30 January 2014

My Identity In Christ

Who am I? 

Vivian the abandon? Vivian the rejected? Vivian the divorcee? Vivian the heavy set lady?

NO!!!

Vivian is God's workmanship! Depending on the version of the Bible, I am God's masterpiece!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)


Vivian, the forgiven child of God.

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:24 (NLT)

Vivian, the set free child of God.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)

Vivian, the accepted child of God.

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. 1 Corinthians 1:2 (NLT)

Vivian, the holy child of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT)

Vivian, the made-new child of God.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

Vivian, the loved child of God. AND CHOSEN by God!

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4 (NLT)

Vivian, the close child of God.

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 (NLT)

Vivian, the confident child of God.

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

Vivian, the victorious child of God.  

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NLT)

Oh there is so much more!!! These don't even touch the "tip of the iceberg" of my identity in Christ!  These are good promises for me to cling to.  These are good promises for you to cling to!  I am made for so much more than what the voices of my circumstances yell at me!  I am made to crave God! I am made to love God! I am made to serve God with all my heart, soul, and strength!  Sometime in like choices were made by others that hurt me.  Sometime in life choices were made by me that hurt me. God is like ... "Let Me redeem that hurt and use it to help another who is hurting. Let Me have it, heal it, redeem it, and use it."

You are made for more!

I'd like to share a link with you.  This lady isn't a part of the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study BUT she is the first person I read who's list started making me see me the way God sees me. Here is a direct link to Sharon Jaynes page with the list called My New Identity In Christ: 

http://sharonjaynes.com/my-new-identity-in-christ/#sthash.BhYtss8m.dpbs
  


28 January 2014

THIS IS HARD! Denying the Crave

Right now, I really ... really want something to eat!  My stomach isn't yelling at me but my senses are ... We watched Touched By An Angel tonight.  LOVE Della Reese! Roma Downing! Anyway, when I watch television for whatever reason in the realm of pure entertainment, I eat a snack. So, tonight, I ate an apple or two. That should have did the trick, right? Nope! My tongue is use to the that popcorn stuff.  Something sweet and chocolatey. And I denied myself that craving.  I ate an apple.

You see, I'm not hungry! It's habit.  I feel full!  It's habit.  My body is use to demanding something and me responding.  I have to train myself to say "no" to its demands.

So, here I am ... blogging.  Rambling about denying this crave.  You know what? It's starting to lower ... starting to fade. I just needed to wait and do something else to take my mind off it.  Give it time to pass.

Well ... y'all may see a lot of these! LOL

23 January 2014

Permissible But Not Beneficial

First, I'm enjoying the study on Made to Crave (M2C) byLysa TerKeurst through the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. It is affirming another book I am working through called Lose It For Life (LIFL).

In LIFL, the writers mention once we turn 21 we are adults and can do WHATEVER we want. We can smoke cigarettes. We can have sex. We can go where we want and when we want. HOWEVER, many of these things cause problems. Just because we can doesn't mean we should. 

Let's talk about the issue with sex. Just because our parents are not hovering over us doesn't make having sexual relationships outside of marriage beneficial.  In my personal experience, many years ago, it left me feeling empty. I wanted to be loved so bad! There wasn't any security. The guy can go anytime he wanted and never hear from him again. No accountability. No responsibility. Emptiness. Rejection. Then there's the moment of complete desperation and fear no one would ever love me that I settled for someone who poured all kinds of physical attention on me. We did marry and we did divorce. That's my personal experience! It's a miracle I didn't contact a disease!! That's the other down side to sexual relationships that aren't in a sealed, committed marriage. Both men and women run a HIGH risk of getting a sexual disease. Another goes back to responsibility. What if a child is born? The "un-beneficial" could go on and on. Just because "we can" doesn't mean "we should". There are emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences to the mentality of "I'm an adult and I can do whatever I want!". Just because it is permissible doesn't make it beneficial.

Now, I'll move to food. I'm 36 years old. I work for a living. I earn my money. Why can't I eat whatever I want to eat? Oreos are delicious! Nutella on waffles are a delight! Oh ... those chocolate chocolate chip muffins from Sam's are to DIE for! Then there are the potato chips. And the cheese sauces and dips. Oh the dinners a church can throw! Along with ice cream socials!! Thanksgiving and Christmas, oh, so delicious! I'm a good girl. I'm a single mom. I give up so much for my children and for God. I do all these things so right! I quit drinking alcohol years ago because I saw the path I was on. I've never smoked. I haven't ever abused drugs. I haven't been with a man since the divorce .... since the kids' dad. Why can't I have something that taste good? Why can't I have some pleasure?

Well, here's the problem. Just because it is permissible doesn't make it beneficial. You see ... heart disease runs in my family and so does diabetes. In 2012, I lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers Online. Life happened and I lost interest, lost my drive to want to. I gained it ALL back in 2013! I actually had a scare over the week end, thought I had gained more!! Turns out it was the swelling from being sick. Over the week end, the scale said 268. This morning (1/22/14) the scale said 261. I'm tired. I'm cranky. My mother is worried half to death I'm going to have a heart attack any day (my brother did have one at age 42). Just because I can eat whatever I want doesn't mean I should.

Food isn't evil. It's needed to nourish our bodies. There's nothing wrong with enjoying what we eat as long as it is in moderation. Food is a gift from God to us! 

As far as the comment about how much I already sacrifice for my children and God ... Truth is ... God wants what is best for me! He wants my heart to be healthy and my blood sugar to be under control. He wants me to live the days He has numbered for me to the fullest. If I don't make changes, I won't get to do that. I may not live to see my daughter get married. I may not live to see my son graduate. The benefits of changing ARE far better than the the consequences of this mentality "It's my body, I can do what I want!" Just because it is permissible doesn't make it beneficial to me ... to God ... to my two beautiful children ... to my poor mother!

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Hebrews 12:11-13 (NIV)

19 January 2014

Made to Crave -- Vivian's Take

Started the Proverbs Online Bible Study, Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  I hope I can join in the blog hop on this one!  I'd like to take time to write about an article by Christianity Today calling this "The Newest Gnostic Christian Diet".

First, "Made To Crave" isn't just about food.  How many of us turn to drugs, sex, porn, shopping, alcohol or other things rather than to God?  We all have a "God shaped" hole in our heart that leads us to crave Him. Instead of filling that hole with God, we fill it with other things and those things DO NOT satisfy!  Only God, the Living God, can help me in my situations, not food.

Second, I'd like to address this in the article is this quote "TerKeurst doesn't advocate going without food, but she does advocate a rigid devotion to a "healthy eating plan" (plus exercise) of the reader's choice."  Is this not what we call a "spiritual discipline" or "spiritual formation"?

Most of you know, I'm a member of the Church of the Nazarene.  I'd like to quote one of our boys on the definition of spiritual formation:


“Spiritual Formation is a process of being transformed into Christlikeness, through communal practices and participation in the “means of grace,” while giving attention to the care of self, which is demonstrated in loving others and being actively engaged in God’s redemption of all humans and creation.”
      Mark A. Maddix, 2011

Did you catch that? "Giving attention to the care of self" .... There was one section of the webcast Maddix talked about his diet and exercise routine!  There is nothing wrong with a person having a "rigid diet and exercise routine" in place to help him/her to be healthy.  Don't we encourage someone who is addicted to porn to avoid the magazine isle?  Don't we say "Don't take an alcoholic to a bar"? What's the difference? Why is the addiction to food taken so lightly?  In the book "Lose It For Life", the authors raise the question why isn't gluttony preached on? (Not a direct quote but a paraphrase.)

Food isn't bad. Food is needed for nourishment.  Food CAN NOT become the god we turn to satisfy the crave God has placed in us for Him!  It's not going to work!  What happens is we begin to worship the gift rather than the Giver.  This can be anything God has given us!  When we focus on the gift rather than the Giver, we have a problem. Know what? It's okay to address that problem.

Are there bad foods?  Yes.  Are some foods bad for some people? Well ... lets see ... Doctors put heart patients on low sodium and lower fat diets. Doctors put diabetics on no sugar or low carb diets. So, YES!

Lysa will be the first to tell you she loves the boxed brownie mix! What I encourage you to do is this: just because someone in the "Christian" realm writes a review on a book, don't take their word for it. Read it for yourself.  Don't just read it by itself.  Read the Bible, which is the source of Truth, along with the book.  Compare the book to what the Bible says.  Test it against God's Word.

Here's the jest of things .... God created each of us to crave Him.  Inside you, there is a God shaped hole.  Whatever you are trying to put in that hole to feel fulfilled, will only leaving you feeling more empty.  And this ... this is what "Made To Crave" is about!

With all this said, this is where God and me are at.  This will be the GREATEST and MOST DIFFICULT of my struggles!  It has been for 15 years.  Food is how I have handled so many traumatizing situations. It makes me feel good to have that sweet in the moment of hurt and pain.  Last year, I lost 50 pounds and I have gained it ALL back in the matter of months.  I need help!  I need God's help!  I don't care if someone's feeling get hurt if I don't try her cake or pasta dish.  This is my health.  My brother had a heart attack at age 42.  My sister is diabetic and takes blood pressure medicine.  My mother has congestive heart failure, one working artery, and is diabetic too.  This is about me needing to become healthy.  Before I can become physically healthy, I have to find out the spiritual why's.  I'm on the right track!  In the "Lose It For Life" book, I have really did some soul searching.  I'm discovering there are things I have never let God heal me on.  I thought I had but the best to tell if there is real healing is how often we think about the hurt or pain ... how often we talk about it.  God wants to redeem our story for His glory! We have to let Him! 

Resources:

Lysa TerKeurst http://lysaterkeurst.com/made-to-crave/

ChristianityToday http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/march/newest-gnostic-christian-diet.html

And the PowerPoint from the Webcast: "Living the Life Spiritual Formation Defined" 

There was an error in this gadget