Devotional

How’s Your Face?

How's Your Face?

I am a strong woman. There is no getting around it. I know that there are times that I am intimidating and (dare I say) loud and sometimes come across as pushy and demanding. In my 20s and 30s, I really fought against this and so wanted to be different. To be meek. To be mild-mannered. To be gentle. I did not like the skin I was in (and, to be honest, I am not sure if many folks around me liked it either.) But in myself, I could not be different. I couldn’t change. I couldn’t stop being my selfish, rebellious, strong-willed woman. That all changed in 1992 when I came to the end of myself and cried out to God. I bowed my knees to the one true God and received Him as my Lord and Savior and the gift of His Spirit living in me. Now, because

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Help When You Need It

Help When You Need It

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. GALATIANS 5:13 I will never forget the day when I was driving with Vicki Heath to look at a conference center where we planned to have a Wellness Retreat. The conference center was about halfway between Charleston, South Carolina, where Vicki lives, and Savannah, Georgia. Vicki was driving when my cell phone rang. The call was from our precious daughter-in-love (law), Lisa, telling me that her dad, George Gerdes, had died. George was only 71 years old. He had died from an abdominal aneurysm. We were all in shock; George had not been sick, and he was driving home from work when the aneurysm struck. I flew home immediately, and we all pitched in to help plan the service and the dinner afterward at the

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Everyday Encouragement

Everyday Encouragement

Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11  My neighbor Marcia lives just a few houses down from us. What a blessing she is to me as we walk together six days a week early each morning, starting out in the dark, but ending in sunrise, and thanking God for it! One morning this week, it was apparently too early for me. I put on two shirts, as it was a chilly morning (in Texas, a cold morning), laced up my walking shoes, and was ready to go—except, I looked down and noticed that I was still in my “glow in the dark” pajama bottoms. I quickly changed, but Marcia is such a good friend that she would have gone with me in those pj’s, and we would have started our morning walk with a good laugh. We spend the

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Way Beyond My Strength

Way Beyond My Strength

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:13) The five volcanos that make up the Big Island of Hawaii create a challenging course for the mini-triathlon I do each year. My favorite part is the first and shortest segment of the race, a 1/3 mile ocean swim. Once out of the water, I race barefooted to my gear station to don socks, shoes, helmet and sunglasses, and off I go to tackle the longest segment of the race, the 15-mile bike ride. The biking is 7.5 miles out and back. The first part of the ride is enjoyable with stunning ocean views. At mile six, the road turns in toward the mountain and begins the climb to 191 feet. I think about how hard this hill will be when I face it again on the way back. A devilish whisper suggests, “Turn back now. You

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Way To Go

Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11 My own personal definition of the word “encouragement” is to catch someone doing something right and to tell him or her. When we encourage someone, the words we say need to be true. Encouragement can transform another person and give them hope for a brighter future. Encouragement is an important part of the First Place 4 Health program. In our classes, we are assigned one person each week to pray for and encourage. I have never been disappointed when I take the time to call my prayer partner on the phone. I learn things about this person that I would never learn in class, and then I know how to encourage her or him even more. Getting to know another person is the key to being an encourager in a person’s life.

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Just Shut Up and Pray

My friend and I have a slogan we jokingly say to each other when one of us starts to stress out about things that are happening in our lives: “You know what you need to do: just shut up and pray!” It’s a reminder that we can’t fix a thing by dwelling on our problems. It also reminds us that we need to run to God, because He is our joy and our hope when the world seems to be falling apart around us. Our little slogan brings much-needed laughter into our sometimes very stressful lives. I’m thankful I have friends who remind me that my hope is in God when things seem to be spiraling out of control. We don’t need to be experts on anything to reach out and offer encouraging words to others. Often a simple reminder to keep going and keep looking to God are all

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Do it Again and Again

Do it Again and Again

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 1 TIMOTHY 4:7 A dear friend of mine was an ice dancer and spent countless hours on the ring doing the same four-minute routine again and again. I noticed that others would even break down the free dance and do a specific lift or jump that may only be 10 seconds long, dozens of times. Why? Because amateurs train until they get it right, while professionals train until they can’t get it wrong. The question before us today is, “Are we amateur Christians who do just enough to get by, or are we professional Christians who train ourselves to be godly?” To train ourselves in godliness takes three things: knowledge, practice, and coaching. Obviously, the most logical place to gain knowledge about godliness is through the study of God’s Word. But we can

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Strength Through His Divine Power

Strength Through His Divine Power

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 PETER 1:3 I have to giggle each week as we begin our First Place 4 Health class. Everyone steps up to the scale, taking off as much clothing as possible while mumbling over and over under their breath the memory verse they are about to quote. Recently, this verse in 2 Peter 1:3 challenged me, and the Lord had me share this fact with the class. After all, isn’t this why we come together, to be encouraged as we share the good, the bad, and the Godly of our journey to live a balanced life? The verse said, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness,” and immediately a thought came: So why am I not reaching my goals? It surely wasn’t

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Please Don’t Quit!

Please Don’t Quit!

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. PROVERBS 14:29 One of the most common reasons people give up on exercise is a lack of immediate results. It takes time for change to take place in our bodies. Developing patience with and proficiency in the area of exercise may be one of the biggest challenges for us, but it is well worth the effort. I recall one dear lady in my class in Charleston, South Carolina, who had decided she was going to work diligently at her commitment to exercise. She walked faithfully every day for one week, and when she got on the scale to see how much weight she had shed, she had stayed the same. She immediately began to cry and said, “It’s no use—I am just going to quit. I won’t be back next week.” We all have had the same experience.

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Take Out the Trash

Take Out the Trash

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. PROVERBS 19:11 What an experience to be a landlord! We just evicted renters for the first time. They left the house in a huge mess! Trash was piled in each room, including the garage. Unwanted furniture littered the rooms, and the carpets were incredibly dirty. The filth on the floors, cabinets, and counters took many cleanings. The tenants even removed and ruined the garage door to get their belongings out. The job seemed to be more than my husband, and I could manage on our own. A sense of hopelessness overwhelmed us. But as I started to work, I began to feel hopeful, knowing that the hard work would be rewarded with a clean, livable house once again. It would not happen on this day, or even after two or three days of hard work,

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