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Death To Self
This is going to hurt. I am going to be real transparent here but I know that it must be done. I need to die to self. I need to come to the place of truly dying to my flesh. My flesh has died before but it just won’t stay dead! September 5, 2011 I died to self and turned my eating habits over to the Lord to lead and guide me. The reality however is I didn’t stay dead for very long. The truth is there is just no way to overcome the flesh on our own.
Let’s read a few verses from the Bible:
Galatians 5:24 ~ Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Romans 6:11 ~ Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
These were the verses I shared back in September 2011. Now let’s take a look at another verse:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Did you see what I saw? “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. Hmm, yes that changes everything. I keep trying to make my flesh die but I think what really needs to happen is that I need to surrender. I need to remember that Christ lives in me. And since He lives in me, I need to do what the rest of this verse says “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Now let’s look at another few verses:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Now let’s read just verses 3-4 in the Message Bible:
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you.
I wrote the following in 2006, if I’m not mistaken it was after my Pastor spoke on dying to self. I am not even sure if I am the one who wrote it or if it was from my notes from the sermon. I am reminded today though that this is what needs to happen in my life if I am to be successful at getting healthy and losing weight. Quite honestly, this is what needs to happen for all of life. I apply it today to this journey of moving toward better health but death to self is really about living daily for Christ.
When you are dead to self, you no longer are drawn to the old sinful habits of your past. You will no longer respond to people who scorn you or speak evil of you, you just pray for them and love them.
When you are dead to self, nothing affects your walk with the Lord. Nothing can move you from your place in Christ Jesus.
When you are dead to self, you no longer are self-absorbed with your problems and situations instead you are ready to help others through their trials.
When you are dead to self, your focus is on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. You have a yearning to bring others to Him so they too can receive forgiveness.
When you are dead to self, you are drawn more to the things of God then to the things of the world. You would rather read your Bible than watch TV all day. You would rather minister to someone in need than sit and sulk about your own problems.
When you are dead to self, no matter how bad your day is going you still smile at your neighbors and you praise the Lord for each and every moment of your bad day.
When you are dead to self, your focus is on the Lord and how you can be used by Him to further His kingdom.
Dying to self is a daily process.
To be continued…
Genuine sanctification … is nothing less than a daily dying to self and daily conformity to the will of God. ~ Ellen G. White
Me A Barney?
This past Sunday my pastors talked about encouragement at church. My senior pastor titled his sermon “They Call Me Barney” and the funny part was he had us sing the I Love You song from Barney. I’m talking about Barney the purple dinosaur. At first I wasn’t appreciating his humor since I had heard so much Barney when my kids were growing up that I could not stand Barney. So after we sang the song I thought to myself well that was pretty cool. Then after the service I turned to a hug from a dear friend who whispered to me “Thanks for being my Barney”. Really, me?? I would see it the other way around to be honest, she is my Barney! Actually I realized that I have several Barney’s in my life. Precious friends who encourage me all the time. People that God uses to get my attention and propel me into the things that He desires for me. I started writing this blog on Sunday afternoon but never finished it and today I get a text saying “Thank you so much Barney”. I just smiled and knew that I needed to finish this blog post.
What people don’t know is that I have prayed for years for God to use me and make me usable for His Kingdom. I’ve longed to be the one that people can come to for encouragement and support. I love helping people, it helps me so much too. So many times I have allowed the enemy to come in like a flood and bring discouragement and depression into my life. I refuse to do that anymore because I can’t be an encouragement to anyone if I am discouraged and depressed. Jesus has brought so much joy and freedom into my life and when I can share that with someone else it just blesses me so much. It’s like a beautiful wave that washes over me to know someone is encouraged by something I have said or done. So now just a little while ago I had another friend blow me away and actually made me cry. She said “You help bring my faith to center stage just by being you”. I had to hang up the phone because I was weeping and praising God. Yes I am a “Barney”.
So I just realized that I never even explained what “Barney” is all about. Its about Barnabas from the book of Acts in the Bible. The first mention of Barnabas is in Acts chapter 4:
Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
So Barnabas was like a nickname for this Levite named Joseph. The apostles called him Barnabas in my opinion because they obviously saw him as a man who was very encouraging. So as we move further into Acts in chapter 9 a man named Saul is persecuting the church and he is on his way to kill the Christians in Damascus. While he was his way the Lord Jesus Christ nails him and he is converted and is now preaching Christ. I think you should just open your Bible right now and read the story because its a pretty amazing story. I will wait for you.
Alright, now when we get to verse 26 we see Saul has arrived in Jerusalem and he wants to hang out and get to know the original disciples of Christ. They are all afraid because they know that this man Saul was killing the Christians and they don’t believe that he is converted. Barnabas took hold of Saul and brought him to the disciples to let them know Saul was for real and he is a disciple now who speaks boldly in the name of Jesus. Let’s read verses 26-27:
When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
See Barnabas was an encouragement and support to Saul in that moment. Those of you know your Bibles know that Saul became the Apostle Paul and wrote much of the New Testament and his mission trips with Barnabas are all through the book of Acts. But lets suppose for a moment that Barnabas wasn’t there to help bring Saul to the disciples. Who knows what could have happened! Saul could have been discouraged and walked away from preaching Christ. Praise God that didn’t happen or half the New Testament would have been very different.
