Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Thursday night a group of friends gathered around a table in an upper room within the walls of Jerusalem.  They gathered to celebrate and remember the freedom that God gave them from their slavery in Egypt.  Their laughter and chatting could be heard down the corridors.  As they passed the food around for seconds, I am sure they were swapping stories about the God of Israel and all the mighty things he has done for his people.  They reminisced about their time together the past few years.  How they had met.  All the crazy adventures they had been on.  All the miracles they had witnessed.  I’m sure they talked with excited anticipation about what they thought the days to come would bring. 

It was then the conversation took an awkward turn.  Jesus, the leader in this group of scraggly fishermen, started rambling about how one in this room would betray him.  He then started saying things like the bread was his body and the drink was his blood.  No one really understood what he meant by this, but he was the great teacher.  This wasn’t the first time they had not understood what he said. 

Dinner ended with song then several took a walk over to the Mount of Olives for some time of prayer.  After a few hours had passed, a mob of men, led by one who had dined with the group previously, approached.  They took Jesus and arrested him.  Jesus went obediently almost like he was expecting this.  His followers stood angry, baffled, and scared. 

It is a long night for everyone.  Relief does not come with Friday morning.  Things go from bad to worse.  Before they know what is happening, the verdict is out.  Jesus Christ, their savior, redeemer, and king will be killed.  He will die a shameful, ghastly murder’s death on a cross for all to see. 

The same man who was laughing, bantering, singing hymns with them not 24 hours ago is being stripped, flogged, and prepared for slaughter.  The man they had left everything to follow.  The man who taught and loved them like no one else ever had.  The man who was their savior.  The man who they had grown to love with everything  in them.  Their constant companion and friend.   If there ever was a nightmare this was it.

They were helpless, powerless, hopeless, in the face of the fate of their beloved Jesus of Nazareth.  Their son, brother, and friend. 

The earth trembled with disgust and sorrow.  The sky turned black so it would not have to watch.  The veil was torn.

It was finished.    

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Team Prater vs. Dryer


Our dryer is broken.  Or should I say we broke our dryer.  As I type this I hear the clanking of metal, and screws, and parts.  We are trying very unsuccessfully to fix it.  At this point in Dryer vs. Team Prater it is Dryer 5 and Team Prater 2.  This is an improvement seeing as it was a shut out for a while. 

What started out as a loose belt has escalated into ---I don’t really know what.  My advice is before you start taking screws out willy-nilly Google it. It might prevent a days worth of a hard and frustrating labor.  I honestly think I am going to have nightmares tonight about being trapped in my dryer with nothing but the sound of  scraping metal ringing in my ears.    

As frustrating as it is to fix, every time we think we have gotten it right there is an unparalleled feeling of accomplishment.  That is, until we hear that metal to metal sound that makes us what to cut our ears off. 

In other, more positive news, I am in my final hours of the food month of Seven.  I was beginning to wonder if this day would come.  What have I missed most?  That would be SWEETS!  I have some treats ready to go after midnight tonight!   A cupcake from girls bible study last night, jelly beans, Canterbury eggs, and strawberries from Publix.  It took much restraint and self control not to buy out the whole store today.

I have all my meals planed for tomorrow and looking forward with great anticipation to them all.  Yes, I have probably put too much thought into this. 

Did anything good come out of this month?  Absolutely!  I have never eaten healthier.  I really think I can continue this as long as I can throw in a few sweet treats here and there : )P  Before this month I didn’t know I liked sweet potatoes or avocadoes.  They will definitely remain a healthy stable of my diet.  Especially now that I can dip some tasty Tostitos into my avocadoes.  Most importantly I learned how spoiled I am.  I have any food I could ever imagine at my finger tips,while my brothers and sisters around the world scrap by with some rice and bread.  I learned that I CAN simplify and can choose to not get distracted by all the choices.  I learned that I find Jesus in the simplicity.        

Basically this month felt like a detox.  A detox of all junk we fill our bodies with.  It has left me feeling healthier, more energetic, and lighter.  Like I have cleared out a room in my house.  There is now room for the spirit to move about.  I will splurge tomorrow and probably the day after that.  But my hope is that I don’t fill my empty space back up with more junk.  I pray that I will keep it cleaned out so that the spirit can continue to work.    

I have a couple days break before I start the next month in April.  I still haven’t decided what I am doing next.  We will see!


Dryer 5 Team Prater 6

Team Prater made a come back at the bottom of the 4th.  Who’s laughing now dryer, who is laughing now? 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wheat Thins

Wheat Thins.  That is wheat bread right?  Sadly I think not.  I bought it anyway and now feeling some major guilt.  I thought it would taste good dipped in avocados.  It didn’t.  I guess I deserved that. 

I am starting that thing I often do when faced with strict rules like, “you can only eat these seven foods.”  I notoriously take the “rules” and push them to the limit.  Skirting around the edges of what is right and what is wrong.  Rules have always annoyed me.  In fact, one sure way to get me to do something this to tell me one of two things:that I shouldn’t or that I can’t.  I just get this burning desire to prove you wrong.   

As you can imagine this has gotten me in trouble more times than I can count.  But, on another hand Jesus wasn’t much of a rule follower either.  After all, he healed on the Sabbath.  He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and other various sinners.  One day he even went through the temple turning over tables like a madman. 

Don’t get me wrong.  Rules are a great thing.  God disciplines us and gives us guidelines because he loves us SO dearly.  But, I cannot let my obsession over the correct choice in the grocery store cloud the big picture point of this month.  And, we cannot let our obsession of being perfectly correct and sanitized Christians cloud the true, messy, mission of Jesus.  

