Showing Love–the Right Way–During the Holidays

By Cami Checketts –

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year to me because of all the love that is shown. Love to neighbors, family, friends, and those in need at home or abroad. We all show that love in different ways. Most of us will make extra donations to those in need and reach out to neighbors we might not see often. We’ll enjoy spending more time with family and close friends.

My husband and I were both raised by wonderful parents who loved us and took very good care of us. It’s always so fun to go to Grandma’s house and get spoiled as they serve us a hearty meal and dessert, and then afterwards…when they start passing around the chocolate. While we love these parties (and the food), we’re grateful they are special occasions. Sometimes the love is shown through the sharing of food and it’s awfully hard to make healthy choices at such times. Has anyone else offended Grandma by saying no thanks to pumpkin pie?

None of us would knowingly hurt one of our children or other family members, but I’ve found myself showing love through food. The baby grins when I hand him a sucker. The older boys jump with joy when Daddy makes cookies. My husband gives me an extra kiss when his special black licorice appears in his drawer. I don’t believe any of these examples are a problem if they happen occasionally, but when the baby is eating suckers and cookies all the time, he’s not going to feel good or develop properly.

In Romans 13:10 (KJV), the Bible says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor….” The last thing we want to do is to show our love by doing something that harms others, but my husband and I are often guilty of showing love through food. My husband’s chocolate chip cookies are famous in our neighborhood. We often discuss how we can enjoy sharing treats with those we love while still modeling and offering mostly healthy choices. My husband’s thoughts: “If you truly love someone, you would encourage them, in a positive way, to make the healthiest choices possible because you know how great that is going to make them feel.”

I can’t imagine a sweet grandmother handing out her lemon pound cake is thinking, “Here you go, my darlings, clog up those arteries, get hyped up on empty sugars, and just deal with being overweight.” Of course, none of us thinks that way, but if we aren’t offering healthy foods (most of the time) to our family, we are essentially handing them problems.

My husband is still going to bake cookies and I’m still going to hide black licorice in his drawer, but I hope that both of us will be more conscious of how we show love and what we serve at those holiday parties. Having a happy, healthy family is worth being a bit more conscious about what we eat. Now if I can just wrestle the sucker out of my baby’s mouth!

Finding Joy at Christmas

By Julie Morris –

Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice always. Ironically, that’s sometimes hardest to do at Christmas.

God understands this, so in Philippians 4:5-6 (NIV) He gives us steps to take that help us find joy when we’re feeling stressed out, experiencing pain, or grieving a loss during the holidays: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

#1 Step to Joy “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

Gentleness doesn’t imply weakness. It means to show kindness and consideration for everyone–even in the midst of frantic Christmas shoppers in the mall or the chaos of holiday traffic.

#2 Step to Joy Remember that “the Lord is near.”

He will help us to find joy if we focus on Him and rely on Him to help us.

#3 Step to Joy “Do not be anxious about anything.”

This doesn’t mean that if we are worried, we need to deny it or be ashamed of it. It means that worry is not in God’s plan for us—and He will help us to let go of our anxious thoughts if we bring our fears to Him.

#4 Step to Joy “In everything, by prayer and petition….”

Petition is a more formal way of communicating. When a petition is presented, it’s always done in writing. This verse encourages us to write down everything that causes us stress and pray about each one.

#5 Step to Joy “Present your requests to God…”

We do this by pouring out our hearts to God—giving Him our requests (not demands).

#6 Step to Joy Present our requests to God… “with thanksgiving.”

We take this step by writing a list of things we have to be thankful for and spending time thanking God for each one.

When we work through the steps to joy in Philippians 4:5-6, we find that we not only begin to experience His joy, but His peace as well.

Every day between now and Christmas—starting today—take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to follow these steps and rejoice in the Lord. If it helps you as much as it has helped me, continue to do this daily in 2012. If you do, I’ll bet that you will find joy during the holidays and throughout the new year, and you’ll be surprised to discover that peace will come along with it too!

Spice it Up

By Cami Checketts –

Our bodies are such an amazing gift from our Heavenly Father. Throughout history, humans have used their physical strength to provide for themselves and their families. They have had to work extremely hard. The human body adapts quickly to stresses placed upon it. This was a very good characteristic for our ancestors. Not so great for us stuck in a modern society of ease and convenience. Relatively few people have to eke out an existence by the sweat of their brows, which is one of the causes of an increase in obesity, heart problems, and many different health challenges.

Because our bodies are so amazing, we have to work harder and challenge ourselves differently to maintain optimum health and vigor. If we want to increase our fitness and health, we have to be willing to push ourselves and add some spice to our workout.

Variety is key when you’re trying to lose weight, get past a plateau, or become more fit. If you do the same cardio or weight routine over and over it will become easy. This is a good thing because it means you’re getting stronger, but it also means that you are burning fewer calories because your body is accustomed to the demands placed upon it.

You can fix this problem by upping the intensity, duration, and speed of your workout or by changing the type of workout you do—known as cross-training. Cross-training recruits different muscle groups, challenges your body in a new way, and will help you burn more calories.

How can you cross-train? If you always bike, try swimming or running. If you love the elliptical machine, try the Stairmaster. If you faithfully go to step aerobics, try hiking a nearby canyon or sample a yoga, Pilates, or kickboxing class. If you work out at home and need some variety, rent a new workout video, borrow one from the library or plan a girl’s night out at the gym.

