Saturday, May 30, 2015

Are You Like Texas or Colorado?

      We just returned from a wonderful trip to Aurora, Colorado to visit our daughter. Most of you know I'm a native born Texas, originally from Dallas, but I now live in Wichita Falls. Many contrasts exist between the two states. I love both places.

    On this trip, one difference I noted was the lakes. Both states glisten with gorgeous bodies of water that refresh and renew our minds with their glory.

     We live near Possum Kingdom Lake, weaving between where the Palo Pinto Hills begin in North Texas, spilling into the Brazos River of Central Texas.



High cliffs border Possum Kingdom Lake


    How blessed we are that our Texas drought is over, and this lake is full and inviting again. It's known by its huge shoreline and extreme depths. Though beautiful and big, it's many miles from other lakes.

     A few days ago, we drove across the area west of Denver through the Platte River basin. Though small and shallow, one lake followed another within two to three miles. Towns often dam the rapidly-flowing rivers to make lakes.

Charles & I at Evergreen Lake near Denver

 
     Those lakes set me to thinking about the differences in our spiritual walk. Do you go from one high to another with small but plentiful refillings from the Holy Spirit? Or, does one revival strike you deeply and last for months or years without a recharge?

     I asked Jesus to come into my heart at age seven. I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost when I was in college. My spiritual walk is touched by experiences, often far apart, that pump me up to last for years. Yes, I must pray and talk with God daily, but I drift long times between His special touches. Is that the best way? I don't know. What do you think?


Is your spiritual walk more like Texas or Colorado?


 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What does Losing Weight God's Way Look Like?

What does day-to-day following Christ in weight loss looks like? What’s the practical aspect of it?

  If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don't ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with  success.
                Proverbs 3: 4-6 Life Recovery Bible

This is God’s answer to how we follow Him.


Here's the steps God gave to me:
 

1. Decide on a food plan that works for you.


 
Calories in, calories out. Eat 3500 calories a week (or 500 calories a day) less than your body needs to maintain your present weight. 

Simply, you can lose weight on any good, balanced food plan. The only choice for you depends on your likes, dislikes, and lifestyle. I suggest the American diabetic exchange diet, Weight Watcher plan, Best Life diet by Bob Greene, and Prevention magazine's Flat Belly Diet. There are others. Ask yourself these questions:

Do you often eat out?
Do you prefer having snacks or three squares?
Can you live with eating something every four hours?
How active are you?
Do you prefer rigid plans to follow or loose restriction?
 

2. Purchase foods that work.

 

What must you keep around to stay on target?

    I must have fruits and low-fat yogurt.
    If you follow Flat Belly, buy lots of nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, or avocado.
    If you work best with dumping everything into salads, buy lots of different kinds of fresh vegetables.
    Keep individually frozen chicken patties.
    Stock up with low fat options of cheese, milk, puddings, whatever.
 
    BE PREPARED.

 

3. Decide on some activity.

Me & friends line dancing
Again, like with food plans, any exercise will do.
 
Do what you like?
Vary your routine.
Do something at least five out of seven days.
If you can't move legs, exercise your arms.
If you can't lie on the floor without dizziness, do exercises standing up.
 
I mix several options. Here they are:

     An hour long line dancing class each week.
     Walk at fast clip outside in neighborhood or local park.
     Jog on my mini trampoline.
     Ride my stationary bike with tension.
     Move more with my household chores?
     Inside miles with DVDs: My choices are:
 
               all Leslie Sansone ones
               Dancing with the Stars
               Country line dance party

    
What do you like to do? Play golf? Crossfit? Yard work?
 
Other possibilities:

    Sit with small children and do toe touches or kicks?

    Go up and down steps at work every day?

    Break up sitting with 10-15 minutes of stretching or jogging in place?

 

If we ask according to His will, God will answer.

God longs to make us happy, fulfilled, and at peace just as we want those things for our children.

 
So, the last and most important step of all is:




4: Don't seek weight loss. Seek God.

   Read Psalm 37:4-7
 God wants to give us the desires of our heart. That includes healthy living and weight loss.
 
 
 
Let's break down the above verses.

 
   1.     Take delight in the Lord – put Him first place

2.     Commit everything you do to God (daily)

3.     Trust Him.

4.     Rest in the Lord –allow time for enough rest & sleep

5.     Wait patiently; don’t fret.

 
Day-to-day means starting the day with Christ.


 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Visit with James R. Callan

One of my favorite authors, Jim Callan, released a new book, Over My Dead Body, this month. I'm so excited for him. In honor of this new venture, Jim agreed to write a post for Writing with God's Hope blog viewers. I know you'll enjoy this cute, homespun story.



