Little by Little

Today is weigh in Wednesday!  Start weight: 266 lbs.  Last Week: 257 lbs.  Today: 256 lbs.
I only lost one pound.  Yet, I have done well this week with my prayer, my faith, my self-control.  Still, my reward is one pound.  I want to be discouraged, but I refuse.
The world looks at things differently than God does.  The world would judge me and decide that I haven’t done well this week, but a pound is heading in the right direction.  Yes, sometimes God does instant miracles, but more often than not, He’s interested in slow, permanent change.
I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.  Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and you inherit the land. Exodus 23:29-30 NKJV
Little by little.  In our instant results world we have no patience anymore.  When you read the bible and find that people regularly travelled for days to get from point A to point B.  Craftsmen were expected to take years to learn their craft.  Moses waited like thirty years between his call to deliver Israel from Egypt and facing Pharaoh.  Paul did not start his missionary journeys until about ten years after his conversion in Damascus.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
God is preparing me for something here.  He’s making sure that I, my faith, has increased.  And my relationship with Him is solid before I inherit the land He has prepared from me.  He doesn’t want my victory to be desolate – and the “beasts” of pride and self-satisfaction to overcome the glory that my Father should receive in this.  If I lose weight too quickly, won’t I become self-satisfied, pat myself on the back and become proud of what I have accomplished?
Why should I be dissatisfied with one pound in a week?  If I lost one pound per week for a year, that’s 52 lbs!  Wouldn’t I be happy to lose 52 lbs, even if it takes a year?  Of course I would.  I don’t need instant results.  I need permanent ones.
No, God wants me to be patient.  He’s doing this amazing work in me, and He will work it to completion.
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 HCSB

The Giver of Good Things

 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  (Matthew 7:11 NKJV)
So then what should we ask God for?  What should we take to Him in prayer?  What if you took everything to Him? What if you will place every decision in His hands, giving it all to Him?
Imagine if you honestly talk to Him about where to spend your money, your time, and your energy.  If someone asks you for help, take it to the Lord before you say yes or no.  If you want to buy a new pair of shoes – take it to the Lord first. 
I know how hard this is.  Often when we are tempted to spend our money on something that isn’t necessary but a want, we feel like hurrying up and spending it before we get a bad feeling or second thoughts.  Our conscience is like a yellow traffic light.  Some of us want to run it before it turns red, but what God really wants us to do is slow down and come to a stop.  He wants us to wait for it to turn green first.
If God is the giver of good things, then He wants you to have the desires of your heart.  But sometimes that means you need to budget for it first.  Or if you have 50 pairs of shoes in your closet, He may be telling you that you need to donate a few pairs to Good Will before buying a new pair.  God doesn’t want to stop your fun.  He just wants you to do what’s best in the long run, and not just go for the momentary pleasure that you’ll regret later.
This is how it is with overeating.  When I want to eat a second helping, I feel the need to hurry up and eat it now.  I want to run the red light before my conscience tells me to stop.  I crave the momentary pleasure before I remember how I’m going to regret it later.  It’s the slowing down that’s so difficult because I desire that momentary pleasure so badly.
I am like Esau who sold his birthright. I am like Saul when he didn’t wait for Samuel to come make the sacrifices.  Instead of holding out for what is best, I want to take what I can get right now. 
If I trust that God is truly good to me, why don’t I listen to His gentle nudging?  Why do I need a swift kick in the head to get my attention?
Lord, today I pray that I will trust you more.  That I will slow down and come to the realization that you know best and I do not.   Help me, Oh Lord, to remember that these little “morsels” are nothing but spoiling my appetite for the banquet that you have planned for me.  That these pennies are nothing compared to the fat bank account you want to give me.  Do not let me sell my birthright for a morsel of food!
My birthright, my victory, and my testimony are in jeopardy because I am not submitting my entire life to you.  I hold back too much.  I want to love you and serve you recklessly.   I want people to tell me that I’m going overboard.  I want people to think that I should rein it in.  I want to be considered a Jesus Freak by Jesus.  Oh Lord, how I want to be 100% for you.  Please help me to submit all that I have and hold nothing back.  In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

