It’s Resurrection Sunday evening and I’m a little tired from all of my celebrating. I went to Maundy Thursday service, Good Friday service and Easter service at two different churches. After I went to the early service at my church, I was inspired to visit another in the afternoon. It makes sense that I tired feeling , I have spent a ton of time worshipping and praising the Lord. I’ve been to four services over this long weekend and have heard a total of 10 different messages. Each individual message definitely spoke to me. This includes pastors who shared on the each of the seven last words.
Each and every service I went to was extremely powerful. The words were so on point. I know that I know that I know Jesus died and he rose again for me. He certainly died for you too. Redemption has been granted. The resurrection is real. Jesus is alive for us all and in us all who believe, accept and know.
For a moment, I’m going to focus on me. I’m not really taking this as a selfish moment. I am, however, putting myself on blast – a sort of public accountability session. Can I spend this much time with the Lord and in the company of believers, live through so many spiritual and emotional experiences and still be the same ‘Joy” I was? This is not just limited to the services. I’m also counting all of the effort of the Lenten Challenge. It is possible that all of it is just temporary. Should it be? Of course not! There should be some lasting change. Will there be?
Just as I prepared to type these words, I took a moment to check my twitter account. Unwiittingly, my friend Aqua Copeland gave me the answer.
@Favored1Aqua We can’t stay trapped in the same condition, issues, and situations year after year. We have #Resurrection Power!
Clearly, I took on the #LentenChallenge to be transformed. I’m looking for self-improvement and a greater spiritual connection. I’ve created some positive momentum. Will it stick? Or will I simply go back to my old ways? When I had the opportunity to add old stuff back in to my diet after the stroke of midnight, I didn’t miss a beat. Chocolate was popped into my moth. Fish was on plate. Cheesy carbs were also added. While I don’t plan to gorge myself as I have done in the past or eat some of these things all the time, I really have yet to commit myself to plan. I could slip into a new bad habit without focus and effort. I am working and praying on a better path. The evidence will be when I act on it.
How I take care of my body temple is only one aspect of making sure that I’m GospelFit and drawing closer to the Lord and connecting to “Resurrection Power!” Even though, I’m feeling a little tired, I’m also feeling on fire for the Lord. Continually working to build my relationship with the Lord needs to bear some tangible fruit. I’ll be praying, meditating and focusing on translating that feeling into action. What about you?
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.
Click here for more details on Melissa Lopez.
Image courtesy of The Ruby Life
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Do you Trust Him??
First, let me start by saying that it is an honor to be amongst so many awesome people that are involved in this Lenten challenge. It has been a pleasure to read all of the posts that have been submitted here for this great event. To be honest, I was a bit nervous because I wanted to write well for each of you.
As I sat back and prayed before I typed a single word, I looked at my bible verse and the first four words put me at ease. “Trust in the Lord.” See many times, when we get nervous and we tend to tense up and doubt ourselves, but we forget to trust in the lord that he has our back through any trial that is upon us.
There was a time in my life that I did not trust in the lord, I am not ashamed to say that because I am sure not that same person today. I would question everything; I had trust issues as many of us still may have today. Did you guys see that “(HAD)”? Let me reassure you that since giving myself back to Christ 3 years ago it has been all or nothing. It is either trust him or you do not and I TRUST him!! It may not be easy at times, but I trust God with all of my heart that everything is going to be just fine. That even applies to our Lenten challenge.
See, with the challenge we are giving up things that we usually would indulge in to make us happy, comfort us, or just because. As I sit here right next to my favorite lemon cake, I take a drink of my lemon water, and I will not ask why. Sometimes, we need to give things up and not ask why, deep down it is to get us off that rigid road and back on a straighter smoother path to a better and healthier life.
Therefore, Trust that God is with you each day through this challenge…I know I do!
Click here for more details on Melissa Lopez.
Instead of focusing on my love, I’ve been thinking about all the people who have demonstrated love to me. Clearly, everyday I have been blessed. Often the blessings that come to me are through others. Support from others in projects that I start is a big way people have shown their love. The individuals may not have thought about it as love. However, I’m taking it that way. In fact, some support that I’ve received hasn’t even been because people are trying to support me.
The one thing staring us in the face, right now, is the participation of so many people in this Lenten Challenge. First, Gillian Stephens and Aqua Copeland so generously got on board to help make this 40 day journey happen. They reached out to their network and found others who were willing to get on board. These collaborators don’t even know me. Some may follow GospelFit on Twitter or Facebook, but probably haven’t connected it to me. What motivated them is their love of the Lord and belief that this concept is worthwhile. I have become the “everyone else” that the scripture references. I thank each and everyone one of them for their stepping out and demonstrating their faith in action. I am so grateful that the love of the Lord is so powerful and it blesses me all the time.
Now that I’ve done my little Holy dance of praise for others, I really need to make sure that I am open and letting God strengthen my heart. It is easy to say and to think you’re doing the right thing. Now, is the time for me to do more self-reflection and make some appropriate adjustments. I’m good most of the time. I’m working on getting better all of the time. Having found a community of people who love the Lord and can connect it with all of their entire life, I know that I have support. I know that my love will act like Luke 6:38.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
I know that the love of the Lord will always exceed and multiply whatever love I can share. The Lord has demonstrated this with His death at the cross and resurrection. What a blessing!
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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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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Image courtesy of crossgrace.org
24 “If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who has faith.’ At once the father of the boy cried out, ‘I have faith. Help my lack of faith!” Mark 9:24 (NJB)
I’m a believer and I feel blessed for all the great things that God is doing in my life but sometimes my faith wavers. I may have a problem that I’m unable to decide on the best resolution, instead of putting it in prayer and trusting in God to help me find the answers, I spend a lot of time stressing. Luckily I have a sister that constantly reminds me to hand my worries to God and have faith that my prayers will be answered. I’m not 100% there, but everyday as I see wonderful things unfold in my life my faith grows.
Being on this Lenten challenge has been a blessing, it has made me pay more attention to the word of God. Everyday I am being spoken to, on what I need to do to strengthen my relationship with God to receive my inheritance.
God guides me in seeking him out. He gives me the will power to abstain from sugar as part of the Lenten Challenge. He gives me the strength to exercise, to enable me to be strong for the physical demands of motherhood.
Whatever we are faced with, no matter how bleak things may seem we need to have faith in God. He will support and guide us through, till we come out on the other side. We need to place our troubles in his hands, in the knowledge that he will take care of it and us.
How strong is your faith? Do you stress over your problems or do you hand them to God? Thanks for commenting.
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2: 38-39)
Now the reason you must be born again is because Jesus wants to transfer life. If we want to follow Christ we must do what the word of the Lord says, “repent and be baptized.” There has to be a turning away from a life of selfishness and rebellion against God’s law and at the same time a time to turn to Christ. We cannot save ourselves – only God can save us. Baptism identifies us with Christ and the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith.
Then sin says I am going to attack your body, begin to destroy the thing that God created. Fill you full of affliction and disease. That is how sin works. Sin wraps its fingers around your life and hangs on. Sins says I do all of that for one purpose. Sin eventually wants to get a hold of your soul where it can drag you to hell and work destruction on you for all of eternity. That is what sin has set its course to do.
But Peter said, “let me tell you what Jesus has come to do.”
Jesus has come to destroy the power of sin on your life. You do not have to live with your mind under continued attack. You don’t have to live with your emotions under continual attack. You don’t have to live with your body under attack. Jesus said in the book of John:
John 10:10 KJV The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. This is a word that has resonated with me personally during my weight loss journey. In the area of changing my eating habits. If don’t change the way I was eating and caring for His temple then I am going to die. That was one of the last things that I wanted to do, so I had to repent for my emotional eating lifestyle and asked God for help. He said in John 3:30 ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ I had to learn to turn my frustrations, stresses, worries over to him and crave Him more and not food.
First of all, repentance is asking Him to be the Lord of every area of your life. Secondly repentance is admitting you are a sinner.
Inheritance means that it belonged to somebody else before it belonged to you. You have received something of great value. It is my prayer that after my 40 Day fast that many of my loved ones and new souls will receive this new inheritance and become part of the body of Christ.
Click here for more details on Lisa Bishop.