Friday, July 31, 2009

House of Mirrors

As I have been journeying through “The Lord’s Table” course, I have been learning so much! Not only is their a wealth of wisdom about conquering overeating, but the things you learn can easily be applied to your whole life! The course truly is about a change of heart, and not just change of eating habits. Naturally, a change in heart is going to transcend into other areas of your life (if you let it) and help you with more than just the subject at hand (at least it has for me).

After reading today’s lesson about living in freedom, I wrote down something that I felt I should share. May God bless you with repentance, deliverance, and freedom as He transforms You from glory to glory! Amen!!

Our addictions really are a house of mirrors. We are only looking at ourselves and deceiving ourselves because they are centered ONLY on ourselves. We think we see what we want, or what’s real, but you don’t know what’s what. It’s all tricks and illusions. All these mirrors are Satan’s. When we are only looking at our own reflection, we can’t see Christ reflected in us. We see Him only when that mirror is broken. We see the ugly shards of glass for what they are and they pierce us with pain. As the glass is removed, we begin to heal. Our reflection isn’t in a mirror, but the cross. Looking at the cross, we see the truth of who we are as well as the truth of who He is. We see the horror of our sins as well as the glory of grace. Broken to beautiful. Freedom isn’t in the “mirror, mirror on the wall” but the beautiful cross on the hill where we bow down and are cleansed by every drop of the Master’s blood. From scarlet to snow (Isaiah 1:18). From darkness to light (2 Samuel 22:29, Job 12:22, Acts 26:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 1 Peter 2:9). Praise God forevermore!


**If you would like to feast at “The Lord’s Table”, you can take the course for FREE by visiting this website: http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/ **

Monday, July 27, 2009

God on the Greenway: Race Day

I had been thinking about running my first 5k for quite some time. Yet, I was still unsure. I didn’t know if I would really go through with it or not. I wasn’t too interested in competing and I’ve never been the athletic type. I just run and do my best on the Greenway for exercise and that’s it. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to pay $15 to race other than to say, “yeah, I did it.” Though, I thought it might be interesting to do it and then race again next year and compare my times to see how far I had come. Additionally, I thought there may be other benefits that maybe I couldn’t see. Maybe this running chunky girl would inspire someone else to get up and get moving. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I would have laughed at you at the mere mention of running or racing. Yet, here I am! Little by little, I had built up strength as I have been fueled by Christ. All glory belongs to HIM! I would make sure to credit Him with any success I achieved during the race. If God is glorified then it would be so worth it!!

For a few weeks, I had been timing myself on the Greenway and pushing hard during the three miles. My best time was a few seconds over 35 minutes (which is what I hoped to get on race day). Though, most days, it was usually a minute or two more than that (still, it was better than forty or more minutes in the past!). All the while, I had been pondering this verse from 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” No matter what, I was going to run my best; even if I wasn‘t winning the top prize. My “best” clocks in differently each time, but I’m still giving it my all. That’s how I planned to run the 5k - just giving my best and NEVER quitting!

Even though I made up my mind to do it, it still didn’t regis ter in my mind until I signed up and paid my fee two days prior to the race. “Well, I’m really going to do it,” I thought. Sometimes after a big decision, you almost immediately want to change your mind and back out. I think the majority of the time, it’s just Satan’s attempt to discourage you. I resolved to stay committed to the step of faith I had made and giving God the glory for it all.

Race day came, and I was just wowed by the turnout! Not only were there over 400 people racing, but there were LOTS of people watching!! I put on my number and fixed the microchip onto my shoe. Then, when it got close to race time, I went to the starting line to wait with the hundreds of other people. I was at the front, but I knew it wouldn’t stay that way for long. My prayer was that at the very least, I wouldn’t be dead last!



It was actually rather breezy and cool; and it sprinkled a little bit. I almost hoped it would continue because you heat up quickly when you run. However, the cool rain didn’t stay (it never does!). Well, at least it wasn’t blazing hot!

Next, before I knew it, a guy came up and everyone started saying, “Shhhhh….oh….are we starting?” Then, the guy said “go!” and we all took off. I didn’t even have time to think or get nervous because I didn’t even realize it was time to run yet! I think most of us were taken by surprise!

