Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Couch to Rx'd

Off topic of this blog for today...
June 2013/April2015
I was asked to share my story. It's always more fun to share when you know somebody wants to hear - when somebody is listening for the right reasons. It can be hard to share, because everybody who hears or reads a story is judging in someway at all times. It's a vulnerable position, but I do it excitedly, because for every ten people who judge me or my motives there may be one person who is touched in a positive way. That's the one that matters.

My story is not special or unique in the CrossFit community. It's happening everyday! It is special and unique to me and I hope to the people who care about me. Parts of the story are ugly (not just a little ugly) but it's all real. It's not really a short story. If you're not interested - don't read it.

It's hard to know where to start...

I was not over weight in high school. Although if you had asked me then I would have told you I positively was! I was built slightly bigger and taller than most of my friends. I was never athletic. My athletic history included playing volleyball in my friend's back yard and soccer at the park using shoes or jackets for corners and goals. These are some of my favorite memories although I was never good, and if I touched the ball once a game I celebrated that. Also, one year I did the Pikes Peak Ascent with my dad. That's it.

I put on more than enough weight with each pregnancy... My friends were having babies and snapping back to pre-pregnancy sizes and some even smaller than before baby. They would lose weight nursing. Not me... the pounds kept adding on. With my third (I only put on 5lbs. this time, but I had not lost anything from the first two.) I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and told I would be diabetic. That started the real fight. I did not want diabetes. This was no longer about looking cute in some outfit. It was about health. I was at war! I tried at least 10 fad diets/exercise video routines including but not limited to Atkins, South Beach, The Firm, something called Melt It Off that came with a 2lb weighted ball, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, an alkaline plan - I can't recall the name, HCG... I have had gym memberships and spent hours on treadmills with no visible results. You get the picture. Infomercials were my enemy! I would laugh at them for the first 2 minutes, and then after 5 minutes I was adding them to my Christmas list.

At one point I thought I found the answer. I had lost enough to be content, and I was keeping it off... for about 8 months. Then I started gaining so fast... like pounds (yes plural) a day while eating practically nothing. It was a losing battle. I'm sure I had depleted my body of the lean muscle mass needed and my matablism had shut down. My body was now fighting against me.

In December 2013 the scale had reached the highest number I had ever seen, and I was giving up. I had lost the war. I waved the white flag. Rather than continue to try to squeeze into a size I no longer was, I began shopping for the next larger size. I was tired. I was over it. I was ready to live in my sweats. Every time I had to go anywhere the anxiety of what to wear... I'd rather stay home where no one can see me. If you had mentioned diabetes to me at that time I would have cried hot angry tears, because I felt hopeless. Can you relate so far?

Enter CrossFit, January 2014. I will plug my gym because they deserve it! At FAST Fitness and Sports Training and Crossfit LTP I was given the tools I needed to change my life. I workout 5 days a week most weeks, and I eat clean. It's not a quick fix or a magic pill. It's not always easy, but it's easy enough. It's not always fun, but it's fun enough. It is always worth it!

This is where I'd like to say I started CrossFit and the rest is history. The End. But, I think this is the part of the story you might be wanting to read. I'm going to use some of the things I've posted on Facebook to help me share this part of the story, because I think it will be more accurate than if I try to remember it all now.

How it all began (you may have already read this)...

How I ever stepped foot into my first CrossFit class I will never know...
I only went because I said I would... and I paid money for it.
I had Dawn take care of all the details so I wouldn't have to think about it at all.
She signed me up. She called to reserve my spot. I don't know what else she did. Whenever she said we need to do this... I would tell her to take care of it for me. I just knew I couldn't think about it at all. I put it in my calendar and forgot about it till it was time to drive to the gym for the first foundations class. 

A call from the gym to invite me to come check it out ahead of time... no thanks! I don't want to know what you're gonna make me do in a public place in front of people - If I know, I won't show up. 

My first class: the most uncomfortable I have ever been in my life! Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone! Yes, even worse than public speaking! I just kept telling myself "Do not giggle. Do not giggle". That's what I tend to do when I am uncomfortable - giggle. 

I wore my biggest hoodie and my baggiest sweats. One of the coaches said to me when it was time to run "Are you a wrestler? You can shed some layers." I just smiled and kept on "running" (haha - running). 

"Don't make eye contact. Maybe they won't call on you." That worked until about the 4th class. I was called out to stand in the center and do a squat. Not that it mattered where I stood. Everybody knew I couldn't squat. "Don't giggle. Don't giggle." 

My first warm up: "This is only the warm up!" :/

My first WOD: "What am I doing here?" :(

My response to Jerry when he asked me how it went: "I loved it!" :) 
I don't know which one of us was more surprised to hear that come out of my mouth!

I was thought least likely to stick around by at least one (if not all) of the coaches.

For 3 months every time I drove to the gym I would have so much anxiety I would almost throw-up. But then for the next 23 hours until I went back again I was so excited I couldn't wait. 

What did I love about it? The people, the encouragement, the positivity, the acceptance, the challenge, the finish, the results... No matter how bad I did - it was awesome, because it was my best. 

Why am I sharing this? Because 3 of my Facebook friends inspired me to say yes to Dawn when she asked me to do CrossFit with her. I am so thankful they shared their journey. I am thankful for my improved health and fitness. I want everybody to know  - you can do it too. I tell people when they ask that everybody can do CrossFit, because the movements are scaled to fit your individual ability. 

Everybody who tries CrossFit has a first day. It's uncomfortable, and it's hard work, but if you stick with it - I dare you not to love it!
January 2014
I remember one of the first classes after foundations was over we were doing box jumps. Well, I couldn't jump. I was using a 6 inch soft box, and I was doing these crazy one legged hop steps onto it because I couldn't get my legs to jump at the same time. My max height box jump now is 30 inches on a soft box. I can't do 20 of them in a WOD. I can do about 4 or 5.

We did a WOD called "Annie" which includes double unders (jump rope and get the rope under your feet twice before you land) and sit ups. Again, I could not jump - or jump rope. The coach had me put the rope down and just hop the best I could while twisting my wrists as if I was jumping rope. My max jump rope now is 150 unbroken (without stopping) or 4 double unders unbroken.

More Facebook updates... This one is from May 2014. I was down about 20-25lbs at this point and probably -5% body fat.

Monday morning update... I have an announcement! (are you sitting down?) 
I never ever would have dreamed...
I have never liked working out... Not even a little...
When I started Crossfit it was a love/hate relationship.
I loved finishing, but I hated doing the actual work.
Now I can honestly say I love love it!
I love that it takes less time than anything else I have ever tried.
I love that I get better and faster results than anything else I have ever tried.
I love that I actually enjoy myself even when it's painful - that is so weird.
...there is one exception... I still hate burpees!
I love that I have finally found a way to get fit and healthy without being miserable the whole time.
I love that on my rest days I miss it. frown emoticon
If you are looking for something new FAST, Fitness and Sports Training and CrossFit LTP might just be the thing for you. smile emoticon
Happy Monday!
April 2014

My thoughts in December 2014...

I'm gonna tell a sappy story, cuz I'm a sap...
About a year ago my husband had a heart to heart with me. He said a bunch of sweet husband things... I will spare you... He also said he could tell I had given up. He said he knew it was hard, but because he has never had a weight issue he didn't really know how to help me. He said I needed to find a way to help myself and never give up on myself or my health. A few weeks later CrossFit, FAST and all of you entered my life. I want to say thank you to all of the coaches at FAST. You have influenced my life in a huge way this year. I have learned so much about fitness and eating... I also want to say thank you to all my new workout buddies - my friends. You guys rock my socks off! I love you all! Thanks for welcoming me, for inspiring me, for pushing me, for encouraging me, for teaching me... Thanks for helping me change my life and have a blast at the same time!

I am so thankful for the man that God gave me who loves me more everyday no matter what and always thinks I'm beautiful. He can make me feel beautiful even when I'm at my worst just by the way he looks at me. He adores me and loves me so much more than I deserve, and I love him with all my heart. Oh, but that's not what we're talking about right now... I'm remembering a day he held me in his arms while I literally had an emotional meltdown about what I would wear... We wanted to take the kids to a water park. I wanted so bad to have fun with them in the water, but I just wanted to do it fully clothed! He has lifted me out of my darkest places on many occasions, and I'm not just talking about weight issues. He does not really "get" CrossFit or why I like it so much, but he's happy for me. He has tried it just a little. He'd rather play basketball and mow lawns, and that's ok.

January 2015 - goal setting time...

I had no goals for 2014. When I committed to stay at FAST after foundations was over my only goal everyday was "Work everyday. Work hard everyday. Do my best everyday." There are some things I might like to accomplish in 2015 as far as fitness and performance, but I have so much fun just working hard and surprising myself at the end of a 30 or 90 day period looking back at what I can do. 
I have not arrived anywhere mind you. My journey is only beginning, but I get a lot of questions... sometimes from people who have not seen me in a while and sometimes from people who see me every week (and therefore see the progression of my "shrinking"). 
I usually say something like I don't have it all figured out yet, I'm just having fun. Find something fun that gives you results.  
I have lost 35# this year. A few thoughts about that...
I have lost that much before.
I have lost more than that before.
I have always lost fast and gained it back even faster.
I have never stuck to anything for a whole year, and I have never maintained any amount of weightloss for a whole year. 
So based on what I have learned about myself this year this is what I have to say...

Competing in the 2015 CrossFit Open 15.5 with some pretty incredible ladies!
Photo credit: FAST, Fitness and Sports Training
I am talking a lot about CrossFit, but let me say that's not all it takes. I've learned over the last seventeen months that the work in the kitchen is just as important. It's a 100%/100% split. One of my favorite fitness quotes is "You can't out run your fork". I really hate that part. I wish all the work in the gym was enough. It's so much more fun! The moment by moment work with food is the hardest part! I eat clean-ish/paleo-ish most days. My best days include a gallon of water and 5 cups of veggies. I will have you know - I am not hungry! I eat! I "cheat" more than I should, but I know if I want the fat % to go down I have to eat strictly clean. So, I have some very strict months and some not so strict months and some days when I just let go.

My issues with food may not be as big as yours... then again they may be bigger. The point is they are not going away. I gain weight if I smell a donut. If I eat a donut I want 6 more. If you talk to me about CrossFit and clean eating while I'm devouring my half a dozen plus one donuts I will roll my eyes and lick my lips. I know I'll be sorry later, but in the moment I'm not sorry at all!

Everything in moderation never works for me. I am all or nothing. So I choose all CrossFit and no donuts with a smile please.

May 4, 2015

Last I checked (which was at the end of March) I was about 10lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight - yes, pre-pregnancy over 16 years ago. I have hit that target once in the last 16 years and probably only for a day. The struggle! The fight! I'm sure I had about half the muscle I have now... I don't even know if pre-pregnancy weight is a goal for me anymore. I'd like to be stronger and much more lean... don't know that I care about being lighter other than the fact that I'd like to be able to do pull-ups.... I'd much rather clean or snatch my body weight... or deadlift double my body weight or maybe someday even back squat double my body weight... I have to do the math on that... Oh, my word! That's heavy. Maybe not. Anyway, just thought I'd share my thoughts today because they are much more healthy than they used to be, more fun, happier, more kind to me, balanced. 
Happy Monday!

This journey is not about the size of my jeans (although that is a fun side effect). It's about not feeling so lethargic that I can't get myself off the couch. It's about feeling healthy, energetic, active. It's about doing more things with my family. It's about being an example of heath to my children and others.

This is not CrossFit. I do other stuff too.
Photo credit: FAST, Fitness and Sports Training

How did I get from the couch to Rx'd (completing the WOD or workout of the day as prescribed without modifications)? Just daily work. I started out slow. The slowest most days, but it didn't matter. Every rep of every WOD is one step closer to better health and fitness. I was not in competition with anybody other than myself. Everyday I wanted to be better than I was yesterday. It's fun to move from modified to Rx. I'm still in competition with myself, but it's fun to be able to compete with others as well. It's always friendly competition pushing each other to be better. (I don't Rx everyday.)

Like I said, It's happening everyday! I'm not even the only one at my gym that has a life changing story. I'm just the one sharing a story right now.

If you are intrigued and want to try for yourself I would love to join you for your first CrossFit class! I know sometimes it helps to have a buddy. I would love to be that buddy! I'm not joking! I'd be honored and delighted! I realize CrossFit is not for everybody. I didn't get that at first. I thought everybody should quit everything they were doing to do what I was doing. You'll never know till you try, and sometimes it takes a few tries to be sure. Or maybe sometimes it is for you, and you just have to keep going because it works and it's worth it!

In all this fun and fitness it is always important to me that I bring honor and glory to God in my daily life. I mess up all the time, but I work to please Him.

1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  

My body is "the Temple" and I try to take care of it. I might end up with cancer someday or diabetes or heart disease. Only God knows. I will fight that war when I get there. Right now I am fighting the fitness battle, and, with the ability God gives me daily, the support I get from my peeps at my favorite gym, and the hard work I'm willing to put into it, I am winning!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Keeping It Real

Can I just be real with you for a second?

I want to humbly say that I mess up on a moment to moment basis. I think thoughts that disgust me. I say words that I regret. I do things I shouldn't, and I don't do many things that I should. My favorite thing about each new morning is that I haven't messed up yet, but it sure doesn't take long for the mistakes to start piling up. Praise the Lord His mercy out weighs my faults! His mercies are new every morning and continue to cover my mess-ups all day long. (Lamentations 3:22-23) He is so good to me!

I am preparing for our 30 days of Bible reading together, and I am getting so excited hoping we have a good sized group join us. Join with me in the preparations through prayer, and give this study to God. Ask that He be glorified and His will for this challenge will be accomplished on our hearts and lives. This challenge is not about me and what I say, it's not about you and what you think. It's all about Him. Let's pray together that we keep the main thing the main thing.

On the real... this idea for this 30 day Bible reading challenge came about one day while I was drying my hair, pondering the Word I had read just a few moments before, and praising Him in song. My first response was huh, interesting idea. I will think about it and pray about it. My very next thought was "...to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17. So I sat down at my computer and wrote my challenge invitation to you. Yes. I often work on impulse this way. It's sometimes good and sometimes bad. I knew if I thought too much about it I would talk myself out of it, or just put it off and torture myself with my thoughts for months before surrendering to the idea that it is what I am supposed to do.

Immediately after publishing the post self doubt set in. The negative talk. Why do you think you have the ability to do such a thing? Why would anybody care to join you in such a thing... they already have devotion books to read. Your blog is no comparison to books already published. You are wasting your time... I'm serious. I made myself sick with my thoughts all day while praying for God's help to do what I felt like He had guided me to do.

So, being real with you, I desire for this to be a very God centered month of Bible reading together. I pray that Christ would be seen and not me. All arrows pointing to Him.

We will be using Tim LaHays' book as a guideline for our reading. You can find his book on Amazon for less than $10 if you want your own copy. I highly recommend it. I love studying the Bible in this way without a devotion book or commentary, prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit to give me understanding and to speak to me. I write down verses that stand out and thoughts that I have. I do also use devotion books now and then, but my daily study is just God's Word and I. One reason is that I love to see God's power to speak to me demonstrated. It strengthens my faith in such a profound way. There is a warning though... You must not rely on your own interpretation of scripture. I won't go into this too much right now other than to say that the Bible only means what God means it to mean not what you want it to mean. If you want to know more about why I like to study the Bible this way you can read the first and following posts on this blog, or feel free to ask any questions you have.

Prayerfully preparing, I again invite you to join me for 30 days of Bible reading together in the month of November.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You are Invited!

I personally invite you to join me in a 30 Day Bible Reading Challenge!

Because I thrive on challenges. They are just so fun!

(Wait! Don't stop reading! This is good stuff!)

1. Because I love the results you can see in 30 days of dedication to something.
2. Because it takes 21 days to create a habit.
3. My favorite part is the group effort and the community building aspect of a group challenge.

Why a Bible Reading Challenge?
I will answer that with Scripture...
To be transformed Romans 12:1-2
To know Him Philippians 3:10
To be more like Christ 2 Corinthians 3:18
To have an understanding of His Word Psalm 119:27, 33, 34...
To grow a love for His Word Psalm 119
To draw closer to Him James 4:8
To be able to always give an answer! Peter 3:15

This is what it will be.
1. 30 days of Bible reading approximatelly (but not limited to) 3 chapters a day.
2. I will post the Bible reading daily on this blog.
3. I will ask you to comment daily here on the blog or on the Facebook post. Simply state that you have completed the daily reading. You can also leave comments or questions about the reading. Feel free to leave prayer requests as well.
4. You will need a Bible, a journal and a pen/pencil/highlighter.

FYI I prefer the King James Version. I use the Nelson King James Study Bible, because I love the study notes. The notes usually clarify anything I don't understand. If you do not have a Bible I can help you with that. Also you can find in on line. I use www.biblegateway.com. If you have questions or comments about my preference please private message me on Facebook. I do not wish to start a debate on versions.

This challenge is for everybody! It is for dedicated daily Bible readers - we may need your insight to answer questions. It is for people who struggle with the daily habit of Bible reading. It is for those who have never read the Bible at all or never consistently. It is for agnostics and atheists - challenge your beliefs. I encourage you all - I dare you all to take part.

Here is why I would like to extend this challenge to those who don't know, understand, or believe the Bible...

Say you have a beautiful picture of a decant chocolate cake with a full description of the taste, the richness and the texture. You cannot make the decision if that is your favorite cake or a cake you can live without if you have not tasted a bite for yourself. You have to have your own experience.

I struggle very much when I talk to people who say they don't believe the Bible but have no knowledge of what it says or means. That is a very uninformed decision. And I warn you, your beliefs on the Bible and God is the most important decision you will ever make. Be informed!

I will not claim to have the best Bible reading challenge around, or that I have all the answers to all your questions (or any answers for that matter), but it will be a good place to start and hopefully to interact with others.

The challenge will officially start November 1, but I encourage you to prepare now. Mentally prepare yourself to commit and to interact. Physically prepare yourself by gathering your tools and creating a space in your home for this quite reading time. Start reading the Bible daily to create the habit.

Please join me! Will you?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

About My Favorite Day of the Week and My Favorite Place to Be

Quoting my pastor... actually paraphrasing, because I didn't write it down word for word... "We don't go to church for the music or the jokes (the entertainment), we go because we want to hear from God."

Yes, yes we do! Our soul thirsts for God, for the one true God. It's the way we were created - what, or rather Who, we were created for - HIM. (Colossians 1:16)

It makes me think of the many reasons/excuses I have heard people use for not attending church.

There is a quote circulating on line: "Not going to church because of the hypocritical people is like not going to the gym because of the overweight people." I love it!

We are every one hypocrites! We are every one self-centered. We are every one sinners. Yes, my friend, even you, and to quote the apostle Paul, "I am chief". (1 Timothy 1:15)

We should not go to church because of what we can get, but rather for what we can give.

So let me encourage you in this way...

If you feel like others are not a blessing to you, take an opportunity to be the blessing to others.

If you feel like people at church don't love on you enough, take it as an opportunity to love on other people.

When you feel like somebody may not be as gracious to you as you wish, be extra gracious to them.

If you feel like you don't get fed by the preaching, take it as an opportunity to worship God by the giving of your attention to the Word being preached rather than the man preaching.

If the music is not to your liking, realize it's not about you... It is for the praise and worship of the one true God.

I know, you have an excuse not listed above. Let me say, Jesus Christ built His church. He is the foundation. (Matthew 16:15-18) Quoting my pastor again, "You cannot be a true follower of Christ unless you are a part of His church."

I love church! I know I need it!
I need the fellowship of the body.
I need to time of worship in music.
I need the preaching of the Word.
I am not alone in this. You need it too.

So I encourage you to stop going to church with a critical outlook. Stop getting offended by the way people may look at you or talk to you. Stop picking apart the people, the pastor, the music, the way things are done, the this that and the other. Go to church with a giving spirit every time. Open yourself to giving to others. Give them a smile. Say their name when you say hello. Give your attention to God and His Word. Give yourself in true worship. And do it all for Him.

Happy Lord's Day! Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Random Thoughts

Really not so random, but rather "specific thoughts that may not seem related." That would not make a good title, and "random" is a happenin' word right now... my kids say it all the time, so...

I often wake up with a song in my head and then sing it all day long. Sometimes I can only remember a line or two of the song which drives me crazy, leads me to search it out, so I can listen to and then sing the whole song. Yesterday the only words I could think of were hm hm hm.... "Giver of grace"... I sang it over and over trying to remember the rest of the melody so that maybe I could come up with more of the lyrics so that I could in fact find the song when I searched for it.

Little by little it came to me. This is hard work I will have you know. (chuckle)

"Lamb of God,
Giver of grace.
You're worthy of our highest praise..."

And there it was... the words that would give me the title...

"We have come to seek your face."

Today while I was watching this video and looking at pictures of Jesus (not really, but all we have because of artists and their imaginations), I was struck by the thought, what will it be like when I truly see His face. This thought and imagination brought me to my knees in tears of worship and the realization that I truly long for that. I don't just say so because as a Christian it is expected of me to say and think such things. It is true. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

I then went to my quiet time. I am still in Luke. Short rabbit trail here for a second. It is definitely going to take me longer than 6 months to read through the New Testament twice. Although I am on my second time around, I came to a mental wall. I was not retaining what I was reading. I was just reading, so I took a break from my self imposed regimen to read some other devotion books, on line devotions and listen to some recorded sermons. This will partly explain why I have not blogged in quite a while. Also, I just didn't feel led to do so... didn't have much to say...

Then last night I couldn't sleep. I laid (I know that is not the correct grammar -- whatever) there thinking about the book of Luke and how I couldn't wait to get back to it. After more than an hour of tossing and turning and thinking, I decided to get up and read Luke for goodness sakes! That is the last thought I remember having before my alarm went off this morning.

So right after listening to the song, I read Luke 7 about the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and her hair -- I could totally relate to her. To have the pleasure of washing the feet of my Redeemer. That gives me a very unworthy feeling. Needless to say, that story came alive to me. (Yes, it annoys me too, when people say "needless to say". If you don't need to say it, why are you saying it? That and "it is what it is". Of course it is. If it wasn't what it is what would it be? ...and it would still be whatever it is...)

In Luke 8 I read the parable of the sower. I call it the parable of the good ground, because it always convicts me and prompts me to pray that I will always be the "good ground". (always. I know I will not always be anything. Always. Always. Always. But I do desire to always be...)

Next thought...
The majority of the posting going on on Facebook this week is about the government and Obama care. I don't post about political things, because I will admit to you that I am not well informed. I am intentionally uninformed, because the more I know the more discouraged I feel. The more I know the more I look at situations and the less I look to God. The little that I do know makes me angry, fearful, discouraged... and who gets the glory in that. So, today I read a few, ignored a few, never even thought about posting anything...

Years ago, I don't know who said it to me first or where I heard it first, but I heard this quote, "Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?" As I read some of the statuses and blogs I began to pray about the things that made me fearful... the freedoms I feel I am losing, the financial strain this will all cause on our own family and many others, the future of our country for our kids, grandkids and future generations. I am hoping that while other Christians are posting they are also praying.

I am thankful for that quote. It comes to my mind often. It stops me from ranting many times, and it calms my spirit.

"Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Journal Notes Today

Before you read today's blog just go read Matthew 4-6. I know that may not be where you are in your Bible reading, and you may have already read your Bible today, but what harm is there in reading a few extra chapters? Maybe while you are reading highlight some verses that stand out to you, and verses that you feel are a particular message to you today, maybe journal some commands, principles, promises...

Did you read it?

WOW! Right!

Jesus covered a lot. I have 3 pages of notes in my journal today. I wanted you to read it for yourself before I shared my thoughts so that you could record your own thoughts first. The Bible never means anything different than what it means, it is just that sometimes different passages stick out to different people at different times. Now we can compare notes...

A timeless principle:
Matt. 4:4 "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD."

This verse is always a good one for me as I have mentioned before, I am a food lover. I am daily working on craving God over food. But what stuck out to me even more today was the word "every"... every word out of the mouth of God. I wanted to let that one sink in a bit.

And then I read on... there is so much meat in this passage! I remember feeling this same way last time I read through the gospels... how I felt like I was overflowing with so much truth, instruction, guidance... that I could not retain it all. But as I read it now I almost quote many parts of it on my own. That's exciting!

A command to keep:
Matthew 4:10 Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.
Matthew 4:17 Repent
Matthew 4:19 Follow me
Matthew 5:13 Be the salt of the earth (paraphrased)
Matthew 5:14 Be the light of the world (paraphrased)
Matthew 5:15 Let your light so shine!
Matthew 6:19 Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven

A promise:
Matthew 4:19 I will make you fishers of men

In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 there are promises. The one that spoke to me today is 3:6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (the promise).

Jesus teaches on so many things in this passage that is called "The Sermon on the Mount"... anger, adultery, divorse, oaths, loving your enemy, giving alms, prayer... just to name a few.

Matthew 5:48 says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." Whenever I read the word "perfect" in the Bible I have to go down and read the study notes, because I know I cannot be perfect especially if the example of perfect is God the Father! So this is what I took form those notes. "Perfect - complete... possessing complete love... embrace those that love you as well as those who hate you..."

I didn't quite understand verse 22 of chapter 6 either. "The light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." Study notes, "if thine eye be single...devotion to one purpose... fixed vision or goal."That helped! Now I get it.

God's message to me today:
Matthew 5:6 (found above)
Matthew 6:8 "...for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him." I love this truth! I need to be reminded of this almost daily or even hourly!
Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34 are Key verses for me. They convict and encourage me every time I read them or hear them. "Treasures in Heaven" and "Trusting the Master".

In my Bible I have started to draw little hearts by the verses that pertain to the heart. So there is now a heart by Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there will your HEART be also."

So, there is a sneak peek into my daily note taking habits. I am sure they are not all inclusive. I have no doubt I have left out some promises, commands and principles, but this is the message I got today. It always helps me to remember, apply and be accountable when I blog it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Falling In LOVE Again: How To...

A father was once asked by his son to explain how the Word of God cleansed a person. Instead of answering he asked his son to take a wicker basket down to the lake and bring him back a bucketful of water. The lad tried several times, but before he got back to where his dad was, the basket was empty. In frustration he complained to his father. "It's impossible, before I get it here the water has all run out." The father then called the boy's attention to how clean the basket was and said, "that is how the Word of God cleanses the believer as it passes through the mind." 

This story is found in chapter 2 of Tim LaHaye's book that I have mentioned many times, "How To Study The Bible For Yourself". The book that started "it all" (this blog).

 I can hardly put into words how I have been blessed by the reading of The Word since I started following the suggestions of the author. I just finished my first read through the entire New Testament, and I am ready to start my second time through. As I was finishing up Revelations this week a certain bumper sticker sentiment kept coming to my mind. I'm sure you know the one I am taking about... it says something about knowing how the book ends. I wish I could remember the exact words... I just googled it (giggle). It's "I've read the back of the book, and we win!" I didn't know it was also a gospel song, but I found that on google (YouTube) too.

The last few days as I was reading Revelations I kept getting very antsy to start Matthew again. I'm so excited to go again!

I am going to be more detailed in my journaling this time and follow Mr Lahaye's directions more carefully. Not that I am unhappy with my journaling so far, but I feel like I am now ready for more detail.

I will be reading the first 3 chapters of Matthew tomorrow, and answering some of Lahaye's questions while I journal. There are 5 journaling questions/topics to answer each day. You will find these questions and the reasons behind them in Chapter 3 on pages 31-37.

I do highly recommend this book. I would suggest a person do what they can at their own pace guarding against becoming overwhelmed. Tim LaHaye is carful to repeat this caution a number of times.

I have only just begun the suggestions for reading. I still have much to do. I reread some of the author's chapters on how to study the Bible, and found myself getting a bit overwhelmed just reading the instructions. I am glad that it is not time for that yet. I will continue to follow the steps one at a time. I know I will be ready for the next step each time I get to it. This is exciting to see the growth, and I anticipate more growth and learning ahead. I, of course, prayerfully continue knowing that when it seems like a lot "I can to all things THROUGH CHIRST." I know He will help me, because I know He is pleased with my efforts and desire in continuing and completing this endeavor.

As I type "completing" I am reminded that I will never be finished reading, studying, learning, growing... until He takes me HOME.

Chapter 2 "What Bible Study Will Do For You" gives an exciting list. I want to share it with you, because I think it will excite you to start a reading/studying plan such as this one.

1. It will make you a strong Christian. 1 John 2:14
(The longer I am a Christian the more I realize how weak I am, and I can only be strong because of Christ and His Word.)

2. Assures us of Salvations. 1 John 5:13
(How Satan wants to confuse us and cause us to doubt! The deceiver can be successful in stealing our joy, our peace, and our success as a Christian if we do not know what the Bible says about our eternal salvation!)

3. Gives us confidence and power in prayer. 1 John 5:14, 15, John 15:7
(All I can say is Thank you, Jesus!)

4. Cleansing from Sin. John 15:3, John 17:17, Psalm 119:9

5. It gives joy. John 15:11

6. It produces peace. John 16:33, Colossians 3:15

(Are you ready to get the book and get started? Wait there is more!)

7. It guides us in making the decisions of life. Psalm 119:105, Luke 11:28

8. It enables you to articulate your faith. 1 Peter 3:15

9. It guarantees your success! Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3

I am so excited to continue to grow in these areas listed. Before beginning this way of reading and journaling my Bible I didn't know how to begin or how to continue. This has been completely different than any other devotional or Bible study I have done before. The Bible is so mush more alive to me. I have truly "fallen in Love" with reading The Word like never before! I'm so glad I never forgot this book by Tim Lahaye that I read more than 8 years ago. There was a quiet whisper reminding me to get to work on it. Be quiet. You might hear it too.

(Please leave comments about your daily reading, and let me know if you get this book! I will be so excited for you, and would love to pray for you and support you as you start your journey.)