6/30/16

Getting Real about My Little Food Idol


I recently posted a picture of myself holding a big rubber "blob" of fat that represented five pounds of weight loss. And I held up my hand with five fingers extended. At that point, I'd lost more than 25 pounds.

Sounds great, but I know the truth. It's hard work. It’s fighting emotional hunger. It’s struggling against self-will.
I don't think I've got this weight thing licked.

And I don't think I'm a total success even though losing 25+ pounds. No ... nothing could be further from the truth.

Most of the time in this journey I’ve been a mess, sliding back into fleshly habits and making choices that hijack my "success."

I'm learning that destructive choices are only a short slide away from faithfulness.

I may "look good" some days  eating my lettuce  but when it comes to food, there's this little idol I worship called "pleasure." (God created us for pleasure, but too often, I find pleasure in the wrong places, don't you?)

          Even good things (like eating) can become an idol.

We’re to keep ourselves from them … we're to flee idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:231 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 10:14).

Idols are a matter of what the heart loves. Especially when it loves something more than loving or obeying God or taking care of His Temple (our body) in this world.

The scriptures say, “…sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” … but “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 6:14; 5:20).

So I've been getting real about my idol. Many days, it's a matter of picking myself up again and saying, "Jesus, I can't do this... I keep proving to you (and others) I can't." (John 15:5)

And then the Gospel of God's great grace reminds me that Jesus can do the impossible in and through me (Philippians 4:13).

Any success I'm having is His.

Do you struggle with an idol of addiction? What does God's message of grace mean to you?

6/4/16

Challenge: "30 Days to Pray for Your Church"

I'll be adding the 30 Days as they arrive in June (2016), but I'm praying God will use this as an ongoing resource. ~ Dawn

Day 1: Today I'm beginning a month of praying for my church and all the churches across America. Please join me and pray for your church. Today, pray for a revival of reading, studying, memorizing and applying the Word of God in your church ... in America's churches.


Day 2: Praying about prayer today. It's more than saying words ... it's a connection to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. And our heart attitude makes a difference.


Day 3: We can't pull back into our churches and cocoon there with our friends. God wants us to "engage" the culture, and we can do that in many ways. How do you engage the culture? Pray 4 your church to do this powerfully.


Day 4: Sharing scripture truth --with boldness, love and humility -- will not only help people come to understanding and faith, but also will encourage believers in the pews to grow spiritually and be conformed to the image of Christ. God's Word is a powerful witness!


Day 5: I'm praying for my own pastor today. The enemy would love to destroy him and his ministry. Pray for your pastor and all the pastors in our country ... that God would purify and strengthen them in His Word "for such a time as this."


Day 6: Church unity isn't an option. Jesus prayed His true followers would be "one" (John 20-21). It's a testimony to the world of the power of the Gospel of Christ.


Day 7: Music at church: It’s not about performance—although we want our musicians to sing and play with excellence. It’s about who gets the glory and how will we respond.


Day 8: We don’t “do church,” we cultivate a culture of Christ-followers. We edify members in the truth of scripture and teach them how the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us to love and obey the Lord in all things. It's a big task; pray for strength and wisdom.


Day 9: Our churches are lighthouses of truth and hope, and its members, “light in the world,” must share God’s plan for salvation. The world desperately needs the Gospel message. In all else we do, let’s not forget this.


Day 10The youth of our churches are the Christian leaders of tomorrow, and if the Lord tarries, they will be Christ’s ambassadors in a chaotic world. Let’s teach them well and give them worthy examples.


Day 11: We need to pray our older young people do not depart from the faith, and the best way to do that is teach and disciple them well, answer the questions they may not voice, and show them how to make wise, godly choices.



Day 12Pray your church leaders and teachers will not compromise Bible truth with secular philosophies—prayerfully digging into the scriptures so they can teach with understanding.



Day 13Women in every season of life are important to the life of the church. Try to pray for at least four women you know personally in your church body—that they would be strengthened and encouraged for their callings.


Day 14: If ever there was a time for strong men in the church, it’s now. Pray God will create a culture of godly strength in the men’s ministry at your own church, and will raise up leaders for the Body of Christ in the years to come. Try to think of and pray for four men – that God will use them in powerful ways in your church.


Day 15: Have you ever wondered what your church might be like if every church member discovered and—under the control of the Holy Spirit—flourished in their God-given spiritual gifts? What kind of powerhouse might your church become? (Note: Gifts are meant for serving others, not personal praise.)



Day 16: The world is watching! Believers take their “testimony” everywhere. Pray you will be a “sweet aroma of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:15) in the world.



Day 17: Discernment is a forgotten virtue in much of the church. We need to understand how quickly we can be drawn aside from God to pursue lesser things.


Day 18: We have a lot of friends (on Facebook and face-to-face). How often do we pray for them? Think of two friends right now ... and pray God will continue to work in their lives in powerful ways.


Day 19: Let's pray our churches will not compromise with the "God-breathed" truth of scripture. Be thankful if your pastor is a man of the Word who "rightly divides" scripture, and if your teachers dig into the Bible to help make the Body of Christ wise and productive disciples.


Day 20: In these days of "perfect" photos on Facebook and Pinterest, Christians need to "keep it real" before the Lord and each other. We shouldn't be afraid to admit our needs so we can pray for and encourage each other.


Day 21How can we respond to tough suffering—maybe even persecution—that may come in the future if we haven't learned to respond to the inevitable irritations and hurts that come our way in the family of God? We must learn to forgive, and it must begin in our churches.



Day 22: How can you "do good" to those around you: providing for needs, standing up for the weak, sharing from your resources, encouraging, helping, offering counsel, doing acts of kindness? You have a lot more to give than you might think -- and it can all be done to the glory of God.


Day 23In times of stress, uncertainty, chaos and even tragedy, the Christian’s testimony of peace in Christ is a powerful witness. Be always ready to give an answer for the hope within you! (1 Peter 3:15).


Day 24Often, when we look to government leaders to solve all our problems, we bypass the only Person who can truly meet our needs. We only have one Savior. Pray God will give us wise “rulers,” but be grateful for the King of Kings.


Day 25Some Christians say, “Don’t preach about stewardship, Pastor!” But stewardship is one of the key themes in scripture. We have nothing we did not receive, and God expects us to use our resources wisely. Think of one way you can bless a ministry in your church today.


Day 26: Church leaders are human, subject to the same temptations as the congregation. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your prayers for them: that they will recognize and avoid sin, and live in victory.



Day 27: Pray for the women who lead in your church—for clear, biblical priorities and the skillful use of their spiritual gifts. Whether your pastor’s wife leads in a ministry or simply is your pastor’s #1 friend and confidante, pray for her spiritual growth and impactful example in your church.


Day 28When offering plates don’t overflow, there are still many bills to pay at your church. God is the ultimate Resource, but He delights in using His children to meet each other’s needs too, because He knows the blessing of encouragement that brings. Be a gracious giver!


Day 29: If revival in America depended on the prayers of the people in your church, would it ever come? When God wants to bring revival, He sets His people praying. Be willing and obedient when He calls you to prayer.



Day 30The “church” is more than your building. It’s your church members walking around in the world, joining millions of others who name the name of Christ. And many of them are hurting today. Pray for the Persecuted Church today with understanding and urgency.
  


The 30-Day Pray for Your Church challenge is now complete ... but you can always continue to pray for your church and the Body of Christ around the world.

You will never know the power in those prayer:

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

(Ephesians 3:20-21)

5/28/16

Yes ... We Remember


President Ronald Reagan, speaking at the National Cemetery, November 11, 1985:

"... It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives -- the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember. ...

This was a Veteran's Day address, honoring those who have served in the military--in war and peace.

But it still speaks volumes about how he loved and revered the military; and it is, I think, a fitting we honor those who died in battle or as a result of battle wounds.
message for Memorial Day too, when

Some of Reagan's concluding words.

"In memory of those who gave the last full measure of devotion, may our efforts to achieve lasting peace gain strength....."

Yes ... we remember ... "honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7)

5/27/16

Biblical Thinking...the Art that Leads to Worship


In his post, "How to Glorify God by Being a Generalist," Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, discussed knowledge-seeking as "performing art," and a way to glorify the Lord in many practical ways.

We are free to "seek truth, knowledge and understanding in a variety of areas as a way of glorifying Him," Carter said.

The process of this discovery, he said, can lead us to childlike worship.

"It is the process that leads us to continuously repeat the prayer of the 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler: 'O, Almighty God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee!' It is the pursuit of knowledge and discovery as a way to glorify our Redeemer by becoming increasingly enchanted by His majesty."

It's true!
I only have to step outside at night and view the heavens to be enchanted by God's creation and break into childlike worship.
While the Word of God is the primary revealer of the Lord, creation also reveals His majesty.

We see it in the multiplicity of colorful birds, the quirkiness of animal and plant world, the ever-changing oceans and seas, the watercolor skies, the differing terrains around the globe, and the uniqueness of every living person.

"O LORD, how manifold are your works! 
In wisdom have you made them all; 
the earth is full of your creatures" (Psalm 104:24 ESV)

"You are the LORD, you alone. 
You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, 
with all their host,
 the earth and all that is on it, 
the seas and all that is in them; 
and you preserve all of them; 
and the host of heaven worships you" (Nehemiah 9:6, ESV)

The stage for our performative art is our own minds, Carer says, and the content is our thoughts. We see in our minds "the interconnectedness of God's creation" in a way that impresses our minds with "a sense of awe and veneration of His grandeur and power."

Biblical thinking and the power of observing God's creation: a great one-two punch. It is through these two means the Lord has impressed upon my heart His majesty and power, and I desire to know Him more.

Is this your prayer too?

Lord. I want to think your thoughts. Teach me to study your Word with greater fervor, and to discover more about who You are in Your splendid creation. AMEN!

- Dawn
Graphic adapted, "space" - courtesy of Morguefile


5/22/16

God Can Do It Again!


Dr. David Jeremiah preached a powerful message about revival today. (It will be in the Shadow Mountain archives soon - 5-22-16).

He shared how God moved in great revivals in American history. And he drove home this great truth:
God can do it again. 

We must prepare our hearts to receive what the Lord might want to do in us and through us in the days ahead. We must become the pure kindling our Father might use to start a holy revival fire again.

Without repentance, there can be no revival.

"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" Psalm 85:6
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Ladies ... let's cry out to God together!

I recommend the Cry Out True Woman 2016 National Women's Conference, Sept. 22-24 ... and the national simulcast prayer event on Sept. 23, calling thousands of women to prayer.