What do you have an appetite for?

From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is satisfied; he is filled with the product of his lips.
Proverbs 18:20

I read this verse recently and to be honest, I didn’t think it made sense. A mouth doesn’t make fruit. Lips don’t produce food. So what is this verse saying? What’s the meaning, assuming there is one. Well, from a biological standpoint, the way to the stomach is through the mouth. And what is the stomach? It’s our appetite. How do we satisfy our appetite? With food, of course. Food that we put in our mouth. So then, the mouth is the conduit we use to satisfy our appetite.

If we have a piece of fruit, we don’t put it on our foot. We don’t rub it on our back. We don’t pick a tomato and squish it in our armpits. That’s silly. Of course, that might confirm what your neighbors already think of you, “Our neighbor, the weirdo,” but it’s just not what we do with fruit, with food. We bite into it, passing it along to our stomach to satisfy our appetite.

Could the verse be helping us to discover and define what we have an appetite for? Not biologically, but spiritually, emotionally, professionally, relationally? Chapter 18 compares the fool and the wise man. The fool does this, the wise man does that. Foolishness is this, wisdom is that. So maybe this verse is advising us to be wise, not foolish, about a few things:

  1. Being aware of our appetite (illustrated by the man’s stomach)
  2. What we use to satisfy that appetite (the fruit/ product)
  3. The conduit we use to get the product where it needs to go (his mouth/ lips)

Let’s say you have an appetite, a hunger, for helping people. One way to satisfy that is to do volunteer work. You sign up with Habitat For Humanity. Do you like being in your car, out on the road? Maybe you sign up to be a driver for Uber or Lyft. What if you have a hunger for wealth? There are many ways to go about that, so you try online trading, flipping a house, or fly to Vegas for a weekend.

In these examples, Habitat for Humanity, driving your car, online trading/Vegas is the fruit. The conduit is volunteering, signing up for Uber or Lyft, and buying stock or going to Vegas.

Clearly there are good and bad ways to go about satisfying your appetite. Just like food, there’s fruit, veggies, healthy things you can eat, but there’s also junk food. The junk food might satisfy you for a second but in the end it does more harm than good. There can be ways to become wealthy, like Vegas for instance. But gambling in general is junk food. Being a getaway driver… not the best way to satisfy your craving for being on the road! Some might say handing out money to panhandlers holding up signs off a highway exit would be the junk food of volunteering.

So what do you have an appetite for? How are you feeding it? Are you looking for healthy, Biblical ways to satisfy your hunger? If so, I’d say you’re being wise…good job! If you’re like me, you’ve found a lot of ways that don’t work and that, my friend, makes us foolish!

Here’s to making wise choices, and eating fruit!

-Out of the Wilderness

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Trusting God to sustain

…at times the path way has been steep and rocky, sometimes treacherous even, but by going to Him in prayer, in medication, in reading His word, He has sustained me EVERY TIME.
Grand-daddy Davis

My grandfather wrote those words to me in 1991, not knowing that 26 years later his grandson would be self-employed and learning what “sustain” really means. And I love that he capitalized “EVERY TIME.” It’s like having a best friend that never can’t hang out,  that won’t ever decline to show up. I also love to think about God using this definition from dictionary.com

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.39.44 AM

That’s what God promises to do for us. Amazing! It’s so much farther beyond just the physical (money, food, etc), too. It’s also emotional, spiritual, sanity, temper, fear, anxiety, worry. This whole interest in God as sustainer and provider really gained traction this year, 2017. But I guess the story dates back to when I was laid off a couple years ago (early 2015). That year flew by as I rode out my severance package. 2016 was an adventurous year as I pursued less traditional forms of income (I wrote a book!). When 2017 rolled around it was a lot like the previous year, until tax season.

You dropped a bomb on me!

I didn’t realize how much I’d owe till I totaled up everything from 2016. And I also tithe around tax season, so my checking account was about to take a hefty hit. Thankfully, I survived… though there’s a water line on the wall of my checking account, much like when a flood recedes. This line here is how much you used to have… now, you’re waaaaaaaaay down here.

So as I was monitoring my accounts more closely, I began praying more earnestly. What does the Bible say about who to trust, who will provide, and all that? Well, the answer is easy: God. But I guess when I was on a salary, I never really thought about that sort of stuff. The checks go in automatically, the health coverage is taken care of, there’s not a scramble to make ends meet.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

This is the year of trusting God to sustain me, like Grand-daddy did. The first real example was tax season, like I mentioned. But then not too long after that, my computer froze up. One Apple computer later, I was actually excited to get to trust God for a way to keep working (I edit videos as part of my income) and at the same time, not losing my mind out of frustration!

