Releasing Attachments. My body slapped me and I had to apologize. I thank you for praying for my healing each and every time that my Mother and my Sisters shared I was in need of prayer. I owe you an apology as well. You prayed for me and yes, I have not been of late a good Steward of my body and your prayers. It is important as I am on this journey to be transparent about my struggles as well.
I have been praying about my triggers and negative attachments that essentially are what I have placed above God and that hinders my walk, with HIM. Last night I turned off the television at 9 pm – attachment, which does not yeild fruit; as a diabetic, I was for awhile on a journey, reducing the level of medication and instead of continuing, I added in unhealthy foods, resorted to a lack of exercise and reverted to stressors – all negative attachments.
I saw these attachments as sin that I am actively and knowingly engaging in. In my vision, I was walking on the beach towards the water ( the beach is my favorite place), really not walking but lumbering, and tied to my waist was a heavy rope. I was lumbering along because attached to the rope was a strong box. The box contained those attachments mentioned, my triggers, stressors, dreams deferred, fears, the I can’ts, anger, all of that and more that I have yet to uncover. It was so heavy and it slowed me down.
In my vision, I have a knife large enough to cut the rope, but I hesitate, almost fearfully. I hear the soft sweet comforting whisper say: “Trust in ME with all your heart And DAUGHTER do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways JUST acknowledge ME, And I promise you, I will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (paraphrased)
Right at that moment, it was like going through the billows, a time of refreshment. I turned and cut the rope. For a second, I felt fear and God spoke again “Be determined and confident. Do not be afraid! I will be with you. I will not fail you or abandon you.” —Deuteronomy 31:6 (paraphrased)
Mark 15:37-39 (NIV) 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Imagine standing in front of Jesus and finally recognizing that He is the Son of God. It must have been such an awesome experience. I think of the blessing that the centurion had for actually being in the presence of Jesus. It also brings to mind the opportunity that he may have lost. Jesus walked in his midst before while He was alive. Did the centurion know Jesus before the end? Was he changed by that experience? Was he drawn closer to God?
Surely, we know that Sunday is coming! Jesus is near. During this lenten season, we may have taken steps to get ourselves closer to the Lord. We may have faltered. Today ends our Lenten Challenge. However, it does not end our journey. We are standing in the presence of Jesus and we can be transformed.
There are so many levels of transformation during this season. Some of this transformation occurs because we want it to and we are willing to put in the work to be a better disciple for Christ. We are putting time in the Word and with God in Prayer. We also work on taking care of our body temples in a manner that is pleasing to God. For we know that we are to honor God with our temples.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
The ultimate transformation and gift from the Lord is that Jesus died and rose again for you and me. He has cleansed us for now and eternal life. Knowing that we are free from the condemnation of sin is powerful and should help us to lead lives in the abundance that God promised and plans for us. Ultimately, our goal should be to stand in His presence and hear the words, “Well done.”
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10
When we look at verse 9 what comes to your mind? To me it says hang in there. When we want to do something good do not get so tired of doing well that we just stop and fail. I remember when I was in college and being chronic anemic I was always so tired, however, I pushed myself so hard to stay up, finish, and turn in a project. For anyone that does not know how this affects the body, mind and ability to complete any activity, it makes you sleepy all of the time, better yet fatigued and you have slept all night, but you want to go right back to bed as soon as you wake up.
How does this tie in with our Lenten challenge you ask? Well let me tell you. At times, the journey is trying while we eat and drink all of the things that we usually would not consume on a daily basis. At times, we may have been tempted to get tired and slack off. We may have been tempted to have that cake, pie, or that chocolate that we were craving. Just remember, with constant prayer, we can overcome any temptations that will keep us weary and not finishing our challenge.
Hang in there everyone…you are not alone in the challenge-we can finish strong our blessings are well on their way.
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1 Peter 4:1-2 (NRSV) Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2 so as to live for the rest of your earthly life[b] no longer by human desires but by the will of God
I got saved when I was a pre-teen. I recall thinking there are so many restrictions associated with being a Christian. You can’t do this, that or the other. You can bet that all of those things I wanted to do were things that were harmful for me. I can see it now, but certainly could not appreciate the danger back then. Even as I grew up I still thought this life of being a believer comes with so many restrictions, why would anyone commit to this way of living. Still, as I reflect now I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it. Can We Talk?!
Now that I have grown up and understand better my purpose and the purpose and power of my salvation, I understand that the boundaries, restrictions or the Laws were not designed to keep me in bondage, but they were designed to set me free. When I think about no longer being a slave to sin and giving into every desire of my flesh, I understand that I am set free by those boundaries. Do I still sin? YES. Come on, you know the answer to that. Am I under the dominion of sin? NO! There is a difference.
When we are under the dominion of sin, we HAVE to sin. We don’t have a choice. Sin may in fact, be our way of life. When I recognize the power over sin I have through the blood of Christ I am able to DECIDE or CHOOSE to sin OR NOT in every situation in my life. I am aware that the choices I am making are sinful and those choices have the potential to lead to death.
I hope that you can comprehend the freedom that your salvation affords you. When we are able to live according to the will of God, instead of being driven by our fleshly desires we are set free. As a believer there are certain activities that I choose not to partake in. But that does not mean that I am missing out on anything. In fact, the opposite is true. I have gained so much through this relationship with Jesus. Riches untold. Loving the Lord makes us want to live according to His will. For me, it means that I have freedom to live a wonderfully blessed life.
Proverbs 10:12 NLT Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.
I’m taking a different look at this scripture as I consider why I do some of the things I do and even some of the things I don’t do. While I don’t think I actively hate myself, I’m not really showing love to myself when I eat more than I should and when I don’t work out. Truly loving yourself or anyone else requires action. I have to ask myself today am I loving myself enough. Have I focused enough energy on breaking bad habits and building new ones? Loving myself now will help me overcome the offense of my previous lack in these areas.
The one thing I know about this Lenten Challenge season is that I have an opportunity to focus on what I should do in context with what God has and will do for me. Jesus has demonstrated his love for me that is absolutely unconditional. This is a love that frees me from my past bonds and gives me the opportunity to make things better. My path to loving myself more might not be perfect. Actually, I know it won’t be and God will love me still.
The truth is that God loves us all. Once we come to truly accepting His love and loving ourselves in every area of our lives, life will only get better. It will also result in us loving each other even more. I’m exciting about sharing more love and know that it begins with me.
In all of our efforts to lose weight, eat healthy and stay on track with our fitness goals we still tend to not do our best. Why is that? Sometimes there are emotional or psychological reasons people turn to food. And other times we have to realize as Oswald Chambers states “All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them.” But when we turn this portion of our life over to God, as we should with all areas of our life, we are then comforted by these words “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” -2 Kings 6:16.
Daily, we are bombarded with thousands of options for snacks. Most of which would not be beneficial in working towards the goal you have in mind. Of all of the obstacles that threaten to play a role in sabotaging our efforts, simply adding THE one major factor will free you from the stress you face when you go into battle with your weight loss. That factor is God!
He has told us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.” I used this exact verse one day when I was extremely hungry and away from home. I was tempted by some of my favorites…ALL CANDY!!! Instead of falling prey to the temptation I left my location and bought a cup of pineapples. I believe that had I tried to go it alone I would have reasoned why its ok to have, succumb to my desires for the sweetness of whatever candy I had chosen then chastised myself for it later. But once the scripture came to mind I immediately left the store. There being one example of how God just being in the midst of your effort can catapult you from where you stand alone to His prosperous graces.
We need, and our spirit desires to partner with God…in all things. And since God longs to be a part of every aspect of our lives why not include Him in this? “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.”
And finally, when we see that we, by ourselves, are not enough we will more readily relinquish the reigns over to Christ and truly fall back on this statement “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” –Philippians 4:13
Image courtesy of Joyfull Living
I love the book of James. There is so much wisdom imparted to us within these pages that it is difficult for me to pick and choose which verse or verses are my favorite. But, for today at least, I will choose one that I think will give you a little inspiration for your week.
In James chapter 3 verses 17-18 it says,
17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
A lot to swallow, right? But let’s have a little fun with this and relate each identifying mark of wisdom that James describes to our own struggles with being healthy.
1. Pure: Are you pure with your motives for trying to live a better life? I mean, if you are trying to lose weight or look better for anyone other than yourself, you are fighting an uphill battle. I work with a lot of people on their wellness and fitness concerns, time and time again I stress to them that there has to be a shift in their way of thinking, if they have a chance to make the most significant impact. They have to choose to make a change for themselves. Girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse, and even doctors don’t make the difference. You have to purely want to change. Once you have the conviction behind whatever you want to do, you become unstoppable. If your results are based on other’s perception of you, it works for a while, but ultimately, in those times when you are at your weakest, you fail miserably because you know deep inside that you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
2. Peace Loving: Love yourself some peace. Peace of mind that is! Have the peace of mind that you do your best and give it your all every time you step foot in the gym or on the street to do some walking or jogging. Even if you roll out that fitness mat at home and do an exercise video, don’t do it half-way. Give it your best! Why waste the effort half-heartedly? If your best effort of walking is 5 minutes, go for it. Tomorrow make it 6 minutes. Then the next day go for 7 minutes. As you continue to increase, you will continue to improve. But it takes the best effort to get the best results. Have the peace within yourself of knowing that you did your very best.
3. Considerate: Consider those loved ones that need you to be there for them. You are not out on an island. You have people counting on you to be an example and to motivate them in return. Buddying up with others to exercise is a great way to build and develop relationships. Your outcomes are not just dependent on what you get out of the workout, but what you are willing to give to others as well.
4. Submissive: Submit to the will of the Father. He does not want you to every consider yourself to be a loser. You have power inside of you that needs to be untapped. You have limitless potential for success. Fall down today, fine. Get back up tomorrow and try again. Eventually, the plan is to make the number of times you stand bigger than the number of falls. If you do that then you are always on top. God has a destiny and a calling for his people to be conquerors.
5. Full of Mercy and Good Fruit: Have mercy on yourself for your past failures. So what if you failed the last time you dieted. That was the old you. Even if it was just yesterday, you are a day older now. Move on, forgive yourself, throw a little mercy your way and take the next moment to do better. The good fruit of your labors is right around the corner if you believe and finish the race.
6. Impartial and Sincere: Judge no one for their efforts. Neither should you favor your own. Just because you are you, does not give you the excuse that you should take it easy. If you are going to do something, do it right. Or just don’t do it at all. Impartiality to your pitiful circumstances only pacifies whatever detrimental behaviors you have developed. Get it in your mind that you will not settle for anything second best and that your effort will be sincere. Then and only then, will the challenges be lessened, your resolve fortified and your outcomes perfected.
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Mark 16:6-7 (NIV) 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’
Jesus had been killed by hanging on a cross – falsely accused and misunderstood by the Religious authorities. And though he had followers, people faithful to him – few of them were with him when he died. Verse 1-5 in this 16th Chapter of Mark, tells us that once Jesus had died, his body was removed from the cross and placed in a tomb. 3 days later Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome made the journey to the tomb in order to anoint Jesus’ dead body with spices, but when they arrived, Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found. It was gone.
They saw that stone had been rolled away and they were greeted by a young man presumed to be an angel, who provides the verse for today’s Lenten scripture: 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go; tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’
These believing women went to prepare his body, as was the Jewish practice of the time for final resting. I am sure that they were in some kind of pain – loss manifest itself in so many ways. How do you feel, when things are one way and then all of the sudden you see that it is totally different; surprised, lost, deceived, angry, hurt, remorseful, dumb; there is some emotion attributed to difference. For me, I get a nervous stomach and it is not proved to be too far off and then I have questions. There are times when I have to thoroughly examine my feelings, especially when all along I believed one way, only to find out it is not what I thought at all.
How do you feel when that happens, when something or someone you trusted in, is no longer there, your foundation, your rock is gone? Clearly now, in these economic times, and the recent act of sequesterian (I am a fed), the world for many is now turned upside down, and in a panic. I just wonder what expressions did these three faithful women show for the angel to tell them not to be alarmed; Jesus had made promises to never leave nor forsake.
Let’s just look at the scripture – Notice the angel tries to comfort them in their fears.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he says. Then, proceeds to give them information on what has happened. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” Not only does he provides a confirmation as to the status of Jesus, he then points them in the direction to see Jesus, once again – “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Are you familiar with Jesus? Are you familiar with the promises, the miracles, and the parables? Is your relationship a familiar relationship, where you know that our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit will never leave you or forsake you? John 3:16 tells us: 6 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) I so appreciate that scripture, but more importantly what touches my heart, and what I have lived with is John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV)
I had to ask myself through this Lenten season, if I am willing to accept change by accepting what God will allow, know that every single of the reported 3,573 promises in the bible are true, even if circumstances do not line up? If I just hold onto one of those promises and believe that God is faithful, all will be well.
Take a moment for you and consider: Do you have the faith to believe Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And when you do have questions, when your foundation has been shaken, when life has taken a turn and your pain is unbearable, and you just don’t believe weeping may endure for a night, because no Joy has yet to come in the morning; when your faith is weaken, are you willing to follow through with Jeremiah 29: 12-13 and believe the promise “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)
Listen to the angel and go for the familiar and that would the resurrected promise of Jesus. Hold on and look around and see that there really is only one set of footprints, and they are not ours. God Bless you.
Image “Sin is at your door” courtesy of Jordyn Williams on Flickr
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6-7
By now we are nice and cozy in our Lenten Challenge. I’m sure some of us are doing fabulously, focused and sticking to our plans. But, I bet lots of us are not doing as well. Maybe we have not stuck to our food plans. Perhaps we have missed some workouts. It’s possible that some of us have not been very focused on Lent or the challenge at all. Do you fall into any of these groups?
I happen to fall into category 3, lack of focus on Lent. Lent is not a part of the spiritual practices that I grew up with. I’ve learned a little about it over the last few years. I like the idea of making a personal sacrifice and reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifices for us. As much as I like the idea of Lent, it is not a habitual practice for me. I find myself getting caught up in my normal routines and not focusing on Lent the way that I should.
Now, if you are like me lacking focus or coming up short in the diet or fitness area, it is ok. Do not have your face downcast. Do not be Angry with yourself. Maybe you have not done the right things in terms of your goals for this challenge. Our subject verse says if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Sin and temptation go hand and hand. You may be feeling very tempted to give up on this challenge and your Lenten goals. I urge you to not let any downcast feelings or anger control you, influence you, have you. Instead I ask you to simply let these feelings pass, rule over them and the temptation to quit.
Instead of focusing on what you have not done right thus far in the challenge focus on the beginning of verse 7, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Today, start over if you need to. Don’t focus on what you have not done well. Instead focus on what you have done right and what you can do right going forward. My answer to the question post to Cain is yes; if you do right you will be accepted. But that acceptance will come from within. We feel good about ourselves and accept ourselves when we know we are doing our best to do what is right.
So even if things are not going as well as we’d like within this challenge or even other areas of your life don’t let downcast feelings, guilt, or anger have you. Rule over it. Do not give into the temptation of quitting. Instead focus on getting back on track and doing what is right so you can accept yourself, flaws and all without guilt or self anger.
Do you need to get back on your food plan, exercise regime, or just refocus in general on the Lenten Challenge?
Arlett R. Hartie (Chasing Joy)
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Here came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:6-7 NASB
Every day we are yearning to know “How can good come to and out of our lives?” We live with dreams, visions, and goals to which we never pursue. Getting a better job, starting a blog, eating better, teaching and empowering others, etc. are some things we long to do. Taking time to understand what you are sent to this earth to do will help you with getting started with accomplishing your goals. Many times we are looking at everyone else accomplish and receive results in the things we sit and think about doing. It’s time to get moving and receive. The life you dream of is awaiting you.
John the Baptist was sent to this earth by God and so were you. John came to testify about the Light and he fulfilled his purpose. You came to fulfill a purpose as well. He fulfilled his purpose so many would believe in Jesus Christ and when you accomplish your purpose people will believe they can do it to.
You have everything inside of you to live the life you see. You would have never had the unction to desire those things if God wasn’t going to give you everything you need to fulfill them. He has already gone before you and paved the way for you to become your dream and live good. Go and fill out the application. Put down the cookies and pick up a carrot. Begin uplifting with your co-workers. Do something now. Do not wait until everything is in place because something will always come up. It’s time to push pass the thoughts of “I’ll do it tomorrow” and start now. Push pass the thoughts” I am to old”, you are still breathing. Push pass the thoughts “one cookie won’t hurt”, ten minutes of exercise won’t either. No more excuses. No more limitations, it’s time to fulfill your goals and live your dream.