My Fitness

Monday, October 23, 2017

what a backwards god

...or perhaps it is me who is backward.

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my waysdeclares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8

Saturday, October 21, 2017

gospel presentation for etc

Our homework for week 7 is to write out the gospel as we would present it to a non-christian. I wouldn't approach someone and simply say, "hey are you a Christian? no. Let me tell you something..." (maybe I should, though) Depending on what we had previously been discussing, I might say something like the following, or part of the following. (And just for fun I'll share my teammates pictures of her nifty-keen Bible.)

One of her pages is actually
the gospel presentation
The word “gospel” means “good news.” It refers to salvation through Jesus.

First we need to understand that in the beginning God created everything to be good. Whether you believe in a supernatural creation or a natural creation, God saw that his creation was good (Genesis 1:31) He created man and woman in his image (Genesis 1:27). Humans are set apart from the rest of creation in that they are God’s image bearers. Just as God is perfect and seeks God’s glory, so we are called to be perfect and seek to glorify God. 

But after God created humans, they decided that instead of seeking to glorify God they would rather be like God and seek God’s glory for themselves. And we still do this today; All of humankind. Man disobeyed God and was exiled from God’s good garden. We are still exiled. (Genesis 3

There is good news though! God loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. This means we don’t have to find our way back to the garden and that we don’t have to earn our salvation. God knows we would not be able to earn salvation. Since he loves us, he made a way. 

(Romans 5:12) Death entered through one man, Adam. ( Romans 5:18) And through one righteous man’s death, we have life (Romans 5:20). (Romans 8:9) We are reconciled by Jesus’ blood and therefore saved from God’s wrath. (Romans 6:4) Just as Jesus was raised from the dead and is alive so we must walk in a newness of life apart from sin. 

Here then we see the whole picture: Adam introduced sin into all of mankind. It is a condition we cannot escape. God’s love for us compelled him to send a perfect and sinless blood sacrifice to save us. That sacrifice is the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Through his sacrifice we receive forgiveness for our sins and reconciliation to God.

All have sinned and are justified by God’s gift of grace through redemption in Jesus, whom God used as appeasement by his blood that was spilled on the cross. (Romans 3:23-25) It is only through his spilled blood that we can be cleansed from sin and are called to then glorify him and spread the good news. (Matthew 28:19-20)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved (Romans 10:9) To confess with your mouth means more than simply speaking the words. Confessing that Jesus is Lord is mind-altering. If Jesus is Lord, then you are not. Your aspirations are not. Your ideals are not. Your morality is not. You, as you know you, dies and are reborn (John 3:7). Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). Since we know that he has been raised from the dead, we can call out to him to save us. If he has not been raised, he will not hear us. 

Luke 15:1-7 You are Jesus’ lost sheep. He is willing to sacrifice to find you and take you home to his safety. Jesus wants to find you.

Luke 15:8-10 Just like someone finding lost money, Jesus rejoices when you decide to follow him. Jesus thinks you are valuable. 

Luke 15:11-32 You might be the lost son or you might be older son. If you come to the Father, there is just as much love for you either way. The lost son was repentant and sought the Father. The older son was unrepentant while having all the appearances of holiness. It was the older son’s choice to not join the party. Do not be like him. Instead humble yourself and enter the party. 

You can try to find God through any means but only through Jesus will you find him. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus said that whoever looked to him and believed him, those will have eternal life (John 6:40). You may have seen a popular reference John 3:16. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 6:37 says that he will not cast out anyone who comes to him, including you. 

It is only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus and not by good works that you can be saved. The alternative to eternal life is eternal death in hell, a place for all those who choose to not follow God. Salvation is not meant to be wasted but intended to be used for good works. (Ephesians 2:10) And it isn’t simple although it is easy. 

It is easy to walk in a straight line but often the road is challenging. The Bible calls it a fight (1 Timothy 6:12) and a race (2 Timothy 4:7). Be prepared for trials and hardship (1 Peter 4:12). This world is full of people trying to make it on their own and God has given us all free will to choose what we will. You have that choice as well as everyone else. We must choose to follow God and not be surprised that the world now hates us (1 John 3:13). 

(Hebrews 4:7) the Holy Spirit is saying to you, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.” Call out to God. Let him save you. Hebrews 4:5-6 says that those who heard the good news and were disobedient, did not enter his rest. Turn from your sin and follow Jesus. Enter his rest.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

soft answers

Sunday morning I awoke and started my day. I needed something and couldn't find it. I knew where I had left it. I left in my room. I told my kids, for the 943,027th time, to not touch it. In fact, don't touch any of my stuff. Ever. No touching. Just don't even go into my room. Every time they go in there, something of mine breaks or goes missing. And no one ever helps me replace it or find it. It's maddening.

I had placed this object on my nightstand the day before. A child came in to talk to me, saw it, and immediately started touching it. I took it away and said for her to not touch. The next kid came in to tell me something and he, too, started touching it. I told him as well to not touch it, that I needed it and it wasn't a toy. I called my kids to me and told them all, "Do not touch this. It isn't yours. It sin't a toy. I need it. For me. This isn't yours. Don't touch it. If you touch it, you will get spanked."

