My Fitness

Monday, February 20, 2017

fact families in scripture

fact family
My son is learning fact families in math. At the same time, I'm studying The Armor of God via Priscilla Shirer's study book of the same name. What I'm going to share shouldn't be earth-shattering, but I have a bad feeling that it will be for some readers. The fact family that we started discussing in the book was the strategies of the enemy. The Father of Lies strategy is through lies, illusions, deceptions, delusions, fantasies, to name a few. They all go together. They're members of the same family. What's most crafty about Satan's lies is that they're mostly true. Sometimes, all he does is ask a question. He may deceive with what is mostly true and good. But almost true is still false. A Christian must be on guard at all times against the enemy's darts if he is to discern between right and almost right. We must be sober-minded and watchful. Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). It is especially dangerous down in the Bible Belt. The overwhelming majority of church-goes down here lack discernment. They blindly follow political leaders hoping to maintain social and cultural norms even if they are unbiblical. Don't be like them. Instead, be like the Berean Jews who questioned the Apostle Paul and made sure even he was inline with Scripture. Paul encouraged others to follow their example. Any good leader will encourage you to search the Scripture to verify what he says. Someone can use a Bible verse the support their opinion, but that does not make their opinion Biblical. The verse could be out of context or misinterpreted. If you are unfamiliar with the Bible, you will fall prey to their craftiness every time.

None of that is even what I'm planning on sharing. Rather, I want to share a couple of questions she asks on page 59:
What are some of the most misleading images and perceptions that adults and children alike tend to believe?
and
How can you clearly see the enemy's strategy behind these philosophies or trends?

Three lies that are prevalent in today's society struck out to me. I'm not saying thee are the top three or the best three or most prevalent. I'm only saying these three were what came to mind.

First lie that came to mind believed by most Americans, Christian and non-Christian alike, is that happiness is ultimate. My thought goes all the way back to my college days when I asked fellow Christian students what the point of life is and they decided being happy was the purpose. We might think that's stupid, college-kid talk, but the pursuit of happiness is part of Declaration of Independence. It is core to our society. These students were simply products of their culture. We have so many friends and family members pursuing happiness. We have cultures pursuing happiness on this planet in ways that are horrific to the rest of us. Why do people hurt, steal, rape, kill, enslave, and murder others? They think it will make them happy. People never identify themselves as the bad guy. They're only "misunderstood". Understand this, you will only be most happy when your satisfaction is found in Christ. Deny yourself, die to yourself daily, take up your cross, lose your life for Christ. Does this sound familiar? Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 How can you tell if you are a bad guy or not? What I ask myself is, "What does God have to say about this? Am I being a product of my culture or is this really what the Bible says?" I get advice on the big things that aren't clear to me. If someone says, "I think that's ok." but they can't give me a Biblical reason why it's ok, I need to ask someone with a deeper relationship with Christ. We can't let our fleeting feelings guide us. We can't "be true to ourselves" or "follow our hearts" because these are complete lies from Satan and go exactly opposite what God tells us in his Word: Deny yourself (Matthew 16:24), We have a nature of sin (Romans 7:14-24), and our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

Happiness is not ultimate. God is ultimate. Your happiness is secondary, if not tertiary, to God's glory. Once you find your satisfaction in Him and Him alone, you will find your idols strangely dim and non-consequential. This is a hard truth. Christ sacrificed himself for us and asks us to sacrifice ourselves for him.



The second lie that I see many Christians believing is that they are entitled to comfort. You see these Christians planning how many kids they want and the timing between them to make their own lives as easy as possible. Many Christians decide they want none or only one. It's their choice. It's their body. They prayed about it. It's all lies. If you are not living your life for God, your comfort is stupid. These Christians are not living their lives for God. They are living their lives for comfort. For their own happiness. They aren't willing to sacrifice. They have to have the 4000 square foot home, and the yacht, and the vacations, and the stuff (you don't need stuff in excess to still idolize your stuff). I used to get jealous of seeing so many people with stuff but then I remembered Colossians 3:1-2 that says, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." So we don't plan our kids like a budget but trust that God only creates good things and those good things have purpose from conception. I have never heard a godly excuse for using birth control. Question yourself in this. Are you a victim of your culture or did you really come away from Scripture reading one day and suddenly realize you should trust your own might over God's? Perhaps while reading Genesis 11? Never has this happened. Instead, suddenly this past century people started praying about whether they've been "called" to have kids. I can tell you that if God has not called you to have kids, then go ahead and skip the condom and see if you're right. God will certainly not get in the way of his own callings. A house divided cannot stand. Read more about this challenge to trust God will all your heart, soul, mind, and strength here.



