Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions!

Hey everyone! Happy New Year!!! May God continue to bless us all in this year, 2010!!!!

Now, the rest is mostly for the ladies...if you are a guy who is in any kind of decent physical shape (and no, that does not include the presence or absence of a six-pack), you'll get hardly anything out of this...but ladies...I hope this encourages anyone dealing with this problem...

Warning, this post is long...I'm sorry, but I couldn't justify taking any of this out. I promise future posts will not be this long...But, as one last fyi, if you want a quick read, skim what I've made red italics...

My new years resolutions are to:
1) Be more organized
2) Be slower to speak
3) Finally read the entire Bible
4) To lose all my excess weight...

Before I continue... I want to remind all of us. Gluttony is a sin...Now, the world is telling us we are beautiful no matter what we look like. And this is true, at least I know all of my friends are beautiful. But beauty is not the point here, and therein resides the is about health, not beauty.

In God's Eyes, we are His children and therefore we are beautiful. But God looks at the heart of a person, not their outward appearance. (1 Samuel 16:7). Now, I am not addressing those with health situations which have caused unintentional weight gain...and I'm not even trying to bash those who gained weight the old fashioned know, the I-don't-care-if-it's-bad-for-me-hand-over-the-Little-Debbie-and-no-one-gets-hurt way...

But when God does look at the heart, He's looking at our thoughts and intentions and everything that makes us who we are. Rest assured, we (believers) are perfect and in the process of being made perfect all at the same time in the eyes of God (Praise Him for Sanctification!). But, if we are struggling with gluttony, we need to call that sin what it is, sin. We are not victims of circumstances, we have sinned, and we need God's help to overcome that sin.
Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to get rid of the old and start with the I'm going to do away with my excuses for not losing weight.

1. I don't have the time...
Um...I'm unemployed right now. God gave me ample time and opportunity lose weight all this time, and I didn't take it. Clearly, having extra time is not a problem for me right now in the pursuit of my health, and yet I make it an excuse. However, I'm sure if I added up the amount of time I spend eating, sitting around doing nothing...I'd see where all my time is going...eating and thinking about eating, and planning what I'm going to eat more!

2. It hurts to work out...
It hurts to not work out! The aches and pains that come when we don't move around, come because we don't move around! I hate to sound cliche...but no pain, no gain!

3. It's expensive to eat healthy...
Did you know that, when in season, kiwi's are usually around 2/$1? Even at Publix? Now, how much is that candy bar? Actually, nowadays it's gone up to anywhere between 65- and, let's see...50 cents or 85 cents? I don't see this being more expensive...and that's just one example...

4. Foods make me happy...
Since when did we decide that food should dictate our emotions, and vice versa? Birthday party? Let's get cake! Bible Study? Let's get doughnuts! Christmas? Egg Nog! Bad day at work? Chocolate bar...Bad argument...a drink...and the slippery slope continues. As long as we decide that food is our link to our emotions, we will not be free of it's bondage.

Food is for nutrition and fuel...not for happines...Want fun? Happiness? Laughter? Girls, give me a call! Let's go to the mall, watch a movie, start a book group...Laughter is the best for all that ails you...not to mention it works your abs ! :)

4. But, I'm at it alone!
My dad has created the 6th love prepares elaborate meals and then gets very offended if I cannot be there or say I cannot eat it. So, I had to lovingly (ok maybe a little more harshly than lovingly) tell him that I was going to be starting a diet, and if I turned down a dish, to not be offended...It's hard when you're the only one in the family trying to lose weight. But, I promise you, it can be done! Inform your family. Let them help you along the way.

Ever notice how losing weight is like having your first baby? Everyone wants to tell you how do it to discipline, what napping schedule...which formula...The list goes on and on. It's no different for dieting...everyone has an opinion...

Don't fall prey to this. Find a plan you think you can work with, and just stick with it! Everyone is different, and we all need to do what's right for us...what worked for your neighbor's friend's sister might not work for don't sweat it!

Find an accountability partner!
Find someone, preferably who is also trying to lose weight. If there is anyone here who needs someone to hold them accountable in their weight loss efforts, I'm here! We can work together.

Above all else, though, we have God. How many of us truly pray the blessing over our meals? As I grew up, and my family stopped praying, I did as well. But I've never thought about what we're asking God to do when we "say grace"...

We're asking Him to bless the food
We're asking Him to allow it to nourish us

How amazing is that? I've been recently convicted of this. Every food I've been eating recently has been positively toxic to my body. So, I encourage anyone who is trying to lose weight to bathe the effort in prayer.

