Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Sometimes I get a little frustrated with working on making lifestyle changes. I seem to do really well on some days with making healthy food choices and getting in all my exercise and then when I go to bed and get up the next morning I realize that it has to be done all over again! My Fitbit helps me to know whether or not I'm getting enough physical exercise and how many calories I need to eat to stay within “the zone” for focused weight loss, but the ultimate responsibility falls on me to carry it out. And that means a disciplined lifestyle every day. It seems somewhat like housework or laundry; it never stays done!
I can imagine the Israelietes' frustration when gathering the manna that God had provided for them to eat every day while traveling through the wilderness. It wouldn't last until the next day; they had to go out every morning and gather that day's supply. So it is with our relationship with the Lord. In order to have a living and vital relationship with Him we must seek Him for fresh “manna” every day! We need to hear the living Word of God on a regular basis to live our lives successfully!
John 6:27-29 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “this is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Jesus said the spiritual sustenance that we need on a daily basis is more important than our physical sustenance. We concentrate so hard on the food which perishes and often forget the spiritual part of man that needs to be fed on a regular basis also! And then when we think about our spiritual lives we get caught up thinking that we must “do” something to please God, when all He asks us to do is believe in Jesus, the One whom He sent to save mankind from their sins.
John 6:30-35 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Jesus came down from the Father in heaven to give life to mankind! When we have a living and vital relationship with Him we have the spiritual “manna” that our spirits need to flourish with life every day! When our spirits are rightly related to the Lord we have life that never ends; eternal life! Jesus said in John 17:3:
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Do you KNOW Jesus today? Have you placed your trust in Him for eternity? He longs to live in you; to lead you and guide you through this worldly life that we live. He is the bread of life that, when we partake of a living relationship with Him, causes us to flourish spiritually. Getting daily “manna” from the living bread of life enables us to be spiritually whole! We need daily communion with the Father through Jesus Christ. We need the infilling of the Holy Spirit so we can fellowship with Him.
Jesus also referred to Himself as the living water. In John 7:37-39 He tells us that when we are thirsty if we will come to Him He will give us living water and when we partake of that water we will never thirst again.
John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
When we drink of the living water that Jesus provides the Holy Spirit wells up within us and flows out like rivers of living water. He fills us to overflowing with His very own life. That life gives life not only to us but to everyone around us that comes into contact with us. We become spiritual wells that water the dry ground of our lives and those that we share Him with. But we need to be filled every day. We need living water and the bread of life every day. Yesterday's manna will not carry us through today!
Thank You, Father, for giving Jesus, the living water and the bread of life, that we might have the spiritual nourishment that we need to sustain our spirits. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for us that we might have life! We need You in our lives for this day. We are thirsty and hungry for a living and vital relationship with You. Come and fill us anew and afresh today! Fill to overflowing those areas of our lives that are dry and barren. Come and wash over us, refresh us and make us spiritually fit to share You with those who are hungry and thirsty for new life! Thank You, Lord! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Proverbs 6:2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.
Have you ever been snared by your words?
One definition of “snare” is a trap that is set to catch an animal. If you have been snared by your words you have been trapped by something that you've said. Proverbs talks a lot about our words and the effect they have on our lives. Here's a few:
Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 15:23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Proverbs 17:27, 28 He who has knowledge spares his words. And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
Proverbs 18:6,7 A fool's lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows. A fool's mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
Proverbs 18:20, 21 A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
How many times have you said things such as these: “Things are never going to be any different”? Or “I'm just fat; it runs in my family”? How about this one: “I can't do anything about it; that's just the way it is”?
Sometimes we discover that we can't achieve our goals because we've said things that tie up our expectations for success. We've made inner vows that cause us to believe that we will always have a weight problem or it's impossible to change our situations. We must be cautious about speaking negatively about ourselves. Jesus said the reason people say wrong things is because they have an abundance of negativity or “evil”, as He puts it, in their hearts.
Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The negativity that often resides in our hearts is due to believing the lies of the enemy. The devil comes only to do one thing: kill, steal and destroy! He will do it however he can. Many times we cooperate with him by believing and acting on his lies. One of the things that I've heard myself saying is that it's harder for me to lose weight because I'm older and my metabolism has slowed down. Another one is that it won't do any good to exercise because I'm too old and my muscles have lost the strength and ability to be firm.
So, how can we change what we say to reflect success? Well, the first thing we must do is come into agreement with what God says about us instead of what the enemy speaks to us. God says that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37) He says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13) 1 John 4:4 says that He is the greater One who lives within us. And Romans 8:31 tells us that if God is for us, who can be against us? We have the power of God resident within us if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. There is nothing that can stand in our way if God is for us! Jesus said in Mark 9:23 that all things are possible to him who believes. The next thing we must do to change is to begin to speak the truth instead of the lies. The key lies in what we believe because what a person believes is what they will act on. If we change our belief system we can change our speech and if we change our speech our bodies will follow through with the actions.
