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Not-so-Easy Steps of Faith

27 Mar
stationary-bike

(Photo by Circe Denyer)

 

Abraham, the father of our faith, obeyed God, which took him out of his place of comfort and the place called home. Literally…

“He went out, not knowing where he was going.” -Hebrews 11:8

Walking consistently under God’s clear but not-so-exciting marching orders is the hardest part of faith for me. I have a lot of the Word of God under my belt, soaking it in over a period of 33 years. It makes me feel that my faith is utterly unshakable.

But the testing ground is in the mundane task of doing not what I find comfortable or what I want to do but what I know Jesus has called me to do every day.

Yes, for me, that is the simple matter of adding physical disciplines to my spiritual disciplines. God is supposed to be my Lord. My stupid flesh is not supposed to reign supreme. I actually feel better in my body and more alert in my brain by obeying God’s admonitions. Fortunately, once the flesh has been consistently trained in a healthy life habit, there is tremendous cooperation — unlike the kind of struggle I’m currently experiencing.

I’ve been going my own way of comfort and ease for too long. My daily pep talk to myself today is this scripture:

“I press on  toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 3:14

God has a plan and obedience is the way to walk on the path to fulfilling that plan.

The Solution to the Problem May Be Under Your Nose

25 May

I’ve had to miss work because my fingers and hands were experiencing excruciating pain.  And all that time, my computer was capable of talk-to-type technology!  I’m using it right now. No need to spend a dime, much less the hundreds I thought it would cost.

 

I’m talking and the computer is typing by itself. Awesome! — Photo by Vera Kratochvil

The answer was right in front of me, and I was completely clueless. I think many problems in life are the same way. Being out of shape, for instance, just requires more exercise. It’s a matter of deciding to do something. You don’t have to have access to a gym to get in shape. YouTube has lots of free exercise videos. Heck, you can just walk and get your body in shape.

The Bible says not to be worried and that each day has its own troubles. It also says that God will never give us more then we can handle. He always makes a way to escape temptation. That applies to overeating as much as it does adultery, don’t you imagine?

I think most of us go through life struggling with the day’s challenges, and we forget to really enjoy life. We get into a numbing, joyless routine.  All the while, the happiness we desire is within our reach every day. I can say this because I believe that true joy is in the Lord, and He is ultimately all we need to have overflowing contentment.

It’s a good idea to just open our eyes to what is already in our hands and be thankful that it’s enough for this moment.  There’s probably more in hand than we realize.

 

 

I’m In a Pickle Jar, And God’s Unscrewing the Lid

30 Apr
Barney, Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie in "The ...

Barney, Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie in "The Pickle Story" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I switched to a healthy eating regimen a few years back; and I still remember how exhilarated I was, as though I had been released from a mind control prison.  Energy returned to me, and my eyes and ears that had been dulled were sharper.  I was convinced that I had actually been in the captivity of my flesh, and it felt amazing to be free.

Here I sit in that same prison, but it’s worse this time.  I’m aware that I’ve been entrapped by the things I routinely put in my mouth.  In other words, I know how to get out.  So why don’t I?

Television is actually much like food for me in that it’s a mild addiction.  I can get caught up in the absolutely time-wasting activity of watching what Stephen King refers to as a “glass teat” in his book On Writing.  Every weekday morning I’m watching all the early episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, when Opie was a kindergartener.  And I don’t like to miss Columbo on Sunday nights or Monk on Fridays – and there’s more.  If you put together all those hours I waste in front of the television, I could have written the book series I dream of by now.

I’m tired of being comfortable with my complacency.  I want to be a better example to the little ones, too.  Life is so much better when I eat right and have a sense of health and well-being pumping through my body as a result of adequate exercise.  I feel like such an idiot, and rightly so.  Because what I wish for isn’t some lofty thing out of my reach, like getting to witness to Mel Gibson face-to-face.  I simply want to do the very best I can with this life and this body God gave me.

Again I ask:  So why don’t I?

It just came to me that focusing on these issues daily in fervent prayer will be the catalyst to turn all of this around.  I’ll do it, and I’m pretty excited about unexpectedly receiving this answer from the Lord.  And earlier today I had the idea that when I do start exercising, I could pray for friends I know who also need to get in shape for the sake of their health.  This makes so much sense.  It takes prayer to crucify the flesh and be free of its relentless demands.  Duh!  It’s a spiritual battle!

And all this time I thought it was about me acting stupid.

Not Caring is Like Falling Off a Log

29 Apr

My goal: Get back to glowing health.

Not caring is so easy. For instance, if I don’t really care that I’m overweight, I don’t have to go through all the bother, sweat, and sacrifice to lose weight.  However, I believe I do care; but apparently not enough to get started today or even first thing tomorrow with a proper diet and fat-burning exercises.

I was asking myself what in life I truly don’t mind bothering about.  What would I go to any lengths to do?  And I was relieved to discover that I had an answer.  There is one thing I will always go out of my way to do, and that is to ensure that my heart is free and open for communication with God.

So while I think I may get heavenly kudos for caring about my relationship with God above all else, I’m starting as of now to pray desperately for help in desiring to be fit.  I need the kind of desire that motivates me to take action.

I’ve posted a photo of me when I was at my top physical shape, and I don’t believe I’ve ever looked better in my life.  That has sparked a bit of motivation to lose weight.  And then some female friends from the neighborhood I grew up in contacted me recently, wanting to get together.  I don’t want them to see me like this; in my opinion, I look like a hot mess, in a bad way.

