Devotional

All I Want for Christmas

It’s been a long time since someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas. It’s been a long time since I made a Christmas list like when I was a little girl. I have decided this year I am going to change that; I’m making a list and submitting it to my heavenly Father who is in the business of giving. He gave His throne to Jesus, and Jesus is there at the right hand of the Father, telling our heavenly Father just what we need. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (see James 1:17).   The main thing I want: an MHVR player—a Mind and Heart Video Recorder to permanently record impressions on my mind and heart. If I could just capture Christmas moments in my mind and heart forever! If I could just keep my children small! If I could always have focused thoughts

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Got Peace?

Got Peace?

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, wrote, “Do not be anxious” (Philippians 4:6). 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 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 only that, but we are to do so with thanksgiving. No matter how ominous the circumstance, we can always begin by

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A Work in Progress

A Work in Progress

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  EPHESIANS 4:2  One of the wonderful things about First Place 4 Health is that the program focuses on the whole person—the physical, the spiritual, the mental and the emotional. Promoting health, wellness and balance in all of these areas transforms you into the person God created you to be. It all begins with a humble heart. Sometimes I feel like I need to hang a sign around my neck that says, “Caution! Work in progress. Please be patient with me; God is not through with me yet.” For many years, I convinced myself that I was not a patient person, nor was I wired that way. I had a misguided thought that others should accept that flaw in me as well. This was a prideful, blind attitude that needed transformation. Very important aspects of First Place 4 Health

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Changed from the Inside Out

Changed from the Inside Out

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. EPHESIANS 5:19 I meet many women and men who have lost a lot of weight on the First Place 4 Health program. When I ask them how much weight they have lost, I get the same answer close to 100 percent of the time. The person will say, “I have lost weight, but that’s not the most important thing that has happened to me. The spiritual impact has changed my life.” Another statement I frequently hear is, “God has changed me from the inside out.” Even though most people join the First Place 4 Health program to lose weight, they find that the weight is a secondary problem that can only be addressed after the spiritual components are learned. When I joined the program in 1981, I had never set aside a daily time of Bible reading, Bible study or

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Bible Study Excerpt – Discernment

Bible Study Excerpt - Discernment

We can plan and dream and even scheme all we want, but it is God who will decide where we will go and what our journey will be. Mary Beth Chapman discovered this and in her autobiography, Learning to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope, she tells about how God’s journey for her wasn’t at all what she had planned or expected: As long as I can remember . . . I’ve held on to certain expectations about life. But Jesus has always loved me enough to show me that even when I push my own ideas and expectations, He is there to guide me back to green pastures. He has shepherded me through the mountainous terrain of my stubbornness, shame, depression and inadequacy, and brought me gently back to the lushness of His love. He loves us enough to never let us go—even when it feels like He did.

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God Does the Impossible

God Does the Impossible

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. MARK 11:24 During my first session of First Place 4 Health, I admit that I didn’t exercise much at all. I fully embraced other parts of the program, like the food plan, daily Bible study and Scripture memory, but I held on to my lifelong hatred of exercise. Oh, I had my reasons: my back hurt, I didn’t like sweating, I didn’t have time, and the list of excuses went on and on. My prayer partner encouraged me to think outside the box to find creative ways to incorporate exercise into my day. I tried, but all the while I held on to my negative attitude about exercise. During my second session of First Place 4 Health, I realized that although I had asked God to help me exercise

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A Friend to All

A Friend to All

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 John 3:11 Attending church is not about me and it’s not about you. It’s about Him. Each Sunday, when you enter your church, remember that each and every person you meet, greet and encounter is bringing with them the wounds of their past, the struggles of their present and the unspoken anxieties of their future. What people want to know is whether you will love them just as they are, even if they don’t fit the mold or change as quickly as you would like them to change. Most people are shy, distrustful and relationally impaired. Our mandate is to make friends out of them, not just benchwarmers and financial contributors. Jesus told His disciples, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Take the opportunity and privilege on Sunday to be a friend to everyone you

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Called to Be Free

Called to Be Free

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 You’re ordering at the drive-thru window when you hear the words, “Would you like to super-size that?” Your old nature screams, “Yes, and hurry!” as your new nature urges you to pretend you didn’t hear and drive through quickly. Every day is a battle. The temptation of the food industry’s lure and the desire to make healthy choices is a constant clash. 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 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 deceives us with colorful packaging and the promises of advertising, or

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Spiritually Warm

Spiritually Warm

I was out on my two-mile run on a brisk October morning, dressed in layers and using Dick Eastman’s prayer prompt as I ran. I spend three to four minutes on each of these topics: praise, waiting, confession, Scripture praying, watching, intercession, petition, thanksgiving, singing, meditation, listening, and praise again. As I was on the “watching” portion, I saw a small group of birds flying through our neighborhood. I sensed that I should extend my watching, when off in the distance the small group of birds joined with a larger flock to fly in a migratory pattern. How amazing to see a large group of birds flying as one flock, swooping and swaying together in the quiet of the morning. God reminded me that when we meet in First Place 4 Health groups, we are preparing ourselves to become part of the larger flock. And when we come together in

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Right Living

Right Living

Learn to do right; seek justice, defend the oppressed.  Take up the case of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. ISAIAH 1:17 I was at a friend’s home once whose kitchen stove had a ceramic stovetop. The burner was on, but because it wasn’t red, I touched it to see if it was hot. Was it ever! I spent the next few hours with four of my fingers immersed in ice to alleviate the pain. Most of us learn to do right by many instances of doing wrong. In the early years of my walk with Christ, I learned to do right by running into a brick wall over and over again. When the pain became great enough, I finally thought about what I might be doing wrong. This applied to finances, marriage, raising children and relationships. Doing life wrong is a great teacher if we learn from our mistakes.

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