16 Jan 2017

It’s Time to Make that Decisive Dedication

It’s Time to Make that Decisive Dedication

Rom. 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of (all) the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies (presenting all your members and faculties) as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. (AMP)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. (MSG)

When I decided to become a personal trainer, it wasn’t because I thought I would be good at it, or that it looked like a lucrative career. I decided to pursue it because I knew that’s why God had created me. He planted the seed of exercise and health, which began to grow as I realized and knew from first-hand experience that it wasn’t created to be a linguist, journalist or museum director. After prayer and talking with my husband, I made a “decisive dedication” and started walking the road God had placed in my heart. I never had a sense of peace,
fulfillment or purpose until I took the huge step of faith and started down the path of helping others on their health journey.

Although my “decisive dedication” was about a career change, the same applies to every aspect of our lives. Per Romans 12:1, making a firm, unwavering dedication of our bodies is exactly what God wants us to do: our “sleeping, eating, going-to-work, walking-around life”, which also includes our exercising, kid-raising, and TV-watching aspects of life.

When I resolved to follow God’s leading and make health and wellness my life’s work, He showed me some areas of my life that I needed to change, like no more alcohol. If you were to completely and decisively dedicate your body to God as a living sacrifice, what would you have to change to make it well-pleasing to God? Here are a few starter tips:

  • Eat food that God made for your body, not man-made food, i.e. cut out all fast food, processed foods (crackers, soda, cookies, cakes, pizza, etc.).
  • Limit personal device time to 30 minutes a day. Turn off the TV(s), iPads, Kindles, and cell phones. Instead, go on a walk or hike with friends or family or your dog.
  • Get enough sleep, so that you can better manage your emotions when things feel out-of-control, making it easier to live out the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23) The recommendation is six to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water (150 lb. person should drink 75 ounces of water). In the beginning, God made water. Nowhere in Genesis does it say, “In the beginning, God made coffee.” In a harsh environment, we would survive about three weeks without food, but if we didn’t have water, we’d last three days! That’s how important water is.

If these suggestions seem hard, then place it before God as an offering. Dedicating your body to God is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1). God didn’t place us here – now, in history – so that we could satisfy the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).  Making a determined dedication of our bodies is another way to worship God, the one who sent his only Son to save our souls.

Prayer starter: Father God, please forgive me for not taking care of my body. I determine to dedicate it to you and ask that you prick my heart when I’m doing something that isn’t in line with your will for it and my life. Please give me the courage and resolution to change my habits so that they are honoring of you and the gifts you’ve given me. Thank you for your help!

07 Jan 2017

God’s prescription for destressing

Hebrews 12:2 Looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith (giving the first incentive for our belief) and is also its Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection). He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Looking away from all that will distract you is not easy task in this day and age. We are inundated with the pressure to keep up, be better, work harder, and do more. This all leads us to sleep less, worry more, eat worse, and exercise is nonexistent.

Stress negatively affects our heart and blood vessels, brain structures and mental health, mood, immune system and sleep. It can cause overeating or undereating, headaches, nausea, acid reflux, and much more! However, we act like we think we are invincible and this won’t happen to us.

We all want less stress in our lives; however, we don’t take action to reduce the stress! It’s like the old adage that says, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Are you hoping that your stress will go away but not purposefully taking steps to make that happen? What must you do to reduce the amount of stress in your life? Have a talk with your boss? Slow down the amount of activities in which your kids are involved? Cut out TV and social media time so you can meal plan and exercise?

God’s prescription

God aptly writes in His Word that we are to enjoy the work you do here on earth. Whatever work you do, do your best. (Ecc. 9:9-10 NCV)  Enjoying the work we do doesn’t just include our occupation, but everything including eating, drinking, and exercising. By correctly reprioritizing our life to what God calls and asks us to do, we immediately de-stress!

By taking one day at a time and trusting God completely, the stresses of life become manageable because we know that the Creator of the universe is in control and He knows what is best for us.

One of the biggest excuses I hear from people regarding their health is that they don’t have time! However, when we go a little deeper, it’s not a matter of not having time – we all have the same 24 hours in a day – but it’s more about priorities and who they are trying to please. What would happen if you started living your life to please God instead of your boss, your spouse, your friends and your children?

Go ahead and make a list of all the stressors in your life that need to change. Pray about them and ask God to give you the courage to follow His leading in making the healthy changes. Read Scripture and you will find answers to tough questions you might have in making the life changes happen.

Prayer starter: Dear Lord, I ask for your forgiveness in trying to control my own life without giving much thought to your commands. I humbly ask that you help me enjoy life everyday by showing me what changes to make and then helping me make them. I trust You as You grow my faith through this process. Thank you Lord for your love and guidance.