Don't just pray that He would bless the food. Pray that He would help you with the self control to not buy the unhealthy foods. Pray that He would lead you to make healthier choices. I mean, God works miracles, but we also have free will...and we can pray till the cows come home, but it doesn't mean that fastfood McSkillet Sausage Breakfast Burrito is going to nourish our bodies...In this, we must meet God half way, and make healthier choices for what we decide to eat.

Trust me, people, I'm preaching to myself as I'm preaching to you! I'm no authority on this, these are just ideas I've come up with...but they sound good, right?

I encourage anyone trying to lose weight to write down your excuses, give them to God, and then burn the paper you've written...a little weird, but symbolic of your decision to not look back.

I'll keep everyone posted while I work to reach my healthy weight...

Happy New Year Everyone! And may God bless you in your New Year's Resolutions!!!

And I promise...future posts will not be this long....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Power of Prayer

Let go and Let God...I never fully understood what that meant...ok maybe I did, but I didn't know how to do it. I always thought that "giving 'it' (what 'it' means) to God meant just asking for His help, but knowing you'd have to do it on your own anyway, just that now you'd have a helper...this is partially true. I mean, you can't just sit back and do nothing in all circumstances...For example, I'm unemployed. I can say I'm waiting on God to give me a job, but I can't sit at home, not look for work, and not make any effort to put my name out there, and expect to just get a job. God works in mysterious ways, and He does open doors, but it is up to you whether or not you want to walk through those doors.

As I posted earlier, I have finally given up on trying to make my family the way it was in the past. I was raised in a solid Christian home, and I'm thankful for that. But over the last two years, I've been striving, in my own strength, and failing miserably, to fix a broken family. My prayers had become nothing more than postcards to God, just keeping Him updated on all I was trying to Him that old, "Wish You Were Here!" greeting...

Well, Praise God, Who knows the desires of our hearts. Our prayers do not expire! So many times I say a prayer, leave it alone, forget I had even asked for it, and then out of nowhere, God answers! He has a way of answering new, recent, old, forgotten and not yet even prayed for prayers in one miracle. Have you ever thought how many blessings we've received without even having to ask for them? God did this over the weekend.

Saturday evening, my grandmother and I were working out how to get her to church and back. This was my sunday for childcare, and we had no Bible Study this week, so no matter which way we went, she may have had to stay twice...while we were figuring this out, my dad said, "I'll take her, or bring her back...or maybe I'll surprise both of you and just show up and stay myself!" I tried to conceal the fact that my heart skipped a beat at hearing this, but my dad noticed, and asked why I'd jumped. I simply told him that this had been something that had been on my heart for months....partial'd actually been for years...but years are made up of months, right?...

And so, miracle of miracles, my dad darkened the door of the church. He has not been back into our family church in about 4 years...and I had honestly begun to believe it wouldn't happen. But with the prayers of many rising up to God, something stirred in my father's heart and compelled him to give it another go. I'm not sure what this may lead to, but I can tell you that the miracle has already begun. And it wasn't until I stopped trying to fix things myself, that he came, of his own volition, without any feelings of being forced, into the church.

So please, everyone, continue to pray that his heart would continue to be changed, softened towards others, and to his Heavenly Father.

One thing I've learned once again from this, is that God will answer our prayers, in His way, in His time.

Praise Him!!!!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Day After Christmas!

Enjoy this video! Matthew West "Happy Day After Christmas"

I wanted to share with you what I believe may be some things on Jesus Christmas Wish List this year (and every year, for that matter).

1. He wants our burdens. (1 Peter 5:7)
Now, why would He want our burdens? Doesn't He have enough to worry about? But here's the thing: He doesn't worry. He doesn't worry, because He already knows what's going to happen. When I say He wants our burdens, I'm not saying He wants to hear us whine and complain all the time, though He wouldn't mind that once in a while. He wants our hearts, open and bare to Him, and any conversation is better than no conversation at all. So, this Christmas, He wants our burdens, so He can take care of them for us.

2. He wants us to give to those in need. (Matthew 25:40)
When He asks us to give to those in need, He's not just talking about money. I know most of us do not have extra money to give away, although I also know that our Jehovah Jireh always provides for our needs. But money is not the only thing people in need, need...They also need our time, our encouragement, our prayers, and our touch. That homeless man on the corner (you know which one I'm talking about), doesn't just need a few bucks. He needs someone to talk to. There is more to "giving" than just money. We all do have schedules that allow, if we will let it happen, for us to love others around us. We are Jesus to the world, and our resources and time are given to us by Him. He wants us to use them wisely.

3. He wants us to smile and be glad (Psalm 100:2)
But how, you ask? How can we be glad when we've all been through so much? But God is good, and He is always the same. And this Christmas, we remember that He sent His Son for us, to become Emmanuel, God with us. He has forgiven us, no strings attached. And there is nothing we can do to lose His love. We can stray as far as humanly possible, but we are completely unable to leave His hand. He is always ready and wanting to take us back, to hold us close, to make things better in our hearts. So no matter what the circumstance, we can smile and be glad.

4. He wants us to be unashamed of the Gospel (Mark 8:38)
I struggle with this more than anything else in my life. I go into a store and look at the cashier, and a big part of me wants to tell her, no matter how strange it seems, that God cares for her, that He loves her. I think it through the entire time in line, and when I get to her, I can barely squeak out a thank you. If I manage anything more, like God bless, it sounds so rehearsed and awkward that I doubt the message even gets through. God would have every right to be ashamed of me, though He is not, because I am covered with Christ. Meanwhile, we seem ashamed of God, who has done nothing that we should be ashamed of, but rather, has rescued us from the punishment of sin, if we have accepted His gift of Salvation. This coming year, I hope to live a life that is unashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

I also hope that throughout the year God can use my future blog posts to be of some encouragement to others, and to myself, in these areas of life that we struggle with all too frequently. May we give these "Birthday Presents" to Jesus all year long!

God Bless you all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Every Christmas, I try to write some nice flowery or deep though-provoking little speech to share with the family. This year, I started to write up what I thought would be Jesus' wish list. Here's the mini-version I had of the three things He wants:

1.He wants our burdens (1 Peter 5:7)
2. He wants us to give to those in need (Matthew 25:40)
3. He wants us to be glad (Psalm 100:2)
4. He wants us to be unashamed of the Gospel (Mark 8:38)

As I was writing this lovely speech up, I found out my mom was refusing to come to another Church event. Not just any Church event. Our Christmas Eve Service. Something we've done every year for my entire life. Something we never missed for any reason. But sure enough, about an hour before leaving she announced she wouldn't be joining me. I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was frustrated. I said things I shouldn't have said, and used tones of voice that I never wanted to use.

Then I went to church. Oh look at me, happy-wonderful-positive-look-at-me me...I did my duty with the childcare, and headed off to service. I watched all the men and women, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, all together in the church, worshipping God. I said to God, "You know, God, things would be much better and easier for me if my family went to church too. Why couldn't they all be as in love with You as I am?" This thought rattled through my brain during the entire service. I began to feel genuine jealousy for the lives all of my brothers and sisters in Christ were leading.

Then I asked Pastor David to pray for me after the service. I asked for patience to deal with my family. A former pastor of mine always said to never pray for patience, because God will give you practice I was always afraid to ask for patience. But that is what I felt I needed, so that is what I prayed for. I remember Pastor David specifically prayed that I would be able to endure the season with my family.

I got into my car and drove home. On the way, God opened His mouth in response to my thoughts and prayers. He reminded me of the day I realized that if He didn't give me something, it's not because He isn't faithful, it is because it wasn't a need. He told me that if He thought I needed a family who followed Him in order to survive in my faith, that's what He would have given me. But, He said, He gave me this family for a reason, and I need not question Him, and to top it off, I should still be thankful for the family I do have.

So I stepped into the house with a fresh outlook about my family. So, my prayers were answered. Not only was I able to "endure" Christmas. I was able to enjoy it, quite thoroughly! With laughter and jokes and happiness and joy, like Christmases past.

I praise my Jesus for all of His Provision! He's the only one I know who gives for His birthday, though He rarely receives what He's due on this special day. I hadn't realized that in writing that list, I wasn't giving Him any of those things. It wasn't until I did, that I truly was able to enjoy this Christmas!

Thank You Jesus for Your gift of Yourself. Thank You for taking my pain and burdens and worries and complaints and turning them into pure joy. You are Faithful!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Start of Something...Different?

Hello to everyone who may one day start reading this blog...not even sure why I'm starting one, but I figure this is one of those things everyone else is doing, so why not? This will most likely just be a place for my random musings on life, God, and their relationship in general.

Today is Christmas Eve, so I must be brief...Christmas Eve is a Cuban's Christmas for whatever reason, so tomorrow should be a slower day. So I look forward to sharing with you how Christmas went, tomorrow! :)