Devotional

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

Read more

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

Read more

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,

Read more

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  J O H N 1 5 : 1 2  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

Read more

Easing the Hard Work

Easing the Hard Work

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. G A L A T I A N S   5 : 1 3 When I asked my daughter how she liked the first few days of her freshman year in high school, she said, “I love it! It’s like summer camp!” A few months later, the hours of homework were beginning to pile up and grades beginning to weigh on her. She still loves the friends and the extracurricular activities of high school, but doing the actual schoolwork is hard! Isn’t that how it is when we join First Place 4 Health? We’re revved up and determined to lose some weight and start exercising and eat right. We fill out our food and exercise Tracker. We start walking with a friend three days a

Read more

Live Loved

Live Loved

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  1 Corinthians 13:4 “I want you to live loved today,” God whispered in my ear during quiet time. His words echoed in my heart until I asked Him to show me what He meant. The Lord told me to write down what would be different in my life if I lived as though I was loved today. I reluctantly obeyed, not wanting to face the lesson I knew He was setting before me. “I would be more joyful,” I wrote, “and feel somehow lighter. I would have more peace, more to give, and I wouldn’t have to be so in control.” The Lord revealed to me that I wasn’t living loved because I had a hard time trusting love. I desperately needed to know about His kind of love. My childhood years

Read more

Two Degree Shifts Toward Good News

Two Degree Shifts Toward Good News

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10-11 I dearly love good news! Doesn’t everyone? Good news takes many forms: a child’s birth, the birth of a grandchild, an engagement, a long-awaited promotion, a daughter-in-law accepting God’s salvation, a deserved retirement, a disciplined life showing healthy results, observances of spiritual growth in children, and so many more. A piece of good news I learned last summer was about the small steps we make that result in great changes in our lives. It is rarely a lack of desire to change, but the bigness of the changes that discourages us. We become overwhelmed by the magnitude of all that needs to be changed in

Read more

Overindulging in Thankfulness

Overindulging in Thankfulness

Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   1   T H E S S A L O N I A N S   5:18   Before I matured in Christ through First Place 4 Health, I viewed all holidays from the fridge and pantry doors. All my plans revolved around the bountiful spread of the family’s favorites on the table—the richest of foods containing thousands of calories with practically no nutritional value. (You know the ones—those we think we cannot possibly live or celebrate without!) Today, most of those foods are hardly missed at my table, or they have been converted into healthier recipes for family and guests. Through the years with First Place 4 Health, my family has also developed new tastes that have led to new traditional favorites. I find it exciting to shop in the vegetable section and to select

Read more

Escape from Temptation

Escape from Temptation

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. I S A I A H 1 : 1 7 When I worked as a school nurse, my office was next door to where the snacks were kept for children to buy each afternoon. One particular day, I noticed the principal restocking the candy shelves with a box of Almond Joys. I could smell them when he walked by my door, so I decided to have one. I got out my 50 cents and was about to walk out my door when a little boy came running from the playground telling me to come quickly because his friend “fell and broke his leg!” I ran to the playground and found the child on the ground, but without a broken leg. By the time I helped him back to my office

Read more

What a Difference

What a Difference

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. E P H E S I A N S   6:1 8 I have started a prayer journal many times with the best of intentions only to give up after a few days. I wanted to have an effective prayer life, but it never seemed to work for me. It really bothered me, because the people I admired the most were faithful in journaling. Carole Lewis often talks about how she has kept a prayer journal for years. When she is writing a book, she often looks back into her journals to be sure that her memory is correct about some incident or person she is writing about. One day, we were talking, and I expressed my frustration to her about my

Read more