I hope all of that makes sense to you and you get the idea of how Barnabas was an encourager. My pastor’s message was probably much better than my explanation here but I think I’ve pulled it together to make the point. So in thinking of Barney again and me being a Barney to others I really wanted to wear purple and sing the I love You song but I was thinking that might just cause you to stop reading my blogs so I am sharing the real Barney singing his song. If you hate Barney just listen anyway and imagine that I am singing to you with my arm around you. Be encouraged! We all need encouragement! Bless you all!
Three Years and Three Days Later
Three years and three days ago I started this blog with great intentions. I had seven things I desired to lose for Christ, let’s take a look at that list real quick…
- Damaged Emotions
- Lack of discipline
My primary focus was on # 1. Weight and that’s where I failed even before I began. The most wonderful thing about it however is the lessons I learned over the past 3 years. I haven’t written a lot of entries at this point and pretty much I shared a few of my many trips back into the pit of failure and how I was determined to get back up and keep moving. The problem was I was so concerned with the aspect of my weight that I didn’t see what God’s plan was in the process. So I am publicly repenting and I am declaring today that I am going to re-visit the vision for real this time and just follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance in what area of my life needs to be worked on at any point in time.
I know that God is calling me back to re-visit the vision for healthy living and weight loss. I don’t know what it will look like but I can tell you right now that I refuse to allow myself to get caught up with the same detrimental patterns that I had in the past. So with that said I just ask that you would pray for me. I need it! I am ready to move forward and I pray that I will not turn back anymore from this day forward. I hope along this journey I will be able to encourage you as well. Come along with me as I surrender to God’s plan and vision for my 7 goals above. I’m going to take it one day, hour, moment at a time.
Who’s with me?
There is nothing like watching a baby learn to walk. This past weekend the Lord taught me a lesson about myself from watching a baby walk. When a baby walks and falls down, he may or may not cry…he may crawl a few steps and then get back up or he may just laugh and get back up. Did you notice anything? That baby will GET BACK UP regardless of what happens at the time he falls. No matter how many times he falls, he gets back up. If he doesn’t feel confident right away, he crawls a little but then he gets right back up and walks again. No matter how wobbly, no matter if his daddy is there calling to him “Come on, come to daddy” No matter if he just sees something ahead that catches his eye he will go for it. He is not going to just sit there and cry and never stop trying to walk.
I know what you’re thinking….DUH!
YUP, it’s a DUH! I’m thinking that’s part of my problem, my mind always wants to complicate things. You would think that a person like myself, who has been called the Queen of Efficiency because I can analyze a problem and figure out pretty quickly how to fix it or change a process to complete the work more efficiently, that I would be able to do that in my own personal life. You would think that but NOPE, not me. Not Zenice. Oh no, I have to make a mountain out of a molehill and only see the red X’s of failure and defeat and not the gold stars of progress. I have to complicate things, have my pity parties and just plain give up. Or at least, that’s how I used to operate.
As I have previously written 2011 was a good year for me in terms of losing weight but then 2012 was not so good. For the majority of 2012 I was tormented in my mind about why I couldn’t get back on track with my goals. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me where I went wrong and I asked Him to help me get back on track. I would have days where I would catch a wave of motivation and then a few days later the wave was over. I can’t tell you how many false starts I had in 2012 trying not to gain the weight back. It all failed and the bottom line was that I gained my weight back little by little and now I am almost back to where I was at the beginning of 2011. But the good news is that I am 15 lbs lighter than I was in 2011 when I started our weight-loss challenge at work called “Break Your Boundaries”. Today was our weigh-in day for the 2013 Break Your Boundaries challenge and when I compared my stats it dawned on me how silly I can be. I only need to lose 17.5 lbs to be where I was at the end of the 2011 challenge. I think I am in a good position to get back to that point and then take it further. I am actually pretty confident that I will take it further because not one of my actual goals has a number on it. If I lose 15 or 100 lbs this year I intend to be thankful and grateful for any progress. I just really want to be healthy so I can do the work the Lord is calling me to do.
The Lord really showed me where I went wrong back in 2011 with the whole baby walking analogy. He showed me that where I was looking at the scale and looking at the number 100 (which is how many pounds I wanted to lose) I failed to keep my eyes on Jesus. I kept saying that I was looking to Him but I kept on looking away. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me in my food choices consistently I would get overconfident and stop following His lead and just run on by myself. If I failed (and I failed a lot) I didn’t dust myself off and get back up. No, it took a while and yet He would call to me saying “come on, you can do it” but I didn’t move. I stayed stuck in my misery. Unlike the baby who doesn’t know that it is his goal to walk because it’s just a natural instinctive thing for him to want to get up and move like everyone else, I thought that if I kept my focus on the goal that I would reach the goal. What I have come to realize is that I need to make a goal and then pray about my goal and then keep my eyes on Jesus and He will help me reach the goal.
So I’m taking on a new mindset this year and I have my goals written. I have my action steps planned. I’m praying for my goals daily. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me with my food choices. I’m keeping my eyes on Jesus at all times. If I fall, I will maybe cry a little, laugh a little or crawl a little but just like the baby I WILL GET BACK UP!