Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meditate and Digest: Love

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV)


Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consistent Motivation for a Better Body


As I really started to be set free from condemnation and have the beauty of the Gospel of grace and peace revealed to me, it rocked my world. Previously, one of my motivations to follow God had been fear. Fear that I’d open myself up to danger if I didn’t follow through at times. Another motivator to obey God can be to receive a blessing. If I do this, then He’ll give me that. I remember realizing one day that if my motivation for following Jesus is anything other than love (for Him and people) it is actually very inconsistent, shaky ground.

If I had still been in that older mindset when my son died, I think it would have completely shattered my faith.

Grace takes those if-then scenarios off of you and frees you to obey regardless of your circumstances. You have free unmerited favor, blessing, and protection by grace through faith because of the work of Jesus. There is a very real consequence to your sin, however, and that consequence is people.

God often gets the blame for all the problems in the world, however many people are perishing, sick, and suffering because of other people’s choices. Instead of being servants to each other for Jesus’ sake, much of the population serves themselves and their agendas. Here is where you have the opportunity to shine.

When love reigns supreme in your heart, you will be willing to give all of yourself for
God and others, not to earn praise, value, or to offset the ugliness you know exists in yourself; you will be moved by love. What greater witness to the world than a people who fiercely love their God and people, especially their siblings in Christ?

It is a more consistent motion, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for mistakes. Reject all condemnation and receive forgiveness for any times you failed to move when the Lord asked. Ask Him to move now, if He hasn’t already through another, where you didn’t. If you really want to see Him more in this world and quicken His coming, then obey His voice (2 Peter 3:12). That perspective will keep you steadily on track in both ease and difficulty, prosperity and want. Your labor of love is never in vain. It is producing good here and it will be acknowledged by Almighty God at His coming.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Meditate and Digest: Kindness

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 ESV

LOVE IS WAITING

I know what it is like to lose a child. Loss of a loved one on any level is painful, but a child is a different, more intense kind of grief. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree, including those who haven’t experienced it.

I am recognizing that it doesn’t seem to matter what age or manner of darkness that takes a child before their parent, it seems to be equally devastating on the heart of a loving mother and father. There is something in us that just knows it is outside of the normal order and plan of things. That is a right, biblical New Covenant intuition, yet it still happens sometimes. I will leave the why and justice up to the Almighty, but I refuse to be complacent to it.

God’s heart is exposed in this verse for mediation. Our Wonderful Father fashioned every single person with care, love, and purpose in the womb of every mother and He wants (wills) every single one to come to Jesus for everlasting salvation. Scripture says that heaven rejoices over every sinner that repents (Luke 15:7, 10). That same word for joy is used in Hebrews 12:2 which says, “Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (AKJV)

You are His Beloved Child. You are that joy that Jesus suffered greatly for. How grievous it is that the payment has been made, the gift is being freely offered, and yet some He lovingly created in His image and painstakingly bore punishment for will be lost. I can relate to that grief, as well. This is the cause… no, the Person and people that I have been and will continue to pour my life out for; now with even more passion through a deeper understanding of my Father’s heart.


May you see His kindness and love for you and everyone else around you even more as you meditate on this verse. May it stir you to fight with an ever increasing passion for His Kingdom and love for all people. You have a part to play in His Kingdom coming and His will being done here on earth as it is in heaven. Rise up, Daughters and Sons! He will gracefully provide all you need for the fight. All creation is waiting for you to say “Yes!” to the call.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Heat is On: Staying Well Hydrated

Image courtesy of a454 at freedigitalphotos.net
It is hot! It is dang hot! When temperatures reach these heights, staying hydrated is even more important to your health. What do you reach for when you are thirsty? You have so many options to choose from, but not all drinks are created equal.   

Your body was created to run on fluid, like a vehicle with oil and gas. You need fluid to lubricate your joints, move vital nutrients and chemicals, and keep you going and glowing. Specifically, your body needs continual water replenishment. Two-thirds of your body is composed of it. When you get low on water, your body sends signals that you need more; headache, fatigue, dry mouth or lips, dull, dry, or itchy skin, and even increased nasal/allergy symptoms to name a few. How effective are the choices you make on relieving and eliminating these symptoms? 

