Devotional

View from the top

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. – Deuteronomy 20:4 Last summer, my husband and I spent a week at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, New Mexico.  My husband is the hiker in the family, but I exercise four to five times a week, so I thought the four-mile mountain trail would be a breeze. The trail looked easy, but five minutes into the hike, I was huffing and puffing.  I’d walk a few yards, rest, walk a few yards, rest, walk a few yards, then rest again . . . at that rate, it was turning into an all-day event!  Maybe it was just the determination to make it, but before I knew it, we were at the top.  What an awesome view!  It was certainly worth all the huffing and puffing

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To Love God More

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5 My twelve-year-old granddaughter, Harper, loves every kind of creature.  If it moves or breathes, she wants it for her own.  When she is at the bay, she spends most of her time on the rocks capturing minnows, jellyfish and whatever else is moving around.  At night, she gets a jar to catch fireflies.  She loves books about any living thing. Ever since Harper was a baby, we have known that she was a thinker.  She thinks and feels more deeply than most children, and so her thoughts have led her to make a momentous decision regarding food:  She loves God’s creatures so much that she has decided she won’t eat them anymore!  Because her favorite food is steak, this

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Progress, Not Perfection

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!.  – Galatians 2:21 You can find how-to books on just about anything you want to know more about—how to see your home, how to lose weight in 10 days, how to love yourself more, how to save more and spend less. Books are written every day suggesting that we can be better if only we follow the book’s directions. Isn’t God awesome for giving us an owner’s manual for ourselves? Reading the Word teaches us about God and how to be His disciples. We learn that no matter how perfect we try to be, it’s not our perfection that God longs for. No, He wants our heart. He longs for our attention and devotion. Our works and deeds will never achieve righteousness. We can be the best of

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Letting Go of Fear

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13 To leave something that is known and enter a place that is unknown might seem adventurous to some, but most folks who encounter change experience some level of fear.  I began pursuing a different life for myself when I turned 22.  After spending years walking a path paved by self-destruction, I made a decision to flee from the only life I had known to pursue the unknown.  I knew very little about God, but I was certain that I wanted a different life. Nearly 23 years have gone by since I took my first few steps into that new life of freedom.  I know that I could not have taken one step without my Daddy’s hand holding me up and giving me the

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Clueless and Busy in Illinois

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:1-2 I became aware of the hectic nature of my life when I found myself dyeing my hair at midnight! The 20 minutes I had forced myself to stay awake so that I could cover the gray, I had just enough reflection time to day, “My life has been w-a-y too busy for the last week.” I should have had a clue on Sunday when I left for church at 8:00 a.m. didn’t look at the time again until I unglued myself from my computer at 9 p.m.  That was my day of rest, the Lord’s Day.  I should have had a clue, but I didn’t because that is what busyness does–it keeps us

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New Life, New Power

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. – Romans 6:4 I just love new things: the smell of a new car, the excitement of pulling the tag off a new dress, the joy of holding a newborn baby! When I consider the word “new,” here are some things that come to mind: freshness, a new coat of paint, a first-time experience, a new approach, something novel or unfamiliar, something changed for the better, having new energy. Praise God that our new life as a believer in Jesus Christ is always fresh. Many times there are new experiences and encounters that are novel and unfamiliar. I have been established in a new place beside the King of Glory. I have been changed for the

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God Things

This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:10 Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love all the twinkling lights, the joyful music about the birth of our Savior, the atmosphere of love and giving of gifts, home and family, the midnight Christmas Eve service at the church and all the traditions that we have come to know and associate with the Christmas season. One of my favorite childhood memories is of the Christmas Eve program at our church. There was a large Christmas tree that all the church members helped decorate, little shepherd children, angels with cardboard wings, Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, plus all the traditional Christmas carols. In the audience were those who had traveled home to spend Christmas with their families. It was an

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Don’t Open the Door to the Enemy

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 5:20 I used to groan and moan about my weight struggles. I’ d complain about every pound and every mistake I made along the way of my weight-loss journey. Every time I complained or wanted to beat myself up for a single bad choice, I opened the door to the enemy. I was allowing the devil to keep me knee-deep in despair and focused on my problems. Now I choose instead to be thankful for everything. I see things not as good or bad things, but as God things— which he will use for my good and His glory, as He promises us in Romans 8:28. I’m thankful now that He used my weight to bring me to First Place for Heath and used First Place for Health to teach me

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Don’t Just Stand There

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – JAMES 1:22 First Place for Health has developed some wonderful, practical, and godly principles to follow, as well as some incredible tools for us to use. The handy-dandy food tracker is one such tool. When I am discussing filling in those blanks, checking off the little squares, and sharing the practicality of this tool with others it seems so much simpler than getting down to the nitty-gritty of recording my own eating choices. Okay, so I’m being a bit dramatic, or am I? How can something so simple suddenly become so difficult when it is time for me to pull out my pen and scribble those extra French-fries on the lines across my card? Sometimes we tend to enjoy the actual talking about accountability, reading about it and planning for it better than actually

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Learning Perseverance

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 CORINTHIANS 15:57 Trying to lose weight and get more physically fit is hard work! It’s a daily battle for me—or maybe I should say a full-fledged war. But I am in this for life! I refuse to allow Satan to stop me as I seek God’s strength and power for the victory. My First Place for Health story is one about learning perseverance. I have been in First Place for Health for 15 years, and I love the program. God has changed my heart and made me a different person from the inside out. He has worked in the emotional, Spiritual, and mental areas. He works to make me more Christlike. But the physical area has been the most difficult for me. God has taught me so much during this time. I continue

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