Yes, it is hard.  Yes, I am so desperately tired of eggs, chicken, avocados, sweet potatoes, wheat bread, apples, and spinach.  Yes, I want to sneak ice cream, chocolate, and cookies into my mouth when no one is looking.  But, even when I am trying to cheat the system, every time I want to eat (which is often) I am reminded of my limited options.  I am reminded of my brothers and sisters around the world who also have limited options (most much worse than mine).  I am reminded of the perfect, pure simplicity of Christ and I draw near to Him.          

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 7


I am seven days into the seven fast.  I have eaten seven foods for seven days.  In other words, I have had nothing but chicken, eggs, wheat bread, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, and apples, for seven days.  Seven days that has felt like a year.  There was a box of cookies in the copy room today at work and it took every ounce of self control in my not to eat one.  No one would have known!  Just one COOKIE!

This week has been particularly bad.  A science teacher at the school where I work gave the kids a project to do on cells.  The kids had to make a cell, out of some kind of baked good.  BAKED GOOD.  They were due this week.  Y’all there were cakes, cookie cakes, rice crispy cakes, floating around everywhere.  Everywhere a turned, CAKE!  Then she sent them down the halls to give some slices to the teachers.  I had about ten kids come to my door with a piece of cake in their hand.  I accepted two to be polite.  They sat on my desk staring at me with their beady little eyes.  Needless to say by the end of the say I was angry.    

And then I remember the people around the world who live on less than seven foods.   Foods that are way less healthy or nutritious than mine.  How dare I complain.  It is almost like I am more addicted to having what I want whenever I want it, than I am addicted to the certain food.  How disgustingly selfish.

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”  

Deuteronomy 8:2-3

May I not live on bread alone that leaves me hungry again, but on the word of God that forever satisfies and sustains. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Seven Challenge


After being sick all day today, when I should have been eating chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight, I sent my man to Jalapenos to get me a Taco Fajita with chips and cheese dip.  And for dessert?  Well, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream of course.  Probably not the best thing I could be eating after battling a fever all day, but it was my last meal before my eating habits drastically change for a month. 

I blame Jen Hatmaker and Julie Kopf.  Jen, you wrote this self convicting, utterly entertaining book about reduction, and Julie, you said, “Hey!  Let’s do what she did!” 

So here I am.  Starting tomorrow I will be eating only seven foods for one month.  The food?

  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Wheat bread
  • Avocados
  • Apples 


Up until this point I have been very nervous and even a little frightened.  All of which indicates how entrenched in the consumer mindset I am and how badly I need this fast.  Now I am kind of excited to see what I am going to learn and how I am going to experience Jesus through this.  And you my dear blog will get to hear all about it.  You are my outlet.  The good. The bad. The ugly.  Is sure to come out in the next 31 days.  But hopefully through all of that and amidst all of that we will see Jesus.

I will explain more about this book as a whole later, but right now I need to lie down and get rid of this pesky fever before work tomorrow.       

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Doubting Thomas


I read something the other day that has changed my view of doubt.  Randy Harris wrote a book called God Work.  In the first chapter of this book he writes, “The opposite of faith is not doubt.  The opposite of faith is complacency.  Anybody who cares enough to doubt is very close to the faith.”

This took me aback.  I thought I was supposed to be ashamed of my doubts.  Doubt meant that I was not the strong faithful Christian that I needed to be, questioning nothing and certain of everything.  Thomas doubted that Christ had risen and was standing in front of him and we give him a hard time for it.  But how many of us would have believed that our Teacher, who was killed on a cross three days ago was really back from the dead? 

Augustine says, “Only he who doubts can truly believe.”   

I am forming some new ideas about doubt.  Doubt is not our enemy.  Doubt is the search for truth.  After thinking back, to when Christ transformed my life I remembered that it wasn’t until I verbally expressed my doubts to a trusted friend and mentor that I was a able to truly believe. 

What would happen if we started encouraging this kind of conversation?  Where doubts could be freely expressed.  We could put all our questions out on the table and work through them rather than suppress them.  We would never stopped searching for the truth because we would never become complacent with our faith.    

Let God use your doubt to teach you more than he ever has. 

And let’s stop giving Thomas a hard time. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Who was, Who is, and Who is to Come

As we get older life gets more complicated.  My life is changing and I can hardly keep up.  In December I went from a carefree college kid to landing the job of my dreams before even walking across the stage to get a diploma.  I am beyond thankful, but hitting the ground running is an understatement.  Kurt’s grandfather passed away on Christmas morning after a long battle with emphysema, and later that week his brother got married (we are so excited for the new married couple!).  Our hearts have been put through quiet the roller coaster. 

Needless to say, by Christmas night I was not feeling the Christmas spirit like a normally do.  I pulled out my bible and opened to John 1.  Not the typical Christmas manger scene story you will find in Matthew, Mark, or Luke, but its words washed over my thirsty soul.    

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  John 1:1-5

As I was finishing the passage, Kurt came in the room, saw what I was reading, and showed me something that I now cherish.  He pointed me to Genius 1.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  And God SAID, “Let there be light.”

I am no scholar.  I am no theologian.  But I do know that words are spoken.  From this I conclude that when God was speaking this earth into being Jesus flowed from this lips.  Jesus was light in the darkness and chaos of Genesis, as the was the light in the darkness of the new testament, AS HE IS THE LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS TODAY.  The Lord who lowered himself to man in order to save us was the very word who created us. 

Something about this revelations made the worries I was feeling that night dissolve as I sat in awe of the one who was, and who is, and who is to come.  Although our lives and circumstances are always changing, he is the same.