Monday, April 25, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: A Healthy Remaining

Meditation/Memory Verse: "Everything is permissible for me"-but not everything is beneficial...I will not be mastered by anything. ~ 1Cor 6:12

This week we complete our month of looking at the Proverbs 31 Woman's health-body, mind and soul. We have drawn from Lysa Terkeurst book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God, not Food. She has given us so many valuable concepts that we can use for our body, our mind, and our spirit. And what better timing of this subject than around the Easter season and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Combining Lysa's books with our Beth Moore Bible study at church: Jesus the One and Only and my writing here have convicted me even more to self-sacrifice and self-discipline so that I can be an intentional woman after God's own heart...a Proverbs 31 Woman for Him. Again, refresh yourself with this woman from Solomon's writing's Proverbs 31:10-31 (ASV).

We have looked at the affect of our cravings on our body, mind and spirit as we were made to crave God and we are made for victory! We have explored what it means to be spirit-living and the outcome self-discipline has on our body, mind and spirit. Last week we tied in how we are a temple made to honor God with our body, mind and spirit and we do that by giving God an undivided heart. So this week I will draw from Lysa, Beth and God's Word for our final topic-A Healthy Remaining.

Looking at our memory verse above and reflecting on what we have studied this month, what masters you? What takes up your time, your thoughts, your desires or cravings? Is is good for you? Is it driven by God or driven by the flesh? What gives you joy? Makes you or your day complete?

"Whatever it is, if we are really going to stop circling the mountain and head north towards lasting changes, we have to empty ourselves of the lie that other people or things can ever fill our hearts to the full. Then we have to deliberately and intentionally fill up on God's truths and stand secure in His love." (Lysa, pp. 114)

Too often we become a victim of what masters us. Food can become our master. Wine. Television. Fashions. Religion. Did I just say religion? Definitely. Can one be busy in the church but not busy with God? Sure. Many of us have worn those shoes at one time or another haven't we? Maybe food or drink is not a problem in your life. Praise God! Maybe ungodly things of the world have no place in your life and home. More power to Him! And maybe, just maybe you can say 2 Cor 2:14-15 (NIV):
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

That's a healthy remaining. To be master by Christ. Captive to everything and only those things that are from Him. A Proverbs 31 Woman is mastered by the Master and has a passionate relationship with Him.

" Your heart means more to Christ than anything. That your heart is utterly taken with Christ is more important than any amount of service you could render or rules you could keep. If Christ has your heart, He will have your obedience." (Beth, pp. 231)

We are to fill ourselves with the spiritual nourishments that we can only find from Gods Word and through prayer. We are to make God our greatest desire, our strongest craving...not that new house, not a new body, not a healthier bank account, though all those are good...they should not consume us. Has God convicted you to lose weight? Then do it. Your body is His temple. Have you been convicted to be financially debt free? Do it! But don't cut God out in the process. Honor him with your choices.

"Each day God can be the perfect portion of everything we need-every longing we have, every desperate desire our souls cry out for. " (Lysa, pp.133)

Instead of focusing on your weaknesses and the desires of your flesh, focus on the the truths of God and who you are in Him. The more you focus on an unwanted "something", the more it captures you. Sometimes we have to completely remove ourselves from certain situations or "somethings" to be free of their control. I am leaving you several scripture for you to focus on this week. Pick a verse for each day. Meditate on it. Pray it. Allow it to soak into the deepest parts of your body, mind and soul. Replace those "something" thoughts with one of these verses:

"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” ~ John 14:21 (NIV)

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. ~ Col. 1:9-12 (NIV)

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge. ~ Col 2:2-3

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. ~ Eph 1:17-18 (NIV)

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Eph. 3:17-19 (NIV)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ~ 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. ~ Rev. 3:8 (NIV)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you". ~ John 15:9-12 (NIV)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” ~ Lam. 3:22-24

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. ~ Phil. 4:8 (NIV)

A healthy remaining...body, mind and spirit...yielded to His will, unsettled with those unhealthy cravings or "somethings", eternally ruined for God.

"...the messing of two lives, yours and Christ's, increasingly engulfing and igniting the whole heart, soul and mind and strength. God i more than anxious to give you a heart full of fire for His Son. Tell Him you want it more than blessing or your daily bread".. (Beth, pp.232)

A Healthy remaining. This is exactly what satan fears the most and the Proverbs 31 Woman knows this. She calls on Eph. 6:10-11 and is able to be "strong in the Lord and in His mighty power". She puts on "the full armor of God, so that [she] can take [her] stand against the devil’s schemes". Setting boundaries, equipping the body, mind and spirit to stand guard over her temple, making her choices a holy honoring for God.

