Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #19

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

Encouragement from a book:

Want to know what your idols are?  Here’s some questions to ask yourself from Timothy Keller’s Gospel in Life – Grace Changes Everything.

“Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…

  1. I have power and influence over others.”______(Power Idolatry)
  2. I am loved and respected by _____.” (Approval Idolatry)
  3. I have this kind of pleasure experience, a particular quality of life.” (Comfort idolatry)
  4. I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of _____.” (Control idolatry)
  5. people are dependent on me and need me.” (Helping Idolatry)
  6. someone is there to protect me and keep me safe.” (Dependence idolatry)
  7. I am completely free from obligations or responsibilities to take care of someone.” (Independence idolatry)
  8. I am highly productive and getting a lot done.” (Work idolatry)
  9. I am being recognized for my accomplishments, and I am excelling in my work.” (Achievement idolatry)
  10. I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions.” (Materialism idolatry)
  11. I am adhering to my religion’s moral codes and accomplished in its activities.” (Religion idolatry)
  12. This one person is in my life and happy to be there, and/or happy with me.” (Individual person idolatry)
  13. I feel I am totally independent of organized religion and am living by a self-made morality.” (Irreligion idolatry)
  14. My race and culture is ascendant and recognized as superior.” (Racial/cultural idolatry)
  15. A particular social grouping or professional grouping or other group lets me in.” (Inner ring idolatry)
  16. My children and/or my parents are happy and happy with me.” (Family idolatry)
  17. Mr. or Ms. “Right” is in love with me.” (Relationship Idolatry)
  18. I am hurting, in a problem; only then do I feel worthy of love or able to deal with guilt.” (Suffering idolatry)
  19. my political or social cause is making progress and ascending in influence or power.” (Ideology idolatry)
  20. I have a particular kind of look or body image.” (Image idolatry)

Encouragement from THE Book:

Deuteronomy 5 I am the Lord your God… Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 9 You must not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.

Note to Self:

More Timothy Keller:  Recognize your idol and say “You are not my life.  You do not define me.  Christ is my life! You did not die for me and you cannot redeem me.  Jesus did and He can and He will. So ultimately, I don’t really need to have you. ”  Rely on the Holy Spirit to make Jesus real in your heart. Ever deeper repentance from idols leads to ever deeper surrender to Christ.

originally published on July 29, 2013 –


Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #18

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

Encouragement from one of my favorite dead guys:

murrayAndrew Murray –

Fasting is letting go of the visible.  It was the fruit that tempted Eve and the bread that tempted Jesus.  Jesus triumphed in fasting.  In our eating we are to glorify God.  Only in a life of moderation, temperance, and self denial will there be the heart and strength to pray much.  We are creatures of the senses. Fasting helps express, to deepen and confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God, ready to give up all (even my eating habits) for Christ.

Ordinary Christians…seek to retain as much as possible of this world, its properties, its literature and its enjoyments.  The truly consecrated soul is like a soldier who carries only what she needs for the battle.

Encouragement from THE Book:

Hebrews 12 (The Message) Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Note to Self:

The first time I fasted I realized how much time I spend on food and eating.  We dream about what we’d like to eat.  We go out to eat food or we make a list and buy the food. We store food. We prepare food: peel it, chop it, grate it and so on. We cook it.  We serve it . We spend time eating it.  We have to clean up after cooking/eating.  When you fast, it frees up a lot of time – time to pray, time to think about things we’re usually too busy (preparing food) to think about.

originally published on July 28, 2013 –

Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #17

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

Encouragement from a couple of books:

circleI’ve been wrestling in my soul over several thorny issues in my life. The lack of resolution is causing me much pain (and writer’s block ) so I decided to take Mark Batterson’s advice from The Circle Maker -Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.  I decided to go on a Daniel Fast.

Batterson says:  “When I have a big decision to make, I circle it with a fast.  It doesn’t just purge my body, it also purges my mind and spirit.  When I need a breakthrough, I circle it with a fast.  It doesn’t just break down the challenges I’m facing; it breaks down the calluses in my heart…  Fasting gives you more power to pray because it’s an exercise in willpower.  The physical discipline gives you the spiritual discipline to pray through.  An empty stomach leads to a full spirit. The tandem of prayer and fasting will give you the power and willpower to pray through until you experience a breakthrough.

I’d heard about the Daniel Fast before.  It’s a partial fast (see Diet Devo Day 16 – for definition of partial fast) based on events in the life of Daniel in the Bible.  Here’s a couple of websites that can help you out if you want to know more about the diet and what you eat on it:

danielI decided to follow the plan in Kristen Feola’s The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast.  Kristen says:

“Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline that allows you to connect with God on a deeper level.  When you fast, you deny yourself food or certain foods, for a specified period of time as an act of surrender.  You are, in essence, saying “God, I have to have your help in this situation.  I don’t know what to do (sounds like me) and I’m willing to sacrifice my time, my physical comfort, and my desires so I can hear from you.”

