, and led to bad choices – so that, in the end, he even lost what little he had.

I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease.  Getting the diagnosis was an answer to prayer, though God didn’t give this to me, and I didn’t ask for it.  What I did ask for, repeatedly, was help in finding the root of many symptoms that I knew were related.  The day I heard the diagnosis, I prayed for the healing that Jesus provided in the stripes on His back, and I know it is mine.  So, how does all this relate to my personal revelation?

At this time, celiac disease is only treatable through a radically changed diet – one completely free of gluten.  I’m only too happy to give up the gluten, because there is expectation of health beyond what I’ve known!  But, when the Lord gave me the insight into this parable, I saw that I could easily lose sight of the truth that Jesus, alone, is my Hope.  My diet is not my hope, though it is an important part of the health He has for me.  Jesus is my Hope.  Even great health beyond what I’ve ever known is not my hope.  Jesus is my Hope.  Lack of symptoms is not my hope.  If I put my hope in any of those things, I will be disappointed, and might even lose sight of what is already mine in Christ, as did the ungrateful servant with misplaced hope.

I don’t want to forget what is mine in Christ Jesus, but I don’t even want to hope in and focus on that!  I want my hope to be fixed on Jesus Christ, alone.  Everything else is already provided in Christ.  When my hope is in Jesus, alone, what I do is for the benefit and glory of my Lord, producing much fruit for Him.  Yes, my hope is in Jesus Christ alone.  Where is your hope?