Devotional

Obedience School

Obedience School

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  HEBREWS 10:25 My pug puppy Stella Rose is doing great in puppy obedience school. She’s my fifth pug, but the first I’ve had to take to school. My wild child has learned how to behave and even shine around other dogs and the teacher/trainer. We’ve both had fun getting to know people “owned” by a varied mix of breeds. Stella Rose and I watched the tiny, shy poodle finally come out of her shell. We were thrilled when the boxer mix eventually developed control of his incessant bark. Everyone was proud and relieved when the huge Irish wolfhound stopped jumping up on people. All the dogs had “issues,” and we will never know why or how they developed them. What we

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God Uprooting the Heart

God Uprooting the Heart

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 As a professional counselor, I have visited the hearts and minds of countless individuals. It’s important for me to know how a person feels and thinks before I can identify, with help from God, the root or source of the person’s wounds and then help him or her heal. In the same way, the Lord desires to uproot the areas of our hearts and minds that bear rotten or painful fruit—or perhaps no fruit at all. Our God is passionate for us to have a thriving garden in our hearts and minds. If our minds are focused on our problems, our failures, our weaknesses or our inabilities, we will produce the fruit of doubt

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All Things New

All Things New

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Psalm 40:3 “New.” The word brings images of all kinds of exciting things, doesn’t it? New job, new car, new friend, new clothes, New Year, new beginnings! Back in January 2002, I began a new journey. I became a leader of First Place 4 Health in my church. It was a new program, and no one was familiar with it where I live. In October of that same year, I made the commitment to be the First Place 4 Health Networking Leader for Wisconsin. It was an exciting time, and a bit scary stepping into all that newness. I began new relationships as I met other leaders in various cities. It was a new experience planning meetings and events held in various churches around the state. I belong to a small church, so I gained

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Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 1 TIMOTHY  4:7 “You must eat a grapefruit with every meal,” a well-meaning friend instructed, as she nodded knowingly. “This is supposed to really work. I read about it in a magazine.” Another magazine article spouting advice, I thought, from yet another so-called expert wanting to sell books providing a quick fix to rapid weight loss. I’d seen it all and, unfortunately, tried it all before. Grapefruits all day. Ice cream only. Liquids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every time I turned on the TV or stood in line at the checkout stand, I would find myself bombarded with the next great diet and health program. Some had tidbits of truth; others, well—let’s just say I found myself wanting for a new program or plan. This constant seeking and searching for the ultimate

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Honoring the Family Name

Honoring the Family Name

You will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  LUKE 1:31 When our son, John, was born, I wanted to name him John Talton Lewis Jr., after his daddy. His daddy had always gone by Johnny, so we decided to call our little boy John. When John grew up and married Lisa, their first child was a boy, and they named him John Talton Lewis, III, and called him Tal to differentiate between Johnny and John. Have you ever thought about the fact that God Our Father chose the name for His only Son Jesus? The angel was only a messenger delivering the news from God to Mary.  Names are as important today as they were at the time Jesus was born. I knew a little boy named Dan McGrew who spent his childhood struggling to overcome the

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Small Victories, Great Reward

Small Victories, Great Reward

So often, when I declare the victories I’ve experienced through Christ, I get stuck on the “big ones”—those huge nuclear wars in life where simply surviving is a victory in itself. These big victories are easy to identify; they come to mind quickly, and they often draw an attentive crowd when revealed. When God gives us victories such as these, it’s hard not to say thank you frequently and with great fervor. After all, Christ ultimately gave us complete victory over sin and death. That’s a very big deal. But what about the smaller, less obvious victories won in our daily lives? I remember a very specific Thanksgiving Day dinner. It was rapidly turning into what I refer to as a family fiasco. The kids were bickering. The grownups were grouchy with the bickering kids. And, of course, the turkey couldn’t get trimmed fast enough. Tradition in our family has

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Friends in Christ

Friends in Christ

Friends in Christ I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.  ROMANS 15:14 When I found myself sitting on my couch watching television, not answering the phone and wondering what I could eat next, I realized that step by step, I had become isolated, disconnected and overweight. Every once in a while, I would remember that there is a better way to live, and I would seek weight loss but ultimately fail. First Place 4 Health was just my next weight-loss choice. Carole Lewis was in my first meeting, and she said that the good thing about First Place 4 Health was that if you didn’t quit, you would succeed, because success is in the process. When the going gets tough, I still remember those words, and they encourage me. Somehow, I became a First Place

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Check Your Clothing

Check Your Clothing

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12  When I think of people who are compassionate, my friend Amy comes to mind. Amy is the youngest member in our First Place 4 Health group and she has been such a blessing to the rest of us. Amy has not been able to have any biological children, but she and her husband adopted a dear little boy for whom they provide a loving home. She has such genuine love and compassion for children and orphans that she went to Chinalast summer to volunteer her time in an orphanage to just love on those children. Recently, God opened the door for her to adopt a child with special needs, and it has been very exciting to watch this process unfold. We group members feel like we are going through the adoption

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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 rink 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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With Thankfulness in Your Heart

With Thankfulness in Your Heart

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. C O L O S S I A N S  3 : 1 6 I love First Place 4 Health for many reasons, but one of the things that buoys me up is when the Holy Spirit calls to mind one of the many Scriptures I have memorized through the program, especially the Scripture put to music! The tips and skills I have learned and the encouragement I have received as we “admonish one another” in friendly Scripture memory competition, and as we sing psalms, hymns and Scripture verses, have been invaluable. I think the key word in Colossians 3:16 is “richly,” as this is the secret to growing true, authentic gratitude in our hearts,

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