Lean On

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

I’d driven by this same sign on the side of the highway a dozen times.  A simple white sign with black letters, quoting Acts 16:31.  And every time it stirred something in me.  Not the part about being saved, that I was already sure of, but the part about believing on.  It was that word on.  Why on?  Why not in?

Apparently, there is a word epi in Greek that can be translated in various New Testament passages as on and upon.  The same word is used in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him.”  In each instance, it means “to lean your weight upon.”  When I’m worried or concerned or feeling anxious and I imagine leaning all my weight on Jesus, instead of carrying all those concerns myself, there’s a certain sense of calm and peace.

This picture of “leaning your weight upon” is the same image we have of John “lying on Jesus’ breast” in John 13:25.  And in Mark 4:38 when Jesus is in the boat, “asleep on a pillow.”  These images of reclining and resting are of leaning one’s weight on something or Someone.

Remember that trust exercise that was popular quite a while back?  The one where you stood and leaned backward, falling into the arms of someone who would catch you and stop you from crashing to the floor?  (And I’m sure you also saw some of the spoofs where someone does crash to the floor!)

images-9Well, Jesus never, ever lets you fall.  He is always there.  He never leaves you.  Which means, He is always there to lean your weight upon.

He invites us to rest our weight on Him, as much and as often as necessary.  In some circumstances it my be a moment by moment leaning.  Some days it may be an attitude of faith we commit to, to just lean ourselves upon Him this day.

Whenever I lean my weight on Him I find that it’s comfortable there.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:10-13, KJV

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Desires of the Heart

Bible with heart pagesEvery year, in the Bible study I attend, we share what we are asking God for in the New Year.  Throughout the entire year we pray for each other for these things as well as other needs.  Just to be clear, this is not a ‘name it and claim it’ thing.  This is about asking God that His will be done (Matthew 6:10) and that He give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4) and that these desires find a meeting point with His will.  We can’t force our heart’s desires to happen but we can lay them out to God and believe that in His infinite wisdom He will direct our paths (Psalm 23:3).  

What are the desires of your heart?  In other words, in the deepest thoughts of your mind, in your emotions and your inner self, what do you pursue and want with eagerness and intensity?  Write them down. 

These are the desires of my heart and some favorite Scriptures to accompany them.  I call these my 6 B’s of 2017.

  1. Be positive.  (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1,2)
  2. Be thankful.  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:6,7)
  3. Be calm.  (1 Peter 5:7; Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 11:28-30)
  4. Be a blessing.  (Ephesians 5:8; Philippians 4:5)  
  5. Be strong in the Lord.  (Ephesians 6:10; Joshua 1:9)
  6. Be fruitful.  (Colossians 1:10;  Philippians 1:11;  John 15:5)

 

heart scroll

 

 

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Inventory Your Accomplishments

question-markI had no intention of writing a post today but a thought hit me this morning, We’re barely into January and I already feel like I’m behind and playing catch up!  Why!?!  This should not be!

For those of you who, like me, are persistent, goal oriented, always seeking growth and self-improvement, managing your health and maybe even the health of others, your career, your relationships and your LIFE! — who NEVER seem to be content with the status quo — you know who you are.  

January rolls around and you’re all about this year’s goals, plans, things to do, people to see, places to go, your mission, etc.  I get you!  But have you even taken inventory of your most recent accomplishments?  Stop and think about it for a minute.  This is important!  Acknowledging your past successes is a powerful motivator for the future.  What did you accomplish in 2016 that had real value and meaning for you?

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Your 2016 Accomplishments  

What were your successes?  How did you grow?  Where did you make progress?  Write them down.  

Take a moment to bask in and enjoy the reality of your accomplishments.  Feels good, yes?  

 

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As an example, I’ll share a few of my accomplishments:  

  • Lost 20 pounds. 
  • Exercised an average of 26 days every month. 
  • Joined a local women’s support and networking group. 
  • Reconnected with childhood friends and vacationed together. 
  • Aggressively pursued a health care treatment plan for people I care for and saw major improvement.    
  • Increased the amount of time I spent lamp working (bead making).

 

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How do we continue this sense of accomplishment?  How do we maintain this progress?  

For me this is summed up in one word:  Maintenance.  Maintenance is not passive.  Maintenance is action!  How do I personally maintain the progress?  I check to see that I am actually taking action to maintain the progress.  Take a look back at my Daily Habits chart.  These are the things I plan to keep doing. 

What are your action plans?  What small things can you do regularly to maintain your progress?  Write these down and keep them where you can see them often.  

I hope your New Year is off to a successful start. 

May it continue all year long!

