Monday, November 30, 2009

An approach to reading the Bible

In a daily email message I receive from Pastor Mark Brown's Journey deeper into God's word, is the following suggestions to each of us.

This is what Pastor Brown says he now does when preparing his insights. 

How I read the Bible


So what is my approach to opening the Word?

* I find a quiet place


* I look at my watch and work out when I will stop (seriously, now the issue isn’t forcing myself to read but to stop!)


* I come before God and admit my sin and seek forgiveness


* I pray the Holy Spirit will guide me


* Then, I either read systematically through a book (like Luke) or I allow God to reveal a passage


* I read the passage until stuff starts to appear.. ideas and thoughts as they relate to me


* I read the greek or hebrew version


* I ask God to reveal stuff


* And then I write a reflection

Manufacturer's recall of human units email

Received the following as an email from my mother-in-law.  I love this

RECALL NOTICE

The Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been technically termed "Subsequential Internal Non-Morality," or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some other symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction

2. Foul vocal emissions

3. Amnesia of origin

4. Lack of peace and joy

5. Selfish or violent behavior

6. Depression or confusion in the mental component

7. Fearfulness

8. Idolatry

9. Rebellion

10. Excessive Drinking

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect. The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.


The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

1. Love

2. Joy

3. Peace

4. Patience

5. Kindness

6. Goodness

7. Faithfulness

8. Gentleness

9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers' Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility.

Thank you for your attention.


GOD

Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by "kneemail".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sharing my testimony little by little


My life is as unique as I am, and the same is true for everyone.  I think it is important to know one another's story.  I am going to begin to share mine in hopes that you will know me a little better, and so you will be encouraged.

There have been many chapters to my life.  One of the more profound chapters in my life centered around the matter of addicitons.  I walked thru the majority of my adult life with the knowledge that my dad struggled with acholism.  It was a hard and difficult thing to watch and live thru.  I hated it and what it did to this man whom I had always looked up to.  Then, we as a family had watched one too many movies about addiction, and believed it was time for an intervention.  Who really is equipped to set someone free from an addiction like that? 

What I can tell you is that no amount of begging, loving, bargaining, money or being willing to help will do it.  I can tell you from the words of my own father, "sometimes you can love someone too much".  So if you find that you are dealing with a loved one with an addiction, remember that you cannot set them free.  My dad had to get to the end of it, or as some say, he had to HIT bottom.  He had to want to be free of his addiction.  He had to admit he had a problem.  I don't know what the bottom is for anyone.  No one ever does.  It is different for everyone, and no one knows their own bottom.  All I know is we had to step back, and love him enough to let him find it.  That was and is the hardest part of it all.

My dad told me once that when he was young he didn't think, wow I want to grow up to be a drunk.  It happened over a long period of time.  The signs all developed so slowly.   However, this was not the end of the story.  My dad went thru treatment following our intervention.  He felt ganged up on, and cooperated to appease each of us.  So you tell me, do you think it worked?  NO!  It was a big fat  expensive failure.  He learned how to hid it better and he actually started smoking again in rehab.  It wasn't until years later when he was legally forced to seek help did he finally get clean.

One of the stories of hope and love however came from what God did in my life during this time.  I had been been asked and was going to be married.  I wanted my dad to give me away, and walk me down the isle.  I wondered how it would come about with my dad rarely being sober.   I even considered asking my big brother to do it, but knew that this would further hurt my already broken relationship with my dad. I went to him, and told him of my desire to have HIM give me away.   I then told him something that FOREVER changed my relationship with him, and taught me to love and accept him unconditionally.  I told him that he could decide whether he walked me down the isle drunk or sober.  It was up to him, but either way I wanted him to do it.  Guess which one he chose.  He was completely sober, and it was one of the sweetest time I have had with my dad.  He supported me and calmed me.  It was EVERYTHING I had dreamed it would be.

I share this story today as a result of a message I heard today at church regarding leporsy.  I was reminded of the horrible effects the alcohol had on my dad similar to the effects leporsy has on the body.  How it totally disfigured my dad.  The effects were so far reaching at times the external decay was difficult to see.   Also, this is a result of a research paper my older daughter is doing about whether alcoholism is inherited or environmental.

The best part of this story is that he finally beat the disease.  He gave his life to Christ and one year later, with God's help, he became a recovering alcoholic.  He did this and remained sober for almost 11 more years.  Unfortunately, the damage the alcohol had on his body was VERY severe.  He struggled the last several years of his life and the final months were pure agony.  However, I had a glorious 11 years with my dad.  He was clean and living for God. 