Father, I thank You for making me more than a conqueror through You. There is nothing that can stand in my way with You on my side. Thank You for living within me and enabling me to succeed in living a healthy lifestyle. I ask You to forgive me for the times I have sabotaged my success by speaking negatively about my situation. Please help me to come into agreement with Your word and know that all things are possible to me when I believe in You. Father, I pray for my Spark Friends this morning who may have been snared by the words of their mouths. Please help them, Father, to reverse this curse that they've brought upon themselves through the negativity of their speech. Help them to see that You love them and are for them and will enable them to achieve their goals. Thank You,
Father! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Intentional living......this phrase has been running around in my head for the last couple of days. What does it mean to live intentional?
I believe that to live intentional means that I make the conscious choice to live a certain way on purpose. And I have chosen to live intentionally healthy; spirit, soul and body.
I choose to feed my spirit the word of God so I can be strong spiritually!
Proverbs 4:20-22 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.
Matthew 4:4 AMP But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
I choose to feed my soul, my mind, my will and my emotions, through prayer and fellowship with the Holy Spirit and by speaking words of life over myself.
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Proverbs 18:21 AMP Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
I choose to speak words of life to myself in order to change my thought process so that I am renewing my mind to healthy living.
“I enjoy eating the foods that bring good health to my body!”
“I enjoy exercise. It strengthens my body for life!”
“It doesn't hurt me to experience hunger; it disciplines my body and brings it under my spirit's guidance.”
“I am making healthy food choices so I can live a long and satisfying life.”
I choose to feed my body the food it needs for fuel so it can function properly instead of the delicacies that tantalize my taste buds.
Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit.
Intentional living.....living a certain way on purpose!
To live intentionally I must make conscious choices every day, every moment to live in a way that glorifies God and increases my physical health.
It is God's will that I be prosperous and in good health!
3 John 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
The word “prosper” means “to help on the road” or “succeed in reaching”. It is an on-going, progressing state of success and well-being. It is intended for every area of our lives; the spiritual, the physical and emotional, and the material. However, God intends that we maintain a balance in all areas; we are not to over emphasize any one area. In this verse our prosperity is gauged by our mindset; our soul. If we do not know that God intends for us to be successful in all areas of our lives, then we will be lacking in those areas where we are not knowledgeable. It's important that we get into the word of God to see just what He has provided for us so we can know. If we think we are supposed to be sickly, then we will not strive to walk in good health. If we think we are supposed to be poor and depressed, then we will not make proper choices that lead to financial freedom and good mental health. If we think we're just fat because it's in our genes, then we will not make the proper choices to be strong and fit physically. Likewise, what we say to ourselves will determine how successful we are in living prosperously.
John 12:34-37 “Brood of vipers! How can you being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
What we say about ourselves is important! Speak words of life over yourself; not condemning words of death!
Father, I thank You for giving me life! I thank You for giving me the freedom to choose my destiny! Thank You for placing Your Spirit within me to lead me and guide me into all truth! Today I speak words of life over myself. Words that will cause my spirit man to rise up and reign supreme over my soul and my body. I choose to lead my physical man by my spirit and not allow my soul or my feelings to lead me into wrong choices for my body. Thank You for enabling me to walk in success today; to live intentionally for good health. I pray for my Spark Friends that they will choose life instead of death! I pray that they will follow the leading of Your Spirit in the choices they make today! Thank You, Lord, for giving us the victory! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Proverbs 27:7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
Have you ever eaten just because you felt like you wanted something, but you didn't know what it was? When my granddaughter was here last summer she would go and open the refrigerator door and stand there and look in it; then close the door and a little while later go back and do it all over again. She said she wanted something to eat but didn't know what.
When we think we are hungry and mindlessly eat things what we are really saying is “my soul longs for satisfaction”. When we are soul-satisfied we don't want to just eat for the sake of eating; we eat when we are genuinely hungry. Mindless eating happens when we are longing for something to satisfy our emotions, not for something to fuel our body. To a hungry soul everything tastes good, but doesn't satisfy the so-called hunger.
God created man with a spiritual desire for Him. That spiritual hunger often becomes misplaced with a desire for food, or alcohol, or drugs, or shopping, or relationships; whatever we think might satisfy. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4: But He answered and said, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” What He was saying is that even though our physical beings have a need for food to sustain it, we have a deeper need within that is for spiritual food. That spiritual need can only be satisfied by eating of the Word of God. The Greek word for “word” in that scripture is “rhema”, which is the spoken word of God. It means a “now” word spoken from God that is the communication from Him of a message to us that applies to our lives right now. God provided manna in the wilderness for the Israelites on a daily basis. It was food to sustain their lives while they were traveling to the Promised Land. They had to go out and get that manna every morning for what they needed to eat for that day. If they tried to gather enough for two days it would spoil before the next day would come. It had to be gathered just one day at a time. He provided what they had need of for that day only. It is the same with our spiritual life. We must have spiritual food each day to sustain our spirit man. When we try to go for more than one day our spiritual lives will suffer. We become dry and weak. We can't fight the battles that come our way because we are spiritually deficit of what is necessary to strengthen us to win the battles. We must come to the Lord daily for our spiritual food.
