Love Your Body: Use Your Freedoms Wisely

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Last Monday was actually Love Your Body Monday, but as I mentioned in that post, Why I Have Hope for Katy Perry, I felt led that someone needed me to write about prodigals last week. So I’m switching Mondays on you, ha ha.

This week, we celebrate our Independence on the 4th of July. While I could write an entire post on how important it is to remember that we’re in a battle to maintain our religious freedoms and independence from government and special interest groups trying to take away those freedoms and misinterpret what our founding fathers wanted for us, I’m going to refer you to a great article by Todd Starnes, Teens Threatened with Arrest for Praying—in America! Todd gives a shout out for every Christian not to become complacent as we watch yet another cross torn down, or a 10 Commandments monument destroyed. People doing these sacrilegious acts are clueless that nothing can destroy the Cross or the will or presence of God—not a wrecking ball, sludge hammer, car, dynamite, unfair law—yep God’s still omnipresent and omnipotent!

But I diverse, let’s get back to how independence effects our bodies and our health. Once we move into our teens and adulthood, we usually have freedom to determine what we eat, when we eat it, and how much we eat. I remember when I went off to college and staying in the dorms came with an all-you-can-eat meal pass in the cafeteria! After growing up with my mom carefully portioning out food on our plates and determining what we ate, it was amazing and a little overwhelming to have so many food choices! Some foods I’d never even tried before. Since I was getting a degree in Dietetics, I made wise choices (for the most part LOL), but let’s just say it’s a good thing I didn’t have a car and had to do a lot of walking around campus!

Often the resistance people have to eating healthy is that it’s their body and they’ll do what they want with it, whether it’s unhealthy eating and drinking, or even drugs, cigarettes, promiscuous sex, and sadly abortion. But thinking of our bodies as our own is a false statement fed and fueled by the father of lies who can’t create anything but deterioration, destruction, and decay.

God created every person. No one created himself or herself, and no one comes into being except through God. Every atheist or unbeliever, who by birth becomes part of “mankind,” has to admit he or she was created by something, even if they don’t believe the Scriptures that affirm it is was God! I wonder who or what they think made them and breathed life into them?!

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

God does care about what we do with the body He gave each of us. It’s not our body, it’s His. We aren’t supposed to treat our God-given body like it’s worthless to anyone but us. When you think of the intricate workings of our bodies that sustain life, it’s almost more than our minds can conceive. I’m sure every doctor who studies the body has to stand in awe. It’s hard to imagine any of them could not be believers, and yet, I had a radiation oncologist who was an atheist!

God cares how we treat His intricate temple that comprises our body, soul, and spirit:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:10-20

God cares so much about your body that He even knows the hairs on your head, and those that fall. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

Now it’s true that God isn’t going to love us any more or less based on how we treat our body, and He has given us free will. But when He created man and woman, He did say that it was good. He was pleased with His creation, and before the fall I have to believe that the Garden of Eden was full of fabulous food! Everything Adam and Eve had at their fingertips would have nourished them and kept them healthy. But we all know what happened when they gave into Satan’s temptation by eating what they weren’t supposed to eat and God cast them out of the garden. They had to start making their own food choices, just like we do.

One last point I want to make is that some people can eat whatever they want without any problems of weight or health issues. I hope you savor that freedom, but don’t boast about it because not everyone is like you. Be considerate with your freedoms, especially as we enter a holiday weekend remember:

Maybe you can eat steak, ribs, and hamburgers, but someone else is trying to lower red and fatty meat intake because of high cholesterol or cancer. Don’t berate them; offer an alternative choice like fish, chicken or turkey.

Maybe you’re a meat lover, but someone else is vegetarian. Have many veggies and salads available.

Maybe you can eat desserts with no concern for weight gain, but someone else is trying to lose weight, is a diabetic, or history of cancer. Don’t tempt them with gooey concoctions that will only make them feel guilty later or maybe seriously hurt their health. Offer fruit and light cheese to your dessert menu.

Maybe you can drink a glass of wine or have a beer, but someone else doesn’t drink, can’t tolerate alcohol without getting drunk, is an alcoholic, or young children and teens are watching. More accidents happen from drinking on holiday weekends than from any other cause. There are so many nonalcoholic sparkling alternatives and parties really are more fun when everyone has their faculties about them and is coherent.

Here’s the bottom line, just because you have the “right” to do something doesn’t make it righteous. With freedom comes responsibility . . .

“It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:8-9 NLT

I pray each of you has a happy, healthy, safe Independence and Freedom in God we Trust Day!

Janet

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Love Your Body: Is Overeating A Sin?

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Today is Memorial Day and the grandkids are visiting, so I’m going to re-post an updated article I wrote two years ago but still is so relevant on this Love Your Body Monday. At the end of this blog, I share a blog post that I couldn’t have written better myself.

Are You Being Tempted to Overeat Today?

Healthy Eating

Chances are you’re going to a picnic or BBQ today and you’ll survey a table full of delectable foods just calling your name. Foods like chips and dips, greasy ribs or fried chicken, and oh, the desserts … luscious brownies, pies, homemade ice cream maybe even with toppings. You think to yourself, well it’s a holiday and I’ll go on a diet tomorrow. But wait, haven’t you been saying that since New Years and now it’s six months later and you’re still playing that same “holiday” excuse for eating unwisely? There’s a “holiday” almost every month when we could justify “going off the diet” not to mention vacation time. I did write a blog post last year to help you Love Your Body On Vacation.

What if you looked at that table spread of food and mentally labeled each food that you know you shouldn’t be eating as “poison,” which you wouldn’t eat even when it wasn’t a holiday. That’s exactly what I do when I encounter a potluck. We now live in the land of potlucks at church, small group, people houses … and I never know what they’re serving or what’s in some of the dishes. So I make sure to take something to the potluck I can eat … usually a green salad, watermelon, or fruit. I don’t eat red meat or pork, so if that’s what they’re serving, I just fill up on the things I can eat. It won’t hurt me not to have the “main dish.”

Often The Church Encourages Overeating

The church has always been a place of eating and overeating as we fellowship together. The early Christians ate together and “broke bread,” but I doubt their potlucks would look like ours today. Church gatherings often center on food, and sadly, many pastors are overweight. Not so much the younger generation of pastors, but many of the older pastors set poor examples of taking care of their bodily temples. Especially when the Bible says that gluttony and overeating is wrong!

Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness

—Ezekiel 16:49 NLT

Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
point your life in the right direction.
Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk;
don’t eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
in a stupor and dressed in rags.

—Proverbs 23:19-21 The Message

I find that people often consider me an anomaly at our church as I ask what’s in something or only have a few items on my plate at a potluck or dinner event. One person even made the comment, “I saw you eat some chicken so I guess you do eat ‘normal.’” I laughed and said, “Yes I do eat normal, it’s just depends on your definition of normal.

Why Aren’t There More Sermons on Overeating as a Sin?

Like any sin, sin is personal and today especially even the church shrinks from calling out personal sin and its dangers. Churches are full of unmarried couples living together—that’s a sin. And they’re also full of parishioners eating themselves to death—that’s a sin too. But how often do you hear either as a topic of a sermon?

