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After Six Years . . . it’s time

Well my friends, for over six years now, New Creations Ministries has never missed a week of posting regarding our mental, physiological and Spiritual relationship to food. “Never missing a week” lately had become one of my ultimate goals. The other was creating interesting posts which could inspire comments from the many friends I made over six years! But I felt as if I was only trudging along.

After much prayer, thought and “angst,” (like: gosh what interesting thing can I possibly post about this week???) I feel it’s time to take a Sabbatical.  I’m not quitting mind you, simply taking a rest. You see this weekly goal was becoming my god, which isn’t right.

In August of 2012, I started out happily writing every day – then after a while it was five days, then three, two and for the last couple of years, it’s been down to once weekly. I posted during every vacation and even as we moved from Arizona to Ohio, never missed a beat. It became a game of personal discipline and the more wonderful people I found who followed me, the more I felt I couldn’t let them down! That my dear people is SIN. Was I thinking I was indispensable to our Lord?!

God will always be more important! He is the one who absolutely educates and motivates. He is the one who pricks someone’s conscience and spirit to put our Lord before a food idol.

When something which started as a truly Joyful experience begins to feel like an obligation, it’s time to REST and be renewed (as my dear Kingdom friend advised me recently as he took a Sabbatical.)

In my humanity, I knew I didn’t want to lose my wonderful friends who follow my blog and that’s what kept me going for so long. Therefore by faith I am taking a short break and pray that we’ll stay together. I love you all! Of course I will be staying in touch by clicking on my webpage, so if you need me, “WRITE!”    🙂

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”  (Romans 12:10)

 

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Discipline: “It’s Such a Lonely Word”

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Discipline. It’s hard to maintain, isn’t it? But allowing yourself to put off a task or an obligation is like sin. Sin creeps in only when we allow it. We all know the “big” sins like murder and adultery, but in God’s eyes, SIN IS SIN. Gossip and gluttony are as abominable to the Lord as killing someone.

How easy it is to allow the mind to rationalize sin. “I’ve been so good I deserve an extra slice of cake,” even though you know that sliver of extra cake will skyrocket our insulin level, our waistline increase and body will begin deteriorating once again. Before long the slices become larger, the portion sizes of ice cream stream over the bowl and we’re hooked!

Now as I’ve spoken about anything is fine in moderation, countless times, but when the food begins controlling us instead of our common sense, we’re in trouble. Renewal begins by disciplining and changing our mindset:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

But don’t we try to justify our actions, “Oh just this once won’t hurt.” “I’ll begin anew tomorrow.” “Well, after-all I didn’t want to hurt the host’s feelings.” 

Yes, it does hurt! If we don’t stay in control of our emotions and conquer our will, then how are we, as Christians, any different than the world? Truth is we’re not. A story is told of D.L. Moody going to visit Charles Spurgeon in England. As he knocked on the door, Spurgeon answered the door smoking a cigar. When Moody criticized Spurgeon’s cigar habit, Spurgeon stared at Moody and rebuked him with, “When you take control of your out of control gluttonous habit, I’ll take care of my smoking habit.”

You are the only one (and the Holy Spirit if Christian) who lives within your body and can make the changes. That’s why it feels so great to overcome temptation! I urge you to restore discipline in your life and not become as the Apostle Paul reprimanded:

“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

No one is perfect and we all have habits we find hard to control. Changing habits begin slowly. there’s no instant gratification here. Create small goals to overcome big, bad habits. Find something you want more than food! But for goodness sakes, we reward our dogs when they obey us, and look how happy they are! Why do we feel it’s selfish to reward our good changes?

It takes a disciplined will to say, “NO” to self. I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly like myself when I sin. Only by focusing on God can we truly make him the LORD of our lives. I’ve turned mine over to the Lord time and time again and I’m still fighting those but I’ll never stop striving for excellence!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) 

Are We Becoming a Wasteland?

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)

I must have finally become “old” for I am longing for the good old days. I remember a time in the 1950s when my grandfather declared that Rock and Roll was destroying today’s youth! Now those songs seem so innocent compared to the Rap, Rock and even Country lyrics heard today.

I know we tend to build on memory and make the past better than it was, but I don’t recall a previous time when civility was as out of control as it is today! Even during two terrible world wars, most people still had respect for one another.

Not today. And even in the ’50s and ’60s, when there were strip clubs and pornography, it wasn’t blatantly viewed daily on television as we do now. Even during the angry generation of the 1960s, if a man swore in front of me, he’d immediately apologize afterwards. Now young men in stores casually drop f-bombs and think nothing of it. I have seen little girls go from wearing patent leather shoes to high heels and butt-exposing shorts with no regard to modesty, while her mom apparently approves because she’s wearing a matching outfit.

Heard nightly on the news, protest groups want to convert others to their radical “religion.” I ask you: ‘Why would we EVER want to become them? Their ways are neither loving nor uplifting.” And I am not only talking about radical religions in other countries but our own as well! When viewing someone’s unkind Christian remarks, what would make us desire their religion? I follow NO religion . . . I follow Christ!

In today’s world of apathy and depravity, how many long to hear the sweet words of our Lord? You’re right, not many. We have a great famine in our country and it’s not for lack of food. 66% of our country is overweight and don’t care! They’d rather follow a famous false diet guru than God’s healthy- living plan.

The famine I speak of is a famine for Moral Truth. Please don’ become an unthinking sheep wandering in a swamp of destruction. How much farther can our nation plummet into the muck before we’ll perish? Who has the courage to stand out with Godly Conviction, declaring “enough!” and lead us out of our pit?

Today we see so many children innocuous to suffering, either due to ignorance, (no one has shown them Jesus) apathy (which is the opposite of love) or blatant disregard for rules and regulations. After all, taking drugs isn’t hurting anyone else! Must I remind you that we don’t live in a vacuum? Everything we do affects someone else! It’s called the “Butterfly Effect.”

“They wouldn’t listen or pay attention but became obstinate, not listening or accepting discipline.” (Jeremiah 17:23)

I believe your neighbor is thirsting for the Word of God (and everyone is our neighbor!) All you have to do is speak out. I realize it’s scary at first to profess Christ, but it gets easier as Jesus controls your life. Pray for opportunities and they will come. Don’t be afraid – for won’t it be more embarrassing if before they are sentenced to an eternity in hell, they ask God, But why didn’t Ellie tell me about Christ? As Christians, remember we never stand alone! Put on that full Armor of God and don’t hesitate to spread the Word of Truth!

 

Staying Motivated in Our Tempting World

Everyone starts out enthusiastically when the pounds drop off on a new healthier living plan. Your family, co-workers and church friends start to notice and encouragement abounds!

Fast forward another month: you receive more compliments on how nice you look in some stunning new outfits. Lots of “that-a-boys” come your way. You beam a wide smile and thank them, determined to continue.

Another few weeks pass and the praise has declined. Even family members seem to take your weight loss for granted. You sigh, anticipating the upcoming summer BBQ’s with all its scrumptious ribs, burgers, potato salads and desserts.

What’s a person to do?? No one notices anyway, you shrug, so what difference would it make if I overindulged?

 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

No one notices??? GOD notices!

Of course it’s nice to get compliments . . . we all love compliments! Don’t beat yourself up over it. But if “self” and showing off, is the only reason, it won’t last.  Sometimes we’re too self-centered within our own little world. Sad but true.

Fact: We must get healthy because we want to honor God more than we want food! We should get healthy because we respect our earthly temple and our Christian testimony!

You might nag others to be more Christian, yet you practice idol worship! Why would anyone want to be you? Strive to be your most excellent self! God doesn’t expect perfection from Believers, but He does expect obedience. What has He asked us to be? HOLY! 1 Peter 1:16 states, “for it is written: Be holy, for I am holy.” It’s hard to be holy when we lack self-control, practicing gluttony.

Of course God wants us to enjoy life. That includes wholesome food. Christians are supposed to exhibit Joy, peace, confidence and self-control, not mournfully throw ashes on our face while suffering healthy-living.

“Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life.” (Proverbs 8:33) 

So here’s my advice to strengthen resolve:

  1. Chart your weight loss on graph paper. It’s a tangible, trackable action. Be competitive within yourself. Tell yourself when you reach another three-pound loss, you’ll finally purchase an item you’ve wanted. (Anything but food.)When you’ve reached ten pounds, purchase that new cologne or scarf you’ve waited for. For every few pounds, reward yourself as we did when we were young.
  2. Memorize motivating Scripture verses, placing them throughout your home. Place affirmations around the home: on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, computer, auto dashboard. Remind yourself of 1 John 4:4 and Philippians 4:1
  3. Use visualization skills and visualize ugly fat coursing through your veins or smeared over your face. Yuk!
  4. Find new support partners by creating a healthy recipe club.
  5. Create a scrapbook of clothing styles you’ll try when you reach a certain goal. Place a few pictures on the fridge to encourage you.
  6. Exercise increases positive endorphins. Keep walking, swimming, biking or join a sports club in your community.
  7. Get your children involved! Exercise with them while watching television. When you win by losing, your entire family wins! This creates bonding memories.
  8. I’ve always urged my patients to find personal, positive actions for health but if you weaken, find a picture of our Lord crucified and place THAT on the fridge or cupboard. Jesus died for all sins, even the sin of gluttony and lack of control. Ask yourself, do I love Christ more than this food? Only you can answer that question.

