Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reformation Fire Must Fall

    With a line of other children, I marched into church for the convening of Vacation Bible School feeling as if I’d enlisted in God’s army. We studied Bible warriors Joshua and David. We learned the strong stands of Daniel and Ezekiel. Teachers armed us with the necessary weaponry. Each child including me yearned to fight for Christ.
     Song leaders in our church peppered our Sunday music with militant Christian melodies. The titles of our hymns included A Mighty Fortress is our God, Onward Christian Soldiers and Stand Up for Jesus, Ye Soldiers of the Cross. Who could forget the Christian song that became a theme of the civil war, The Battle Hymn of the Republic?

The spirit of reformation framed previous congregations as a mighty fighting force. I think in America, where life is too easy for some, we’ve lost some of that vigilance. As a recovering compulsive overeater, I must remain alert and prepared for battle. Just because I’ve succeeded for years doesn’t mean the devil will leave me alone. Like an Army general does, Satan plans a new strategy or a new direction for attack.

To follow Christ, I must keep the spirit of the militant, triumphant church of old and march into battle daily.

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life; whereunto thou are also called and have professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Tim. 6:12.” 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Too Busy to Stop Quiet Time

Have you ever felt as if you were too busy for time alone with God? When I worked a full time job, I had to set the alarm early to have any prayer and meditation. Now that I'm retired, normally, I can give the first minutes after breakfast to quiet time with the Lord. But, sometimes, I mess up.
I learned long ago that the busier I get, the more I need that quiet place of prayer. Without it, I can't write, I can't be the wife or friend I need to be, and I sure won't be eating according to God's will.

“He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Ecclesiastes 10:8.” These words were penned by the wisest man who ever lived--King Solomon under God's inspiration.

Not doing what we know we must do = digging a pit.

Skipping several days without waiting on God = breaking up the hedge He put around us.

Yesterday, I ended five days with grandkids and two days of returning to normal. I did no writing, no reading and no quiet time with God. That doesn’t work. I must have time away every day, even if I have grandkids or fill in the blanks ___ (whatever hinders you).
The ironic thing is I can keep under God’s protection and strength for awhile and don’t even realize I’m growing weaker. All the time I camped and played with the kids, I ate healthy and light and of course, got plenty of activity.
Still, weakness crept into my mind, sneaky as in all of Satan’s devices. I’m going on the steam power gleaned a few days ago, oblivious that it’s nearly expired—not unlike taking medicine that heals me but being blinded that the last pill has been taken.
When the hindrance is behind me, my mind turns to mush with no creative juices flowing. I eat everything in the kitchen not nailed down. Depression covers me like an old blanket. My medicine bottle (my spirit) is empty.

Answer to failure:
Stop where you are. Remedy what you messed up. Go to Jesus NOW.
The best lesson I’ve ever learned is I can change course on Saturday and not wait until Monday, or 4 p.m. and not wait until the next day. DO IT NOW.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for once again giving me a reminder of why I need You, and picking me up from the ditch immediately.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is This Your Time?

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1”

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

I learned this saying in Weight Watchers. It remains one of my favorites to remember and quote. A friend of mine changed it to say, "Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."

King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, spoke the above words from life observation. My time for weight loss came at last. Maybe I took that long to learn to let God move in my life. Who knows? Can we hasten the season for us? I believe so.

Another saying I really like comes from Franklin F. Adams.

Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.

When we improve our health, regardless of our season in life, a new world opens. Because we spend less time worrying about what we’ll eat next, we have more time to create. Since we don’t use as much time stopping for food and snacking, we expand our horizons. When my brain got off sugar, ideas popped like new adventures. Health makes any season the best time of all.

Could it be that this is your season for a new venture?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weight Loss Isn't a Day Trip

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. II Thes.3:3.”

How many times have I gone on a diet to lose weight for a particular time or event? Too often I reached a low time and tried the latest diet fad? I looked at weight loss as a temporary period in my life. If I lost thirty pounds or sixty pounds, then my life would improve and I could return to eating “normal.”

I looked at a diet like I do a day trip.

An hour away from my home town is a national wildlife refuge. Surrounded by flat plains, mountains reach for the sky giving magnificent views. Buffaloes, long horns and deer roam free. My husband and I take an occasional day trip to Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains to enjoy God’s wonderland. We leave home in the morning and hike while it’s cool. We stop for lunch at a favorite landmark. We wade in the creek. We take pictures and visit the museum. In the afternoon, we return to our starting place and go back to normal life.