I visited my dad alone at times in his last year of life, and we had the best talks.  There was one time he told me he didn't feel much like talking so I asked him if I could read the bible to him.  He told me to read a story out of Kings.  I read the story to him, and he shared a bit of  his history with me.  He said, "that is the story my dad use to read to me".  I was so tickled to have that information.  Why is that part of this story?  Because if I had chosen to go another path during MY BIG DAY, I would not have had the privilege of reading to my dad then.

I walk away from this time in my life and look upon it with such blessing.  It was hard and it hurt deep, but I can tell you God taught me how to love the way He wants us to love one another.  It was sacrificial, it was hard but I can tell you I have NO regrets.

I miss my dad, but I know he has a NEW body now and I know that he is no longer struggling to be sober or need help getting thru the day. 

I will share the REST OF THE STORY on another post.  I don't know why I was motivated to quote Paul Harvey, but it just hit me. 

Have a blessed day and know that if you love the "hard to love" there are rewards that cannot compare to any other rewards.   I cannot tell you exactly why it is other than the scripture mentions loving those who love you compared to loving your enemies.  I can't explain it, but if you give it a try you will experience it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weight loss (some simple tips)

Quick note of challenge

Find a parking space during the holiday season that is farther from your destination than usual.  Do not fight for those coveted spots up close.  Have a giving attitude during this season of giving.  Also, the added benefit of doing a good deed, you will be taking from your waste line. Always keep safety in mind.

When available, take the stairs and avoid those germ invested elevators.  Get exercise that way and stay germ free.

relationship vs religion

Interesting to think about, law may change your outward approach or response to the world, but it is funny how you still have those same thoughts, and how still want to say, do or respond that old way.  Why do you think that is?

Paul says in the scripture that the law kills.  HMMM 

When I walk with Jesus, I respond from within!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weight loss (some simple tips)

If you have been following some of my points in reference to weight loss, here are some more points to live by. You are learning and retraining your relationship with food. You will need to give yourself permission on occasion to treat yourself. Remember these changes have to be something you can do for the rest of your life. We are not looking for a quick temporary fix. This is why you should pace yourself.  Treating yourself every once in a while is not the end of the world nor is it the end of your progress.


Allow me to put it to you this way. When children are toddlers and learning to walk, no one spanks them for falling.  All of us would encourage them to get back up and do it again. We clap our hands when they step and we tell them it is ok when they fall. Same with this for you when you are trying to make lifestyle changes. Progress is NEVER perfection. It is two steps forward and one step back.

Don't strive for perfection here, we just want progress. Say it again, DO NOT strive for perfection, we just want progress.   So NEVER give up!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Think about this while pursuing weight loss

When you are trying to loose weight, always ask yourself this simple question, "can I sustain this for the rest of my life?"  It is important that you make LIFESTYLE changes.  The reason that most diets don't work is because it is your way of eating that you always return to.  Meaning, you change for a while until you loose the weight and then you GO BACK to your old way of doing things.  The old way of doing things is the reason for the weight gain in the first place.  So may I suggest that you will need to change your behavior.

You will notice that the things that I have suggested regarding weight loss are sustainable life long changes you can make.

So one simple change you can make is to look at the distribution of foods on your plate.  Ladies of average size should have NO more than 4 - 6 oz and men around 8 oz. of meat on their plate.  The carbs should represent a small portion, leaving you with most of your plate being taken by fresh veggies and fruit.  If not fresh, COLORFUL steamed, sauteed, grilled ect, veggies.  There is always some sort of fruit in season.  If you find none you like, try some of the canned or frozen fruits and look for those that are not packaged in pure sugar.  I tell you the convenience of the can is great.  You just have to make wise choices by reading the ingredients on the can.  I find if there are more than a few ingredients, I just don't buy it usually.  I cook with canned veggies some times and pour off the water in the can and add my own water and seasoning.  Most of the veggies are preserved in sodium.  Believe me it will be salty enough.

During this time, start trying things you haven't liked before that you know are good for you.  You may think you don't like certain veggies, but I promise you, we can train ourselves to like a lot of foods.  You just simple introduce it repeatedly.  I use to find ways to make broccoli, turnip greens, spinach, asparagus, etc. taste good. (using various methods of cooking and seasoning)  However over time, I have found that even my children like all of these cooked in a variety of ways.

Also, ask God to help you in this effort.  Let me tell you that a thinner me and a thinner you is going to be a healthy us.  Therefore, God is able to utilize us longer and more efficiently.  A little time focusing on our health can be  a worship and service unto the Lord.  If you look back at my blog regarding our body as the temple of the holy spirit, you will find that the priest took care of the temple as an act of service.  I believe we are to tend to and care for this temple.  We are NOT to worship the temple as some do in our society, but we are to worship the Lord in this temple and with this temple.

Think about asking God to come into your temple and empower you today to care for it as HE would see FIT.  (Get it -- FIT) 

Have a wonderful day and be blessed.
Lots of love
Bev

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weight loss (some simple tips)


When you first feel hungry, drink water and wait 30 minutes. Did you know that most of us do not recognize the difference in the feeling of thirst and hunger? These sensations are actually different however, many misunderstand thirst for hunger. If after the 30 minutes of drinking your water you are still feeling hungry, then eat.

Think portion control. 

Always remember to eat slowly.  DOESN'T matter if you only have a few minutes to eat, or that the kids are needing "this or that", you have to eat slowly. It takes time for the "FULL" signal to be sent from the stomach to the brain.  If you consume too quickly, you will overeat every time.  Once you overeat, you will have STRETCHED the stomach and will require more food to feel full the next time.  Eat slow and reduce your portions.  In time, you will actually SHRINK your stomach size and require less food to feel full. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jesus' prayer

At one of the hardest times in Jesus' life, this is the prayer He prayed for us. 

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” John 17:20-26

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Weight loss (some simple tips)

Allow me to veer from my normal ramblings.  As I have said and many of you know, one of my areas of interest is fitness and health.  I wanted to take some time to encourage you today in a new and different way.

As the "EATING" holidays approach, you may find you are in the midst of the tempting Halloween or Fall Festival candy.  Call it what you want, but I call it about 10 more pounds. 

I have  a few tips and suggestions for those of you that may want to begin to loose weight, begin again to loose weight, or perhaps you just want to make sure you maintain your current weight and not put on those extra pounds during these EATING  holidays.

Here are my personal suggestions:

1. When you eat out at restaurants, when ordering your meal, ALWAYS ask for a"TO GO" box.  When the food arrives, IMMEDIATELY divide your meal into perfect halves.  One half should go into the box and closed.  This portion will ride home with you, and be used for lunch the following day.  If after 3-4 days you have not eaten these left overs, PLEASE discard.
Now you are free to eat your food that remains.  Enjoy.  REMEMBER it is NOT necessary to eat everything on your plate. 

Little side note:  I know your mom probably told you all about the starving in Africa, mine did too, but if you cannot box up the excess and send it there, you still do not need to be sacrificing your hips for the sake of the hungry.  You DO NOT have to clean your plate.

2. Try to reduce your portions.  Things to consider, meat portions for women should be no more than 4 oz.  Most restaurants' smallest portions is 6 oz.  8 oz is the average.  If you want to eat more than that, order fish or a salad.    If you are a wine drinker, 4 oz is an amount that is healthy for the average woman's body and 8 oz for an average man's body, anything more than that becomes toxic in your body, and you loose all of the benefits of the wine. 

3. Determine what your goal weight is and multiply that by 10.  That gives you an estimated average number of calories you should consume for one day.   (example: your current weight is 150 and you want to weigh 130 --   130 X 10 = 1300   and 1300 is the total estimated calories to consume daily.)  So if you have an event coming up where you know you will go over this number, you simply cut back the day before and give those calories to the next day.  Plan ahead.  You can use the online calorie counter ( calorieking.com )  or a book you can buy at any bookstore.

4. Last but not least, get your heart rate up at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes each.  If you cannot do this, you can try to do 2 hours a week somewhere within the week to be broken into intervals that work for your schedule.  I suggest brisk walks.  I will write occasionally different workouts that can enhance your exercise.  Remember: be a body in motion!

Please let me know if this helps out.  I will be posting health tips on occasion, based on interest and response.  So let me know if you find it helpful.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The existence of God argument

Heard a message this morning that totally grabbed my attention.  It made too much sense NOT to share.  So here goes.  In reference to some one challenging your faith and what you believe in, this guy likened it to APPLE PIE.  Ok, your experience is that you have had, eaten and enjoyed the apple pie.  You tasted it, you know that you had it, you even know you REALLY liked it.  Then someone comes along and tells you that there is NO SUCH THING as apple pie.  You know the absurdity in that statement.  So you begin to argue logic with the UNBELIEVER.  The unbeliever continues to win his logic with you because there is NO apple pie present.  However, NEVER allow someone to take away your experience.  You know there is apple pie.

When you walk with God, you know Him personally, you have experienced things that you know to be ONLY possible with God.  You don't have to prove it to others with logic and arguments.  Just live it out in front of them and know that they just haven't had the apple pie yet and to them it doesn't exist.  Think of ways you can introduce the existence of apple pie to those who don't believe.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Conform or transform???

Have you ever thought about this? Religion has a way of helping bring about behavior modification.  We alter our outward behavior.  This allows us to be accepted by the general body.  However, Jesus was pretty specific about what he meant by sin.  He went to the MOTIVE.  He focused on our thoughts and ultimately our beliefs.  When we are walking daily with Christ, we will begin to see a transformation from within.  We will see our motives change.  We will love because it is who we are. We will give because we cannot help ourselves.  We will serve because we cannot imagine NOT serving.  We will pour out on others out of the overflow of our full hearts.  Only Jesus can change us from within.  It starts with the RENEWING of our minds.  Begin to fill up your thinking with the TRUTH that can only come from Jesus.  Be filled with the holy spirit and see the most amazing transformation.

I so enjoyed the message at church yesterday and was just reminded how much God loves me.  It always overwhelmes me to think on the love God has for me.  He knew me before the foundation of the world.  The good news is the gospel of Jesus.  He is the hope of the world for eternity with God.  Jesus really did pave a way.  Don't try to figure it out, just embrace it and be thankful.

Let's begin to look for Jesus to transform us to reflect His image to the world, not settling for a religious program that will outward mold / conform us in to an empty, hollow shell of a conformed man.  (Jesus told the Pharisees they were like white washed tombs.)  I think they are a perfect example of what I am talking about.  Behavior modification NEVER last and is exhausting to try.   Why not just sit before the master and allow Him to mold you instead into the true image you are LONGING to be!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So which will you choose?   Religion or relationship??

Fellowship vs. Sin

Father, I hear you. Sin cast a CLOAK over our eyes. Reality is not this physical world. The true reality is the spiritual realm. You are everywhere. Scripture says we don’t war with flesh and blood, so our war is against Satan and his angels, principalities, and powers of darkness in this age.

Adam walked with you freely until sin came and broke fellowship with you. He was able to be free from sin, but then sin entered the world and a cloak of darkness came over him almost as if the very flesh came over him and he was aware of his nakedness.

Christ came and put on flesh, became flesh, to save us from this body of sin. The body restricts our ability to see and experience you freely and fully.

Paul asked who will rescue me from this body. Sin came alive in the body that day and the desire for self worth, self satisfaction, self worship, and self praise. All came alive in the body. If you eat you will die. Adam ate and didn’t die immediately; therefore leading Adam to believe that sin didn’t bring about death. Adam may not have seen sin’s death effect that tied directly to his actions.

All that we touch and see is not our ultimate reality. Even our expression of praise to You Lord are difficult to do in the body. I remember times of feeling constrained by the body. I felt inadequate to express how I feel toward you in the body. Like the body itself had become a prison restraining my freedom of worship and praise to you. I have been so overwhelmed with no adequate ways to express what was in me. Words were not adequate. David in his love and excitement of Your presence, danced naked in the street. I believe he was naked and unashamed. It was just as Adam was in the garden originally.

Our eyes are veiled so that we cannot see You. Because of our sinful nature we would die. We cannot see your glory. Our body became a veil covering us from Your presence.

Jesus is our gate to enter into your presence. He then became the sacrifice on the altar to forgive our sins.  Then the blood was/is offered to purify us and wash us clean. His body was broken to become the broken bread for us to eat, and the blood poured out was the wine for us to drink.  Now this was done in order for us to fellowship with You, oh God in the Holy Place. As we come to the altar of incense the fragrant aroma of our prayers lifted to you became the closet we get to the veil with Your face pressed against the veil as we pray to you. But the veil was torn and you made a way for us to be in your Full Presence in the Holy of Holies at the arc of the covenant, Your earthly footstool. It is a place of the tomb’s demise. Where Jesus laid 3 days watched by the Cherubim, guarding this precious body. That became Your footstool and our access point or GATE.

As I enter your gate (Jesus) and accept the payment of the sacrifice at the cross, and the bread to be broken for me (by his stripes I am healed) and the wine (purify me by the blood); (all of what Jesus did as I accept it, I become righteous thru believing it) and fellowship with you and pray before You at the tomb/deaths defeat/ Christ’s victory/ at the arc/ footstool and am pressing in against the veil.

This body is the prison and must be willingly crucified to sin (for sin brings death but distance from the closeness of fellowship and being known by You. Sin separated us from You. That is true hell; separation from God.)
Jesus paid the price for my fellowship the sacrifice and offering is done so we now only sacrifice to sin. That is where the high price is paid. So I will no longer allow sin to exist in your body. It is costly and separates. It separated relationships with others as well as separates us from God.

When we sin against another, it separates fellowship and trust. Forgiveness is possible and trust can be restored but not always with man. However with God it always is possible. Simply confess (agreeing with God of what He says is sin and our participation in the sin) Ask for and Accept the forgiveness. Repent (turn from the sin—Go and sin NO MORE—Go and do right) walk in fellowship once again. Just accept Christ’s payment.

Because sin requires blood sacrifice and skin is what covered Adam’s sin, they ripped Jesus flesh. That was MY sin ripping at his flesh. I look on the cross and see the true consequences of my sin. That is what sin brings. It had to look like that. That is what Jesus was willing to do for me. My sin beat him, my sin spat in his face, my sin mocked him, my sin drove the nails in his hands and feet, my sin pierced his brow, and my sin pierced his side with a spear. It was my sin that did it all. My sin brought death. But my God resurrected and brought life to my Jesus, and He brought life to my body. Praise God and Hallelujah (ALL praise to YAHWEH -- YHWH)

Enter His gates with thanksgiving; Jesus is the gate keeper into the presence of God. We can stay in the fellowship of the Lord. We can stay at the temple. Especially because (know ye not that ye are the temple of God) we are the temple. Enter His courts with praise; we enter into the presence by the sacrifice of Jesus, his blood is our righteousness, His body becomes the broken bread and wine of fellowship we eat on and become one with. Our prayers become the pleasing fragrance in the nostrils of our Lord. We can choose to stay in the temple by walking in obedience to God’s commands, resisting sin and all the temptations. Sin is what takes me back out into the desert. Staying longer in the desert can lead me farther and farther away from this place of worship. If I will confess and repent I can enter back into the gate. But I can choose to stay in the temple or in the desert. I choose daily where I will be. My will and my flesh determine my location with Christ, not Satan. So where are YOU?



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Not behavioral changes/ go deeper and change your beliefs

This is the devotion for the day in "Daily In Christ" from Neil Anderson. This is a foundational truth in living victorious as a Christian.

A CHANGE OF BELIEFS Ephesians 2:4, 5
God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . . made us alive together in Christ

Twenty-three-year-old Jenny was a pretty Christian young woman with a seemingly pleasant personality. She had loving parents and came from a good church. But she was torn up inside, having never experienced anything but a depressive life. She had bombed out of college and was on the verge of being fired from her job. She had suffered from eating disorders for several years and medical treatment for her problems seemed futile.

I was in the midst of planning an intensive one-month spiritual retreat for some of our seminary students, and somehow I knew that Jenny needed to be there even though she wasn't a seminary student. I invited her, and to my surprise, she agreed to attend.

Shortly after we arrived, I sat down with Jenny privately. "I didn't invite you here to change your behavior, Jenny," I said. "Your behavior isn't your problem."

"I've always been told that my behavior is my problem," she answered, looking a little surprised at my statement.

"I'm not worried about your behavior. It's your beliefs I'm interested in. I'm praying that you will change your beliefs about God and who you are in Christ. You're not a failure. You are a child of God, no better and no worse than any other person at this retreat. I want you to start believing it because it's the truth."

For the first time in her life Jenny had been affirmed as the person of value to God that she was. And she began to believe it. During the next 30 days, a miraculous transformation took place in Jenny. Her circumstances didn't change, but she did.

Too often we try to change our behavior without changing our beliefs. It doesn't work that way. We must change our beliefs before we can make significant changes in our behavior. Nothing will change your behavior more than a true knowledge of God and who you are as His child.

Prayer:

Father in heaven, what a liberating privilege it is to call You my Father and realize that I am Your child.