This week, I came across a blog post and I thought to myself, I must share this with my followers. It’s written by a pastor and I couldn’t say it any better than he did, so I’m going to leave you with the link and encourage all of you to prayerfully read it and consider for yourself whether or not you’re abusing your body with food and would that be considered a sin in God’s eyes.

Pray for the Military

American flag                       

Today, is a day to honor those who died in battle fighting for the very freedoms that many in our government and the liberal progressive left are trying to take away from Conservatives and Christians today, especially the men and women in the military. Read this articleAir Force general who spoke of God should be court-martialed.” Weep and pray as you remember the men and women who gave their lives so that you and I could worship the One True God.

Now, go to this link to read about “The Sin of Overeating” and if you received this blog by email, leave your comments here.

Love Your Body: Don’t Let Bullies Get To You

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Last month’s Love Your Body Monday was on the topic of “Why Are We Still So Angry?” One way anger expresses itself is through bullying—and whether you’re the person doing the bullying or on the receiving end, it’s not healthy!

Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing. Pr. 22:8 MSG

Bullying has always been a serious problem with school kids. We’ve seen tragedies of children committing crimes of violence, assault—even murder—and children bullied to the brink of suicide.

Adults shake their heads in dismay wondering the source of these children’s anger. Why do they feel such little concern for the feelings, dignity, or honor of others? What has happened to regard for human life? There seems to be no limits to vengefulness, humiliation, meanness, degradation, hurt, spite, revenge, or harm. Often no purpose or reason for the bullying . . . “Just for the fun of it.” “Just because.” “Something to do.” On a dare. Bored. See if they could get away with it.

With the rise of electronics and cell phones in every child’s hand and computers at home, it’s become easier and easier to use words and pictures as weapons with no boundaries, safe-guards, rules, or supervision to stop bullies from torturing other children in cyber space, if not face to face. Bullying no longer has to leave visible physical bruises, black eyes, and broken bones—the damage is now inflicted internally with words, images, and crushing spirits.

If you’re the parent of the bully, you wonder what you’ve done wrong. If your child is bullied, your heart breaks, because nothing will ever erase the words they’ve heard, the names they’ve been called, the pictures viewed, the social torture they’ve endured that will haunt them for life.

Here is a definition of bullying:

Wikipedia defines bullying as:

There is no universal definition of bullying, however, it is widely agreed upon that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time.[11] Bullying may thus be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally.

The Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus[12] says bullying occurs when a person is “exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons”. He says negative actions occur “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways.”[12] Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.[

Cultural Bullying

The spike in school bullying is not surprising. Instead of adults setting a role model to guide the younger generation to treat others by the “Golden Rule,” bullying has become accepted communication. Who would have ever imagined the things we hear on television, the media, and read in the news today? I just saw the term “Bullying Fake News!” No boundaries, nothing off limits. No rules. No guidelines, nothing sacred—no concern for feelings, unprofessionalism, unkindness, rudeness, ungentlemanly or unlady-like behavior, disrespect, fowl language, crudeness.

Pretentious with arrogance,
they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,
decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;
they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,
loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words. Psalm 73:6-10 MSG

Here are just a few public examples of bullying:

Beauty and Beast Actors Mock Christians

Katie Rich of ‘S.N.L.’ Is Suspended for Tweet Mocking Barron Trump

Watch Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer Return to Hit Donald and Ivanka Trump Where It Hurts

Dumping on Trump Pays Off For Late-Night TV Shows

Chelsea Handler Shames, Bullies Melania Trump Over English

Recently, extreme bullying was acceptable when a rapper made a video replicating assassinating the President and another rapper followed with a lewd verbal and tweeting attack on the First Lady, with no repercussions! Not even a reprimand, except for those who objected on social media and Fox News. Others encouraged them, just like thousands who watch Saturday Night Live as they bully and mock the Commander and Chief, his administration, and family, and call it “humor,” while talk show hosts make a living bullying them and others.

Crude, lude, degrading remarks and skits about others is sick, satirical, critical, hurtful, and demeaning and reflects the darkness in the heart of those who create and consider this humor and funny. A window into the unhealthy culture our young people are exposed to and why they are so easily prone to bullying.

Respect isn’t a word commonly used today or displayed for our National Anthem, our flag, our military, our President, Our Father . . . or each other!

Jesus Was Bullied—the Bible called it Persecution

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.—John 5:16

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:20

Stay Healthy—Bless the Bullies!

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:10

If you take a stand for the Lord in today’s godless culture, you’re going to endure persecution and bullying: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12. I encounter bullying almost daily. At first, I took it personally and felt like arrows hitting my heart. They didn’t know me. How could they call me those vile names—the election season was vicious. If they knew I was a Christian, the name calling, was worse. So I had to make a healthy choice. Determine this would not affect me emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Nor would I back down from standing strong for Jesus and the call I feel He has put on my heart, my ministry, and my writing.

I had to figure out how not to receive the bullying and not dish it back: “Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, always spoiling for a fight. Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life. Why be a bully? “Why not?” you say. Because God can’t stand twisted souls. It’s the straightforward who get his respect.” Pr. 3:30-32 MSG

You’ve probably experienced the same and asking: But what if it’s a friend? A family member? A loved one? People today feel justified saying whatever they want, calling you names, or ridiculing your beliefs. You feel your blood pressure rising, your stomach churning, your sadness quotient moving towards depression or retaliation.

This isn’t the neighborhood bully mocking me—I could take that. This isn’t a foreign devil spitting invective—I could tune that out. It’s you! We grew up together! You! My best friend! Those long hours of leisure as we walked arm in arm, God a third party to our conversation. Ps. 55:12-14 MSG

My granddaughter and I were talking about how to respond when someone says or does something that makes her angry. Maybe a friend, her siblings, a kid at school. I was helping her understand that when she responds the same way, her behavior isn’t any better than the one treating her badly. They’re both in the wrong. She looked at me with eyes that said, so what should I do? I said the way to surprise the person bullying her, or to catch them off guard, was to say, “Well, bless you!”

The shocked expression on my granddaughter’s face was priceless, before she burst out laughing! Then we practiced Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35-39

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Love Your Body—Why Are We Still So Angry?

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Here we are again—the last Monday of the month—Love Your Body Like God Loves Your Body Monday! If you’re on social media, or watch any kind of news or talk shows, you’ve probably noticed an undercurrent of anxiety and anger. It’s actually been going on for several years, during the election cycle. Last October, I wrote a post Love Your Body: Why Are We So Angry? where I talked about how to overcome the Election Stress Disorder so many people were experiencing.  We might have expected things to settle down and everyone to get back to normal after the inauguration this past January. But with daily news of protests and riots, newscasters continually stirring up fear and strife 24/7, the great divide between the liberal left and conservative right creating division in friends and family . . . the anger and angst is taking its toll on the American public.

So how are you doing? Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?