"...the ultimate goal of this journey isn't about making me a smaller sized person but rather making me crave Jesus and His truths as the ultimate filler of my heart. We are to remain in this healthy perspective. Let His thoughts be our thoughts. Remain.Approach this world full of fellow incomplete people with the joy of Jesus. Remain. And see our skinny jeans as a fun reward, nothing more. Remain. And be led forth in peace because I've kept my happy tied only to Jesus. Remain." (Lysa, pp.125)

As we close out this Easter season, I am drawn to Luke 24 and the women who went to place the spices and perfume they had prepared for their Savior's body. Because they had to wait the Sabbath out, their emotions must have been put to the test. These woman came to Jesus (in some cases, Jesus came to them) with their "somethings" and He became their Something. In Matthew 28:9 when they encounter Jesus for the first time after His death how did they respond? "They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him".

I bet they didn't want to let go. A healthy remaining. That is how I want my response to be when I finally meet Him face-to-face...I want my heart to reflect that kind of love, that kind of honoring...knees that will no doubt buckle....dropping to the ground...clasping His feet and washing them with my tears...humbled...grateful for His grace...His love...eternally worshiping Him as my Something.

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” ~ Luke 24:32

Abba, Father, my Holy and Sovereign God, oh that my life, my choices would reflect a heart of a healthy remaining while here on this earth. Burn my heart with your desires and your will. Burn deep within my heart when I open your Word and when I pray to you. Help me to live intentionally for you and you only. Cover me with your Holy Spirit until I can literally clasp onto you as these women at your resurrection did. Be my Something. ~Amen

Believing Him~Pamela

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: A Healthy Honoring

Meditation/Memory verse: "Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." ~ 2 Cor 7:1

Last weeks journey of the Proverbs 31 woman demonstrated a woman who masters self-control by way of the Holy Spirit. In return, she is able to live a self disciplined life. I was challenged greatly with this spirit control living this past week. I have been out of town for a business trip. We were fed so much much...
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Ps. 73:26 (NIV)

I may have failed in some of my food choices (I stayed away from the pastries but that sauce on my salmon had to be high calorie) but God remained my hearts desired. I so loved meditating on Romans 8 this past week. I continue to pray "Grow me Lord...grow me into a spirit controlled woman! Help me crave You more." This journey remains on-going! No doubt it was for the Proverbs 31 woman.

So we continue to look at the Proverbs 31 woman from Solomon's writings. Go here and refresh yourself on her characteristics as recorded in the Amplified version. What do you think motivated the Proverbs 31 woman as recorded in this Proverb? What motivated her to be these things?

As we explore even more about this woman who was Made to Crave God more, we will draw from what Lysa writes in her book. From her chapter on exercise, Lysa took us to a passage in Haggai one that I would like to look at a little closer. It was the first time for me to read these words in the context of spirit living that honors our body, mind and soul:

2 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’”

3 Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

7 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord.

Now God was talking about His temple, a place of worship His people was rebuilding after they had been in exile. They started to build it with the best of intentions but eventually they lost their enthusiasm and starting falling away from their focus. Is that not a picture of how we can be when it comes the the health of our body, mind and soul?

We want to lose weight and so we start exercising and then something else robs our time and we no longer find we have a relationship with that treadmill or that daily run...

We wake up just a little bit earlier to spend time alone in the quietness of the morning so we can clear our mind to do His will. Then we find something else controls our thoughts and we cut short that time of meditation or skip it all together...

We memorize scripture so we can yield to this spirit-filled living but suddenly you find you lost your enthusiasm to stay focused on these verses....

Can we not compare it to Paul's words and say the same words of God spoken in Haggai apply with our body, mind and spirit?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. ~ 1 Cor. 6:19-20 (NIV)

As I write these words we have entered the Easter season...the incredible walk Jesus took to Calvary because God loved us so much. His love for us was so strong that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to prove it...grace so undeserved on our part.

"Indeed, it's amazing how love can motivate us--especially when it's God's unreserved love matched with our undivided heart" (pp.95)"

So what is it about the Proverbs 31 Woman that motivates her? I think Lysa nailed it in her statement above..."our undivided heart"! Think about it. In all three of those situations I listed above, would the outcomes be the same if an undivided heart was involved? Of course not. So how do we capture this undivided heart? Where better to turn to than scripture...

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.~ Ps 86: 11-12 (NIV)

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. ~ Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)

These were his instructions to them: “You must always act in the fear of the Lord, with faithfulness and an undivided heart. ~ 2 Chron. 19:9 (NLT)

An undivided heart trust in God and desires more than anything else (food, material things, self-gratifications) to honor God with her actions, with her thoughts, with her body. Does this mean this women only wears a size six and is picture perfect in the eyes of others? No, what matters to her is how God sees her. She is a woman who relies on God in everything and finds that step-by-step, she is able to become as He created her to be. She prays daily for an undivided heart.

"Halfhearted efforts only produce mediocre results" (pp.87).

And so this week we journey to living a whole-hearted spirit-living life with an undivided heart.
As our memory verse above encourages us, we
"purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

"An undivided heart. That's what my whole journey in conquering my cravings was about. When it comes to my body, I can't live with divided loyalties. I can either be loyal to honoring the Lord with my body or loyal to my cravings and many excuses...I am made for more, I am made for victory" (pp. 91, 101)

An undivided heart perseveres resulting in victory, no matter where your weaknesses may be...your body, your mind, your soul or in all three.

"Life as a Christ follower will always be a learning process of depending less on our own strength and more on God's power." (pp. 106)

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:3-4 (NIV)

An undivided heart goes to God to fill any emptiness or spaces of void in her life. She goes to Him for healing, for comfort and for peace.

"Only persevering with God will make us truly full, complete, not lacking anything." (pp.106)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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 Cor. 10:11-12 (NIV)

An undivided heart honors God.

So where do we go from here? This week lets walk each day mindful of Christ steps to Calvary. Lets live a life thankful for the love our God demonstrated through His son's blood. Read this journey each day as written by His disciples and ask God to help you live your minutes, your hours, with an undivided heart that honors Him. Display your love and gratefulness for His actions through a healthy honoring. Let His love motivate you.

Matt. 27:11-66 - Matthew 28
Mark 15 - Mark 16
Luke 22: 39 -71, Luke 23 & Luke 24
John 19 - 20

A healthy honoring, motivated by His love!! Make this week all about Him.

Believing Him~Pamela

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Spirit Living Health

Meditation/Memory verse: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5 (NIV)

So, how did last week go? Did you pay closer attention to your life style-what you ate, what your did (or didn't do), what you thought? Were you brave enough to record it? Most importantly, did you take note of those things that honored God in your days? Doing that builds a woman's confidence instead of tearing one self down with our failures!

In the fear of the LORD [she] has strong confidence
and [her] children have a refuge. ~ Proverbs 14:26 (HCSD)

The Proverbs 31 Woman described by Solomon's recording of his mother depicts that she allowed the things of God to weigh more heavy in her day and in her life. She had to make it a practice to dwell on what honored Him above what she desired and it became a practice, a way of life for her. And that brings us back to the message behind Lysa Terkeurst book "Made to Crave" that I am referencing for this month (in red) as we look at the Proverbs 31 woman and her health not just in body, but also in her mind and spirit. Re-read our theme passage here to keep your mind afresh with this woman we are studying.

This week we are going to address the characteristic of self-control that one finds in "spirit living health". As you read through Proverbs 31: 10-31 do you not see a woman of her home, in her work, and in her reaching out to others?

"Becoming a woman of self-discipline honors God and helps me live the godly characteristics of self-control." (pp.60)

To be self-disciplined, you have to be intentional. Looking back over last week, where does this apply to your life? Do you find you need more self-control in your food choices? What about a little more self-control in your responses to others? Do you need to be more intentional with God?

"Growing closer to God has a whole lot less to do with any action we might take and a whole lot more to do with positioning our hearts towards His." (pp 59)

And this is where we find our power to overcome whatever it is in our lives that is over powering us, those nasty strongholds that keeps us from living the God-honoring life we were created to live. Look again at our memory verse above. This week we are going to concentrate on this chapter that surrounds that verse and allow the depth and promises within its written words to embed into our being. I am giving your assignment early here but this is what I encourage you to do now and to to do each morning before you start your Romans 8...slowly. Savor it, meditate on it. Draw strength from it. Pray it. Then ask God to allow his Holy Spirit to guide you in your day. Here are a variety of versions in which to read from for this week:

Romans 8 (Amplified)
Romans 8 (The Message)
Romans 8 (NKJV)
Romans 8 (NLT)
Romans 8 (HCSB)
Romans 8 (NASB)
Romans 8 (NIV)
Romans 8 (ASV)

Whether we are struggling with a stronghold of the body (weight, image, food or drink) or an issue or spiritual depths (unforgiveness, sin, bitterness) or an issue of the mind (depression, negative thoughts, poor self-esteem), God is our key to being set free of it. How?

A stronghold is a sin, a habit, a self-degrading thought that has such intense power that it controls us. It prevents us from being what God intended us to be. It can keep us living in a constant state of failure. The only way to overcome a stronghold is to release it to Christ by craving Him, more of Him! We are obligated to God, not to our body or our mind-those strongholds that weigh us down and keep us living by our sinful nature. Look at verses 12-14, here in the New Living Translation:

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

The wisdom and power we need to make good choices in life and to keep Gods word in our heart and mind comes from God. Freedom!! That's how we were created, to crave Him, not wealth, not food or wine, not a better job or life...just Him! If you are feeling empty, fill yourself with Him and His word. If you are craving a snack, have a scripture ready to help guide you as make a wise choice or choose to refrain from eating at all. If your mind tells you you cannot do something well enough or look good enough-throw it a scripture where God says differently. Intentionally give God the control of your body, mind, and spirit. Practicing this every day will become a habit and lead to the freedom He has waiting for you.

"Only by being filled with authentic soul food from Jesus-following Him and telling others about Him-will our souls ever be truly satisfied." (pp. 64)

What did Solomon define his mother by in the verses of Proverbs 31: 10-31? She was a woman of self-discipline. She was not defined by her dress size, her outward appearances or career choice. She was defined by her heart and her actions and an obedience that honored the One who created her. Like her, we too are defined by our obedience to God.

"...we grow closer to God as we learn to look and act more and more like Him. The Bible calls this participating in His divine nature. Not only do our actions need to reflect the self-control the Holy Spirit affords us, but our sense of identity needs to reflect His presence in our lives as well." (pp.72)

Let me say it again, the Proverbs 31 woman is defined by her obedience to God in every area of her life. She honors God with her body, soul, and mind. She acknowledges that she represents Him in her choices in the grocery store, her actions and reactions to others and her thought processes because of the grace she has received when His son walk to Calvary...

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. ~ 1 Cor. 6:19-20 (NLT)

She makes choices that please God and allows Him then to work more fully in and through her life. She intentionally strive to become holy...

We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Eph 2:21 (NLT)

She becomes, by means of the Holy Spirit, a living stone to God's eternal purpose..

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 1 Peter 2:5 (NLT)

And she mirrors the one she chooses to honor...

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-15

In the end, her choices, her surrender, her obedience yields results. Maybe it is a thinner more fit body. Maybe it is a self-discipline wife and mother. Maybe the yielding is spiritual and the rewards eternal...

"...To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God." Rev 2:7b

Romans 8. Read it. Yield to it. Pray it and let it define you this week.

Self-control + the Holy Spirit = Self-discipline.

And remember...
This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is good for you
and leads you along the paths you should follow".
~ Isaiah 48: 17 (NIV)

Believing Him~Pamela

PS-after writing this I just came across a new study being released on Romans 8 by Pam Gillaspie who is with Kay Arthur's Precept Ministries! It is from her Sweeter than Chocolate series and titled "Mindset-Learning and Living the Will of God". To buy the book go here. To learn more about the summer on-line study of the book go here. I will be in on this one!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Healthly Cravings

Meditation/Memory verse: So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves." ~ Gal. 5:16 (NLT)

This Proverbs 31 Journey has not been an easy one for me. Sometimes I feel like these studies only tear me down by pointing out my areas of weaknesses and failures. Do you think the Proverbs 31 woman ever felt like a failure? Don't you think she had days where she was too exhausted to meet anyone else's needs let alone her own? Don't you think she had days with her own heart battles of maybe bitterness and frustrations? She couldn't be perfect...only one is perfect and that is Christ.

I believe the Proverbs 31 Woman was able to rise to battle any issue she faced because she used the Lord's strength to defeat those things that would bring her down emotionally, physically and spiritually. Her relationship with her God was one that was so tight, so real that she choose to trust Him in all things. All things.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5&6

She knows when to get more involved with some things and when to distance herself from others. She leans towards those things that glorify her God in body, in mind and in spirit. So lets take a different perspective into this Proverbs 31 Woman this month...(I am groaning here)...this month lets look at another perspective of the Proverbs 31 Woman--her health...her body, her mind, her spirit.

Are you happy with your weight? Are you happy with the way your body is aging physically? Are we ever, as my husband would ask? What is it about middle age and weight gain? What about our emotional and spiritual health? I know all the theories of pre-menopause and menopause but you know what...though these theories are true, I think there is a bigger theory or concept out there that was brought out in the open this past January. I'm sure you didn't miss this...
Lysa Terkrurst new release Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, not Food, has hit the best sellers charts. This book has zoned in on the concept that we are what we crave, not just in body, but also in mind and spirit and they all work together. Think about it for a second. When you are frustrated or upset, what do you turn to? When you want to relax at the end of the day, what helps you do that? When your driving down the road, where do your thoughts lodge? What do you crave?

"We were made to crave--long for, want greatly, desire eagerly and beg for --God. Only God." (pp. 21)

Lysa points out a very simple but incredibly powerful concept that if we want to "conquer our cravings we'll have to re-direct them to God". Don't you figure the Proverbs 31 Woman was able to model this?

She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. ~ Proverbs 31:14-15

These are the only verses referencing food (or health) that Solomon correlates to his mother but there is a deeper meaning here than just having a mother who is thrifty and thoughtful to the needs of her family's nutritional status. Read these verses in the amplified version:

She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household's food from a far [country]. She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.

Hummm....loaded with "foodstuffs"...we could get humorous here with that one but lets get serious instead and journey towards the spiritual food instead. Spiritual food can be for the body and for the soul. Lysa points out that "we consume what we think about. And what we think about can consume us if we are not careful... (this in not just taking about the food we eat, this also applies to the food we see or place in our mind, in our hearts)...we crave what we eat (what we think). If I make healthy choices over a period of time, it seems to reprogram my taste buds" (pp.23). If I choose to dwell on thoughts that are spiritual, it too changes the way I think and the way I live.

"All things are legitimate [permissible--and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]." ~ 1 Cor. 10:23 (Amplified)

So is it possible to love other things more than we love God? To crave other things more than we crave God? Has food, a job, even a hobby taken up more precedence in your life over your own relationship with God? Does the TV get more time from you than God? Do you miss church for sports or other activities?

"God never intended for us to want anything more than we want Him." (pp. 29)

We were made to live a life that honors our weight and outward appearance, in our thoughts, in our actions. We were created to ....

"The more we operate in the truth of who we are and the reality that we we were made for more, the closer to God we'll become." (pp. 54)

So were do we go with this topic this week? Lets take a long hard look at (1)what we eat and drink, (2) what we spend most of our time in or doing, (3) what we put into our mind, and (4) how we have honored God in our day-to-day living. Create a journal and record what you eat and drink. When you are stressed and frustrated, how did you handle that situation? How did you react or respond to others? How many hours of TV did you watch? How many hours did you give to God in Bible study, prayer and meditation? How did you honor God with your life?

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body. ~ 1 Cor. 6:19-20 (Amplified)

I heard a minister on the radio last month give this illustration...

"Suppose you were given $1440 each day to spend as you wished but at the end of the day, any dollars not spent would disappear...they would be lost forever. How would you use that money? Could you use that money? God has given you 1440 minutes each day to use as you wish. At the end of that day, those minutes are lost forever. How did you choose to use those minutes? Did those minutes honor God and what of those minutes will further the kingdom of Heaven?

This week, lets take a good hard look at how we are spending our minutes, what we are putting into our body, our mind and our soul. Take the time to log it and be honest with yourself. Then we will spend the remainder of this month diving deeper into Lysa book and her thoughts on craving God. This book goes so much deeper than just a weight loss plan...its a self-denial plan that results in eternal gain!

And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me]. ~ Mark 8:34 (Amplified)

The Proverbs 31 Woman craves more of Him and seeks for Him to have more of her. In return, there is so much more of her to go around for others and I am not implying there is more of her in pounds! There is so much more of her spiritually to give!! Lets begin praying our memory verse for this week for ourself, maybe even praying the Amplified version:

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

Believing Him~ Pamela