The third lie I recently saw, to my shock and horror, is that children need their parents. The specific incident was in a group where the question was asked, if you had to choose between your unborn child and your wife, who would you choose or what would you hope your husband would choose? Any pro-lifer would say, choose the baby. Any godly woman would gladly offer her life for the mere chance that her child would live. That's why parents dive in after their kid or try to grab them from the street and other acts of selflessness. But one mother said she'd hope her husband would choose her because she has other kids at home who need her.

This is a lie from Satan.

Your kids do not need you. They need Jesus. Jesus will bring his chosen ones to himself however he chooses. It is never godly to take someone else's life for the convenience of your family. Another fellow said he could make another child but couldn't just make another wife. These disgusting platitudes are from people claiming to be Christian. They reek of the death culture we are surrounded in. Satan is very glad to have so convincingly deceived so many into thinking that one life is better than the other. It's especially interesting when our Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. A godly person sacrifices their life for their children. A godly person does not think that their family will never survive without them. What egotistical nonsense! Your family doesn't need you. Your family needs God. And God will use even fire to sanctify his chosen ones and help conform them into the image of his Son, Jesus. I will gladly die if it means my children bear the image of Christ. Whoever loves his children more than he loves Jesus is not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37).

This is a hard truth. Think of it this way- God has run an infinite number of scenarios in which you live and die different ways, but this chosen way gets you all the closer to the image of Christ. You want this way, even if it's hard. There is much more to this discussion as far as people's choice versus God's sovereignty that I can't possibly give adequate attention to. Maybe one day.



This post is meant to challenge you. Question yourself. Question your leaders. Question your culture. If it isn't supported in the Bible, it isn't true and not worth your time. Soli Deo Gloria.

Colossians 3:1-2

Sunday, February 19, 2017

heres to you

I have a friend whom I love. She is admittedly in need of encouragement. Girl, if you're reading this I hope you find it encouraging.

I saw this on your Facebook wall:

6 Brutal Truths that will make you a Better Person
  1. If you’re not hearing back from someone, its because they have deliberately chosen not to answer you.
  2. Everyone has his or her own best interests at heart. Nobody’s going to stick up for you if you don’t stick up for yourself.
  3. You’re never going to please everyone. You’re going to be criticized no matter what you do, so might as well do what you love.
  4. Your actions define you, not your thoughts. Your character is determined by what you do, not by what you think about.
  5. The world owes you absolutely nothing. You may be the coolest, kindest, smartest, but you’re still not entitled to absolutely nothing [sic].
  6. Nobody is coming to save you from your life. If anyone is going to save your day, it’s going to have to be you.
First, the title. These are not true and these will not make a better person. Instead, consider these verses from our ultimate source of Truth, the Word of God.


If you’re not hearing back from someone, its because they have deliberately chosen not to answer you.
1. Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

If you're not hearing back from someone, it is possible they are giving you the cold shoulder. It could also be that they saw the text or voicemail while driving or at the playground with their kids or the doctor's office or a million other distractions. It may feel personal, but you can't judge a person's thoughts and intentions by their non-comments.

We love because He first loved us. I John 4:19 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:7 So believe that others have the best intentions and bear with them. Their life is not centered around you but that doesn't mean they don't want you to be part of it.

Believing things are deliberate will only make you more cynical. My husband always says, "ignorance before malice" meaning whenever we are presented with an offense take the other person's action as done out of ignorance and not malice. This bit of advice has saved my soul by teaching me what "loving others" really means. So, think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8) by taking every thought captive to obey Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). Destroy those opinions raised against the knowledge of God.



