We moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 6

Chapter 6: God's Life Changing Power

Bringing About Real Change

God's Word says that He has the power to change us. His plans for us are for our good, not to harm us. Because He wants good for us, he does not want us to be stuck in sin, but to persevere through struggles and continually seek Him. He promises to help us in this work, "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:6).

Fitzgerald believes that there are 4 basic steps we can follow to bring about godly change in our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit...

  1. Become convinced that your present method of eating is sinful and cease from it
  2. Become convinced that God's methods for disciplined eating are right and begin practicing them
  3. Seek diligently to change your mind and become conformed to God's thinking, especially in the area of your eating habits
  4. Continue to practice these new thoughts and behaviors, even when the struggle gets hard

The foundation for this change is found in the Holy Spirit working in you. If your goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ, none of us can bring about real change on our own. To truly change our hearts in a way that pleases God and conforms us to look like Christ, the Holy Spirit must work through us. The fruit of the Spirit's work in you is self control, even as it pertains to your eating habits.

Let's take a look at how the Spirit can help in each of the above steps for change...

Step 1:
"Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." Hebrews 5:14

The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads us to recognize good from evil. The Holy Spirit can also guide us to eat in godly ways, that don't lead us into sin. The Spirit enables us to put the desires of our flesh to death. His power is mighty to help you discern godly ways of eating from sinful ways of eating.

Step 2:
"When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all the truth." John 16:13

Any change in your outward behavior and in your heart, must come from the work of the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can guide you in truth so that you can display godly eating habits. After accepting Christ into your life, God does not want to leave you as the same person. He desires to change us into his likeness, to sanctify us. To make this change possible, He uses the Spirit in you.

Step 3:
"Lay aside your old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God, being changed in his image, has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth, that the Holy Spirit is creating in you." Ephesians 4:22-24

Putting off our old ways of eating and thinking is a process that takes time. Throughout the entire process, as the Spirit guides, change occurs. The spirit changes the way that we think about ourselves and about Him and about our eating habits. The Spirit works through God's Word. The Bible is a lamp to light our way so that we can better understand God's purposes in our lives. And as we read, we must also pray and ask that the Spirit would help us gain understanding.

Step 4:
Too often we start a new "plan" with hope and excitement, only to feel like a failure days or weeks after starting. Or we get tired of the routine and search for something else that might be better. Fitzgerald states that "the practice of godliness that the Spirit is working in us is the only solution that is going to have true and lasting results."

Have HOPE...
We can have hope as believers because the Spirit protects us and seals are fate. The Spirit watches diligently and guards us so that we will someday be delivered safely back to the Father's hands. Our struggle with sin will not end until this life is over, but God is powerful enough to change us while we are here, give us strength during the process, and continue the work He started in us until He calls us home to be with Him.

We can also have hope in our struggles and be joyful for them...

"We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. " Romans 5:3-5

As we trust in God to change us, even as we continue to struggle, we will be filled with God's unconditional, overflowing love. You can release fears and worry that you won't be able to do it because God has already chosen to give up his very own Son, to death on a cross, so that He could do this work in you. He will do anything for you!

Even in times that you feel too weary, tired or weak to pray, the Spirit prays on your behalf. The Spirit knows exactly how to pray for you. And in these times we can look to the Spirit for comfort, peace and strength. Galatians 5:6 states that as we "walk by the Spirit, you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." We can walk by the Spirit when we "set our affections on Him, rely on Him, please Him, rest in Him, trust Him, pray to Him, worship Him, and obey Him." When we do these things we will be guided by the Spirit and our fleshly desires will be put to death.

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Why We Do What We Do

This chapter addresses the question of...
"Why do I do what I do?"
What are the motivations of your heart?

Our society gives us these reasons for doing what we do...