Get healthy in gratitude to God for giving us an abundant life while in our earthly jars of clay!  (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Standing Firm Against Dietary Temptations!

“When tempted, no one is to say, “God is tempting me” For God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”  (James 1:13)

Let’s face it, Satan does NOT want us to succeed. If he sees a Christian or church growing closer to the Lord, he will influence them by throwing roadblocks, half-truths or unholy actions into their midst to disrupt their progress.

In the same way the devil will do anything in his power to steer the health- conscious away from reaching positive goals. He doesn’t want us to honor our earthly temples of the Holy Spirit!

And don’t be fooled, Satan isn’t the ugly red monster with horns and a pitchfork we see in cartoons. Satan is a beautiful, enticing creature – the George Clooney of the angels. He is attractive and very tempting, literally.

Satan discerns a dieter’s weaknesses; so whether it is fried chicken, chocolate cake, being a people pleaser or tendency toward laziness, those temptations will “suddenly” appear when we are at our most vulnerable. Then, if we fall to temptation, we feel like a failure, giving up, discouraged, worthless and discouraged.

How do we learn not give in to temptation? First study Scripture! Believe, as a Christian, you inherit your own power to overcome temptation! God wants you to succeed!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Don’t stand around debating “Gee – should I or not?” or justifying your behavior: “Well, I’ve been so good, maybe God wants me to have this Snickers and Ellie did say anything was fine in moderation.” Sure, but not if it’s trashing your temple of the Holy Spirit; your health depends on it and there are some perfectly good grapes in the fridge! God does not want you to have a heart attack!

You know what to do! Flee youthful lusts! Memorize 2 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Cor. 10:13.

Talk yourself into success but heaven forbid, if you give in, forgive yourself and go on. It’s not the end of the world, it’s a learning experience. Visualize Satan laughing, taunting you and keeping score if you fail. But he hasn’t won yet! It’s not how many times you fail, but how you react to failures that builds character and success.

Just imagine if you and your family were driving to the Grand Canyon on vacation. You mistakenly take a wrong exit. Now what? Do you turn to the back seat and state, “Sorry kids, Dad made a mistake, guess we have to give up, vacation’s over.” Of course not! You’d turn around, get back on the right road and continue toward your destination.

You’re not a failure if you make a mistake. You’ve only discovered the correct road to get to your destination. That’s a learning experience and progress.

Suppose you did give up? Can you imagine the howls of protest you’d hear? How could you consider giving up and disappointing your family? In the same way, your health dedication should inspire your entire family.

  1. You’re providing life lessons on self-denial, personal strength, fortitude and character.
  2. You’re demonstrating examples of overcoming challenges to reach a goal.
  3. You are a living example, showing them how to never give up on their dreams.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (Corinthians 6:19)

I urge you to honor your personal temple of the Holy Spirit, continuing to strive for excellence!

 

Observations of a Dog’s Vacation

Nothing brings a pet owner closer to a furry friend than having a 25 pound, fuzzy-haired dog sitting on one’s lap for 1253 miles in an RV!

I must admit though, it brought out several philosophical reflections while on vacation last week.

Like how trusting our pets are.

That little guy entrusted his safety to us, oblivious to traveling along winding, mountainous highways with steep cliffs as crazy drivers sped by.

I observed how secure he seemed, even when he discovered “monsters under the bus,” which turned out to be only rumble strips.

Letting go allows us to live in a state of peace, as we turn our concerns over to the LORD. God’s shoulders are strong enough to handle it all. Turning our concerns over to our Almighty Father first – not after we’ve tried all other options, results in peace.

As we travel along our personal pathways of life, highways aren’t always smooth either.  We do come across ups, downs and detours which divert us to unexpected places, (like moving from Arizona to NE Ohio.) Sometimes during diversions we acquaint ourselves with fabulous loyal friends, discover magnificent landscapes, beautiful gardens and peaceful settings as we embrace unfamiliar territory. How much we would have missed!

Sure, there are occasionally potholes and rumble strips, but those are learning experiences. Why stress out over every little challenge we face daily, when we can place our hope and confidence in Him? God longs to provide safety and blessings as we journey through unique adventures, striving to do His Will.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths”   (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Our destination was a gorgeous RV resort attached to a SC beach. Of course along the way, Mr. “What-at- you-up-to-now?” occasionally got curious.

As we were setting up, we noticed several swans gracefully gliding down onto the lake. Having never seen creatures of this kind before, I felt “Mr. No No’s” muscles tense as he began emitting a low growl. I gently reprimanded him: settle down or risk observing the landscape from inside.

Then, as the swans swam by, he straightened, looked back at me, quizzically, as if I’d answer the question of, “What in heck kind of dogs were those???!!!”

Oh, the wonder of innocence! So many visions in life we haven’t yet seen either! Makes me wonder how we will approach Heaven when the time comes. Will we stand in awe and wonder of the perfection God creates, asking questions?

“But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

After setting up, we immediately took a stroll along the ocean. Our Mr. “OhNoYouDon’t!” boldly approached the awesome, seemingly never-ending water for the first time, but quickly withdrew as the waves crashed against the shore.

Curious now, he wandered closer as the tide receded, then dashed back as the waves appeared to chase him.

Pretty soon, he grew accustomed to the rhythmic cadence of the wave’s ebbs and flows, bravely walking alongside us, carelessly enjoying the wind in his fur while getting his feet wet and nose covered with sand.

Standing and observing a huge ocean with its constant, rhythmic, systematic timing, always makes any problem seem small. Life continues. Troubles too will pass when wrapped in God’s Love and Favor.

Relax, God whispered, you’re on vacation! I’ve got this.

Blessings abound when we place our Trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

Where Have All the Relationships Gone?

I came across a cute cartoon on Facebook which was created entirely of emoji’s and icons. (not this one, wasn’t sure if other had a copyright) It professed that after more than 3,00o years we’ve returned to speaking through modern day hieroglyphics. How true!

Real one-on-one communication today seems to be disintegrating as quickly as paper books. Twitter, Texting and Facebook have emerged as conversations without actual voices. A happy face icon is replacing actual laughter and a physical hug and in this extremely mobile modern world, even close friendships can dissolve quickly.

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina indicated that stress levels were lowered when participants hugged each other. Hugging releases chemical feel-good endorphins such as oxytocin, described as a hormone of love and the neurotransmitter, serotonin. This allows us emotionally to feel safe, secure and in trusted hands. No amount of x’s, o’s or happy face icons attached as an internet hug can replace a physical one!

God, time, communication and laughter in my opinion, is the glue that holds friendship together. Your spouse should also be your friend.

GOD is the Anchor. He instills a moral compass as well as the Golden Rule. There is no coincidence with God. He brought you together for a reason. Do you care? That which you treasure, you take care of. Protect each other’s feelings through a lifetime commitment of respect, courtesy and love.

LAUGHTER keeps a relationship young-at-heart. What seems like a crisis  in a relationship can often be a learning experience which over time is usually laughed about when relating that story to family and friends years later. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as the saying goes. In perspective, it’s all small stuff. Only what we do for our Lord matters.

TIME. In a strong, loving, balanced relationship, a couple should continually allocate more time together than apart. Never stop supporting, learning and growing together! God created us as complex creatures. It’s exciting to discover new interests that add to a couple’s extensive memory portfolio in marriage!

Communicate! Don’t let your relationships become complacent! Complacency leads to boredom. Sadly, many marriages are disposable in today’s throw-away society. How many times while counseling did I heard the phrase: “We used to talk for hours, but he doesn’t communicate with me anymore!” Wouldn’t most women prefer good communication from the heart than a gift from the store?

I can’t believe in life you can’t find something to talk about:  vacation plans, politics, sports, travel, world events, work, music, television shows, a joke you heard, a Bible study point of view . . . there’s literally a world of items to discuss!

We surround ourselves with such busyness and noise and yet more and more, as humans, we are so lonely. Then we reach for anything that temporarily satisfies, food, drugs, alcohol, shopping. We find ourselves in a void, falling further and further away from God’s love. Get back to the Word!

Surround yourself with godly people who encourage, build you up and believe you are worth speaking to. It takes commitment, patience and the Lord as the center of any relationship to ensure longevity. Reach out!

 “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.”  (Jeremiah 42:6)