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Volume 09, Issue 51: Put a Lid on It

I should have published this at the start of the holiday season, but it is still relevant for us as we are still in the holiday season, approaching the tail end of it. I wanted to bring it up because I have been beating myself up for being sluggish this season, not being up to speed as I hoped I would be.

Let me start by saying that we don't need to beat ourselves up for not being our disciplined selves during the holidays. However, we still need to keep up healthy habits and honor our bodies. Wouldn't it be amazing to start the new year without the need for a grand resolution for your health? What if you could say on January 1st, "I did not go crazy with food this time, and I kept up some form of exercise throughout the holidays!"

Each year when the holiday season starts in late November for those in parts of the world where Thanksgiving is celebrated, and mid December for the rest of world who wait for Christmas time to start celebrating, all through to New Year's Day, many people throw self-control out the window. Is that you? Maybe you find yourself double-feasting on cakes and other special occasion treats as you move from party to party, while sleeping in too long to make it for your morning walk/run or to the gym. I witness this every other year when my gym is almost empty from mid December.

Ashley Armstrong wrote that we can still honor God with our bodies when life is stressful and full, especially around the holidays. Life is the ebb and flow of celebration and sorrow, weddings and funerals, running and rest. We cannot allow the season or the events on our calendar to dictate our health year after year. What we can do is control the pace of our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit and some well-established healthy habits.

Heading to Ashley Armstrong's advise, let's try something new this year and carry it through the years to come. When the holiday season starts, limit your over indulgence in food and continue exercising like normal - reinforce the habit of going to the gym or working out at home, but allow yourself to decrease the duration or intensity. It's all about maintaining the habit of exercise all year round. So, like me, give yourself grace and maybe work out 30 minutes as opposed to an hour. With that' you will still experience the benefits of stress-relief, calorie burning, and increased serotonin.

When it comes to food, I have noticed from my own experience that taste buds do change and adapt to new options. After eating a certain way for awhile now, I am no longer drawn to a bite of processed foods and over sweetened cakes. But if you are not there yet, decide ahead of time exactly how you're going to "cheat." Even for where I am at, I often find myself over eating the good stuff during the holidays, which is not any better. Plan ahead of family get-togethers or social events and decide which food or beverage is "worth it" for you to indulge in. Eat your favorites and turn your back on the "just-okay" treats.

The other thing to remember is to protect your sleep. I went to a Christmas party at my sister's and they couldn't understand why I was ready to leave at 8pm! I was surprised because I usually leave her place by 5pm to enjoy the evening at home. They thought I would stay until midnight because it's Christmas. We left the kids there to continue enjoying time with their cousins. We later learnt that they were making it to bed at 4am!

I find myself ignoring my bedtime alarm during the holidays as when we are not home, dinners aren't served until almost 8pm, and when home, there are more conversations and laughs to he had, or another movie started a bit late. As this happens, the consequence is finding myself staggering my way toward my quiet time in the morning or ignoring the alarm in order to get an extra sleep cycle. This messes up my calendar from being late for my quiet time, late for my walk and gym workout, and late for relaxation activities - hence, some things don't get done or their duration gets slashed. But it's okay because it's the holidays, right? We get to cut ourselves some slack and take it easy, don't we? That said, give yourself plenty of sleep during the holiday season so you can have the time and energy to indulge in all your activities of choice.

When it comes to holiday shopping and splurging, plan ahead of time how much you are going to spend on things and gifts for yourself and those you love. It's important to plan for these things well in advance so that you enjoy yourself during the holidays. When you get to it, remain sensible, resist peer pressure and stick to your budget. Nothing is worth having a miserable January.

I believe the holidays isn't a time to be sloppy or to go crazy, it's a time to take in the things you enjoy without a rush and without feelings of guilt and regret afterwards. This is only possible if we exercise self control with food, exercise, sleep and shopping. Enjoy the holidays while remaining true to yourself.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 50: Beyond Amazed

This is a follow on to the "Living Amazed" article below. In addition to telling God what you are grateful for each day, tell God something or many things that you love about him. I was reminded of this by a YouVersion Bible plan from the Jewish Voice Ministries International's 7 ways to sweeten your new year. They wrote that an interesting thing happens when we praise God, we experience joy.

They went on to say that not only is it fitting that we honor God and praise Him, it actually benefits us. Praising God sweetens our lives and strengthens the intimacy of our relationship with Him. When our hearts are focused on Him, we see His amazing generosity towards us. How astounding is it that the God of the universe would stoop down to love and save us so that we could be with Him forever!

Ask God to help you develop the habit of telling Him what you appreciate about Him. The plan exhorted readers to intentionally reflect on what God is doing. From day to day God will meet your needs. What stands out to you today? Is it His tenderness toward you in a particular situation? His attention to detail or His wild and colorful creativity? Perhaps it's His ability to intricately weave circumstances together to accomplish His plans. Tell Him the reasons you value Him. You will be blessed as you reflect on Him. God takes pleasure in our sincere gratitude.

I am beyond amazed when God helps me figure out a budget mishap at work. I am beyond amazed when there's laughter in my heart from my relationships. I am beyond amazed when God redirects me to a road with less traffic, or when He ensures that a meeting I am running late for isn't ready to start until long after I have arrived. I am beyond amazed when I look at the beauty around me that God has allowed me to have and enjoy. What are you beyond amazed about?

