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All seeds of thought produce a tree as a result. If those thoughts are rooted in aggravation, then a tree of aggravation springs forth, and the same will be true with depression. Have you ever experienced a time where you may have struggled with depression? There have been times in my life where I have struggled with thoughts that made me feel depressed, and it can be very difficult once you are at that point to not purposely think about these thoughts and allow yourself to dwell on these thoughts, not realizing you’re producing a tree of depression. I never really thought about it like that until reading this devotion. When we let ourselves allow these negative thoughts to grab hold of us, we can continue growing our tree of depression and even manufacture a cloud hovering over us, keeping us grey and covered, unable to see the light; the warmth from the sun.
You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you react to the situation and thereby choose the thoughts you have. Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all the time.” You would be shocked if you could record your thoughts all day and then play them back in the evening. You would be shocked to discover that the thoughts that you gravitate toward may be the very source of many of the problems in your life. Norman Vincent Peale once said, “A man is not what he thinks he is, but what he thinks, he is.” Marcus Aurelius, a great philosopher who ruled over the Roman Empire, said it in 8 easy words: “our lives are what our thoughts make it.” If you don’t like how things are going in your life right now, examine your thoughts.
He also went on to say, “The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts.” What are you coloring your life with? Are you coloring your life in pale shades of gray and black and dismal dull colors? Or are you coloring your life with the rainbow: joy, healthy, excitement, enthusiasm, optimism, goodwill? It’s up to you.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything flows from it”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever if right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything if excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
It is often how you perceive situations, rather than the actual situations themselves that cause you to react. Uninvestigated thoughts can cause stress in our lives and sometimes these thoughts lie! Before reacting with negativity or anger, evaluate the thought and ask “is it true? Where is this thought coming from?”
Today is a good day to begin to redefine and re-grow your tree with good thoughts. What color are you going to use to paint your “thought tree?”
Did you know that God is at home in your body? It’s a strange thought, isn’t it? Perhaps you don’t always feel at home in your body. But Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that God chooses to dwell in your body. “Do you not know,” Paul says, “that your bodies are temples for the holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own.You were bought at a price, therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
Take a moment now to meditate for a few moments on this Bible passage and let the words sink deep into your body, this temple that God has given you, and in which the holy spirit dwells. Sit in a nice comfortable position, hands gently relaxed on your upper thighs or by your sides. Eyes closed (after you finish reading this portion of course lol) Pay attention to your body for a moment. Notice any tension you may be holding anywhere in your body, and release it. Now take a deep breath inhaling over 4-6 seconds, filling your lungs. Now slowly release it exhaling just as long as your inhale (4-6 seconds). Repeat these deep breaths at least 2 more times. (stop reading here and perform the deep breathing exercise)
Notice how your heart rate responded. Do you feel more relaxed? More at peace? Can you feel the holy spirit stirring in you? Notice how your Godly Temple feels? Are you still holding tension anywhere? Have you been able to quiet your mind or have you let the events of the day or your to do list creep into your thoughts? Take a moment everyday to quiet your mind and meditate with deep breathing and notice how you feel in your “healthy temple.”
My friends, your body is a gift from God, and God is not ashamed to dwell in it. In fact God sent Jesus to Earth to live, die and rise again in order to be reconciled to you in your body. God asks you to use this good gift, your body, to honor him. He is not asking you to do this with your own strength. God has given you the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you in all wisdom as you make choices with your body and your healthy habits.
Pray: God thank you for knitting me together. Thank you for sending the holy spirit to dwell inside me. Help me to love the body you have given me and to love, honor and nurture it. Help me to use my body for your good works, in ways that will help me love my neighbor and honor you. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Reference: Healthy Living God’s Way (audio guide meditations) on the Bible app
We are going to focus on the “Wayside ground.” In Matthew 13:19 (NKJV), Jesus says “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”
You can clearly see the imagery that Jesus is sharing in this passage. The “wayside” is the foot path or a walkway. When seeds fall by the ‘wayside,” it is not an intentional investment from the sower. It just happens by mistake. A “wayside” heart does not set out to hear the word of God purposefully. When this sort of heart hears the word, Satan comes immediately and takes it away.
Why is Satan allowed to take it away?
Because your heart cannot sustain its health as a “well-beaten path.” It must be guarded with diligence. Too many people, too many words, too many circumstances affecting your heart on a daily basis causes your heart to be worn out and unable to grasp what is necessary for living. An unguarded heart is an unintentional heart. It cannot purposefully embrace what God has to say. You may hear God’s word on TV or on a podcast, or even in reading this devotion; but because of the many distractions in your heart, Satan will come immediately and snatch that word away right along with your attention. Whatever gets your attention, gets you.
When it comes to your heart health, you must quiet the extra voices and the chaos around you. Find quiet time in the car, the shower, or on a simple walk outside. Allow your heart to focus on what God is whispering to it. When you quiet the chaos, your heart will become more intentional about what God has to say. You will be able to feel those “God nudges.”
