RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 10

We’re beginning the tenth week of this challengeLast week we worked on forgiving others (and ourselves). This week, we are going to take all thoughts captive. 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)

Captive Obedience 

This journey has already been about changing our thinking, so this week’s concept shouldn’t seem foreign to us. We’ve been pouring in God’s truth for weeks and now we are going to apply it directly to those thoughts we shouldn’t give free reign of our minds.

It is impossible for us to be obedient to Christ if our thought life is still running amuck. If you’re wondering, “Why can’t I just obey God?”, it’s because our thoughts dictate our actions. We addressed this in week two with thoughts about ourselves, but this concept extends far beyond our own navels.

How you view life, work, others… it matters. The verse above says, “every lofty opinion” and “every thought”. It does not say, “Destroy and take captive only those thoughts that you think might be harmful.” We’ve been deceived too long to get to pick and choose which thoughts matter and which ones don’t.

One tiny lie, left unchallenged, can grow into an enormous believe system that can destroy a person’s life. If we filter our thought lives through the lens of God’s Word, we will dramatically reduce the risk of being fooled by the enemy.

Learning to take every thought captive takes time. It isn’t something that suddenly happens when you decide, “I’m going to take every thought captive.” It begins with investing time with God and His Word. If you don’t know God, you will have a really difficult time recognizing what is contrary to His desire for you.

Next, we need to start asking God to reveal to us the thoughts which don’t align with His Word. And you know what, this can even be a seemingly harmless thought pattern.

A few years ago, God pointed out to me that every time, after I stepped on the scale, I would mentally play the number in my head over and over the rest of the day. I didn’t know I was doing this, but after He pointed it out, I started to see that not only was I replaying the weight, most of the time, my mind replayed a heavier weight than what I actually saw that morning. Talk about deceiving! I was walking around all day thinking I was heavier than I was without realizing it!

This is one reason I encourage you to turn the number over to God after stepping on the scale. Get it out of your head and if it pops back in, take that thought captive…

“No, I am not defined by that number. I give that number to the Lord.”

…and make it obedient to Christ:

“In Christ I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

I know it may seem a bit repetitious to still be talking about renewing our minds and taking thoughts captive ten weeks into this challenge, but we’re getting down to the details here. You could think multiple times a day: “I have so much work to do when I get home” without even realizing it. You may even think it’s a true statement that isn’t harmful at all. However, what did you feel when you read it?

Were you filled with joy and energy? Probably not. More likely, you were filled with dread and exhaustion. If you thought this all day while you were away from home, this thought process would definitely influence your actions.

Stress eat anyone? What about eating to procrastinate from all that work you’ve been dreading? Or, maybe you don’t eat but end up snapping at your spouse or your kids. And to think, that extra padding on our hips might be the result of a seemingly harmless thought bouncing around in our heads all day.

What if you took that thought captive instead? The thought enters your mind and you immediately take it captive:

“No, I will not worry about what I have to do later. I am choosing to live in this current moment. Lord, I cast that worry at your feet.”

…and make it obedient to Christ:

“The Lord will never leave me nor forsake me. I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength. He tells me to be anxious for nothing and I know He will help me deal with whatever comes when I get home.”

When we first begin to recognize the seemingly harmless thoughts running rampant in our minds, we may have to take them captive and make them obey over and over in a single day (or even a single hour). Eventually, the chain will break though and we will find ourselves living in the safe freedom of captive obedience rather than the harmful bondage of captivating strongholds.

We have the weapons we need. We’ve been practicing pouring in God’s Truth. Let’s apply it to every aspect of our thought life and witness the transforming work of the Lord God Almighty!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (ESV)

Week 10 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 6 days, and exercised 4 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m up 0.6 the ninth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 9

It’s crazy that we are already to week nine of  this challengeLast week we went on our second treasure hunt of the challenge. This week, we are going to tackle a biggie. 

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

Forgiving One Another 

Breathe. Take a deep breath, and ask God to help you stick with me this week. I guarantee, it will likely be painful and unpleasant at first, but God has big things in store for us when we truly learn to forgive.

For years I would have said, “Of course I forgive others, God says we should, so I do.” Unfortunately, I was very deceived and didn’t recognize all the anger and bitterness I carried.

I grew up hearing stories about that guy in the book of Matthew who was forgiven some huge debt only to turn around and have some poor guy thrown in jail for not repaying a much smaller debt. (Matthew 18:21-35) I always thought, “How horrible of that man! I’m nothing like him!”

In fact, I was exactly like him, without even realizing it. Forgive? It was something I said with my mouth but my mind held on… replayed the hurt… swore never to trust that person….etc. I claimed everything from “they aren’t even sorry” to “I’m protecting myself” as justification for holding a grudge.

Webster’s says that a forgiving person “allows room for error or weakness”. If that doesn’t convict, Webster’s also says someone who forgives will “give up resentment of or claim to requital for” or “grant relief from payment of”. Um, are you needing to take some deep breaths again? Yeah, me too.

Isn’t this the very thing God offers each of us through the gift of salvation? Without His grace and mercy, we would be utterly destroyed. He wipes away our enormous sin debt, and yet we hold a rude remark against a neighbor. Yep, we’re like “that guy”.

Obviously, some of us are dealing with much bigger grievances than rudeness, but there is nothing too big for God’s redemption. In our own strength, we cannot forgive the big stuff (and maybe not even the small stuff), but we’re not supposed to be operating in our own strength.

Maybe you’re like I was and are thinking, “I don’t have a problem forgiving.” Well, I hope you’ll come along for the ride anyway. If nothing else, you will get a chance to solidify the practice of forgiveness before a root of bitterness ever has a chance to take hold. Of course, there could be something hiding under the surface too. Be open to God’s leading. This topic is far too big to tackle in just one week, but we’re going to begin to address it and ask God to do some healing.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

Week 9 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 2 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m down 0.2 the eighth week :)*
Challenge Total: 5.2 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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SSMT 2017: Verse 5

Still pressing on with the Siesta Scripture Memory Team, just check out Beth Moore’s post.

I’ve already posted my fifth passage over at Beth’s Blog where K-Mac shares about her verse. I’m continuing with my plan to memorize Proverbs 3:13-18 between now and March 15th. So this segment will be Proverbs 3:17-18:

“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” ~ Proverbs 3:17-18 (ESV)

RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 8

We’re continuing through this challenge as we enter this eighth week. Last week we added exercise and I hope you’ve enjoyed working out with God. This week, we are going on another treasure hunt. 

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (ESV)

Treasure in Jars of Clay

Most of us would readily admit we are indeed “jars of clay”. We are very aware of our flesh throughout the day. However, one look at the imaginations of human beings throughout generations will tell you that most of us wish we weren’t confined by the laws of nature or these earthly vessels.

I’m sure most of us have imagined having superpowers at some point in our lives. Personally, I thought it would be cool to be able to fly or make myself invisible. I also wished I could run faster than humanly possible and imagined I could talk to animals. Ah, the faith of a child.

As we grow up, we just wish we had the power to resist falling into old, harmful patterns of behavior. We wake up, determine that today will be different, only to find ourselves elbow deep in a bag or box of something when the bewitching hour arrives. The cycle continues and we feel powerless to change.

It’s tempting to become angry at God for making us so weak in our flesh, but as the passage above shows, there is a purpose. God placed the light of the gospel within these clay vessels to show His awesome power. Without Him, we are subject to being tossed around by our emotions and physical limitations.

In fact, think about some of your favorite “super heroes”. Couldn’t some of those things from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 also be said of those fictional characters as they face their arch enemies? And yet, God’s Word says that is who we are in Christ.

The problem is, we often can’t see the light for the clay. We’re so focused on our weaknesses and yet still trying to do everything in our own strength. Then we blame God when we don’t have victory.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

What if we took a different approach? What if we followed Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 12:9 of how to view our weaknesses? Perhaps we would begin to comprehend just how valuable the treasure we have within truly is.

This week, as we go on another treasure hunt, let’s ask God to reveal any areas we may be striving in our own strength and not leaning on His awesome power.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Week 8 – Alrighty, we’re keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music, kept my food boundaries, and exercised 5 days for at least 15 minutes.
I’m down 1 the seventh week :)*
Challenge Total: 5 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
_______________________________________________________________________

New Christian Weight Loss Podcast

Barb Raveling has started another blog which will feature “Christian Weight-loss” related podcasts. She is calling it Taste For Truth Weight Loss Encouragement with Barb Raveling.

It is brand new so she only has three out there right now, but I know she’s got a backlog of recordings she’s already working on. Also, the second one is my interview with her about my renewing the mind journey to that point.

I think you’ll find encouragement in these podcasts, so I hope you’ll check them out. Barb is so gracious to share her knowledge on this subject.

RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 7

We’re half-way through this challenge and no doubt, those who are pressing through are experiencing change that only comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. Last week we addressed taking inventory of outside influences which may be counteracting our renewing of the mind efforts. This week, we will be focused on the physical parts of us again with an emphasis on exercise.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)

 Your Body, A Temple

I know it seems crazy to be doing a weight-loss challenge where exercise isn’t even introduced until week 7. That’s ok, I’ve been called much worse than crazy. This doesn’t mean I haven’t exercised for the past six weeks, quite the contrary, but this week we’re going to renew our minds about it so we can think God’s thoughts on the matter.