  • Insomnia?
  • Indigestion?
  • High blood pressure?
  • Weight gain or loss?
  • Uneasiness or anxiety?
  • Fear?
  • Misplaced Anger?
  • Restlessness?
  • Worry?
  • Depression

I have to admit, I’ve experienced some of these symptoms myself as I’ve been in the heat of the spiritual battle, but the Lord has helped me identify when I’m letting Satan’s “world” invade my space instead of me invading the world for God’s Truth. Christians champion most of the conservative right agenda, but since this world is not our final home, we must remember that our true allegiance is to Jesus Christ.

We’re not on the “right” side or the “left” side; we’re on Christ’s side!

Look at that list of symptoms above. None are from God! Yes, you can experience anger, but notice I said “misplaced” anger. That means you find yourself easily angered and acting irrationally at your spouse, the kids, the dog, your friend, your social media “friend,” the television, the media . . . yourself when you forget something or make a mistake.

Conservatives should be rejoicing as they watch platform issues they voted for checked off their “wish list.” But instead, many find themselves trying to figure out why they’re not happier.

Last week, I wrote about Fake News Trumps Good News. It’s hard today to turn on the news and hear anything positive. Even those “checked off” items are twisted and turned into bad news so many people don’t feel victory or happiness because they’re still in the defend-and-justify mode. Peace doesn’t even come in victory. Satan wins whether they win or lose.

Hmmm . . . we need to do something about that or our bodies will pay the price. And yes, I’m speaking to myself too because I intend to stay in the spiritual battle, and I hope you will too. Many have thanked me for my bold stand as a “voice in the wilderness.” But as I said in “Taking the Gospel Viral,” the opening article of February’s About His Work Ministries Newsletter, the original voice in the wilderness, John the Baptist, ended up with his head on a platter.

Here are several suggestions that help me stay strong for God in a world that is not God-friendly, while keeping peace in my mind, body, and soul. I hope they will help you too:

  1. Pray the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 every morning.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

  1. Join a Bible study group. We need to be among like-minded people who study God’s Word and pray together for our country and for each other. It isn’t enough to just go to church on Sunday or even to have our own time with the Lord. Both are essential, but being a Christian requires—yes I said requires—being around other Christians who can build us up, let us know when we’re off track, pray for us, and remind us that we’re in the world but not of the world. Many people don’t think they need small groups, but they probably suffer from some of the symptoms I listed above. There are many verses to support this kind of fellowship . . .

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20

  1. Don’t watch the news, engage in social media, or watch NCIS-type or disturbing graphic murder programs in the evening before bed. If you find your heart racing or angry, don’t watch them anytime.

Troubling news, social media, graphic pictures, and dialogue stay in your mind and can disrupt your sleep. The injustice in some programs haunts me. I’ll give you an example. At the end of last season, we were watching a new program, Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland, about a terrorist attack on Washington killing the President and almost everyone on Capitol Hill. Sutherland, the HUD Director, was the next living person in line to become president. The program is full of deceit, lying, espionage, people and the media trying to take the new president down, and the viewer is privy to all of this . . . much like real life today. When we watched this program, my heart raced and I felt anxious. I finally told my husband I couldn’t take it anymore! In my downtime, I need to do something relaxing and refueling, especially before bed. Not watch something that leaves me anxious, unsettled, upset, and mentally exhausted. I would imagine you do too.

  1. Don’t listen to naysayers and remove yourself from unpleasant situations. We live in a cynical world. In last week’s blog, I posted how Melania Trump introduced President Trump by praying the Lord’s Prayer. Immediately, the liberal media and many on the left criticized her. But she said in advance to her opponents, “I will stay true to myself.” I would add, always stay true to God. And no matter what happens . . . be joyful that you’re pleasing Him . . . even if that angers others. Don’t internalize the anger of others.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-9

Like Mrs. Trump, I’ve also had others criticize, misconstrue, or take out of context something I’ve done or said. Or I’ve been in the middle of a firestorm where I’ve had to say, “Enough! I can’t do this anymore!”

So Finally, brothers and sisters fill our minds with, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

  1. We’ve talked a lot about exercise on Love Your Body Mondays. It always gets the endorphins going and clears my mind of negativity. It’s also a great time to pray and talk to God because . . .

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

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Love Your Body: Revive Sexual Purity

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

My goal for 2017 is staying aware of God’s presence and listening to His warnings. The word the Lord gave me: “Revival.” Today is Love Your Body Monday, and I want to talk about reviving sexual purity.

  1. Last Friday was the March for Life— the rights of the unborn. For the first time in history, a Vice President addressed the crowd and talked about “Life is winning again in America! Society can be judged by how we care for our most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled, the unborn. Science is illuminating when life begins!”
  2. Six days prior was the “Women’s March”—the right to kill the unborn by abortion. Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty described that march: “I was blown away by the vulgarity and the young children there!” I discussed that march in last week’s blog, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t: Some Women Are Still Like Eve: Believing the Serpent.

Two marches embodying two opposing concepts:

  • good vs evil
  • life vs death
  • peaceful vs angry
  • a body as God’s creation capable of creating and sustaining life, vs self-rights to use “my” body to create and kill life

In last week’s post, Eve and Adam ate from the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world. They immediately knew they were naked. (Genesis 3:2-3) Let’s continue:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.

Satan was watching and saw God say:

  • Eve would become the mother of mankind
  • Nakedness should be covered
  • Man would always know good from evil

Satan already knew he could easily deceive man. The stage was set for Satan to do his work as ruler of this world in each of the above areas:

  1. Destroy humankind by having them kill each other in wars, murders, riots, terrorists, and abortion–sanitizing it with a name like “Planned Parenthood.” Slow propagation through infertility, normalizing LGBT lifestyle, redefining marriage, and creating gender confusion.
  2. Exploit and pervert sex, promote promiscuity, adultery, pornography, provocative seductive clothing, immorality, and lust, using media, marketing, entertainment, and Hollywood as the vehicle to idolize, romanticize, and normalize sin to each generation.
  3. Start a political liberal progressive atheistic movement that demonizes purity, virginity, celibacy, monogamy, Christianity, and the sanctity of life—remove God and the Bible from the public squre.

Time has proven that what one generation does in moderation, the next generation does in excess because Satan goes after the children!

Satan’s tactics have worked. Christians talking about abstinence or purity  . . . are laughed at . . . called prudes, dreamers, delusional, judgmental, preachers, and worse. Many give up even trying. Pastors don’t talk about the hazards of sex outside of marriage . . . the moral, sinful, and physical consequences on our bodies . . . God’s precious holy temples.

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh. 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:15:20

Why aren’t pastors telling young people and congregations that when you have sex with another person you become one with them? Hook ups, one-night stands, date sex,  living together, casual sex . . . every person you EVER had sex with . . . your souls united because that’s how God made us “the two become one flesh (Gen. 2:24) in sex.  God meant for it to be in marriage. Satan the great Deceiver would say, God didn’t really mean that. Yes he did.

Let’s Start a Pure Body Revival

One woman wrote to me: My mother gave me birth control pills at 13 so I wouldn’t get pregnant with all the low life boys I would have sex with in my passage into womanhood.

