Jehoshaphat

Steve Arterburn

Although men tend to feel as if they can save themselves, there are times when it’s very clear that we cannot.  These times often come when you’re facing overwhelming pressures with your wife or kids, your job, or your finances.  So what is a man to do?  

Let’s consider a man who went before you and I: King Jehoshaphat.  Jehoshaphat was once under attack by three armies.  Do you ever feel like you’re being attacked from all sides?  You may be tempted to give in and surrender or to muster every human resource you can find.  Neither of these reactions, however, is pleasing to God.  Instead, God desires to use these situations to remind you that you are sustained not by your own cleverness but by his power.  You are delivered not by your ability but by his mercy.  

King Jehoshaphat understood this truth.  His reaction to the threatening armies was to call everyone in Judah to fast.  Instead of merely calling his people to military exercises and preparation, King Jehoshaphat called them to spiritual exercises.  Instead of fattening their bodies, he called them to nourish their souls.  Instead of looking to their own defenses, he called them to trust in God’s protection.

Because we must have food to live, physical hunger is one of the most powerful drives of life.  When you fast, however, you begin to realize that all the food in the world can never satisfy the hunger of your soul.  Only God himself can satisfy this longing.

A Partial Fast

Steve Arterburn

Do you feel like your being swallowed up by life?  Fasting can be an effective means of keeping you from being consumed by your surroundings.  Daniel’one of the leading Jewish young men taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar’undertook several disciplines in order to maintain his faith and identity.  His decision to fast was one of the most visible ways by which he avoided being fully absorbed into that culture.  

Daniel did something in particular that you might find helpful.  He frequently practiced partial fasts in which he abstained from certain items but not from food altogether.  A partial fast is a limitation of food or drink but not a complete abstention from them.  A good way to develop the discipline of partial fasting is to begin with a fast from lunch one day to lunch the next.  You can choose to give up soda or certain types of food you’d normally eat during this time.  Instead of eating, take time to pray and read your Bible.  

A normal fast can often be more disruptive to daily life’and that’s a good thing at times.  But at other times you may sense the need to support your prayers or spiritual activities with fasting, but feel the need to sustain your food intake.  In such times, you may give up certain items’and these don’t have to be limited to food. How about fasting from video games, Internet surfing, or television?

Solitude, Silence, and Fasting

Steve Arterburn

At times in our lives we all have wilderness experiences’times when we face despair and feel alone in the world.  Elijah was a prophet in the Bible who had a literal wilderness experience.   His time in the wilderness forced him to practice three spiritual disciplines that freed him from his dependence on the world and encouraged him instead to depend on God.  We might learn from his example.

The first discipline Elijah practiced was solitude:  and it served at least two purposes.  It protected him from King Ahab who wanted to kill him.  And it provided an opportunity for him to deepen his faith, to draw closer to God. Next, Elijah’s wilderness experience gave him a time to practice silence, which allowed him to listen for God’s voice. And finally, Elijah practiced a form of fasting.  Strictly speaking he didn’t abstain from food, but his food was controlled by God’s special provision.  Periodically, God would send ravens carrying food for Elijah to eat.  In this way, Elijah learned to trust God to provide for his daily needs.

A wilderness experience can play an important role in our spiritual growth.  Are you going through one now?  Don’t miss what it might be offering you.  Like Elijah, withdrawing from your normal routine will remove you from distraction and lead to an intimacy with God.  Silence allows you to listen to God. And fasting teaches you to depend on God to provide for you.

Studying God’s Word

Stephen Arterburn

When we receive an email or letter from a good friend, we usually find ourselves doing two things: first, we read the letter with eager anticipation’hanging on every word; and second, we read the letter over and over again’hoping each time to gain insight into, and intimacy with, it’s author. The same should be true with regard to God’s Word, for in it we find a message directed to us by One who loves us. And by reading that message intently and repeatedly, we can know the One we delight in truly and more accurately.

In Psalm 119:105, David likens Scripture to a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Men, the Bible is our map or instruction manual to godliness, and we need to keep it close by and read it often. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves walking in darkness. And if that happens, we’re sure to stumble and fall.

Furthermore, how badly we stumble and how hard we fall will likely be proportionate to how long it’s been since we’ve feasted on God’s Word. King David knew this truth, so in Psalm 119:103 he exclaims to his beloved Lord, ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’

Like David before us, we need to feast lovingly, enthusiastically, and consistently upon God’s Word. Just as you need physical food in order to sustain your body, you also need spiritual food to sustain your soul.