Don’t get me wrong, I have a long way to go. It’s a daily thing, and often I’m like:

But I love Proverbs 23 and 30 that have two great advices…

“Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it.” Then in chapter 30, “Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, ‘Who is the LORD?’; or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.”

I think we all have an opportunity each day to trust God to sustain us. And it’s amazing, SO AMAZING, when we recognize Him doing it.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

Being punished by God

Do you ever feel like you’re being punished by God? I had one of those experiences recently, and I’m so glad it didn’t last long. In those couple of days one thing I found interesting is that I had anger towards God. And that, my friends, is me admitting I’m not very spiritually mature. To think about it another way, try remembering when one of your parents grounded you. More times that not, we were instantly mad at our parents, right? Forget whatever we did wrong, that was totally beside the point! How dare mom or dad discipline us and RUIN OUR LIVES!!!!!!!
rain

“I turned my back on everything that was true.”

That’s the same way I acted when I felt like I was being punished by God. I was all like, “Wassup with that, God?” “Why me?” “Why don’t you care?” And God was all like, “Read the Bible!” “Isaiah 58.” “Chump!” OK, OK, not in those exact words but I opened up to Isaiah 58 and yowza, a scolding. A brief recap: God’s people were wondering why He didn’t seem to care about them (this happened quite a bit with them). They did this or that thinking it’s what God wanted. But He called them out on it, with beautiful clarity and insight. That’s the first half of the chapter, anyway. It goes on to offer what God desired from them, and for them. It’s sweet, actually, and very encouraging. After reading that chapter, I saw my attitude for what it really was: sour, unjustified, and immature.

“Left to myself I realize / I am the maker of my own demise.”

I was upset with God when I should’ve been upset with myself. What I blamed Him for was actually just a consequence of my own shortcoming. And while He may have allowed it to happen, feeling like punishment to me, it might have simply been Him using the consequences as discipline. Like if you’re a parent, maybe you did’t save your child from getting suspended when they got caught skipping school or whatever. Know what I mean? They reaped (rept? rooped?) what they had sown. It’s a chance for them to learn something, even if it’s the hard way.

Father-and-Son-Holding-Hands

“Some people gotta learn the hardway.”

This experience was a low moment, but I hope I never forget it because man, God is so good. He hung with me through it and even had a blessing for me on the other side. Totally unfair. A blessing. I was all like, “Really?” and God was all like, “Really.”

Not in those exact words. 🙂

-Out of the Wilderness

So you’re a newlywed, huh?

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.22.49 AMI was chatting with a friend recently about someone she knows who’s getting married. We covered some of the details most people love knowing about when it comes to weddings: location, the couple, the excitement of the families. It’s great when two people love each other, and side note, if you’re a girl wondering if a guy might be interested in you, check out another post of mine: 10 Signs He’s Into You.

My friend mentioned that the two people getting married aren’t Christians and neither go to church, which is why their wedding is taking place somewhere other than a church and not officiated by a pastor. We sort of left it as hoping for the best for the couple and that their marriage will last. I enjoyed the conversation but always wonder why I come up with my best comments well after any particular topic is over.

In this case, I didn’t have much to say in the moment about the folks getting married not being Christians. But if I could do it over, I’d say something about all of us, no matter where we are now, started somewhere. We all have a story and sometimes a relationship with God starts at a young age, sometimes not. Sometimes it never starts at all. My hope for these soon-to-be newlyweds is that in the process of getting married, and being married, that God reveals Himself to them. After all, marriage is spoken about a lot in the Bible and I believe God holds it in very high regard.

Another hope: just don’t screw it up! I say that playfully, yet reflecting on how mankind has pretty much screwed up everything at some point or another. God has given us so many good things, marriage included, and we’ve managed to pervert all of it. And that goes for Christ-followers, too. Here’s the thing about that, by the way. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat. People who call themselves Christians aren’t any better than anyone else. Like it says in the Old Testament, “We all like sheep have gone astray.” We’re all looking for an answer. We’re all seeking peace, happiness, and something to worship.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.23.01 AMSo I still definitely hope for the best for my friend’s friends who are getting married. I hope it’ll last, that they positively wreck the statistics of divorce. And especially, I hope somehow they’re willing and able to understand a little more about God through their marriage. And if/when they have kids, they get another glimpse into the character of God, as it’s revealed through a parent’s love for their children.

Maybe you can’t exactly relate to getting married, being a newlywed or even becoming a parent. Hey, I certainly can’t! But we can all relate to one key take-away:

Whatever you’re doing, just don’t screw it up. 🙂
Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.22.36 AM-Out of the Wilderness

PS. All of these stunning photos were taken by amazing photographer Joe Hendricks. More incredible wedding photos can be seen on his website, along with breathtaking landscape photos (available for purchase)! Click here, you won’t be sorry!