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How to Create Healthy Habits

images-167My life-long career has been about guiding others into creating healthier habits.  If I were to pick one essential trait that greatly contributes to changing our health habits and behaviors, it would have to be RECORD KEEPING.  In other words, by recording or tracking the habits you want to improve, you will tend to be more successful.  For example, if you want to eat more vegetables, keep a tally of the number of servings of vegetables you eat every day.  You will see what your current habit looks like and by paying attention to it you will tend to make conscious choices during the day to improve that habit.  To commit to that habit even further, you could set a goal for the number of servings of vegetables you would like to eat each day.  That is just one simple example of how record keeping helps you develop healthier habits.

When I set health related goals, I’m looking for healthy habits that will combat the health concerns that bother me the most.  For me, my objectives would be: maintaining good mental health, controlling my weight, and managing chronic pain.  Remember this will be very personal for YOU and reflects your specific healthy habits that you want to maintain.  What would be your health priorities?  

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Below are the the healthy habits I regularly practice to meet my objectives.  I keep a chart where I can easily check up on myself, that I’m doing the best things I can to stay healthy.  The bottom line is this:  Can I say, yes, these habits are part of my life every day or almost every day?

 

This is what my DAILY HABITS chart looks like.  This is how I TRACK the healthy habits I want to maintain.  I put a check mark or a brief one word comment in the space. 

(Ideally, this would be a grid, but technology was not cooperating with me today.)
7 Daily Habits *
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
1.Bible Study & Journal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Exercise & Stretch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Breathe, Relax, Fun
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Connect with Friends & Family
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Nutrition, Supplements& Medications
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Sleep Quality
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Weight
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

* 7 DAILY HABITS:

1. Spend time in prayer and Bible study; journal the insights and discoveries

2. Make time for purposeful exercise and stretching

3. Practice deep breathing and doing something relaxing and/or fun

4. Spend time with people, socialize, connect

5. Prepare healthy meals, take nutrition supplements and necessary medications

6. Strive for quality sleep 

7. Monitor weight by getting on the scale

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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Giving More Thanks

images-163Christ is sufficient!  All of God’s omnipotent sufficiency in His saving and keeping power for us is in His Son, our Lord and Savior.  Christ is more than a promise; He’s a fact the eternal Rock of Ages upon whom we may rest everything.  God’s grace is Christ; and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is sufficient.

Are you thanking and praising Him for this?

Your needs for this grace may seem terribly great, great enough as to leave you hopeless.  But Christ and His grace are infinitely greater.  “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”  (Romans 5:20)

So the secret of victory is not praying, but praising; not asking, but thanking.

Our Lord has been waiting for you not to pray for victory, but to praise Him for it — to simply take Him at His word and say, “I thank You, Lord.” 

— Charles Trumbull

Thanksgiving in Hebrew is todah meaning thanks, praise, adoration.  Todah is derived from the verb yadah which basically is lifting or extending one’s hands in thanks or praise to God. Todah appears more than 30 times in the Old Testament, many of these are in the Psalms.  Sometimes it is translated as the sacrifice of praise.

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.   (Psalm 95:2)

I challenge you to be still for a minute, raise your hands, palms outstretched and begin praising God and declaring Who God says that He is.  Sometimes I just start with A and go through the alphabet stating His attributes.  A: God You are AlmightyB: Timages-158hank You that
You are Bigger than all my problems.  C: You are Creator of all things.  You created me.  D: God, You are my Deliverer.  And so on.  You get the idea.  You are thanking and praising and it will change your perspective.

Why? Why does thankfulness promote a positive perspective?  Because the opposite — a grumbling, complaining, thankless life — is toxic to the soul.

But… A thankful life:

  1.  RESTS in God’s presence.  We are His dwelling place by His Spirit.
  2.  PRAISES our Almighty God. His power is at work within us.
  3.  Lives with a certainty that God’s GRACE is for us.  No problem is so great that God cannot rescue us.
  4.  Knows that we are ACCEPTED.  We have been included in the people of God.

His presence and power and grace are all for us.  We have HOPE.

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Who We Believe We Are

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  For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin.               Romans 6:7 Amp

All Christians died with Christ so all Christians have been freed from sin.  Now if they don’t believe they have been freed from sin, they will probably not act like it.  We always act according to our beliefs, according to who we believe we are.  That is why the issue is always IDENTITY.  If you don’t know the truth about who you are “in Christ”, it doesn’t make any difference how much scripture you know and how many discipleship programs you are in or how much you pray or how long your quiet time is or how accountable you are.  — Mike Quarles

We are NEW.

NEW what?  New…  birth, Master, mind, identity and nature, person, life, spirit, creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.  Colossians  3: 9,10

What does ‘do not lie’ mean?  Do not be someone you are not!  You are renewed!  The normal Christian life is holy and righteous because the Holy and Righteous One lives in us.  The old ways of unrighteousness and the deeds and works of the flesh are not your true identity.  When you remain in the old ways you are not living out your true identity in Christ.  The Word says you have been (past tense) renewed and are continually being (present tense) renewed according to Christ in us.

And be renewed in the spirit of you mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:23,24

Righteousness and holiness is our standing in Christ.