Personal Demon

Hi Everybody!
Again, I'm just giving a warning that we are battening everything down here, waiting for Irene.  The eye wall is supposed to pass within 100 miles of us on Saturday. We will likely lose power within the next 24 hrs, and chances are that it will be out for as much as 2 weeks.  I will update as I am able, but please bear with me!
The demon on my shoulder laughed again. 
I don’t see it, and it laughs silently, but I can feel the condemnation crawl over my skin like hairy spider’s legs.  I fell for the empty promises. I’ve been duped again.
Every morning I wake up to a new day, a day of hope, of promise, of possible success.  I am a child of God, and I always hope that today will be a day lived free of my sin, free of the shackles that bind me to my golden calf.  My golden calf is food.
We all need food to survive.  How wonderful it would be to just quit cold turkey, like the drug addict or the alcoholic.  Even smokers get to stop and try to never look at the ashtray again.  Unfortunately, we food addicts have to eat to live – but we have to learn when to stop or we’ll die.
My brain understands that the emptiness that I feel inside is the vacuum that God placed in me that only He can fill.  But then the demon on my shoulder has lived with me for too many years and has whispered in my ear everyday for as long as I remember: “You just need a few more bites and you’ll feel full.  Just a little chocolate and you’ll feel better.  What could a second helping hurt – who knows when you’ll see such a great meal again? You better finish it all; don’t let it go to waste!  You don’t want to miss out on this do you?”
And then I give in to him.  I eat just a little more.  I serve myself a second helping.  Just a little bite of chocolate is all I take, or maybe a whole king size candy bar.  I stuff myself beyond the signal to stop – hoping to feel full, trying not to miss out.
So the demon laughs at me.  He’s done it again, and I fell for it.  I didn’t even try to resist him.  Haven’t I learned that I fall for it every time?  I never ever feel like I’ve had enough.  I feel so stuffed in my belly that my clothes don’t fit right anymore.  I find it harder and harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in.  I’m more tired.  I’m less satisfied with my life than I have ever been.
When I stop to think about what I’m doing, the demon yells in my ear “Hurry up!  You’ll miss out if you slow down.  Someone will come in and stop you and then you’ll never get the desire of your heart!”
He feeds on my misery.  He loves when I hate myself.  He laughs at how he always wins.
He hates that I’ve started to read the Bible more, and that I’m studying how to break free from my sin.  I am praying now while I eat, and am stopping sooner and sooner through the meal.  The demon is getting weaker, finding less of my misery to feed on as I find the Joy of the Lord.
His lies cannot hurt me when slow down and tell myself the truth: Food will kill me, will take all my money, my happiness, my joy- and kill it.  God wants me to live. He gave me Jesus to set me free, and He will teach me to live in freedom so that I will be happy, joyful, and live.
Who’s laughing now?


Why are thou cast down, O my soul, and why are thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God. Psalm 42:5

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV)
Jesus said this in the NEW Testament.  He assured us of many things that we have to pay attention to in this snippet of His teachings.
 First, Jesus called God YOUR Father.  This means that God is MY Father, not just Jesus’ Father, but mine, too.  If God is my Father, than He would care about the intimate details of my daily life, just like my earthly father did.
Second, notice that your hairs are numbered.  I don’t know about you, but every day I shed hairs. This would mean that God cares enough to know how many hairs are on my head today, because the number is different than yesterday!
Third, He tells me not to fear.  This means that Jesus wants us to understand that worry is fear.  It is fear that God doesn’t care, and that we are responsible for our own lives.  If we are not to worry or fear, than Jesus is telling us that God does care, and that we are not responsible for our lives, but are to take the responsibilities to God.
Jesus is expressing that God is not some distant, far-away, absentee father.  No, He is present, He cares, and He doesn’t want us to worry.

Walking the Walk

Fulfill ye my joy...Phillipians 2:2Hi Everybody!  I'm sorry that I didn't get a post in yesterday.  I am in Virginia, and in case you didn't hear, we had an earthquake yesterday.  It knocked out a lot of the phonelines, probably due to the volume of phonecalls being placed to loved ones.  But I was unable to update.  Also, this weekend, we have Hurricane Irene scheduled for a visit.  This may cause a dely on updates for Friday (as we prepare) as well as Saturday and Sunday (while the storm is here).  It's also possible that if this storm causes as much damage to us as Isabel did a few years ago, we may be out of power for up to a week or so.  I will be as diligent as I can with updates, but please bear with me!
So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).   (James 2:17 AMP)
The Lord has spoken to me that my blog is talking about my faith, but my actions and my obedience are not in alignment with my words.  So the faith that I have is destitute of power, inoperative, and dead.  If the obedience of my walk is not in alignment with my faith, then I cannot expect to be free, but will remain a slave to my sin.  I must walk in faith.
If we live by the (Holy) Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit, (if by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward waling in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit). (Galatians 5:25 AMP)
Walking requires action, just as faith requires action.  I cannot keep saying that God will make me free, and then grip my chains tighter, hiding them from my Lord.  He will not make me free unless I move in His direction.  I cannot disobey in the “small” stuff and then claim I love Him and believe He will make me free.  I have to walk to Him.
You see (Abraham’s) faith was cooperating with his works, and (his) faith was completed and reached its supreme expression (when he implemented it) by (good) works.  And (so) the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God’s will in thought and deed), and he was called God’s friend.  You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith (through works of obedience as well as by what he believes).  (James 2 :22-24 AMP)
I cannot be made righteous before God without being obedient to His commands.  Sometimes this obedience is an action, such as kneeling when I pray (rather than just sitting in a chair) and sometimes it can be inaction, such as not getting a second helping.
But the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit (the work which His presence within accomplishes) is love, joy, (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law (that can bring a charge). (Galatians 5:22-23 AMP)
The fruit of the Spirit says it all.  If I walk in the Spirit, I am expected to display the fruit of the Spirit.  Each of these fruit requires an action (or inaction) from me.  I show my Love by helping others.  I show my Joy by praising His name.  I gain peace by giving my cares to God.  I show kindness by helping those who cannot pay me back.  I show goodness by giving to those who don’t deserve my love.   I show faithfulness when I trust God to do what I’ve asked instead of trying to do it for Him.  I show gentleness when I don’t respond to someone trying to argue with me. And I show self-control when I push away my gluttonous desire.
If I act oppositely to the fruit of the Spirit, then I am not walking in the Spirit.  God doesn’t expect me to do this stuff without Him.  I am not strong enough to turn the other cheek when someone wants to argue, or be good to those who don’t deserve it.  It’s hard for me to give my cares to God or be faithful and trust God rather than taking action myself.  And often it’s too difficult to push away my desires when I really want to eat that dessert (even though I’m already full). When I try to perform these fruit on my own, my success is short-lived, and I end up doing the opposite.  Without prayer, and relying on His strength, I fail. 
So God has told me that I can’t talk the talk without walking the walk.  Walk in His strength, and hand Him my chains already!  I am to stop trying to do this on my own, while thinking about my faith, or the faith that I should have.  Faith is an action, it is a work.  I don’t have the strength to do the work that is required of me.  If I don’t walk in the Spirit, than I will not be able to walk at all.  My prayer today is that I learn to walk in His Spirit, and stop trying to do this on my own.
For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from (its) works of obedience is also dead. (James 2:26)

Putting on the full armor of God

  1. Take your position in the heavenlies.  I thank you that I am seated in heavenly places, that I have authority over the power of the enemy because Christ is in me.

  1. Put on the belt of truth. Lord, what is the truth regarding this addictive sin?  Help me to find your word, and remember that the consequences of my sin is unhappiness, pain, early death, and hurting your heart, my relationships with you and my family, even my business, it ROBS me.

  1. Put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Lord, I confess this sin as UNBELIEF, as LACK OF TRUST, as trying to satisfy my own needs and fulfilling the lust of my flesh.  It is IDOLATRY, Lord, and I agree with you completely that it is SIN.  I don’t want to have a part of this sin any more.  I want nothing to do with it at all, I do not want to participate in it.  I am sorry Lord that I have ever participated in it, I am sorry for my unbelief, my lack of trust, my lustfulness, and my idolatry.  I am sorry that I have been involved in hurting the heart of my Lord, and for my part in nailing His hands to the cross.  I’m sorry that I’ve been involved in it, because it is against YOUR righteousness.  You are righteous and just for declaring and judging this as sin.  Thank you for judging this at Calvary, and for breaking it’s power at the cross.  I choose right now, this minute at 1:00 on Monday August 22, 2011 – to have no more to due with this sin, and to turn away from it.  I RENOUNCE this sin that has taken me captive, I give it up entirely, I cast it away from me, and I want no part of it in my life.  Thank you God for the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses me from all of this sin.  And thank you Lord God for clothing me in YOUR righteousness.

  1. Put on the Shoes of peace.  Lord please show me if there is anyone that I have not forgiven with all my heart.  Lord, out of obedience to you, I forgive this person.  Thank you that you forgive me as I have forgiven them.  Thank God that I now stand at peace with YOU, and now with this person that you have helped me to forgive.

  1. Take up the shield of faith in what I have just done. Praise the Lord that your word is truth, and that you sanctify me through it (John 17).  Thank you Lord for the promises of 1 John 1:19.  Thank you Lord for Matthew 6:14, for if I forgive, then you forgive ME.

  1. Take the Helmet of salvation. Thank you heavenly father for sending your son to die for me.  Thank you Jesus for shedding your blood to deliver me from the domain of darkness , and bringing me into your kingdom of light.  Thank you Holy Spirit, for indwelling me and please fill every nook and cranny of my being, so that no place is left empty.

  1. Now take the sword of the spirit.  I bind the enemy and every evil spirit that is connected with this sin, just as they are bound in heaven.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bind this spirit of doubt, this spirit of unbelief, this spirit of unfaithfulness, this spirit of lustfulness, this spirit of idolatry, and all other spirits associated with this sin just as they are bound in heaven.  I command them all to be GONE in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Draw near to God in praise and thanksgiving. Thank you Lord for your freedom, for your truth has set me free.  Thank you Lord for your mercy! In Jesus Name, Amen.


Every religion in the world is based on merit. About weight the good that you have done against the bad that you have done, and this is what will determine whether you are to reach heaven or not.

But Christianity demands perfection:

Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

And actually, so does Judaism which is the mother religion of Christianity -

Deut 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

So How does a sinner get to heaven, and a apparently good person go to hell?

But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

It's easy to say that God is unfair because someone who is a good person, righteous in every seeming way, then suddenly decides to break one law becomes guilty of it all. It's easy to say God is not reasonable because a person who is a lawbreaker - if he will turn away from his sin and never sin again, then he can go to heaven. But this is what God has said. He takes no pleasure that anyone should die in their wickedness.

So what does a Christian believe? Is it possible that anyone can stop sinning and do all that God says he should?

Eze 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Without this new heart, without this new spirit, which is GOD's spirit, we cannot walk in His statutes, we cannot keep His judgments; we cannot do them. But with this heart and spirit, we can! These things were promised to Israel, but then God also promised to pour His spirit upon the Gentile nations, too.Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;

Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb, the one that all the sacrifices of the scriptures pointed to, the one necessary so that we might be reconciled to God and receive this new heart and new spirit - or else none would have received it.

This is what we believe. That without God's spirit within you, you do not have the ability to walk in God's statutes, and you cannot get there. It is only by accepting that Jesus was the sacrifice and the redeemer, and the giver of this spirit, that you can receive the spirit that will enable you to do God's will. Jesus was pointed to throughout your scriptures as the Messiah, the one who would bring all the nations under the rule of David.