That broke my heart. We need a sexual revival in our country. Let’s start educating our young men and women. Parents, churches, mentors teachers taking the time to teach kids what really happens spiritually when you have sex, not just the physical mechanics, but share verses like those above and ones on purity and holiness, do Bible studies together, and talk about why God wants His people to only have sex in marriage. Explain that sex is not a natural or expected part of a relationship unless you’re married, regardless of how the movies or TV depict it, or what your friends are doing.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word. Psalm 111:9

In Forsaken God? I wrote, “Young people need to hear how to use the Bible as a benchmark to distinguish truth from lies. They don’t need condoms and birth control pills and talks on safe sex; they need to know how to make choices based on eternity, not just avoiding maternity.”

Sexual revival applies to all ages and it won’t be popular, but we can pray for God to empower us and give us the opportunity to spread revival in our sphere of influence. Our culture ridicules men and women who vow celibacy until their wedding night. Rampant casual sex—hook ups, dating sex, friends with benefits, living together—reduces sex to lust, not love. The world, deceived by Satan asks, “What’s love got to do with sex?” Even many Christians choose to be a part of this world rather than set apart and pure for God who tells us “So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” –Lev. 20:7 (NLT)

Single moms and single women this means you too. You must set the example and role model for these young women and girls and for your daughters and sons. I was a single mom and I’ve been on both sides of this discussion. Yes, I was a virgin when I married my daughter’s father. We didn’t have birth control pills when I was a teenager. My mother wasn’t a religious person, but she told me emphatically that sex was for marriage. Sex can make babies. White wedding dresses are for virgins, and no boy or man is worth forfeiting that one-time sacred privilege. I believed her, and I waited, and I’m glad I did. She set a moral compass for me and I stuck to it.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how my moral compass shifted in my divorced, single years and I did not set a good role model for my daughter. I’m here to tell you that Satan is a liar. God made our bodies to glorify and honor Him, and praise God He is the God of many chances. For those who feel it’s too late, they aren’t a virgin or are too sexually impure so what difference does it make, God is the God of renewal. We can come before Him and ask for forgiveness for our past, repent, rededicate our life and go and sin no more just like the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well.

Satan makes the sinful life look exciting and enticing, but anyone who has come out of the dark into the light will tell you loving your body the way God loves your body is the only way to a joyful, peaceful life.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

Many will think I’m idealistic and sexual revival is impossible. I’m not naïve enough to think women and men are going to stop having sex outside of marriage, but maybe some will. The theme of this year’s Walk for Life was the Power of One. They stressed the importance of reaching the next generation, which is my passion too.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

I want to share two books: both from the Robertson family of the Ducky Dynasty TV Series. The Robertson’s are vocal about their faith and belief in Jesus Christ and family.

Sadie Robertson was seventeen when she wrote Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to her Values and I included this quote in my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

When you put your relationship with God first and you also have a great relationship with your family, you can risk having people get upset with you for standing up for your beliefs. You can risk being rejected because of your values, and you can even risk losing a boyfriend if the relationship is not going in a godly direction. You can risk looking or acting different from other people. You can do these things because you know you will be okay without them. You know God is with you and for you, and I hope you can also know your family is standing beside you, but even without your family’s support, you can know that God is there.

Jase Robertson wrote in Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl about his decision as a teenager to remain sexually pure until marriage:

One day after hearing my buddies talking about sexually transmitted diseases and asking my dad about it. I don’t remember the specifics of his speech, but I would never forget the last thing he said. “Son you keep that thing in your pocket until you get married and you’ll never have to worry about it.” He told me. The timing of our conversation was perfect when it came to my staying sexually pure.

I eventually came up with a plan of action. On the first date, I would share my faith with the girl and declare my intention to wait until marriage before having sex. In a way this held me accountable, and it also got rid of any girls who had a quick roll in the hay in mind. I also decided to stay away from the “second look”—noticing a good-looking woman, then dwelling on her for a second, more lustful look. I tried to notice the beauty and feel the attraction to a woman but ultimately pursue their spiritual makeup. . . . God changes us from the inside out, and that helps us look at other people the same way.

Jase did stay sexually pure. He and his wife Missy were both virgins on their wedding night. With God all things are possible!

We need to build a new culture of purity, a new culture of life. A new normal.

Let’s make purity popular again!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

share-odb-2017-01-30

An article I wrote for Crosswalk that might be helpful Have You Forgiven Each Other for Premarital Sex?

If you’ve had an abortion, I recommend Pat Layton’s book Surrendering the Secret.

For more thoughts on Revival of Titus 2 Women see this month’s About His Work Newsletter.

A Bible study I wrote for First Place 4 Health goes into depth about keeping our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits pure and holy: God’s Best For Your Life. Study on your own or as a group.

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Love Your Body: Set Realistic New Year’s Goals

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Since Christmas was on a Sunday, many of you have today off work. I’m actually enjoying an extra day with family, as I will be next Monday, so there won’t be a Monday Morning Blog. I’ll be back on January 9 to start the New Year with you.

Today, you might be contemplating starting 2017 with some resolutions or goals regarding your health. I hope so because as your health goes, so goes many of your activities and your quality of life. Good health doesn’t just happen. It takes diligence and work, but the rewards are life changing and life giving. Over the past years of Love Your Body Mondays, I’ve given you lots of ideas for improving your eating and exercise habits. But reading what to do and doing them, as you know, are two different things.

I thought today I would give you some of my ideas on goal setting, and then you can pray about how to apply them to your life. Maybe it won’t be in the area of diet or health . . . maybe there’s some other area of life you would like to improve. Each anniversary my husband and I write goals for the upcoming year and review how we did with the past year’s goals. It has helped us maintain, spiritual, personal, and, marital growth in our relationship.

Here are some tips for any kind of goal setting . . .

Set Realistic Goals

Twenty-four years ago, my husband’s doctor wanted him to weigh 210 pounds on his 6 ft. 4 in. body. When we set our goals this anniversary, we talked about this goal since he hasn’t weighed 210 for many years, but he has been able to achieve between 215 and 220. I think 215 is healthy for him, he’s happy with the range, so we’ll probably settle with somewhere in the middle.

I like to read the Bible in a year, but I need a plan to keep me on track. I’ve tried various ones like YouVersion.com and find what I’ve enjoyed the last few years is Walk Thru the Bible Daily Walk. I also enjoy reading a different Bible translation each year.

Set Measurable Goals

We have scales in our bathroom and I weigh myself every morning. For me, it’s important to know if I’m going up a few pounds because then I know I need to cut back right away since I don’t lose weight easily. My husband likes to get on “occasionally,” but he does weigh himself so he’ll know if he’s staying between 215 and 220.

Every month I receive my Daily Walk magazine with the next month’s reading schedule and devotional so I can keep on track reading. But this year I was writing a new book with a short deadline and I was only able to read half the Bible. So I’ll read the second half in 2017. Sometimes you need to adjust your goal and give yourself grace, but don’t give up entirely.

