Devotional

God & You ~ Better Together

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. –1 Peter 3:12 What is better together—milk and cookies, mom and dad, praise and worship or . . . ? My choice for “better together” is Google and Round Top Retreat Center.  Bet you are saying, “strange,” but allow me a moment to explain.  It was late summer and I was praying about my yearly week away for spiritual growth, so I went to my trusty friend Google and entered “spiritual retreat centers.”  Up came Round Top Retreat Center, so I clicked on it and started reading what it offered. Partway down the page under “events” was something called Wellness Retreat, with a link to First Place 4 Health, which described it as “a week away that would minster to

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Spur Each Other On

Spur Each Other On

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. –Hebrews 10:24 I grew up on a farm, so when I see the word “spur,” I know that means to push forward with a little bit of pain until you run in your potential. That is what my First Place 4 Health friends have done for me. My family DNA lends me to die of a heart attack early, but I do not believe that my “sisters” will allow this to happen. I run an organization called Seasoned Sisters, and the word “sister” is a building term, which means to hammer 2 x 4’s together. My FP4H friends and my Seasoned Sisters “spur” me forward by nailing their lives to mine.  They hold me accountable for better life choices by doing them with me. Maria walks the 5K race by my side. Debbie and

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Pave the Road with Patience

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. Proverbs 14:29 I could barely see beyond my rain-splattered windshield. Thankfully, I managed, with the wipers on high speed, to locate my exit. Letting out a sigh of relief, I prepared for the final leg of my journey home following a long day at work—a stressful day, to put it mildly.  Just as I merged onto the off ramp, another vehicle sped by, cut in front of me, and headed up the ramp, only to slam on his brakes and skid to a stop before redirecting his car back onto the freeway. To make matters worse, he performed a certain, unacceptable hand “gesture” as he raced away into the stormy night. Shocked, and more than a little dismayed, I analyzed my choices: 1.      I could tear off and follow him in a radical display of road rage. 2.     

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Super-size That

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 How “Would you like to super-size that?” are words that can cause panic.  The old nature screams “Yes, and hurry,” as the new nature urges you to pretend you didn’t hear and to drive away quickly.  Who wins?  Is it the old sinful nature or the new exasperated nature? Every day is a battle.  The temptation of the food industry and the desire to make healthy choices is a constant struggle within.    Most of us have the luxury of well-fed bodies.  But our spirits are starving.  That unsatisfied feeling in us is the new nature craving its turn to be fed with the word of God. Think about it. Who loves you more?  Who will not lie to you—the billion dollar food industry that

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Who Needs Old Bootstraps?

Who Needs Old Bootstraps?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  –2 Corinthians 12:9 How can I be so weak? How many times do I have to fall before I get it right? Questions like these plagued me for years—many years. As a woman who lived a very addictive lifestyle, I was familiar with failure. In fact, I was so comfortable with it that accepting a gift like God’s incredible favor and grace was difficult for me to comprehend, let alone embrace as truth in my life. When I first read 2 Corinthians 12:9, I was more than a little surprised. God’s Word said that when I was weak (and I was, often), His power would work best in me. Wow! What an

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Walking the Talk

Walking the Talk

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 There are two ways that I can change my way of living and thinking about food. The first way involves learning all of the rules—the foods to eat and the foods to not eat. The rules about what to eat also come with rules for rigorous exercise. The second way to submit myself to God’s plan for my life is to live utterly dependent on Him, seeing my body as the temple where the Holy Spirit resides. If I choose the first way, I can become rigid and legalistic about the rules and become critical of those who do not follow the rules. When the work of doing the rules becomes too difficult, it is easy to

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Keep It Simple

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  –Micah 6:8  God’s will for us is quite simple, but we try to make it really hard. If we honored the three commands in this verse, our lives would be richer and fuller than we could ever imagine. God’s requirements are so different from man’s requirements. Let’s look at each one: To do the next right thing—all the time. If I do this, I’ll be able to accomplish even the things I dislike doing. Love mercy: To treat others with the same mercy I want from God. This means I treat kindly the rude person at the grocery store or the mouthy person at the gas station. Walk humbly with your God: God wants to have a relationship with me.

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With All Our Heart

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. — Colossians 3:23 This simple truth sounds easy and yet, sometimes I find myself not giving God my personal best in all that I do and say.    That’s because I buy into Satan’s line of thinking and get the “who really cares anyway” attitude.”  I mean really.  Who cares if I don’t do my best at home or on the job? Who cares if I don’t work at my relationships with my husband, friends and family?  Who cares if I don’t press on to fulfill the commitments of First Place? Who really cares, right? GOD CARES! He really does charge each of us with the personal responsibility to give Him our very best in whatever we are doing because in the end, He is the one we seek to please and honor. So

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Letting Go of the

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. –Psalm 127:1 I was a diet-aholic, using various sound (and some not-so-sound) diet plans—always losing weight only to regain it, plus some. I never made a permanent change. Sound familiar? Drawn to fad diets for decades, I found myself laboring in vain. The problem with these plans was that God was not their builder, so through them lives could not be changed completely as He desires. The one piece of the building plan missing from all other diets is the reason First Place for Health works: God is our Master Builder and has individual plans in mind for each of us. God is rebuilding this “house” for Himself, and it is not according to my plan, but His. We are co-laborers in His new project—a new me. The work is no longer laborious, but actually a pleasure when I

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Anxiety is a Choice

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. —Philippians 4:6 Life offers us no shortage of things that tempt us with anxiety.  The pressures of jobs, relationships, parenting, keeping house, paying bills, eating healthy… even balancing all of the above can produce an abundance of anxiety – if you let them.  The apostle Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, says, “Do not be anxious.”  When I realized this meant that I actually had a choice of whether or not to give in to anxiety, my life started changing – for the better. You see, when the Lord gives us a command, like this one, He always provides the “how to” do it.  When we recognize the familiar feeling of anxiety, we are to stop – and take our feelings and concerns to the Lord in prayer.  Not

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