With a weight loss journey, we never return to normal. God’s path to healing isn’t a day trip but a lifetime endeavor. God establishes us day by day and keeps us from unhealthy practices until He takes us home to heaven.

Rid yourself of the notion of “going on a diet” and returning to a better way of eating. We must never stop. Instead, we must turn and do a one, eighty life change.

Prayer: Lord, guide me every day of my life. Show me a new way of eating.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Different Tallow Trees

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them to all men. 1 Cor. 12:4-6 NIV.”

In our back yard, about ten years ago, my husband planted two Chinese tallow trees.

One grew more quickly and gave good shade within two years, and in the fall, its leaves provided brilliant color before dropping. The other was scrawny and sparse, but also gave nice colors.

Through their life span so far, they have differed. The bigger one stopped growing and gave little color, but the berries thickened on its branches. The smaller one grew slowly, but little by little, it became the larger, fuller one of the pair and gave the most brilliant colors.

Now, ten years later, one remains small, lots of berries, and nice, though muted, color, then sheds all its leaves at the first freeze or hard cold wind.

Though it grew more slowly, the other tree became good sized and shades our patio swing in the summer. But, it never turns colors, it never sheds leaves until the new growth in the spring.

Different, but equally of value. One for its color, the other for its shade.

God made us the same way. To lose weight and gain self value, I had to praise God for who He made me—different but equally of value to Him.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011- a Year of Consistency and Kind Conversation - I hope

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23 NIV.”

This is a time for new years resolutions. In 2011, I wish to harness in my inconsistency and my words.

In the area of food addiction, inconsistency marked my choices for years, keeping me on a roller coaster of emotional upheaval. For a week, a month, maybe even six months, I would maintain white-knuckled devotion to a diet plan. I counted and measured every bite. Nothing went between my lips that wasn’t on my list. Then, it happened. Because of a certain circumstance, I’d eat something wrong. Discouragement then brought me to my knees. My thoughts went like this:

I messed up.
What did it matter anyway?
I can’t take this anymore.
I’ve already blown it, so I might as well eat something I really want.

Though an overeating compulsion has been a big challenge in my life, I also see this same attitude in other areas. For awhile I love everybody. I remind myself no one is perfect. They're human. I'm human. I need to turn it over to God. Then, someone says or does something that hurts my feelings, and here's my thought patterns:

I'm worthless.
Who cares?
I'll never speak to them again.
I don't fit in there, so I'll leave the group.

Next thing I know I'm looking for a new church, or new group, or new friend, or I'm holing up at home nursing my wounds. The devil wins a victory because I cease to be useful to God until I forgive and move on.

Last week, I started a Joyce Meyer course at church about our conversation to ourselves, to others and to God. Wow, I was reminded of the importance of our words, even our words to ourselves. According to Meyer, if we insult ourselves, we insult God, our creator. I also was convicted of my words to God. I apologize to my Heavenly Father for such language as "My life is unfair." "Don't you love me, God?" "I prayed, and things got worse." In this, I show my mistrust of God.

God showers us with new compassion every day. He never fails, and He’s always there. He’s the God of spring after winter, of newborn babies in the face of the death of the elderly, of new years and new songs. He’s all we need, fresh every morning.

Oh, Lord, I could use to lose ten more pounds in 2011, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Brings out the Best in Selfish People

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. John 12:2 NIV.”

Compulsive overeaters like me turn inward. At one time, my motto, though I wouldn’t admit it, was “It’s all about me.” Feeling sorry for myself exacerbated my eating, and eating increased my low self esteem. This vicious cycle churned in my mind and spiraled to lower depths with each day. At one point in my life, even though I had a faithful husband and three precious daughters, I could see nothing worthwhile to my life. Feeling empty and void of any good thing, I truly believed my family would be better off without me.

Now, it's Christmas time. I just returned from stuffing stockings for under-privileged children. My mouth sings and my heart feels weightless. My mind focuses on others, not myself. I feel good about helping someone.

In chapter twelve of John, Mary loved Jesus so much, she longed to show Him in a tangible way. The only thing she could think of was to break open her perfume, which was possibly the only thing of value she owned, and anoint Jesus’ head. Many thought that action foolish. Once a friend thought I was crazy for picking up a mentally-challenged lady and bringing her to Bible study. This sweet lady didn’t seem to know what we were saying and added nothing to the conversation. But, in doing this, my mind stayed on her, not me.

Do what you can. Do what God leads you to do. Focus on someone besides yourself. God will conquer your shortcomings and bring joy to you as well as those you help.