Made for More

 

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It is hard to believe that the Made To Crave study is drawing to a close. Where did the time go? It seems like just the other day I had the calendar turned to January with my journal, Bible and book laid out and ready for the journey. I do not know whether you were a fellow sojourner or not, but I know that this journey is not over. Unlike a 5K or marathon, there is not a finish line this side of eternity. It is a process, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. In fact, if anything, it should give us the drive to keep pressing on.

Over the past six weeks we have learned that our mental, spiritual and physical lives can’t be compartmentalized. They are woven together to make you who you are. Being overweight is just an outward expression of an inward situation. You and I could easily become discouraged and defeated and throw in the towel thinking there is no point of trying. However, God tells us that we were made for more…More than a sugary treat…More than a pack of cigarettes…More than all the world’s treasures…God has set us apart for His purpose and plan.

The real question is whether you and I will make the choice that will draw us closer to God instead of pulling us away. We must choose to give up anything that we crave more than God.

We are all like the rich young ruler coming before Christ. He told the man to sell everything he had in order to follow Jesus. God knew that the man’s money would get in the way of his service therefore he was asked to get rid of it. What is God asking you to get rid of? What is it that you turn to when a problem arises or the storms of life are knocking at your door?

Dear friend, God is asking each one of us to lay those things down because He has so much more for each one of us. Don’t wait another minute; choose today to obediently follow after God leaving everything else behind.

 

 

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It’s a New Day

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Lamenations probably is not a book of the Bible that comes up in conversation very often, nor is it one that naturally falls open when flipping through the Bible. If honest, many would have to confess to looking in the table of contents to even find its location. Once we arrive at this book you and I can begin to discover the treasure within this week’s Made To Crave verse.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

As I have been thinking and studying about this passage over the course of the week, it kept bringing to mind the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. If you are unfamiliar with their story, I highly suggest reading through it. Anyhow, they were complaining because they didn’t have anything to eat and would rather be back in slavery in Egypt than to be in the wilderness headed to the Promise Land. I don’t know about you, but boy, can I relate. Many times I find myself complaining about where I am instead of relying on God and trusting Him along the way. God heard the cries of the children of Israel and provided manna for them every morning. It appeared like the dew covering the ground in a blanket of white. The Israelites were instructed to only take what they would need for that day – their portion. If they tried to take extra, so as not to have to gather the next day, it would mold or have maggots. God was testing them to see if they would trust and rely on His faithfulness. The same is true for us.

I have found, being a stay-at-home mom, that there are several times that I, myself, would like a “do-over.” My day starts out well, and then for one reason or another I find myself running out of patience with the kids. This generally happens within the time they wake up until they need to head out the door to the school bus. There are mornings that I can hear the following from the kids, “where is my lunch box? Oh, mom, I need more lunch money? I forgot that I have homework due today, can you help me with it?  Did you make snacks for my class for today?  Is my cross country uniform clean and ready for the meet?”  To no fault of their own, some days I simply just lose it. I could blame them for not being responsible enough, or me for not getting enough sleep or not laying things out the night before, but sometimes my patience just wears thin. I end up getting upset with them, and they leave for school wound up. I hate mornings like that. I do not know whether you can identify or not, but it is times like these I would like nothing more than to have everyone go back to bed and start the day over.

Although, I do not have the ability to push pause on the day and rewind it, I do have the opportunity for a new beginning. This is promised to all of us in Lamentations. This passage of Scripture brings me so much encouragement. With each new day, we are given the precious gift of experiencing and discovering more of God’s love. The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary explains it wonderfully, The Lord’s great love follows through on covenant obligations. God’s compassion cannot be exhausted.” In the Old Testament, God made covenants with His people. His great love continues to flow through the New Testament to current day. What amazes me is that God’s compassion and love for us have no limits, and there is an endless supply. Keep in mind that God is with us all the time, not just when things are going smoothly. Even when we face struggles, God shows us His mercy. The New King James Version Study Bible goes further to explain that the passage in Lamentations means, “The comforting, compassionate character of God dominates the wreckage of every other institution and office. God remains “full of grace and truth” in every situation.”

Maybe you do not have young children or struggle with the craziness of a busy morning, but I am certain that you have areas that are difficult within your day and you need God’s compassion, love and faithfulness. Do not feel like God’s compassion and mercy are some how confined to particular locations because they are not. God’s grace and mercy are poured out upon us every single day. Just as God provided manna for the children of Israel, He provided His Son for us. Christ is our daily bread, who satisfies our needs. Our portion, like the manna, is laid out for us, but we have to make the choice to take it in. Spending time with God daily is necessary to allow Him to “fill” us up for whatever the day may hold. Never forget that He knows what we need and He will provide.

Take a moment and listen to this song and let the words wash over you today.

Power in Weakness

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Those of you joining me on the Made To Crave journey, this is when it begins to get difficult. We are a little over halfway into the study and the excitement and “newness” has worn off. We have learned that our worth and identity isn’t tied to any type of number. However, many on the study blog are feeling defeated and discouraged. I would like to encourage you today.

Many times in our lives God is going to ask us to give up or let go of something we hold dear. For some it may be that bag of chips you can’t put down, the afternoon bottle of pop, late-night snacking or even a dream you’ve been holding on to so tightly. You see, in order for us to realize God’s power in our lives we have to be willing to let go. These things, though not inherently bad on their own, have clouded our vision. We are craving these and running to them before God.

For me, the mere thought of giving up on a specific goal in my life makes me weak in the knees. I ask myself, why? Why would God want me to give this up? It would reach out and help others, right? I just don’t understand. But then, God doesn’t need to clear His plans with me. He sees the big picture because He painted it, whereas I only see a little sliver.

In the past, I would stress about needing to figure everything out. I have woken up with anxiety attacks and been so deep in despair, I couldn’t see my way out. However, it was at one of those lowest times that I discovered I was going about it all wrong. I am not supposed to figure everything out or fix things and neither are you. The truth is found in this week’s verse.

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The apostle Paul had asked repeatedly for God to restore his health and that is not how God answered those prayers. Paul began to realize the power of God through his physical weakness. God tells us that in our weakness He is our strength. We can’t ever realize God’s strength if we are solely relying on our own. You and I can become so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t even realize it. Therefore, God has to bring us to the point of weakness so that we will desire His strength, His way and His power, which is complete. But it can only be complete when we turn over everything that we are putting before Him.

You and I may have vastly different weaknesses in our lives, but one thing is evident, we both must chose to trust completely in God and let His power be our strength.

 

Your Turn:

How are you dealings with cravings and weaknesses this week? I encourage you to let go of whatever you are holding on to and allow God’s power alone to be your strength.

It’s Not All In The Numbers

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Before you close this window thinking it is just another blog about losing weight and it doesn’t apply to you, please stop and read on.

Whether you agree with it or not, numbers are all around us. They describe our friends on Facebook. Followers on twitter, pinterest or instagram. For writers and speakers, numbers encapsulate the dreaded “platform”. Numbers also describe the number of people attending a party you are hosting or Christmas and birthday cards you receive each year. It is all around us, you cannot escape it, but do not let that trip you up because your identity and worth are not tied to any or even all of those numbers and statistics. You see we have been looking at all these numbers, including those on the scale, in all the wrong way.

God, not a number of any kind, defines who we are. Never forget just how much He loves and values you, but don’t just stop where you are because in essence you are limiting God – limiting what He can do in and through your life when you don’t obey.

In my current book proposal, Escape Clause, I examine how we put limits on what God can do in our lives through limiting Him in our prayers. I have seen this and know it to be true. Yet, I didn’t even realize that our obedience, or lack there of, is doing the exact same thing.

You see when we choose to obey God it unleashes the power that it holds. Just like there is no limit to His love; there is no limit to what He can do in our lives. When we choose to obey, we are opening a door for God to reveal Himself. It also gives each one of us the opportunity to get one step closer to fulfilling the calling God has on our lives.

Up to this point, I never really thought of my lack of obedience as limiting God and the calling on my life. This whole idea has put an entirely different spin on things. It has given me a new perspective.

I do not want to limit how God can work in and through my life. I want to be used by Him and therefore, I need to serve and obey where God has me at this point in my life instead of sitting and pouting because it is not how I had it planned out. It is not about you or me – it is all about Him. I need to step out of the way, lay my plans down, give Him a willing and obedient heart and see what He will do.

I no longer want to limit God’s best for my life because of my failure to obey. I’m thanking God for these new “glasses” today to see this all from a different perspective. And I am choosing today to surrender to His will and plan for my life. What about you?

Psalm 84:2

My-soul-years-Psalm-842Each one of us was create to crave, that yearning, longing was knit into our being by our Creator. God also gave us free will. Therefore, it is our choice where we place our focus. Our focus leads to a craving.

As I enter this first week of the Made to Crave online Bible study, I am amazed at what God is already bringing to light in my life. This study is not designed strictly for people who desire to lose weight. No, this study is for anyone who craves anything above God. Let that sink in. If that applies to you, I encourage you to take that first step and sign up for the study.

The key verse for this week really speaks to the desire to crave God above all else.

“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart

and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2

Let’s break this verse apart and see what it is saying to us. The phrase “my soul yearns, even faints” is describing a deep longing or craving, if you will, to be in God’s presence. This same idea is expressed by the Psalmist in Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God.”

Take a moment; push the cold winter weather out of your mind and think of a hot summer day. You have been out in the garden working or laying on the beach (imagine your favorite summer activity) and you are hot and thirsty. You cannot think of doing anything until you get a big glass of ice water. That very desire is the type of longing we are to have for God – wanting to be in His presence more than anything else.

The last part of the verse, “my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” simply means that every part of our being – internal and external – is calling out to God.

Don’t let failures in the past keep you from coming to God. His mercies are new every morning.

This is a journey comprised of one decision and one step at a time. Let me assure you that though it may not be an easy road it is the only way to gain true and lasting peace.

Take a moment to watch this video and let the words wash over you today.

 

Your Turn:

  • Take a moment and rewrite Psalm 84:2, making it personal (insert your name where it says “my”). I encourage you to make that the desire of your heart
  • What is holding you back or getting in your way from craving God?
  • I would love to pray for you today, simply leave a request in the comment section.
  • If you are participating in the Made to Crave study, please let me know. I would like to connect with you.