Jesus, Take My Weight


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Weight. Who wants extra? Like most of my friends,  the only time in my life when  I wanted the extra weight was during my pregnancies  as  most of us become quite proud of our “baby bump”.   I don’t know about you, but what has echoed through my mind over and over again is  ” I need to lose weight”.

In the past six months, I’ve been on a weight loss journey, in order to battle Type 2  diabetes.  And although I’m somewhat pleased with the results, there are  many more pounds to release. I can honestly say I no longer crave sugar, bread, or pasta.  But I haven’t been able to completely control my cravings for solid chocolate, found in the bottom drawer of our copy machine at work,   corn chips,  or my son’s  trail mix, laced with M and M’s,  that resides in my  pantry.   I’ve learned two important things on this new path. First,  I needed to grasp the truth about my diabetes, and  it’s potential to wreak havoc on my body, when not controlled.  Second, is that my thoughts affect my behavior,  which in turn affects my weight, and ultimately my health.

 

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In the past several months,  the Lord has  gently invited me to follow Him on   a new  path of spiritual weight loss.  In this new journey, my weight is not determined by the bathroom scales, but by His Word.   Bible reading and meditation has shown me the truth:  my extra weight was wreaking havoc on my walk with Him and affecting my closest relationships.   In His Word, I found that I needed  start craving fruit, the Fruit of His Spirit, ” Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, against such there is no law”. ( Galatians 5: 22-23)   Gentleness was the fruit I had the greatest deficiency in,  and it was causing me to have the extra weight of being irritable and impatient.  That will make you feel bloated…. puffed up with pride!    After confessing this to God, I asked my family for help.  I had an unannounced meeting after dinner one night. ” I need to share something”, I said,  and my youngest son looked seriously at me and said ” Mom, do you have cancer?”.  I laughed, but now looking back, being so low on gentleness, causing me to be irritable,  contributed to a “spiritual” cancer that ate away at the bond of my relationships. By the end of my confession to my family for  avoiding this fruit, we had an action plan: whenever my irritability popped back up,  the code word for me they would say  was “fruit”, so that I could focus on being gentle.  Although there are still times that I pick that weight back up, God has helped me to keep the weight off,  with His help.

 

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Recently, He has shown me another  “fruit” that I was consuming too much of, or was it consuming me?  It was definitely a weight, my Apple, as in  Apple I Phone.    I don’t know about you, but if your son or daughter were to tell you ” mom you spend way too much time on your phone”, like mine told me, it should make you put it down.  But I realized that I had to actually deactivate my Face Book account in order to drop this extra weight.  Go cold turkey, like I did with sugar, pasta, and bread.   The first two days, I missed it, but the 10 days following,  I’ve not missed it and finally  relieved that I’ve dropped it.    The verses that the Lord has used in this new journey of spiritual weight loss is one I’ve had to memorize in order to stay focused.  As in physical weight loss, my thoughts affect my behavior, which also affects my spiritual health.

” Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily besets us, and  let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;   who, for the joy that was set before Him  endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12: 1-2

 Lay aside- the Greek word apotithimi, means to lay something down and push it far away from oneself, beyond reach.  Lay it down… and push it far!  I’m so glad God’s Word didn’t leave us there, aren’t you?  He gave us such a vivid image of Jesus, “looking unto Jesus”, to focus on Him, to have the desire to lay it down, push it far, and leave it there, never to pick it back up again. What freedom!

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There are many more weights or sins that can weigh us down and prevent us from running in freedom,  in our “race”.  Fear, anxiety, people pleasing,  pride, anger, bitterness, not forgiving others or ourselves, idolatry, lust, addictions, not fully surrendering our lives to Jesus, not trusting Him, living in our past.   I want to challenge you to think about starting your own  spiritual weight loss journey.  Start by asking Jesus, what weights would He have you  to surrender to Him.  When you focus on Jesus, and His Word, you can say with me, “Jesus take my weight, because I want to run with endurance, in the freedom and joy  of knowing you. “

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I’m Sharing My Bread This Christmas


As the Christmas Season is fast approaching,  I’m adding a new item on my Gift List: Bread. The idea came to me as I was reading the words of the richest and wisest man of his time, King Solomon.  “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on the earth.” Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

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After I read the verse, a childhood memory came flashing back . It’s one of my favorite places, my grandmother’s house on Skinner’s Lake. My grandmother had loaves of day old bread she purchased at the bread store for “her fish”.  She would say to me, “go feed the fish’.  I went to her refrigerator, reached my hand in the bread bag and pulled out a couple of slices. I headed out the door, and down her long dock.  Next, I started breaking the slices into smaller pieces, and tossed them into the water. Within seconds, the bread would start to move, then disappear as the hungry fish devoured the bread!  This small act of feeding the fish brought  joy and excitement to me.

