Dashing Devotional: Praying for Your Marriage

March 18th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals, Kids/Family

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For where two or more are gather in my name, there am I with them. -Matthew 18:20

You may be wondering why I chose to write a devotional on marriage on a health and wellness website. Well, I truly believe that every area of our life has the potential to make an impact on our well being, but most definitely the most important relationship in this life, which is marriage. For this reason, I felt the Lord prompting me to share about how God has transformed my own marriage by His grace, and how the power of prayer has radically blessed the relationship between my husband and I. But first, let me tell you a little bit about my husband and I, and how we met…

I met my husband when I was 16 years old at our high school homecoming dance. I was the new girl in town, and I got asked to go to the dance with his best friend. It didn’t take long before I noticed Sean, and he had his eye on me as well. Let’s just say that his best friend was pretty bummed out when I ended up spending most of the night talking to Sean… and the rest was history! We ended up dating all through my junior and senior year of high school and all through college.

After almost seven years of dating (and the year before I graduated from nursing school), Sean proposed to me. He surprised me by flying out to Orlando, Florida, where I was on a spring break trip with my family. One night my family and I went to Disney’s Cinderella castle for dinner. As I was being seated, out of the corner of my eye I saw my prince walking towards me!  He got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride…to which I responded, “Well of course!”

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After five years of marriage, I can honestly say that this was the best ‘yes’ I’ve ever said, (outside of giving my heart and life to Jesus). On August 8, 2009 (the summer after I graduated from nursing school) we got married, and embarked on our life-long journey together.

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As wonderful, exciting, and blessed as our journey has been so far, there have also been some really hard days, seasons, and trials that have come our way. This may come as a shock to some people, because let’s face it, the hard times are not the things that are captured in pictures or featured on Facebook or Instagram… But it’s true, we have had our fair share of storms, just like every other married couple!

Now don’t get me wrong, the majority of our married life has been absolutely wonderful, and I look forward to the years to come! However, just like everyone who has been married for any length of time, we have endured some hard days together. Some of them have been the result of natural life events, such as facing loss, stress, changes of careers, etc.

These ‘storms’ of life are bound to come, but there are also things that come against us that feel like a direct attack on our marriage. These are the types of attacks that I am convinced are meant to steal, kill and destroy our marriages. It is important to recognize that they are sent by the enemy, and they are bound to come (John 10:10). How do I know this? Because I know the devil hates marriage, especially when it is a marriage with God in the center. Why!?! Because marriage between a man and a woman reflects the relationship between Christ and His bride (the church). Not to mention, a couple joined together with the dream to expand God’s kingdom puts a serious threat on the kingdom of darkness.

Does this mean that every marriage is doomed to failure? Certainly not! God has given us everything we need to be victorious in marriage, and He is for us! So, what can be done to protect and guard this beautiful relationship that God has created between a man and woman? Just like everything else in life, I am convinced that the power is in prayer!

Now, before I go any further on the subject of praying for your marriage, I do want to be sensitive and address the fact that some couples would benefit from seeking Godly counsel, and I truly do think it is wise for all married couples to have mentors in their life regardless of circumstances. I also want to add that praying for your marriage is a vital part of God’s plan for marriage, but it is not the only thing that encompasses a healthy marriage.

That being said, I can speak from personal experience that prayers won’t only improve, but they can completely transform your marriage.  In fact, it has been a huge part of my personal testimony and the testimony of what God has done in my marriage, that praying prayers based on the promises of God can radically change, heal, and deliver anyone out of any circumstance!

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You may be wondering, what kind of ‘power’ is there in praying prayers based on scripture!?! Well, I’m glad you asked!

The Word of God is alive, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword! When we pray according to promises in the Word of God, we are praying in agreement with what God says about us and promises us.

Now, I want to also mention that this is not the only way to pray, in fact, God also longs to hear from you, throughout the day, as you talk to Him from your heart! Also, we can see in Ephesians 6:18 that we are instructed to, “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” So, I say all this to say, please know that there is so much more to prayer than just praying prayers based off of scriptures, but I truly do believe that this kind of prayer is a powerful and effective tool to bring about change, because it is based off of Gods word, and His word does not go void! (Isaiah 55:11)

Nothing has impacted or changed my life and my marriage more than when I started praying the promises of God over them.  I started doing this years ago in relation to my health and body image issues, and it was so life-changing that I decided to do the same for my marriage a few years ago.

I asked the Lord to show me scriptures to pray over my husband, over my marriage, and over myself to become the wife that He created me to be. It didn’t take long before I started to see the fruit of God’s Word coming forth in my marriage, just as it did in other areas of my life. The great thing about praying for your marriage, is that it is even more powerful when you and your spouse do it together, as we can see in Matthew 18:20!

To be honest, I don’t know why it took me so long to start getting serious about praying for my marriage, but now that I have begun to see the radical transformation that it has brought, I will never stop! In fact, that is why I am sharing this with all of you! God has such great plans for every single married couple, and I can promise that a huge part of walking in His plan comes by prayer!

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Whatever season you may be in with your marriage, or whatever difficulties you may be facing, I want to encourage you that God’s Word has an answer, a promise, and way through! When we agree and focus our attention on God’s promises, we can and will overcome anything that comes our way!

I encourage you to seek the Lord for scriptures and promises from His word to pray specifically over your husband, yourself, and your marriage. But, to get you started, I have included some of my personal prayers that I have written for my marriage.

I pray you are encouraged today by these prayers, and that the awesome Word of God reminds you of the great plans He has for you, your husband, and your marriage.

Feel free to print these scripture-based prayers on marriage out for yourself! You could also write them down on notecards or in a journal.

CLICK HERE TO GET SCRIPTURE BASED PRAYERS FOR YOUR MARRIAGE

If you are not yet married, but hope to be one day, I encourage you to start praying for your husband now! There is nothing more powerful than praying for the man that God has made for you! If you are married, I pray God’s blessings over your marriage! May God bless you, keep you, makes His face to shine upon you, and give you His peace!

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Shamefully Healthy by Sarah Shaffer

March 11th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals, Food News, Inspiration, True Beauty

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The topic for today’s devotion has been something that has been on my heart for quite some time. I’ve been asking the Lord to put just the right words to this topic so that I approach it with care and sensitivity. My prayer in sharing this is that the Lord will use it to convict us all to seek peace and pursue it, and offer kindness and understanding toward one another every chance we get!

I have become acutely aware of a theme lately, particularly among my women and mom friends. I’ve really begun to recognize that a heaping-helping of shame and judgment have attached themselves to the concept of health. 

The term “healthy” is really very relative, but it has become overused and misguided. The word healthy used to simply imply not being sick, but somewhere along the line it has lost meaning and gained judgment, especially as it relates to food.  Depending on who you ask “healthy” means Paleo or vegan, gluten-free or whole-grain, low-fat or high-fat. We hear that healthy means egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or only organic and non-GMO. It’s daunting isn’t it? As always, I would never claim that any of these ideas are wrong (my own family follows several of these). But, for the purpose of this devotion, what I’d like to focus on is living shame-free. 

The depth of this awareness really hit home for me one day recently while at the grocery store and after having family in town. Both times, I interacted with moms of small children who emphatically apologized and reasoned with me about why their food choices weren’t as healthy as mine, or made declarations about their need to “do better” about how they fed their families. It broke my heart. And, it caused me to pause and ask myself if I am unintentionally making others feel “less-than” by how I communicate about my family’s particular healthy lifestyle choices?

While I obviously believe that living our best life is God’s heart for all of His children, I am also more and more reminded that above all else, His desire is that we love and support one another. The truth is that my healthy lifestyle can be different from yours and still be equally effective!  Do you want to know a secret? I’m allergic to kale! Yep, kale! You know, the so-called healthiest food on the planet? Well, not for this girl (I love kale by way, if you can eat it, do!!). What’s healthy for me, may not fit into your heathy lifestyle and the whole point of this devotional is to understand that that is ok!! I pray that right now, in this moment we all release ourselves and others of judgment or shame for having different models of a healthy life!

While the word “healthy” is relative and can have many different meanings, the Word of God is not and is clear about this subject. God’s word says, “If I partake of my food with thankfulness, why am I accused and spoken evil of because of that for which I give thanks? So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:30-31. And, we also know from Romans 8:1, that there is no condemnation (shame or judgment) for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Friends, I pray today that if you are feeling “less-than” or are being pulled into the temptation to compare your healthy choices to someone else’s,  that is not the voice of the Lord. Above all else today, ask God to help you focus on what TRULY matters and that is the health of your spirit. There is no shortage of judgment, shame, or opinion in the world, especially around the topic of health. But, be encouraged today! That heap of shame is not yours to bear! May God release us of that today and remind us to look for ways to love one another! Walk in peace and freedom today knowing that not a single person who puts their hope in the promises of God will be left empty or put to shame! God loves you EXACTLY where you are today! 