It felt like the running of the bulls or something! It was just a massive crowd dashing down the street and around the block. It didn’t take long for me to fall behind most of the people. I might as well have been standing still as people rushed by! I had my iPod on and was listening to Jeremy Camp sing “Trust in You”. It reminded me to trust and not be afraid (or discouraged either). I had created a “All Things Through Christ” playlist of songs, and I picked that one first because I knew that I would need that reminder right off the bat. I was getting passed and that was ok. I was still going to give it my best; and everyone’s “best” is unique. I was trusting that the Lord would get me through.

There were a couple times where a lady behind me passed me. To me, she looked heavier than I was. I thought to myself, “She’s bigger than me! I’m not going to let this chunky girl pass me!” So, I sped up and passed her. Later, she passed me. I think it happened a couple different times. The last time she passed me, I just couldn’t catch up. I knew my pace had slowed, and it was taking me too long to get my “second wind” (as some people call it). I thought maybe towards the end, she would slow enough to where I could catch her again, but it never happened.

The race was getting tiring, but I managed to pass a few other ladies when I got passed again (if they hadn’t stopped to walk, I might not have been able to!). As tired as I was, I never stopped running (even if my pace varied). There was a couple times I got a cup of water from the volunteers on the road, but it’s hard to drink when you’re running (even more so when it’s sloshing out of a cup).

The race was almost over and I knew that I wasn’t going to catch up to the “chunky girl” (hey, I don’t know what her name is…and like I said, I know I’m chunky too!). So, I resolved to at least beat “the girl in the red shorts” that I was either passing or lagging behind at different points in the race. So, maybe I was starting to appreciate the competition. ;)

I got ahead of her, but she wasn’t far behind me. I knew that the possibility existed that we might be making a dash for it. I prayed as I got several hundred feet from the finish line, “God, this is where I really need you to come through for me.” I remembered how God loves to “show up” at the last minute. He loves to show that the impossible is possible; that dead people can be raised, sin can be conquered, and “chunky girls” (like me) can run like the wind when motivated by Christ! I was now listening to “No Matter What” by Jeremy Camp. I’m glad I included that song in the playlist because it really was a good boost.

I was really wearing out, but I kept running. Then, as I came closer to the end, I could vaguely hear that “the girl in the red shorts” was catching up. I kept thinking, “Don’t look back!” I never did. I just ran like the dickens! I heard someone (it sounded like a little boy) say, “Look! They’re sprinting!” That triggered me even more!! I hurt SO BAD and I could barely breathe, but I sped up even more! I felt like lightning! “The girl in the red shorts” was still going too! At one point, I felt like we were elbow to elbow and she was nudging me. Though, I can’t tell for sure, because I had tunnel vision. I didn’t look at anything other than the finish line. The contact that I felt (whether it was her or what) only made me run faster until I ran across the finish line, stopped, and let out a loud groan! I was dizzy and slightly nauseous and was trying to catch my breath as they removed my microchip.



All around me, people were congratulating me. I pointed upwards and said as best as I could, “All things through Christ…..it’s…not me!” It was truer than ever, because that whole race was beyond my strength (especially the very end!).

I checked the printout (and on the website today) to see how I finished. I beat “the girl in the red shorts” but just barely! It was a .4 second difference!! My time was 36:46.6 and hers was 36:47.0. Turned out that she was one of the girls in my age group. I was 44th out of 47 in my age group and 389th overall. God was gracious to me and did not let me finish last! I would have liked to do even better, but I DID do my best (and probably even beyond!). HE did it all! It wasn’t luck, chance, or anything that I did. It was all Jesus Christ! He is my motivation and HE carried me through!

This was such a good experience! I did something that I never thought I would have the desire or motivation to do! As I have said before, I never even tried half as hard in gym class when I was in school (and weighed much less). Several of my teachers saw me run, and it was all the more special for me. Though, more than the praise of my former superiors (as well as my family and friends) the glory of God and making Him proud is the greatest honor!! I even feel as if I have a fresh understanding of how the first are last and the last are first (Matthew 19:30). Almost everyone finished ahead of me, but I don’t feel like any less of a person (even though there were fifty year olds with better times than me lol. And no offense to you awesome people over fifty! Rock on!). The winner finished in less than 16 minutes (which means he ran three times faster than me). The fastest woman finished in 19 minutes (about twice as fast as me). So, if I want to do better, I will have to run 10-12 miles per hour rather than about 4-5 miles per hour lol. In time, I might be able to, but even if I don’t, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m doing my best at whatever speed I am able to do.

God really did come through for me. He ALWAYS does! I ran the whole time and I finished. He gave me the strength I needed (and then some!) to do it! My teachers, peers, and many others that probably never thought they would see the day that I would run watched me accomplish what could only be done through Christ. My goal was to glorify God and give all honor to Him. I hope and pray that I did that.

Thank you all for your encouragement and well wishes! I appreciate it, but all the credit goes to God. If anything I did inspires you, look beyond the surface to the source. If I’m a light and a fire, it’s because God lit it. He is what makes me burn bright! I shine for Him!! To God be all the glory, Amen!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

God on the Greenway: Accomplished Through Christ

I ran on the Greenway yesterday. It had been a week since I had had a good run. The past week had been busy and I didn’t get the chance to run on the Greenway in my normal routine way. I was grateful to be able to run again, even though I wasn’t really in the mood for it. I seem to get that way with exercise. I like whatever I’m doing for a while, but then need to change it up to something fresh and different. So, I prayed for the strength, endurance, and desire to get it done because I wasn’t feeling it at all. Add to that the fact that I felt tired (even after a Sunday nap) and “blah” and I REALLY didn’t want to bother to run. It’s in these moments where I need Christ the most; to enable me to do what is beyond myself.

I also knew that if I am to run my first race (next Saturday at Swiss Days) I had to maintain myself by continuing to run. Last week, I had sought to find out if I could run three miles in forty minutes or less. I wasn’t “feeling” it last week either, but I made it in just over forty (I think it was). I was hoping that I could beat that this time; even though I probably felt at least equally “blah” as I did last time.

As always, prayer changes things! I started out and actually started to enjoy myself. I felt as though I were going at a good pace. It was about my “normal” pace, or maybe even slightly more than that. I tried to push for more, and eventually was running a little bit faster towards the end of my three miles. I knew that I was probably pushing more than I should because my hips were feeling it and my heart rate monitor showed a number that was higher than my determined “limit”. However, I kept going. Sometimes, even if I feel a little awful, I feel as though my body is on “auto-pilot”. It’s those moments where I feel as if God is truly running it for me, because on my own I would NOT have the strength to do so and to keep pushing. My flesh cries out, “Oh, just give up! Stop! You’ve done enough! It doesn’t matter anyways!” Though, my spirit says, “Yes, it does matter! Don’t quit! Keep going!! Through Christ, you can do anything!” And so, I continue on; knowing and feeling that the power of Christ is enabling me to persevere beyond any strength that “I” have. It is sooooooooooooo NOT ME! “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

As I was nearing the end of the three miles, I was happy to see that my timer showed that I was significantly BELOW forty minutes! I was thrilled!! It had been my hope that maybe I could eventually do it in thirty to thirty-five minutes. However, slightly over thirty-six is where I finished!! “Thank You God!” I said! Then, I walked my last mile on the Greenway; confident and satisfied (and grateful for the power and strength of God!).

Jesus is the untapped power that so many of us never get a hold of. We find power in our own selves and think that we are sufficient enough. For many people, it even seems to work. “Seems”. Sooner or later, a person finds out that they aren’t a finely tuned machine and that eventually, they burn out. Feeding on your own strength eventually leaves you with a dry well. Besides that, the water you were drinking was never quality stuff anyways. No matter who you are (or where you are) in your life, you will one day come face to face with that fact. Then, the choice will be what to do about the well. Do you refill it again with inferior water, or do you look for a new source? If so, will that new source be the pure Living Water that you have always truly been searching for, or will it be just another cistern?

I have pondered this fact more and more as I go through “The Lord’s Table” course study. Living Water has been the subject of the lesson for the past couple of days. Personally, I don’t want to be the woman at the well anymore; drawing from and consuming water that doesn’t satisfy. It’s like saltwater; it only makes you thirstier and you keep going back to it. It’s an endless cycle. Then, Jesus shows up and changes it all. The course pointed out the fact that when she encountered Christ and ran back to town, she left her jar at the well. Any number of assumptions could be made about why, but I know if I were in her shoes (and in so many ways I am) it would be because Jesus has captivated my attention and I can think of nothing else. I am thinking about His water and not my own. I’m no longer worried about my own business, but about Him. The more I get into this course study, the more I not only want to leave my water pot behind, but smash it as well! Though, as they also point out, it’s not food that is the problem (and we need it to survive). It’s all about the heart and our truest needs inside. Food and drink can and should be enjoyed; but not beyond the point of moderation and sustainability.

All of these blessed things that I am gleaming from the course is not only affecting my eating, but every area of my life. It gives me self-control and help with my exercise too. That is why I gave it my best, and then had the satisfaction in stopping and walking. Sometimes, my stubborn self pushes beyond what I know I should - even though exercise is a “good” thing. I am reminded that there is a time for everything, and that just as there is a time to go, there is also a time to slow or stop. Sometimes I want to ignore that because I reason that I have had days where I ran far more and that I can, and should, be able to do that each time. Though, I don’t think that’s reasonable or even wise. Every day is different; especially the days in which I haven’t run in a while. My flesh is going to learn that life doesn’t revolve around it and that it doesn’t command me. The flesh is a whiny spoiled brat and a stubborn and ruthless master! The only way it will be mastered is by submission to the one and only TRUE MASTER: Jesus Christ!

May God’s grace and peace truly be with you! Connect yourself with Jesus and experience the amazing power to live and be beyond what you thought was possible! You’ll find that you can be more in Christ than you ever could on your own!! God bless you!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

"I Deserve It"

“I deserve it.” Have you ever thought that phrase to yourself (or had someone tell you that you “deserve” something)? The term “deserve” can be applied either in a negative or positive aspect. One might “deserve” to get what’s coming to them (as in punishment) or maybe they did something nice and so they “deserve” a reward. In either case, that word is particularly detestable to me. Yes, in BOTH senses of the word!

My musings about this word occurred today when I was reading in “The Lord’s Table” (which I blogged about earlier). Today, the subject was about what Jesus did on the cross and how, through His blood, we have freedom. That’s the “good news” of the gospel, and many of us have heard it LOTS of times. So many times, in fact, that the “good news” almost seems like “old news” to those of us that haven’t bothered to remind ourselves of WHY exactly the news is SO GOOD!! Today, it was revived afresh to me.

The big trigger that started it all was when I read this phrase: “God has reconciled us by putting Jesus to death.” My immediate thought after reading that was, “That’s not fair! He didn’t DESERVE it!“ For lack of a better example, that would be like saying to Charles Manson, “We know that you are full of evil and that you hate everyone and have done terrible things. But, we’re going to let the Pope sit here and die in prison instead of you. You’re free to go and be with your family…er, people…um, whatever.” Does it strike you in the same way? Does the thought of a perfect man dying a horrible and tortuous death on the cross seem fair, just, and deserving to you?

After thinking about how bad I have been and how the only thing I “deserve” is punishment for my iniquities, the thought of Christ (a perfect, blameless, and pure man) dying for me is all the more shameful for me. Me, the one who “deserves” all the punishment is spared. Instead, this perfect and beautiful God comes incarnate to take what I “deserve.” God’s justice demands that sin be paid for. TRUE justice would be to make the one who transgressed pay up. And YET, the INNOCENT ONE is the one who paid! HE DENIED JUSTICE TO HIS OWN SON…….for the SAKE of ME (and for all of us)!! It ASTOUNDS me!! It makes my pleas of “That’s not fair!” about any given situation nothing more than a pathetic whimper! We didn’t get justice for ourselves - PRAISE GOD!! Indeed, PRAISE GOD!! We got mercy, forgiveness, and freedom instead! All we “deserved” WASN’T given to us! We were given what we DID NOT deserve; all the kindness, goodness, and mercy of God! Christ was denied HIS justice and instead, became the object of wrath on the cross. How “unfair” is that?!! Yet, His love willingly kept Him there.

I feel so grateful and humbled; yet, so sad and ashamed. His punishment was my true entitlement. I “deserved it” and was denied it because He loves me. I don’t think I ever understood it as clearly as I do now. All I can do is absorb the shock and awe as the tears stream down my face. It’s unbelievably horrendous to think what my sin has done to Him, but unbelievably wonderful to think of what grace does for me. There are no words, only tears. I am speechless. This is the most stunning and amazing thing that I will ever think about. It’s something so remarkably simple and yet, complex at the same time. The sheer impact of it makes me feel the weight of my own sin, as well as freedom from it simultaneously. What else, WHOM ELSE, could ever possibly have that effect on me? NO ONE! There is no other! There is only one: Jesus Christ!

What are we to say or do in response to grace other than being grateful and accepting it? It’s impossible to express adequate thanks for such a perfect gift! It’s impossible to “pay back” to God what we have been graciously given. We cannot out-give Him. HE is the giver. HE is perfect and complete. If we are able to do even a fraction of what we humans call “good”, it’s because HIS goodness and love (through the Holy Spirit) allowed us to do so. It’s nothing we can do. We can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). It is only THROUGH Him that anything is possible (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, what credit can we truly “earn” or even accept for the “good” things we do? We can‘t! That is why all honor and glory belongs to Him. He CANNOT be topped or outdone! Nothing anyone can “do” can EVER come even remotely close!

Grace is the ultimate accomplishment; the top of the heap. Actually, it’s above the heap; it can’t even rest on anything that lies beneath it! That’s how holy and good it is!! Perfection doesn’t lie on top of filthy piled up rags. It can’t and it won’t! It’s like piling up used Kleenex and then throwing a beautiful, spotless, perfect, white handkerchief on top of it. We cannot accomplish what’s already been done; we can only contaminate and taint grace with our own filth by trying to stake our claim on our own righteousness by touting our own glory. Though, in reality, NOTHING can touch or taint grace. We merely cause others to be blinded to it when we wave our rags around and obstruct the view of what is truly perfect and glorified. Is it any wonder God calls us to be humble and to give HIM the glory? He wouldn’t want anyone mistaking our filth for the REAL thing which can be found (and ONLY found) in Him! We think we’re so “good” but WHO is really “good”? Even Jesus refused to be called “good” (Mark 10:18 Luke 18:19). Instead, He gave credit where credit is due: to God. If even the Son of God refuses His own credit and acts in humility, by golly how much more should we?! Our little pats on the back should be pats on our, well, you know. ;)

Even in all our selfishness, I am beyond amazed at God’s patience, tolerance, and true love. We are such leeches, and yet, He wants (and chooses) to bless us and share HIS GLORY with us by making us heirs with His Son (John 1:12-13)! We get what we DON’T deserve OVER AND OVER again and in measures beyond comprehension! And, are SPARED from that which we DO deserve, over and over again!! It blows my mind! There is no love, mercy, or kindness that compares to this!! God is unrivaled and unmatched!! How magnificent, holy, and glorious is the Sovereign Lord!! Praise God!

1 Peter 2:21-25 really sums it up well: To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (NIV)

Can I get an “amen”?! What could there ever be that could ever compare with that?! Nothing. Absolutely nothing! You want the ultimate prize? It’s Jesus! If you have Christ, you WIN!! When life on earth says, “Game Over” you’ll have the joy of already beating the game! Unlimited life! No more quarters or continues. It is finished; accomplished and complete! Christ did it, and He’s SHARING it with us!! That, my friends, is awesome!! TRULY AWESOME!!

May the grace and peace of God truly be with you!! Allow those words to sink in until they are more than just words. Celebrate the fact that you’re NOT getting what you deserve and that instead, you are blessed with all the goodness that you DON’T deserve!! The word “deserve” should be obsolete. There‘s no place for it anymore. Christ cancelled out the fact that we “deserve“ hell, and we give back all the good things we (or others) think we “deserve“ to God so that He may be glorified! May God richly bless you, my dear friends, with everything you don’t deserve!! Amen!!

Freedom From What Weighs On Us

Recently, I have begun a study with my small group called “The Lord‘s Table“. I first heard about it from Nae (one of my friends from sparkpeople.com) a year or two ago. I thought about doing it myself, but in my pride and resistance, dismissed the idea quickly. I figured I was doing well enough on my own anyways. After all, I already knew that in losing weight, it had to be all about God and I was aware (at least I thought) of the things I needed to be aware of to succeed (i.e. not making food an idol, watching the portions, etc.). Though, no matter how much you “know” you can ALWAYS afford to know MORE! And, if I “knew” so much, why am I still not at my goal weight after surrendering it to God over two years ago? Therefore, I figured doing this with my group could only enhance and help me on my journey; and I needed to be open to it. So far, it has proved to be a GREAT decision! I have been immeasurably blessed and am succeeding MORE THAN I EVER HAVE (and this is only week ONE)!

That is why I am blogging today. So far, I read about proper motives, fullness in Christ, the differences between physical and spiritual food, humility, fasting, and that food isn‘t the real problem. Today, I read even more about how we can be delivered from over-eating (and anything really - I find this course to be very universal in that). It focused on the cross and all that Christ did to not only save us, but heal us. Salvation is only the first step in our walk with Christ. As I read in Captivating (by John and Stasi Eldredge) Christ doesn’t just rescue us from tragedy only to leave us in an ICU. He wants to heal us and bring us to recovery!

“The Lord’s Table” makes it abundantly clear that the failure of other diets (and our own efforts) are because of one clear thing: they don’t deal with our sin. Consider this quote from the course: “Dear friend, beware of any teaching, program, or method of finding freedom from sinful eating habits that does not have Jesus Christ at the center, for there is no other way to solve the sin problem than Jesus.”

That statement is absolutely true! And, if you honestly think about it, you KNOW that! Whom among us hasn’t tried some special diet or exercise plan only to ultimately fail (even if we initially lose all or some of the weight we want). The failure of diets is extremely high. I believe I’ve read that it’s over 90%. And, most gain back their weight (and then some!).

Many of you know that I use sparkpeople.com as a tool to help me on this journey. Though, this isn’t my “source” for success. Even though spark has been a great help to me (and the support/friends I have there are awesome - and I wouldn‘t trade them for anything!) NOTHING helps me more than Jesus! NOTHING else can accomplish what Christ can! No “diet” can deal with the true issues that fuel our obesity in the first place because Christ is the only one that can deal with sin. So, like the quote I shared earlier, don’t expect to truly succeed in weight-loss (or in conquering any bondage) if you’re not dealing with the root. Even some of our churches miss the boat on that one. Don’t you think? Pause for a moment and think about this nation in which over half of us are overweight. Now, of that 50-60%, what percentage are Christians? According to an article I found, it states that: “one percent or less of those embracing the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or other non-Christian religions qualify as obese, the numbers of the markedly overweight rise dramatically the further one goes toward the Christian fundamentalist end of the spectrum: around 17 percent of Catholics, 18 percent of Methodists, 20 percent of Pentecostal and Assemblies of God parishioners, and a striking 27 percent of Baptists, including the Southern, North American and Fundamentalist wings.”

I find that to be very sad, don’t you? Why do you suppose that’s true? I think it’s because over-eating has become the casual and acceptable sin. This sin has been so minimized that we are immune to feeling true repentance over it. Even some of our own pastors that are shepherding the flocks are even ensnared (I can think of a few well known ones that have a little “bulk”. I’ll bet you can too; whether they’re notoriously well-known or locally famous). For them (or ANY of us) to be callused about that sin or ANY sin (no matter how “minimal” we humans deem it to be) is something we should be concerned about (yeah, I’m preaching to myself too ya‘ll!).

If you need more “food for thought” consider this: A food addiction is more obvious than a vast array of other addictions. Therefore, shouldn’t the issue of food abuse among Christians be treated as a greater problem rather than a lesser? A problem with weight is far more obvious than other addictions that can be more easily hidden. We don‘t always know when Christians have a drug, alcohol, or pornography problem do we? Yet, a Christian with a food abuse problem is beyond obvious. This isn‘t to say that the other issues mentioned are less of a sin than this is (all sin is sin). What I‘m saying is that this one is often more apparent and, therefore, more likely to deter anyone who observes the Christian faith from practicing the faith themselves. Though, it’s not to say that we aren’t all responsible for our own choices to believe. I choose to believe no matter how many hypocritical Christians are out there (and, in all actuality, we are ALL hypocrites because none are perfect - Romans 3:10, 23. So, there goes THAT excuse!). Nevertheless, as God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) we ought to be concerned about the fact that we are making it clear that God is second in priority next to food (as evidenced by the “extra” on our body). We are supposed to seek the fullness that is in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) and not the fullness of a stomach that never truly satisfies. How is a nonbeliever or baby Christian going to understand that they need to make Christ Lord of their life if our body is screaming the contrary?

Herein likes my primary motive for losing weight (just as “The Lord’s Table” states): that I will glorify God. Personally, I don’t feel that I bring glory to God when I wear my shame/idolatry on my body. Having a love affair with food instead of Christ isn’t going to help me or anyone else and it will only diminish the kind of example I can be when I treat my temple as a garbage disposal. All things in moderation, not in exaggeration. `

Thankfully, there is hope and freedom; and it’s attainable through Christ!! That is the hope I wanted to share today! In fact, I will post what I originally wanted to share in my next blog. It’s in regards to the fresh perspective and understanding that I acquired about grace when I was reading the course lesson today. I hope and pray that it will mean as much to you as it does to me because it absolutely blew me away and left me in awe!! I’m just loving “The Lord‘s Table“ and I highly recommend it! You can find this course, as well as courses for other addictions (cutting, drugs and alcohol, sex), at www.settingcaptivesfree.com

Grace and peace to all of you!! I pray that whatever stronghold you are struggling with (whether it be food or something else) will be surrendered to Jesus. He died to make us free from whatever weighs on us (no matter how big or small we deem those things to be)! That freedom is offered to us through Christ; with whom all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, Philippians 4:13). Victory will come when we humbly surrender, give up our pride, and get real about our own callousness. May the Lord abundantly bless and free you as you seek Him!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Birthday Blog

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve had a lot going on and haven’t been online to blog as much. So, I thought I would post something a little fun and interesting (and maybe a little off-the-wall) to lighten the mood a little. Ya’ll don’t know about how weird I can be do ya?! Ha ha!! This blog is about my birthday (which was Tuesday). I’m 27 now.…… (yeah, I’m just a baby, I know lol).

Prior to my birthday, I was a little on the down side. Ok, a LOT on the down side (but that‘s a long and complicated story and who cares anyways?!). In fact, my friend Jama actually got worried when I wasn’t online for a couple days (she actually wondered if I died - no joke!). ;) But, I’m alive and well…..well, for the most part lol. And, she and I did go out for my birthday as we planned (gosh I love girly time!!). We had some Chinese food and then we went to see a movie: “The Proposal”. Overall, the movie was pretty good and was pretty funny. Though, there were a few (shall I say, “inappropriate”) moments that we could have done without (we wanted to gag….ew! But, I won’t talk about it because it’s too disturbing lol!). At least one of the highlights was all the cool things we got to wear Sandra Bullock wear or carry “hey, look at that handbag”….or…”oh my gosh, I love those shoes!” And, I also gave Jama a hard time about not going to see “Confessions of a Shopaholic” with me when it was in theaters. She REALLY missed some fashion eye-candy there!! Well, at least it’s on DVD now; it’s fun and hilarious (in my opinion). ;)

Oh, and speaking of fashion, here’s the link to the charity fashion show she’s organizing for the Salvation Army: www.fortwaynefashion.org . If you can, come support the event! Who knows, you might even see someone you know on the runway (click on the link I cited and then click on “models“ to the left). ;)

Ok, now that I have cleverly embedded that little promo for the show into my blog, back to my original topic. ;)

After the movie, we went to Starbucks. We sipped our coffee outside and chatted it up for a while before calling it a night. Yeah, the fun has to end sometime (I just hate that!). Though, I was so grateful for the fun time we had; and for the BEAUTIFUL Anne Geddes book that she gave me that is just FILLED with gorgeous photos of babies!! Yes, what a perfect present for me! Isn’t she awesome?! Jama, you’re the best! You freakin’ rock you gorgeous diva you!! OXOXO

Speaking of presents, there are a few more things that I got that day that were also pretty awesome. I got lots of birthday wishes from so many people on Facebook (and some on myspace too). *Sigh* I felt the love (even from the belated wishes)!! “You like me, you really like me!!!” ;) Thanks, everyone!! And, I got a beautiful picture frame from Holly (with a picture of her and I in it). It says, “Smile, you have a friend” on it. I see it every day in my living room. It‘s the perfect reminder of how blessed I am; especially on the days (usually PMS days) where I can sometimes get into an “I hate the world” mode and forget that I have so many awesome friends! ;) So, THANK YOU, Holly, for that!!

Also, a big thanks to my family for the cards and gifts of cash/gift cards (and to Mom for my necklace!). I used my gift card from my bro to get a couple movies on walmart.com. Have you ever heard of “Savannah Smiles” or “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”? Yeah, CLASSICS!! They’re sweet, inspiring, and fun!! Can’t wait to get those in the mail! And, I can’t wait to read the boxed set of C.S. Lewis books that I bought with some of my birthday money! Gosh, he’s so brilliant!! Normally, I probably would have bought clothes or something, but clothes wear out or lose their luster. Knowledge lasts much longer; hence the books! I also got a book on the bargain pile that caught my eye: “Jesus in Blue Jeans”. It’s short little chapters about Jesus’ poise, perspective, passion, and power (and how to be more like Him). I’m reading it day by day like a devotional and it’s AMAZING! I’m lovin’ it!! Our small group is also doing “The Lord’s Table” (about weight management) so I got LOTS of reading to do each day, but it’s all good! I’m foreseeing some spiritual growth spurts! Glory hallelujah! ;)

I got a few other little things (like a totally awesome scarf, and some earrings and stuff at Claire’s) but what really took the cake was something that wasn’t a cake at all. I didn’t have a birthday cake, for my birthday….however, what I had was MUCH better!! For one, my Grandma made me some blueberry muffins (as she typically does for me on my birthdays; but I always seem to forget that that awesome treat is coming!). Gosh how I love those! And Grandma wasn’t the only one that blessed me with delicious wonders on my special day. My dear friend, Cindy, baked me her special zucchini bread! Though, I think it’s technical name should be “a slice of heaven” or something, because it’s SO MUCH WORTHIER of a greater title!! Though, that name doesn’t go far enough either so maybe we’ll just call it “the awesome something that has no name” or “the bread of high regard“ or something far more distinguished that I can‘t think of because it‘s just THAT GOOD!! Maybe, “the bread to which none compares”? How can you POSSIBLY call it BREAD when it is soooooooooo much better than that?!! It’s moist, sweet, and delicious! Not quite “cake” but BETTER than a muffin! Oh, it’s glorious!! And, before ya’ll go thinking that I gorged myself silly, please know that I did share with Mitch and the kids. ;) Jama got to try the “bread” too. Lisa missed out this time, but at least she got some of Grandma’s angel food cake a while back (for those of you that aren’t on Facebook, it all started with something I posted about it on my status and my friend, Lisa, practically pleaded to help me eat it lol. So, I brought her a piece! Ha ha!! And, her and her husband made a hilarious video about it if you want to see!! It's on Facebook, so you'll have to login to see it).

Well, that was my birthday in a nutshell! I did go for a run in the morning. Holly called it my “birthday run.” I just called it “making myself exercise on my birthday even though I would rather take the day off “ lol. When your loved ones lay offerings of muffins and insanely delicious “bread” at your feet, you got to work off the side effects of those “gifts” somehow! ;)

The only other thing I can think of to say about my birthday was the fact that I totally messed myself up (unintentionally) with caffeine. For those of you that don’t know, caffeine really has weird effects on me. It can make me super giggly and retarded, or it can make me borderline crazy if I drink it when I’m on the tired side. Such was the case Tuesday, because I had WAY TOO MUCH! I had a mocha from McDonald’s on my way to see Jama. Then, I had a pop at the movie. Then, of course, Starbucks. I figured there was enough hours between the two coffees that I would be ok - but I forgot about the pop I had. So, by the time I got home, I was starting to feel the effects. I was getting woozy and starting to stagger and stammer like a drunk (I’m not kidding! Ask Mitch!). I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me until it dawned on me. I could have about kicked myself for that because now, I had to deal with the “I’m so wound up I could climb the walls! I’m SPIDER-MAN” feeling. Caffeine messes with me so bad that sometimes I even hallucinate or end up experiencing every emotion known to man (from laughter to tears - and everything inbetween). I don’t know why my body is so ridiculously sensitive to stuff, but yeah. I couldn’t really go to sleep that night; tossed and turned and sometimes I have very absurd dreams. I don’t know why I’m babbling about all this (no, I don’t currently have any in my system!) but I guess I just wanted to make you all laugh! Did it work? ;)

Ok. Enough said!! I had a great day! Thank you, everyone, for being in my life! Hopefully, the Lord will bless me with many more years of joy and being able to share myself and my gifts with the world!! Thanks for reading the things that I share on this blog!! Grace and peace to you!! God bless you!