Everyone has his or her own best interests at heart. Nobody’s going to stick up for you if you don’t stick up for yourself.
2. Without Christ, everyone only thinks of himself. Within the body of Christ it should not be so. How can you tell who is in the Body of Christ and who isn't? Those without Christ will only think of themselves. Those in Christ will be known by their love (John 13:35). We are to outdo each other by showing honor to each other (Romans 12:10).

If you are all alone in a Christian-less mission field, you still have an advocate (I John 2:1). Life in the Bible Belt of southern USA often feels Christian-less, but you have friends who love God and love you - in that order, the way it should be.


You’re never going to please everyone. You’re going to be criticized no matter what you do, so might as well do what you love.
3. You're never going to please everyone...so you might as well do what pleases God. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8). If I were still trying to please man, including myself, I could not be a servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Not all self-identifying Christians are Christian, but we will remain Christ-like despite their falsehood.
Read these verses!

Your actions define you, not your thoughts. Your character is determined by what you do, not by what you think about.
4. What you think about comes out through your actions. What comes out of a person is what defiles him. From within, from the heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within (Mark 7). So we ask the Father to cleanse our hearts and renew a correct spirit (Psalm 51:10). We are sinful creatures not because of what we do but because of what we are. We are in need of redemption from our sinful nature. Christ's blood purifies us. The Old Testament sacrifices covered the actions of Israel, but the blood of the True Lamb changes us from within. You character is determined by what is on the inside.



The world owes you absolutely nothing. You may be the coolest, kindest, smartest, but you’re still not entitled to absolutely nothing [sic].
5. This is true. The world owes you nothing. But conversely, you owe Christ everything. He has laid down his life for the world and he asks us to do the same. He commands that we do the same. If anyone would follow Christ, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day (Luke 9:23). So while the world owes you nothing, you owe the world everything through obedience in Christ.



Nobody is coming to save you from your life. If anyone is going to save your day, it’s going to have to be you.
6. Christ has already saved you. "If anyone is going to save your day, it's going to be you." is directly countered by the words of Christ in Luke 9: Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.


So, friend, counter these negative thoughts with meditation on the Word of God. Don't let the enemy in this world discourage you by trying to tell you that you are your own savior. You are not and you cannot be. There is freedom in this knowledge. The Bible is full of ways to combat the enemy. And sometimes as the Body of Christ, we will fail you. Life is hard. Better people have been through worse and I consider myself lucky to only have the hardships that I do. I hope you will too.

Love is patient. So be patient with yourself. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ballerina sticks

This week I go back into the theater after a ten year hiatus.

It's also the week before Valentines!

There are many children in this production and I thought I'd make a cute Valentine for them. Then I thought that maybe some of the not-quite-children dancers would want one. So I made a bunch. And to be sure to save anyone's feelings, I'm bringing extra supplies to make more if need be!

Supplies are easy:
popcycle sticks
black pen
colored markers
mini cupcake liners
colored cereal (I used Tootie Fruties but any circle will work even Trix)

And assemble as shown. It's that easy. I found drawing all the shoes/faces/leaotards, coloring each accordingly, then gluing all the buns, then gluing all the tutus to be easier rather than completely assembling each ballerina.

For my homeschooled ballerinas.
















I'll attach a note saying "Love, Lauren" and that's it!
You could add variation by using an M&M for the bun and using frosting to adhere it so its edible. Or use a wrapped candy. If you want to share your version, please share it! I'd love to see it!








Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bear Hug Giveaway

Yesterday I received I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug in the mail. Immediately my 5-year-old son
exclaimed, "Is that for me?!" And he insisted we read it together. He loved it. When the book was finished he hugged me like a bear. It was adorable. Later that day, my 6-year-old was looking for a book to read and grabbed this book as well. He was able to read almost the whole thing. "Feathered" gave him a little difficulty. But he was excited to be able to read a whole book and I think he even noticed the rhythm of the rhyme. AND HE ALSO FELT THE NEED TO GIVE ME BIG HUGS! It was so cute.

It's a good book. The pictures are nice and, for a delightful change, the rhymes actually are beautifully executed. It's very creative and the kids love it. You can win a copy by entering the rafflecopter and checking back here on Sunday.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Grand Rapids, MI--- December 27, 2016---I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, is a playful and comforting bedtime book that imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug.
Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy, slippy fish hug, children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples. Cooney’s sweet and simple rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep.
I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug is a sweet loving bedtime story book that is also sure to become a Valentine’s Day favorite for little ones who enjoy celebrating a day full of hugs and kisses from loved ones. I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug will be available in hardcover for $16.99 in retail stores nationwide and online on December 27, 2016. Pre-order opportunities will begin on September 28th
 ****
About the Author: Caroline B. Cooney was born in New York, grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in South Carolina. Caroline is the author of 90 Young Adult novels in many genres, and her books have sold over fifteen million copies. I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug is her first picture book. It’s based on a verse she wrote for her own children, Louisa, Sayre and Harold, who are grown now.

 About the Illustrator: Tim Warnes has been illustrating children's books for twenty years. He lives in Dorset, England, with his wife, children's illustrator Jane Chapman, and their two sons. When he's not drawing little critters, Tim loves to write, watch birds and play his banjo.  Visit Tim at www.ChapmanandWarnes.com


Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children's communications, it creates products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 14. Zonderkidz is also publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) Bible translation, the third grade reading level edition of the NIV. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com


Zondervan is a world-leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, as part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, MI. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.


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.

Monday, November 7, 2016

insignificant me

My prayer for you tonight is that you will waken with refreshened zeal and surplus of faith that you will realize how insignificant tomorrow is. 


Here in North Texas we are surrounded by many cultural Christians. I say cultural because of their dependency on culture to define their christianity. They are Republican. They are Democrat. They need freedom. They need government. They need guns. They need to homeschool. They need to speak. They need to be helped. They need high tax. They need low tax. But don’t be mistaken. There will be no Republicans in heaven. There will be no Democrats in heaven. 

For two thousands years Christianity has survived. Only ten percent of that has been with America. The Republican Party does not carry the Christian message. The Republican Party does not speak the words of Christ. The Republican Party does not live off the platform of Christ. There’s a simple test to see how I know this: The Republicans has dozens of pages outlining their platform. Christ summed his message in one simple breath in two thoughts: Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. 

The Democrats do not speak for Christ either. If you are getting your religious dogma from a politician, you are looking in the wrong direction. 

Do not overestimate the importance of this election.

For two thousands years Christianity has survived. Christianity has survived because of Christ. Christianity has not survived because of the saints and martyrs, men and women, rulers and conquests, popes and sinners, or democratic republics and kingdoms. 

You don’t need free speech to share the love of Christ. My prayer for you tonight is that you will waken with refreshened zeal and surplus of faith that you will realize how insignificant tomorrow is. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

a nice day with gals from church

This morning the women of Denton Bible Church met for a "Mugs and Mentors" brunch at Ann Little's house. It was delightful. I didn't know anyone but thought it would be a great way to meet new people. I met many wonderful gals and officially met a few people that I've had limited interactions with at church.

It was fun, challenging, encouraging, and grace-filled.

I chatted with various people for over an hour after it ended, which, if you know me, is not something I've done since having kids. (Something about being too tired for human interaction)

I then gathered my family together and we headed to the mall. I only have one pair of shorts. I know that it's November and here in the Northern Hemisphere we are about to enter Winter, but no one has told the weather this. Thus, it is still shorts-wearing weather. I was able to find a pair of shorts! Amazing! Not only that, but I was able to find a "workout jacket" as I call it - it's the thinnest jacket available and I wear it to Pilates and Ballet to give an extra ounce of warmth without overheating. I found both these items at very discounted prices. I would not have bought them otherwise!

Also, Felipe found a jacket that he said was very "Lauren-looking" at Zumiez along with a couple of beanies. So fulfilling!