Set Maintainable Goals

I prepare our meals so I know what my husband is eating, but if he wants to stay on the lower weight range, he needs to add exercise, also good for his heart. So we’ve talked about him joining the gym again this year. That’s something he has agreed to do, but he has to go to the gym after he joins it. Are you laughing because so many people join a gym, pay the money, and stop going. Setting a goal is only as good as your follow through.

Here’s my pet complaint about goal setting, so I might as well share it with you now. I don’t like to use or hear the work “try” because to me it gives the person who is using it an escape clause.

The Bible says: “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matt. 5:37

Let me give you a couple of examples of why try doesn’t convey commitment to me:

  • Would you marry a spouse who says they will “try” to keep his or her marriage vows?
  • Would you get on a plane with a pilot who says he or she will “try” to get you to your destination?
  • Would you go into surgery with a surgeon who says he or she will “try” to pull you through alive?
  • Would you get in a car when the mechanic said he “tried” to fix the brakes?

Ok, I think you get my point. Don’t set goals you’re going to “try” to maintain. If you don’t think you’re going to do them, then set something more doable. Now I know some of you are thinking well isn’t that setting the bar too low? Would you rather get over the bar and feel successful or give up because you keep coming in under the too overwhelming bar? Once you know you can do it, then by all means, set the next goal a little higher and go for it!

Set Purposeful Goals

No one really follows through on something they don’t see as having value or purpose. So before you set any goals, determine why you’re setting them.

Why do you want to lose weight?

Why do you want to exercise more?

Why do you want to eat healthier and what would that look like?

Why do you want to take better care of your skin?

Why do you want to drink more water and less soft drinks or alcohol or coffee?

Why do you want to read your Bible more and spend less time in front of the TV or computer?

Why do you want to spend more time with your children or spouse?

Why do you want to pray more?

Nothing will happen for the long term until you can answer why doing it is meaningful to you. Not to your doctor, or your spouse, or even your kids . . . they will all benefit and be the receptor of the blessings of your goals . . . but you must determine the importance if you’re going to keep at it even when it gets hard.

I pray that whatever God puts on your heart for 2017, He will plant it so deep that nothing can uproot it until He has finished the work He planned in and for you.

Happy Blessed New Year all my friends and family and I’ll see you again on January 9.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT

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Love Your Body—Give Yourself the Gift of Health

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Monday comes this year right after Thanksgiving weekend when you’ve probably just finished off the pumpkin pie with whipped cream—maybe for breakfast—and you’re wondering if you can lose that extra five pounds before the Christmas parties start next week. My first party is actually this Friday, December 2, and then away we go for the next month!

Don’t become discouraged and beat yourself up. After all, you only get Mom’s dressing and Grandma’s apple pie once a year, but you can’t continue that trend all month—especially if you’re on a medical diet and you’ve been making great progress or you just started reaching a goal. Don’t throw caution to the wind just because it’s the holidays and you’ll start over again in the New Year . . . chances are you won’t.

Give Your Body the Gift of Health

When I was a Registered Dietitian working in hospitals, they didn’t close during the holidays because people still got sick, they still had heart attacks, or insulin reactions, or any number of illnesses. I remember having to work one year on Christmas Day. So it doesn’t make sense to think I’ll just take a break from what I know I should do for this month or this party or this big dinner…because your body doesn’t care that it’s Christmas or Christmas Eve or the office party. Your body is going to react just like it would in the middle of January or June! So think and eat like this:

I must treat my body right every day, and when I overindulge, I must get right back to my normal regime the next meal.

You have to have a plan. Pray about how to deal with the tempting food you’ll soon be encountering before you encounter it. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment on what to eat, how much to eat, what to cook, how to cook it, and what to indulge in and what to avoid.

Sometimes I take a bite of something and it wasn’t as tasty as it looked, so I stop eating it. Or if it was good, I let that bite satisfy me. I peruse the selections and pick a couple that look the best . . . not one of everything!

Sometimes we plan to pace ourselves, then toss out the plan, and berate ourselves the next day when we get on the scales, or blood sugar or blood pressure is up—remember salty foods raise blood pressure.

Love Your Body—Beat of Treat High Blood Pressure

Love Your Body—Prevent or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Helpful tips and please share in the comments any you use:

  • Get on the scales daily so you know if your weight is fluctuating. If you wait until you notice weight gain in your clothes, you’ll have a tough time losing, and may just buy bigger clothes. If you’ve gained, avoid desserts, eat smaller portions, and eliminate bread, butter, and what I call “empty calories”—sugar, honey, jelly/jam, chips, junk food, soft drinks, alcohol.
  • Maintain your exercise regime. If you don’t have one, start! Even though the holidays can be crazy, give yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Exercise helps with stress, gets the endorphins pumping, helps your heart, and burns calories. In bad weather, join a gym, walk laps around a mall, or invest in exercise equipment (hint: ask for Christmas).
  • Take a green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing to a potluck so you always have something healthy to eat. On buffet/potluck lines, take a small spoonful of foods you really like with one caution: Jell-O salads are high in sugar and fat. Don’t go back for seconds.
  • Have a small piece of the one dessert you like the most. Or take tiny bites of several. If one isn’t as good as it looks, don’t eat it!
  • Let your stomach guide you. When your belt or waistband tightens, STOP eating.
  • If you love bread, have a small piece, no butter. Skip store bought dinner rolls.
  • Eating out, draw a visual line down the middle of your plate. Eat half and ask for a to-go box for a tasty lunch tomorrow.
  • Drink water! Avoid punches, juices, soft drinks, and alcohol.
  • Enjoy stuffing or mashed potatoes without gravy. Avoid “sauces.”
  • Don’t add extra salt or butter.
  • Plan to start the New Year with a group of friends studying God’s plan for how to live a healthy life. I’ve written a study for First Place 4 Health that would make a great Christmas gift to get you started: God’s Best For Your Life. Gods Best for Your Life Cover

Cooking Healthy for the Holidays

I used to spend a day or two in the kitchen making cookies and candy. Then I realized I was the one eating most of it! Now, I pick a favorite one or two and make recipes healthier:

  1. No shortening! Substitute coconut oil or butter.
  2. No “vegetable” oil, use coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or applesauce.
  3. Half the amount of sugar. You can substitute Stevia for the other half or use all Stevia.
  4. Use 2% milk, almond or coconut milk.
  5. Substitute whole-wheat flour for some of the white flour.
  6. I don’t use white flour, but use NAMASTE gluten-free Organic Perfect Flour Blend that I get at COSTCO, which can be used cup for cup for white flour with no other changes required.
  7. Put one stick unsalted butter and 1/2 cup olive oil in a blender or Cuisinart and use lightly as a spread on toast, rolls, veggies, potatoes as a soft “butter” spread.
  8. When making cookies with the grandkids, send the goodies home!

Keep the True Focus of Christmas

Remember Christmas parties aren’t about food! They’re about fellowship as you thank God for all His blessings and the greatest gift of all: His Son Jesus Christ.

I appreciate your desire to live the best life you can for the Lord and to love His gifts to you of Jesus Christ and your precious body.

Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT

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Love Your Body—Why Are We So Angry?

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

As if we didn’t have enough diseases to try to avoid, the current election has created a new one—Political Anxiety Disorder or Election Stress Disorder—hospitalizing many people across the nation. They’re so upset about the outcome of the election affecting their lives, that they’re having panic attacks and all the physical symptoms of anxiety:

  • Pounding heart, sweating.
  • Headaches, stomach upset, or dizziness.
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Muscle tension, tremors, and twitches.
  • Fatigue or insomnia.

“Anxiety weighs down the heart.” —Proverbs 12:25a

“So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body.”—Ecclesiastes 11:10a

Anxiety Can Lead to Anger

If you receive my monthly About His Work Ministries email newsletter,* the opening article this month was “When Things Are Out of Control.” I received more comments on that article then I have from any article I’ve written all year. When things happen that we don’t like or don’t want to experience, but can’t change, it makes us anxious and we can become angry. Anger is a legitimate feeling and reaction, but what we do with that anger can damage our health, our body, and our relationships.

Unbridled anger results in bitterness, hardening of the heart, and often an offensive attitude that expresses itself in vile words and/or aggressive behavior. While there may be a quick release of angry emotion, if the root cause of the anger continues it eats away at mind, body, and soul, and others become victims of the residual fallout.

As the election progresses, I’ve had the most angry, vulgar, mean, vicious lashing out comments I’ve ever experienced on my blog posts and Facebook posts. It’s alarming that people live with such angry, bitter thoughts in their minds and hearts and use hurtful, X-rated words in their daily lives. I’m sure when the election is over, they’ll find something else to be angry about and their health, both physical and mental, will suffer.

Today it’s almost impossible to have a debate without it turning into a disagreement.

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”–Psalm 37:8

Where is the Anger Originating?

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.”—Ephesians 4:26 NLT

“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”—Proverbs 14:29 NLT

Do you know the media outlets design the news to raise your blood pressure, anxiety level, and anger meter? They purposely create headlines to generate a negative response. The media wants you to engage angrily with either the person or situation their reporting on—they want you mad. Occasionally, they’ll throw in a feel good story, but usually it’s SENSATIONAL “BREAKING NEWS” not substantiated or factual . . . just hearsay, opinions, or “maybes” . . . and you walk away worried . . . angry.

As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!”—Proverbs 25:23 NLT

I write articles for an online Christian magazine, and they’ve discovered that the more negative the title, the more people read the article. Christians are being conditioned right along with everyone else.

Physical Signs of Anger

What does anger do to you physically? Some symptoms are . . .

  • clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth.
  • headache/migraines.
  • stomach ache.
  • increased and rapid heart rate.
  • sweating, especially your palms.
  • feeling hot in the neck/face.
  • shaking or trembling.
  • dizziness.
  • stress which can cause anxiety.
  • increased blood pressure leading to heart disease.
  • eating disorders.

You could pick from the above list, or add to it how you feel when you’re angry or someone around you is angry. Next time, take note of how your body reacts. Or better yet, learn to control your anger and remove yourself from an angry environment or situation.

What Can We Do About Anger to Help Our Bodies?

  1. Our anger may stem from feeling out of control. We don’t think we can make a difference or change our circumstances, but we can. When you’re doing something about a situation and you feel a sense of hope and purpose . . . your anger subsides. I’m going to refer you to a post I wrote for Crosswalk for how to make a difference one person at a time: You Don’t Have to Get Elected or Make Movies to Change Culture.
  2. In my Bible study Face-to-Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community, I discuss the damage anger can do to our bodies if we don’t learn how to deal with it:EuodiaSyntycheCover72dpi1-200x300

Anger is an emotion felt in the moment that requires quick resolution. Many horrific acts occur and hateful words hurl in a “fit of anger.” You cannot retrieve actions or words.

            Uncontrolled raging anger makes us, and everyone around us, miserable. Pastor Doug Fields, likes to describe anger in terms of “outies” and “inies.” An “outie” is someone who spews out anger and doesn’t hold anything back. You know exactly how mad outies are and they want you to know. Often outies are over their anger once they have their “verbal vomit,” as Pastor Doug calls it, and they’re ready to move on. The problem with outies is the potential for people to be hurt, and even maimed, during the verbal, and maybe even, physical outburst.

            Inies on the other hand are the ones that profess they aren’t mad. “Everything’s fine.” they say, maintaining a thin smile while stewing and brewing inside. They may stuff down their anger for a long time while it burns, churns, and turns to bitterness. Inies find quiet, sly, unexpected ways to express their anger, or some never let go—the anger eats away at them physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the rest of their lives. Other inies only can hold their anger inside so long until the pressure builds into a sudden and violent explosion—the fallout being lethal to themselves and anyone in the vicinity.

            So how do you have healthy anger? Here’s the “ABCD” steps to take:

Acknowledge—that you’re angry.

Breathe—take a time out and step away from the source of anger.

Call on God—He knows what you should do regarding the source of your anger—ask Him.

Defuse—release your anger to God.*

*Excerpt from Face-to-Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7

stay-calm

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Love Your Body—Be Brave!

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

I’m back! Did you miss me? For the first time since starting the Monday Morning Blog when I launched my website January 2013, I took a three-month sabbatical to finish writing my latest book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Those who have followed my blog, know that in the past I’ve blogged right through writing books or invited guest bloggers—which by the way still requires me to edit and post, so there’s work and time involved. But this new book had a very short writing window and I had lots of travel and some health issues requiring medication, so I decided to love my body and prioritize my energy and time limits. Not that I don’t love writing to all of you, and it was anticlimactic every Monday morning not reading your comments, but I knew you would understand.

I’m Writing a New Book and I Need Your Stories!

Mentoring for All Seasons is in the editing process now, and thanks to many of you, there are amazing stories from both mentors and mentees from every season of life from tweens to aging! I know this book will bless you and it will be available fall 2017. I’ll keep you posted as the publishing process progresses.

Looking at the calendar and seeing that this is the last Monday of the month—where did September go—I realized I would be starting up the blog again with Love Your Body Monday! I knew then the Lord wanted me to share with you a post I had planned on writing later . . . but during my walk this morning, God said now was the time for two reasons:

  1. My next book—yes, you read right—God has put another book on my heart based on brave women of the Bible encouraging women of today to be brave. I’m NOW receiving stories of times God has asked or challenged you to be brave spiritually, physically, emotionally, or in any way. I would love to share your story in my next book, so contact me for more information.
  2. Elizabeth Vargas recently shared her testimony on TV and has a new book on being an alcoholic—last night hubby and I watched the 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer and Elizabeth Vargas that we had DVR’d, since it aired originally while I was still finishing my book.

I’ve always admired Elizabeth’s news anchor reporting and how confident she seemed. She’s articulate, classy, attractive and was doing well in a male-dominated profession. Several years ago, I was sad to hear her announce that drinking, mainly wine then, had gotten out of control and was interfering with her family and work, and she had sought help. I was surprised, but applauded her acknowledging her addiction. I had no idea that her battle with all alcohol had continued until in her own words: “I was nearly fired from my job. My husband left me while I was in rehab, I hurt my kids tremendously, and I nearly lost my life.”

