Thursday, February 27, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - Making Wise Choices Over Time

"Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Making healthy choices continuously over time is so important to success.  It can also be difficult.  You have to be careful that you don't allow the occasional human slip-up to send you on a downward spiral, right back to where you started.

I've been on that path before.  But - this time it's going to be different.  I won't say that I will never make the wrong choice again.  Face it...none of us are perfect, and that definitely includes me.  What I have to make sure I do is work through it - choice by choice, prayer by prayer - so that I build up my success one choice and one prayer at a time. 

Perfecting holiness doesn't mean we are perfect. Only God is perfect.  It does mean that we keep working at it, getting as close to perfect as we can and never giving up.  God knows - that I'm trying, that I want to get to that place where I'm always making right choices.  And that counts for a lot with Him. As long as I keep moving toward the goal and pick myself up when I make a mistake and continue on, I'll be on the right track.

And as long as I pray and talk to God continuously, especially when I make a mistake, He will be happy.  That is where I need to find my peace - and I will get there.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - God, Fill My Soul

"For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." - Psalm 107:9

God promises to fill our souls, so we will hunger and thirst no more.  This is so why do I forget way too often?

Food and drink cannot truly fill us.  Those are temporary fixes that still leave a void after the eating is over.  That's why we always feel so much worse after a binge.  It's not just the sick feeling in our stomachs or the thoughts of all of the extra calories that we don't need.  It's because food does not actually FILL us.

But sometimes I don't stop to think about that - especially when I'm stressed.  I feel like I need a "reward" after putting up with different issues or situations, without thinking what the real reward is.

The real reward is a closer relationship with God.  Turning to Him to fill me instead of food is much more satisfying. 

What I need to do - and will start doing as of now - is to take a deep breath and really think before committing to a "treat".  Why do I want the treat?  Is the reason something that would be better served by prayer or a heart-to-heart conversation with God?

I'd say the majority of the time the prayer needs to win out; if I do decide to have a rare treat, it will be because I talked it over with God first so He will help me limit it to a small serving instead of binging.  The only way I will win in this lifetime is by talking to God instead of turning to sugar or junk food.  And that would also cause me to be in better shape (body, mind, and soul) the next time I need to make a decision.  Then I can build the healthy cycle of prayer and better decisions into something consistent to make me a stronger, more confident child of God.

I think it's time to put a big sign in my kitchen - GOD FILLS MY SOUL, NOT FOOD.  The more I remind myself of His promise, the better I will be at saying no to unhealthy foods.  In turn, the better I will be at fulfilling His purpose for me!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - The Voice of Truth

There is a song by Casting Crowns that always hits close to home for me.  If you haven't heard it yet here are the lyrics: 

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

  Published by  Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Can you relate?  I know I can.  I've lost count of how many times in my life I've been afraid to do something, tried to get my courage up, and felt like there was a vice inside of my head saying, "What makes you think you can do this?"  or "You've failed before, you're just going to fail again."
But what is the actual truth?  That negative voice is the devil whispering in my ear.  He wants me to fail again - or worse yet - not even try.  He knows that God has a lot He wants me to accomplish for Him, and he doesn't want me to accomplish any of it.  Even when I do have some success, the enemy tries to tell me that it was a fluke...that I'd better enjoy that moment because I'll never have another one.  Sometimes he even uses people I know to try to bring me down, and it's hard enough to hear those negative things from my own head, let alone outside of it.
The truth is that God made me - so of course I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  God wants me to succeed, to listen to His voice telling me to put the fear aside and trust Him.  He won't steer me wrong. 
I know it will take time to get the enemy's voice out of my head, because even when things are going well he's always going to try to get me to stop believing in God and myself.  The key is to stay in continual prayer, so I can clearly hear the Voice of Truth and do what God wants me to do.
I'm ready for the challenge.  How about you?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Made To Crave Bible Study - Making Peace With My Body

