Devotional

A Simple Invitation

A Simple Invitation

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Lillian has been my hairdresser for 15 years, so you can imagine the conversations that have transpired while I have sat in her chair. We’ve discussed family, world events, books and our own struggles with weight issues. Many years ago, I invited all of her salon staff to an evangelistic Luis Palau ladies luncheon; during that event, Lillian made a personal commitment to Christ. Since then, we’ve talked frequently of faith and church, seeking to mutually encourage one another. This fall, Lillian and her husband, Tom, joined my First Place 4 Health class, even though it meets an hour from their home. The second week, she announced, “At home, I always said these stairs are going to be the death of me! But now that I’m moving more,

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A Friend Stands With You

A Friend Stands With You

Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. –1 THESSALONIANS  5:11  The First Place 4 Health Wellness Retreat in Round Top, Texas, begins with a health assessment that includes a blood pressure check and blood draw. In previous years, I have approached this portion of the retreat with apprehension. My blood pressure always rises temporarily at the prospect of dealing with a needle.  This year was no exception. Two friends attended the week with me and were aware of my nervousness. We three waited together, and when my turn came, Annie and Debbie prayed that I would be calm and trust God. Even though my blood pressure reading was elevated, I felt calm . . . until I went to the station to have blood drawn. Annie mentioned to the nurse that I usually requested a smaller (butterfly) needle, so the nurse prepared

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Love Back at You

Love Back at You

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. –1 JOHN 3:23 Several years ago, my husband and I were going through a very emotional time of grieving and change. My 49-year-old sister-in law was dying from brain cancer. Our college-age sons both made major decisions that same summer. Ben, our youngest, was going to be married that August, and our oldest son moved out of state. This move was one that brought us to a place of testing and trusting God. Nate’s move was prompted by an admission that he was homosexual. We were devastated, yet clearly knew that God calls us to love unconditionally. By His grace, we have been able to maintain a relationship without compromising God’s truth. I have been blessed to attend the annual First Place 4 Health Leadership Summit

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United We Stand

United We Stand

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. –1 CORINTHIANS 1:10 Each summer, First Place for Health has their annual Summit event in Houston, Texas. People from all over the country and Canada make the trek to Houston for two days of motivation, information and fun! It’s a wonderful time of fellowship, training, inspiration and fun. Attendance has ranged from 42 in 2003 to 309 in 2008. It’s a huge undertaking that involves many details. This event is one-of-a-kind and empowers leaders to go out and “lead loud” for Christ and First Place 4 Health. Because of that, we’ve learned to expect attacks from Satan every year. When crazy things start to go wrong, we just look at each

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Love Back At You

Love Back At You

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 1 John 2:23 Several years ago, my husband and I were going through a very emotional time of grieving and change. My 49-year-old sister-in law was dying from brain cancer. Our college-age sons both made major decisions that same summer. Ben, our youngest, was going to be married that August, and our oldest son moved out of state. This move was one that brought us to a place of testing and trusting God. Nate’s move was prompted by an admission that he was homosexual. We were devastated, yet clearly knew that God calls us to love unconditionally. By His grace, we have been able to maintain a relationship without compromising God’s truth. I have been blessed to attend the annual First Place for Health Leadership Summit

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Food for Thought

Food for Thought

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 Seeing others fully committed to wholeheartedly obeying the Lord Jesus in every area of their lives always challenges me and inspires me. As I examine my own heart and mind, I find myself asking: Am I willing to say yes to God—whatever He asks of me? Am I willing to say no to the things that displease or dishonor Him? In John 4, Jesus has just told the woman at the well that only He can quench her spiritual thirst: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (verses 13-14). She responds to His invitation and receives this life-giving water, calling everyone in her village

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Our Heart’s Desire

Our Heart's Desire

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. Mark 11:24 For years, I wanted a contract for one of my novels. I already had written several Bible studies and stories or devotionals for various compilations, and even a story in a novella, but nothing in a novel. I voiced this desire several times over the years, and one of my First Place 4 Health members started praying for me and my writing. When Carole Lewis introduced us to Give God a Year, I decided to try it and see how God would work. In January 2009, I made the list of things for my part, and then God’s part. One of the things on my list for God was to get a contract for a novel. I didn’t share the list with anyone, but did my best

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Taste the Goodness

Taste the Goodness

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go. –Joshua 1:7 The Lord loves me and has given me His law to follow in order to guide and protect me from evil. Through the First Place program, I have learned to rely on God’s law to be strong and courageous and to face the truth about tempting foods. They are just not good for me, regardless of how good I used to think they tasted or looked. Today I choose not to eat them. Each day that I refuse to give in to temptation, I experience how truly good being at a healthy weight feels. Nothing tastes as good as that! When it comes to my food plan, I no longer diet,

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It Takes a Little Time Sometimes

It Takes a Little Time Sometimes

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. –John 6:36 I wish I could say that I have followed the First Place for Health program perfectly, but that would not be the truth.  The truth of the matter is I have been on this journey for several years.  The most important part of the journey is that I have never given up on myself and neither has God. There have been times that I was stalled and could not move forward and there have been times that I have even gone backwards.  I see these times as a “big waste” but God sees them as times to pour out his mercy and grace on me. At one point on this journey I felt I could not get turned around.  I knew the direction I needed to go, but I was having a tremendously hard time getting turned around.  God in

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Gift of Self

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  1 Peter 3:8 One of the hardest lessons I have learned in my Christian walk is the difference between compassion and pity. Pity feels sorry for; compassion suffers with. Pity is about feeling superior; compassion acknowledges a common humanity that leaves me vulnerable to the same pain. Pity is being like the Pharisee who looked down at the tax collector and thanked God that, as one who religiously kept the law, he was exempt from the sins common to man. Compassion recognizes that we are all sinners before God. Compassion is humble enough to say, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,” knowing that it is God’s grace and not anything we have done that saves us. What I have found is that when I can be compassionate and humble, I

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