The Reawakening: Part 12

The subtitle to this post is “Worth more than many sparrows,” because that’s exactly how God feels about each of us. Even in our most scary moments, maybe especially in our most scary moments, we can exhale knowing that He knows what we need and He will do it. He will. If he takes care of the birds, he’ll take care of me and you, because we’re much more valuable than birds!
bird2You may be reading this with a skeptical or unbelieving heart. Maybe you’re a Christian and maybe you’re not. That’s OK. God’s concern includes everyone; you, me, them, us, her, him, even…that one. You know the one. That guy or girl who’s so unlikeable or annoying.
annoyI’ve learned along the way that sometimes I’m that one.

But anyway, that’s another post for another time. Or just ask my siblings, they’ll tell you how annoying I can be! I like knowing that this one little human in Nashville is important to someone so big. A good comparison is a nationally-recognized, respected, winning coach looking over to his player sitting on the end of the bench, and giving him a nod that says, “Hey, I’m glad you’re on the team. We wouldn’t be the same without you and come Hell or high water, I will look out for you as a member of my team.” Feels good, right?

Well, moving right along, and tying this all together with my Reawakening series, I’m calling today Day 1 since my generous severance package from CMT ended yesterday. I should be nervous. I should panic a little. I should be losing sleep because I don’t have a full-time job. But I’m not. I won’t. And I haven’t. Because the more I read in the Bible, and as each day passes, I learn and see that I’m worth more than many sparrows. And I like that. So why would I worry? Why would I be nervous? This morning I came across the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples.

“Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”

Having health insurance is important, taking care of myself and my dogs is important, finding work I can thrive doing is important. But it seems that what’s also important is trusting God to take care of me. I think I can do that today, on Day 1. Seems simple enough, and a great reason to sing like a bird.

-Out of the Wilderness

Falling in Love: Part 2

Honestly, I’ve been sitting on that post for a while. It’s the most transparent I’ve been, well, the most personal. I love writing in a way that makes you laugh, that makes me laugh, but that one, obviously, is different. I sincerely hope you look at me with compassion, without much judgement, and continue hanging on as I make my way through this wilderness.

I know if any girl I was dating or about to date read my last post, they wouldn’t touch me with a ten-foot pole. But the post wasn’t about saving my dating life. To be honest, there’s not much to save anyway. I wanted to come clean, whether it’s to 3 readers or 3,000. Because there’s only one me and I’m trying to make that one me look like the me I want him to be. He looks a lot like my grandfathers. He acts like them, and acts like my dad…chivalrous, caring, maybe rough around the edges but has respect for people, and for women. That’s part of what being a Wilder is. Another part is extreme athleticism (OK I’ll stop trying to be funny). But strip away my last name, and you know what, it’s really part of what being a man is. Like Hozier sings, “we were born sick” and according to the Bible, it’s true. I was born selfish, dirty, and in need of some discipline.

These last couple of posts are about the journey since that birth day.

-Out of the Wilderness

There’s Something About That Name

“Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away
But there’s something about that name.”

It was the end of an evening, a fleeting moment. We were gathering our things to leave. Our coats. Our keys. The leftover food from dinner. A few Bibles. I glanced over to see a friend take a bowl that was stacked on a Bible, and set it beside.

Pride. Respect. Honor. Often these words are associated with the military. But in that little moment, I could see all those things in a small gesture of a friend.

It came on the heels of a night discussing offenses. These days in the U.S., almost anything a person says or does offends someone for one reason or another. We chatted about how Christians feel, or should feel, when the name of God or Jesus is used inappropriately. As Christians, should we be offended? Most said yes. If I’m honest, when I hear God’s name used like a curse word, or Jesus’ name used carelessly, I feel a sense of pride. Why don’t people yell Mohammed’s name? What about Buddha? This may sound odd or not make sense, but I believe it’s because there’s no power in those names. Think about it, whether the name of Jesus is being used the right way or the wrong way, there’s power when it’s used. His name evokes emotion.

It’s the name some people scream when they’re upset. Some whisper it when they’re at the end of their rope. It’s the name I thank when I see a giraffe or a sunset. It’s the name people remember when all else fails. It’s the name that rolls so easily off our tongues without a passing thought. It’s the name that divides nations. It’s the name that unifies families. No matter how you feel about it, there’s something about that name.

Jesus’ name is mentioned over a thousand times in the Bible, so I have a feeling that’s why my friend took the bowl off of the Bible. There’s something about that book, too.
Jesus