1. My Mama made me do it
  • the way we act today is a result of subconscious roots from something that happened in our childhood
2. My computer has a virus
  • man is simply a machine; the input will always result in corresponding behaviors
3. Help me doctor, I think I'm sick
  • people who believe that eating disorders are diseases think that we do things because of our genes, allergies or chemicals in our brain
4. Feel the force within you
  • these people believe in eastern philosophies and mysticism for the answers to motivation and healthy behavior
5. The devil made me do it
  • people who believe that demons and spirits inhabit our bodies, causing people to struggle continually with sin
6. I don't love myself enough
  • inside each of us is the power to love and accept ourselves, but these people have low self-esteem and instead choose to punish themselves instead of loving themselves
Every motivation mentioned thus far has blamed an outside force for our behavior, instead of self. Generally speaking our society says that we aren't responsible for our own behaviors. All of our behaviors must be a result of something or someone else - your parents, lack of self-esteem, the devil, etc.

However, the Bible states that one day we will be accountable to God for our actions. God has forgiven us of our sins through Jesus Christ, but the same God has also called us to trust and obey Him.

Taking Responsibility... with God's Grace

God calls us to obey His Word. He has the ability to ask this of us because He alone can give us the strength to do so. Regardless of our past experiences or present circumstances, God delights in showering us with His grace so that we can boast in Him and glorify in Him in all things.

If you are in Christ, why not begin today to ask God to show you how He redeems your past and uses it for His glory? The thought that God arranged your history to happen exactly the way it has so that He could turn your mourning into dancing. His grace should fill you with hope and joy.

What the Bible teaches about "why we do what we do"

The Bible says that while we all have different pasts and different histories, we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God created us all innately the same. Because of this, we can know that the Bible holds truth for everyone.

Our first peek into what the Bible has to say about this comes from James 1:14, "Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." Each of us have lusts in our heart that cause us to see certain temptations as very inviting. These lusts then are strong motivators of our behavior. When you find yourself tempted to sin, ask "What desire is motivating this behavior? What desire is it that I'm trying to satisfy by eating or not eating this?"

The Condition of our Hearts

Only God can truly know the condition of our hearts. Only God has enough insight and wisdom to see us as we truly are. Our hearts can deceive us at times. Sin can speak in our hearts and tell us that the wrong we are planning is right. We make excuses and rationalizations. The only way to truly understand the temptations of our heart is to be in the Word. When we learn the Word, we gain the ability to understand our thoughts and intentions.

God can help us understand our own heart through prayer. When Jesus was facing his death, he prayed and even guided his disciples to pray, that they would not fall into temptation. God can show you what areas you are particularly tempted by. The Holy Spirit in you can then give you the strength you need to resist temptations. Pray before the temptation comes if you are aware of specific temptation areas are in your life.

Temptations do not come from God. In James 1:13 it states, "let no one say when he is tempted I am being tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone." Outward temptations come from the world or the devil while inward temptations come from our fleshly desires. We fall into sin when the selfish desires of our hearts are matched with outside temptations that are ungodly.

Some ungodly desires include...

1. Love of Independence
  • we have a desire to have what we want when we want it
  • we make statements like, "You cannot tell me what to eat or not eat." "Everything in my life is out of control and food is the only area that I can do what I want."
  • this desire to have control started in the garden when Eve ate from the apple

2. Love of Pleasure
  • desiring to experience pleasure simply for the reason of greedy enjoyment, rather than for it's given purpose
  • eating to fuel your body is not wrong, however eating for other motivations such as loving the pleasure of food for comfort, peace, love are wrong

Cultivating Godly desires...

What are the true desires of your heart? Do you long for God the way that you long for a drink or a certain kind of food? When we seek God alone as our only source of pleasure, we will find joy beyond description.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisified." Matthew 5:6

If we hunger and thirst for anything but God, we will never be satisified. But if we seek Him first, we will be blessed, satisfied and joyful. Our stomachs will never be satisfied in this life, but we can store up treasures in heaven when we have an appetite for Him that can remain satisfied.

Leave behind things that bring lesser joys. Too often we seek after food and drink for joy and contentment, when God wants to offer us His pure, everlasting, unconditional, infinite joy. Lust is content with nothing, and the more it is fed, the hungrier it becomes. In God we are always satisfied and our deepest hungers are fulfilled.

Let Psalm 73:25 be your prayer today,
"the earth has nothing I desire besides you."

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Give It Up

I've recently been taught yet another life lesson in giving every circumstance up to God, thanks to Emily.

My daughter, Emily, has always been on the very petite side. I lovingly refer to her as my little peanut. She is nearly 11 months old, but she could easily pass as 8 months. She is just so tiny.

As a result of her slow weight and small stature, we scheduled a doctor visit to check for any underlying medical conditions. I was suspecting the doctor to laugh and say that I had nothing to worry about. Instead, the doctor proceeded to ask a birage of questions and sent us for bloodwork to rule everything out. Not the response I was expecting.

As a mother I wanted to hear that nothing could possibly be wrong with my daughter. That's not what I heard. My immediate response was to worry.

But God is oh so good. He immediately started working on my heart. Through this experience and many others, God is slowly teaching me to release my worries to Him.

Matthew 5:31-34 immediately rang loud and clear in my mind, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

God has a lot to say about worry. Primarily he says not to do it. Ever. When I worry I'm not trusting Him. Being stuck in worry says that somehow I can control the situation better than He can.

But in that moment I took a step back to remind myself of Who He is. He spoke the universe into being. He created human life from the dust of the earth. He is all knowing, all powerful, and all present. Those truths are enough for me to trust Him. In so many ways he has proven Himself faithful to His promises. I can trust Him.

God sent me a few other reminders about MY daughter too. That was just the reminder, that she is not as much my daughter as she is HIS. I am an earthly vessel, gifted with the great responsibility of caring for her and pointing her to Christ in this lifetime, but HE is her Father. He had good and perfect plans for her long before she even came into being. He loves and comforts her in ways that I am not capable of. I will fail her, but He never will. She is not mine, but His.

His voice calmed my spirit. He took my burdens upon himself and I felt light as a feather. He alone holds tomorrow in His hands. Worrying about the future will not change the perfectly laid out plans He has for me or my daughter. What a relief. Not only did I let go of worry, but I found joy in doing so. What great joy in knowing that He had and always will have everything under control. I have nothing left to do, but trust Him.

"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 4

Chapter 4:
We are God's Temple

God does not call us to be consumed with thinness or beauty.

However, we should be concerned about caring for our God-given bodies.
We need to care for our bodies because each of us are a creation of God and because God purchased your body through the blood of Christ when you became a Christian.

1. We are God's creation...

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Psalm 13:13-14

In Psalm 139 the writer starts by rejoicing in God's omniscience and his omnipresence. He is thankful that God is with him, no matter where he goes. He is thankful because God's thoughts are with him all of the time. Then the writer speaks about God lovingly creating his body. He is thankful that God created his body with specific strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. God created him specifically and uniquely in order to glorify Himself.

Our thankfulness for God's creation should come from a heart
that delights in His work,
not in our appraisal of it.

Have you considered lately how miraculous your body is? Think of all the amazing details that make your body function day in and day out. God made our bodies to reflect His image and likeness - our bodies are amazing! God has also made our bodies frail so that we depend on Him for strength. Have you ever considered being thankful that your body isn't perfect or that you aren't more beautiful? If you were "perfect" would you need to depend on God the way you do in your imperfection? When God made man and woman He said that it was very good. When He made you he spoke the same words. God doesn't make mistakes. He made you the way that you are on purpose and for the purpose of glorifying Him.

We are to eat healthy then because we are God's creation. We show honor and love when we care for the things that God has entrusted to us. When we care for our bodies we also make God known to the world around us.

2. Our bodies belong to God as his Sanctuary...

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? for you haev been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?... for the temple of God is holy; and that is what you are.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

These verses explain that our bodies are dwellings for God's Spirit. Just like a temple building in Jerusalem, so too your body is set apart, occupied, and inhabited by God. Would you consider desecrating your church building? No. We must treat our bodies the same way; as holy because it is God's home just as the church is God's dwelling for His Spirit. The God who created the universe also fills and dwells inside of us. God's name "Immanuel" means "God with us."

Our bodies are on this earth will never be perfect or free from disease and death. Despite illness and imperfections, God wants us to treat our bodies with care so that we can be used to glorify Him. We are not to see good health as a god or idol. If you are focusing on perfecting your body for peace and joy then the work you can do for God may be hindered. Your body is a tool in the master's hands. When we are healthy He can use us to do His work.

Remember that caring for your body is not the goal of life - glorifying and loving God is. Caring for your body is merely a means to an end and one way to say thank you to the Lord for all the things He has done for you.

The Price He Paid...

1 Corinthians states that "we are bought with a price." The cost of our bodies is the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid his life, not only for our bodies, but our souls. Because of the great price He paid, we should glorify Him in everything we do. When you are tempted to sin, think of the cross. Jesus suffered and died so that we would be found blameless and pure in the sight of God. Instead of being controlled by the thoughts of food, exercise, starvation, purging or bingeing; be controlled by the cross. Be controlled by his great love and mercy towards you. We are His now, we are not our own. We can rest in Him knowing that we are redeemed and He has great plans for our lives.

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Battle is Won

In this life we are faced with battles of the heart.

You open the pantry and there they are. Cookies. The question isn't whether you eat them or not. It's a matter of motive. What is the motive of your heart in this situation? Are you seeking comfort by eating them? Are you seeking control by leaving them there?

It may seem silly to think about eating a cookie as a heart issue. But these daily choices often reveal a battle inside of us. In your heart, are you giving God supremacy or are you giving in to Satan's lies?

God reigns here. He is ruler and King over all that is created.

There are also evil forces at work here because we live in a fallen world. Satan's evil plans speak quietly in our daily lives. He often does not shout or make himself obvious. Instead, he often waits patiently, looking for weaknesses. He whispers lies. He hopes that we will believe one lie. One lie leads to another and another. He desires for us to believe his lies so that soon enough we forget God's truth and leave it behind.

While the battle between good and evil rages on this earth, we can have hope because the war is over. The battle is already won.

God sent his one and only Son to die on a cross for our sins. While we were still sinners, He died for us. Not only did he give His life, but He rose again. He is ALIVE. In that moment, Christ conquered Satan, death and hell. Evil has no victory over us because God has already proven himself victorious. 1 Corinthians 15:55 states, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" Verses 57 and 58 say, "Thanks be to God, He gives us victory though Jesus Christ. So, stand firm. Let nothing move you."

These verses tells us to leave our chains behind and live in freedom! Let God be victorious in your life today. Break the chains of guilt, shame, unforgiveness, fear, hopelessness and doubt.

In the words of Amazing Grace...

My chains are gone, I've been set free.
My God my Savior has ransomed me.
Like a flood His mercy reigns.
Unending love,
Amazing grace.

The battle is over and God is victorious.

There is NOTHING in this world that God isn't victorious over. Galatians 5:1 says, "Christ has set us free, stand firm and do not be enslaved again." Stand firm on His word and let NOTHING move you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Out of Touch With Jesus...

Last week Daybreak staffer, Carmen Biggs addressed the issue of Being Out of Touch with Jesus.

During her wonderful and relevant message, she addressed 3 truths that help us reconnect with Jesus.

Or simply read her bullet points and some of my scratchy notes...
  1. Realize that we are HANDCRAFTED
For we are God's masterpiece.
Ephesians 2:10

  • God wants me to live out the purposes that He has for me, no one else!
  • God made all of us to be different, to look different, serve Him differently and live out different purposes
  • God doesn't grow us spiritually the same way, we all learn and grow different spiritually
  • Ask yourself this question - What makes ME connect with God? What pathway (music, journaling, solitude, community) brings ME closer to God?
  • Don't think about someone else and how they meet with Jesus - what draws YOU closer to Him?

2. Realize that we are MADE NEW

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10b

  • We can have hope of something better to come (eternity) when we are made new!
  • The more God makes me new, the more I become like the ME God intended me to be
  • The more God makes me new, the more like Jesus I become
  • Ask yourself this question: If I were new, what fear would I be free from?
  • When we release fears, the Holy Spirit is free to do a great work in us
  • Look forward to the good, leave behind the bad and don't have fear in the race
  • Run towards something good and eternal, which brings joy and hope!
  • Pursue WHATEVER causes you to set your mind on Jesus
  • We have the freedom to pursue whatever allows us to connect with Jesus
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.
Philippians 4:8

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2b

3. Realize that we are LOVED

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love... nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38a, 39b

  • NOTHING separates us from God's love. NOTHING. Not even our past mistakes, failures or bad habits.
  • God loves us so much that he paid for our sins through the blood of His only, precious Son
Don't forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders by birth. In those days you were living apart from Christ....You lived in this world apart from God and without hope. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to Him because of the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:11a, 12, 13

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 3

Mirror, Mirror in my Heart

Why are women so driven to compete with one another?
Why do we starve ourselves or exercise to the point of collapsing?
Why do we compare ourselves to everyone?
We have a fear that we won't look good, but why?

Believing Lies...

We are deceived into thinking that being beautiful is the answer to all of our problems. If we are thin we would find true happiness and contentment. Life would be perfect. We seek after lesser joys when we believe that the image in the mirror will bring happiness and contentment, instead of in our relationship with God.

On the surface...

It's easiest to believe that our problems are only on the surface. It's a harder pill to swallow that we're sinners or idolators. Our focus on outward appearances is only a distraction from our real character flaws. 1 John 2:16 says, "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but it's from the world."

Believing these lies causes most women to experience anxiety about their appearance. It might manifest as spending unnecessary minutes in front of the mirror trying to fix what is unacceptable... or stewing internally in regrets and if only's. Concerning yourself with appearance can chew up amazing amounts of time and energy. "I'm a failure" preoccupations rob women of the joy and freedom of faith in Christ the Lord. It saps energy that could be spent in loving concern for others.

Pursuing this lie is pointless, a chasing after the wind. When we are focused on looking good, there will never be a time that we are satisfied. Our hearts will never be satisfied with appearances because God didn't create our hearts to find joy and contentment from the mirror.

It comes down to the heart...

So, what does the Bible say about outward appearances? Proverbs 31:30 states, "charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." This verse shows two things. First, it's stating that outward appearances don't involve the heart. Secondly, this verse points out that beauty is fleeting and will perish with time. 1Peter 3:3-4 also speaks of our fleeting outward beauty, "let not your adornment be merely external... but let it be the hidden person of the of the heart, with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

Fitzgerald believes that it's not wrong to be attractive and take care of our outer appearance. But, we have to be careful of our heart motives in taking care of our appearances. Ask yourself a few questions to determine where your heart lies...
  • Are you spending all your finances in the pursuit of beauty and outward appearances?
  • Are you trusting in your appearance to bring joy? To control your world?
  • Are you looking for the praise of others instead of God?

In 2 Corinthians 5, it speaks of longing to leave our earthly bodies so that we can be with Christ. How are you preparing yourself for eternity? Are you content or consumed with things of the world that have fading beauty?

God desires so much more for us than fading beauty. Instead, God desires to see in us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

Proverbs 31:30 ends by saying that a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Fearing the Lord means standing in awe of him. When we stand in awe of His great works, we can believe what He says about us. His word tells us what we should seek after, what we should value and what we should fear. The Bible says that we are only to fear God, not others opinions.

Above all else, seek first his kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). This verse is encouragement to pursue things of God. Don't settle for things of this world. God is molding, shaping and changing you to be more like Him. He won't end His great work in you until you meet with Him in eternity.