Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Help there is too much to do

I have always related to Martha’s quandary when I read about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:40.  Recently, I was unsettled in two new ways. Let's look at the verse in The Message:  
Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”  Luke 10:40
Martha was distracted by the work to be done.  Activities in life pull us away from our time with our Lord, competing for our time. Years ago, when I started a quiet time, I did it in my car in the parking lot at work. It was a place I could be free of distractions. Gradually, as I built up a discipline, I moved to my dining room table each morning before work. Now my kids are grown, I converted a room to my study and hide away behind closed doors each morning.  The dirty dishes, laundry, dust on the shelf, trash, and emails each call out as I walk to my study.  I fight to keep distractions from pulling me off course. 
Martha stepped in and interrupted the Lord. Yikes, I can hear myself saying, “Hey Lord, over here, could you send some help with all these things on my to-do list. Tell someone to come lend me a hand.” No wonder I relate to Martha. We both have the audacity to interrupt the Lord and tell him what to do. The Lord gently handles Martha’s interruption (v 41-42) by intimately calling her name out, summarizing the situation: “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and had gotten worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential...” Jesus brought clarity to the situation. He changed Martha’s perspective.
So what about us? If Jesus dropped by your house, what might he say? 
• Stop worrying about tomorrow
• Slow down you are always rushing
• Show me your list, I will help you with your priorities
• Sit down, let’s spend more time together
Did Martha get it or did she go back to the distractions and finish up? Did she immediately fall to the feet of Jesus? My hope is that she chose what was better, spending the rest of the time with Jesus.
Let's flee the distractions and choose the “one thing” that is essential.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

No More Speeding Tickets



Recently, the person with the most speeding tickets took the notes for a breakout group.  To clarify, I raised my hand and asked, "Over what period?"  The laugh from everyone was larger than I expected.    It seems every time you set a limit for me, I want to exceed it.  

 We are placing ourselves in harm’s way when we exceed limits set to protect.  My battle to maintain my weight comes with a daily review of Calories In vs Calories Out.  I have tracked my food and exercise almost daily for seven years.    I focus on living within my energy limit.

Several studies show people keeping food diaries are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off. One study says that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost about two times as much weight as those who keep food journals one day a week or less.  Any time I take a break from tracking, thinking I must know my limits by now, I gain weight.   The scale shows me when I am exceeding my healthy limit.

I lost most of my weight using the paper First Place 4 Health Live It Tracker.  I switched to an electronic tracker when I was closing in on my goal.  I currently use, MyFitnessPal configured as a Live It Tracker.  See my blog post Change your MyfitnessPal to look like a Live It Tracker for more information.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:4-5  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved“  A transgression is violating a law, command, or moral code, to offend, sin, and go beyond the limits.  I don’t like the word transgressions.   It reminds me that I am not the rule follower I claim.  Each time we go over the limit, any limit we are offending, sinning.

All of us exceed the limits, offend, and at times become spiritually dead when we are not following God's plan for our life.   Thankfully, grace saves us.  Christ makes us alive. It is a gift from God.  We can do nothing.  We cannot boast about anything.  Ultimately, to be saved we must accept this gift.  

Each day I start and end with a CHAT with the Lord.  C = Confess; Lord forgive me for what I have done today… sometimes the list is way too long.   H = Honor; Heavenly Father, you are my Lord and Savior.   A = Ask; Help me Lord to know you, to know the limits, to sense your will, and courage to obey.  T = Thank you for the blessings and gift of grace.  You astound me by your patience and love.   Amen.  

Your turn:
Where are you struggling with limits in your life?

What accountability can you put in place to help you live within the limits?

Practice:
CHAT  
C = Confess
H = Honor
A = Ask
T = Thank





Thursday, February 27, 2014

Change your Myfitness Pal to look like a Live It Tracker



     From  Food page, Click on Settings


   Click on Diary Settings



    Change your  Meal Names, Scroll to the middle of the Diary Setting Page


The following are suggestions for different Calorie ranges based on the First Place 4 Health Food Plan.

Cups/ Ounces
Per Serving
Calories
Fruit
2
80
160
Veg
2
60
120
Grains
5
80
400
Meat
4
60
240
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
4
45
180



1400
Fruit
2
80
160
Veg
2.5
60
150
Grains
6
80
480
Meat
5
60
300
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
5
45
225



1615
Fruit
2
80
160
Veg
3
60
180
Grains
7
80
560
Meat
6
60
360
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
5
45
225



1785
Fruit
2.5
80
200
Veg
4
60
240
Grains
7
80
560
Meat
7
60
420
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
6
45
270



1990
Fruit
3
80
240
Veg
4
60
240
Grains
8
80
640
Meat
7
60
420
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
6
45
270



2110

Why do I doubt?

Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

Imagine the doubt and turmoil the disciples were experiencing after Jesus’ death.   In Matthew 28:10, the first order of business was to have the women remind the disciples to go to Galilee.  When Jesus was last with his disciples, he told them to meet him in Galilee (Matthew 26:32).  On the mountain, Jesus stands before them, the risen Lord.  Matthew 28:17 says, "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted”. Everything came true. Jesus has risen. He is in Galilee exactly where he said he would be.  In amazement, they worship the risen Lord.  Yet there are still some that doubted.  

