“And Nehemiah continued, ‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!'”
Not surprised but filled with horror, I listened to my family at the breakfast table as they spoke about my weight condition. I really don’t mind telling you, but hearing about how slowly the pounds would disappear and about everything I shouldn’t eat was both overwhelming and depressing.
Since nothing else seemed to work, however, I decided to give it a chance and forge ahead. So, trying to smile, I consented glumly, telling myself that they were only concerned for my health.
But after one day of dieting, I knew without a doubt why the root word of “diet” is “die”.
“I really don’t think I eat that much,” I grumbled to my wife when we were alone. But I didn’t get a ton of sympathy, so I just dropped the subject.
Telling myself I wasn’t going to let this get the best of me, though, I decided once again to press on. “But if there’s a better way,” I muttered, “I have to find it!”
I tossed and turned that night, afraid I would dream about what the next day held. Finally I drifted off, but I had to give myself a pep talk the next morning to motivate myself to get out of bed.
Then, stumbling downstairs to get my coffee, I assured myself that I could count calories with the best of them. It wasn’t my fault that the numbers were so high I had to use the calculator on my phone, was it?
Grabbing my first cup, I realized I had been looking at things all wrong. I remembered that the Bible said any complaining was really against the Lord, so I asked for His forgiveness. But I knew I’d really need His help to stop this eating habit, and I committed the entire problem to Him. Then the thought came to me: Since Jesus can move physical mountains, surely He can help me lose this mountain of weight!
Believing that God is a practical God and interested in our welfare, my adventure with the Blessing Diet began. In a quiet place, I continue to pour out my heart to God on a daily basis, and then listen for what He has to say to me. He will often bring a scripture to mind, or speak to me in other ways, as I search His Word.
In any case, here are some guidelines that may help you out if you’re trying to solve a problem today.
I reasoned that in order to succeeed in this diet, I had to make it my own, and not just somebody else’s idea. While planning to lose weight might be noble, I needed to make my own goals. On the other hand, I didn’t want this diet to be all about me. Above all, I wanted it to glorify God, and I knew that without a doubt, I would need His strength to pull it off. To accomplish this, I knew that I would need to set some priorities, with God being number one. But I would need a safeguard to make sure that He stayed that way, so I had to ask Him to help me examine my motives.
Then, when He reminded me through His Word that my body is His temple, I found even more resolve. My attitude began to change, and gradually I started looking at things differently. While this didn’t happen overnight, I finally stopped seeing myself in a prison of my own making, eating bread and water. Now that I had been “freed”, I pondered the freedoms we have in Christ.
In other words, instead of looking at my losses, I decided to look at what I could gain. But you guessed it–the concept of freedom in Christ brings me to my next point.
The larger your view of God is, the smaller your problems will seem. Freedom in Christ comes by exercising your spiritual muscles.
But I also know from experience that with no exercise, this principle works in reverse. If I am complacent when facing a challenging situation, I choose not to see a God who can calm the storms. Instead, my view of Him often shrinks to the size of the storms which I face. Instead of depending upon God, I may feel like I’m in control, and see God as my last resort.
I have found a great exercise to combat this diminished view of the Lord. By pondering or meditating on the God of the Bible, my view of Him is shaped in harmony with His will. Much like a physical workout, then, I envision spiritual exercise to be a kind of preventive maintenance.
I encourage you, therefore, to find a quiet place where you can be alone with God, so that you can ponder and study the scriptures. When you are facing problems, not only will you find that this practice pays off, but you will come to know a real friend in God.
Pondering is the first P on my Blessing Diet checklist. The next P on my list is the quality of persevereance. This word has been defined as, “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties.”
Many times, when we face a challenging problem, we feel like we are going in circles. The Bible tells us, however, that if we move ahead while depending upon God instead of our feelings, He will direct us.
Now nothing takes more persevereance than counting calories, and if you are like me, you may feel like quitting. But another key to persevering in life is knowing that God wants your best. When I want to give up, I remember that, as well as the fact that Jesus gave His all for me. He died to show us an everlasting love, and that knowledge gives me the ability to do something difficult, like dieting.
Also committing positive scriptures to memory will only reinforce this. For example, you might start with Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If you still feel lost and alone, though, please look at my final P.
It is the word Praise, but praise must never be used as a manipulative device to get what we want. God has a perfect plan for us, so while worship and thanksgiving may not seem to change your situation at first, it will change your heart. Things that may have once seemed like duties will take on new meaning, and you will become a person of joy who savors each blessing.
What I have told you about is just an example, but consider prioritizing your life by drawing closer to God. No matter what you are dealing with, He will change your life. Also, pondering His Word will add purpose and meaning to your days. Perseverance and praise go hand in hand, because they can both turn drujery in to joy.
If what I have said helps you, please use my words to learn to feast on God’s Word. Nothing will be a greater support to you, and aside from what I have said above, another benefit is that you won’t have to count calories!
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.