If you are born a Jew, you are a Jew by birth. A person born to Christian parents is not a Christian - he is a heathen. Although he would like to claim a heritage, a heritage will not help give him heaven. He can say that he believes Jesus came to earth and died on a cross, he can even believe that he was resurrected - but these are only historical facts and they cannot save him. And they do not make him a true Christian.

James 2:19 - You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

Salvation can only be found by the realization that you are not perfect - that you cannot make it to heaven on your own merit. That you can never follow God's law, and that you can never please God. Then you can fall upon God's mercy; fall upon the gracious sacrifice that God made for you by killing Jesus instead of you. He did this by sending Jesus to Hell instead of you. By claiming the blood of Jesus and asking Jesus to make all of your decisions for you, to lead you on the right path, and make it possible for you to follow God. Then you will find the chains of humanity and the mistakes fall away, and you can fly to heaven.
Eze 18:21-32 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

It's all about Grace

"It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a living sacrifice-" Oswald Chambers

Grace, it's all about Grace!

God's grace is not just available for us so that we might have enternal life and live with Him in heaven. He expects us to live in His grace now, not later. We should trust God not only to the point of death - but in enduring the hardships of life, remembering His promises, trusting His word that He knows our every circumstance and is developing us to maturity.

Isn't it hard to trust? Like David, we might feel that God has forgotten us, or hidden His face from us. But I read today something so great!

Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah

He DAILY bears our BURDENS. Every day! He knows what I am going through. And though it may seem so trivial what I have endured today when I look at what others are going through, sometimes it seems I'd rather die than do this yet another day.

But If HE daily bears my burden - then why can't I daily bear it with Him? Why can't I persevere to live this life I am called to, and overcome, by the Grace of God?

Opening the Door

Do we ever make our dreams for success or accomplishment as God's purpose for us? Do we think that if we obey God will accomplish great things with our obedience?  His purpose may well be just the opposite.  God's end, His purpose for us IS the process of submitting our will to Him. It is today that He wants us to focus on.  Oswald Chambers said, "God's training is for NOW, not presently.  His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future.   We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get it wrong when we think of the afterwards.   What men call training and preparation, God calls the end. . . if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment is precious."

Our obedience will accomplish great things.  Perhaps we will never see the repercussions of what our faith does.  Maybe God will give us a goal that He has no intention for us to personally reach.  There were missionaries who felt that they were to go and preach the word to an indigenous tribe in South America - but when they got there, they were slaughtered within days after arrival by the very people they were trying to bring the gospel to.  But when more missionaries, including their familes came - not to seek revenge, but to share God's love, the tribe who did the murdering came to Christ.  It is said that the church is a plant that is watered by the blood of saints.  Are we truly willing to shed our blood in order to bring God glory?

The Bible is full of ordinary people who went to impossible places and did wondrous things simply because they decided to obey God, even when others said "You can't do that." They weren't more qualified for their tasks then we are.  But they trusted God to open doors and give them the power the need in their situation.  Can we trust God to open doors that seem closed?  The doors God sets before us are much like grocery store entrances - they doors seem closed, but the minute you step up to them, they open.  God opens the door the minute we step up in faith.  But if we never take the step of faith, the doors will always be closed.

Be Fruitful

John 15 :1-11 – I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Galations 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.
I am new to gardening.  My husband just built a flowerbox for me at the front of our house, and filled it with good fertilizer.  I don’t know much about flowering plants other than annuals last a season, and perennials come back again next year.  When the flowers I planted stop producing buds about two weeks after planting, a friend of mine suggested that I prune the old flowers.
Pruning is a strange concept to someone who knows nothing about plants.  The act of cutting off unfruitful parts so that the fruitful ones can flourish seems an unusual thought.  But if we think about it rationally, it may start to make sense.  If we consider the fact that resources are limited: that the soil only holds so much nutrient value, there is only so much water that a plant can take in, and there are only so many hours of sunlight in the day.  Then we might start to realize that taking away unfruitful branches help the fruitful ones to gain more resources that would have been used up by the unfruitful branches.
The same is true of our lives.  There are only so many hours in the day, and we only have so much energy.  If we spend our resources on things that are unfruitful – that bring us down instead of raising us up, we won’t have the resources necessary in order to help our fruitful branches bear more fruit.  Sometimes we spend ourselves on things that are not necessarily bad, but not best either.  There is nothing wrong with watching the news on TV, but now that there are 24 hour news networks, we could spend every waking moment watching it.  This would certainly take away our time to do better things, such as spending time building a relationship with the Lord.
Sports and activities keep us healthy and allow us to socialize with people we have common ground with.  This is a good thing.  But if we become so obsessed with a sport or activity that it takes time away from relationship building and fruit bearing, it too needs pruning.
We need to put everything under the obedience of Christ.  If it is not fruit bearing, prune it.  We need to spend more time in praise, worship, and meditating on scripture than we do watching television.  If we prioritize our lives and make God a greater priority, we will not regret the fruit that we bear.  Let’s make this our prayer today.
Ephesians 5:8-11 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Morning Person

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I am a morning person, I always have been.  The funny part is that God has blessed me with a marriage to a night owl.  He’s certifiable.  My husband goes to bed somewhere around the time that you’d hear Reveille played at boot camp.  We barely spend two hours together in the same bed.
He is rigid, while I tend to be flexible.  So I have bent my schedule so that I can be with him more. I have ended up going to bed somewhere around one a.m., but because of that “morning person” programming that I have, I’m still up by seven or eight.  So I’ve learned to take naps.
But here’s the problem as far as this concerns my walk with Jesus.  Because I’m a morning person, I love to spend that time with Jesus.  My bible gets read, I listen to teaching, and I spend time in praise and worship while I work.  I love this time of day, I can hardly get on without it, and it’s even more precious because usually no one is around, so I can almost live like a monk in a monastery. 
Then the household wakes up.  We home school our son, so I get him started with his lessons.   We live on a horse farm, and my day job is teaching riding lessons. So come about three in the afternoon, all the teenagers start to show up, and I become the hostess of a party that goes on about five hours every day.
It might amaze most people how being “happy and encouraging” no matter how you actually feel can be draining.  But by the time that I’m done with my “day”, the sun starts going down.  That is precisely when Satan’s attack on me begins.
 Suddenly, all I can think about is myself.  I’m hungry.  I’m tired.  I’d rather watch TV than read my Bible – and especially something brainless so I can vegetate.  Then come the cravings – something sweet. . .no that didn’t do it. . .something salty. . .nope, maybe something meaty. . .better try something sweet again.  And no matter what I eat, I just can’t seem to be satisfied.  So the pounds have packed on.
Now the reality is that I know the truth.  It’s not food that I crave – it’s fellowship with the Lord.  But I’m too stubborn for that, I already fellowshipped with Him this morning, and I worked really hard all day.  This is my time, right? 
Today the Lord has taught me that I don’t fellowship with the Lord because He needs it, but because I do. 
He delights in the Lord’s instruction and he meditates on it day and night.” Psalm 1:2 (HSCB)
I’ve only been giving the Lord half of what is required of me.  I need to think on him day AND NIGHT but I refused and held back the night.
“And don’t for a minute let this Book of the Revelation be out of mind.  Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it.  Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.” Joshua 1:8 (MSG)
I let myself do exactly what the Lord told me not to do.  I would go about my day with my mind upon Him and His word, then the minute that I got among people my mind would start to slip.  And once they left, and I started to feel tired, Satan would slip in and tell me how I deserve this time for “myself” and that certainly the Lord couldn’t deny me this, Right?  So I let my Lord and His teaching go straight out of my mind completely, refusing to let Him back in.
Now I’m begging for His deliverance, for Him to save me from my “self”.  I believe that Jesus showed me that this is the way that I am to walk so that I can find my way out of my personal wilderness.  He has told me:
“You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough;” Deuteronomy 2:3
I feel as though I have awakened from a long sleep.  It’s so obvious to me now.  How could I not see this before?  Oh Lord forgive me for not keeping my every thought captive to your obedience, and how I pray Lord that I my progress and my witness will be seen by all.  Just as the promise in 1Timothy 4:5 – “Practice and cultivate and meditate upon these duties; throw yourself wholly into them as your ministry, so that your progress may be evident to everybody.”

A Short Time of Threshing

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor;  He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, To consol those who mourn in Zion; to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV)
When I hear these promises, I can’t wait to exchange my ashes for His beauty, my despair for His splendor, and my shame for His dignity.  But our patience is limited because we are raised in this fast-paced society.  We want everything now, we can’t wait, instant gratification is our motto.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)
Waiting all on its own is so difficult.  But what feels worse is what God does with us while we wait for the results.  He doesn’t just tell us to sit in this here chair and wait.  We aren’t going to read a magazine in some stagnant waiting room.  No, God’s goal is to change us and in order to accomplish that goal, we’re going to go through a threshing process that will often be so difficult and painful that we’ll be tempted wish we never asked for change.  The process becomes so harrowing, that we’ll want to give up.
This process feels so difficult, but the rewards are incredible.  How many of you have heard that a seed must “die” before it can grow?   When I heard that story, I always heard about the seed’s death, burial, and growth into new life.  Most of the time, the concentration was on the burial and the new life, no one wants to talk about the seeds death.
The “death” of the seed comes when it is threshed.  The outer covering of the seed needs removal.  In order to keep the seed from being exposed to the weather and insects, the plant develops a covering over the seed.  In order to make the seed right for planting, this covering must be removed.  The removal of our own personal “covering” (the part of us that has become ugly and tough to protect us from the world), God must thresh us, too. 
Oh how miserable it is to be threshed! 
Wait and think for a moment how miserable it is to be in labor for giving birth.  Misery knows no bounds when it comes to travailing in childbirth.  But the reward for the labor comes when the child is born.  Suddenly the labor takes a backseat, forgotten, ready to be gone through again for another child.
That is what the threshing is all about.  The temporary pain and misery will be worth the results, worth the splendor, the dignity, the august, the beauty.  We must not give up.  We have to remember that God has promised this threshing will not go on forever.
Does one crush bread grain? No, he does not thresh it continuously, but when he has driven his cartwheel and his horses over it, he scatters it [tossing it up to the wind] without having crushed it. (Isaiah 28:28 AMP)
Did you catch that?  He doesn’t thresh forever, and he scatters it before it is crushed.  God has promised that the pain will be for a short time.  The beauty of what is inside us will be revealed without being bruised, crushed, or destroyed.
God has a plan.  He makes everything beautiful.  We just need to wait upon the Lord, and be willing to go through this short time of threshing. 

My 5am Prayer

This prayer I wrote in 2004 when I was struggling with my temptation.  I have rewritten it today as an anthem of where I want to go from here, and my prayer to God to get there now. Let this be the dawn of a new day.

What a horrible, miserable, terrible wretch I am.  When I read the gospels, watch movies about Christ, who do I relate to?  Thomas’s doubt.   Peter’s denial.  Judas’ Betrayal.  Why must I feel so totally like Paul when he speaks of that which he does not want to do, that he does (Romans 8), and that which he wants to do, he cannot do.  This describes every day of my life.
My desire for food is offensive.  Jesus said that if your right eye offends you, pluck it out.  How much I would do harm to myself physically if I could solve this? I can’t believe my desire to do myself harm.
I honestly would rather be blind or maimed, but be CHRIST’S; rather than be whole and bound for hell.  But I know that physical mutilation is not the answer – it wouldn’t work.  I know that I desire the taste of food, but if I ripped out my tongue, or stripped off my taste buds, then it would be the smell of food that caused me to sin.  If I stripped my face of my nose as well, then it would be the beautiful site of food that would lead me into temptation.  If I would blind myself, too, then I would desire the warm feeling of chewing, and the sensuous feeling of swallowing.
No, nothing that I can DO will stop my sin.  How much am I like the seed that fell on the side of the road?  When I first heard this word, I sprouted up quickly and lost 11 lbs, but now I have already gained back 5 and I see no end in sight.  I could see that the scale would continue to climb.
I desire so much for someone/ something to take this desire away from me.  I am willing if it would work to have my stomach stapled, to have gastric by-pass, to be hypnotized.  But I’m not stupid.  I know that no man-made method will ever take away my temptation, my desire to sin.
So I turn to religion.  I read several chapters of the Bible daily, I read devotionals, I watch biblical dramas, listen to teaching tapes, and yet I still lose my focus and still desire to sin.  I want to cry out for help, but to who?  I look for some PERSON to help me.  I want to email someone who might feel as I do and ask: what do I do?
Then I realize that my faith is misplaced.  IT is not in God, not in my Savior Jesus, not in my Jehovah Rapha.  It is in man, in some teacher and his/her writings and other works that I am looking for some way to change myself.  But where is God?  Where is Jesus?  Where do I look for them?  In a book? A video? 
I need to pray that Jesus will take this from me.  Focus UPON Him.  Remember Him, and have Him guide me in every aspect of my life, in every decision and PRAY SOME MORE! Pray without ceasing.  Don’t give up, don’t let Him deny my request.  Beg Him to change His mind, like the Canaanite woman on the road who wouldn’t take no for an answer, beg Him for the crumbs.  I am a dog, I would be more than happy to lick His boots in order to receive a pat on the head and a kind word.
If I might occupy some remote corner of Heaven, the place farthest away from the Lord, but know that I have His approval - that would be huge achievement.  I wouldn’t be able to achieve it, much less deserve it. Who am I Lord that you would even breathe life into me?  Who am I that you would even take notice of my hair, much less know how many hairs I have?  I don’t even deserve your consideration Lord, but I know that you are generous.  You give what is not deserved, pay what is not earned.  SO I am begging you Lord, trusting in your generosity.  Please, Please, Please take this desire from me.

My Exodus

When I graduated High School, I weighed 250 lbs.  I started on a diet rollercoaster that let me fluctuate between 205 and 250.  Seven  and a half years ago, I discovered a secret to losing weight!  If I stopped following my stomach and desire for food, and followed Jesus and transferred my desire to Him, I lost weight.  Not just a little bit, but over 100 lbs. 

Then two years later, I was the thinnest I'd ever been and looked forward to reaching the single digits in clothing size for the first time in my life, post puberty.  I was at the Jordan River, looking at my promised land!  And just like the Isrealites, I counted the cost and was afraid to cross.  I remember vividly the exact day this happened. Now I've wondered in the wilderness for six years.

What was I afraid of?  I was afraid of not living a "normal" life.  I thought that maybe following Jesus was just too hard, that He asked too much of me.  I didn't want to be committed to Him any more.  So He gave me what I wanted.

Over and over again, I tried to resume our relationship, but I just couldn't find the intimacy that we once had.  The pounds packed back on no matter how much exercise or dieting I attempted.  I gained back 85 of the 105 that I originally lost.  Praise God that I still sat at 15 lbs less than the highest I'd been.

Now for the past month, Jesus has told me that it's time.  I know that I can't loose this weight on my own.  I know now that I don't even want to do it for myself anymore.  I've lost 11 lbs, and I'm finding my center once more in Jesus.

If you are tired of living as a "Fat Christian" than this blog is for you.  Join me as we encourage each other to press on in Faith!  I'll be updating daily as I review my journal entries from 7 years ago, and sharing scriptures that God shares with me today!  I hope you'll consider taking this journey with me.