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Thursday, May 10, 2012

.Day 10 of 7.

I am just going to admit it.

I am ready for new foods. Ten days in and my taste buds are bored.

But I am not giving up or in. God is doing something with this! Today my thoughts have been far away, dreaming about how our family can dive into the marginalized right here in our community. Our heart will always be passionate about Ethiopia, and I know that we will always, always have a relationship with Ethiopia - including yearly mission trips, adoption, orphan care, and anything else that God lays on our heart. Perhaps someday it will be long term.  But right now, we are here. In a small, rural, farming community that has its own marginalized people walking among us. Yes, the needs here are different then the needs in Ethiopia. The poverty is not the same, and that is why I feel we must have our hands moving in both places right now - for us it cannot be an either or. Since last night's small group, my mind has been ruminating on the story of the good Samaritan, and God's biggest two commandments for our life. 1. Loving God with our entire being. 2. Loving People - our neighbor.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37


We had a good discussion about who our neighbor really is, and concluded that it is any person who we come across that is in need. To not show mercy, compassion, kindness, justice, etc. on that person is just wrong.

That stings.

I have failed in this. Through reading 7,  and throughout the journey God has taken us on this past year, I am beginning to truly grasp how much God's heart is for the outcast - the marginalized. If Jesus was here, in my city, right now, I know exactly where He would be ministering, and who He would be showing love and mercy and compassion, too. Those people look a bit differently than most of the people that darken our doorway on Sunday morning at our church. And guess what? I am ashamed and begging forgiveness from God, because I am not ministering to those people. Today I started searching my heart, praying, and begging God to please humanize the poverty right here in my hometown, and break my heart for the people that break His heart in my town. I think I am ready to get a little messy, right here where I live, for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of following my Jesus. {deep breath} So much more where that came from, but not now.

Now I will answer a few of the questions about 7 that have been asked of me.

1) Are your kids doing this challenge also? If so, do they understand why and are they feeling God speak to them also? (I mean this honestly truthfully sincere, I feel like it's coming across as me making fun of you and I promise I'm not)

This was the most asked question! No, my children are not doing the fast with us. My children are 6,3,and 2, and are in no way spiritually mature enough to understand the reasons for a fast. However, with our six year old we have talked a lot about 7 in front of her and with her. She has a very sensitive heart, and I believe that God has placed in her a real desire to love hurting people. She knows the realities of many children around the world, and prays heartily for them. This experiment continues to open her eyes to the blessings around us, and I am thankful that she is seeing this at such a young age. Having said all of that, our children have eaten many of the same dinners as we have (chicken and sweet potatoes!), however, I typically throw in an extra veggie or two for them as well. For breakfast and lunch they eat their typical foods - yogurt, veggies, and sandwiches. Tonight I made them macaroni and cheese and veggies, because I thought they could use a chicken break!


2) Are spices off limits? I was thinking even some of the poorest area of the world still utilize herbs and spices to their advantage.

It's really hard to fully describe this experiment to someone who has not read the book. It tends to come off as very legalistic, which it is not. at. all. How the experiment works is up to the interpretation of each individual and how they want to follow through with the fast. Some people gave up 7 foods for a month, some chose only 7 to eat (like us), some only gave up desserts or sugar, some just coffee, some fasted for 1 week, etc. We chose to do the fast very similarly to the way the author did, so in doing that we have limited our diet to 7 foods, water, salt, pepper, and olive oil. No other herbs or spices are allowed for us.



3) How did you decide on the foods you chose? They're quite brilliant, but I'm wondering what your thought process was.
 
The author of the book actually consulted experts and nutritionists for her 7 foods, so we took her list and tweaked it to our taste buds. We also took into consideration some foods that friends of ours who had done the fast before us wish they had chosen (like peanut butter). would we choose the same 7 foods again.....mmmmmm probably not! We have learned a lot in these 10 days!

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