Encouragement from THE Book:

Here’s the The Message version of Luke 9:23:  Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? 

Isaiah 58 (NLT) The ultimate guide on biblical fasting

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!

Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.

‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond.  “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.

What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.

You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.

Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.

Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Note to Self:

Thomas A’ Kempis reveals the source of peace: Choose always to have less than more.

originally published on July 27, 2013 –

Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #16

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

Encouragement from a book:

Yesterday I started talking about Fasting. In God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis explains…

Types of fasts:

  1. THE NORMAL FAST: He fasted forty days and forty nights and afterward he was hungry—Matthew 4:2. “To fast,” we are told, “is not simply nor necessarily to abstain from food but from anything that hinders our communion with God.” Or they say, “Fasting means to do without, to practice self-denial.” We have only to widen the meaning enough and the cutting edge has gone. It is true that there are many things besides food that may hinder our communion with God. It is also true that we need to practice self-denial in general. The fact still remains that “to fast” means primarily “not to eat.” The normal fast involves abstaining from all forms of food, but not from water, and must be distinguished from the other two forms, the absolute fast and the partial fast…
  2. THE ABSOLUTE FAST: for three days he . . . neither ate nor drank—Acts 9:91 There are a few examples in Scripture of what “the absolute fast” is called, that is, abstaining from drinking as well as eating. Normally this was never more that three days, probably because any longer period might have proved physically injurious. The body can go long periods without food and be physically benefited, but only for a very short time without water. Ezra spent the night, “neither eating bread nor drinking water; for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles” (Ezra 10:6).
  3. THE PARTIAL FAST: I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth— Daniel 10:3  The emphasis here is upon restriction of diet rather than complete abstention. At the commencement of the book of Daniel we are introduced to this young man and his three companions. They had been selected from among the Hebrew exiles because of noble birth and intellectual attainments for special training, with a view to serving in the presence of the king of Babylon. These men resolved not to defile themselves with the king’s rich food or the wine which he drank, as these would have been first offered to the Babylonian gods. Instead they asked for vegetables to eat and water to drink. The steward set over them agreed to test the effect of this simple diet for a period of ten days. At the end of this time “they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s rich food” (Dan. 1:15).  The value of the partial fast, however, is not confined by any means to the physical. Later in the book of Daniel, we read how this prophet received a revelation from God concerning the future of his people Israel. He describes how he sought the Lord for understanding of this vision: In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks” (Dan. 10:2, 3).
  4.  “WHEN”—NOT “IF” : When you fast—Matthew 6:2, 4, and 16.
  5. THE TIME IS NOW: When the bridegroom is taken from them … then they will fast—Matthew 9:15.
  6. THE REGULAR AND PUBLIC FASTS: On a fast day . . . you shall read the words of the Lord—Jeremiah 36:6. Sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly—Joel 2:15. The Day of Atonement was a fast day. (Lev. 23:27; Psa. 35:13 & Isa. 58:5).
  7. FASTING UNTO GOD: When ye fasted . . . did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?—Zechariah 7:5. They ministered to the Lord, and fasted – Acts 13:2. Fasting must be done unto God.
  8. FOR PERSONAL SANCTITY: I humbled my soul with fasting – Psalm 69:10.
  9. TO BE HEARD ON HIGH: So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty – Ezra 8:23.
  10. TO CHANGE GOD’S MIND: The people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast. . . . When God saw what they did . . . God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them – Jonah 3:5, 10.
  11. TO FREE THE CAPTIVES: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? – Isaiah 58:6.
  12. THEY FASTED TO DELIVER: Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives a tyrant be rescued? Surely, thus says the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you. Isaiah 49:24, 25.
  13.  FOR REVELATION: Daniel . . . turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer Supplications with fasting. . . . Gabriel . . . said to me, O Daniel, I have now come to give you wisdom and understanding – Daniel 9:2, 3 21, 22.

Encouragement from THE Book:

It’s important to note that religious practices such as fasting are less important than doing God’s will. As Micah 6:8 points out, what the Lord truly requires of us is devotion to Himself: “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Luke 9:23 (NLT) Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

Note to self:

The following list on why we should fast was taken from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.

Why Fast?

  • To Strengthen Your Prayer Life – Fasting and prayer are often coupled together in scripture. When hunger pains strike, pray instead.
  • To Seek God’s Guidance – we tend to listen better when we are “hungry for God”.
  • To Express Grief – Scripture often mentions grief, sackcloth and ashes, and fasting together.
  • To Seek Deliverance or Protection – King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast when the Jews were under imminent attack and Queen Esther called for prayer and fasting before she went in to see the king.
  • To Express Repentance and Return to God – On Yom Kippur the Jews’ express their repentance through fasting and prayer.
  • To Humble Yourself Before God – There isn’t anything much more humbling than denying yourself food. Your appetites show you what you crave and how you usually just give in and indulge yourself.  Denying yourself requires humility, surrender and reliance on God.
  • To Express Concern for the Work of the Lord – Nehemiah is a good example of a man who called a fast when he was leading the people to do God’s will.
  • To Minister to the Needs of Others – Isaiah 58 directs us to fast and give the food we would’ve eaten to someone who has none.
  • To Overcome Temptation and Dedicate Yourself to God – Want to know what your idols are (food? comfort?)?  Try fasting.  Fasting reveals the things that control us.
  • To express Love and Worship to God and center your thoughts on Him – Thoughts of food can prompt worship and praise to God.

originally published on July 26, 2013 –

Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #15

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

Encouragement from a book:

I think it’s finally time to talk about fasting. My favorite book on this topic is God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis. He is very thorough in covering all aspects of fasting.

Let’s start with Wallis’s definition of fasting:

“To fast,” we are told, “is not simply nor necessarily to abstain from food but from anything that hinders our communion with God.” Or they say, “Fasting means to do without, to practice self-denial.”

It is true that there are many things besides food that may hinder our communion with God. It is also true that we need to practice self-denial in general. The fact still remains that “to fast” means primarily “not to eat.”

Encouragement from THE Book:

For the next few devos I’ll be sharing Luke 9:23 in different versions. Here’s the Holman Christian Standard Bible version:

Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Matthew 6:17  But when you fast… (notice it doesn’t say “if you fast…”)

Note to self:

Being allergic to so many foods (I can’t eat wheat, soy or corn) has it’s good side and it’s bad side.  On the good side – I simply can’t eat a lot of the junk that’s out there.  On the bad side:  I default to “Poor, poor pitiful me. I have so many allergies, there’s so much I can’t eat – therefore I should be allowed to eat as much as I want of the foods I actually can eat – right?”  Wrong! I need a new default mode.  A default mode of self denial.  I can’t automatically go to “poor, poor pitiful me” when I’m tired or in pain or just generally lacking in self control.

Why? Because if I am self-indulgent it dulls my spiritual alertness and I will lose the battle with sin.

  • John Piper says in Hunger for God:  If we are self-indulgent.. it dulls our spiritual alertness (and) we will lose the battle with sin. We will have sluggish hearts for the Lord – “If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
  • Oswald Chambers says: The nature of sin is that it destroys the capacity to know that you sin.

Therefore, for quite some time (see Spiritual Theme 2010,  December 28, 2008February 8, 2009,  September 18, 2012) I’ve had three physical goals.

  1. Deny My Self
  2. Strengthen What Remains
  3. Burn the Fat

Fasting helps me “Deny My Self.”

originally published on July 25, 2013 –

Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #14

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

Encouragement from a book:

The following ideas come from Gospel in Life – Grace Changes Everything by Timothy Keller

In order to change you have to replace your passion (your *idol) with an overriding passion for Christ.  He has to be your greatest passion.  (Whenever I am tempted to overeat, I must turn to Jesus.)

Encouragement from THE Book:

John 4:13-14 (NIV) Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths

Note to self:

*Definition of Idol –  An idol is something that we ascribe value and worth to that surpasses the supreme value and worth we ought to ascribe to God.

You sin (indulge) because at that moment something is more important to you than Jesus is.  Every sin is an act of idolatry and every act of idolatry is a disbelief in the gospel.  The root of all sin is the failure to take the gospel deep inside of you and trust what Jesus has done.

Find the way you resist the gospel.  You won’t change until you find where you resist the gospel.  Self-salvation is idolatry.  Your life won’t change if your heart doesn’t change.  No one changes by “trying harder.” Have a new affection (Jesus) to kick out the old one (self-indulgence).  Jesus is your over-mastering positive passion.  Let Jesus control you.

originally published on July 24, 2013 –

Glorify God in Your Body – Encouragement #13

In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul.  We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:

changeEncouragement from a book:

I have benefited from the book You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power For Our Sinful Behavior And Negative Emotions by Tim Chester as I try to change my eating habits.

“The essence of holiness is not new behavior, activity, or disciplines. Holiness is new affections, new desires and new motives that then lead to new behavior.”

(So the question is: Do I love God more than __________? Or when it comes to eating: Will I think long term and love my health and well-being more than a doughnut?

Encouragement from THE book:

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Philippians 3:8,9. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Note to self:

“We would be well on the way to perfection if we could weed out one vice from ourselves each year.”
― Thomas à Kempis

To me Thomas A Kempis is saying: If every year we uprooted a single fault (like self-indulgence or out of control eating habits) we should soon be on our way to perfection(we’ll never reach perfection on earth but at least we’ll be progressing!) Fervor and progress ought to increase DAILY. We should not rely on our past but have a one-day-at-a-time mentality.

originally published on July 23, 2013 –