Overeating Sugar Plums: Part 2

'A Boy and His Cookies' photo (c) 2007, CJ Sorg - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It is the Christmas countdown.  This can be such an amazing time of year.  Yes?  Personally, I love the beauty that Christmas can bring out of the human heart.  The dude at my favorite coffee shop winks at me, my typically stressed out hair dresser is giddy with joy, and even the dog seems to have learned a new dance step.  The world just seems…nicer.

So with that said, Jesus’ birthday is not the time for a sprinkle of self-hatred and a dab of distress.   Yet if you struggle with overeating, Christmas celebrations are likely a mixed bag.  Mustering optimism, you commit to gain control after New Year’s.  You try to pace yourself at the desert table.  Is it working?

Fear not for you can let go of trying to find the perfect diet to start on January 1st.  You can also ditch your food lists and weight charts.  Time to focus on what works.  The longterm solution lies in your relationship to Jesus and allowing Him to help you.  He can control your eating….if you let Him.

First off, never forget that the devil is lurking behind your struggle with food.  For overeaters, Genesis is disturbingly familiar.  It started with an apple and went downhill from there.   Hence, why you must be decked out, 24-7, in your spiritual armor; especially when you go toe-to-toe with a pecan pie.  Ultimately, there are three critical aspects of suiting up for this type of battle; prayer, fasting, and repentance.

Prayer is exceedingly personal.  Some folks opt for specific devotionals and others ad lib.  No biggie.  Just do what comes naturally for you and cry out to the Lord.  If your heart is in it, He will hear.  Be a shrewd Soldier and call upon our Triune God; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Take time early in the morning to beseech Jesus to release you from bondage to food.  Actively pray before each meal.  This means more than a perfunctory mealtime prayer and then diving headfirst into the sweet potatoes.  Honestly open yourself up to the Holy Spirit while you eat and unholy spirits will fall to the wayside.  You can do this in the silence of your heart without anyone knowing. Then send up a little prayer of thanks when you finish eating.  Jesus deserves our praise!

Fasting is an indispensable tool for the Christian Warrior as well as remarkably healing for overeaters.  If you know you will be feasting on ham and cranberry sauce on Christmas Day, consider fasting for part of Christmas Eve or maybe even for a couple of hours on Christmas morning.   The goal of such fasts is twofold: alignment with God’s Divine Will and preparation for the upcoming temptation of holiday fare.  In my opinion, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fasting.  A person who has celiac or Type II diabetes cannot fast solely on bread and water.  Bad idea.   Your Savior knows how you should fast; approach Him prayerfully and you may be surprised by His Guidance.  You could be prompted to conduct juice fasts, mono-food fasts, or to fast from a specific activity.  It is common for our fasts to change in type and duration over time.  Jesus knows what is best for you.  Trust Him.

Society overall does not view overeating as a spiritual misstep.  In fact, overeating is condoned and encouraged throughout Christmas and beyond.  Diets, not repentance, are touted as the panacea for overeating.  Not true.  Repentance is the healing balm when we slip back into old patterns.  How you repent is based on the shade of Christianity you embrace.  Just know that for us humans, gluttony leads to demoralization, self-hatred, and separation from Jesus.  It is no good.  Furthermore, the enemy makes great strides when we refuse to repent to Our Lord.  Saying your sorry will put your eating back into the Hands of God.  Just do it and move on.

You are a Christian Soldier.  The Army of God needs you.   I am here for you.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Merry Christmas Soldier

'Winter Tree and Dark Night Sky Fireworks like Supernova' photo (c) 2013, epSos .de - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This is one of those posts that you wonder if you should even write.  I don’t have a choice.  Sometimes this feeling comes over me and I am rendered so small, so powerless in its wake.  Right now as I type, I am having this feeling.  It is like being stretched beyond your limits.  Between grief and awe.

It is about you and what you mean to me.  I am not kidding.  You are the reason I am here.  Really.  Not long ago it became very clear to me that I was to serve the Servants.  You are the Servant.  You are the Light of Christ.  You amaze me and I am humbled by…

Your strength.

Your love of Jesus.

Your loyalty to He Who Comes.

Sometimes I imagine Jesus looking down upon the earth from above.  He casts His eyes down and there is a blanket of black and blue-grey.  Thick.  Dark.  Then as His Eyes soften He sees His Lights.  They are scattered and few but their Beauty cuts through the void and gives shape to the shapeless.

I will never lay eyes on most of you but I can honestly say that I love you in a way that I cannot describe.

'Madonna Mary & Baby Jesus 01' photo (c) 2011, Waiting For The Word - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Merry Christmas Remnant Soldier.

Cindy

Overeating Sugar Plums: Part 1

'Cupcake for Valentine's Day (15)' photo (c) 2013, Bradley Gordon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It happens every Christmas.  Without fail.  You vow to get through the season of food and frivolity with minimal damage to your dignity.  It starts off well enough but somewhere between the gingerbread cookies and the glazed ham, you loose your grip.   You end up rationalizing that this is Christmas, by gumby, and it is obligatory to over indulge.  After a protracted period of wrangling cookies and cupcakes to the ground; you retreat in utter deflation.

This is my life story.  You think I jest?  Nope.  I am a veteran overeater and have been since early childhood.   All humor aside, this enduring stronghold to food has caused me some serious suffering.  Since my conversion, Jesus has slowly taken me to task about this personal weakness; my foodie infatuation.  It is true.  Our God is a jealous God, who abhors the false idols we try to place before Him…including that double espresso with whipped cream.

If all this bewilders you it may be that you are one of those blessed souls that simply eats to keep the motor running.  For the rest of us Christian foodies, eating and food can present a battleground more grave than mere holiday weight gain.  Our lot quickly learns that diets, resolutions, and stomach crunches offer only minimal defense against the lure of overindulgence.

Regrettably, we continue to suffer under the yoke of an unholy attachment to food and eating. 

This is a very intimate recognition and one that can be deeply painful.  As Christian Soldiers, we don’t want to worship false idols for we know the consequences of such folly.  The stakes are high and the enemy has long known that one way to trip up an earnest Child of God is via his belly.  Holy Scripture is replete with stories and warnings regarding mankind’s weakness for food.

So here is the kicker.  No one but you knows when you’ve crossed the line into unholy consumption. Let’s face it.  Spotting a guy who has had one too many rum-laden, eggnogs is pretty easy.  Yet only you and Jesus know when you have become a slave to food, whether it be in thought or in deed.  Jesus knows exactly what consumes our thoughts and behaviors at Christmastime and every other day of the year.

So what do we do?

No worry.  There is great hope and a very real solution.  Red-faced, I admit that it took me years to realize the obvious.  Despite in-depth psychological training, a specialty in nutrition, and multiple self-help books, I still struggled.  Until one day when the Lord, in His Mercy, offered me a pearl.

Overeating is first and foremost a spiritual malady; therefore, requiring a spiritual solution.

You may have known this all along but for me it was a true epiphany.  With the Lord’s help, it has led me to slowly develop a spiritual prescription for gluttony.  Still a work in progress, this approach involves prayer, fasting, and other Christian fundamentals.  It is a personal defense plan but perhaps it can help another struggling soul.

If that someone might be you, please drop by for Part 2 of Overeating Sugar Plums.

Until then I remain your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Yuletide Depression

'Christmas tree #2' photo (c) 2008, bjaglin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

So it’s Christmas. That means lots of sparkling, outdoor lights, fabulous cookies, and jubilant parties with family and friends.  Additionally, since you are a serious Christian this also means that you are feeling deeply pious and brimming over with good cheer.

Not so?   Read on.

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of folks who have depression during the Christmas season. The party-line, psychological explanation is that we feel crappy when we realize that our life is nowhere near the artificial, media-induced ideal of Christmas perfection. Add to that a heaping spoonful of family dysfunction and a pinch of financial insecurity and you have yourself a nice dish of yuletide blues.

So is this the last word or is there more?  There is definitely more.

The world is whacked at the moment. We are created to love, adore, and worship God the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The whole planet should be rocking with joy on Jesus’ birthday; singing His praises and walking in the Light of the Holy Spirit.  Instead, mankind’s primary response consists of a distorted, perfunctory nod to Our Savior on His birthday.

If He even gets a nod.

As a Soldier for the Most High, this does not sit well with you. You eat your Christmas cookies and hum your favorite hymns but you remain flat like fizz-free ginger ale.  Even Church festivities may not feel the same.  You sense that the enemy is intent on taking the pep out of your Christmas step.  Do not be dismayed.  There is an explanation and a solution.

The knob on the world has taken a decidedly anti-Christian turn.  For Christian Americans, our land is increasingly hostile to our religious beliefs.  Our own backyard is now different; so Christmas feels different.  That is the simple answer.  More than ever, your renewal lies in Him and drawing close to His Presence.  You are called at this time to retreat into the Heart of Jesus.  His Heart is Sacred Ground and will not disappoint.  For in the silence of Our Lord’s Beating Heart is the Holy Spirit; who is able to envelop and fortify your very core.   Once shored up, you can contend with whatever may come your way this month.  Carry on with your usual Christmas routine but take time daily to be alone with Your Savior.  Make this a priority and do not compromise.   

Lately, in the quiet of my alone time with Jesus, I am gently reminded of the following:

Our Lord’s Birthday foretells of His Second Coming. 

I don’t pretend to understand all this.  All I know is that Jesus is coming again and He will make right all that is wrong.  There will be a day when both Earth and Heaven will be as one.  Imagine how Christmas will be celebrated in the New Paradise!  Now that is a stunning image to ponder.

May your Christmas Season be blessed as you find your true celebration in the Quiet Sanctuary of the Heart of Jesus.

As always I remain your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Thought for the Day

“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”

Mary Wollstonecraft

You Are Rare

'bemused!' photo (c) 2013, Rajarshi MITRA - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

…as well as… Exquisite.  Incomparable.  Miraculous. Astonishing. Precious.

and above all…

Holy.

You are an impeccable Light for Christ in a dimly lit world.  As a light for Christ you stand out like a sore thumb.  The enemy is none too happy with you and without prayer you are a sitting duck at a gun show.

If there is no one devoutly praying for you at this time, this has to change.

That is why I set up the prayer request page here at RemnantREFUGE.  Look up and you will see it is now on the Menu Bar.  This is the real deal.  No matter what your situation, myself and several other Christian souls will deeply pray and fast on your behalf.

I, for one, used to feel awkward asking folks to pray for me.  It felt self-indulgent and a tad narcissistic but not anymore.  The Lord worked that kink out of my armor and I garner prayers wherever I can get them.   As Christians, we know all about the power of prayer.  Pray, pray, pray and when in doubt, pray some more!

So add us to your list along with the folks at Church who pray for you and your sweet mama who has been praying for your soul since the day you were born.  We only ask for your first name and you can use a pseudonym if that is more comfortable.   You will also be notified by email, if you like, of the day and time that prayer and fasting was offered up for you and your needs.

You are that important.

There is nothing left to say.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Can you hear Him from the Cross?

'' photo (c) 2011, Daniel Oines - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/You are a Remnant Soldier.  You gave your life to Christ and you live within that reality.  Yet life has a funny way of getting us off track.  The kids need to get new braces, the boss is on our back, we are low on milk, and we have to get the oil changed in the truck.  Such is the background noise of a busy life.

But there is more.  You know it and I know it.  It wells up in our hearts despite our hectic schedules and crazy to-do lists. It is the Voice of Christ pleading for us to go out and fight for Him and His Holy Word.  He is being crucified and vilified at every turn.  All you have to do is read Yahoo news or turn on the TV.  The evidence is in every direction and mounting.  It breaks your heart and makes you feel sick to your stomach.  Then life starts up again with its sundry demands and your focus goes elsewhere.

He is calling you.  YOU.  The closer you get to the foot of the Cross, the clearer His Voice.  Lately, it has not been a whisper but a desperate cry.  Am I alone in this?  I think not.  Jesus is begging us to do His Work in a world that is spiraling out of control.  I dare you to literally go outside and stare up at the heavens and ask Jesus what He needs.  Better yet, get on your knees, stretch out your arms, and let Him speak to your Remnant heart.

You are given the most important mission of all time.  Regardless of your circumstances, you are here on earth to FIGHT. 

Deep in your heart you know this is the truth.  It is not a coincidence that you were born into this generation.  You were created for this very moment in human history.  You are the hope of Christ in this crumbling world.  True business.  You and I are the Christian Army.  If we don’t fight, who will?

May we make way for His Return,

Cindy

Thought for the Day

You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.

C. S. Lewis

Coping with the New Normal

'Soldier' photo (c) 2012, Moyan Brenn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

As a Christian Soldier you know we are in funky times.  You may have walked with Christ for a long time or just recently committed to the Good Fight.  No matter.  You have enlisted in the Christian Army and you now work for the Remnant.  Yep.  That is right.  You have your ear to the ground and almost every day you see signs of the Great Battle emerging at both the personal and global front.  Possibly a dear friend or family member is attacking you or your finances are in a downward spiral.  You could be fighting some serious illness or your marriage is in the pits.  These  personal difficulties seem to dance in step with the increase in global shifts: natural disasters, war, random crime, and economic decay. Blah, blah, blah.  It just never stops.

So how do we cope with the new normal?

Chatting up other Christian Soldiers can validate our experience but we need more than that.   We need peace.  Without peace in your heart, you will struggle to cope with the spiritual battle that now surrounds you.  So take a deep breath, focus, and get back to basics.

Talk. Listen. Act.

Being on Active Duty for Christ requires continuous contact.  Remember Noah and the flood?  Noah talked to God, listened to Him, and then he obeyed.  It really was that simple.

First, keep your eyes on Jesus all day long.  Talk to Jesus about everything and I mean everything, offering up the good and the bad of your entire day.  Greet Our Lord as soon as your feet hit the floor.  Talk to him while you brush your teeth, shower, and decide what to wear.  Ask Him continually if you are doing what He wants you to do.  At night, make sure you chat Him up again and ask for protection while you sleep.  Sleeping soldiers are vulnerable to attack.  Never forget this. 

Secondly, listen to His Voice within your heart. Isn’t it amazing how hard this is sometimes?  Many of us will send up our joys and sorrows to Jesus but hearing Him talk back can be challenging.  Yet this is vital for the Remnant. How can you move forward in murky waters if you have no direction?  You can’t.  You will drown.  It won’t be pretty.  So set aside time for daily prayer and regular fasting.  Be patient and allow yourself to become quiet.  He will respond.  Every general communicates with his troops.  Persist and He will come.

Lastly, act on His Direction.  You might be guided to get into your Bible, go back to Church, pray a special prayer or devotion, ring up your preacher or priest, or simply calm down.  His communication will be highly personal to you and your need.  Not some generic stuff.  It is critical that you act upon His Direction as soon as possible.  Don’t put it off as Jesus is not messing around.  If what you hear seems weird, then pray deeply for discernment and get sound Christian counsel.  No solider fights a battle singlehandedly and the enemy will try to weasel his perverse voice into your mind.  Do not fret.  Typically when the enemy is badgering you that is proof you are on the right track.

As you practice reaching out to Jesus, listening to His voice, and acting upon His directives, you’ll get really good at handling your heavenly walkie-talkie.  Bottom line is that you can cope with anything if you are in constant contact with the Lord.  The new normal will still seem bizarre but you can handle it when you are literally walking with Christ.

Remember you are not alone.  Jesus and the heavenly realm is totally in your corner.

May Christ’s peace be with you always,

Cindy

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