This week in the Made To Crave Bible study, we're discussing how we are not defined by the numbers on the scale - how we should make peace with our bodies, no matter what shape they are in at any given moment in time.
Making peace with my body has been an ongoing process...I've gone back and forth between hating the extra pounds and loving myself for who I am no matter what I see on the scale or in the mirror for as long as I can remember. 
Growing up, I started to gain weight in 3rd grade.  Before that I was way too skinny because I was sometimes too nervous to eat more than a piece of toast before school.  So as a child/teen I always heard comments about my body, ranging from looking like I was starving to being "disgusting" because I had gained weight.  I don't think I ever heard that I looked good (other than from my parents) until I was out of high school and lost the weight for good, leveling out in a healthy range for my height.  Even then, jealous people would tell me I was still too skinny or notice every time I put on a couple of pounds and warn me about "getting fat again". 
Being young and impressionable, I listened way too much to those outside voices.  I'd torture myself over everything, which didn't help in my having a healthy relationship with food.  I'd binge, starve myself, pretend not to one point I even used laxatives to keep my weight in check. Thankfully an angel voice inside of me got me to stop this destruction after about five months.  I gained weight, but at least I wasn't taking Ex-Lax or Correctol and harming myself that way.
I've made progress, both in loving my body and losing some of the excess weight.  My thoughts still fluctuate when I hear kids make fun of me and snicker, or get dirty looks from adults who should know better.  But this Bible study is helping me realize that other people don't determine my worth - GOD does.
So my challenge for myself - and for you - is to stop the minute we hear something negative about our bodies, whether from ourselves or from others who have no place to judge.  Replace those words and thoughts with thoughts of God.  We are His children - we are always beautiful to Him!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Biggest Loser Season 15 Finale - And The Winners Are...

After a long season with a winter break, the finale is finally here.  And with it comes a record-breaking, controversial weigh-in!
The opening of the show was fun and clever, with some former contestants showing how their hard work is still paying off.  Olivia and Hannah from Season 11 still look fabulous.  And Pete from Season 2 - well, check out those abs!  Bob mentions how proud he is of everyone, and how it feels like they're all his and Jillian's kids since the beginning of the series. 
As we move into introducing the 12 eliminated players, Dolvett says it was difficult to pick just 15 people for the season, yet empowering to those 15 that were chosen to change their lives.  All 12 of the eliminated players look amazing.  Jennifer announces that her daughter Taylor has lost 30 pounds so far and her husband lost 50.  Tanya mentions that she is no longer working in fast food, instead opening her own place which will focus on serving healthy comfort foods. And Holley tells Bob he is invited to be part of her training squad if she makes it to the Summer Olympics in Rio.  Sounds like everyone is paying it forward and making their mark!
After all 12 of them get on the scale, Tumi walks away with the $100,000 at-home prize by losing 175 pounds and over 54% of her body weight.  She's also looking forward to running her first marathon soon.
Ruben lost 119 pounds and looks good, but sounds even better as he performs his new single "Meant to Be" live.  Before you know's time to catch up with our three finalists.
All I can say is WOW.  Bobby and David look amazing. I hope Rachel puts at least few pounds back on because she looks too thin.  I'm sure she lost extra to try to win - but once she starts training to swim again she'll need to eat more to stay strong and be healthy. Even Jillian and Bob looked shocked at her dramatic weight loss.
Bobby lost 188 pounds and 52.51% of his body weight.  Rachel lost 155 and 59.62%. (She only weighs 105 pounds now!)  David lost 222 and 54.28%. Rachel is the winner of Season 15 and takes home the $250,000 prize.  Her percentage also breaks the record held by Danny Cahill from Season 8 - who was the biggest loser ever at 55.58%.  (I can't even say "congratulations" to Rachel...she was healthy, fit and athletic at one point but now she needs help.  Becoming so frail you can't even walk up the stairs without falling is NOT an accomplishment.)
David, however, sums up the season nicely as he takes his turn on the scale.  After thanking God and his family for everything, he tells his fellow contestants that the confetti will fall on all of them and they ALL win.  And it's the truth...they all get their lives and their health back, which is what really matters. 
I'm looking forward to Season 16 already...and praying that nobody else becomes anorexic just to win a lot of money.  Stay tuned for future announcements on the upcoming season!