Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
(Psalms 34:8a)

For a few months, I tried a ketogenic diet hoping the high fat content would prove useful in treating migraines. Sadly, it did not work for me.

However, I must say it was the most fun diet I have ever followed to date; particularly for the mischievous part of me which just had to say to at least one waiter, “I’m on a diet, so I’d like a double bacon cheeseburger with no bun but extra cheese and broccoli with extra butter for my side dish. Oh and coffee with heavy cream. Thanks!”

But after the first two weeks, the migraine frequency ramped up and I began to suspect all the cheese. As a result, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, I cut dairy out completely <sniff> and began slowly adding higher-carb veggies like sweet potatoes <smile> back in while still avoiding sweeteners, legumes, and grain.

With a very few slight deviations in the sweetener department during the holidays, my plan is to switch back to Whole 30-style paleo after Christmas – but this time for more than 30 days.

And I’m feeling pretty good, I’m happy to say. But that isn’t the point of this post.

By Thanksgiving, I had been a faithful paleo girl for almost 2 weeks and a devoted keto girl for 10-12 weeks before that, so I thought I would treat myself on the holiday and have coffee the way I love it – with honey and coconut milk.

Or rather, as it turned out, this was coffee the way I used to love it.

After three months sans sweeteners, my much-anticipated treat turned out to be unpalatable. It would seem my tastes have changed.

I still love coffee and tea but now take both either bare and unadorned or (for coffee) with a splash of full-fat coconut milk. Now I find that any added sweetness only dulls the tasty goodness of the beverage.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with the change, particularly since sugar is pretty horrible for me anyway.

And it got me thinking…

Back in the days before my soul was redeemed and still on auction to the highest bidder, there were several less wholesome entertainments I relished. In fact, if I had been an honest atheist (which I certainly was not), I would have admitted part of my problem with “religion” was the belief I would be required to give up too much of what brought me pleasure and enjoyment.

Oddly enough, the more I indulged in those very diversions, the less satisfaction they delivered. It was the Law of Diminishing Returns played out in dive bars and shallow relationships, and the more time and energy I spent in pursuing them, the more elusive pleasure became.

As it turned out, all God asked me to give up were the very things which masked the rich and complex flavor of life.

The truth is, God has never asked His people to abstain from pleasure; He asks us to experience it for the first time without interference. The exchange is not pleasure for dullness, but trash for treasure.

All the world can offer is cheap imitations and those at an ever-increasing cost: temporary, chemically-induced high spirits instead of a limitless well of joy; instant gratification instead of absolute satisfaction; greed instead of contentment.

Pain without purpose.

Today, if the obstacle preventing you from seeking the Lord is your lifestyle, may I share something with you? If you seek Him with all your heart, I assure you your tastes will change. And with or without Him, all the sweetness this world has to offer will become bitter over time.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
(Psalms 34:8)

The crazy thing is – we have nothing to offer God. Yet out of His love and mercy, He desires what is best for us anyway. And not just right this moment, but forever. Kind of like giving up sugar, but with eternally far-reaching consequences.

When we reject the Lord, we are not choosing to side with the spirit of fun as we may think, but merely joining our greatest adversary in eternal misery.

For misery is a being, and he does love company. But never forget, he is also a liar and would have you question the motives of God. And he exults when our indulgences become addictions.


I believe it is from pure spite. No angelic being has rebelled and then been redeemed by the very Creator Himself. So if this once magnificent being has made an irrevocable choice to abandon eternal bliss, he now delights in convincing mankind, the creatures who bear God’s favor, that the bitterness of his malice is actually oh, so delectable…

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
(Romans 6:20-21)

And yet, we have been given this choice: the choice to pile increasing heaps of sweetener into a progressively caustic brew or to embrace the true flavor of life as God meant it to be, finding joy in His presence and pleasures forevermore. Truly. In short, we can choose to live for cheap thrills now or to be patient and savor the delightful richness of the presence of God forever.

All this because He gave His only Son as the blood sacrifice to pay the debt for our sin. That, my friends, is the real gift of Christmas.

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
(2 Corinthians 6:2)


A Whole Sacrifice

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

Today, I am on my eleventh day of a program known as the Whole 30. This program is basically a 30-day elimination diet where the participant removes all forms of sweetener (yes, even stevia), all grains, all legumes, all dairy, and pretty much all processed anything from the daily intake with no cheating and no “slips.” There are specific guidelines on how to balance proteins, fats, and veggies with each meal and for pre- and post-workout.  It’s kind of like a dietary boot camp.

The experience so far has made me think a lot about sacrifice for probably fairly obvious reasons (especially taking into consideration that I am the only one of a family of five doing it!). Though no stranger to dietary sacrifice, I admit that I hesitated to take on this particular plan, but that was mere laziness — not wanting to put so much thought, effort, time, money, etc. into my own meals so that my poor family would not be held hostage to the program.  Now on my eleventh day, I find that I am already feeling some positive effects. My sleep has been deep. I am feeling a little less run-down and have a little more energy to spare.

While eating differently, I have thought much on what the Christ calls us to sacrifice.  He calls us to die to ourselves, to take up our cross daily.  He speaks of turning the other cheek when struck, of giving the modern-day equivalent of the shirt off our back to the one who takes our coat,  of feeding and giving drink to our enemies and praying for them. He tells us to give freely to those who ask of us and not to demand our possessions back if taken.

Jesus held a destitute widow up as a role model for giving all the money she had to the service of God.  He is not unclear in stating that the one who grasps and jockeys for position or acclaim will find themselves in last place while the one who serves without seeking credit will find themselves exalted. He, Himself, set an example by washing the feet of His followers so that we would know there is no task too menial or degrading for any who bear His name to do, not to mention giving His life as a ransom even for a reprobate like myself who deserved no mercy.  For those of us who are His, we are not even to esteem our very lives overmuch, but be willing to lay them down for His Kingdom’s sake or for a brother.

In short, He calls us to sacrifice in every way imaginable.

What challenges me and gets those rusty ol’ wheels turning is this: I believe that there is a very real possibility that the Lord will return soon; if not in my own lifetime, then in that of my children.  Of course, I cannot know this, but what I do know is that I am not alone in this belief. Not by a long shot.  Regardless of whether this collective sense is true or not, the fact remains that He will come again — and not a single, solitary one of us knows when. It could be a thousand years. Or it could be before we finish this sentence.

With that in mind, what exactly is too much to sacrifice for His sake? What price too great to pay for a little while, here and now, for the wonder of Eternity in His presence? Is there any mortal and passing thing too great that it cannot be laid aside for love of our Savior?

I think that all it really takes is willingness. Take this Whole 30, for instance. I promise you that if I can do it, you can too. I am not particularly gifted with fantastic restraint or self-mastery. Temptation is no less tempting for me than anyone else.  I am merely willing to give it my all; it is only for thirty days.  Already, there is a reward in place, and one that will likely increase when it’s all over.

If I think of Eternity in that light, it simplifies all things. Everything in my life — homeschooling, money trouble, sacrifices made to obey God’s will — all of it is only a lifetime. It seems long, but it is oh-so-brief in the face of a span of time so tremendous that our minds cannot but faintly scratch at it.   Whatever it is He is calling us to give up, we need only be willing. He will handle the rest. And I assure you that even in the darkest situation, His presence is a reward that will start to happen as we sacrificially obey. And it is sure to increase when it’s all over.

What are you holding that He is calling you to let go?

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1