For years I only saw exercise in terms of how it affected my weight or made me look. I treated my body like a temple alright, but I focused on the “temple of Jules” and not the “temple of the Holy Spirit”. Exercise was about making me look good, allowing me to eat whatever I wanted, or trying to regain a figure I had lost.

Exercise, fitness, workout stats, flat abs, toned arms… they were an idol in my life. I bowed to them like I bowed to food. I spent years believing lies and living in utter fear of being overweight. As so often is the case, life happened and I could no longer practice my “exercise religion”. Eventually, “that thing which I feared came upon me” (Job 3:25) and I found myself classified as “obese”.

I tried for a while to get back what I had lost, but I was still trying in my own strength and still worshipping all the wrong things. It would be many years and countless injuries later that I would discover a much healthier way to view exercise.

Most would agree physical exercise is important for the health and wellbeing of our bodies. Even the Proverbs 31 woman understood the need to be physically strong so she could endure the day ahead. (Proverbs 31:17). Exercise helps all of our bodily processes function better. It also improves our mood and lowers blood sugar. When our bodies are strong, we are less prone to injury. And yet, none of these have anything to do with fitting into a size two dress or looking great in a swimsuit.

There is a vast difference in focus when we use exercise to aid our vanity as opposed to doing it to honor and glorify the Lord. One feeds our flesh and one feeds our spirit. We are to be good stewards of what He has given us to care for. Unfortunately, so many of us end up worshipping the temple (or berating it) rather than worshipping the One Who made it.

Which leads me to the focus of this week. Yes, we are going to exercise, but we are going to ask God to keep it in proper perspective. One way to do this is to thank God after every workout for the ability to accomplish the task. I often thank God for my legs and joints after a run because I know, from my days on the injured list, that without these things, I couldn’t run.

You see, it is all about perspective. Are we grateful for the ability to move our bodies and offer our workouts to God as a form of praise? Or, are we bitterly lacing up our shoes because we ate a box of donuts the day before, and now we must pay the price? Perhaps we live in a third category of feeling guilty for not exercising. I spent years in the latter two categories and can tell you they are not the best way.

“I Can’t Want To”

When my oldest daughter was three, she would often say, “I can’t want to” when asked to do anything she was less than thrilled about. Maybe that’s how you feel about exercise. You think you “can’t want to”, but is that the truth? Doesn’t the Bible say we can do all things through Christ? (Philippians 4:13)

Sure, exercise is difficult, but a funny thing happens once you build the habit of exercising regularly for the right reasons. After a little bit, you actually want to do it. You begin to notice you feel better physically and mentally, and when you add praising God, the “want to” comes even faster.

Each day you set aside the old negative mindsets around exercise and you work-out with God, it gets easier. Now, obviously, you need to choose something that is somewhat enjoyable to you, or at a minimum something which interests you. I’ve done various forms of exercise over the years and, while figure skating and taekwondo rank pretty high on my list, I much prefer to be outside in God’s creation. This is one reason I enjoy running, walking, and hiking the most.

Maybe you think you’re too out of shape to exercise. Well, then it’s time for a trip to the doctor. If your doctor clears you for moderate activity, there are many things you can do. You don’t have to just sit on the sidelines, but you also don’t have to run hurdles in the one hundred yard dash. Pick some form of movement and get started. The most important part of whatever exercise program you choose is to do it to the glory of God.

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” ~ Psalm 119:36 (ESV)

Week 7 – We’re going to add 15 minutes of exercise at least three days a week as we continue to actively renew our minds by keeping the daily 20 minute appointment with God beginning with praise/worship, confession of sins, and the “who I am in Christ” mirror exercise. Finish up your 20 minutes with any method you wish. Don’t forget to get that background music going and to renew your mind any time you are tempted to or actually do break your boundaries. Be sure to take full advantage of Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds and I Deserve a Donut by Barb Raveling.

For “day by day” suggestions, join the Taste For Truth Support Group and download this week’s PDF.

_______________________________________________________________________
Weekly Challenge Check-in:
Renewed my mind for at least 20 minutes a day, + God glorifying music, & kept my food boundaries.
I’m up 1.6 the sixth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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SSMT 2017: Verse 4

Goodness gracious, is it the middle of February already? Well, I’m pressing on with the Siesta Scripture Memory Team, just check out Beth Moore’s post.

I’ve already posted my fourth passage over at Beth’s Blog and she has a cutie little encouraging video for us. I’m continuing with my plan to memorize Proverbs 3:13-18 between now and March 15th. So this segment will be Proverbs 3:15-16.

I’m already behind on decorating my cards, but that’s ok, that has been lower on the priority list of late:

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