Grandmother and the Red Blood Cells

 

I sat down to write this post on Mother’s Day, so naturally I thought of my mother. She was a very special person, as most mothers are. Her formal education didn’t extend beyond high school, but nevertheless she had the best diction of any person I have known. She believed that how a person spoke reflected who they were and she taught herself to speak beautifully, with no regional accent, no mispronounced words, no grammar goofs.  She developed a superior vocabulary through extensive reading. Without formal training, she became an accomplished librarian.

But, once, she exhibited one small flaw – to me, at least. She took the doctor’s word as gospel.

But another mother straightened things out.

Sometime in my early years, I became anemic . Who knows why at that particular moment I had less healthy red blood cells than usual. I certainly was now suffering from malnutrition.  In fact, I had none of the conditions one might associate with anemia.  But for whatever reason, some of my red blood cells had gone walkabout. 

The good doctor said my mother should feed me rice. There are many ways to fix rice, but mother came up with the least acceptable way.  She put it in front of me, I took one look and said, “Mush.”

And I refused to eat it.

As I had never refused to do things my mother asked, she was flummoxed.  She called the doctor, who said, don’t give him anything else. Just put it back in front of me at each meal until I got hungry enough to eat it.

I continued to refuse to eat that mush.

Maybe my white cells would also reduce, thus getting them in balance with the reds. Not a good idea, but then, I was only eight.

There were rumors, some of which persist even today, that my older sister smuggled bits of nourishment to me at night.  I don’t remember that – today.  But I do remember my grandmother.

Several days had past, and the same old bowl of mush rice, or rice mush, sat in front of me at each meal. But this day, my father’s mother was visiting. 

Near the end of the meal, with the mush still untouched, my grandmother asked what was going on. My mother explained the instructions from the doctor.

Nana was a small woman, always smiling and cheerful. But she could be forceful. She looked around the table and ordered everybody out of the room. She would take care of this. Everyone left and her smile left also. 

She took a small spoon of the rice and gave it to me. “Eat this.”

Nana only had sons, and I was her only grandson. So I was her favorite.  I knew she would make things okay. I took the spoonful of awful mush, and somehow managed to get it down without throwing up.

Then, Nana took the bowl of rice and dumped it in the trash. She called my mother in. “He’s eaten some rice. Now, let’s give this boy some dinner.” From there on, my diet returned to normal.

My red blood cells must have been encouraged. The next time the doctor checked, my blood was back to normal also.

Nana was so sweet everybody tried to please her.  Personally, I think the red blood cells decided they would please her also.

 
Jim's book isn't near so sweet.
 
A large corporation is taking land by eminent domain.  Syd Cranzler stands in its way, threatening a court battle. After a heated meeting with the corporation representative, Syd is found dead from an overdose of heart medication.  The police call it suicide. Case closed.
 
But Father Frank, Syd’s pastor, and Georgia Peitz, another member of the church, don’t believe Syd committed suicide and begin to look for clues of what really happened. Will this affect Georgia’s romantic interest in the lead detective?
 
When the priest is almost poisoned, they convince the police to investigate further. Immediately, Father Frank becomes the target of rumors and speculation he might have had something to do with Syd’s death.
 
The more clues Father Frank and Georgia uncover, the more danger they find themselves in. Can they find the real killer before they become victims?  

Wow, that sounds exciting, Jim. Love who-done-its. Where can we purchase a copy?


Amazon Author Page:    http://amzn.to/1eeykvG
Over My Dead Body, is available at:   http://amzn.to/1BmYQ0Q



 
 
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years. He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his sixth book releasing in 2015.
 
Twitter:   @jamesrcallan
FB:  James Callan
 
 
 
Thanks for visiting the Writing with God's Hope blog again. I always enjoy having you as my guest. I loved your story and am eager to read the new book.

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Forget About It


“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NIV

 
 

     When I pull into my garage after going to the grocery store, I love to spot my husband’s car at home because I know, he can lift my burden of groceries and bring them into the house relieving me of that weight. Once I told him to pile everything on the sofa so it wouldn’t be on the kitchen counter where I needed to start dinner. Unfortunately, he didn’t follow my instructions. Imagine that? By habit, he placed every sack on the kitchen counter.

 

     I huffed, puffed, and transferred every item from the counter to the sofa, struggling against the weight of five pound flour and two milk cartons. When I’d finished, my back ached from the heavy-lifting, and my anger fomented against my husband.

 

     “Why didn’t you remind me?” he asked. “I meant to lift them for you.”

 

     Are we like that with God? Do we ask for our sins to be removed, but then pick them up again to carry?

 

     Satan uses past sins to disable our effectiveness. When I repented and asked Jesus into my heart, He took my burden of sin and cast it as the Bible says, “as far as the east is from the west.” Therefore, I can be sure that any condemnation I have over sins from my past comes from the devil.

 

     Leave them with Jesus. Talk to him about any anguish you feel. He means to relieve us of those burdens. Not unlike unwanted pounds on our bodies, resentment and anger are too heavy for us to bear.

 
 

Prayer: Lord, I leave my sins at Your feet. Help me to forget about them as You have done.



Today, I read this devotion in my own book, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.
I decided to copy it here. I needed to hear it.


Perhaps, you do, too.



Saturday, May 16, 2015

FORGIVENESS

Do you have questions about what the Bible says about forgiveness? Here's my warning from the Lord.


    F-O-R-G-I-V-E

 
          Or

 
         D-I-E

 
 

In Christianity, forgiveness isn’t an option. If we are to live, we must yield all anger.

 

     The madder I get, the more I eat, the more I yell or pout, and the more I dive into other compulsive behaviors. You may handle anger in other ways, but anger left in your heart expands into resentment and resentment into unforgiveness. Let it go, or it will destroy your witness and eventually your life.

 

What did Jesus tell us about forgiveness?
 
"Then, Peter came to him and asked, 'Sir, how often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times?
 
'No!' Jesus replied, 'seventy times seven!'"
                Matthew 18: 21, 22 New Recovery Bible

How many of us come close to forgiving that many times? Jesus is saying we should always forgive. No room should be given in a Christian's heart for unforgiveness.

 

What does the Bible say about forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer?

  

Hint: (Matthew 6: 12)
 
 
Doesn't forgiveness mean I wasn't wronged?
 
No. A plaque that hangs on the wall of a local mental hospital uses these anonymous quotes:
 
to "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.
to "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
to "let go" is to fear less, and love more.

 
If we forgive, how do we get rid of the pain and hurt?

Like with any sin, we must first confess. God will never force himself on you. You must expose the hurt for Him to take it away.


 
"Before you can really begin the healing process of forgiveness, you must come to a point where you acknowledge that God is aware of every struggle you encounter. He knows that some of the hurts you have suffered are intensely painful. He understands that you need to grieve, heal, and be restored.
        Landmines in the Path of the Believer by Charles Stanley

 

 
Our red bud tree gives blooms of hope in March

To receive the healing that forgiveness brings, you must lift your head to the Lord and trust Him with judgment for wrong-doings. Then, pray for those who’ve hurt you or been unfair.

 

Sometimes, forgiveness doesn't come immediately. I remember one time with a "friend" that took advantage of us in a business venture causing us embarrassment, frustration, and a lot of money. I prayed and prayed for God to heal the pain, but every time I saw the man, anger reared its ugly head again and sent me back to my knees. After two years, I entered a party not expecting him to be there, but he was. I smiled and went into his open arms, all unforgivenss gone, never to return. Praise God. 

When we forgive, we receive the peace that passeth all understanding. It’s the only way can we live a healthy, Godly life, the only way we can bloom and produce fruit as God asks.

 

One extra note: Forgiveness isn't easy and only comes through God.
 
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Is It Time to Move On?

  Jesus overcame the world for us. He walked victoriously in this life to show us the way. He’s already given us the land of power, self-control, and a sound mind. But we hold back, refusing to fight for what God wants us to have.

    Here, he spoke to the Israelites. “You stayed here long enough. Go
    and possess your victory."

 

     It was forty years ago, at Mount Horeb, that Jehovah our God told us, "you have stayed here long enough. Now go and occupy the country of the Amorites, the valley of the Arabah, and the Negeb, and all the land of Canaan and Lebanon--the entire area from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River.

 I am giving all of it to you! Go in and possess it, for it is the land the Lord promised to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all their descendants.
                    Deuteronomy 1: 6-8 Life Recovery Bible
 
 
    Have you dwelt long enough on the same mountain? Have you taken
  forty years trying to make an eleven-day trip?
              Battlefield of the Mind  by Joyce Meyer
 
 
 
   In my own life, I finally had to wake up and realize that I was going nowhere. I was a Christian without victory. Many wrong mindsets and strongholds enslaved me. The devil had lied to me, and I had believed him. I was living in deception.
 
   New Year's resolutions may not work, but setting well-thought-out,
  written, and prayed-over goals do.
                   Divine Dining by Janet K. Brown
 
Old Faithful in 2013
    When I submitted my eating disorder to God, He healed me  
  emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I'm in awe of what He made
  of my life since then.  I would have never had the nerve to step out
  and write God's message of hope much less give workshops or teach
  without moving on at God's command.
 
   What could you accomplish for God if you moved out of the mountain and continued the journey God asked you to make?
 
 
    Is it time to move out of the mountain?
    Is it time to change your direction?
    Is it time to move on?