Finally, I found the perfect "purse" but it was close to $30 and you know I'm not spending that much. Felipe found one for $6 that he thought looks right for me and I said that definitely the price tag looked like me! ha!

So I found every item I was looking for at discount and now I own two pairs of shorts for this Texas winter.

I remembered to write a Thank You Note to my host this morning and got it in the mail already. That was amazing - when do I remember out-of-the-ordinary things like that? When Micah, 5, saw me put it in the mailbox we had a mini-homeschool lesson about what I was doing and why. He then said, "Well, maybe I can write a letter to Kirsten about her buying me a dragon ball." Um, ok. More opportunity to educate and what's 50 ¢ for his happiness? Ha! So funny!


More good news: yesterday we bought a new (to us) washer and dryer for significantly discounted and it's working great. I am hopeful that we can give our old washer (kinda works) and dryer (works perfectly) to someone who needs it. I posted to the DBC city page and was immediately called by a gal who's daughter had just been texting me about something completely unrelated. Then I saw this gal at Mugs & Mentors and it was so refreshing. I love being part of the Body of Christ. I love helping and being helped by people who aren't looking for anything in return.

Nothing amazing happened today, but it was filled with grace and peace. And while these gals might have thought this event was no-big-deal, to me it was invaluable.

Thank you, new friends. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

are you good at defending God?

I am currently wearing this shirt:

In the diamond it reads, "We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19"

I ran an errand and a cashier complimented my shirt. She said it was her favorite verse. I replied that we all needed the reminder. She said, "Yeah, we need more people defending him. That's what's so wrong with this country."

She had to help other people who needed her attention but I was tempted to ask her what she meant.

God doesn't need you to defend him. He doesn't need you to believe in him. He doesn't need you. He doesn't need.

Perhaps she means something more along the lines of "defending her faith" which would be defending herself and not God. But the impression I got was that she felt we needed to take care of God and protect him. If that is actually what she meant, then I think we found our country's real culprit: bad theology. Decades and decades worth of theologically illiterate people.

Theology matters. If you're a cultural Christian, you're not a Christian. If you're really a Christian, it doesn't matter what the culture is like. We are so heavily influenced by our culture that we usually can't see where our Christian Culture ends and our Redemption begins.

There are thousands and millions of people who think they are good Christians because they don't drink alcohol. They explain that when Jesus was drinking the Bible got it wrong. Jesus would never do something that their culture says is bad (never mind the entire point of the Good Samaritan).

There are others who think that not smoking is a bonus point with God. Lots of people think homeschooling is what Real Christians do. Millions are being deceived right now into thinking that the only option for a Christian Voter is to vote Republican. -This last one is so obviously wrong and you'll see why when I point out that most Christians are not allowed to vote for US elections because they're not American.

We are so blinded by culture that we don't even consider non-American cultures.

Theology matters. God doesn't need your help. You need his help. You will fall for anything if you don't start studying different theologians. If you only listen to Brother Wilson (made up name) from your small hometown and shout "amen" at every service no matter what he says, that is foolish. If you only listen to Pastor Chuck (made up name) from your huge city megachurch and you discount every naysayer without looking into the matter, that is foolish.

Get a good Lutheran theologian, like Luther (duh). Get a good Calvinist theologian, like Calvin. Get some Augustine. Get some Piper. Get some Stott. Get some Lewis. Read their books and blogs. Listen to their sermons and podcasts. They don't all agree. Find out where they do agree. Read their Biblical analysis and start forming your own opinion. Don't be foolish but rather be like the Bereans who tested everything that Paul the Apostle taught them.

[The one stipulation that I can think of is if you are having difficulty following their reasoning and discussions. We are all weak in some areas. Some basic theology might be too much for you to understand. That's ok. Jesus didn't say, "Understand all things and you will be saved." We simply can't know all things. We are simple. What you need to know at the most basic level is that God loves you and sent his son, Jesus, to die so that those who believe will enter heaven in the after-life. Love God and love your neighbor; everything else falls under those two statements. ]

A God who needs your help is not strong enough to save you. Don't worship that God.

My help comes from God (Psalm 121:2). Not the other way around.


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