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
Psalm 20:6 (NIV) Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
I’m claiming the victory in advance. Why? Because I know that I know that God is going to give me that victory. Not only do I know it from the Word, I have lived it in my life before. I have been victorious and I will continue to praise the Lord even when I can’t see the victory ahead.
I am in no way suggesting that we simply ask God for things and He just delivers…or does He? After all, the Word says in Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Are we truly delighting in the Lord and believing in the victory? Are we doing what we should? Are we building a closer relationship? Sometimes, I think it is easy to see what is our part. If we’re praying for an A on a course, we need to study and God will help us through. What do we do in the when the solutions doesn’t seem clear? What do we do when we have no idea what to do next?
Living each day with the attitude that the victory is mine makes the day better. Living in defeat has not led me closer to the desires of my heart. Defeat causes stress and separation. God offers relief and connection. I understand that my humanness may cause me to be distracted from God’s good. However, I know that I have to gain control and bring my focus back on what the Lord confirms and what He has and will do for me.
One thing to do is to focus more on the Word. We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Faith is crucial in the waiting time before the victory. If we are living without the victory right now, we know what it is to live without it. However, we need to remind ourselves that the victory is come. Sometimes, we may just need to praise the Lord in advance. There are moments, when that is so easy to say and requires effort to do. Those are times to sing the songs of praise and to rely on those who can lift you up. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to some Gospel music to keep me on track. Marvin Sapp’s Praise Him in Advance is perfect for those moments. If you need one now, check the video here.
During this Lenten Challenge, we are working on building our relationship with the Lord. We know His Word is true. As we align ourselves to what God wants us to do, we will see the result in our lives. Our lives will be even better than we imagine. This is not because I say so, rather it is in the Word.
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
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.
Malachi 3:1 (NIV) “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
Are you seeking the messenger? Do you realize that he has come? What does that mean for you, for me, for us in this current moment? During this Lenten season, our true challenge is to connect with our source in a way better than we have previously. This Lenten Challenge should build our faith and discipleship. The goal is for us to live on purpose. In order to get there, we must align our purpose with His purpose.
Please consider that the desire of your heart is placed there by the Lord. He is always there to love and support you for your highest good. Ultimately, your life in the Lord is to live the blessings that God puts on your life. Really, this sounds easy. However, this is not necessarily so. We are human with weaknesses and faults. While we strive for perfection, we will fall short. No matter how disappointing this is for us and God, God still loves us.
When we know deep within our being that the messenger has come for our salvation and abundant life, our living each day will be enhanced. We will live a life more pleasing to the Lord and more fulfilling for us. Ultimately, we all want to hear the words, ” ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Let us celebrate! The messenger is come! We are free!
Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV) 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
To think that Jesus understands what we are going through because he walked the earth like us and faced challenges similar to what we faced, is really amazing. Sometimes, it is really hard to comprehend that our Savior led a life similar to what we do. Jesus walked where others walked and addressed issues as others would.
Jesus took on this responsibility to be closer to us and that we could truly be connected our Lord. We should have a knowing that God truly loves us and always wants the best for us. Not only do we have the blessing of eternal life, we have the Lord everyday. The knowledge that the Lord is with us should make us bold even in times of our most dire need.
During this Lenten Season, we have the opportunity to grow and re-focus to prepare to do just as the Word says and approach the Lord with confidence. As we build our relationship with God daily, our connection to our source continues to grow. What will be able to accomplish with this power and when we are acting with the purpose that God has for us.
Isaiah 40: 31 NIV …but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
This scripture solidifies God’s challenge for us to wait upon him for all good works to come to pass. You are not a victim of circumstance. You are a child of the King. You are able to walk on water in faith and you will always know that God is on your side. All you have to do is be willing to thank him for both the good and the bad and remember that he is faithful to the end. He never fails, he always has a plan for you and he will see that good work through to the end if you are able to stand strong and not give up. Though things may seem as if they are going slow and there is a delay, hold strong to your profession of faith. Time is the only thing separating you from the victory. A delay is not a “No” and a hurdle is only a distraction to stop you from believing. You will receive the prize if you hold on and not faint. You may feel weak, depressed and downtrodden. But, they who wait upon the Lord, their strength shall be renewed and you will be like a tree planted by pure flowing rivers of God. Your roots will spring forth and you shall bath in the richness of His riches. Wait I say, upon the Lord.
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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
– Corrie Ten Boom, author and human rights activist
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Recently, when asked what I had I given up for lent, I said “my foolishness”. My friend paused for a few seconds and said, ‘What does that mean?” I responded, “Trying to predict the future, correct the past and skipping over today.” She looked at me as said “Good Luck!”
It truly is not about luck. For me, this Lenten period is period of time to release, rejoice, rejuvenate and recommit to the Joy of being Loved by God, that He gave Jesus his only begotten son, who was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. This is a time for me to release anything that has held me back from allowing God to be my guide, the lover of my soul.
I have found that I worried about things that I could not change. I read a long time ago, that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know but there’s probably some truth to it in life. How much of our lives do we miss because we’re agonizing over what has happened and what might happen down the road? How often do we stop ourselves from doing something, –even if it’s the right thing to do–because of our fear of the unknown, second guessing ourselves, or looking for someone else’s validation.
While worrying did give me something to focus on; it was also an opportunity for me to avoid dealing with me and it did not solve any problems. All it did was to paralyze my actions and keep me in bondage – I was stressed out, mentally and physically tired and often times, worrying and anxiety sapped all the joy of what could have been a wonderful day.
Periodically, when circumstances lined up, I was happy, but not joyful and certainly not peaceful. And that’s why I decided to give up my foolishness, not just for 2013’s Lenten Season, but as a way of life. I am willing to come before God with my alabaster box and present myself, seeking the gift of joy. Because I now understand that I was being carried through life, and loved, and because He Is Lord, I can, and have the expectation that God’s peace will permeate my life. I no longer have the need to be anxious for anything, God’s peace, love and joy comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not from what’s happening outside of me.
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,
Jesus paid it all! Whatever you are worried about. Whatever you are fretting about. Whatever you are throwing away your life for—Jesus paid it all! The Good News of Jesus Christ is that there is nothing that we could have done to earn our salvation and there is nothing that we can do to lose it. Can We Talk?!
When we are on a journey to improving ourselves to be more like Christ for the glory and honor of the Father, we can sometimes get lost or confused in our thinking that we somehow must be perfect or good enough to gain His acceptance and approval. That couldn’t be further from the Truth. As we go through this challenge, we may make some miss steps. We may fall short. Mostly because of some unrealistic goals we set. We may eat or drink something that we gave up and guilt and shame will set in because we think we’ve let God down.
My best advice to you is to get back up. The very next minute after you recognize you have gone your own way, repent and get back on track. Our God is loving, forgiving, gracious, and merciful. My experience will God has not been one of judgment, punishment, and condemnation. God sees us through Christ’s eyes. Christ is interceding to the Father on our behalf for our miss steps and set-backs. I can imagine Him saying “My blood covered that, all of that”. Because I know that Jesus has my back, I can get back up again!
See you at the top,