Variety really is the spice of exercise. My challenge to you is to try something different this week. Please comment below and share which new activity you’re going to try.

 

 

Thanksgiving—the Antidote to Stress

March 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Julie Morris –

Stress makes us sick. There’s no doubt about it. When we couple stress and negative emotions with poor nutrition and other unhealthy habits, we have a recipe for sickness and disease. Lots of us are stressed out. In the United States we consume five billion tranquilizers, five billion barbiturates, three billion amphetamines and sixteen tons of aspirin every year

Are you suffering from stress? Want to learn the antidote that I discovered years ago?

It’s thanksgiving! Let me tell you how to give thanks even when you’re all stressed out.

In Isaiah 40, God gives us 6 reasons to thank Him. Go through the 6 P’s, thanking God for each one. By the time you get to the last P, you will feel better. This really works so give it a try!

1. Thank God for His PRESENCE.

God the Father is over us–Isaiah 40:22 NIV “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.”

God the Son is next to us–Isaiah 40:11 NIV “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

God the Holy Spirit is inside of us–Isaiah 40:29 NIV “He gives strength to the weary.”

Thank God that He is with you as you face your stressful circumstances.

2. Thank God for His POWER.

Isaiah 40:10 NIV “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him.”

“Sovereign” means that God is King of kings and Lord of lords. Everything that happens to us passes through His fingers first. He has all power so thank Him that He has the power to help you.

3. Thank God for His PLAN.

Isaiah 40:13 NIV “Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor.”

God knows what He is doing even if we don’t understand His plan. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV tells us what His plant is: ‘“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

God has good plans for you so thank Him!

4. Thank God for His PURPOSE.

Isaiah 40:5 NIV “And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.”

No pain is wasted in God’s economy. When we endure trials by relying on the Lord, His glory is revealed in us. That means that our trials can work out to be a good thing. There are advantages of adversity, for example, adversity helps us to…

  • Seek God.
  • Help others.
  • Experience God’s power.
  • Mature in our faith.
  • Be disciplined (not spoiled children).
  • Bring glory to God (when we tell others how He is helping us).

5. Thank God for His PRIZE.

Isaiah 40:10 NIV “See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.”

God will reward us! Sometimes we have to wait until heaven for our reward, but we can be certain that we will receive it!

6. Thank God for His PROMISES.

Isaiah 40:8 NIV “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”

God’s Word is true. Memorize the promises that encourage you most. Put them on your mirror, refrigerator and the dashboard of your car. Thank God for His promises to you, but be sure not to ignore the commands that come with them! 

I would love to help you to give thanks this Thanksgiving. Comment below if you want personal help.

Faith & Fitness for the COURAGEOUS Man

By Laurette Willis –

“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6, NKJV).

Have you seen the movie Courageous yet? Our family really enjoyed it. There’s lots of action, a compelling story, humor, top-notch acting, and it is built on a solid foundation (the Word of God and the Father’s great love for us). The movie’s subtitle is Honor begins at home.

As the promotions for this movie state, “Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. When tragedy strikes home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Protecting the streets is second nature. Raising their children in a God-honoring way. That’s courageous.”

How does the Courageous Man Combine Faith, Family & Fitness?

When we come home from a hard day at work, the last thing many of us want to do is think about anything more physical than elbow-bending (as in fork-to-mouth, repeat, and 40 reps).

In the movie Courageous, police officer Adam Mitchell (played by director and co-writer Alex Kendrick, father of six) and his teenage son Dylan start building a new relationship with one another, and fitness becomes an important part of it. All Dylan seems to want to do is “play video games and run a 5K,” says Adam.

Parents realize that in order to build (or rebuild) a relationship with their child, it takes becoming interested in what interests them. Adam decides to lay aside his personal comfort zone for the greater good of blessing his son. He and Dylan begin running together, and their relationship deepens as Dylan sees his Dad’s love in action, not just in words.

Love is spelled T-I-M-E.

Why compartmentalize faith (Sunday only), family (around the dinner table…when we’re not watching TV) and fitness (does watching football on TV count?)?

The Courageous man (and woman) puts God first–so why not ask the Lord how to make fitness a part of your family time together? No matter what the age of your children, you can begin making fun physical activity a part of “what we do as a family.”

Here are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning—and your bodies moving!

  • Walk Together. The Family that walks together, talks together! Take a leisurely stroll 30 minutes after dinner. Make it a new family tradition. Enjoy each other’s company and walk at a gentle pace for 15-20 minutes to help digest your food. This will also keep you from snacking after dinner. Take a portion of scripture and talk about it. How can you apply it to your lives?
  • Go to the Gym or Church Fitness Center. Take your son or daughter with you. Work out with light weights (not on the machines). Show your kids how it’s done.
  • Play Indoor Fitness Games. Remember Twister? You can still play that as a family! Add an element of scripture memorization by writing verses on cards. Call out all or part of a verse with each move. See how many verses you can remember (if you don’t wind up collapsing into a giggling pile before too long!).
  • Train for a Charity Race—a walk, run, or bike race! Train as a family team or with one of your children. Use the time to encourage your child.

In the movie Courageous, Adam says, “I think the Lord is requiring me to call out the man in my son.”  That’s something Dads get to do for their family members—emulating our heavenly Father by “calling out” and encouraging the best in their sons, daughters and wife.

Take the lead, Dad. Be Courageous. Be a Fit Witness for Christ in spirit, soul and body. Your family will follow–and will honor you for it.

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