Studying God’s Word

When we receive an email or letter from a good friend, we usually find ourselves doing two things: first, we read the letter with eager anticipation hanging on every word; and second, we read the letter over and over again hoping each time to gain insight into, and intimacy with, it’s author. The same should be true with regard to God’s Word, for in it we find a message directed to us by One who loves us. And by reading that message intently and repeatedly, we can know the One we delight in truly and more accurately.

In Psalm 119:105, David likens Scripture to a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. The Bible is our map or instruction manual to godliness, and we need to keep it close by and read it often. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves walking in darkness. And if that happens, we’re sure to stumble and fall.

Furthermore, how badly we stumble and how hard we fall will likely be proportionate to how long it’s been since we’ve feasted on God’s Word. King David knew this truth, so in Psalm 119:103 he exclaims to his beloved Lord, ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’

Like David before us, we need to feast lovingly, enthusiastically, and consistently upon God’s Word. Just as you need physical food in order to sustain your body, you also need spiritual food to sustain your soul.

Eat the Next Meal

Jennifer Cecil

Don Durham, PhD, and Clinical Director at Remuda Ranch Center for Eating Disorders frequently advised the residents at the clinic to ‘eat the next meal.’ His counsel was to women who had ‘acted out’ their eating disorder, by binging, purging, or restricting their intake of food. He appealed to the women, that they could recover from their slip quickly by getting back on their food plan as soon as possible. ‘Eating the next meal,’ means to eat the next snack or meal at the regularly scheduled time, no matter what you have previously eaten.

The tendency, after a binge, is to eliminate or restrict food intake at the next mealtime. That, in turn, sets you up to be ravenously hungry as blood sugar levels drop. You will be more likely to overeat, starting the cycle all over again.

‘Eating the next meal’ also prevents the sabotaging effects of ‘black and white’ thinking. Often times when we deviate from our food plan, we conclude that we are ‘off’ our diet. If we have failed to live up to our expectations, we surmise that we may as well continue binging because we are no longer ‘on’ our diet.

Our minds gravitate to only two states, success (being ‘on our diet’) or failure (being ‘off our diet’). When we go ‘off’ our diet, we lose momentum to adhere to our food plan. Sometimes we can go days, weeks, and even months before we are able to get back ‘on’ the diet. Needless to say, this can have disastrous effects on our weight and our health as we develop the ‘yo-yo syndrome’. When we finally get back ‘on’ the diet, we zealously and religiously adhere to the plan, until we slip up again. Because we are ‘on’ the diet again, we are convinced that we will be successful and that we will never deviate from it again, displaying ‘black and white thinking’ once again.

When we ‘eat the next meal’, we are taking life one meal at a time and therefore, not reinforcing the addictive ‘all or nothing’ mindset. We will avoid the swings in behavior, the fluctuation in weight, and the frustration of never making progress towards our health and fitness goals.

The next time that you deviate from your food plan, tell yourself the truth about what has just happened:

1. It is NATURAL to deviate at times from your plan. You are human and this is a chosen lifestyle, not merely a diet.

2. Deviating from your food plan is NO BIG DEAL. You will not gain weight or set yourself back with one slip.

3. You CAN get right back on your food plan. You do NOT need to continue binging! (—There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ).

4. You do not need to SABATOGE your success. You can continue moving forward towards your weight loss goals!

5. Remember, that the goal is PROGRESS, not PERFECTION!

You don’t have to go this alone.  Please join us at our next Lose It For Life weekend!

Weight Loss Nutrition (Part 1)

Remuda Ranch

When wanting to ‘get healthier’ you may start by examining your own eating habits, then obtain the latest diet on the market. Though what you eat is certainly important, four additional questions must be considered. The first two are as follows:

1. When do I eat?

Does my eating have structure, meaning? Do I eat three meals daily or is it hit or miss? Do I consume snacks, or do I automatically grab for food the minute I enter the break room, hungry or not?

2. Where do I eat?

At the kitchen table, in my car, at my desk at work, in front of the living room TV?

Now that you’ve evaluated the when and the where of your eating habits, consider the following:

1. When—The goal is to eat when hungry, then quit when full. The reality is that hunger and fullness fluctuates as does food and time availability. Therefore, strive to eat three balanced meals a day with snacks as needed. This will keep your body running efficiently, maintain alertness, and keep your metabolism burning. Skipping meals and snacks can lower your metabolism, causing your body to burn fewer calories ‘ exactly what you don’t want to occur.