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Dashing Devotional: No Fear by Sarah Shaffer

February 25th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals

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No Fear Devotional by Sarah Shaffer from Dashing Dish on Vimeo.

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Dashing Devotional: A Pure Heart

February 13th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals

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“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see the Lord.” (Matthew 5:8)

Recently when I was spending time with the Lord, I read Matthew 5:8 and it really stood out to me. I began to wonder what it meant to have a pure heart, so I did some digging! When I looked up the word pure, I found that the word means not mixed or altered with any other substance or material; or uncontaminated. So how do we protect our hearts from becoming contaminated by the ways of this world? I believe that this means that we are to be in the world, but not of it. A more practical way of saying this is that we must put a guard on the portals to our heart, which are our minds, eyes, and body.

Pure Mind

When it comes to putting a guard on our minds, the Word of God gives us very simple but clear instructions on how to do so. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” And as we can see…there’s that word “pure” again!

When we stop and take inventory on our thoughts, we will be able to see if we are in fact lining up with God’s Word. We can ask ourselves, am I thinking on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report? If not, it is time to think about our thinking! When we redirect our thoughts from our situation to the Word of God, we will be in agreement with what God says about our situation, rather than what the world has to say. This my friends is the most crucial part of keeping our minds pure, which will in turn protect what goes into our hearts. 

Pure Eyes

One of the strongest tugs on my heart for our generation is guarding our eyes. With all of the images displayed on the media, movies, and advertisements these days, one does not even have to be intentionally seeking out something evil or corrupt in order to see it. Despite the culture that we live in however, I am convinced that there are steps that we can take to put a guard on our eyes.

Recently, I stopped in to a well known undergarment store at the mall (I won’t name the store, but I’m sure you can probably guess which one i’m speaking of). The images displayed at every turn made my heart so incredibly sad. In fact, there was no safe place to look except to the floor. Now, you may be wondering why I chose to look away, especially since it was other women I was looking at. Well, for me personally, this is a part of guarding my eyes. I have learned that these images can create a distorted image what women’s bodies should look like. When we look at the images that portray women in a way that God did not intend, and it can produce comparison, insecurity, and even body image distortion if we do not guard our eyes. This one simple act of looking away, (or clicking the exit button on the screen or television) is a choice that we can make when it comes to protecting our hearts. 

Pure Body

The last thing that I want to touch on in relation to our hearts is the purity our bodies. In today’s society, modesty is certainly not the norm. In fact, it seems to be that our society is becoming more desensitized to seeing skin and even nudity with each passing year. Although we may not be able to stop how others are portraying themselves, we can certainly make a choice on how we present our bodies.

The bible also has quite a bit to say about this topic, and I think it goes without saying that it encourages modesty. One of my favorite verse on this topic is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, which says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” This scripture shows us that our bodies are not our own. They are a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, and God paid a high price for them. When we keep our bodies pure, dress modestly, and take care of them properly, we will honor God and protect our hearts from so much of the pain and evil of this world.

Not to mention, I can honestly say that the most confident and beautiful women I know are those that know they are valuable without revealing their bodies. There is something to be said about the beauty of a Godly character that is spoken of in Proverbs 31, for this type of beauty never fades!

Being an Example of Purity

Being an example of purity starts with guarding our own mind, eyes, and body, and finding our worth and value in who God created us to be. When we find our identity in Christ, instead of this world, we will find more fulfillment, peace and joy than one could ever imagine.

Sisters, I want to encourage you today…No matter your age, background, or your story, you can choose to be an example of purity in this world starting today. Not only will it bring glory to our heavenly Father, but it will protect your own heart, and bless the hearts of those around you. 

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Dashing Devotional: The Pursuit of Perfection

February 4th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals

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Have you ever looked at someone’s house, beauty, business, or family that seems to be ‘ideal’ in your mind, only to leave you feeling less than? I am sure that these scenarios of comparison and perfection ring a bell for most, if not all women in some way…and I’ll be the first to admit that I have certainly been tempted with these things myself! Whether it is comparison with others or the pursuit of perfection, I have found both to be a dangerous trap.

I often describe the pursuit of perfection as something dangling in front of us that we will never be able to catch. The faster we run after it- the faster it moves just a few steps ahead of us…always remaining out of our reach. This chase always leads us to running a race that we were never meant to run, making us worn out, exhausted, and the ultimate purpose is to get us off track, too tired, and too busy to run the race that God has set before us.

I believe that the Lord has created each one of us to be so incredibly unique, and that He gave us specific gifts and talents to fulfill our destiny. These individual qualities that make us so different are the very gifts that God has bestowed upon us. Those blessings are the very things that God can and will use to draw people to Him, if we choose to use them for His purposes.

When start to strive to be something that we are not our gifts will remain dormant, and we will find ourselves run-down and exhausted with nothing left to give at the end of the day. 

I believe that the only way to effectively deal with this never-ending chase is to shift our focus daily from our flaws, our weaknesses, and the very things that make us feel ‘less than’ to the one who IS perfect- Jesus Christ. 

You see, from the moment that we give our lives to Jesus, He comes to live on the inside of us, which means that we no longer have to strive for perfection, because the hope of glory, the perfect Great one lives in us and through us. When we get our eyes off of ourselves and our own imperfections, and get our eyes on Christ, then we are freed up to think about others and how we can bless them.

Each one of us has so many different unique qualities that are intended to be used to build up and bless others. Let us make the choice this day to see the beauty, gifts, and blessings that the Lord has placed in our lives instead of looking at the things that we wish we could perfect. When we shift our focus onto Jesus, we will shine His love to the world around us in a more beautiful way than any physical quality ever could. We will be more content than we could have ever imagined.

If you would like to join me in ‘letting go’ of this never-ending pursuit of perfection, please join with me in saying this short and simple prayer.

“Lord, I thank you that you have created me wonderfully unique. Thank you for the gifts, talents, and blessings you have poured into my life to shine your glory to the world around me. Forgive me for striving to be something that you never intended me to be, and for comparing myself with others. Today I choose to focus on the beauty that you have placed in my life, instead of the things that seem to be my shortcomings. I thank you that today the pressure is off- I am content in being who you created me to be, nothing more, nothing less!”

For more devotionals like this, be sure to check out my new devotional book: Devotions for a Healthier You! 

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Dashing Devotional: Living for The Spirit

January 7th, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals, True Beauty

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The Word of God has plenty to say about eternity! We understand from God’s word that while this life is a gift, we are simply visitors passing through on our way to our final and perfect home with Him. But, how often do we really live that way? It is easy to forget that the Lord looks at the heart and find ourselves being overly focused on our bodies – our weight, our size, our cellulite, I could go on and on! 

It’s especially hard because the world is obsessed with the body! Just walk through a bookstore and it won’t take long to realize that we truly are living in a body obsessed world. 

To be very candid with you, this has been a struggle for me recently too. As a health coach and a publicly outspoken voice on exercise and healthy living, I find myself easily getting sucked into the pressure to look a certain way. Now, don’t get me wrong, our bodies are the dwelling place of the Most High God, so it is important for all of us to care well for them, but it’s so easy to go overboard and accidently hop on the body-obsessed bus with the rest of the world. 

The Lord has been captivating my heart lately with a strong awareness of just how important it is for me to be purposeful about living for the Spirit, for heaven, and with eternity in mind! After all, these bodies will pass away – they will – and what will matter, all that will matter is what we did with the name of Jesus. 

That’s why starting January 8, 2015, I’m inviting all of you to join me in a commitment to be spirit focused this year! I am praying that with this commitment God will do incredible things and move in huge ways in the hearts and lives of His children! Will you join Katie and I as we commit to a Fit Spirit in 2015? Stay tuned for more details! 

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A FREE 10 Week Book Study Based off the Devotionals in Devotions for a Healthier You!

December 29th, 2014 - Announcements, Dashing Devotionals, DASHING DISH BOOKS, True Beauty

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I wrote this book study to help readers dive deeper into the devotions in Devotions for a Healthier You. It is my hope that through this study, the devotionals will become more than words on a page, but rather a life giving study that will bring revelation of each persons identity and value in Christ. 

To use this study, simply go through one session per week (for ten weeks total), pairing it with the daily devotional reading. The daily devotions found in the book are simple and straight to the heart of the issue, focusing on one or two verses each, which will allow you to walk away with a ‘bite size’ morsel of the Word to chew on throughout the day. This book study was designed to take you deeper, with one session per week, focusing on subjects such as finding your value in Christ and getting spiritually and physically fit! 

