Fitness: What Does It Really Mean?

October 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

I just read an article in National Geographic about solo-climbing some of the great walls in Yosemite, namely El Capitan. What used to take days or even weeks is now done in a matter of hours, sometimes without a rope. You read that right. One mistake, one missed foothold, fear, fatigue and you are dead! This takes extreme conditioning and plenty of mental acuity. I don’t recommend it.

For most of us, fitness is an elusive dream that we never manage to achieve. If you look at health, fitness or fashion magazines you can feel insecure. Few of us will ever be completely satisfied by how we look or how fit we are. That’s why we’re talking about how to define fitness in this column. In general terms, fitness involves our ability to fulfill a particular physical task or role. This definition will change based on the task. For example, if you want to run a marathon the task is much greater than if you want to walk up a flight of stairs. For an older person, getting up a flight of stairs or walking around the block may be a big challenge.

Physical fitness is most often defined as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities, pursue recreational activities, and have the physical capability to handle emergency situations. This raises more questions than it provides answers. For example, can a person be overweight and be fit at the same time? Yes, in some cases. Obesity is another matter. It hampers our ability to perform the basic functions of everyday life. These also vary depending on whether you are a ditch digger or sit at your desk all day like I do.

The majority of us just want to enjoy life, do the things we take pleasure in, and not huff and puff our way around a park or up a trail. Others of us are goal-oriented and feel the need to achieve through physically challenging experiences. As a general rule, you should engage in some activity five days a week for twenty to thirty minutes that gets your heart rate up to 70 percent of more of your maximum. If you are faithful and consistent, you can call yourself fit.

The elevated heart rate is necessary for putting an adequate workload on your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs). This means that going to the gym a couple of times a week or walking lazily around the block is often not enough. Your fitness level is directly proportionate to how hard you work. One’s fitness level and effort at 60 is clearly not the same for someone in their 20s so this is why checking your heart rate and maintaining it during exercise is important.

Finally, your level of fitness is not just exercise-related. It involves far more, such as how you’re doing emotionally and spiritually, as well as what you consume. Imagine putting sugar water in your gas tank and expecting your car to operate effectively. It won’t.

In order to be totally fit, we must consider exercise as well as what we put into our minds (such as television and movies) and what we put into our bodies.

Meditating on God’s Word Might Even Help You Lose Weight!

September 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Joshua 1:8 says that if you meditate on God’s Word you’ll be prosperous and successful. Millions of people in the U.S. are trying to lose weight, but lacking success. If you’re one of them, why don’t you try meditating on God’s Word as you begin each day? I can tell you from personal experience that this has really helped me to get rid of my unwanted extra pounds, and keep them off.

Here are some ways to meditate on scripture that just take three or four minutes. Why don’t you give them a try?

#1. Write a letter to God Read a portion of the Bible expectantly for a few minutes every day–knowing that God will speak to you through his Word as He promises. Write the verse you choose on the top of the page. Then write God a short letter telling him how this verse applies to you personally that day.

#2. Write a letter from God Rewrite the passage as if God were speaking to you personally about the particular problems you are facing that day. Here’s an example of writing a letter from God concerning Isaiah 41:13 (NIV) “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Start with your name: _____________, I am talking hold of your hand right now and telling you not to be afraid. I am going to help you with this problem with (your husband, money, kids, losing weight, etc.).

#3. Picture the passage Draw a simple cartoon to help you picture what God is saying to you in his Word. When you draw, you use the right side of your brain and when you write words, you use the left side. When you write and draw, you use your whole brain so it really makes the verse sink in!

#4. Write a structured meditation Answer the following questions about the passage:

  • What promise(s) is expressed or implied? How can you claim that promise personally?
  • What command(s) is expressed or implied? How can you commit to the command?
  • What do you want to say to God about this?

Try meditating on Hebrews 12:11 (NIV) using this structure. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

  • What promise(s) is expressed or implied? How can you claim that promise personally?

Discipline produces righteousness and peace later on. I need that!

  • What command(s) is expressed or implied? How can you commit to the command?

(Implied) Be disciplined.

I will quit snacking between meals—especially eating in front of the TV every night.

  • What do you want to say to God about this? Here’s an example:

God, I’m sorry that I haven’t been disciplined in my eating. I need to take better care of myself. Please give me the willingness to be more disciplined. Thank you that I have joined this weight-loss group so I will be encouraged by the other members and learn more about how to eat in a healthy way.

Meditating on Scripture will help you to be successful in many ways. It even might help you lose weight!

Experience Your Own 15-Minute Miracle!

August 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

If you knew that you could spend just 15 minutes a day—and it would change your life in incredible ways—would you do it every day?

I discovered almost 30 years ago how to start my day in a brand new way, and I have been amazed at the results: I have been able to do things that I thought were impossible! Because I seek the Lord first thing every morning, I have lost my harmful extra pounds and have kept them off. And I’ve lost most of the worries that weighed me down as well. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not.

Here’s what I do:

I have a prayer journal—a loose-leaf notebook with 5 dividers and lots of notebook paper. I write in my journal during those 15 minutes so I can stay focused and take advantage of every second.

Section #1 Prayers. I spend 3 minutes using the ACTS structure of prayer so I come into God’s presence with ADORATION, CONFESSION, THANKSGIVING and last, SUPPLICATION (intercessory prayers). Before I started using this type of prayer format, I spent most of my time asking God for things, or heaven forbid (!), telling Him what to do.

Section #2 Organization. I spend 3 minutes looking at how I did the day before to see if I have been off track. On my Monthly Activities Sheet I record how I spent the day before (I write the date in the left margin and record activities for each day of the month on one line per day). During the 3 minutes in my Organization section, I also write what I ate the day before, and I write down how I did with other weaknesses.

Section #3 Journaling. I spend 3 minutes journaling about my problems. I have found that in this section I am able to cast my cares on the Lord—not the refrigerator, pray about the problems that I will have to face that day and plan how I will handle them.

Section #4 Meditation. I send 3 minutes meditating on a verse. I choose the verse as I read ½ chapter of the Bible each day and find one verse that stands out. I consider this verse a letter to me from God and respond by writing Him a short letter (2-3 sentences) about what His Words mean to me that day. There are many other ways I meditate on Scripture. I’ll tell you about them next month.

Section #5 Memorization. I spend 3 minutes memorizing an encouraging Bible verse. I write it in this section of my notebook. Then I put it on an index card and take it with me to study while stuck in traffic, in line at the grocery store or waiting on hold when I’m on the phone. During my memorizing time on the following days, I continue to work on this verse until I know it well, but I keep it in my memory section to review from time to time. I have learned lots of ways to make memorizing fun and have found that memorizing Scripture is the best way to get God’s Word from my head to my heart.

I have discovered that when I have a daily quiet time in this manner consistently each morning, my days go so much better. I am able to rely on God’s power—not my faltering willpower. I am directed by His Word—not driven by my circumstances, and I am guided by Him—not my feelings or worldly desires. Email me at julie@guidedbyhim.com if you want to know more about how to experience your own 15-minute miracle.

Is There a Ravenous Monster Living Inside of You?

By Julie Morris –

Some of us feel like we have a Ravenous Monster living inside of our stomachs. He growls angrily when he is hungry, and when we feed him the comfort foods he demands, he is stilled momentarily—but all too soon he growls for more and more. Nothing seems to satisfy him.

If you can identify with the Ravenous Monster I’m describing, I want to give you some food for thought: The more we feed him, the hungrier he gets!

But there is a way to defeat the Ravenous Monster and calm our cravings. Try this experiment for one week and see if you can make your Monster meeker:
1. List foods that make you hungrier (for example, candy, desserts, fast foods, comfort foods). Everyone is different so listen to your body and recognize the foods that awaken your Monster within.
2. List ways of eating that make you hungrier (for example, eating too much, standing, second helpings, gulping, grazing, in front of the TV, in the car, in certain restaurants, with certain “binge buddies”).
3. Stay away from these things for one week.

At the end of that time, see if you have made your Monster meeker. If your cravings have diminished, extend your experiment another week—then another. While you’re at it, start other habits that will do away with his ravenous roaring:
1. Pray before eating anything–that the Lord will satisfy your desires with good things (Psalm 103:5).
2. Every morning, ask God to be Lord over your eating that day. Don’t allow yourself to have “two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
3. Don’t make excuses. Recognize how destructive overeating is to you (Philippians 3:19).
4. When you are tempted, praise God that you are more than a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37).
5. Picture yourself receiving God’s power to make healthy choices in your eating—one day a time (2 Corinthians 9:8).

If you do these things, you might discover, like many of us across the country, that you can be free of cravings.

Eating certain foods and eating in certain ways awakens the Ravenous Monster within–and you can choose not to do that. Instead, you can join us in saying, “A few minutes of chewing is just not worth it! I will not be controlled by my cravings. Instead, I will do what it takes to make my Monster meeker!”

God Promises to Rescue Us from Pit-iful Living!

By Julie Morris –

There’s nothing I wanted more than to lose weight… yet I struggled for 30 miserable years, humiliated by extra pounds, failed diets and vicious cycles of shame and bingeing. Finally I discovered the way out of that pitiful way of living and I lost my weight in 1982 and have kept it off. My secret isn’t a secret at all: I learned practical things I could do to rely on God’s power at work in me.

The Message Bible paraphrase explains exactly what happened to me, and what can happen to you too. It might sound too good to be true, but I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not. “God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating” (Colossians 1:13-14).

If you’re trying to quit overeating or turn from other destructive habits, let me ask you a few questions to help you understand the awesome promises and commands in this short passage. Take a few minutes right now and write out your answers:

1. What dead-end alley or dark dungeon are you trapped in?

2. What sins have you felt doomed to keep repeating?

3. What are you doing to allow God to rescue you? If you’re not doing anything, what can you do to reach out to Him?

4. Has Jesus ever helped you to get out of “pit-iful” living? How did He help you? If you haven’t experienced His help, do you know anyone who has? Call and ask them about it!

5. Do you believe that Jesus can set you free? Do you believe that He will? If not, ask Him to give you faith to believe that He keeps His promises.

6. Say this prayer out loud:

God, thank You for promising to rescue me from the dead-end alleys I have been wandering down. I’ve been struggling so hard, but getting nowhere. It feels like I keep going down the same road…over and over…until I hit a brick wall and there’s no place else to go, so I go back and do the same thing all over again.

I have often felt like I was living in a dark dungeon—depressed and ashamed. But, even though I don’t deserve it, You promise to set me up in the kingdom of Your Son. And You tell me something else amazing: Jesus has already gotten me out of the pit and my pit-iful way of living! And He has gotten rid of the sins I felt doomed to keep repeating! The prison door is open. My white linen suit is there waiting for me. All I have to do is to take His hand and let Him lead me out!

I am no longer a victim, but a Victor in Christ. I am no longer a creature of habit, but a New Creation in Christ. I am no longer a pitiful failure, but a Precious Child of God through Christ.

Help me, Lord, to live in the kingdom You have promised me. Show me practical things I can do to reach out to You so I can experience this new higher way of living—out of the pit…out of the shame. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Julie Morris is the founder of two weight-loss programs, Step Forward www.stepforwarddiet.com and Guided By Him www.guidedbyhim.com—a lighter and easier version of Step Forward. She is the author of 12 books and a dynamic motivational speaker. If you are experiencing pit-iful living, contact her at julie@guidedbyhim.com.

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