So I awoke and it's gone.

I went looking for it and found it amongst the kids toys upstairs and far from my room. I woke up each kid and they each got a spanking. Not the best way to start a day. I was mad. I lectured the kids with a raised voice. Their blank stares did nothing to reassure me that they were sorry or repentant at all.

I went to church mad. What I had said to the kids wasn't wrong. I was mad that I had to be loud. I was mad about being mad. I was mad at the kids for all the damage they've cost me. It's so frustrating. If I'm nursing the baby, my options are to abandon the baby to make sure the other kids are behaving, or let the other kids misbehave. I've done both. Nothing works.

"Gentle parenting" doesn't work, spanking doesn't work, time-outs don't work, taking toys away doesn't work. My kids aren't bad. They're no worse than any other kids I've seen, and in fact, they tend to behave better than most kids I've observed.

I've told my kids that this is a safe place to make mistakes. They don't have to be embarrassed. We will still love them and help them learn how to behave, but sometimes they need a spanking to help them remember to be respectful of other people's stuff. But by being a crazy and loud mama I was making my kids feel unsafe and the only lesson they were learning was that their mama was crazy. They might have also been learning that their mama cared more about stuff than them. I know those are the lessons I learned when I was their age. Well, it was a little different because I was also told that as well as blamed for things that I didn't do. Eventually I stopped defending myself. I didn't want that for my kids.

So I went to church angry. I cried out to God about what I was supposed to do. None of the words I said were wrong. But I felt God was saying to me, more than just volume, an attitude adjustment was needed in me. The words I used were fine. You can "yell" in a whisper and that's still too harsh. I thought God was telling me to remain calm when talking to the kids because they are learning. I don't want them to have the inability to process their emotions; I had to learn how to control mine in order to teach them how to process theirs.

It wasn't too long afterward that one of my kids gave me opportunity to practice what I learned. I spoke to the child just like I would talk to anyone else about any other boring topic. I reminded the child that what he was doing was wrong and he needed to stop. He immediately stopped looked at me and apologized. He even cried because he was so sorry.

Who knew that a soft answer turns away wrath but it's the harsh words that stir up anger?

Who knew that the tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of fools pours out folly?

(I kinda feel like this should be written in the Bible somewhere. hmmm...)

My soft answer turned my own wrath away. I wasn't even upset. My own harshness was making me upset. And it did nothing to turn my children's hearts. But the wisdom I received through prayer gave me knowledge of peace and gave my child knowledge of repentance. Before that foolish boisterous voice brought out my folly and my child's folly. Also that boisterousness that was taught to me as a child resulted in the folly of those people and left me to figure things out on my own (and also made me feel abandoned and alone).

It's only Tuesday but things are working out so much better. I'm not very good at being patient but when I remember the great love that I have received from Christ and the love I have for my children, it is so much easier.

My kids haven't needed spankings. They're repentant now. I'm calm now. Things are getting better. I hope that we continue on this new trajectory. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

case study - story of jen and me ETC

(ETC- Equipped to Counsel)

This week for homework in my ETC class we were supposed to read the case study for Jim. I renamed him Jen so that I'd be counseling a woman.

Jen has some sexual addictions she needs to be free of. A couple of times she had sex with a coworker as a means of escape and excitement during a stressful and lonely season. She knew God and His Word would be enough but physical pleasure sounded better. ...She has no accountability.

While I was reading Jen's story (which was much longer than that), I found my own sin staring back at me. I don't struggle with sexual sins, but the heart of the issues ring true for me. So when one of the homework questions asked what connection do I see between Jen and myself I had my answer ready.

My struggle is with food. Having dealt with anorexia and bulimia in my youth I've carried an unhealthy relationship with food ever since. I don't struggle with either of those sins now. But I don't know how to eat to the glory of God. I had been eating fine for quite some time. But now, I eat because I deserve it after having such a hard labor and delivery. I had a traumatic experience back in May that took awhile to get over but the food habits stuck. I had a bad day, or a stressful moment, or something good happened. I don't punish myself the way Jen does. But the same self idolization and pleasure-idolization are there in both of us.

When asked how I would help her, I summarized my paragraph with, "I want to help her articulate her reasoning so she will better understand her sin." Once she and I are able to see why we are sinning, we will be able to identify the tools we need to stop sinning.

I want Jen to get into accountability with community. So I confessed my struggle with my small group. I told them that I understand that something is amiss with my eating and that I don't know what to do. I said to them that I'd appreciate prayer and any insight that they could offer - and that's key to say that you want input. If someone doesn't want input, don't give it to them. If you're in community with people, you should want their input.

