Friday, January 30, 2015

Conditioning Our Appetite

whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. (Philippians 3:19 NAS)

Conditioning Our Appetite
“I am 47 years old and have struggled with overeating and obesity since puberty,” Rena Barker wrote, sharing her testimony at SettingCaptivesFree.com. “I can remember gorging until I hurt and crying out to God to help me as I unwrapped my next candy bar. Several years ago, He did convict me that my overeating was sin but that knowledge really only compounded my rebellion and closet eating. The more I ate and gave into my flesh, the less I wanted to pray or fellowship with other Christians or read my Bible.”

Thankfully for Rena, God led her to an online Christian weight loss program that helped her kick start living a healthier lifestyle.

“There are many ways people may let their appetites get out of control,” wrote the author of an article at BiblicalCounselingInsights.com. “People have a type of hunger, real or perceived, and then try to feed it in a way that is inappropriate. Maybe they are greedy for sensation. Or maybe they have an emotional hurt and are trying to mask it with a high or the yumminess of a dessert or a ‘fun fix.’ Either way, they need to understand their real problem and address it in a healthy way. Overindulgence will only make matters worse.”

In a sense, gluttony is not just about overeating or about how we eat. It is also about overindulgence—the pursuit of something we desire so much that we give it far greater importance than everything else. Of those who relentlessly pursue after earthly gains, the Bible says of them that their god is their appetite, whose glory is in their shame. Their minds think only about this life here on earth. But we are not those who are yet unsaved, for our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:19-20).

Why should we, therefore, spend money on what cannot nourish us or labor for what does not satisfy? Shouldn’t we listen to God and eat what is good, and delight in the abundance He has blessed us with? If we have been given great wealth and honor, and everything we could ever want, but lack health because of overeating or overindulgence, how would it benefit us? Do we not know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are not our own? For we have been bought with a price, so honor God in our body (Isaiah 55:2; Ecclesiastes 6:2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Are we struggling from the bondage of bad eating habits? If like Rena, we need help to get started on the road to freedom from obesity or gluttony, the first step we need to take is to come to God and acknowledge our condition and addiction. Seek help from Christian care and counseling therapists who understand addiction or begin by taking up a course like The Lord’s Table by SettingCaptivesFree.com. Follow the cue given in the Bible that when given a box of candy, do not gulp it all down; eating too much chocolate will make ourselves sick (Proverbs 25:16 MSG).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we choose to follow our own pursuits in seeking to feed our own appetites instead of doing Your will. See us through and set us free from our addiction as we take the steps to walk closer with You and distance ourselves from obsession, obesity, and overindulgence. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within us.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lustful Nature

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5 NIV)

Lustful Nature
“I was brought up in a wonderful Christian home … and nurtured in the faith by an excellent Bible-believing church,” wrote the author of an article at SafeFamilies.org. “I came to know and love Jesus in a very authentic relationship in early childhood.”

“I didn’t struggle with most of the temptations urban teenagers encounter: drugs, alcohol, cheating at school, fighting, stealing,” he continued. “But in college, that changed. I was living with non-Christian roommates and in an environment where pornography was pervasive, I found myself drawn to it, at first when no one was looking so as not to ruin my witness. By senior year, I gave up pretending and convinced myself that looking at porn was not sinful.”

“I got married two years after I graduated. … I was sure that marriage would solve this problem (by now, it was a full-fledged addiction). It didn’t. … It made things worse. Things deteriorated over the years. As technology changed and my resistance diminished, I found that behaviors I’d previously deemed unthinkable became normalized.”

Like the writer of the article who shared about his struggles with lust at SafeFamilies.org, Katy also shared about similar challenges in her life.   

“I grew up in a Christian home where my folks knew of the Lord and tried with what they had to incorporate faith into my life,” wrote Katy in her testimony at SettingCaptivesFree.com. “I, however, didn't grow up knowing the Lord myself and in junior high questioned if He was really there.”

“From the age of 13, I was exposed to pornography and the misuse of sex,” Katy continued. “I walked out the life of pleasing my flesh and using my body to manipulate men. It wasn't until 6 years into my marriage that God was able to really get ahold of my heart and He caused me to fall in love with Him.” 

The Bible had forewarned us that those who choose to live their lives according to the deeds of the flesh to practice sexual immorality, impurity, or lustful pleasures will not inherit the kingdom of God. As followers of Christ Jesus, therefore, we ought to live our lives by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:19, 21, 24-25).

Thankfully for Katy and the writer of the article at SafeFamilies.org, both of them love the Lord deeply to find help, and their lives are now back to a closer walk with God.  Although they did not realize at first how deeply embedded their addiction was to their soul, they have since by the grace of God been involved in a journey of recovery, transformation, and restoration.

Are we struggling and attempting to overcome our lustful nature by ourselves or are we trying to hide our lustful acts from our loved ones and the people around us? Are we finding ourselves failing to do the good we want to do, and instead doing the very evil we hate?

If we are, we need help, if we hope to be set free from pornography, sexual immorality, habitual sin or the like. Begin by pouring our heart out to the Lord and telling Him our desire and love to want to change. Share and confess the matter with our spouse and those whom we can trust. Seek help from our pastor in charge, Christian care and counseling by therapists who understand addiction, or begin by taking up a course that helps overcome habitual sin, such as The Way of Purity course by SettingCaptivesFree.com. Put to death our earthly nature and inclination to sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, for such is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

Dear Lord, You know our struggles and You know by our own strength we are unable to overcome our lustful nature. Help us as we seek help in our road toward recovery, transformation, and restoration. Grant us the support from our loved ones, church family, and others. By Your Holy Spirit, open our eyes to the roots of our lust and teach us what real love is. Extend Your grace to us, for we know Your hand is not shortened that we cannot be saved, neither is Your ear heavy that our prayers are not heard. For great is Your love toward us and You have delivered us from the depths and the realm of the dead.

Friday, January 16, 2015

God Will Make a Way

God Will Make a Way
Perhaps it was a miracle. The cupboards were empty and dinnertime was nearing. Mom and dad spoke, perhaps encouraging each other, ‘God will provide.’ I know they were thinking of us children, and still yet they did not waiver from the fact they knew God always took care of us.

The doorbell rang and we all ran to see who had come to visit. There stood our neighbor, smiling as always, “Johnnie I don’t know what I was thinking, but when I laid out chicken for dinner I laid out too much. Will you guys come eat with us?”

Of course this was God’s provision, and I can recall that dinner as if I were sitting at the table at this moment! God provided for my family.

Through the years I’ve thought about this experience and believe it was a lesson in, not only provision, but God will use whoever is available and willing. You see our neighbor was not a Christian. She didn’t belong to our church, and didn’t believe things the way my parents did, although she loved God, she just went about it differently! 

There were many others in the Christian world and in our circle that could have helped, but it was this lady who heard the call and responded! Many would shun her because she didn’t fit into the copasetic religious ideas, yet God used her!

If you study the book of Ezra you will read where the people decided to rebuild the temple and run into a few problems. The people of the land were not happy about the construction and made every attempt to hinder the work.

Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. (Ezra 4:4-6 KJV)

The last hope was King Darius! They decided to involve the King and surely he would put a stop to the construction, but this backfired! After researching he concluded that the temple should be built:

Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. (Ezra 6:8 KJV)

Not only was the temple to be rebuilt but also it was to be financed by the king and no one was to stop the construction!
You see, the enemy attempted to come in and destroy God’s plan! He wanted the King to stop the procedure, but it didn’t work! God used the wealth of the wicked to accomplish his goal!

On that day when my family was hungry, God used a lady that was not a professing Christian to answer the call.

I believe God has people in the ‘Christian’ realm that He longs to use, but they do not have ears to hear, nevertheless, God will accomplish His will in your life! If He has called you He will provide! He may have to use the unsuspected! He may have to use the one outside of the proverbial box, but God will accomplish His will in Your life!

It is us who put the constraints on God! We are the ones who concoct ideas as to how something will come together, but it is God who will perform! Don’t be surprised as to where your help comes from! Don’t let the fact that the unsaved may be the conduit to getting the job done!

God will accomplish His purpose in your life! Jounda LaMance

God of wonders, how You never cease to amaze us with Your wondrous works! Lord, help us to be usable! Help us to hear the call and be obedient to Your voice! Lord, we don’t want to be a hindrance to Your work!! We seek direction from You and understand that everything we have been blessed with comes directly from You, and You alone! In Your Mighty Name, AMEN!

Friday, January 9, 2015

God's Will Never Fails

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. (Psalm 138:8a ESV)

God's Will Never Fails
Being a single person with health problems and a busy work schedule, sometimes I am forced to put aside tasks I feel I really need to get done, and that makes me feel like such a failure. For instance, I don’t always get my laundry done, clean my house as often as I’d like, or do my dishes every day.

I have learned, though, that not everything is “eternally relevant” and that as long as I am where God wants me and I am doing the assignments God gives me, then I am not a failure (even if I haven’t dusted my furniture for a while). I do believe that I should take care of my things because God has given them to me. But, God also knows my heart and my crazy schedule and He isn’t holding that against me.

Recently my pastor said this: “When we try to do things in our own strength, we will fail. When we let God work through us to accomplish something, we will never fail, even if the world says so … for we have done what God has asked.”

God doesn’t grade us by the same criteria that man does. According to man, I’d be considered lazy and slothful. On the other side, God knows that I’d like nothing better than to be able to do all of the things on my list … but I know if I look to God for guidance, He will give me the wisdom to shorten my to-do list and prioritize the things listed.

What I need to focus on, is showing God’s love to those around meif I do that, everything else on my “list” falls into their correct placement and I will learn to manage my time and resources in a Biblical way. When I look to God for strength to do something He has asked me to do, God is given all the glory (because I know I could not have done it on my own).

Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a ESV) Bridget Gazlay

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Only New Year's Resolutions That Work

New Year's Resolutions That Work
With the dawning of each New Year, many of us set aside resolutions, with the goal of improving ourselves and our relationships. Studies have shown that the most common New Year’s Resolutions have to do with weight loss, financial goals, job security, strengthening relationships, even spiritual disciplines. We are good for few days, even weeks, only to be disappointed with ourselves and fail with our own good intentions before the end of January.

From personal experience, many times I failed with my weight loss goal, until I finally gave up trying and started trusting. I give God the glory for I know it’s His grace and my obedience to His will that helped me lose those unwanted pounds that saved my life. As I keep on trusting and obeying, He will continue working in every aspect of my life. My main goal this year and years to come is to know Jesus Christ more and more each day and strengthen my relationship with Him so that His name will be glorified in whatever I do.

I believe that the only resolutions we need that will work can be found in none other than the Holy Book. As we obey, there will come times when we have lapses of memory, but nonetheless, as we surrender to the Power much greater than ourselves, we will succeed.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” Psalm 37:5

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

As we sail into the ocean of uncertainties this year, as we face the storms of life, as we smile at our own little triumphs, as we seek new adventures and try to find meaning into our own existence, my prayer is that we will never forget the very Hands that created us, molded us, and the very Hands who can take us to the place where we choose to belong.

A blessed New Year to all! To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen! Gloria Tiquia

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Blessed New Year 2015


Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; 
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NAS) ~


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