If you follow my blog or Facebook, you know my thoughts on drinking alcohol. It’s a recreational drug, and in my backsliding years I drank so I know exactly what alcohol does. It destroys families, marriages, leads to death, health issues, and tragedies, misbehavior, loss of inhibitions, and is a disastrous role model for children and grandchildren—and yet alcohol lines the shelves of family grocery stores and is in many home pantries or out in plain view on kitchen counters and wine racks.

And just like Elizabeth Vargas, most “moderate drinkers” are in denial and justify their drinking as: being able to handle it, not hurting anyone, takes the edge off, relaxes me, only drink socially, like the taste, everyone drinks a little . . . even my friends from church . . . until as Elizabeth found, “I drank moderately for 20 years. It wasn’t until my 40s that I fell off a cliff.”

In an interview with Elizabeth, Dorri Olds wrote in 20/20 Anchor Elizabeth Vargas Talks to The Fix About Anxiety, Alcoholism, and Recovery: “When Diane Sawyer and Vargas did research for their recent 20/20 special, they learned that 63 percent of female alcoholics suffer anxiety. Being postpartum or perimenopausal puts you at even higher risk for self-medicating with alcohol. And women with anxiety issues are twice as likely to relapse.”

Is that you or someone you know? Postpartum? Perimenopausal, or menopausal? Anxious? Worried? Overwhelmed? Do you or they have a glass or two or three every night that started out after the kids were in bed, but now starts while fixing dinner or early afternoon . . . or after the kids leave for school? Are you or they hiding how much you/they drink? Do you/they drink and then drive . . . with children in the car? If yes to any of these or similar questions, you/they need help.

In the 20/20 interview, Diane Sawyer listed trigger points to drinking such as tired, angry, lonely, hungry . . . and Elizabeth says hers is anger. Diane asked what she does now, and Elizabeth said she picks up the phone and calls someone. A mentor would be so helpful. A brave step.

What Should a Christian Do?

Here’s where many of you will disagree with me, and that’s certainly your freedom . . . a word tossed around a lot lately . . . but it’s also my freedom to say my opinion. Elizabeth Vargas cannot be around alcohol anywhere; she lives one sober day at a time. How many women in your sphere of influence might be in that same situation and you don’t know it? I’m saddened when I hear of Church moms, women’s, Bible study, or small groups going out for “drinks” or having wine and alcohol when they get together in the name of the Lord. How many “Elizabeths” might be among you who are too embarrassed to get up and leave, and you’ve just contributed to their temptation and possible downfall . . . you’ve caused them to stumble. Or maybe you’re the “Elizabeth.”

tell-time-generic

Is this really how you want to teach your kids to tell time?

I’ve seen this “How To Tell Time” sign tossed around Facebook with many women, including Christians, “liking” and laughing about it. Mommies who are responsible to help their children tell time . . . putting this sign up in their homes for impressionable kids to infer that the way to tell time is . . . you sit with a coffee cup and Bible in your hand in the morning and a wine glass and wine bottle in your hand at night. What kind of message does this send to your children? Or if Elizabeth Vargas walked into your home after “coffee time,” she would have to politely leave:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone [including your children, grandchildren, seekers,new believers, addicts, unbelievers] to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Being Brave Often Requires Vulnerability

Elizabeth has written a memoir to help others who might see themselves in her story and get help before they lose everything like she almost did; she did lose allot including her marriage and time she can never recover being the mom she wanted to be to her children. Vargas said she would die for her sons. “I love them more than anything in the world. I would do anything for my children. But I couldn’t stop drinking for them.”

elizabeth-vargas

I chose to talk to you, my followers, today about Elizabeth Vargas’ story because of her vulnerability, not only in her book, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, but also in the 20/20 interview on National TV, which was an extremely brave act of courage. The woman we see in the interviews about her addiction and her new book is not the woman we all saw anchoring the news for years . . . even as far back as 911 and before!

On Amazon, the description of the book uses the word brave: “From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, ‘I am an alcoholic,’ to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw.”

The night before the interview with Olds, Elizabeth said, “I asked my son last night, ‘Why do you think I’m writing this book?’ He said, ‘Because you’re brave and want to help people.’ I hope people will be kind.”

As the 20/20 interview closes, Elizabeth said she has a “favorite saying” . . .

When you pray to God, there are three answers:

  1. Yes
  2. Not Now
  3. I have something better for you.

In another interview when asked what helps her stay sober, she said mediation and prayer. To Diane Sawyer she said, “When I lay in bed at the end of a good day, I say, ‘Thank you God for this day.’”

To read a blog I wrote Love Your Body—Don’t Drink Alcohol

For the full 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer and Elizabeth Vargas

To share your Brave story with me for my next book.

If you received this blog by email, leave a comment here.

It’s good to be back!

Love Your Body–Get Help with Overeating! By Julie Morris

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you written by author friend Julie Morris who truly understands and empathizes with the struggle to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Even as a nurse who knew better, she couldn’t help herself until she surrendered completely to God. Please take the time to read this entire blog and pray about how God would have you apply it to your life. It could save your life like it did for Julie.

I also wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking a break from my Monday Morning Blog for the months of July and August, when I’ll be speaking and finishing my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. So have a blessed summer and I’ll be back in September!

Somebody Help! I Can’t Quit Overeating!

By Julie Morris

My blood pressure gauge frantically tapped out the message I didn’t want to hear. While thoughtfully removing the stethoscope from his ears, my doctor said what I already knew: “You have got to lose weight!

After years of dieting, starving, and bingeing, I was fatter than ever. The harder I tried not to overeat, the more I found myself eating. I was the RN Supervisor of a large medical-surgical floor in the local hospital, telling people what to do to get healthy, and I couldn’t lose the weight that could kill me. Even though I was only in my 30’s, my doctor told me that I could have a stroke if I didn’t lose weight. I had dieted a thousand times before, but this time nothing seemed to work.

I woke up every morning and pleaded with God to help me to eat right that day. By lunchtime, with all the stress at work, I found myself saying, “I just need a little something to get through the day.” Those words seemed to magically give me permission to gobble up everything in sight.

Since I had already “gone off my diet,” as soon as I got home, I would yank off my uniform and run to the refrigerator muttering, “I’ve already blown it today, so I may as well eat.” Every night I fell asleep promising to do better and praying that God would forgive me for eating in such an unhealthy way.

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Overeating?

When I stopped long enough to think about what I was doing, confusion overwhelmed me. Why was I eating like this when I knew there was nothing more I wanted than to get rid of these extra pounds?

I didn’t know the answer then, but research has discovered why many of us continue to overeat, even when we try not to. The secret? Endorphins—feel-good brain chemicals. These natural substances that our bodies make, increase when we eat. Some of us have a dramatic rise in endorphins when we overeat. They are the same chemicals released when an alcoholic drinks or a drug addict takes drugs.

