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)
Click here for more details on Arlett.
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.
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.
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
Hope can be defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. In other words hope is where your expectations are centered. Your desires and expectations should be divinely centered. Ask yourself this question: Are my expectations aligned with the most high?
The unwise and unlearned place their hope in people, jobs and material things. People are mercurial, the economy is fickle and material things do not last. It’s time we dig a little deeper and place our hope in a steadfast foundation. This sure foundation is God.
No matter what you desire, place all your hope in the most high. You want to lose weight? You want to get fit? You want to be completely healed and restored? Put your hope in the Lord. You cannot do it alone. We are subject to error and mistakes. Eating that extra piece of cake or skipping the gym is a reflection of our weaknesses. Even with willpower we aren’t exempt from temptation and mishaps. Therefore trusting and hoping solely in your own strength is hazardous.
In your darkest and weakest moments, trust in the power of God. The lord will be the hope of your situation.
Click here for more details on Coach P.
Trust! Do you trust yourself? Unfortunately I do not trust myself.
I am doing this Lenten Challenge a little differently from most of you. I have not given up any food items for Lent. I’ve also not committed to any new fitness regime. Why, you ask. Because earlier this year I set a resolution to stop weighing myself and to not start any diet or fitness program for at least the first quarter of the year.
I have realized that I am always on some sort of plan because I do not trust myself to take care of myself without any self imposed or diet imposed rules. I have lived fearfully worrying that if I were not on some kind of plan, that if I were left to my own devices I would eat myself into oblivion and become grotesquely obese. I’m talking cut a hole in the wall to get her outside of the house obese.
I have been overweight since around age 10. Somehow I got the idea and feeling that I could not control or trust myself in my head. Well I want it out!!! Luke 16:10 (NIV) says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
My weight is such a “little” thing when I think of all that I want God to trust me with. I want him to trust me to be a good wife and mother one day. I want God to trust me to be a good blogger and leader encouraging people to Chase Joy. I want God to trust me to take care of my mom for years and years to come. I want God to trust me to be a good example and role model to others. If I cannot be trusted, can’t even trust myself to eat sensibly and be active without tons of restrictions and rules, how can I trust myself and expect God to trust me with all of the “Big” things that really are important.
So during this season of Lent I am paying closer attention to my body and learning to understand what it is saying to me. I am learning that when I can barely keep my eyes open late at night, my body is saying let’s go to bed, not let’s eat something sweet to perk up and stay up late becoming blogger extraordinaire. I am learning that feelings of anxiety attack my tummy and often feel like hunger. I’m learning that the calming effect that I receive from sugar is short lived and leads to more sugar. I am learning to trust myself to take care of myself and make healthy decisions. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”
Honesty is the best policy. I am going to be honest with myself and admit that when I’m eating and feel a little full that means STOP EATING not let’s wash this down with a beverage and eat some more. I am being honest when I admit that I physically don’t feel very well, tired, acid reflux symptoms, and weighed down. I am being honest when I admit that being free of diet and exercise rules and not stepping on the scale is scary and does not feel freeing at all. “Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
I am new to the practice of Lent but my understanding is that it about reflection as well as sacrifice. Take some time to reflect on the traits of trust and honesty in your life.
Are there areas of your life where you do not trust yourself or where you are not honest with yourself? Have you thought about how the lack of trust and or honesty may be blocking your blessings? How can trusting yourself more and being more honest bring you more Joy?
Click here for more details on Arlett.
Image courtesy of darrellcreswell.files.wordpress.com
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalms 1: 1-2
If you want to walk in favor change your surroundings. Walk with God-inspired people. Psalms 1 reads, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly”. Some times the very company we keep is the root of our adversity. Drama queens and negative Nancy’s can hinder us by distracting us from true purpose and our goals.
Align yourself with people who not only push towards your goals but also push you towards God. Remember the ultimate purpose is pleasing God. Once we please him he will give us the desires of our heart. There’s no adversity stronger than the favor of GOD.
Meditation is an efficient method to remove yourself from the natural world and negative surroundings spiritually. It initiates communication with the high realms of Heaven of in the Spirit World. The purpose of meditation is to discover our true purpose and true selves – a spiritual being residing in a physical body; and experience true joy by feeling free from the restrictions and influences of this physical world. To meditate is to connect with source.
When we keep our minds on God he keeps us in perfect peace. With peace comes clarity. Freed minds make better decisions. Whether your goal is a physical fitness and or spiritual fitness, meditate before and during the journey. God will give you insight that will not only get you going but it will sustain you.
Click here for more details on Coach P.
John 3:16 (NIV) 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.
Every Sunday during Lent is a time to celebrate that God loved us so much that Jesus came, lived and died for us. This is truly amazing. In fact, it transforms all of our possibilities for living here on earth and for life eternally. While it is sometimes easy to say how great a gift we’ve received, we have the entire season of Lent for us to consider how we are responding to this gift of love.
Aligning our minds, bodies and spirit sounds as if it should be an easy thing to do. There are probably moments when everything is working together well. However, there are likely to be other times when things are not so smooth and we may not even recognize it nor know that God will help us to change it.
There are times when it seems we get accustomed to a little discomfort and don’t try to change it. Our clothes get a little tight, our jobs become a little annoying or our money is just a little funny. However, we might not make the effort to make a change. We may not even see away that things could be better. While we can’t see it, God can and God can make it happen.
Take a moment to examine what your goals truly are for this Lenten Season and beyond. Remember that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to transform us. We may not have an overnight transformation, but everyday we can work with God to give us the lives that we desire and that God wants for us.
No matter how well you did on the Lenten Challenge last week, this week provides another opportunity. Praise the Lord for how far you’ve come and lean on Him all the days ahead.
Peace & blessings,
Mark 11:22-24 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[f] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Here we are Day 1 of the Lenten Challenge! We are so excited to get to this point in our journey with God and our journey with you. Our prayer today is that the next 46 days will bring you into a closer love relationship with the Father. Our hope is that you will be healed, refreshed, rejuvenated, and set on a path to living your best and blessed life in Him. We believe this journey is one of joy and peace, testing and discovery, and challenge and victory. Can We Talk?!
During the next 46 days you will be spending time with Jesus, reflecting on His work and purpose on the cross. Yes, Jesus was crucified. He died. They laid Him in a borrowed tomb. For 3 days there was silence. The Good News is that He got up with all power in His hands conquering death, hell, and grave. Because Jesus got up, so can we! We have the power of His spirit living inside of us. We have the power to overcome the struggles and circumstances of this world. We have the power to change our world.
If we commit ourselves fully to this next 46 days, our lives will change. Others, who we pray for will see a change in their lives. Surrender and obedience will be our food. We are going to speak to mountains and cause them to move OR we will climb those mountains in the strength of Jehovah-Tsori. We will pray believing. We will trust as if we can already see what we are asking God to do! The victory is promised to us in Jesus’ name. The promises of God are Yes and Amen! (2 Corinthians 1:20)
See you at the top!