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Monday, September 30, 2013

Move Closer to Love

If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. –Pastor Francis Chan

A drowning boy struggled to survive in a river as his mother stood watch, gripped with fright and grief. A well-built man walked up seemingly indifferent to the boy’s fate. “Save my boy. Sir please save him!” cried the terrified mom. But he made no move. Losing strength, the boy’s thrashing began to diminish. He rose to the surface, weak and helpless. Then the man leaped into the river and brought the boy in safely to the shore. “Why didn’t you go after my son sooner?” cried the mom. “Madam, I couldn’t save your boy as long as he struggled and thrashed around. He would have dragged us both down to certain death. But when he grew weak and ceased to struggle, then it was easy to save him.”

To struggle to save ourselves is to hinder Jesus Christ from saving us. Why does God allow us to struggle in these mighty rivers? I believe he does this to overwhelm us with our own sense of inadequacy. He permits trouble and perplexities to ensure we fill ourselves with him and accept his grace.

In the Gospels, a picture emerges of the close communication Jesus had with the Father. God the Father was always available, supportive and affirming. The Son sought his Father’s approval, trusted him instinctively, and knew he could count on him to meet his deep needs.

When you’re in a rough place, God desires you hold on to him. He won’t drop you! As you get to know God through the Bible, you will find he is a strong rock, a sustainer, a rescuer, and refuge for the weak. No doubt this is why he brings us to the edge of the raging river.

Reflect on It:
• What do you feel in your heart God is telling you to do right now to begin moving closer to him?
• Take an inventory of how much time you’re spending with him (called worship)—in prayer, reading his Word, participating in church services and studies. Are you including him in every part of your day? If not, set three goals and write them out. Then stick to them. For example,
1. I will get up 20 minutes early each day to pray. I will read and meditate on a few verses in my Bible.
2. On my way to and from work, I will shut off the radio in my car and imagine the resurrected Jesus Christ sitting in the passenger seat. He wants to know what’s on my mind and I will tell him.
3. I will start attending church regularly and seek to get “plugged in.”

This is an excerpt from the book "Something Happened On My Way To Hell" by author Kimberly Davidson

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm Gorgeous Inside

“I’m Gorgeous Inside.” Realtors commonly put this sign in front of a home they want to sell. Could this sign apply to us as Jesus followers? This is a vivid metaphor for how we should present ourselves in the world. Are you bold enough to wear a "I'm Gorgeous Inside" t-shirt? It may sound arrogant, but it requires humility to invite others to take a look at our insides. The truth is we are gorgeous inside. How can we not be if the perfect and beautiful Jesus Christ lives within us? Sadly, the t-shirts we wear often say things like, "needs work", or "depressed," reflecting self-condemnation, rather than celebrating our true gorgeousness!

It’s been said that the average woman will spend nearly one year of her life trying to decide what to wear. What exactly does the Bible say about inner beauty? Romans 8:6 says, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Paul speaks of a mind that is controlled by life and peace. He told the Galatians that when we let the Spirit take charge of our inner being he will build in us the “fruit of the Spirit:” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22). These are the qualities that make us gorgeous inside.

The Bible says, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). This is where authentic beauty resides. Righteousness [virtue, morality, honesty, decency, uprightness, blamelessness] in our hearts is the beauty and qualities that makes us gorgeous. Real beauty isn’t found in seeking to look a certain way, or to be praised or great. It’s in the heart.

What is the state of your heart today? We cannot spend day after day in this world without it affecting our minds, our hearts, and our souls. They become unguarded. Our hearts start to shift away from God. And the ironic thing is the harder we work to become free, the more freedom we seem to lose. It is no surprise King Solomon advised, “Above all else, guard your heart [or affections] for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23, my emphasis).

“Lord, I pray that through the work of Your Spirit dwelling within me I will be transformed into a grand display of the fruit that will attract others to You and reflect glory back to you.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Heal Your Hungry Heart

I've been on hiatus in order to complete the 2nd Edition of "I'm Beautiful? Why Can't I See It?" The book is done and I'm back to blogging!

Let me ask you: How many of your recent conversations have been about food, dieting, body size, or exercise? Too many to count? There is one common obsession women have: to lose weight quickly with the least possible physical activity and pain required.

From movies and television to magazines and online advertisements, it’s impossible not to be bombarded by messages and images glorifying the unattainable skinny bikini body. When you’re told repeatedly that you’re not good enough unless you lose 20 pounds, you start to believe it. I did. In this culture, the pressure to shed fat—at any cost, and the compulsion to compare our bodies to models and celebrities is great.

Did you know you don’t have to be anorexic, bulimic, or a compulsive overeater to be an emotional eater? While millions of people are struggling with diagnosable eating disorders, many more are trapped in a “disordered” eating pattern. If you’re on a roller coaster with food, dieting, exercise, weight and body size, or are just an occasional binger or purger, then keep reading.

Typically emotional eating disorder means that a pattern of disorderly eating develops. For instance, a person may jump from one fad diet to another without ever stabilizing her weight or learning healthy eating habits. She typically learns to use food to soothe uncomfortable emotions.

A negative body image is just one aspect of the problem. Food is not the real problem either. Unhealthy eating behaviors and addictions get their nourishment from feeding off our God-given needs and desires for love, acceptance, and dignity.

There are many causes. Major life changes can trigger an eating disorder. Emotional eating is complex and may require psychological, medical, and nutritional treatment. The healing process can be long and hard, and some professionals contend that emotional eating disorders are not curable. This doesn’t have to hold for you. I’ve seen God heal the wounds of food addiction and negative body image that man thought could never be healed. As the angel said, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

I found a better way to live, and you can too. The choice to “come out” and change was mine, but the actual transformation was something God did in me. You don’t have to be held captive. You’re not alone in your struggle and pain. Once you realize the magnitude of God’s love, it will build up your self-image and confidence. You can receive a new life and experience spiritual peace, joy, and contentment. This is hope and the key to healing.

On the next blog I'm going to speak to the anchor of hope we have. Have a super-blessed week!