Too often, I experience doubt in my life.  Each time, I pray for the doubt to disappear.   I beg, “Lord, please reveal yourself to me”.  Without fail, I sense him: as I read my bible, He provides the exact verse; in a word, I read in devotion; or in a message, I hear from a friend, the radio, during the weekend worship.   Each time he reveals himself, the doubt retreats.

I am not alone.  Some disciples doubted as they stood before the risen Lord. Doubt comes from the enemy.  I combat the doubt by calling on the power of the Lord.   I am the father in the bible exclaiming to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24)

The doubt reminds me of my weakness.  I am weak and He is strong.  The Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

My prayer today:  Forgive me for the times I drag my feet, doubt your purpose, or delay the inevitable.  You are the risen Lord, creator of heaven and earth, beginning and end.  You are the savior of the world.  Help me Lord in my doubt. Help me embrace my weaknesses. Help me to walk in your light always.  Thank you, Lord, for your love.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who is in charge of your mind?

When my body is telling my mind to have it my way,  I feel tortured.  Recently, I have struggled with tracking my food.  The tracking happens at the end of the day or even the next day.  No surprise here, I am regularly exceeding my healthy food limits.  I bought into the lie that my hectic schedule is a reason not to track my food and physical activity.  The scale on the other hand reveals the truth. 

Today in my quiet time, Paul’s writing to the Romans 8:7 helped me. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

I am encouraged by the good news.  When we allow the Spirit to control our mind, we enjoy life and peace.  Tracking my food and exercise helps my mind to know when enough is enough.  I am focusing on the care of my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.   In the same way I ask the Lord to bless my food, I need to ask him to bless my tracking.  Tracking my activity allows the Holy Spirit to govern my mind.  Peace comes when I have tracked at the time of my meals.  From this point forward, every time I fill out my tracker, I will thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit who is in me.  (1 Corinthians 6:19)


My prayer today: Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I have resisted tracking and allow my flesh to govern my mind.  Lord, you are my strength; your Spirit gives life because of your righteousness.  Help me to allow your Holy Spirit to govern my mind.  Thank you for the resulting peace and healthy life.  Amen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Check Your Motive

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

When our motive is to please people, we are not serving God.   Serving Christ is our priority.   When I am trying to please the world, I give up and quit.   Before Christ I had decades of repeated weight loss, giving up and gaining back weight.  Each time I was heavier.  The chart looks like the stock market, up, down, up, up, down, up, up, down.   My weight gain was a steady rise over the long haul.

In my quiet time (First Place 4 Health bible study), I questioned my motive. Why did I want to lose weight?  When I sensed the love of the Lord my motive changed.  I want to serve the Lord every day, always. When I changed my motive, I was able to maintain weight loss.   In order to serve, I needed to be healthier.  I find it easier to choose the right quality and quantity of food and find time to strengthen my body when I see the actions pleasing to God.

Lord, forgive us for all the times we focus on the world and not you.   You are our salvation and strength. Show us what is pleasing to you.  Provide us the strength and power to please you with each step we take towards You.  Thank you, Lord, for your mercies and love. Amen

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why is rebelling my first response?

But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”  Ezekiel 2:8

The old Helen daily devoured a large bowl of ice cream with bananas, nuts and a cherry on top.  I worked hard and deserved this delicious dessert.  When I started reading labels, I was in sticker shock.  My nightly sundae was over 600 calories:   banana - 105 calories, 1.5 cups of “lite” ice cream - 350 calories, add nuts – 150 calories, and then chocolate syrup, and the cherry.  

In Ezekiel 2:8, listening is the first action we need to take.  How amazing that the Lord wants to talk and direct our ways.  The next action is what not to do, rebel.  When I listen, I find the first thing I think is “No, I don’t want to”.  Why is our natural response to rebel?  I want to obey the Lord, so I fight this and proceed to “Yes, I want to do this.”  What do I need to do/change/consider so I say, “Yes”?  

Scripture about food jumps off the page at me.  This scripture is no different.  We are to open our mouth and eat what God gives. Finding healthy replacements to the worldly food is critical to our healthy success. Cold turkey works for a few weeks, even months.  Slowly, we become resentful and our resolve weakens. 

I discovered Fruit Smoothies were a worthy replacement to my end of day treat.  When you blend 1 cup of skim milk, ¼ of a banana, and a cup of frozen strawberries, the result is a large volume of naturally sweet milkshake with only 190 calories. I am thankful for the healthy delicious food the Lord provides.

My new self is committed to eating only what the Lord provides.  The world takes the healthy food the Lord provides and adds to it.  Ice-cream sundaes started out as milk and fruit.   As we processed our food more and more, we added the sugar and the fat.   I am thankful to have healthy replacements.   Often times, the healthy replacement is food in the natural state that the Lord provided. 

My prayer:  Lord, forgive me for the wrong choices I have made in the past.   You are my Lord; help me to seek you first in all things. Remind my ears to listen for your direction.  Give me courage to not rebel against you.  I want to take up your cross daily and share in your mission.  Lord, help me to eat your food and resist the food the world has tempted me to eat.  Thank you Lord, for loving and providing for me.  Amen.

What are your worthy replacements?