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Faith Imagined: January 2009

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

January 22, 2009

What's Your Flavor?!

I was reading in Matthew and a verse caught me by surprise. It's a verse I've heard a lot, but God showed me something totally different and very cool!

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall
it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and
trampled underfoot by men" (Matt. 5.13 NKJV).

How would I lose my flavor? I asked myself. And the Holy Spirit whispered to me, "When you try to conform to everyone else, you lose your flavor." My mind came to a complete stop. I have a problem with trying to make sure that I make those around me feel comfortable.

I automatically survey my surroundings and change my flavor a tad just to make sure that I don't stick out too much or that my personality doesn't offend anyone. When I do this, however, I'm losing my individual flavor; and, according to scripture, I've lost my spice and should be thrown out!

God has blessed us each with our very own flavor!!! Some of us are spicy, buttery, herby, peppery, tangy, whatever! And our flavor will not suit everyone; but if we don't cultivate it, our flavor will not excite anyone either. I need to worry more about sharpening my flavor to match what God intended it to smell like and taste like instead of constantly trying to keep it low key so as not to be too distinct.

I now understand that many people will not want to add my flavor to their plate, but they can appreciate it for its unique blend. On the other hand, other people may get a whiff of my flavor and love it, wanting to sprinkle it all over their food. But whatever the case, I'm sure Jesus desires us to be a strong aroma, not a bland, tasteless substance. He created us to spice up His creation, not just to sit around, making no difference whatsoever!

So my challenge to myself is to be the flavor that God created me to be and not to judge others based on their flavor. I think we have become way too picky eaters and any flavor that doesn't suit our fancy we automatically label as gross. Not so! God created a smorgasbord of flavors and they are all tantalizing and wonderful!

So I say, "Find your flavor and saturate the world with it!"

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January 2, 2009

From Strength to Strength

God never promised life would be easy. In fact, hardships in life are a guarantee. I used to wonder about this. How come some days with Christ seem so easy and refreshing and other days seem to test my very resolve? Was I do something wrong? If I were a good Christian little girl, wouldn't I always have peace in my heart and a song on my lips?

God gave me freedom from my wrong thinking when I read Psalms 84.5-7:

Blessed are those who strength is in you, who have set their hearts on
pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

The first few lines of the verse directly states that we will need strength in this life; therefore, God knows that things will be hard. But we need to understand that this is a journey (pilgrimage) and we must resolve to walk the paths that God directs us on no matter how easy or difficult or how boring or glamorous.

Also, this life is the "Valley of Baca" or the Valley of Weeping, but we can make it a "place of springs," which means this life will be filled with hardships but somehow we can find refreshment and joy. To find a spring in the desert was no small blessing -- it was a life-saving miracle! I am determined to look for those springs because I know they are everywhere. I just need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me to them.

And God also says that He will rain down His blessings and they will form into pools during our trek through the desert. This was like a breakthrough for me. I always wondered why I could feel so close to God and so refreshed and joyful one day and a month later feel exhausted and distant from Him. This is because God promised us "springs" during our walk through this life, not an endless ocean.

Springs mean that we will be refreshed at times, but then we will have to get up, break a sweat, and make our way through the desert by exerting our sheer determination and dependence on God. We will have moments of being rejuvenated, but then God will allow us to use our own two legs and forge ahead through this pilgrimage relying on His strength.
We will not be able to drift on a lifeboat, while sunning our backs and waiting for our life to gently escort us to Zion. On the contrary, we'll probably be dragging our broken bodies to Zion, which is okay because "The joy of the Lord is your strength" Nehemiah 8.10.

And when we each reach our final destination (face to face to God in Heaven) we will be worn-out and depleted, but we will be filled with the excitement and peace that we completed the journey that God created for us. So during my journey, I will rejoice when I come to a spring and I will soak in every last bit of refreshment from it; but when the water is gone and I'm feeling like a cannot take another step, I will find my strength in Him!

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