Category Archives: prayer

Simple changes promote healthy living

(Slipping a dollar bill into my exercise jar each time I work up a sweat provides impetus to regular workouts. When the jar is full, I decide on and purchase something new for my healthy lifestyle journey!) 

Making changes is often hard, but sometimes some simple changes we implement can have a profound effect on our well-being. In our First Place 4 Health meeting recently, I encouraged participants to think of three such changes they’d make during this twelve-week session. As they shared, I jotted them down on the board and later compiled the list. Here’s what we came up with:

·         Keep a food journal/diary

·         Eat on time

·         Remove junk food

·         Consume more fruits and veggies

·         Get plenty of rest

·         Prepare food ahead

·         Eat less processed food

·         Engage in regular exercise

·         Drink more water

·         Eat out less

·         Spend more time in prayer and Bible study

·         Remove (or lessen) stressors

·         Make a menu

·         Avoid buffets/fried foods

·         No late-night eating

·         Stay in touch with a friend/accountability partner


Weight loss is never a matter of the stomach only; in First Place, we realize we’re made up of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components, and each has a bearing on our wellness journey. Seeking balance under the lordship of Jesus Christ can provide real and lasting victory! 

As I looked over this list, I noticed these four life entities are addressed. I think I’ll print these reminders out and place them on my refrigerator!










Filed under Bible study, calorie reduction, Christian weight loss programs, decision-making, decisions, empowerment, fellowship with God, First Place 4 Health, freedom, God's purposes, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, physical fitness, prayer, right perspective, struggles, victory, Wisdom

>The Ends of Our Noses

> What do you see when you walk out of your church doors? What’s across the street? Next door? Around the block?

I recall Dr. Jim Futral, president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board telling our state Baptist paper’s readers that their witness was to reach from the ends of their noses to the ends of the earth.

So what is at the end of our nose? Whatever it is, we may need to look no further for the starting point to reaching our world – our “Jerusalem” hometown – according to Acts 1:8. One local church campus is right across from a city school and a sprawling apartment complex. My home church is across from City Hall and on the corner of the downtown area. Within less than two blocks are retirement communities, the city’s Senior Center and other dwellings. Many congregations are neighbors to hospitals, nursing centers, shopping areas, and housing communities from mobile home parks to expansive subdivisions. God has a vision and a mission for each.

As you seek to obey God’s call to “look on the fields” (John 4:35), will you ask Him to let you see (with spiritual eyes) beyond the physical structures of your surroundings? As you go to worship services or Bible studies, consider taking some time to prayerwalk through the nearby communities and businesses, asking for God’s direction on ministering to those who live or work there. Invite a fellow member to go with you. Do it regularly. Greet people you meet, tell them what you are doing, and ask how you can pray for them. You may step right into a divine appointment the Lord has orchestrated to bring a seeking heart to Him!

You’ll never know unless you “follow your nose”.

Best wishes from Benreading:)

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Filed under church, community, friendship, obedience, outreach, prayer

>The Dog Stick

>Our subdivision is mostly level, with a few gentle hills here and there. This usually makes for a nice, leisurely bike ride. However, there are times when a neighborhood dog is running loose, and he decides to give chase! For that reason, I carry a sturdy branch that I call my “dog stick”. I can wave this threateningly in the face of an oncoming canine. Upon seeing the stick, the dog backs off and just barks, instead of charging.

When I cozy into my favorite spot to have my quiet time with the Lord, I try to remember to grab my “dog stick”. Strangely enough, it looks a lot like a pencil. Oh, it is a pencil! Satan, the “dog” that he is, seeks to distract me with reminders from my “to-do” list, people to call, or unresolved issues from previous days. He wants, by whatever means possible, to deter me from gaining necessary spiritual strength, wisdom and encouragement. His attacks are relentless; if one method doesn’t work, he’ll try another! That’s when I raise my “dog stick”. With paper and pencil in hand, I can quickly jot down those diversions that come to mind, so that they can be put aside to deal with later. Sometimes, of course, these thoughts form the basis of needed intercession, but I still write them down. This helps keep my mind from wandering and helps me focus, instead of becoming frustrated and giving up.

Paul warned the Corinthian believers to beware of Satan’s desire to “outwit us” (2 Corinthians 2:11), “For we are not unaware of his schemes”. We must continually be on the alert for these “schemes”. Peter writes these words of warning: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). One of the deceiver’s most effective schemes is to distract us from praying, but we can keep him at bay with our own “dog stick”!

