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Just Say NO!

Ephesians 4: 27

and do not give the devil a foothold.

I like the way the International Standard Version (ISV) shows this verse even better than the NIV. It says,  do not give the Devil the opportunity to work. That seems like really good advice to me. If we don’t take that first step toward temptation, then we won’t find ourselves in a situation that we can’t overcome.

I’m 99% sure I will never rob a bank. Why? Because the first step to such an act would be to think about it and brainstorm ways to get away with it. And if my mind goes there, it stops at that point because I know I couldn’t get away with it–not that I would want to rob a bank but you get the idea.

Why am I not 100% sure? Because that would be arrogant and proud and that allows the devil a foothold in a whole other area.

Think about Adam and Eve and the “apple” that caused sin to enter the world. If Eve hadn’t given the Devil the opportunity to work by talking with him, she would never have taken that bite. Because she wouldn’t have given him the opportunity to change her mind. Then there’s Adam, if he’d just said no and walked away, things still could have turned out way different.

If you think back to any sin in your life, you’ll remember moments when you could have simply said no and walked away. Instead when we say yes to what we think is a small thing, it leads us one step closer to a situation where we can’t say no. If you say no to that first piece of chocolate cake (not that chocolate cake is a sin in itself), then you don’t have to worry about the fact that you might eat the whole cake and the consequences of that action.

Just say NO to the little things and you won’t find yourself in a big situation.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

I Did It! 3 Keys To Success!

I did it!

I wanted to get back to the weight I was when my husband and I started dating and….I did it! Almost 40 pounds. I still would like to lose a few more pounds but my I met my original goal! It wasn’t easy and it took me a lot longer than I expected and I had a lot of setbacks along the way.

Still I did it!

Today I’d like to share 3 keys to my success.

  1. DON’T QUIT! Proverbs 24: 16 says: for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Whatever it is you want to happen, it won’t if you quit. That makes sense, doesn’t it? You might fail or stumble but you have to get back up and keep going.
  2. BE TEACHABLE. Most of us think we know more than we do. Whatever your goal is, you will need knowledge and wisdom to make it happen. Proverbs 15:22 says: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. It took me 15 years to be published by a traditional publisher. Why? One of the reasons was because I was doing it alone. After I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, it took me less than two years to get a contract. But if I hadn’t been willing to learn from all the wonderful resources available through the organization, I’d still be waiting.
  3. MAKE GOD YOUR PARTNER. God loves you and cares about you and the things you care about. Mark 10: 27 says: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Go to God with your concerns, ask for wisdom to learn, strength to endure, patience to wait.

I did it! And so can you!

It doesn’t matter what your goal is, these three principles will help you get there. It doesn’t mean it will be quick or easy but that will only make your success sweeter. It took about 5 years to lose the almost 40 pounds.

Yes, that’s a long time. It only averages out to 8 pounds a year but it didn’t happen that way. I joined a national weight loss group in January of 2012 and in May I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors (non-cancerous) and had my first treatment in August. Then for the next 8 months I was on steroids so I gained back about half of what I lost.

At that point I rejoined and started losing weight again and then I had my second treatment and then I had to go back on steroids so  the whole process repeated itself. Then I had to start chemotherapy and steroids to try to save my hearing. This happened three times over three years. So I would lose weight and then gain a lot of it back because of my treatments.

But I didn’t quit, I kept learning, and God is definitely my partner in all things. So I kept going to meetings as much as I could and kept following the program as much as I could and prayed for strength and endurance and… last week, my official weight put me a little bit under what I was when I started dating my beloved husband.

I did it! And so can you–no matter what your goal is.

PS. Of course, we all know the hard part is keeping it off but with the three biblical principles I can do that as well!

 

Fake it?? Good idea or not?

Proverbs 17: 22 (NLT)

A cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

I’ve discovered that when a person doesn’t feel well over an extended amount of time, it’s really hard to be cheerful and upbeat. And yet the Bible says a cheerful heart is good medicine. As with any medicine you have to take it first and then wait for the results. So how is one supposed to act cheerful when they aren’t?

Fake it, of course!

I’m not advocating you lie about your condition, but what I am asking is that you force a smile now and then. In other words act a little cheerful in spite of your circumstances.  Put another way, act as if you trust God in the hard times as well as the good times.

If all you do is whine and complain or even worse get angry and bitter, that’s called a broken spirit. And a broken spirit saps a person’s strength while a cheerful heart is good medicine.  It’s really all about the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. Sow cheerfulness and you’ll get more cheerfulness. Sow a broken spirit and all you’ll get is more broken spirit.

The choice is yours.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

RENEWING YOUR MIND

Romans 12: 2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I wrote the second part of this post in August but it’s even more true for me today–more than a month later. September was a busy–busy month for me. I had a new book release (GAME ON) and along with that more than 30 guest visits on other people’s blogs and…my husband’s birthday, our 15th anniversary, two camping trips and a week-long visit with my brother and sisters from out of state and two chemotherapy treatments.

Yes, I’m back on chemotherapy in hopes that it will restore my hearing to what it was in May before I started having “episodes” with my hearing once again. It’s been more than four years of treatments for my brain tumors, losing more of my balance and my hearing. And I hate to admit it but I’m discouraged.

And that’s why I am posting RENEWING YOUR MIND again. I need to be reminded that renewing your mind is something that needs done–all the time. If we don’t then we can start to believe the devil’s lies. What sort of lies? That God doesn’t really love us  or we wouldn’t be going through this. That we’re all alone in our struggles. That we might as well accept our situation because it’s not going to get better…the lies can go on and on.

It’s up to us to not listen to those lies and to keep our focus on how good God is and how much He loves us and that God still has a good plan for us no matter what our circumstances are at the moment and we do that by….

RENEWING YOUR MIND

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. But exactly how do we do that? The “experts” say we do that by reading and studying God’s Word. And I think they’re right. Of course, there are other things (going to church; praying; being thankful; praising God are a few examples) we can do as well but reading, studying, and believing God’s Word are surely the best ways.

But why do we need to the renewing of our minds?  Life can be really difficult. First we have our own personal problems such as chronic illness, money problems, and difficult family relationships to name just a few. Then there’s the state of the country and the world to worry about, not to mention all the difficulties of our friends and families. Let’s not forget about all the tragedies we see on the nightly news

If we don’t renew our mind on a regular basis, sadness, sorrow, worry, anxiety, and even anger are going invade our thoughts. And by regular basis I mean every day–or more. The more we dwell on the negative–on how helpless we are or how “bad” the world is the more negative we become. Before you know it, we’ve lost the peace and joy that is our spiritual birthright.

And that’s why we need the renewing of our mind on a regular basis. But like the infomercials says–wait…that’s not all! Yes renewing our mind will keep us in a good place spiritually, but it does so much more than that. The second part of the verse says, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  As we renew our minds, we will begin to know God’s will for us.

How good is that!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12: 2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. But exactly how do we do that? The “experts” say we do that my reading and studying God’s Word. And I think they’re probably right. Of course, there are other things (going to church; praying; praising…) we do as well but reading, studying, and knowing God’s Word is one of the best ways.

But why do we need to the renewing of our minds?  Life can be really difficult. First we have our own personal problems such as chronic illness, money problems, and difficult family relationships to name just a few. Then there’s the state of the country and the world to worry about, not to mention all the difficulties of our friends and families. Let’s not forget about all the tragedies.

If we don’t renew our mind on a regular basis, sadness, sorrow, worry, anxiety, and even anger are going invade our thoughts. The more we dwell on the negative–on how helpless we are or how “bad” the world is the more negative we become. Before you know it, we’ve lost the peace and joy that is our spiritual birthright.

And that’s why we need the renewing of our mind on a regular basis. But like the infomercials says–wait…that’s not all! Yes renewing our mind will keep us in a good place spiritually, but it does so much more than that. The second part of the verse says, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  As we renew our minds, we will begin to know God’s will for us.

How good is that!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

Setting My Priorities

Matthew 6: 33 (KJV)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.

This verse popped into my head a few weeks ago, or at least the part about seek ye first the kingdom of God. So it’s become my new mantra. Seeking God first. It sounds simple enough but not always an easy things to do. I always plan to do that when I get to my office to start my workday. By my office, I mean upstairs at my house in my jammies. I’m retired now so writing has become my job. (Yay!!)

Anyway most weekdays, I get up spend some time with my husband then exercise. Then it’s off to work I go–hi-ho-hi-ho. So the plan is to always do a little Bible study first but…then I check my emails and answer a few…then that leads me to do this or that or the other thing…and before you know it, NO Bible study that day or the next or the next.

Sooner or later, I start to feel a bit unsettled. So I include some Bible study and then I begin to feel more settled. Then it slowly slips away again. And it becomes a cycle–not a good one. So when this verse popped into my head, I took it seriously. Which is why there are more devotions being posted lately.

Anyway…back to the verse: all these things will be added unto you. What things you might be asking? At least that’s what I asked. So I read the complete chapter and discovered it was Jesus speaking during the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s a few more verses to add clarity to the verse, this is from the NIV.

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The bold print is mine. So you can see these verses are about Jesus telling us to not worry but instead to seek the kingdom of God and that God will take care of us. Sounds good, doesn’t it–a life with no worry, but not so easy to do. I don’t consider myself a big worrier but I still find myself worrying about things sometimes.

Because after all, life can be overwhelming at times. Worry is the opposite of trusting God. And above all, I want to honor God by trusting Him so I’ve been setting my priorities. And that means seeking God first and everything else comes second.

YOUR TURN: How about you? What interferes with you seeking God first?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

In Step With The Spirit

Galatians 5: 25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

I was curious what in step with the Spirit really means, so I looked it up. Here’s a small sample of what I found. The bold highlights are mine. If you want more information, do an Internet search of Galatians 5: 25.

Adam Clarke Commentary

If we live in the Spirit – If we profess to believe a spiritual religion, let us walk in the Spirit – let us show in our lives and conversation that the Spirit of God dwells in us.

Copyright Statement: These files are public domain.

Bibliography: Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Galatians 5:25”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/galatians-5.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in the Spirit

1. …What is a man’s walk? It is his whole life, his whole conduct, outward and inward--all he thinks, feels, desires, speaks, does, suffers. To walk in the Spirit is to have the Holy Ghost originating, directing, controlling, and governing all these.

 

A Christian’s walk

“That man’s been in the army,” said a gentleman to his friend, the other day, as a stranger passed them in the street; “I know a soldier by his walk.” Men ought to know Christ’s soldiers by their walk. But how many are there of us who profess to march under His banner, who compel the world to take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus? Often the community in which a man lives first learns that he was a Christian at his funeral.


Copyright Statement: These files are public domain.

Bibliography: Exell, Joseph S. “Commentary on “Galatians 5:25”. The Biblical Illustrator. “//www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/galatians-5.html”. 1905-1909. New York.

So…simply put in step with the Spirit means to live in such a way that others know you are a Christian. Some days I believe I do that and other days not so much. One thing I do know is the more I  depend on the Spirit, the more I stay in step with the Spirit.

YOUR TURN: What do you think it means to stay in step with the Spirit? Can you give a specific example?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!