Looking back to Solomon’s advice, his intention was not for us to ” go feed the fish.”  This verse can be interpreted several ways, with one being sharing our possessions with the poor.  Solomon also wrote in Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.    We all like to give and receive at Christmas.  When we share our “bread” or possessions with  the poor, we are giving it to the Lord, and He gives the best gifts back in return!  We will “find our bread after many days”, as Ecclesiastes 11:1 states. We will have kindness shown back to us through other ways.

The “Bread of Life”,  who came to earth the first Christmas, instructs His followers with the following command:

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This Christmas, as I celebrate the birth of My Savior,  I want to be more intentional with giving my bread to the poor. Really, it’s not my bread. It is God’s bread.  Every blessing I have comes from His hand alone. Today, there are many people, near and far, who are drowning in the troubled waters on life’s sea. We see their faces in our neighborhoods, marketplaces, schools, work, church, and even across the ocean.  We have the “bread”  in our hand to toss out to them. The question is, are we going to hold on tightly to the bread God has blessed us with,  and ignore Christ’s instruction to us, or are we going to have an open, gracious handful of bread to share?   I encourage you to add Bread to your Christmas List this year, and share with someone who cannot give you anything in return. And while you are doing it, introduce them to the Bread of Life.whocanilove

Reflecting the Son’s Light


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Photo Credit: Sandy Keith Robertson

Last weekend I was on vacation with my family at Daytona Beach. Sun, sand, waves: serenity.  On the first morning I awoke early at 6:30 a.m.  I put on my clothes, grabbed my cup of coffee, and headed downstairs and out the door to view a local attraction, no money needed.   As I arrived on the beach, there were a few other people with the same idea, cameras in hand.  It was cloudy and overcast, but I was determined to wait and see the sun rise, quietly  over the crashing waves.  A brilliant red-orange ball of fire, bursting through the horizon!  In my lifetime, the sun has risen and lighted my day over 17,000 times.  A constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.  “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!” (Psalm 113:3)  On the second morning, I arose early again, went into my daughter’s room, and whispered “Sarah, wake up”.  She rolled over and said “Is it worth it”?  She closed her eyes and chose to stay horizontal a couple more hours.  I went out the door, downstairs, and back to the bench I sat at the morning before to view God’s wonder. “Yes, it was worth it, ” I thought.

It was worth my sacrificing an hour or more of sleep to see the sunrise.  What a way to start my day in the stillness, only hearing the sound of the waves. Her question, though quite simple, pricked my conscience that morning.  Count me in as a sun gazer.  But am I a Son Gazer?  Do I long to see Jesus? Do I get up early to anticipate meeting him in the stillness?  Staring at His glory in awe, falling down and worshipping Him  before my day goes from quiet to noisy in 60 minutes. Cooking breakfast, ironing school uniforms, hurrying my children out the door, and rushing off to school, 40 minutes away. I confess I fail many times at meeting with the Son at sunrise.  Lord help me to adore you more. Those two mornings I arose early to see the sunrise, clouds were in the way, and I was disappointed that I  didn’t get a full awestruck view. I knew the sun was still there, but clouds interfered. It reminded me of the following verses:

But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” ( 2 Corinthians 3: 15-18)

We’re all born with  veil covered hearts.  The veil, like the clouds blocking the sunrise, prevents us from knowing God and understanding His word. But when we turn to face the Son, believing in our hearts the gospel, He snatches away  the veil and we receive His light rushing into our once darkened hearts. “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ( 2 Corinthians 4: 6)

Once the veil has been removed, and we see his glory, the transformation work begins. The transformation’s purpose is to be like Christ. Light bearers. Mirrors of His glory. When people see us, they are to see God’s image. This is to attract them to the Light.  Not the physical light blinding glory that Moses, Peter, James, John, and Paul experienced. But the inward character traits of the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.  We cannot be Christ-like without first worshipping and adoring Him in the quiet and stillness. Watching the Son rise in our hearts, as we die to self, daily.   We pick up his Word, like a mirror ,and hold it up to our hearts as we read it .   We ask the Holy Spirit to transform us to be like Jesus, and plant the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Like the  mirror- like building above, we are meant to reflect God’s Light, and His image.  The image you see on this building is the reflection of other objects in close proximity.  The beauty of the building is only in the reflection of the objects, outside of itself. Without the image it reflects, it would be rather ordinary and just a building. But as a reflector, it shows true beauty.  When we behold God’s glory, and walk in His light, His image and character begins to grow in our hearts.  People around us will  start to see God’s reflection, (peace, love, joy, kindness, patience)  because we’ve been with God, face-to-face.  Our self-will and sin nature will die a slow death, as we are transformed into His image.  God wants us to be Son Gazers, and Son Reflectors.

We can’t be Son Reflectors without first spending time gazing at the Son, in His presence daily.  It’s only when we reflect His light back outward, onto the paths of those around us,  that they get a glimpse of the Son, and the veil starts to move on their hearts. The more light they see, the more attracted they are to the Son, and they start to turn toward the Light Giver, and He reaches to their heart to lift the veil.


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