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(Last) Manna Issue 26
Manna Issue 26

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."Isaiah 40:31

Are you experiencing a summer slump right now with your dieting efforts? Let me count the ways: Graduations, weddings, picnics, grill outs, church socials, birthday parties, Memorial day, and Independence Day, and Labor Day gatherings seemingly all clumped together in a space of a few months. If we think the season from Thanksgiving through New Year wrecks havoc with out diet attempts, so might the summer months and this is what we will address today: Picking yourself up again and letting God renew your strength once more so that you can soar.

Charles Swindoll is quoted as saying this in regards to today's verse. "People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life's circumstances to push them down and hold them under." So today I present you with a challenge that if you have been sidetracked with your dieting attempts for a brief while, that you will hope in the Lord once more and allow Him to renew your strength. Don't wish, don't sigh, and don't just sit there and do nothing. Reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment and be made whole.

To understand today's Scripture and how it pertains to the wayward dieter, or the discouraged dieter we need to understand why of all God's creatures an eagle was used to be portrayed here in this widely quoted verse in the OT. I best let the explanation be done by a marvelous look and comment by another Christian. "What makes the eagle so special is that she sits on the rock and reads the wind and when the time is perfect she takes off and soars upward with her great wings. There is a special up going wind where the eagle rides the wind and circle higher and higher toward the sky, without effort. She just spreads her wings. The wind that lifts the eagle is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the eagle is in this case the Christian who is being lifted by the Holy Spirit up and closer to Jesus Christ. It talks about growing in Christ, that happens when we have fellowship with Him in the Spirit. Every day the eagle brings food to her nestlings. When the time is come for the young birds to leave the nest the eagle mom starts to tear down the nest. It's getting uncomfortable. Then the eagle hover above the nest with her wings spread. After that she tips the kids and they fall out of the nest and falls towards the ground. But just before they smash against the rocks the eagle sweeps down and picks them up. The eagle repeats this procedure up to five times. Finally the eagle kid understands to use its own wings. The Word of God says in Exodus 19:4 that God bare the children of Israel on eagles' wings. Here we see the eagle symbolize God. The way the eagle mom treats her nestlings shows us how God treats His children. In the world they push people upward when they are going up. But God lets us fall down to get us up. We sit in our nest and eat knowledge, but the Word of God declares that faith is action. Many times we are comfortable with our Christian lives. We experience a good time in our nice and cozy nest and the eagle mother brings us food every day. But suddenly things begin to happen. The comfortable nest we are sitting in is starting to fall down, and it seems like mom is tearing it down. It's getting uncomfortable and the eagle spreads her wings over the nest. Yes God shows us His power before the trials. And when we fall out of the nest, it looks like everything is falling down in our lives and we cry "Where are you God? Heeelp! What's happening... Why God?, do something..." And just as it seems like we are going under... SWISH - the eagle mother, God, comes and picks us up. "Fine, it was getting a little too bothersome, all this ..." and now what happens; we get dropped to the ground again. Hard times come, but after a couple of times I start to pray a little bit more I start to read God's word a little bit more. And suddenly I realize that the answers to my prayers are coming. The hard times always come but I find out I'm not helpless, no, I see that I can stand on God's Word, the promises bear me. What has happened? I've learned to spread my wings! I've learned to stand on the promises of God and surrender to the person of the Holy Spirit. God carries me supernaturally through all the trials, even if I don't feel it. Who can see the wind?" by Jonas Rosendahl

Are you sitting on the Rock, Christ Jesus waiting for the Wind of the Holy Spirit to lift you up again so that you may ride the current of weight loss? Are you certain in your life that the mother eagle, our God, has pushed you out of your comfort zone only to teach you how to soar? Are you busy gathering the knowledge that you need to become successful with your diet even though you see no fruits of your endeavor right now? This delay in your diet attempt might only have been until God could strengthen you for the flight you will soon be taking to goal weight. We are told that the hard times will come. Certainly I can attest to that when I hit two plateaus in my diet that almost threw me unexpectedly for a loop. But as I shared with you a few food sermons back that I walked away from it knowing that God was stretching my patience, enabling my body chemistry to catch up with the changes, and seeing me through this time so I could be supportive of others when this occurred to them. God was pushing me out of my comfortable nest where I had began to count on my own laurels instead of on His grace day by day. Perhaps you have had a moment of rest in your dieting attempts so that God may make you stronger, determined and more helpful to others.

Our focus today is that delay is not denial. If you have fallen from the diet wagon, don't just sigh and give up---get up and place your hope upon the Rock once more. Come into your second wind which is in this case the blessing of the Holy Spirit who will give you current to glide once again. Please read this little list of diet failures and ask the Lord for discernment if you need to map out a different strategy to begin to successful once more. This little guideline comes from "Research has shown that 98 percent of the individuals who engage in commercial diet strategies will regain their lost weight within a year. To understand why most diets fail in the long run, consider some of the components of traditional diets: time limitations (diet for only two weeks) strict calorie limits prescribed menus or combinations of foods (some foods are labeled "bad" or "off limits") focus on "willpower" None of these components actually contribute to the learning of new behaviors, attitudes, or lifestyles. Since overeating and inactivity are in themselves learned behaviors, programs which do not seek to change these are doomed to fail. Permanent weight loss is achieved only by learning an entirely new lifestyle - one that is tailored to individual needs. All traditional diets involve strict guidelines and place responsibility for weight loss on either external factors or a particular quality of character such as willpower. Such diets create a temporary, artificial change in a person's life - but it is not a life-long or lasting change. Thus, having completed the strict requirements of your diet for the allotted period of time, you simply return to the bad habits which caused the weight problem originally."

With God we look to permanent resolve and not quick fixes. If you are participating in any of these diet failure routines you must get out of this uncomfortable comfort zone that you have been lulled into. Be proactive and decide how you can shake up your routine once more. Above all, don't yell out, "Yep, that's what I am doing wrong", and then just sigh and quit. Brainstorm with God and others and see what your action could be to remove yourself from your slump and renew your strength once more for the race to the finish line.

A bit of advice from motivator Ralph Marston seems very appropriate here. "Forget the excuses, let go of the should, move beyond the if only, and ask yourself this one question. Are you willing or are you not? All the many things that go into any achievement can be reduced to one clear and simple factor. And that is -- are you willing? When you are willing to do what it takes, you'll find a way. When you are willing, though circumstances conspire against you, you'll get it done anyway. When you're truly willing, the problems have a way of being transformed into opportunities. When you're really willing, the disappointments have a way of making you even more determined. If you're willing, that's great -- go for it with everything you have. Yet if you're not willing, there's still a way to become so. Somewhere, somehow, there is something that will inspire and engage you fully. Connect yourself with it and suddenly, you'll be willing, willing to do whatever it takes."

Dear dieters, today I challenge you to answer one question: Are you willing or not? You do know that God is willing to renew your strength once more, and it is a matter of you turning to Him and asking. I believe you can do it, and you must believe and want that for yourself. Your failure will not be on how your diet didn't work this time, but how you failed to turn to God and have Him mount you up on wings of an eagle. Be prepared for a good, breathtaking flight. It may not be as hard as you imagined.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that when I am weak that Christ is strong in my behalf. I pray that You renew my strength when I am weary so that I might once again run with joy to the finish line of my weight goal. Strengthen and renew me, Lord, and I will give you all the honor and glory, in Jesus' name. Amen ©2001-2007

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