Reference: “Heart Health” in the Bible app
Devotion for Week 1: Overcoming Food Temptations
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the flesh (body) is weak.”
Ever get frustrated at how often you give in to your cravings and temptations? (Heidi raises her hand especially because she works with some really excellent bakers…) This is a good time to remember that in our flesh, we will never be able to consistently resist temptations–our flesh is just too weak. The Bible says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh (body) is weak.”
This scripture is taken from the gospel of Matthew. The conversation takes place right after the Last Supper. Judas had left the dinner to orchestrate the betrayal of Jesus and now we find Jesus agonizing in the garden of Gethsemane. He is talking to the disciples (specifically Peter) and is warning him about the weakness of his physical body as he grows sleepy, and Jesus reminds him how easily his body will give in to temptations.
If we apply this scripture in Matthew 26:41 to the context of your healthy habits journey, it means that you may really want to eat well but you’re just not able to muster up the energy, discipline, motivation, or drive to actually do it.
The “flesh” Jesus referred to in Matthew 26:41 is our physical body with its appetites, desires, and weaknesses, always looking for the easy way out. Your body easily gives in to temptation. Your body will always overpower your spirit if you don’t watch and pray as Jesus instructed the disciples to do, as was the case with the disciples.
How does Jesus instruct us?…to watch and pray!
You will give in to temptation when you’re not standing on guard. You need to guard your mind and your emotions like a hen taking care of her chicks. If you let negativity and temptation into your mind, it will wear down your spirit, so be mindful of who you talk to, and what you listen to on the TV, radio, or the internet.
From the Daniel Plan: “whatever gets your attention, gets you.”
These types of activities will wear you down!
Pay attention to your emotions because the enemy will attack when your resistance is low. As the Daniel Plan teaches us: Your thoughts and emotions sometimes LIE! Therefore before you react to an emotion ask yourself, “Is it true?” because it is often how we perceive a situation rather than the actual situation itself that causes us to react. Use the acronym HALT to be more mindful of times when your emotions can affect your eating habits when you are too Hungry (aka food emergency), angry, lonely, or tired.
If you’re too stressed, your body will grow weak. If you’re too emotional about a situation, your body will grow weak. If you’re sleep-deprived, your body will grow weak. If you’re not properly hydrated or fueled with healthy foods, your body will grow weak.
Your body will be more willing to do what God intended for you when it is well-rested, well-fed both physically and spiritually, and feeling at peace. That’s when your resistance to temptation and staying strong on your health journey will be strongest.
Jesus prepared the disciples by telling them to pray.
The struggle was real for Jesus too! He just finished practicing the same principle with the disciples. We learn in the earlier verses that His flesh was failing Him, so He prayed to God to be strengthened. The Bible says. “And after going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will’” (Matthew 26: 39) The same God that strengthened Jesus when He prayed is the same God that will strengthen you during your periods of weakness, trials and temptations.
As you go about your day, practice watching and praying before you eat. Be mindful of what you are eating and WHY. Learn to “worship with your fork.”
Dear Lord, giving in to my temptations is one of the most frustrating parts of my journey. I start the day feeling strong and encouraged, but as the day goes by I just get weaker and weaker until i feel so defeated. Then I wake up the next day and start the same cycle over and over again. I’m grateful that I am learning how to identify why I keep repeating this pattern. I’m also glad that I’m learning that I am not powerless. But I am also no match for my cravings and that’s why I must pray. I must come to you every time and must stand on guard so that you will help give me strength to HALT my temptations. So I take a deep breath, I let go of all the anxiety I have around my fears of never overcoming my temptations. I watch, I pray, and I trust that you will help me. You will strengthen me. You will satisfy my hunger and cravings. Thank you, Lord. In your name I pray, Amen.
Reference: 5 Day Weight Loss Devotion; Healthy Eating God’s Way: 12 Pillars to Calm your Cravings, Master your Diet, Look and Feel Great (on the Bible App)
Many of us wonder why faith matters. In his book, Creed, Adam Hamilton breaks down the Apostles’ Creed into six parts, explaining the fundamentals of faith and why it matters. By exploring the basics of Christian faith together, we hope to grow in our individual and corporate understanding of why what we believe makes a difference in daily living.
We are encouraging everyone who is connected to Thalia UMC to join us in exploring Creed through individual and corporate study. There are a variety of ways to study with a group. Several adult Sunday School classes, in addition to Children’s Sunday School, will be utilizing this resource in conjunction with the worship series. Additionally, Pastor Joe will be teaching the confirmation class with this book for 6 weeks from September 10 – October 15.
The Creed study guide is $13.50 each and can be paid for through the donation link on our website. Books will be ordered by the Church office and made available starting September 3rd.
If you would like to order a book and/or join a Sunday School class, please fill out the registration form below: