One day at a Time…

I cannot think about and obsess over long term goals. I cannot plan for future events or give myself deadlines that typically just stress me out. What I can do is focus on the here and now. I can try to get through today and that’s about all I have in me. I can give this one day to The Lord and seek obedience in each decision, each choice I make, each thought I have. I know what I need to do and if I can just choose to picture what a successful day looks like and follow through, I will consider that progress.

I love The Message version of these scriptures…check this out:

Matthew 6:25-34
The Message (MSG)
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

God’s Not Dead!

Great movie! Really enjoyed seeing it with my family and felt that it was very powerful. Of course, it was a Hollywood production, but it was based on many real life scenarios of liberal agendas trying to discount the Christian faith. In many higher level education programs, it is common and very much accepted that believers are weak and lack intellect to actually NEED a Savior. In many ways, I believe (and pray) this movie will prompt the young people of today to really think about their faith. How real and deep is their relationship with Christ? Especially when challenged?

I’ve recently heard this thought provoking term several times: Christian Atheist. Initially, it seems like an oxymoron. How can you be a Christian and an atheist at the same time? But as I listened to my pastor explain it, I felt huge conviction. He described a Christian Atheist as someone who claims to believe in God, but lives like He doesn’t exist. We say that we put our whole faith in God but still live as if everything is up to us. I am guilty of this in my life. I claim to rely on God, yet I try to make decisions every day on my own. In my relationships, my job, my health…I put a lot of effort into trying to do it all by myself. If that is my approach, then what separates me from a non believer?

My heart’s desire is to live an authentic God-honoring life. In every area, I pray that people will see Christ and His Spirit within me.

No, God’s Not Dead. He is Surely Alive!

Open my Eyes to the things Unseen

Over the years, there have been many things keep me from my blog. Busy schedules, family obligations, stress, exhaustion…the list could go on. But one of the biggest things that has kept me away for days, weeks and sometimes months, is fear.

I fear failure. And then I fear judgement when I fail. I fear embarrassment. But mostly, I feel shame. I would rather avoid my blog when I have nothing but failure to report. I sometimes think God must get sick and tired of my same old story. I get sick and tired of it.

So once again, do I quit? Do I give up and avoid the uncomfortable transparency of admitting when I mess up? Do I continue to turn away and be so consumed by shame that I continue the path of self destruction that leads to another 20 pounds, 40 pounds, 100?

I could.

But I won’t.

I will listen to the voice of truth that tells a different story. I will listen to the voice that says “I’m not finished with you yet.” I will step back and look at the big picture. I am going to fail at times. I’m also going to have great days when I don’t fail. The difference will be whose strength I rely on. Mine=fail. His=victory. Today, I choose His!

 

1 Corinthians 2:9

What no eyes have seen, what no ear has heard,

and what no human mind has conceived,

the things God has prepared for those who love him.

Thank you, Jesus!

Lamentations 3:22-24
The Message (MSG)

 

22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.

Derailed

Day 10, 11, and now 12 have been challenging to say the least. On one hand, I am ecstatic about the success of our awesome wax museum event. We had over 400 people from the community come see our students perform and it was AWESOME! I could not be more proud of my kids! A true blessing.

On the down side, I caved to the stress and pressure and ate things outside of my fast. I’m telling ya, the battle was raging within. In the midst of the madness, I could really see how much I depend on food for comfort. I just wanted to satisfy my stress by eating and I did. Rather than focus on Christ and pray, I ran to food…..as I have done for so many years. I would like to clarify that I didn’t all out binge like I would usually have done, but I wasn’t prepared or focused enough to remains steadfast. I had baked chicken, and the next day a chef salad, sweet tea, and some cookie cake. I wasn’t over the top, but I really struggled in my spirit. These past few days have taught me that I still have a great deal of work to do.

Part of me says, you blew it…so give up. The enemy wants me to replay the countless times I have failed in the past and remain in that place and in that way of thinking. He taunts me with thoughts like, “What did you think would happen? You’re no spiritual giant. Of course, you will fail.”

But I’m not going to remain in that place. I have loved the closeness that I have felt with Christ during the fast. I want more of that. As I have struggled the past couple of days, There has been something heavy on my heart. Whether I am fasting or not, I believe something that is so important is that I continue to seek obedience with my eating. Maybe not always choosing what comes from a seed (although that is always a wise choice), but seeking to be obedient about what I am allowing to be in my temple. I am 40 years old and I know what is healthy and what is not a good choice. I know when enough is enough and that excess is not scriptural. Fasting or not, I need to pray and seek obedience with every meal. For that, I am thankful.

Day Nine

Another long and exhausting day. Sometimes I feel like I am constantly griping at my children. It is so much more difficult to truly parent than it is to just raise kids. Some days it seems that I start barking orders at them within seconds of them waking up to start the day. It exhausts me. I’m sure it’s no joy ride for them either. I am praying for rest which I’m sure will help with my patience. I am reminded, on days like today, why it’s often so difficult to make healthy choices. If it wasn’t for my commitment to fast, today was a day that I would have totally hit the drive thru! Stress and that feeling of just being overwhelmed, has been my reason/excuse to overeat or binge for years. Today was challenging, tomorrow will be busy and stressful and then Friday is the big event so I know there will be some serious stress. (I have 49 students performing in a Living Wax Museum on Friday). I am praying for my children and my role as their mom. They are my greatest joy and I pray that the stressful times can be a little bit easier for all of us. They are good kids and I am so very proud of both of them. I continue to ask for blessings, wisdom, and guidance over their lives and our family. In Jesus name, Amen.

Day Eight

This is a crazy busy and stressful time for me. I am exhausted. I haven’t been getting up to work out the past two mornings. I planned an early bedtime tonight, but it hasn’t happened. It seems harder to stay focused in my prayer time when I am so busy and tired. But I am giving God what I have, even if it’s not very much. I am staying within my fast. I’m just tired. Things will slow down after this week and I look forward to some down time without major deadlines around every corner. Summer will be here soon!

Praying for a restful night and the strength to get my workout and quiet time in tomorrow morning. Sweet dreams.

Day Seven

Today I prayed for my husband. Throughout the day as I thought about my fast and as I prayed, I lifted up my husband to the Lord. I am very blessed to have him in my life. He has so many gifts and talents and I pray that he continues to seek God for wisdom and guidance on how to use those gifts. God, I pray for his health that you would bless him and find favor on his life. I pray for his spiritual growth that you would guide him as the spiritual leader of our family. God, help him to seek you in all of his decisions. Help us to have a strong and solid marriage. Help him to be a godly parent and example to our children. Thank you, God, for the blessing of my husband and I pray that I will be the loving and supportive wife that he needs. Please bless our family. In Jesus name, Amen.

Day Six

One of the things about fasting is that it causes you to turn to Christ when you otherwise may not have been thinking about it at the time. Seriously, every time your stomach growls, you are reminded to pray. At every meal time when you think about food, you pray and seek to stay within the guidelines. At every family meal or event, your thoughts are about keeping that closeness with the Holy Spirit as your guide. I take every one of those opportunities to seek obedience, to offer up my will and choose His. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Our family celebrated my husband’s stepdads birthday today. Let me tell ya, my family knows how to do it right! We have some awesome grill masters among our crew and it’s always over the top. I was happy to enjoy our dinner and find ways to stay within my fast. The real topper was the birthday cake. Get this, I made the cake! Yes indeedy, I baked a two layered cake with mountains of chocolate icing and beautiful strawberries to top it off. It was such a joy to create this celebratory dessert and think of the person it would be honoring instead of myself, (normally I would be licking the spoon and snacking on the extra icing). It was also pretty awesome to enjoy the family just being together as everyone had cake. I actually had some watermelon for dessert and it was exceptionally sweet and I did not feel deprived. This is not a Daniel diet, it’s a fast, so there will be sacrifices. There have been countless times this week that I have chosen different, chosen better, and rather than feel slighted, I have an amazing peace in my spirit. Thank you, Father.

I team teach a Sunday school class for teen girls and this morning we shared this video. It’s an awesome video that I saw a couple of months ago and felt that I just had to share. I hope it blesses you.

Day Five

Oh Saturday mornings! How I love thee! No alarm clock, no place to run to, no rush to jump out of bed. It’s so nice to wake up after a long rest and enjoy a relaxing slow morning. I sat out on the porch with my husband this morning reading my devotion and talking with him while he sipped on his coffee. Then I took my three dogs and went for a mile walk. It was a beautiful way to start the day.

Last night, my husband and I went on a date. I had looked online and found a Mediterranean restaurant and I was excited about trying it out. According to the menu online, there were several dishes that would allow me to stay within my Daniel fast guidelines. So we got to the restaurant and it was…..well, interesting. It was different but I was trying to have an open mind. Basically, everything they had was new to me so I was ready to explore new flavor sand textures. We had falafels and hummus and it was good, not great but good. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste?? There were a few other things on our plates, but I still don’t really know what it was….lol. The presentation was beautiful and very colorful. I don’t know for sure, but I think maybe it just wasn’t as spicy as we are used to, which surprised me because I was thinking Middle eastern foods were spicy. But anyway, we enjoyed the experience, but left feeling a bit unsatisfied. Later, my husband had ice cream and I had a bottled water….and I was happy. Seriously. Not angry, jealous, or having a pity party, I was sincerely content.

Picture this: you’ve just finished a major workout. Either you ran, biked, spent time on the treadmill….whatever exercise you do. Your heart is pounding, your breath is short, sweat is dripping from your body and you are THIRSTY! You grab a glass of water, but that’s not enough so you just pick up the jug and just start downing all that you can. You are guzzling this water and only take a break to get a deep breath so that you can turn it up again. Finally, your heart slows a bit, your breathing begins to balance out and your thirst feels somewhat quenched.

That, my friends, is how I am feeling right now. Thirsting for Christ. Soaking in everything that I can about Him. Trying to spend as much time as I can with Him. I am hungering for the Bread of Life and thirsting for Living Water. I want to know Him more. I want to be more like Him in my relationships. I want people to see me and know that I am a Child of God. I am reading about HIm and talking to Him maybe more than ever …..and it feels amazing.

By the way, for most of my walk this morning, it was raining. I decided not to turn back, because right now….there is nothing that could rain on my parade! Have a blessed, Saturday, my sweet reader!

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 6:51
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

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