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 49: Living Amazed

A few Sundays ago I gave my family loose leaf pads to write down what they are grateful for and hand them back to me on the last day of the year. I like to write down the things I am thankful for every day. So many little things happen that brighten up my heart from seeing God's acts of love towards me.

We can take so much for granted, but I don't want to take it lightly when God redirects my plans from what would have been a flop and total waste of time to something convenient and successful. Or when He keeps me from doing something I would regret doing or didn't need to do. Stuff like that happen to us all the time but we don't stop to notice that it's God looking out for us - taking care of us.

It is when we take for granted the little things that God does for us every day that we lose our excitement for what God is doing. Some of us can't remember the last time God did something great for us yet He is doing them every day. When good stuff happen, we are not amazed, or we think it's our luck or that we are just smart like that. Far from it. It is God working behind the scenes on our behalf.

Apart from the different things that take place on different days that we give thanks for, there are things that remain constant on our daily gratitude lists that we must give thanks for even when nothing good happens to us in a given day. These are things that we are eternally grateful to God for. We are grateful for being alive, for our health, for our families and friends, for our abilities, for the materials things that God has blessed us with, for the things we know and apply for our good, for the opportunities and privileges that we have, the list is endless. We should never take these things for granted but be amazed by God's goodness towards us.

There are times when we don't feel like praying - we feel too dried up to come up with words for God. In such times, we can settle for just giving thanks to God - for who He is, for what He has done for us, and for what He has given us. Thank Him for His protection, for His provision, for His guidance, for His deliverance, and for His goodness and mercies. No matter your circumstances, you can lived amazed.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 48: He Guarantees Victory


We are often times at war on something. We want to register a win each time we are in battle. A YouVersion Bible plan titled "Flourish in Gratitude" opened my eyes on the extent of victory we have as followers of Christ. In the plan, they said that to win at something in life means that we rose above, conquered, and achieved a desired outcome. Sometimes it means we pull ahead of others and are awarded titles or trophies, attached to feelings of triumph and celebration.

 

But what about the victory that is impossible for us to achieve in our own power, but is only obtained by another who is willing to step in and win on our behalf? It's humbling and inspiring that someone else would go to bat for you and I so that we might know victory in our lives.

 

There's no greater victory in which to stand than to have been rescued out of the clutches of sin and Satan, to stand forever victorious in freedom and right-standing with God! Dead in our sin, we could do nothing for ourselves. But God, through Jesus - his life, death and resurrection - accomplished the greatest victory for our lives. Through Jesus we are called whole and complete, adopted, forgiven, more than conquerors, reconciled to God, a new creation, blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. And that's just a start!

 

Do you see what this means? Jesus' sacrifice not only won us victory over sin and death - the greatest victory of all, it also made us victorious over all issues of life. We are not only reconciled to God and blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, we have advance victory over every battle we could ever encounter.

 

The victory Jesus purchased on the cross was a ticket to victory over all battles that we face in life. Not some battles, nor the little ones, all battles. The problem comes when we don't know our position, when we don't know that we are positioned to emerge victorious in every battle. The price Jesus paid for us made us overcomers - more than conquerors. No matter the battle, God guarantees our victory. Regardless of the battle, He brings the victory.

 

Victory belongs to Jesus, no one can stand against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And because we are His beloved, purchased by His blood, His victory is our victory. We are victorious because He is victorious. We are more than conquerors, we overcome because He conquered all.


For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 47: Keep It Out

The situation is not the problem in the boat, because the boat is designed to float as long as the situation on the outside doesn't get on the inside. Boats only sink when the situation on the outside gets on the inside.

You can walk through hell's kitchen and not be bothered at all. But the moment it starts to get in you, you start to drown. But you are drowning only because the life around you has gotten in you. It's in your conversation, in your speech, in your thought life and in your attitude. And that's the first sign of going down.

When you allow the things on the outside to get on the inside, you begin to go down. People who ride on top of the storm do it because they can float through it without allowing it to get in them. You can go through a mighty storm and prosper by not allowing the news on the outside to affect your thought life on the inside. When the things on the outside begin to get inside of you, you begin to go down. You need to figure out how to go through it without it going through you - TD Jakes.

Now, that got me roaring the very first time I listened to it in midst of my workplace chaos. I am in the habit of looking for messages that speak to my situation whenever I am troubled. During my chaos at work, I sought motivation to keep the fighter in me going. Although the kind of battle I was facing was new to me, I knew I had to beat it hands down. I listened to several messages that uplifted me, but this one took me to another level. I understood that I may be powerless over what was happening on the outside, but that whether I let it get inside of me was squarely within my power.

So I started smiling, knowing the chaos don't have to steal the peace and joy I have inside, a peace that surpasses understanding, and a joy that rejoices through the storm. I remembered that my weapons are way more powerful and effective than theirs. I put on my armor and went to war, fighting in the spirit realm to disarm their arsenal, to render it powerless over my territory.

The chaos may not be over but I am unperturbed, because He Who is in me is greater than all opposition combined. I refuse to let it get in me. I will fight to ride through this storm without allowing it to get in me. I was designed to soar, and soar I will, whether here or some other place. With God's help, I will go through it without it going through me. I will pass the test.

Whatever your storm is this season, whatever chaos is erupting around you, keep it out. Don't let it get on the inside of you. Keep it out by not dwelling on it in your thoughts and speech and attitude. Don't talk about it except in prayer, don't think about it, and don't allow it to change your demeanor. Refuse to let it rearrange the atmosphere on the inside of you. Keep it out, and before you know it, you will be on the other side of the storm, victorious!

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi