Friday, July 25, 2014

Reshaping it all
As in my previous post recommending this book, I began reading and wondered what Candace would have to say about health and spiritual fitness.  I got rather nervous reading some very secular statements about identity (don't worry she later clarified and redeemed those statements.)  I pressed on and praised God that I did.

"Priorities have a way of squeezing out the less pleasant activities, unless we make a point to prioritize them." p 43 

This statement caused me to pause.  Things that I find difficult to get into in a day must be less pleasant and if so, what does that say about me?  Yeah, I got to think things like that through - is internet and TV a priority or is my God and family - which one am I making the most time for?

"My point being that if we become disciplined with the small things in life, we will grow to discipline ourselves even further." p 96

I've heard this saying before - if you want to hear God's direction on the big things, be obedient in the little things.  If you want God's direction on what you are to do with something the Bible isn't 100 % clear about, why not start with following the directions on the things the Bible is 100% clear on and you'll learn how/what God wants in the other thing.  God is all about the small stuff and we need to be too.

Chapter 8 was a wonderful chapter on discipline.  Page 96 had great encouragement to press on through the pain so that self-discipline can be strengthened.  Our bodies need to be discipline until it happens naturally, then we need to keep watch so that we're not disqualified (1 Cor 9:27.)

"To get a biblical view of self-discipline, let's take a closer look at self-discipline side of the woman personified in Proverbs 31:
  • Works with eager hands (v 13)
  • Brings food from afar (v 14)
  • Gets up while it's still dark (v 15)
  • Plants a vineyard (v 16)
  • Works vigorously (v 17)
  • Is clothed with strength and dignity (v 25)
  • Speaks with wisdom (v 26)
  • Doesn't sit idle (v 27)
"Do some of those characteristics speak to you? Have you refused to work out because it would mean getting up a little earlier?  Do you grab something quick to eat because you don't want to take the time to get your food from afar?  Do you waste too much idle time on the computer or television when you could be enriching your mind?  Are you clothed with strength and dignity, or do you throw on a ball cap, slip on a ratty T-shirt, and then head out of the door praying you won't be seen?" pp 99-100

I had to include all of the above quote.  This whole section spoke to me.  I had never really thought/applied of the Proverb 31 to my discipline.  The Proverbs 31 woman is disciplined.  Yeah, I may not ever become that standard - but I won't discount it for it is God's standard that I strive for and seek His help in obtaining.  I accept where I am and focus on where I'm going - Proverbs 31.
Chapter 11 (p 134) describes conscious living and questions to ask to help determine if I'm consciously living.  Yeah, that section spoke to me as well - particularly about surfing the net and channel surf.  Although many of the things on the list are things that were in my past.  I have broke free from those bad habits of unconscious living - praise be to God.

"If you really want to be transformed by the Spirit, as I hope you are seeking to be, He wants every area of your life to be handled in a spiritual way." p 185.

This statement called me out on what I'm not doing - handling every part of my life spiritual.  I didn't consider that I was withholding areas from God.  However, when I don't go to God, when I don't pray about something, when I go on autopilot and 'I can handle it,' I am withholding areas from God.  All things handled spiritually (see Live By the Spirit.)

Candace (with Darlene) really speaks as one who has walked this journey before.  On page 208 she writes about getting to the place where you're over the number on the scale and really want, desires to overcome the bondage food has.  This is precisely where I am.  All the things listed above is God speaking truth to me on how He wants to do this.  Through Him I am free from the bondage.  By His grace I can begin to live it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Choosing Joy

What could get me down...
  • my washer stopped working.  After trying the fix that was indicated it still doesn't work.  
  • my left hip popped.  This is my good hip, but now if feels like I'm bruised severely.  After great progress in doing rehab for IT band syndrome and foot on my right side...just days before vacation.
  • after stocking up on something for D to eat - it doesn't agree with his tummy. :(
  • the days are dwindling of time I get to spend with K.  School is starting way to soon.

I could dwell on these things.  I could allow myself to be overcome with defeat.  Depression is grasping and clawing for me.

But I smile - for the suffering draws me near my Father.  I smile because Jesus said "in this world you WILL have trouble, But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33.)"  I smile for I am one of His and I will have trouble.  But I take heart and set my sights beyond my current circumstances.  I set my eyes on Jesus who encountered more suffering and did not sin.  I can too with HIS strength.  

My strength would have faded long ago.  I would have welcomed bitterness, self-pity and disgust.  Yet with Jesus as my focus, my example, I have joy.  I have peace.  I look forward to how God will use each of these as part of His plan.  Each trial is an opportunity to sing joyful praise.  I have been deemed worthy to suffer (Acts 5:41.)

Monday, July 14, 2014


I had heard the lesson many times, but it finally sunk into my soul.  I grasped the whole concept.  I am set free from my bondage.  It is the need for security.  We can seek in vain to be secure.  The bank account at just the right amount.  The debt paid off.  Holding on time to personal information.

Some are paralyzed by the desire to be secure.  Their choices are dominated by their fears.  Some can't leave their homes.  Others will only venture out at just the right time - perhaps when there's no snow/rain/clouds.  Some overprotect their children because of fear.

Some are mobilized because of fear.  They will work beyond their effective capacity in order to maintain a false sense of security.  Some will hover by loved ones, knowing they need to be the one to provide protection.

I heard this message the other way around - where do you place your securities, what idols do you have if it isn't God?  Yet to approach it from why I seek security?  What in me craves the security?

We were designed to want it.  It is part of that God hole in our hearts that we try to foolishly fill with anything other than God.  We might even have God in our hearts, but not allow Him to have this area - for we'd be out of control fully dependent on God if that were the case.  That. Is. Frightening.

But it can be frightening in a good way.

We are even good at convincing ourselves that we've allowed God into every area of our heart.  We think we're dependent on God for security.  However, what if my 'secure' life was altered?  It's only as secure as right now anyway.  What if having needed shelter meant living with a relative instead of my own home?  What if after an exhausting day I still had to go cook dinner (not take out)?  What if instead of a minor car accident my husband was in that it was a major one?  Yeah, that one would be a life changer for sure.

The point is what expectations, demands am I putting on God as a requirement to what security He provides me?  Do I expect to continue to live in my home or is shelter - shelter to me?  Do I expect my bank account to always be a certain amount or am I content that we have enough?  Do I demand to wear certain clothes or are clothes that cover good enough?  Do I demand that my family be sheltered from the cruelties of this world or am I confident that God will see me through any obstacle - keeping my mind set on eternity?

What did Jesus do?  Did He have a place to lay His head? No (Luke 9:58.)  Did He have a bank account?  No and the one keeping the money stole it (John 12:6.)  Did He always have food fit for a king?  No, but He ate well.  Did His Father shelter Him from the cruelties of the world?  No, He took on the full totality of the cruelties (Isaiah 53.)  Why?  He had His mind on eternity.  He wanted me (and you) to be there with Him.  He wanted to free me from seeking security in anything other than His Father.  Real security if found no where else.  Real security is in God. 

So let go of expectations.  Let go of worldly fears.  Release the layers of self-confidence and need to be self reliant.  Take the step to be fully dependent on God.  Oh Papa, help me to do just that!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pain Update...
Ok, I snagged this way I could take a picture of my own.  Well, my dr. appointment was only half successful by my expectations.  100 % successful by God's provision. 

I can best describe the pain from the shot is someone pinching you were you are bruised.  Fortunately I wasn't in a lot of pain prior, which means I wasn't overly sensitive.  I never seen a needle go so deep into me before (although D pointed out the epidural I received probably did, but I didn't see it.)  I caught my groan from the pain, grabbed the dr. should so I didn't fall over.  He had a hold of the needle so I wanted to make sure we stayed together until it was done.  Still too soon to determine if it will be lasting pain relief or not.  I'm have great expectation that it will help in the long run.  All the sensations it caused were pains that I felt before with my inflamed hip.

I have been diligent to slow down, to do my daily physical therapy exercises.  It has helped tremendously. I'm slowly regaining strength in my body.  I'm really amazed how much muscle I lost from the foot sprain.

I weighed in at the dr.  I'm down a few pounds.  Still not at my pre-winter weight, but happy to be moving in the right directions.  Many of my summer close are fitting better.  I've stopped (or close to it) weighing at home.  It's not about the number, but about obedience, self-control and living by the spirit.  If I'm doing these things, the number will be where it needs to be. 

So if you get a moment, say a prayer for me.  That the shot is effective and my focus remain on my Healer - He has healed my soul, in that I will be content.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Grace in Trials

Temptation is to expected.  Each day I have a plan, but part of that plan should include what to do when temptation comes my way.  Ask for grace, listen and seek the way out.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

It's so easy to think that I'm insulated and will not be tempted. How foolish.  Jesus didn't say IF, He said WILL!

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The following is an excerpt from Valley of Vision.  The prayer sums up the cry of my heart and the acknowledgement of my limitations, my propensity to sin, my weakness in battle, my desire to rely on self but need to rely on the Holy Spirit:

Father of Mercies,  
Hear me for Jesus' sake. 
I am sinful even in my closest walk with thee; it is of Thy mercy I died not long ago; 
Thy grace has given me faith in the cross by which Thou hast reconciled Thyself to me and me to Thee, 
drawing me by Thy great love, reckoning me as innocent in Christ though guilty in myself.  
Giver of all graces, 
I look to thee for strength to maintain them in me, for it is hard to practise what I believe.  
Strengthen me against temptation.  
My heart is an unexhausted fountain of sin, a river of corruption since childhood days, flowing in every pattern of behaviour, 
Thou has disarmed me the means in which I trusted and I have no strength but in thee.  
Thou alone canst hold back my evil ways, but without Thy grace to sustain me I fall.  
Satan's darts quickly inflame me, and the shield that should quench them easily drops from my hand: Empower me again his wiles and assaults.  
Keep me sensible of my weakness, and of my dependance upon Thy strength. 
Let every trail teach me more of Thy peace, more of Thy love.  
Thy Holy Spirit is given to increase Thy graces, and I cannot preserve or improve them unless He works continually in me.  
May He confirm my trust in Thy promised help, and let me walk humbly in dependence upon Thee, 
for Jesus' sake.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Book of a Friend - Candace

Ok, I have been putting together my book review of Candace Cameron Bure's book - Reshaping It All.  I'm just a few pages away from finishing it.  On this Independence Day of our country I want to encourage others to make this their independence day. 

I thought of reading this book when it came out, but didn't.  I began following Candace online a few years ago.  When her new book came out and her on DWTS, I wanted to read the new book, but thought I better read the first book first.

So what can someone who seems to have no issue with food and the spiritual aspect of it say in a full length book?  Well a lot!  Candace, with the help of Darlene Schacht (if you don't follow her at Time Warped Wife, you should!), have spoke volumes to where I am right now. 

So this isn't a review...which will come soon.  I urge you to read this book if you have any issue with food.  It. Is. A. Must.

Page 226  "Let me paint a scenario.  You've eaten a good dinner, stopped when you were satisfied, and feel pretty good about the choices you've made.  Thirty minutes later the TV goes on, and the family starts rummaging through the kitchen for a television snack.  Suddenly you get the munchies.  Your brain starts off slow and then goes into a wild frenzy of arguments giving you every reason you deserve to eat more than you should.  Telling you that you can break the rule 'just this once' even though you know that last night, and the night before that and the night before that, were the 'just once' days too."

This captures what goes on in my head (not so much anymore Praise the One Who changes.)  If it doesn't show a similar situation/argument you've had with yourself... then great, this isn't the sin you struggle with.  God has placed applicable truth for my life in this book.  It isn't candy coated, eat this, do that.  It's getting to the spiritual side where true change can and will happen.  It's a choice.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Live by the Spirit

I've dug deeper to what it means to live by the Spirit.  Conviction.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

I pray.  I seek God's help.  But there are times when I don't and need to.  I need to rely on God's grace throughout the day, yet I stubbornly try to do things on my own.  I try to make better food choices (and fail.)  I try to not get irritated at other drivers (and fail.)  I try to get what is most things important done (and fail.)

I allow compromise, my need to control and the ease of distractions to invade.  I'm not strong enough to face it on my own despite what my stubborn self says!

What would happen if I stopped and sought the Spirit's help.  He's in me.  He's here to be my Counselor (direct me in the way of the Father), to be my Comforter (this world will have troubles) and my Convicter (that twinge in the gut when I'm not focused on the right thing.)

To live by the Spirit isn't just acknowledging He's with me.  It's building the relationship to listen to Him, to respond to Him and to seek His grace out.

Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18

I heard a little tidbit about this verse and it spoke to me, went seamlessly with the above thought (Go God!)  Ephesians is written to believers, who have the Spirit, so that don't need to be filled with the Spirit.  What they need to do is allow the Spirit to purify sin and fill them (better written to be filled by the Spirit.)  Am I allowing the Spirit to fill me?  Do I allow self-control to ooze through me with temptation is strong?  Do I allow love (and forgiveness) to fill my inner being when other drivers are clearly out. of. their. minds?  Do I quench the Spirit's voice when I focus on things that are seconds (not first priorities?)  Do I reach for grace or am I blindly hidden behind the veil that it will be there when I need it, so I don't have to ask?

And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:15 (underline mine)

I have grace, that is given.  God knows my prayers and needs.  I have access to all that I need.  It is for my benefit, to remind me that He is the Provider, that I ask.  This doesn't mean He withholds until I ask, however the Bible is clear with need to ask.  Just like waiting on my daughter to become aware of a need and ask me.

When temptation is strong, do I turn to Him for grace?  Do I declare with my mouth "I love You MORE!"  I'm getting there.  God wants me there.  He wants no room to doubt that every aspect of my life is handled by Him through me.  My mind may say it's true, but now my actions need to follow through.  I need to live it.  I need to fully live by the Spirit.

God is so good.

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