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2013 With Bagels and Rocks

In these health-minded times, we may have lost a proverb. It’s been a while since I’ve heard, “Whatever you do, keep your eye on the donut… and not on the hole.”

Maybe switching to bagels could help us recover one of life’s most important lessons.

From the beginning of time it’s been an issue.  We were evicted from our first home, as a result of looking past the miracle of life we’d been given– to focus on the hole of knowledge that had been withheld.

Many lives later, the Apostle Paul tried a different way of refocusing us away from the all consuming hole of nothingness to the new life we’ve been given (1Cor 13:1-3).

This is where we may need the rocks.

At some point, our ancestors started using rocks of remembrance to recall what they had been given—and why. Joshua used 12 rocks to help his people remember that they had crossed the rain-swollen Jordan river on dry ground… to step at last into the Promised Land (Joshua 4:1-9). Later, a kingmaker by the name of Samuel did something similar  to say, “this far the Lord has helped us” (1Sam 7:12). Finally, the King himself, left us the ultimate rock of remembrance.

So now, as the first page of 2013 has turned, we get one more chance to see whether the rocks that tell the story of what God has done for us, have left us with our eye on the Bagel—or on the hole.

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24 Responses to “2013 With Bagels and Rocks”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Well Mart there is plenty of room for *corn* bread in this topic.

    It seems that every store or shop that sells donuts also sell bagels and especially their holes.

    It seems that there enough customers that enjoy the holes as much as the donut or bagel.

    I like to see happy people, I like to talk to them and listen to them. Even when life has them in a vise like grip they always seem to have a smile and a happy outlook on their day.

    It is that genuine pleasantness that catches the attention of others.

    The famous gothic picture of the farmer and his wife is what too many people see when they think of Christians. This is because of the testimony too many Christians have.

    As you have alluded to in your remarks, forgotten are the benefits and victory of being Christian and obsessed on are the trials and tribulations of life.

    I offer all a Happy New Year and pray that all of your prayers are answered this coming year.

    We have had 30 inches of snow for December and 18 inches in this past week; living here, if you mind dealing with snow, you had better move on.


  2. bubbles says:

    Another year. . . it’s just man’s way of marking the passing of time. It’s just another day, last night was just another night.

  3. Bill says:

    Happy New Year, Mart and Friends!

    This is a terrific post to start the new year — whimsical, but with deeper meaning to be discovered just under the surface.

    Rocks used for remembrance are common to many nationalities and religions. For example, they’re called cairns in the Scottish tradition. They’re known as stupas in the Buddhist tradition.

    I believe we need constant reminders of what we have, who we are, and why we’re here because when pressures and worries and activities increase it’s so easy to forget even the most essential aspects of our lives.

    Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13 remain my favorite reminder of what I must not forget.

    Paul wrote the definitive treatise on love. It has never been equaled or surpassed. Whenever I forget and lose my way, I remember that love is the most important ingredient in life. In fact, Paul calls it “the greatest.”

    Frankly, I believe 1 Corinthians 13 is the heart of the Bible. Its 260 words are the plumb line from Genesis to Revelation. Love is the Bible’s underlying, and most important message.

    So, for me, love is my stupa, my cairn, my rocks of remembrance…my bagel, my donut – and not the hole.

  4. swwagner says:

    Our eyes should be on the “ROCK OF AGES”.

    I guess we do tend to look at the holes in our life more than the joy. Does that mean that pain and loss have more of an impact on us than delight and gladness?
    Does the sting of defeat keep our attention longer than the glow of victory? Maybe.

  5. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    Wishing you a year-full of Christ’s leading into exploits and adventures in his coming kingdom!
    Wow, beginning 2013 with a piece of bread in one hand, and a rock in the other is such a Biblical position!

    The two things, as real things, and as symbols of God’s salvation among the peoples have so many meanings in the great saga of Scripture it is impossible to address in this format. It may be, Mart, an invitation to each of us to pursue this comparison/word study of Biblical themes. There may be a sermon, an academic paper, or even a book in that project!

    My Bible brain immediately goes to the words of Jesus as he spoke on the mountain-side to the crowds: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:7, 9

    The provision of God for the needs of the whole creation is abundant, both in the means of life and in the needs of the spirit. No creature is nourished without supply from outside itself: grass for the cattle, seed for the birds, meat for the predators. So the Lord also supplies spiritual nourishment (the bread of heaven) to us who are created in his image. Both are real needs – both are abundant especially for God’s children, humankind.


  6. remarutho says:

    One of my mentors, now gone on to glory, used to joke: “What did the doughnut say to the slice of bread? It said, ‘Man! If I had your crust and your dough, I wouldn’t be hanging around this hole!'” :o) Maru

  7. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Amen and amen and amen. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

    Bill, I agree, love is what counts. Love is God’s gift to us and His command to us. He commands us to love Him with our entire being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. His command is to love each other.