As long as I could remember, I had turned to food to help me deal with stress. Eating always numbed my pain, but stress-eating like that caused a horrible vicious cycle: when I got upset, I ate something so I would feel better. My problems grew… and so did I. And because I overate every time I had to deal with stress, my problems didn’t get solved. They only got worse. It didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t stop because eating really did help me to feel better… at least for a while.

I called out to the Lord daily, begging Him to make me thin. And I complained bitterly to Him about giving me such a slow metabolism, but I knew deep down that my problem wasn’t my metabolism. My problem was that I ate too much and didn’t know how to stop. However, after my doctors scary words, that I could die, I was determined to lose weight and be healthier.

How Can I Surrender My Eating to the Lord?

I went to someone in my church and asked what to do. “You just have to surrender your eating to God, Julie,” she stated simply, as if there were some surrender button I could push. Oh, I wanted to. I knew I should be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But even though I had been a Christian for years, and prayed every day for God’s help, I couldn’t seem to surrender my eating to the Lord. 

These 12 Steps Helped Me to Surrender My Eating to the Lord!

I continued crying out to God for help and, finally, in 1982, I began to make progress when I went to my first 12-Step meeting. I realized that night that the 12 Steps were the structure I needed to help me to surrender this problem to the Lord. I felt sure that the steps would help me to draw closer to Jesus and plug into his power. And I began to understand that they would also help me to get to the emotional roots of my problem with food.

People try to make the 12 Steps complicated, but they’re not. The 12 Steps are just little baby steps, taken directly from the Bible, that help us to rely on God’s power when we lack will power. They are not just a list of 12 things that we do and then quit, but a way of living—surrendered to the Lord, being guided by him.

The steps I use were inspired by AA’s 12 Steps, but are different because mine focus on Jesus. Another difference is that we are learning how to receive Jesus’ help to stop overeating—instead of drinking. Later, I started using a shortened form of the steps to make them easier to understand. Look at end of this post for a summary of the Christian 12 Steps.

Jesus Tells Us Where to Find Self-Control!

While reading John 15:4, it dawned on me that Jesus is telling over-eaters where to find the fruit of the Spirit of self-control that we so desperately need. He says,

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Then later in that chapter, he says exactly what I had been learning—the hard way:

“Without me, you can do nothing!”

I Started Winning the Battle!

After Jesus’ words finally sunk in, I quit dieting—trying to lose weight using my own willpower—and I quit beating myself up for my weakness. Instead, I began to put my energy into drawing closer to the Lord. And, amazingly, I started winning the battle with the ravenous monster inside of me who could never be satisfied, no matter how much I fed him!

Since John 15:4 had been so life-changing for me, I began diligently searching the Bible for other verses that would speak to me about how to stop overeating. I was excited to find many of them, and I memorized a few so I could remind myself of God’s promises when food cravings struck. I started reading Christian books about weight-loss and learned a lot from people who had overcome the same struggles I had. I also decided to stop flirting with temptation, so I got all of my old comfort foods out of my house.  Another important thing I did was to start calling an accountability partner every evening to tell her how I had done with my eating that day.

Soon my cravings became weak and conquerable and the miracle finally happened: I lost my weight and have kept it off for more than 30 years! Not only that, I started helping others to lose weight.

I started a Bible study in my church to help overeaters to lose weight. It was so successful that a few years later I wrote Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss program for groups—published by Abington Press.

Guided By Him Is a Light and Easy 12-Step Christian Weight-Loss Program

GBH photo

A few years ago, I joined with my daughter Sarah Morris Cherry, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and we wrote Guided By Him—a 12-week lighter an easier version of Step Forward.

guidedbyhim

Packed with Bible studies, practical weight-loss tips and inspiring success stories, Guided By Him is perfect for individual Bible study, family meetings, Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, lunch breaks at work or friendly neighborhood get-togethers,

You can tell by these chapter titles that you’re going to have fun as you read the book and get to the roots of your overeating:

  • Tripped on a Twinkie
  • Are Donuts My Bread of Life?
  • My Refuge–the Refrigerator
  • Do Broken Cookies Count?
  • Resentments Are Fattening
  • Is Fudge My Fortress

 God Uses Our Weaknesses When We Surrender Them to Him!

It’s exciting to receive e-mails from readers across the United States and in many foreign countries as well, telling me what an amazing difference our books have made in their lives. Many say that, as a result of what my daughter and I have written, they are closer to God than ever and they have learned things that they will use for the rest of their lives.

God is helping them and they are helping others—turning their misery to ministry. He is taking their biggest weakness and using it for good as they surrender it to Him.

They are shrinking on the outside and growing on the inside as they lose the weight… and the worries that have weighed them down!

Soon You, Too, Will Have an Exciting Story to Tell!

Join me on this adventure and be Guided By Him… To a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You, and soon you, too, will have an exciting story to tell! The amazing thing is that weight loss won’t even be the best part!

Julie Morris’ Bio

Julie photo standing

Julie Morris is a popular motivational speaker and internationally recognized author of 12 books. She is the founder of Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss Program  and Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! . Guided By Him is a lighter and easier version of Step Forward.

Other books that she has written include From Worry to Worship and From Worthless to Worthy.

She presents seminars, retreats and workshops across the country that inspire her audiences to make exciting changes toward becoming the person they have always wanted to be.

Julie has worked as a secretary at the Pentagon, Spanish teacher, Coronary Intensive Care nurse and the supervisor of a large hospital Medical-Surgical unit. She has been married for over 40 years to her college sweetheart. Julie is the mother of two adult children and grandmother of one very precious little boy.

Julie’s greatest joy is helping struggling Christians to overcome weaknesses by relying on God’s strength.

She would love to hear from you! Please comment below if you can identify with any part of her story. If you received this blog by email, comment here.

Also, please check out her website www.guidedbyhim.com  or e-mail her at julie@guidedbyhim.com if you have questions about starting your own group or if you are interested in purchasing books or inviting her to speak at your church.

Join her on Facebook at…

 

Summary of the Short Form of the Christian 12 Steps

  • Step 1 is “I can’t!” While taking the first Step, I finally gave up on the idea that I could lose weight on diets and willpower. I didn’t allow myself to stay stuck in the first Step “I can’t,” but when discouraged, would go straight to Step 2.
  • Step 2 is “God can!” While taking the second Step, I began learning how to rely on the Lord. I memorized his promises, thanked him for his help and praised him for answered prayers even before I had received them.
  • Step 3 is “I’ll let him!” While taking the third Step, I learned practical things that would help me to cooperate with the Lord one day at a time.

The first three Steps are the foundation for the others.

  • In Steps 4-7 we get to the roots of our overeating by looking back at things done to us and things we’ve done. We become willing to let go of them and let God change us.
  • In Steps 8-9 we ask for God’s help with our relationships—past and present.
  • Steps 10 and 11 help us to do a daily check to make sure we’re staying on track, learn ways to seek God every day and have a closer relationship with him.
  • In Step 12, we practice doing things we’re learning that help us draw closer to the Lord and we share with others the exciting things he’s doing in us.