Related scriptures: 1 Peter 5:6-10, Mark 14:32-38, James 4:7-10, Ephesians 6:10-20,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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Filed under distractions, focus, prayer, Satan's schemes

>Spell Check

> The following is the imaginary result of a young student’s “homework assignment”:

I want too tale you a story that hap end two me knot long ago. My teacher inn school saw that mini of here pew pills where making lost of miss steaks in spelling. Sew she axed me if I wood mined doing a pay per a bout it. I toad her I wood use my compute her soft wear too check my spelling. The spiel check soft wear is reel grate! I could right a lawn grope of sentences an thin I’d lock to sea how good I deed. Aft or I come pleated this story, I was reel sir prized! I deed knot mist spell a signal word I rote down. Am I and in tell agent per son or note?

We can laugh at this “story” because it’s full of misspelled words, contextually speaking. But my computer spell check didn’t notify me of any errors! What can be true in the realm of grammar and syntax can apply to the spiritual realm as well.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9

Sometimes, even as believers, we try to make decisions based on “the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:20). Writers make use of their computer spell check program because it makes good sense, but as we see, it isn’t always a reliable guide. So how can we be sure to discern God’s “ways” and his “thoughts”, as shown in the above verses? By seeking the Lord and his wisdom, by comparing worldly advice to scriptural truth, and by praying about everything, we can experience God’s leading in our decision-making.

Related scriptures: Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Colossians 2:8-10,
Philippians 4:6-9

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Filed under biblical truth, God's leading, prayer, Scripture, Wisdom

>Heart’s Desire

> “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Well, here it is…the desire of my heart! It isn’t a luxury motorhome, but I’m not looking for such. I really would like a small model of bed-and-breakfast (and bath!) on wheels to get around the country, for vacation and ministry trips, or to lend to friends for a much-needed sabbatical.

You’ll notice the “For Sale” sign on the window. If it would have said, “For Ann”, I probably would have bought it on the spot, as it is the closest thing I’ve seen to “just what I wanted”! (My kids ask what I want for a birthday or Christmas gift, and I keep telling them, but so far, one of these hasn’t appeared in my stocking.)

Well, if a person wants to claim Bible promises, Psalm 37:4 would be high on the list. Hmmm… I feel like I am delighting myself in the LORD, but I haven’t seen automatic transmission-equipped “desires of [my] heart show up yet. I’m sometimes a good persuader – I’ve tried to “cast vision” to my husband of why this would be a good thing to have, but he isn’t buying it, literally or figuratively. So, as the obedient wife that I am, I haven’t gone against his wishes, although I have pouted a bit.

So what to do with Psalm 37:4? Could the verse mean that if we find our delight in doing God’s will, that he will give us (place within us) the desires he wants for us? Or is it just as it says, and my motorhome (that I am desiring with the absolute purest of motives) and the right time frame just haven’t yet coincided? Or maybe I just think I want one, and after I got it, I’d wonder “What was I thinking?!?” Hard to say (aside from being pretty sure the first answer is probably closest to the Scripture’s intent), so guess I’ll just wait on the LORD to see what transpires.

“The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. Psalm 147:11

And His lovingkindness is better than a motorhome, anyway and any day. But I’m still open to the mini-home-on-wheels possibility, though!

Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain:)


Filed under Desires, prayer, vacation

>Bend and Lift


Do you know the proper way to lift weighty objects from the floor? To protect your back, you should “bend and lift”. A squatting or kneeling posture puts you in a position to use your leg muscles to bear the weight and to keep your back straight, preventing undue and injurious strain.

Our choir recently presented a lovely musical selection, “Bow The Knee”. The lyrics told of struggles which confront us, and that such situations should cause us to “bow the knee” in prayer. Now we know it’s not really important to get down on our knees to pray…or is it? Certainly, God hears prayers from us while we are standing, sitting, walking, driving, or tending to daily activities. But there is something about getting on our knees, and bowing before God’s holy presence. The bodily posture of kneeling portrays our inner being – our will – bowing in humble surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Sometimes that position is needed to break our stubborn self-sufficiency as we newly relinquish the control of our lives to Him.

“Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there.
Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him…”
Mark 5:22-23

This is just one scriptural reference that depicts people kneeling or even prostrating themselves before the Lord. A thoughtful study of such passages shows this to be the norm, not an occasional happening. And on a future day, according to Philippians 2:9-11, every person who has ever lived will bow before the One whom God has exalted “to the highest place”. Since that is the case, now is a good time to get in practice! So if you aren’t accustomed to kneeling, and can physically do so, give it a try, and see how it affects your prayer life. May you be blessed as you “bend and lift” your prayers to the Lord.

Scriptures for further study: Daniel 6:10, Luke 17:11-19, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 4:6-10,
Psalm 95:6-7

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Filed under burdens, humility, prayer