2. Where—This plays a critical role in the type and amount of food consumed. Eating throughout your living and work spaces promotes ‘grazing’ behavior. Setting eating boundaries, such as the kitchen or breakroon, can promote enjoyment and remove interruptions.

Next time, we will discuss the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of eating.

Join us at our next Lose It For Life Weekend.

Delight in your Thanksgiving Holiday

Becky Brown

Perhaps the most defining aspect of the month of November is the Thanksgiving holiday. Though a day spent with family or friends, it is also a day where feasting is plentiful. A few suggestions come to mind.

Your traditional dinner probably offers a number of foods that are rarely seen throughout the year. Items such as candied yams or pumpkin pie are real favorites. So, enjoy them, just remember the importance of portion control. A little of this, a little of that, will satisfy your pallet.

What’s more, take only the foods you truly want; you are not obligated to fill your plate with foods you don’t really like.

And along those lines, try to keep in mind the difference between appetite and hunger. Whereas hunger is a true physiological state in which your body needs food, appetite is more external. It can be triggered by the fragrance of food, or the sight of it. Basically, it’s need vs. want.

Another positive step is, when the meal is over, put the food away. Not only is it wise to do so, in order to avoid spoilage, but it will keep everyone from picking at food that they really don’t want or need. Again, as an extension of appetite, we often consume food, simply because it is there.

Above all, delight in your Thanksgiving holiday. If clothes feel a touch snug at the conclusion of the day, don’t stress about it. It’s just one day and it is meant to be enjoyed.

Honor your Health

Juliet Zuercher from The Remuda Ranch

According to Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, Intuitive Eating, ten principles exist regarding this healthy eating philosophy. The first nine are: reject the diet mentality; honor your hunger; make peace with food; challenge the food police; feel your fullness; discover the satisfaction factor; cope with your emotions without using food; respect your body; and exercise—feel the difference.

The final is:

Honor your health—gentle nutrition

Two facets exist to the concept of honoring your health.

First, honor your physical health by respecting your body. This is done by consuming foods that are healthy and nutritious; foods that are rich in protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, etc. Food that your body needs to function properly. As a child, most of us believed good health was simply a ‘given;’ as adults, we now know good health is a gift. As with all good gifts, it must be valued and appreciated. Honor your health by eating well.

The second piece is honoring your emotional health. Do this by not being rigid in food choices, by not conforming to a structured food plan at all times. If you need comfort food, eat comfort food, then don’t chastise yourself the following day for being weak. This dovetails into the concept of gentle nutrition. Stay away from proscribed diets, meaning don’t follow a regimented plan designed by the latest nutrition guru. Trust yourself to make good choices based on sound knowledge. Keep this in mind: ‘Progress, not perfection is what counts.’

Food Addiction

Becky Brown

An addiction is an illegitimate means of meeting a legitimate need. We use many things to fill the needs we have in our lives: money, shopping, gambling, drugs and alcohol to name a few. The ‘drug’ of choice takes away the pain we are experiencing, even when we don’t acknowledge that the pain is real. Sometimes the pain isn’t even in our consciousness! Pain from past wounds is buried under the mounds of whatever it is we use to avoid the pain, money, shopping, and food.

How do you know if you’re addicted to food? Ask yourself some simple questions:

1. Do I eat when I am experiencing strong emotions? (sadness, loneliness, anger etc.)

2. Am I unaware of the quantity of food I eat?

3. Do I know what its like to feel hunger? (empty stomach, growling, physical weakness)

4. Is there a particular food I crave when stressed?

5. Do I rationalize my eating habits? (excuses, sneaking food)

These questions are not conclusive; however they may give you insight into how you use food to comfort and feed feelings and not for nutrition.

What to do if you recognize that you have an addiction?

The first step is to admit there is a need that you are filling by food. This may take some time with a counselor, or doing some personal work like the Equation worksheets in LIFL. Introspection and recognition of what needs to be healed is so important in the healing process. Support is needed with friends and professionals, such as a counselor to help you discover and begin to heal the wounds you are carrying.

As you recognize the hurts you carry, bring them to God and allow Him to heal your wound and not replace Him with the food. God will supply all your needs, but if we interrupt the process with filling ourselves with food, we won’t experience the fullness He offers. Today address this issue with the help of Lose it for Life. Work through the process and experience the fullness that comes from healing those wounds. Experience life without the burdens that are weighing you down. Connect with LIFL and its members and feel the experience of weightless living!

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries