Jan 17 2011

Made to Crave - Day 11

Day 11: It’s Not Fair!

Based on Chapter 10 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

  

Thought for the Day: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.… That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)

 

A huge piece of delicious looking cake was delivered to our table. It was my favorite … it was our anniversary … and it was free! But I was at the beginning of my healthy eating adventure, which excluded sugary confections. So I graciously offered it to my husband. But inside a different dialogue was playing in my mind, “It’s not fair!”

 

I think this is one of the biggest tricks Satan plays to get us to give in to temptation. Saying “It’s not fair!” has caused many a girl to toss aside what she knows is right for the temporary thrill of whatever it is that does seem fair. We complain, “It’s not fair that I gain weight so easily when everyone else seems to eat whatever they want and stay trim.”

 

Now, realize that the dessert itself is not the problem. But if one piece of dessert leads to two and that leads to other compromises, which leads to wrecking our whole healthy eating plan, then the downward spiral reflects how temptation traps us in so many areas of life. I’ve experienced this vicious cycle myself, and I’m here to give you hope that it is possible to conquer it.

 

My pity party was a clue that I was relying on my own strength—a strength that has failed me before and will fail me again. So, when justifications swirl in my mind—“It’s a special day … with a special person … what’s the harm in sampling?”—I know I have to grab hold of God’s strength. The only way I’ve found to do that is to invite His power into the situation by mentally reciting truths such as, “I’m more than a conqueror,” “With God all things are possible,” or “Let the peace of God reign in your heart.”

 

This battle reminds me of the time I counseled a dating couple about setting boundaries in their physical relationship. They were looking forward to the best that marital sex had to offer, but struggled with maintaining purity in the face of immediate and temporary passion. They were tempted with the thought, “It’s not fair that we can’t have sex before we’re married when we’re so in love. Everyone else does.” My advice to them was to think beyond the moment, to say out loud, “This feels good now, but how will I feel about this in the morning? The truth is, compromising my commitments for the sake of physical pleasure is not God’s best for me.”

 

The same advice powerfully applies to our area of struggle. As we recite truth, God’s power can fill the gap of our weakness. I don’t know what you might be struggling with today, but I can assure you that God is just and fair. There is a good reason why we must face our temptations. The struggle to say “no” may be painful in the moment, but the process is working out something magnificent within us.

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

Jan 14 2011

Made to Crave - Day 10

Day 10: But, Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry

Based on Chapter 9 of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

  

Thought for the Day: I fully realize that my body as a temple may not be God’s most grand dwelling. However, I want to lift up to the Lord my willingness to dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and myself. This one act un-divides my heart and reminds me of the deeper purposes for moving my body.

 

Before I met my exercise-loving husband, I believed the only reason a person should sweat was if he or she were lying by the pool. But when I encountered Art, I temporarily changed my attitude. I was smitten. Oh, how I was motivated when I discovered that running was a fantastic way to spend more time with this man. However, on the first day of our honeymoon, when he woke up cheerfully and initiated an early-morning run, I thought, “Gracious, why would I want to do that? We’re married now.” And I didn’t run again for many years.

 

 

Sad, but true. Psalm 86:11–12 explains my quandary:

 

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart … I will glorify your name forever.

 

 

An undivided heart. My heart was divided between exercising for another person’s reasons or finding my own motivation. I’ve found that when it comes to my body, which 1 Corinthians 6:19 calls “a temple of the Holy Spirit,” that I can’t live with divided loyalties. I can either be loyal to honoring the Lord, my husband, and my body, or be loyal to my cravings, desires, and excuses for not exercising.

 

An Old Testament story in Haggai struck me with the problem that a divided heart creates before God. The Israelites were charged to take care of God’s physical temple by rebuilding the actual structure. But just like most of us, they struggled with a heart divided by concerns about the everyday needs of their city and homes. And so God’s people neglected building the temple for ten years. Each year, something else seemed to be more important.

 

Likewise, I found that my struggle to exercise got delayed by other things that seemed to be higher priorities. How could I find the time between raising kids, running a home, paying the bills, watching TV, and chatting on the phone with friends?

 

Just as God promised the Israelites blessings for obedience, he warned them of consequences for not rebuilding the temple as He desired. And while we may not feel the effects of ignoring our health immediately, our choices will eventually catch up to us.

 

I finally admitted that I needed to make time, just like the Israelites, to care for my temple—my body. So I began exercising consistently with a friend and discovered many motivating blessings. While I can’t say I’m always eager to jump out of bed and start my day in a sweat, I’m always refreshed with the alertness that comes once I’ve started. In addition, my friend and I find time to process life, contemplate decisions, and talk about what God is teaching us. I love the feeling of accomplishment each day. Even if everything else in my day falls apart, I can smile and say, “Yes, but with the Lord’s help, I ran this morning.”

 

I fully realize that my temple may not be God’s most grand dwelling. However, I want to lift up my willingness to the Lord and dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and myself. This one act un-divides my heart and reminds me of the deeper purposes for moving my body.

 

How might you start rebuilding your temple today? Maybe running is not your thing. No problem. I say the best exercise for you is the kind you’ll do.

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org

Jan 14 2011

They Helped Finish the Song ...

See how the crowd at this minor-league game hockey game in Norfolk, VA, rallied around 8-year-old Elizabeth Hughes singing the National Anthem when her microphone went out ...

 

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Jan 13 2011

Made to Crave - Day 9

Day 9: I Could Never Give Up That!

Based on Chapter 6 of Made to Crave Lysa TerKeurst

 

Thought for the Day: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22–23)

 

Self-control is hard. We don’t like to deny ourselves. We don’t think it’s necessary. We make excuses and declare, “That’s nice for someone else, but I could never give up ____________!” (fill in the blank: soda, sugar, cupcakes, smoking …)

 

If we’re relying on ourselves, that excuse may be true. But there’s another level to self-control that too few of us find. In Matthew 19:23–24, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven … it’s easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 

In other words, Jesus was saying that it’s hard for people who are satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves. It’s hard for someone who is rich with excess to deny herself and be humble enough to admit, “I must give this up.” When the disciples heard this teaching, they were confused until Jesus clarified; “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (verse 26).

 

Maybe you’ve heard verse 26 spoken in the common context that God can make us healthy, wealthy, and get us to a new breakthrough. We tend to think of it as saying, “With God, all good things are possible! With God, all lavish things are possible!” But if you study this verse in the original context, it actually means, “With man, it is impossible to deny yourself. With man, it is impossible to make sacrifices. With man, it is impossible to have self-control. But with God, all sacrificial things are possible. With God, all self-control is possible.”

 

I believe this one little shift in our thinking can make us feel empowered, instead of feeling denied. Rather than giving in to the foods we crave, we can have God’s self-control to make a completely different decision, such as a decision for health … a decision for renewed energy … a decision for confidence and peace. Most importantly, a decision that honors both our body and God!

 

 

For more information about Lysa TerKeurst and her book Made to Crave, please visit: www.MadetoCrave.org