    And oh my prayer for this year is to look at the doughnut (God’s grace, mercy, love and power; what God has done) and to quit looking at that useless hole which is supposed to be removed (what i have done).

    Bubbles, you’re right. It just another revolution of the earth around the sun. The earth has no knowledge of this marking of time that mankind has made up. But we do know it and we can say, today is a new day. We can hang up a new calendar and see it as a rock, a reminder, that God’s mercies are new every morning and that we can begin again.

  8. SFDBWV says:

    Bill I enjoyed your comments very much this morning. I too am a great fan of 1 Corinthians 13 and have it framed above my computer here in our dining room.

    As Matt’s friends invited he and us to their weddings over the past several years we always gave as a gift a framed copy of the *love* chapter to his friends.

    When I think of stone monuments and carvings I am always reminded of H.G. Wells story “The Time Machine”. The future Wells seen was one where printed words no longer existed only some little disk, that when spun, could communicate to the listener. Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

    Today as archeologists look into the past the only *concrete* evidences they can rely on are cast in *stone*.

    Jesus is called the corner*stone* and told Peter upon this *rock* he would build His Church.

    It seems ancient peoples were a lot more savvy then we tend to credit them for being.


  9. s2inkzoo says:

    I had heard somewhere a comment on people who are committing this year to each day try and write down at least one thing that God did for them that day, or one thing they are thankful for. Although the practice has a hazard of just becoming a “ritual”, there is a lot of merit into focusing on really taking time to each day thank the Lord and in recognizing when he works in your life, so you don’t just focus on the “hole”, or what is lacking. I know I need to be more consistent at this.

    It is more overwhelming when you realize that what we see and recognize is only the “tip of the iceberg”. A few years ago, I narrowly missed being in a car accident, and thanked God for watching over me. As I was in prayer, it came to me that I do not see all the times God has kept me from danger, or arranged things in my life. How many times has he done great things for me, and I have not even known it?

    What Bill says on love is very important. In Matthew 9:35-38, Jesus sees the needs of the people when he is ministering and doesn’t rush to say how terrible they are. He has compassion and works to send the disciples as he see them as “sheep with out a shepherd”. And who can forget John 3:17 and how it says he came into save the world, not condemn it. We need like eyes and hearts. If we can see people as God see them, we don’t focus on the evil and condemn people, we focus on God’s power and realize that many people just need someone to explain it to them. (I am getting somewhat off track here).

    Today’s verse in the ODB really spoke to me “But for me it is good to be near God, I have made the Lord my refuge, that I may tell of all your works – Psalm 73:28”. The more I rely on the Lord, the more I can tell about what he has done. The more I focus on my plan, the more I get drawn into my thoughts of “God allowing something to happen” to interrupt those plans.

  10. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… as we open another year with you and your ever challenging posts, which cause us all to look deeper into the missing parts, the holes in us that only Christ can fill, as you focus us again on the rock instead.
    You stand for always finding the truth we all need, that same truth is the rock that builds us up,
    “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

    If anyone knows where I can get some bagel holes…
    sorry I’m focussing off topic again.

    Last night as I watched the Ten Commandments on the tube, I too focussed upon the physical rocks which God chose to enscribe His Law for his chosen people.

    Like a cairn, God’s written word still stands for us today, to show us the way, to keep us on the right path. to keep us from getting lost again.

    “Upon this rock will I build my church.” Jesus Christ
    Be Blessed, Gary

  11. BruceC says:

    To me the ways of this fallen world are the donut hole. Keep looking into it and you fall into it. Like a Black hole. Only our Lord can reach in and rescue. The unbelieving world looks into this “hole” all the time in search of its own human answer to the problems and questions of the day, when all the time God is telling it to look at the “donut”.
    Mankind spins its wheels looking for love, peace and security and never finding the real thing; but accepting the counterfeit offered by Satan.

    Please pray for my wife and I and our dog Ginger. I won’t go into all the details now but she is not doing too well and my wife was with her all night and now it’s my turn. She is 12+ years old. The vets in our area have a system of one being on call on off hours, but they could be 60 miles away. Ginger is doing better than yesterday and does not appear to be in pain so we will call our vet in the AM. Sorry for the time used. But when you don’t have children the pets become the substitute to a degree.

    God Bless All,
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  12. poohpity says:

    In my Bible I have stones in the side notes written through the pages of aha moments or even answers to prayers and prayers that I still wait upon. I so enjoy the stones of those who have went before us and recorded their experiences in God’s Word. They have shared their bagels and what happens when we pay attention to the holes. All that life experience to share (bagels) but many claim it is not enough (holes) so they look for meaning in so many other things.

    We only learn what real love is because we are shown what it looks like. 1 John 4:19 NIV

  13. bubbles says:

    This is a creative way of saying this. . .stones. . .you are correct.
    I have verses circled/underlined that have been special, almost as though God wrote that just for me.
    I know He did not, but those are the little precious nuggets when verses speak specifically to a need or answer a question. I have written dates beside these “stone verses” in the margins. It’s good to be able to come across the verse and recall how the Lord specifically used a verse to touch my heart and soul.

  14. poohpity says:

    I believe God did have it written just for you, bubbles!! Because you are so precious to Him it was read just the right day and in the right time in your life as a gift for you to hold dearly to.

  15. bubbles says:

    Yes, Deb, I concur with your comment. That is what makes the Word of God so special. How the Holy Spirit can use it to speak to just one and so many at the same time. We are very blessed to live in a place where we can have our very own copy of His Word, and so many cannot.

  16. refump says:

    Sometimes when you are “in the hole” it is very difficult to see the doughnut/bagel. I was reading Romans 3 today & Paul talked about how we “never give God the time of day”. I got to thinking that even though I regularly spend time in God’s Word that I am not really giving Him the time of the day, not really meeting with Him but just reading about Him. I am thinking this might have something to do with my feeling that my prayers seem to hit the ceiling & don’t go anywhere. So, as I start a new year I am going to place a rock on this day that will help me remember to “give Him the time of the day” by meeting with Him personally to know Him & not just know about Him so He can change me to be more like Him.

  17. swwagner says:

    I do the same thing about writing in the margins and then recalling the blessings and precious nuggets of truth.

    However, even though the word of God is for all, it is very personal and speaks directly to individual hearts. Just like Christs’ death paid the price for all mankind, but is received individually and is a personal decision. I believe that the over all meaning of scripture can apply to all, but the way it fits individual circumstances (no two are alike)is very personal.

    Many religions are not personal and do not encourage a direct contact with God by the people…it is so sad to think that many are blinded and think they have to go through a human mediator. They miss out on the direct blessings of knowing the scriptures for themselves, not to mention salvation.

  18. poohpity says:

    refump, I was reminded of Isaiah 55:10-12 that no matter what reason we have for reading God’s Word it is something that will not return empty or void. Whether it is knowing about God or knowing God it is all good.

  19. poohpity says:

    I believe that Satan would have us think that our prayers are just hitting the ceiling and going no where but God’s Word teaches us that He receives all the effort we make to communicate with Him. I think we all have dry season’s in our relationship with Him but that is our thought as human beings and God’s thoughts are way above what we think or feel. It is a “knowing” that He receives those prayers even when we do not “feel” like they are going anywhere. He is always faithful even when we are not.

  20. bubbles says:

    refump, yes, what you said is very true. It’s easy to “read” the Bible, but for readings sake. I am guilty of sometimes “reading” so I can say to myself I “read” for the day. To me, that is sin, but on those days when I just don’t feel like reading, and then I make myself read anyway, those are the days when sometime the biggest blessings are received and then I feel guilty because I had to make myself read, and am reminded that spending time with the Lord is sweet. It should not be like that in my life. There’s reading and then there is READING. Thank you for sharing because it encouraged me today.

  21. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    ~The hole, doughnut, rock, and dessert: “What now?” I ask the Lord. “Be still and know that I am God,” my heart hears. “Still” is just not how I roll, God.” (Picturing God saying, “Not a roll, I’m going to make you to be a doughnut.”) “Trust in the Lord,” trumps my anxiety. “But Lord, you allowed a lot of trials and I don’t want any more! Besides , they seem to have no purpose.” Or do they…
    “You did rescue me from a hole. You also filled that void. That was better than a Boston crème filled doughnut. You became my solid rock, my foundation. People saw this and began to take account now didn’t they? Your word, God, ir was like yeast in a pastry dough! Sweet to my heart and I was growing. Now I remember, many people witnessed this! So hard pressed, Lord it was difficult. My character, my shape was forming. More tragedies, trials, but the yeast in the pastry dough was rising. I was growing again. Others saw His work in me. Through the toughest, they saw more growth, more works while remaining in your working hands, God! Works effectively produced all over! If I focused on the doughnut hole, I’d still be there, wouldn’t I? Okay, God, I’m so thankful! But you know if I say I’m a doughnut on display, they’ll be quick to leave the “dough” out!~
    The dessert? Blessings out, blessings in. I found mine today in: Psalm 73:21-28

  22. bec4jc says:

    Happy New Year everyone. I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and I just want to say that I pray all of you have a blessed 2013 and consume many donuts & bagels. Love ya all. Becky :o)

  23. foreverblessed says:

    Happy New Year everybody, this is a new year, we are new in Christ, He takes up our failings and shortcomings, if we give it to Him, and they are gone, new start, a blessed New year in Him!

  24. poohpity says:

    ODB talked about after being a Christian for a long time we can forget the joy of our salvation. King David asked God to renew his joy. Taking us from taking for granted to gratefulness again. Thinking of how much I mess up to how patient and full of love our God is with us. Always waiting for us to remember those wonderful rocks and to rekindle our fire for Him.

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