Many people have fallen into futile drinking habits, perpetually running low on water internally. For example, when you consume high levels of caffeinated or sugary beverages your body actually uses water to eliminate them and in turn, becomes more dehydrated. That means you need to drink even more water to replenish what was lost through those drinks.

If that sounds like your go to drinks, you are not alone. When those choices are your primary source of liquid, you can create a domino effect and sit in a cycle of dehydration that you may not even be aware of. The only way to stop the cycle is to break the habit and begin supplying your body with the water it needs, which brings us to your one month challenge.

The Challenge: To start your day drinking 16 ounces of water within the first hour after you wake up. The overall goal is to drink the recommended 64 ounces or more each day.  

Until you get a taste of the benefits of the real thing, you don't know what you are missing. You may be thinking, “But, I hate water!” Well, join me in thinking outside of the box. 
 

Getting Creative Deliciously 


Invigorating Cucumber Lemon Mint Water


What you'll need:
1 cucumber
1 lemon
3-4 mint leaves

1.     Before you go to bed, fill a half gallon container with water.

2.     Add 8-10 cucumber slices, ½ lemon (sliced or quartered), and 2-4 mint leaves. Make sure each are thoroughly rinsed before adding to your water.

3.     Allow mixture to steep in the refrigerator overnight.

4.     Pour yourself 16 ounces in the morning for a refreshing way to start your morning. Finish the jug by the end of the day and you’ve met your daily goal.

Benefits: The lemon is a great way to break the night’s fast. It is alkalizing and cleansing/detoxing. The mint is invigorating; a natural, caffeine-free way to wake up your senses in the morning.
 

Fruity Ice Tea


Choose a caffeine-free fruit tea. My personal favorites are Tazo Passion and Celestial Seasonings AssortedFruit Blend. Place two bags into a 2 c glass measuring cup. Heat 16+ ounces of water until simmering well. Pour the hot water into the measuring cup and steep for at least 5 minutes. Pour over ice and enjoy.
 

On the Go


Here are some recommendations when you are running around town:
  • Sobe Life Water - Zero Calorie varieties (stevia sweetened)
  • Hint Water
  • Make your own with Young and More Flip Top Infuser Water Bottle - $11.57 on Amazon (31 oz, BPA Free, Purchase includes a pdf recipe book)
If 64 ounces a day seems daunting, start by replacing one daily caffeinated/sugary beverage with water each week until you meet the recommendations.  Keep with it, because eventually you will notice the fruit of your labor physically. Your glowing body will thank you for it.

 

Staying Full of the Water of Life


When the heat kicks up in your life to challenge your spiritual well-being, pure Living Water is just as important. If you are a follower of Jesus, you will get hit with difficulty and your faith with be challenged. Scripture says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NASB)

In these seasons of difficulty, you can still produce life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Allowing the Holy Spirit time to refresh, replenish, and move in and through you all day is vital. Taking time in the morning to acknowledge Father God and give Him your day is an excellent way to embrace your need for Him and set your focus. As these verses proclaim, when your trust is the Lord Himself you can get through anything with grace. Give Jesus the first of your day and receive His peace that passes all understanding and all the other fruits of the Spirit, even in the worst of situations (John 14:27, Galatians 5:22-23).

Your Challenge: Take 15-30 minutes at the beginning of your day for praise, a devotional, the Word, prayer involving surrender, communion, and thanksgiving to God, or listening to a Gospel teaching. The overall goal is to have constant communion with your Father God throughout the day that is so normal it is often overlooked, like breathing (see a Deep Breath of theSpirit).    

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. To the one who believes in Me, it is just as the Scripture has said: 'Streams of living water will flow from within him.'" (John 7:37-38 BSB)

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." (John 4:14 NLT)

For I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground: I will pour my spirit on your seed, and my blessing on your offspring: (Isaiah 44:3 AKJV)

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let anyone who hears this say, "Come." Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. (Revelation 22:17 NLT)
 

More Resources:

Devotional - Meditations on Grace 

Praise – Lauren Daigle: Trust In You 

 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Got Seeds?

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Challenge to Return to the Basics for Holistic Health


Sometimes, we just have to go back to the basics.  There are many physical benefits to food in its simplest form; unprocessed, whole, raw foods.  I’d like to present a challenge to you to start consuming plants (or creatively increase your consumption) in their most immature state, specifically seeds.