Someone suggested I read Made to Crave by Lisa TerKeurst. I'm about three quarters through it and here's what's been insightful:
Start identifying when cravings are associated with hunger and not. When craving food while not hungry realize that you are crazing satisfaction that can only come from God. Use those cravings as signals to pray.
Eve fell victim to the same schemes of Satan that we still do. First John 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life- is not from the Father but from the world." See how that compares to Eve's encounter in Genesis 3:6 "the tree was good for food [desires of the flesh] delight to the eye [desires of the eyes] make one wise [pride of life]"
The book explained the desires of the flesh as "Cravings: meeting physical needs outside the will of God", the desires of the eyes as "lust: meeting material desires outside the will of God", and pride of life as "boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God."
These are the same tactics that Satan used on Jesus in the desert. Matthew 4 says Satan temped Jesus with bread [desires of the flesh], with testing of God [boasting significance], and with ruling over nations [lust of the eyes].

In my ETC class two Sundays ago, we discussed how the enemy is not so creative and will aways rely on putting God's truth into question. Starting with Eve, he questioned the Truthfulness of God's Word (Genesis 3:1, Matthew 4:3), he lightened the Severity and Consequences of Sin (Gn 3:4-5, Mt 4:3-4), he challenged God's Holiness (Gn 3:5, Mt 4:5-6), and promised Glory Apart from God (Gn 3:5, Mt 4:7-10).

These two deception analyzers have been very helpful for me.

Another friend from my small group shared an article that stated in our society we do everything we can to not feel bad. If we start to feel bad we want it to end and often escape into food. But then we feel bad about eating, so we eat more so we won't feel bad, which makes us feel worse, and so the cycle goes. I do not like feeling bad. But I didn't realize I was trying to escape my feelings. Now that it's been pointed out, I've been able to rest and embrace whatever awkward feeling I have. Now that I'm able to articulate my behavior I'm able to deal with my sin.

And one final thought, "what if this battle with food isn't the curse we've always thought it to be? What is it's actually the very thing, if brought under control, that can lead us to a better understanding of God? What is we could actually get to the place where we thanked God for letting us face this battle because of the rich treasures we discovered on the battlefield?"(p105) Then I would be able to count it all joy. James 1:2

Monday, October 2, 2017

God's Great Love for You -book review and giveaway

Today I received a beautiful book in the mail! You need this book for the artistry alone. The beauty of God's unfailing love is told through some amazing pictures. My 3-year-old daughter loved seeing all the pictures.

God’s Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God’s love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God’s great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.

Enter your email (for notification purposes only) to enter for a chance to receive your own copy!

**winner has been selected and notified**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

glory song - matt redman - giveaway

I hope you enjoy this CD as much as I did. Amusingly, I have to admit that I agreed to listen to this CD and when I got it home I looked around my room and thought, "oh. right." I don't own a CD player! ha! So I found a DVD player that I used an adapter to hook to my computer. Fun times. Hopefully you have a CD player and can enter this giveaway!

You can pre-order HERE.

Watch a really neat live version of Gracefully Broken HERE

Watch the story HERE
Video with lyrics HERE

About the album:
Matt Redman teamed up with several of his worship-artist friends for this album, first releasing the track “Gracefully Broken (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard).” Tasha Cobbs Leonard also released her own version of this song on the same day! The album also features Kierra Sheard, Guvna B, Madison Cunningham, and Kim Walker-Smith. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

slip of paper (meditating on scripture)

This slip of paper represents much of my trials going through labor with Lucas. The back wasn't filled out much because labor picked up and I was no longer able to write.

Everyone has their trick for getting through labor. Some use drugs. Some use a special verse they picked out weeks in advance. Some meditate and use incense.

I had several verses and I wrote them down here. I chose none in advance and only wrote each verse down as they came to me in my discussion with God last Thursday.

The main one that I shared last week is at the top of the page: The Lord goes before me and the God of Israel is my rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12)

My next verse was soothing to meditate on whenever I got scared about dying or about the baby dying. It says that no matter what happens, everything will turn out ok: All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

The next verse is an adaptation of the fruit of the Spirit. Who else better embodies the fruit of the Spirit than the Spirit himself? I needed to remember that God cares for me and about me. He isn't a Norse god waiting to "get" me or a Greek god trying trick me:
God loves me
is joyful for me
gives peace to me [and is at peace with me through the blood of Christ]
is patient with me
is kind to me
is good to me
is faithful toward me
is gentle with me
has self-control toward me [he isn't going to suddenly be unjust for no reason] (Galatians 5:22-23)
My next verse is not from the Bible but more a lesson from several verses like Ecclesiastes 3:1: Trust in God includes trust in his timing.

This next verse is also not in the Bible but a practical application of many verses include Psalm 23 which immediately follows it: Don't doubt in the dark what God said in the light.
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 
Next is only the symbol #27 referring to Psalm 27:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing I have asked of the Lord that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gave upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will life me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, Lord, do I seek." Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
And even after I was reminded to wait upon the Lord I would still get angry that things weren't going as well as I wanted. And pointedly the Spirit rebuked me (and I repented) saying, "The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:20)

Alright then. Well, I remembered all these things and the Spirit closed the conversation with, "How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)

And with that, I amazed to say, the baby was born. And he is a good gift.