My conclusion is this:  If I don’t know who I am in Christ, it doesn’t matter what I do.  But, if I DO know who I am in Christ, God will make what I do matter.

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Roasted Red Potatoes

The cooler days of fall are the perfect time to fire up that oven for some savory roasted red potatoes.

Roasted Red Potatoes

  1. IMG_0762Wash red potatoes.  Cut in half.  Boil until just tender.  Drain.  Lay on baking sheet, cut side up.
  2. Brush potatoes with butter and/or olive oil.  (I mix both together).  Sprinkle with seasonings as desired.  (I like Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb blend, onion salt, garlic powder, crushed rosemary, crushed thyme, fresh ground pepper and salt.)
  3. Roast in oven about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  (If you like more browning, broil for a few minutes more.)

Note: Leftover potatoes are fantastic in a breakfast skillet scramble or in soup.

bon appetit

Signature Recipe Series by Luanna Diller, RD
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More Cheer

Skimming my Bible concordance, I searched for the happiest words I could find.  Here are a few:  Blessed, Cheerful, Glad, Happy, Joyful, Rejoice, Radiant.

Cheerfulness.  Who couldn’t use a little more of that?38489-A-Cheerful-Heart-Is-Good-Medicine

In regards to serving with our Spiritual gifts, Romans 12:8 refers to some of us having the gift of showing mercy with cheerfulness.

Cheerfulness is the Greek word hilarotes, pronounced hil-ar-ot’-ace.  Compare hilarious.  Synonyms would be graciousness, joyfulness, gladness, benevolence, amiability.  Translated as “The heart is laughing and the eyes are dancing.”  The person who exhibits hilarotes is ‘a sunbeam lighting up a sick room with warmth and love’.

Whether you have the gift of showing mercy with cheerfulness or you are just a cheerful person at heart, pass that cheer on.

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That’s all.  Just passing along a word of cheer!

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

A super moist, mouth-watering chocolatey treat.  And, yes, another way to use that summer zucchini, decadently!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake  IMG_0771

1/2 c butter, softened
1-3/4 c sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2-1/2 c flour
1 T baking cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 c buttermilk
2 c shredded peeled zucchini
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in oil, eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Stir in zucchini.  Pour into a greased 13-in x 9-in x 2-in baking pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Signature Recipe by Luanna Diller
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This Thing

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Imagine the Lord God Himself is speaking to you today…

THIS THING IS FROM ME by Laura Barter Snow

My Child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread.

It is short–only five words–but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head: “THIS THING IS FROM ME.”

Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you, concerns Me, too? for “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye”(Zech. 2:8).

I would have you learn, when temptations assail you, and the “enemy comes in like a flood,” that this thing is from Me: that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you [Isa. 59:9].

You are very “precious in My sight” (Isa. 43:4). Therefore it is my special delight to educate you.

Are you in money difficulties? Is it hard to make both ends meet? This Thing Is From Me, for I am your purse-bearer, and would have you draw from and depend upon Me. My supplies are limitless (Phil. 4:19). I would have you prove my promises. Let it not be said of you, “In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God” (Deut. 1:32).

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances. Thou camest not to thy place by accident: it is the very place God meant for thee. Have you not asked to be made humble? See, then, I have placed you in the very school where the lesson is taught; your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.

Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am the “Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief. [Isa. 53:3]” I have let earthly comforts fail you, that turning to Me, you may obtain everlasting consolation (II Thess. 2:16,17).

Has some friend disappointed you? One to whom you opened your heart? This thing is from Me. I have allowed this disappointment to come, that you may learn that:

“The best friend to have is Jesus;
He will hear you when you call,
He will keep you lest you fall,
The best friend to have is Jesus.”

I want to be your confidant. Has someone repeated things about you that are untrue? Leave them to Me, and draw closer to Me, thy shelter out of reach of “the strife of tongues,” for “I will bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:6).

Have your plans been upset? Are you bowed down and weary? This thing is from Me, You made your plans, then came asking me to bless them; but I would have you let Me plan for you, and then I take the responsibility; for “This thing is too heavy for thee, Thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” (Exodus 18:18). You are only an instrument, not an agent.

Have you longed to do some great work for Me, and instead been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days, and I want to teach you some of My deepest lessons. “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

I want you to learn to sing:

“I am not eager, bold, or strong,
All that is past:
I am ready not to do
At Last! At last!

Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all prayer.

Are you suddenly called upon to occupy a difficult and responsible position? Launch out on Me. I am trusting you with “the possession of difficulties,” and for “This thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all thou puttest thy hands unto” (Deut. 15:10)

This day I place in your hands this pot of holy oil; make use of it freely, my child. Let every circumstance as it arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your own weakness, be anointed with it! Remember, “interruptions are divine instructions.” The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things. Therefore “Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, for it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through ‘this thing’ ye shall prolong your days in the land” (Deut. 32:46,47).

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