Each session begins by reading the lesson, and is followed with the questions to get the discussion flowing. You may do this study by yourself, but it was intended to do with a group of women, since iron sharpens iron. As you study, discuss, and share what God says about you in His Word, while reflecting on the great promises He has made to us, I pray your eyes are opened to greater revelation. 

I hope this devotional book and book study are helpful resources in your journey to health, and finding out how greatly valued, treasured, and loved you are by God! Blessings~ Katie

Topics Covered: 

1. Change Begins on the Inside
2. How do You See Yourself?
3. How Does God See Us?
4. Changing the Image on the Inside
5. Finding the Beauty in Being You
6. Overcoming Insecurity
7. Do You Struggle with Comparison?
8. Getting Spiritually Fit
9. Getting Physically Fit
10. Is it Too Late to Get on Track?

Download Your 10 Week Book Study Here!

Join the FB Devotions for a Healthier You Book Study Group Here! 

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Dashing Devotional~ Give the Ultimate Gift This Christmas

December 19th, 2014 - Announcements, Dashing Devotionals

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Christmas is a time that has been set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but so often the meaning of Christmas is lost in the hustle and bustle.

God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, so that we could have everlasting life with Him, and be called son’s and daughters of God (John 3:16-18, 1 John 3:1). This gift was given out of the heart of the Fathers great love for us, and it is too precious of a gift to keep to ourselves!

This year, instead of making Christmas all about the decorations, the treats, and the gifts (although, all of those things are ok in their proper place), let’s shift our focus onto sharing Jesus with others, by showing them God’s kind of love.

Jesus said that all men would know that we are His disciples by the love we show to one another. (John 13:35) If we truly want to make Jesus the reason for the season, let’s give the gift of God’s great love to others this Christmas!

Here are some fun ways you and your family can celebrate Jesus, and spread God’s love to those around you: 

1. Make Jesus the focus of your Christmas celebration with your family. Before opening gifts, take time to pray together, and read the account of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, and Luke 2:1-20).

2. Give the gift of joy to those around you by getting a group together to sing Christmas carols! Some of the best places to visit are nursing homes, hospitals, and even your own neighborhood!

3. Make a birthday cake for Jesus, and sing to Him! This is fun especially if you have little ones, and it puts the focus on Jesus’ birth, and celebrating Him, rather than the gifts and toys.

4. Give the gift of time by volunteering at your local food bank, shelter, or salvation army.

5. Find ways to bless families in your community. Whether you give the gift of toys, gas or grocery cards, or even make a warm meal for someone, a simple act of generosity can show the love of God in a powerful and tangible way!

6. Visit, send a card, write a letter, or call someone who may be lonely or experiencing grief during the holiday season. It may not seem like much to you, but this one simple act of kindness may be the brightest moment in that persons darkest hour.

7. Donate a portion of the funds that would typically go to buying Christmas cards (or gifts) to a charity. Someone I know introduced me to this idea a few years ago, and it has blessed my heart ever since!

8. Pay for someones meal, coffee, or groceries. You never know how this random act of kindness may make their whole day, and it will most likely leave a lasting impression of God’s love.

9. Go through your closet (or kids closet) and donate clothes, boots, shoes, and coats to local organizations or shelters.

10. Invite someone who may be lonely to one of your Christmas celebrations. Sure, it may be breaking tradition a bit by having someone new join, but I am convinced that there is no greater way to show God’s love than to bring them into a house full of love when people need it most!

I hope this filled you with some great ideas to show God’s love that you can incorporate this Christmas, and maybe even make some of them your new Christmas traditions! When we turn our focus to others, and care for them in simple ways, we are essentially giving them the ultimate gift- God’s love!

On a final note about giving, I want to take a moment to thank each one of you for your generosity! If you support Dashing Dish, you have been a part of giving this past year in a HUGE way! Last year, we started an extension of Dashing Dish, called Dashing Delivery. God put it on our hearts to put the ‘Dashing’ into Dashing Dish by delivering groceries and grocery gift cards to those in need. Thanks to you guys, we have been able to give over $6,000 in groceries and grocery gift cards to families in need in one years time! Every month, we pray and ask the Lord where to give, and He is more than faithful to connect us with families. We also donate to our churches food pantry on a monthly basis, who not only feeds the hungry, but shares Jesus with them! I am sharing this with you today, because if you have supported Dashing Dish you are also a part of this ministry.  I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support, and for helping us spread the love of God in a tangible way!

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Dashing Devotional: The Fruit of Self Control

December 4th, 2014 - Dashing Devotionals

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The Fruit of Self Control

The holidays are officially upon us, which means a time for gathering with family and friends, and a time for feasts and treats! This wonderful time of year can also be a time of temptation to overspend, overeat, and over indulge. This may seem harmless in many ways, until January comes, and the reality of bills and weight gain sets in.

If this sounds familiar, I have good news…It doesn’t have to be that way this year, or ever again for that matter! If you have received Christ as your savior, then the Spirit of God lives inside of you. When he came to live in your heart, He came bearing gifts…a “fruit basket”, if you will!  The fruits that the Spirit of God brought with Him are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). That means that each one of us is able to have self-control in any situation if we choose to be led by the spirit.

God’s Kind of Self Control

Now, before I say anything else on this topic, I do want to clarify a few important things relating to this topic of self-control that could easily be taken out of context. First of all, I will say that I know from personal experience that for some people ‘self-control’ can be taken to dangerous levels when it gets over into a ‘controlling’ mindset.

If you have found that this is the case with you, be sure that you are aware that you are following the Spirit of God inside of you, and not just trying to ‘control’ things on your own. This can and will always lead to failure and can even be dangerous because God never intended us to depend on our own strength. Following the Spirit of God will produce ‘self control’ in a balanced way and it will never be based out of fear or obsession. Remember, god calls us to be balanced (1 Peter 5:8), which means we can enjoy all things in moderation, which means enjoying a cookie at times!

Not by Might but By the Spirit of God

Now that we got those two very important points established, you may be saying to yourself, “I just don’t have self-control in the area of eating and exercise, especially around the holidays. Every time I try to resist the Christmas cookies, it is only a matter of time before I end up eating the entire batch!” Or, in the area of exercise, you may be thinking to yourself, “I hate exercising. The moment that I begin an exercise program I do good for a couple days, and then fall off the wagon completely! There is no use in even starting!”

This, my friends, is where self-control comes in! Think about it…no one can make you eat something, or force you to sit on the couch instead of exercising! Only YOU have the ability to make the choice to be led by your ‘flesh’ or the ‘spirit’. When you make the choice to be led by the Spirit of God, the fruits of the spirit will then be produced naturally.  It won’t be long that the fruit of self-control will be so abundant in your life that you won’t even have a problem saying no to that second or third cookie or yes to being active!

The great thing is, He is the one who strengthens us to walk in the Spirit! Ephesians 3:16 says I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” This is just one of the many promises that the lord will strengthen us by His Spirit when we depend on His power, rather than our own might.

Why Use Self Control?

Not only do we have the ability, but God’s word instructs us to use self-control! 1 Peter 13 says, “Think clearly and exercise self-control.”Proverbs 25:28 tells us that, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” The Word even talks specifically about using self control in relation to food. Proverbs 25:16 says, “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” It sounds to me that God wants us to use this gift that He has given us for our own peace and protection.

In addition, If we want to fulfill the purpose that God has for us here on this earth, we need to be in good health! In order to run the race God has set before us with full strength and vigor, we need to use wisdom on how we treat our bodies. This includes getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise.

How do We Draw out the Fruit of Self Control?

Now, all this being said, how do we actually apply all of this? It comes down to making the choice to submit to God and be led by the Spirit of God that is in us every single day. (Romans 12:1) And believe me, it is a daily choice! Another way to do this is to build ourselves up in the spirit so that we do not easily give into the desires of our flesh. This can be done by praying, fasting, and studying and meditating on the Word of God (Romans 12:2). When we do this, the fruit of self-control will naturally be produced. We never have to ‘make’ the fruit appear or muster it up in our own strength, it will just grow as we grow in the Lord. The more we are led by the Spirit, the more that fruit will be produced…It’s that simple!

So in order to be led by the Spirit, we must first of all believe that He is inside of us and that He is leading and guiding us into all truth (John 16:13). By putting our trust in what God says about us in His word, making the choice to listen to that still small voice inside of us, and choosing to lean on His strength, we will walk by the Spirit. It can take some time to learn to walk by the Spirit if you are accustomed to giving your flesh whatever it asks for. Some practical tips on strengthening your ‘spiritual muscles’ are praying, spending time in the Word, and fasting- which is one of the most powerful forms of denying the flesh.

Now please hear me when I say it may not be easy to apply all of this, especially at first. The Bible tells us that, “Discipline is never pleasant at the time, but that in time it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”(Hebrews 12:11). However, once you have made the choice to consistently be led by the Spirit, the fruit of self-control will be so abundant in your life that you will find that it is easy to resist eating that whole plate of Christmas cookies that was at one time screaming your name!

Progress Not Perfection

Having said all of this, it is important to note that we are all on a journey, and none of us are perfect. We will all have moments where we do not walk perfectly in self-control. So, what do we do if we do slip up and eat more than we should have, or one too many cookies? Do we have to go around guilty and depressed? Absolutely not! After all, the Bible tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Therefore, when we do “miss the mark” so to speak, we simply repent before the Lord and keep running our race with our eyes fixed on Jesus, rather than our past mistakes.

It is also important to note that our failures do not change the way that God sees us. The Word tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”(Romans 5:8). It is important to remember that God’s love for each one of us is unconditional and unchanging. He knows each of us individually and loves us with a love that has no beginning and no end, simply because He IS Love.

So, the message for today is that if you have found yourself trying to ‘work up’ self-control in the past only to find that you always seem to ‘give in’, just know that the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to lead and guide you in all areas of your life! All you have to do is make the choice to walk with Him and follow His leading! As you make the choice to be led by the Spirit, His fruit will grow and mature inside of you, and you will find that self-control will come without any effort! Remember, the Holy Spirit who is inside us has everything we need to live a victorious life. All we have to do is make the choice daily to believe this and choose to submit to His leading!

Prayer: Lord, I ask that you would help me to see my body as your dwelling place. Strengthen me to be disciplined and well balanced in order to properly take care of my body. Help me to make healthy choices and to be wise enough to know when I am no longer operating in the fruit of self control. Help me to be motivated to exercise and to get enough sleep and rest so I can have the energy needed to run my race with strength and endurance! In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

For more devotionals like this, be sure to check out my new devotional book: Devotions for a Healthier You! 

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Teaching Kids the Word of God

November 6th, 2014 - Dashing Devotionals, Inspiration, Kids/Family

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teaching-kids-word

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.~Proverbs 22:6

If your family is anything like ours, busy is the word that seems to describe your schedule most of the time. Something I’ve really taken to the Lord lately is my concern over busyness pushing out time for my kids to enjoy time with the Lord. My heart’s desire is that my kids will learn early to love their time with the Lord, to desire it and to prioritize it. Of course, I have to model that for them, but I really needed the Lord to show me ways for THEM to spend time with Him amidst their busy schedules. He’s been so faithful, I hope some of the ideas God’s given me bless your family too. 

Homework – my son attends public school so he don’t have bible time, but he does have homework! He is required to read for 40 minutes per week. So, the Lord showed me to make his reading time his Bible time. First thing in the morning at breakfast, he reads to us for 10 minutes from his bible or a daily devotion. He is meeting his homework requirements, improving his reading skills, hiding God’s work in his heart first thing in the morning, and it’s been an unexpected blessing to me too! I get something out of HIS time with the Lord every day! 

Technology – Admittedly, I am not a huge technology person. I timidly tip-toed into the Apple store when I could no longer deny that I may in fact be the sole surviving flip-phone owner. However, I do love that technology makes the Word of God so accessible! Blessed are those who HEAR the Word and obey it. My kids love to listen to the Word before bed, it’s a great way for them to wind down and to cover their minds and hearts before they fall asleep. My daughter is only four, so she does best with a Bible Stick (BibleStick KIDZ Bible is available at www.faithcomesbyhearing.com), an amazing little tool that’s simple to use, and she LOVES it. My son uses an Ipod so I can download so many amazing options for him to enjoy. Some of our favorites are:

  • Adventures in Odyssey (free from Focus on the Family)
  • The Seeds Family Worship Series (available for download on Itunes)
  • Hidden in My Heart Scripture Lullabies (Amazing for bedtime, YOU will love these too, this is regularly playing in our house! Available at www.scripture-lullabies.com )
  • The Books of the Bible Kids Audio Version (available for download free on Itunes)

Ultimately, my prayer is that my kids will seek out God’s word because they LOVE it, because they desire it and because it truly is alive and real in their lives. I am so thankful for God’s creativity and faithfulness to provide fun ways for our kids to be led into all truth as they hide His word in their hearts. I hope your family is as blessed by this as we have been. xo Sarah 

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