RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 12

Moving on to the twelfth week of this challengeLast week we worked on adding a body benefitting goal. This week, we are going to go on our final treasure hunt. 

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

Treasures In Heaven

Most of us would nod a hearty amen at the verse above. We know we can’t take our earthly “riches” with us. We picture houses, money, cars, clothes, and jewelry… to name only a few. It is valid that we must keep all of these in proper perspective. We already know our “stuff” shouldn’t come before God and others.

But how does this relate to our pursuit of weight loss? After all, God wants us to take care of our bodies, right? I am so hopeful that at this point in our twelve week journey you have begun to pursue God above all else… even weight loss.

We have seen that we can certainly worship our boundaries, tools, exercise plans, or even 12 week challenges. Expecting these things to “save us” from our harmful habits and behaviors is futile at best and destructive at worst. Putting our faith in them is no different than laying “up for yourselves treasures on earth”.

If you treasure the tools and methodologies more than you treasure the Lord, your heart will be subject to the whims of this world, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We want our hearts focused on God because He is faithful and He will not abuse that responsibility. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is our constant.  This cannot be said of anything else in our universe.

You can test where your heart is by asking yourself if you are still seeking after “self” or if you are seeking, above all, a true, thriving, and satisfying relationship with the Lord.

Vision Check

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

~Matthew 6:22-23

“How great is that darkness” indeed! Remember week two? We began speaking directly to our souls by looking ourselves in the eye as we spoke truth. I hope you’ve continued that practice. It is so important that we remain in the light. We don’t want to be full of darkness. Our old identities were dark, but our identities in Christ are light.

Where we were once enslaved by habits, we can now walk in liberty in Christ Jesus.

Are you still viewing yourself the way you were almost twelve weeks ago? When we focus on earthly things or the world’s vision, our spiritual vision is hindered and we are unable to see Truth.

Or, have you begun to believe you are who God says you are? I certainly hope so. Some things will take longer than three months to transform, but progress should be there if you’ve kept your focus in the right place.

One Master

 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” ~ Matthew 6:24 (ESV)

In studying this passage from Matthew 6, I was thinking how it seemed like Jesus harps on this way too much. I mean, shouldn’t we get it when he talks about not storing up earthly treasure? But He always has a purpose. He’s gone from something we all concede is really obvious and then He zeroes in tighter and tighter as we go.

He takes us from earthly treasures (external) to the condition of our souls (internal). Then, He goes one step further for those who think they are “managing” both God and their “idols”. They think they can follow both. Perhaps they will say, “Of course God is above all these things”, but their actions prove otherwise.

What do we put first? If we wrote out a timeline of our days, what would this reveal about our priorities? If I only have enough time one morning to have time with the Lord or exercise, and I know whichever I don’t choose will not get done that day (if I’m honest with myself), what does my choice reveal?

If I spend time tracking food and exercising, but fail to carve out time with the Lord, which master am I serving?

The irony here is that serving anything other than God crowds Him out of our vision. We become slaves to that which we give reign over us. When we surrender our freedom to earthly things, we are taken captive by them.

However, the opposite is true by allowing God to be our master. When we bow to Him, seek His face, and obey His commands, we realize we are free. The beauty is, we are then free to choose boundaries and an exercise plan with God’s blessing and help. As we continue to bow to His authority, He gives us the strength to keep our boundaries.

I agree, it makes no human sense to be mastered by something and yet be free. This is only possible when God is the master.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
~ Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

 So, as we go through this final week of the challenge, we are going on another treasure hunt. It is my prayer that by treasure hunting the past three weeks, you will become even more convinced that the Master you have chosen is more than worthy of this position in your life.

Week 12 – 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 6 days, + God glorifying music 4 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 7 days for at least 15 minutes.
Released 4.8 lbs the eleventh week :)*
Challenge Total: -9.4 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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RYM 12 Week Challenge: Week 11

Moving on to the eleventh week of this challengeLast week we worked on taking all thoughts captive. This week, we are going to add a new healthy habit. 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Whatever You Do 

In this “Information Age” we are bombarded daily with things the health experts think we should or shouldn’t be doing. This information is often conflicting from one guru to the next. If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves caught in a never ending cycle of chasing the next answer to our problems. Have you ever spent hours researching a new diet plan or a new supplement? I have.

The enemy would love for us to get so caught up in following the world’s advice and bombarded by information that we forget to consult the Lord on what we should do.

Still, despite all of the information out there, common sense tells us some things are beneficial, such as: drinking water, eating veggies, adequate sleep, taking a multi-vitamin…etc.

We’ve focused on food boundaries and exercise, and during this week as we focus on our bodies again, it is time to add another beneficial habit. What that habit will be is entirely up to you. We want to choose something good for us on a physical level. It needs to be simple and clear. Using the things I listed above, your goal statement for this week might be:

My goal is to drink 64 oz. of water each day this week.
My goal is to add a green salad three days this week.
My goal is to go to bed 8 hours before I have to get up every night this week.
My goal is to take my multivitamin with breakfast every morning this week.

There could be other habits you find more important than these, so feel free to choose something else. Be sure to write down your “My goal is” statement for the upcoming week.

Beginning any new habit will take some discipline and focus. As a daily reminder, be sure to say your goal statement aloud each day. Please only choose one new habit. Once you have this one down, you can add another one in the future.

Remember, our priority is to renew our minds and to seek God’s guidance as we travel this journey. We want to think God’s thoughts about all things, even our habits. So, as you build this new habit, make sure you are glorifying, thanking, and praising Him in the process.

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
~ Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Week 11 – 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 6 days, + God glorifying music 6 days, kept my food boundaries 7 days, and exercised 4 days for at least 15 minutes.
My wt. stayed the same the tenth week :)*
Challenge Total: 4.6 lbs
*for more commentary on this weigh in, join the TFTSG.
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SSMT 2017: Verse 6

I’m a little late posting my latest verse (will back-date this post), but I am still working toward the goal with the Siesta Scripture Memory Team. For more information, check out Beth Moore’s post.

I posted my sixth verse over at Beth’s Blog where Beth has included a wonderful video of encouragement. I loved that she referenced our focus verse from last week’s RYM challenge lesson. Over the next two weeks I’m going to be working on memorizing Hebrews 10:36.

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” ~Hebrews 10:36 (NASB)

I’ve chosen this verse because I have decided to change my food boundaries. My weight has been stalled for 6-7 months in the same 5-8 lb range (been in the same 2 lb range for almost 3 months of that). Weight isn’t the only reason… in fact, it isn’t even the main reason I’m changing boundaries. I’ve been feeling crummy lately (partly due to stress and partly do to what I’m eating).

I’ve clung to my WW points boundary (Mar 2016- Feb 2017) and then switched to tracking calories 4 weeks ago (still not losing and still feeling icky). So, now I’m going to try being more choosy about what I eat. I’m already vegan 90+% of the time, but I have strayed from my original intent to be “whole-food plant-based” – which basically means less junk and processed foods. Yes, there are junky vegan foods.

Anyway, I will definitely need “endurance” and right thinking as I make these changes, hence the verse choice.

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.
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