Your Challenge: To add 3 new seeds to your diet this month.  Incorporate any at least 3 days each week.  

Seeds are tiny but chockfull of vitamins and nutrients that bless your body.

Some of the Power Packed in Seeds:
Fiber
Vitamin E
Calcium
Magnesium
Zinc
Good fat

Here is a link with some easy ideas for adding them to your meals, as well as specific benefits by type.


 

SEEDS FOR YOUR SOUL

 

Spiritually, our parallel is the Word of God as a seed. Our benefit is wrapped in the power-packed, perfect Seed of God, but also depends on the heart soil that it lands on. Oftentimes in this busy society, time with God and the Word are the last things on your plate for the day, when they should be the first. Be open to Him and His Word daily. Chew on it regularly. Be free of anxieties and greed designed to choke the Word by seeing the beauty of Jesus in the Scriptures. 

The Gospel is so simple that even a child can understand it.  Overtime, we can formulize and intellectualize it to death.  Go back to the basics and eat a little of the pure Seed of Christ this month for total wellness.  Here are 3 resources to help you do that:

 
For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.  Luke 1:37 AMP

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Ephesians 6:17 AKJV

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Keeping Your New Years Resolution: A Key for Self Control

MOVING FROM DEFEATED AND BLAH TO VICTORIOUS

 
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt." So that place has been called Gilgal to this day.  Joshua 5:9 NLT

Gilgal was the first place declared "holy" in the Holy Land (Jos 5:15).  In this verse, God’s people have just crossed over the Jordan and expressed a renewal of covenant through circumcision.  They had spent 40 years in the desert and have finally stepped foot into the promised land.  What are the Words the Lord speaks to them?

“Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.”

The tragedy is that the Israelites had been set free from that bondage for a generation.  This verse gives us a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the people who rebelled against God by not believing Him for the promised land.  Their fate was to perish in the desert land, the dry land in between slavery and promise. 

Are you or someone you love living in a Christian desert land?  You’ve been told that you have been set free in Christ, but you don’t feel free and certainly aren’t living victoriously in soul and body.  You pray for change.

Many of us still wear the shame of our previous bondage (sins) and this only works to keep you in that painful, oppressive, defeated place.  Jesus came to set you free from sin and remove the guilt from you.  Freedom begins with a mindset.  When you truly see the grandness of His sacrifice, your conscience is cleansed and you are moved away from dead works into God’s promises of joy, peace, life, self-control, and obedience.

Don’t allow shame to steal from you anymore and break your resolve this year.  Set your mind on what the Lord Jesus has done.  Set your mind on His promises by faith through grace.  Allow Him to roll away your shame and receive His declaration that you are holy in Christ right now. 

When you make a mistake don’t deny it or disregard it; instead say, “Thank You, Father, that You have forgiven me of that in Christ and He received the punishment.  I need You today to help me overcome this, because I can’t do it on my own.  I give this to you and I trust You!”  Persevere in faith of your forgiveness and you will see His righteousness abound in you. 

May you be abundantly blessed this year and truly live in a healthy relationship with food and movement by His grace and for His glory.  Be free from any other addictive bondage you might struggle with.  Be loved!  In Jesus name.  Amen.
 
Other Verses for Meditation:
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.  Isaiah 26:3 AKJV
Thus says the LORD, "In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages; Saying to those who are bound, 'Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.'  Isaiah 49:8-9 NASB

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:2-3 ESV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36 ESV


 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Deep Breath of the Spirit this Christmas

Image courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Many people live in a constant condition of stress or anxiety brought on by busy schedules.  Subsequently they regularly take in shallow breaths, having adopted it as normal and not even realizing they are doing it.  The holiday season was meant to bring a breath of rest, perspective, and fresh air, but oftentimes it pushes these existing stress levels to a nearly suffocating intensity.  

You were created to unconsciously breathe deeply from your abdomen (diaphragm).  Straying from this limits oxygen intake, is physically taxing, and causes a chain of negative effects to the body including, ironically, stress and anxiety. 

Thankfully, this can be reversed as you retrain yourself to breathe deeply from the belly by actively becoming aware of and engaging your diaphragm and the other muscles that are involved with full deep breaths.  This is one of the many perks of Keola® workouts.  The yoga community calls it muscle "awakening" and different forms of breath work are gaining popularity throughout fitness circles due to the immediate physical and psychological benefits realized from it*.  


Ultimately, what these techniques do is consciously reacquaint you with the muscles God gave you and help train you to use them as He intended again; breaking the "new norm" created from a lifestyle of stress and lack of activity/misuse.  It can be viewed as choosing to train your muscles to return to the original plan...resetting/restoring. 

As I teach this in Keola® classes, I am keenly aware of how important prayer and fellowship with God is in this process and interestingly they are both similar.  Scripture tells us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  This can seem ridiculous to most people, as these busy schedules I've been discussing make that seem impossible.  It can also be an area of condemnation through critical thoughts like, "I'm not praying enough!".  I read a great Joyce Meyer's take on this verse that resonated with my spirit.  She writes, "Prayer should be like breathing, something we do continually but often unconsciously, without even being totally aware of it."

Just like breathing, God intends for your prayer life to be deep although so natural that it is sometimes even unconscious.  Sadly, like full breathing, many people have also strayed from this continual connection with the Father (or perhaps have never even found it) and are seeing the same spiritual effects of shallow breathing. 

The key to returning to that state of deep, natural, continual prayer is similar to breath work.  It's choosing to take the time to consciously fellowship with God.  It is stopping throughout the day to acknowledge His presence, goodness, and power, especially when things are going crazy and stressful.  What better time to bring this practice into your daily schedule than now, while you celebrate why you are able to have this gift of fellowship and union with God? 


THE PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL BENEFIT  
Scripture tells us that "perfect love casts out fear" (1John 4:18), so the answer to anxiety and shallow breathing is also active, conscious time with God who is love (1John 4:8). 
There is only One that can truly heal and deliver you. Jesus paid for your healing offering access to God, the Father, who heals all your diseases by His grace (Psalm 103:3, 1Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5).  Christ's death wasn't just payment of sins so you can go to heaven, it was restoration of life so you can be united once again with God, the Healer, who gives you the Breath of Life.
This doesn't mean that all your problems will magically disappear, but it is possible to find joy, peace and even supernatural rest in the midst of them. His grace also gives freedom to do things that benefit others, as well as your own body and soul, out of gratitude to the Giver, Creator, and Healer, without feeling bound to having to do them and guilty if you don’t.  That is the freedom of seeing His love more as you spend time focusing on Jesus. 

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.  Job 33:4 ESV

*Special Note: Breath in Keola® is important, but how it is emphasized differs from most mind-body classes.  The Spirit gives and is the breath of life.  The only skeletal muscle essential for life that we can willfully choose to work with for our benefit is the muscle that controls our intake of breath (the diaphragm).  This demonstrates God's design of our free will.  Our goal is not to control breath (God's Spirit), but to reacquaint ourselves with it (Him) and move naturally in conjunction with it (Him) as the Lord designed and wills.  This results in the physical reset/restoration discussed above.    Wow!  What an amazing God, who writes Himself and His plan into our bodies in so many subtle, magnificent ways.  That same Almighty God desires to spend time with you today.  As you work on your breath, I encourage you to bring Jesus into focus.

Try It Out: Begin by sitting up tall creating length through the spine, dropping your shoulders away from your ears.  As you breathe in deeply, consider God’s magnificence in this breathing design and the great love He has for you.  As you breathe out, send away any thoughts of what you should be doing, fear, or hatred toward yourself.  Place your hand on your belly button and breathe in, remembering Jesus chose to go to great lengths to bring you to Himself.  Feel your hand move out as you breathe in and then into the body as you exhale.  Continue breathing, picturing Him on that cross for you… taking each nail into His body for your benefit.  He still wears those scars today.  You are forever written on Father God’s heart and mind because of them.  Allow your heart to reach out to Him to receive His complete forgiveness, perfect love, and embrace.  He doesn’t see your imperfections today.  He sees His Beloved Child.  Rest in His arms.   
Other Resources: 
Keola® “Release Stress” Workout (YouTube) – 3 minutes, all levels
Joseph Prince: “Condemnation Kills” – Stress relationship with condemnation

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Peace for Mind, Body, and More


Return to your rest, O my soul; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  
Psalm 116:7 AKJV

Rest is a treasured commodity.  We seek it in vacations, and then rest from vacations.  We pray for rest at home, and then rest from home and the people in it.  We say things like, “Once (blank) is over, then I can rest.” Or, “When my bank account is at $XX dollars, I can relax or retire.”  In fitness, this expresses itself in the endless pursuit for “perfect” thighs, more defined abs, an absence of skin to grab, bigger boobs, smaller bums, wrinkle removal, and an overall lack of satisfaction with any of it.   

Everyone has ideas of what will bring rest, but it seems this treasure is rarely experienced by many.  This verse speaks God’s heart and His desire for rest to be our normal experience, not something we continually chase like a dog with its tail.  In fact, He has paid a dear price for us to step into a lifestyle of rest. 

This verse also gives us a glimpse of how our rest is lost.  Specifically, disharmony arises when we stray from the knowledge of the goodness of God.  Agitations and worries are born as fruit from a mind that has been camping on fearful scenarios and outcomes.  If we sit there long enough those stressful feelings, which trigger chemical reactions in the body, can result in physical conditions. 

In a study from Carnegie Mellon University (2012) stress was specifically linked to inflammation, which in turn increased susceptibility to viruses.  Some statistics link up to 90% of all doctor’s office visits to stress and it is connected to many chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, asthma, depression, heart problems, headaches, and stomach aches.  OSHA has declared stress a workplace hazard.  According to webmd.com, American industry pays an estimated $300 billion minimally on it annually.

The world is fighting stress by mindfulness and training to relax from the outside-in through things such as deep breathing and secular meditation, which includes intently focusing on objects or experiences that pull your mind away from agitating thoughts.  These techniques can produce results to a certain degree, but they are temporary and limited. 

Here, the Psalmist shows us Who to focus on for secure rest.  The Gospel of peace proclaims the goodness of God in that He deals with you bountifully forever, not according to your deeds or what you deserve, but according to Jesus and what He deserves.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines bountiful as “liberal in bestowing gifts or favors; given or provided abundantly”.  Synonyms include generous, plentiful, open-handed, and liberal.  The Gospel is not only the Gospel of peace, but of grace which means free, unmerited (undeserved and unearned) favor, mercy, and blessing. 

The key to living a lifestyle of rest, including rest from chasing after the things we think bring rest, is to spend time meditating on the Good News of the Gospel which brings trust in the work of Jesus for you.  Your only labor and work on this earth is to diligently strive to enter that rest; authentic rest found in Jesus and His perfect work of salvation by grace (Hebrews 4:11).  It is a labor, as it stands against all other natural human philosophies that vie for your ingestion. 

Unbelief occurs when we bow to these contrary ideas and begin to put weight in our own ability for success and virtue.  This is New Covenant disobedience.  It carries with it danger of falling and the promised rest is subsequently missed. 

In His mercy, God will allow us to work ourselves silly until we reach a place of such fatigue and despair that all we can do is look up and cry out to Him.  He patiently waits for us to stop trying and instead just receive by faith His bountiful mercy and blessings, free gifts of grace.


A Six Month Devotional for Peace of Mind, Body, and Soul
A Six Month Devotional on God's Grace
If you are agitated more than peaceful, stop trying so hard to work for peace.  If you need healing for heart, mind, or body, begin adding meditation on the goodness of God to your daily routine.  In that obedience, He will personally draw out rest for you from the inside-out.  Be patient and find someone to encourage you in the faith.  It may take longer to “see” than some other methods, but it is real and profound.    

Peace for your whole being is a gift from the bounty of heaven, given freely through Jesus.  May you find it in the Prince of Peace and be blessed in health of spirit, soul, and body by heart knowledge of your Wonderful Father today.  Salvation is right now.

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end… And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?  So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. 

Hebrews 3:12-14, 18-19 NASB    

Verses for Meditation:

Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  ~Jesus, Matthew 11:28 AKJV

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.  1 John 4:18 NLT
 
May grace (God's favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in (the full, personal, precise, and correct) knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  2 Peter 1:2 AMP

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5 ESV

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  Isaiah 26:3 NLT

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15 AMP

The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  John 10:10 AKJV

For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.  John 1:16 AMP

Return to your rest, O my soul; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  Psalm 116:7 AKJV