It’s time to rouse myself with daily pep talks about establishing new eating and exercising habits.  Before it happens, God’s going to have to answer my prayer and inject me with a mind that sincerely gives a care.

 

How I Sort of Stopped the World’s Clocks

19 Mar

Do you know about the guy in the Bible that God turned back the clock for?  (Related scriptures are below.)  It was very cool and the reality of the “missing time” has been proven by science.  Well, God did a similar trick for me today; it’s like the earth actually stood still.

Say WHAT?

I started praying for today yesterday; and I continued with prayer and meditation on the scriptures this morning.  As a result of prayer – because this is no coincidence (I’ve experienced this exact thing before) – I was more productive than I’ve been in ages:

  • Wrote 10 assignments
  • Went for a long walk
  • Spent quality time with the kids
  • Prepared for and completed a radio broadcast Bible study with the kids
  • Did a lot of work on my blogs
  • Played Word With Friends with lots of friends
  • Got a real inspiration for an invention that’s very clever (I hope it’s not like the other things I “invented” and then found out they already existed…lol)
  • Did laundry
  • Made an online friend (Hello, Bird!)
  • Worked on getting prints of Logan’s birthday party so that I can give prints to his friends (40 downloaded so far)
  • Exhibited complete patience with the kids without any edgy moments

Another factor about the day that made it all the more amazing is that I experienced excess pain – I actually cried from the pain.  What’s going on is that, besides my chronic tendonitis in both elbows, more and more finger joints are being plagued with osteoarthritis, which is quite painful.  (I’m very allergic to glucosamine, which fights the effects of this disease.)

So, yeah, it’s really as though God stopped the world’s clocks and let me accomplish a great deal on a very satisfyingly productive day.

The only thing is, I hope this clock miracle doesn’t mess up my schedule even more, what with “spring forward” still confusing my sleep schedule.  (lol)

I totally recommend praying passionately.  Just watch and see what happens.

 

2 Kings 20:8-11

New King James Version (NKJV)

And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?”

Then Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?”

10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees.”

11 So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.

 

Buying Fat Pants: Big Mistake or Outright Sin?

18 Mar

Finally broke down and bought some pants and shirts that fit my new size, and it was glorious.  But now I’m so comfortable in my clothes, I’ve lost a huge motivation to lose weight.  My health really depends on my dropping pounds.  I got to wondering if it’s a sin that I continue to choose comfort over the sacrifice of doing what’s right.

Actually, it struck me that I am sinning big time by expanding into a bigger size of pants instead of trimming down.  The heart of the issue is that indulging the flesh means more to me than presenting my body to God as a living sacrifice.

Christianity as God intended it involves sacrifice, and I’ve been forgetting that.

I don’t go around struggling with “bigger” sins such as sexual immorality, but I do walk in the flesh rather than the spirit as regards eating and lack of exercise.

The Bible has a lot to say about this topic.  Are you familiar with the huge struggle to do right that is expressed by Paul in Romans 7:14-25?  He longs to do right but continues to do wrong.

Then the good news in verse 8:1 of Romans is that we are not under condemnation, in spite of our weaknesses, if we belong to Jesus Christ.

But I do feel guilty when I read the verses which talk about being set free from the flesh.  It’s like I’m sitting in a prison with bars made of chocolate, and the door is open.  The only thing stopping me from stepping out of this bondage to my fleshly desires is me.  I sit there lacking the resolve to resist the flesh.

My Bible study on this served as a reminder that if I feed the Spirit instead of the flesh, the Spirit grows stronger; and vice versa.  Truthfully, as I’ve been diving into ministry-related activity more and more, I’ve been eating less and less.  So the principle is proving true, even though I haven’t developed an exercise routine.

One thing I did today was drive on the nice hiking/biking trail behind our soon-to-be new home.  If you go to the end, the entire route is 1 mile.  I already envision myself walking there in the cool of the morning five days a week.  I can push Aubrie in the stroller, and Logan will be on the bus headed to school.

Developing these new habits of engaging in more prayer and Bible-reading as well as putting exercise on my daily schedule is all it will probably take to make these new fat pants fall right off of me.

I really would appreciate others’ insights as to whether it’s merely a big mistake or something that seriously separates me from God, this complacency about being overweight.   Please share if you have confidence about your spiritual understanding on this topic, based on scripture.  All related opinions are welcome.

Where to Begin?

26 Feb

I’m going to throw myself a line here and blog the pep talks I give myself in order to pull out of the rutted areas of my life.  I need to enjoy the outdoors more and let the kids do the same.  I need to eat healthy foods and lose a whole heck of a lot of weight. I need to pursue my dream of writing inspiring books.  I need to pray more and worship God more.


Encouragement Comments

The longest journey ever taken began with that first step.  So my first step in this journey toward rutless living is to remind myself that life is short and I shouldn’t sacrifice the joys of life that only balance can bring.  I can be healthy and fit, and it’s a  wonderful thing to get hooked on physical exercise of one kind or another.  I bought Michael Jackson the Experience for our XBox 360 Kinect because I always thought it would be fun to have Michael Jackson moves.  I love to dance, and it’s the best way for me to exercise.  But the experience isn’t all I hoped it would be.

So what do I need to do to get moving?  Whatever it is, I absolutely must spend 20 minutes minimum every single day either walking, following along with my old aerobics tape that helped me get fit in the past, or dancing to tunes.  Okay?  So starting today I shall make excuses no more.

□  Done!  I went walking, pushing Aubrianna in her stroller.  In 30 minutes, I feel better already.  You’d have to know just how sedentary I’ve been and for how long to understand!