John 6:63, 64 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
Jesus said the words that He speaks to us are Spirit-life! They are coupled with the Spirit and thus bring life to our spirit man. But we must believe that we will receive that Spirit-giving life when we receive them. Faith without works is dead. It takes faith mixed with the words of God to bring life to our spirits. Speaking of the Israelites in Hebrews 4:2 God said, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” The gospel can be preached and people can still not receive because they don't mix it with faith. The Israelites didn't receive God's word that was preached to them, therefore, it was of no benefit to them because they didn't mix, or receive, it by faith.
Is your spirit man suffering today from malnutrition? Are you weak spiritually and trying to fill that hunger with food; or something else that doesn't satisfy? Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find out what that real hunger is. We grow from faith to faith and from glory to glory. If you're constantly seeking something to satisfy an inner need that can only be filled by God's Spirit then you will always be hungry; nothing will ever seem to satisfy. You'll shop til you drop and still leave the mall wanting something else. You'll eat your way to obesity and still be craving another cookie or ice cream, or chips. Only God can truly satisfy soul hunger!
Father, I pray this morning that You will fill the inner void in my life with Your Spirit, Your presence, Your very words of life! Thank You for creating me with a desire for You. May I never grow spiritually deficit in my life. Help me to seek You with my whole heart and to hunger for You every day. Thank You for providing for my every need. I pray for my Spark Friends this morning that may be hungry and thirsty for that which doesn't satisfy. Help them to realize, Father, that the hunger that they are experiencing is a hunger for You. I pray that they might have a living and vital relationship with You that is new and fresh every day. Fill them to overflowing with Your very own presence, Lord, and satisfy them emotionally so they will be satisfied with life and not seek the things that will never satisfy. Enable them to eat of Your words daily, Father! Create within them a desire for You and You alone. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
I don't know about you but some days I just don't want to watch what I eat; I just want to let down my guard and forget about healthy eating and just eat whatever I want!
I'm sure Moses had days like that as well. There were probably days when he wondered if he really wanted to do what God called him to do. After all he was a human just like me. But the Word says there were several things that he did to make it through the difficult days.
The first significant thing I noticed in this portion of scripture that set Moses up to win was that he did it by faith! What does that mean? Well, to me it means that he trusted in God more than himself; even to the point that he struck out to be what God wanted him to be without depending on his own strength, but looking unto God to do what he couldn't do in the natural. He didn't look at how impossible it would be to lead the people of God out of bondage because He depended on God's ability to set them free through him instead of his own ability to do it. That's what faith is; depending on God rather than myself to the point that I walk like it's done! He walked it out in his heart before he did it in the natural. He saw God as the bigger One in the picture; the One who if He said it, He would do it! His vision of God doing what He promised was bigger than the obstacles he encountered.
The next thing I noticed is that he laid aside his noble name, his friends that came with that territory and embraced the ones that God had said he would lead. He changed courts! He changed associations. Those that would have discouraged him from doing what God called him to do were left behind! Some times we have to run with a different crowd in order to move to a different place; to move up in the things that God has called us to do.
Another thing that I noticed about Moses is that he gave up the passing pleasures of sin. Whoa! Now we're down to where the rubber meets the road. He could have had everything that nobility would have bought for him, but God said it was the passing pleasures of sin! God's viewpoint and ours can be totally different. All Moses was doing was living according to the world's standards by which he had been raised. But he had to have an attitude adjustment in order to succeed! Sometimes I need an attitude adjustment, too! How about you? Sometimes I need to re-visit the scripture that says my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit! Sometimes I need to re-focus my thoughts on how to take care of my temple!
Moses then thought about what he was giving up and counted it as nothing compared to the riches of Christ Jesus, even though it meant that suffering would be a part of it. My flesh needs to be starved at times in order to accomplish what my temple needs to bring it to the place where it looks like the Holy Spirit would choose to live. My body on the outside doesn't always reflect the power of the Holy Spirit that resides on the inside. I have to ask myself a question: Do I look like what I profess to be? Do I display on the outside the great power of the Holy Spirit that lives within me? Am I walking the walk or simply talking the talk? Just questions for reflection....
The last thing I noticed about Moses is that he won the fight by looking to the reward. Moses looked past all the pain and suffering because he had a picture of the reward at the end of all the stuff he was going to go through. He knew it would be tough. He knew that God would test him to see if he could stand the pressure. He knew the people would, at times, almost drive him crazy! But he kept looking past those things to the end result. He pictured the reward at the end of the battle!
And again I have to ask myself: How great is the picture of the reward in my mind? Do I have a picture of what I want to look like when I reach my goal? Am I willing to press past the calorie laden goodies to get to the goal? With all that said, my final question is: How can I give up and let the enemy win the battle when God has equipped me to win and reap the reward?
How about you? Will you choose the temporary pleasures of eating calorie laden goodies or go for the gold....the reward at the end of the battle?
Father, I pray that You will help me to keep my focus! Lord, I need Your strength for the battle ahead of me. I pray that You will remind me when I am growing wearing that there is a great reward ahead of me if I will not give up or let down my guard and eat the things that put weight on instead of taking it off. I pray for my Spark Friends as well that You will empower them for success. Give us all the stamina to keep on keeping on! Thank You, Father, for equipping us with Your power to win! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
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