Archive for January, 2012

Review: Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas

Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas (ISBN: 978-0-310-29081-0)

I had the privilege of getting a review copy of Gary Thomas’ latest book Every Body Matters. I was eager to read this book, since Thomas is the author of one of my all-time favorite books “Sacred Pathways”.

Since, 66% of the US population is overweight (and many more struggle without being overweight), this is a very timely message that needs to be discussed. The very real battle in maintaining our temples has profound spiritual implications. This book in many ways is the start of a conversation, asking “Have you considered the spiritual impact of your diet / fitness habits? “Are you engaged in the battle to present your best self to be used by God?” “Do you believe that God desires to use you for noble purposes?” “Where should health / fitness be on our priority list?” As Christians, we should wrestle with how the answers to these questions should impact our daily routines / habits.

Mr. Thomas passion for this topic is penetrating, it practically jumps off the page screaming “Please Listen — your temple matters, start the journey, begin to fight, don’t give up, God wants to use you!” This is not the kind of book you should just read, nod your head in agreement and go on with your day. No, it’s a book that asks you to wrestle with the topic and start fighting the battle on a daily moment-by-moment basis. God’s spirit can use this message to encourage, convict and empower the reader.

I got a lot out of this book, both in encouragement and motivation to continue on my life journey closer to Christ. I thought the most important starting place is asking ourselves:
Do I believe God when he says he has a plan for my life? Do I believe He wants to use me for noble purposes? What is my part in making myself a more usable instrument? Our temple is a great starting place to show that we are faithful stewards of our lives (body, mind and spirit).

Thomas talks about this point on pg. 20 saying:

Christians who don’t take their health seriously don’t take their mission seriously. What we’re saying by our action is, “My life doesn’t really matter.” But because of the ability of God to work powerfully in any repentant sinner’s life, every body does matter.

There were many good points and takeaways that can be directly applied to ones life, such as:

Gain a future mindset: (Pg. 96)

Bad habits provide instantaneous gratification vs’ the slow reward of good habits. This is the challenge that this battle is fought in the moment, but the rewards (weight loss, energy, clarity of mind, spiritual depth) may not be observed for many months later. That’s a lot of fighting, stress, battle when the reward for giving in to temptation is immediate. So, we have to focus our minds on the hope of the future reward.

Take advantage of positive momentum in building new habits: (pg.162)

Most of us when attempting to wrestle with our health struggles — try for a couple weeks with new healthy habits (perhaps as part of a new years resolution) and then give up accepting the fight can’t be won. However, if we had just persevered for a few more days or weeks to make the 3 or so week threshold the fight will get easier. Positive momentum will begin to build as the new behaviors are no longer struggles but habits on auto-pilot. The battle is not over, but is considerably lessened.

Create Boundaries around New Habits: (Pg. 162)

Don’t go more than two days slipping into old behaviors (skipping exercise, overeating, excess snacking, etc.) or you will be on the road to making them daily habits. The longer you slip into old patterns the harder it is again to break free.

Begin the Process of “Sin Killing”: (pg. 178-180) (I thought this was very helpful regardless of what the sin is. ).

Taste the Bitterness of Sin
– Think and feel the remorse, shame, pain and bitter ugliness of sin.

Examine the Deceit behind sin
– Ask yourself the question: What is the lasting value in Sin? We are deceived into believing that the instantaneous gratification is better than the lasting value of obedience.

Consider the circumstances of your sin?
– What scenario makes it more likely that you’ll be weak / vulnerable to a particular sin? Is it how you feel? Your circumstances? Time of the day? Then become prepared for this inevitable battle, before it defeats you — again!

Use the exposure that sin provides to gain a more accurate view of the conditioning of your soul
– Gain an accurate assessment of yourself based on the sinful behavior to fully recognize how contrary it is to what God wants for us.

Consider the strength of your sin
– Did this sin occur in a rare weak moment or are you out of control in this area (and risk being destroyed by it)? If this is a very strong sin in your life seek help to make the chance for freedom greater.

Find a Holy Substitute
– Replace the sin with a positive alternative. Being prepared with an alternative activity, food or approach will make winning the battle easier.

Fortify your soul
– Adopt habits that will nurture your soul, such as spiritual disciplines, meditating on scripture, listening to sermons, reading books, etc. Create a “spiritual workout” for your soul.

—————————-

I ended up with many quotes and tips captured in my notes from the book; I think this book makes a great reference on the topic of our “temple”. Some of the takeaways for me were simple actions, like memorizing 2 Timothy 2:20-21 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 to adding in new boundaries in my life through the “Sin Killing” process, such as: I won’t use the internet until I’ve completed my Bible Study and Exercise for the day, since I could see that was an area I could waste time in instead of using my time more wisely. I also have been careful not to miss more than 2 days in a row in my new habits, because I can see more clearly how that creates a trend of bad habits.

If you read this book and are willing to make an honest assessment of your life, I think you too will find it has many practical applications that will prove to be life changing.

———–
I received a review copy from the publisher, Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Create a devotional plan:

Bible Study Pic from the Journey Guy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/journeyguy/

©2011 - The Journey Guy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/journeyguy/)

Now that you’ve decided on a time and place, you’ll need to put together some thoughts on what you will do during your time with God. Time with God should be some-what organic and constantly change and shift as you grow in your relationship with Him.

Some things to think about:

How to transition into devotional time:

Often going from waking up or the hustle of daily life to quieting ones mind takes a strategy. Below are some things I’ve found helpful to make this transition from a chaotic mind to quiet and ready to hear from God.

Music

This is as simple as picking a favorite praise songs that help to slow you down and begin the transition to quieting the mind, body and spirit.  I create a playlist on my ipod just for devotional songs.

Some of my favorites are:

Chris Rice – Hymn Project or The Living Room Sessions

Ginny Owens – Say Amen or my personal favorite: Be Still My Soul

Bible Reading Plans

A structured Bible reading plan helps with consistency and knowing what to read. I’ve used a variety of different ones over the years, such as:

The One Year Bible (NIV)

A Chronological Daily Bible (NIV):

But, Nowadays I use the YouVersion Bible Reading Plans: Currently for 2012 I’m doing: Project 345 Plus

Devotional Books:

I like using devotional books and have a large assortment that I’ve used at different times in my life. Like music they provide a transition and a spiritual thought to start my devotional time.

An easy option is simply – Our Daily Bread

Other favorites of mine are:

One Year Book of Hymns

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

The Complete Personalized Promise Bible

Quiet Time Notebook:

Sometimes starting out with a devotional / quiet time is tricky to know what to do — Catherine Martin has a very great quiet time resource: The Quiet Time Notebook

I’ve always developed my own quiet time process, but this year decided to give Catherine Martin’s notebook a try. I bought it many years ago and just never used it. I like the structure of it and she’s like a friend whispering encouragement and helpful thoughts throughout the notebook. I think this is a nice resource for people just starting out in quiet time or someone like me who has had a regular time with God for many years, but wanted to get new ideas and a fresh perspective from someone else.

Journal

I’m a natural journal writer and love how writing slows my mind and allows me to listen to the rhythm of my heart. It also allows me to see what God has been teaching me and be nourished through his continued working in my life. The majority of great men and women of the faith are journal writers, because it is a powerful tool for continued growth in Christ. When I go through a spiritual drought the journals from my journey nourish and refresh me to keep journeying deeper with Christ.

—————

Original Posted on: January 15, 2011 at 23:49
Edited / Updated on: 1/13/2012 at 22:50 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...