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It’s Sunday — a fresh week, a fresh start, with some progress and all failures forgiven through His blood. Let us start again with renewed resolve to remove the idols of our hearts and replace them with the one true God. Time to set a new goal for this week!

This is Marie who wrote me this week, telling me how God has used the truths in A Woman of Moderation (the same truths we are exploring during Lent to be set free from various idols of the heart) to set her free from gluttony. Here she is, just two months before she is to give birth, 65 pounds lighter than when she began. iSN’T SHE BEAUTIFUL? I want you to see how God transformed her not only on the outside, but on the inside. Marie writes:

“A Woman of Moderation was an answer to my prayers. When I get to heaven I will seek you out and tell you all the wonderful things that have changed in me…I cannot tell you how great it is to be free from this sin that convicted me over and over each day. I felt so far from God. I will also mention (and this is not the most important thing, but an added bonus) that before I was squeezing into size 18 jeans and now am squeezing into size 7.”

Notice Marie says that being set free from being overweight is not the most important thing. She writes first of how miserable her idol of comfort made her. (Idols always promise freedom and relief, but always bring us into bondage.)

Here is a before picture of Marie. This is just after she had given birth. These were her feelings, her desperation:

marie-before-being-set-free2“I couldn’t wait for my heavenly body, the one I would get at the resurrection, new and perfect. … I began to pray. Not for a diet but for a new way of life. I wanted to live a long time for my kids. I heard you say on the radio, gluttony is a sin. I stood convicted. I knew I was responsible. All I heard you say on the radio the next few weeks hit my heart as if God sent it directly to me. I can’t tell you how I anticipated the arrival of “Woman of Moderation.” in the mail.”

The passage we are going to study this week is from the story of Cain in Genesis, which shows that that our idols are not our friends — they enslave us — and the best time to resist them is when they first call. Freedom is possible, as Marie’s story shows us. What awaits us is not only freedom from our cruel idols, but intimacy with God. Marie writes:

“My husband is so thrilled at all the changes. He is the first to notice however that it is my spirit he is most impressed with. He knows more than anyone the soul changing I had to do to get here.  … God changed me, and I believe that he gave me this weakness, knowing He had the power to help me overcome -so I could in turn help many others.”

Marie has offered to mentor others, and I want you to ask her questions. Your “near sin” may be different than gluttony, but the principles are the same, so you don’t need to limit this to this sin. Each of us has a deep idol (or two or three) that calls to us, promising us freedom, but giving us slavery. The true God is the one who really gives us freedom and is the fulfillment of all desire.

In God’s providence, I also got a new letter for an old post (Let’s Be Women of Moderation) from a woman just beginning this journey. I would love for Marie and any of you who feel led to encourage Monica. She writes:

a-woman-of-moderation“My name is Monica.  I just started your workbook it has taken my five weeks to do two weeks of work i keep falling off and on of this wagon, but i don’t stop because “I” win…I am 396..pounds three pounds lighter than last week Praise the Lord……I didn’t realize how bad I had left myself sink…..Image wasn’t an issue cause I Love myself…..but a guy friend told me some time ago when we were discussing food and weight gain…He said you don’t love yourself…. because If the doctors keep telling you to stop eating this way and you know that eating this way is bad for you…….why do you do it if it will hurt you later?…….you have to change that….I did not want to hear that at all it was as if God himself said your body is a temple…… “My body…a Temple?’  I have struggled so much with my weight….not trying to get it off but getting other people to accept that I was happy with my size and not at all wanting to lose weight but secretly wishing I could shop at Lerners and not Lane Bryant….. or on the First floor of Macy’s and not the second…..I new I add reached my max when the Largest size in the plus size store was too small….What is a girl to do…I came across your book……Only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit!  So I purchased it and alone new it was God…Because the eating plan was one that I had started and failed…only out of laziness…and could not remember exactly what it was called when I was ready to try it again…..I have succeeded in stepping out in faith…..This workbook has changed my life the questions and readings are making my rethink my eating…..The Half days are my favorite…because it forces my brain to visualize a little over a lot…..but most importantly I am getting my relationship with God and food in order…..That alone is great!!!! So please pray for me and keep me lifted…I have to get at least 200lbs off…..I am in the danger zone and only because god has kept me I have not had any serious health problems.”

I’d love for you to ask questions of Marie and encourage Monica.

I’d also love for you to relate.

1. How do you relate to these stories? What idol is your focus this week — and how has it promised you good things but given you slavery?

2. Marie says there has been a change in her soul. What changes have you seen in yourself as you are asking God to fill you with Himself and deliver you from your idol?

3. What questions do you have for Marie? (I have some too!)

4. What encouragement do you have for Monica?

Bible Study

Cain and Abel

There is so much in the story. I believe Cain’s deep idol was approval,affirmation and he was galled when his offering was not pleasing to God and his little brother, Abel, brought an offering that was pleasing to God. Instead of repenting, and running into the arms of God, Cain listened to his idol, who obviously lied to him. Though this is a different idol than Marie’s, the principles are the same.

5. Describe what happens in Genesis 4:1-5.

6. How is Cain feeling in Genesis 4:5? Remember Leslie Vernick’s counsel? Pay attention to your body language, to your emotions, for those can be red flags that your idol is calling to you.

7. When your idol is calling to you, what are some typical symptoms in your body and emotions?

8. What question does God ask Cain?

This is an excellent question. When God asks, He never needs information, but is trying to help us see into our souls. This week, when you feel upset, angry, or discouraged — allow God to ask you this question and answer it. If Cain had listened to God, he might have seen that God was asking him to turn from his sin and run to Him. But instead, Cain pushes God away and listens to his idol. Obviously his idol is lying to him, telling him to murder his brother, and then he will feel relief.

9. How does your idol lie to you?

10. What does God tell Cain next in Genesis 4:7? How can you apply this to your struggle with idolatry?

11. This story can help you reflect on the grace and wonder of our Lord — and that will help you replace your idol with Him.

A. Find times where you see God’s grace, concern, and love in Genesis 4:6-16.

B. One of the most powerful prophetic pictures of Christ is in Genesis 4:10. Abel’s blood is crying out from

the ground for justice. When you fail, as you will, if you are honest, every day — every hour — how

can you be confident that your sin has been paid for, that justice has already been met?

12. Has God showed up in your life or your heart in any way this week? Please share and encourage us!

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  1. Marie, I don’t think you look vain. In fact when I first looked at the post and the pictures I saw peace on your face as I still do. I love what you describe here. It is what I want and believe I can have. A soul that eclipses my body no matter what it looks like.
    I have had a very intense evening. Work was hard and unfair. I tried to speak up in love but it did not go very far and I backed down. At home I have struggled with my thoughts and considered a movie to take my mind off them. When I am this tired I can’t focus to read much. But I realize this is the struggle I must endure and win. I got out a list of attributes of God with scriptures to go with them, picked one I liked (Our Father) and looked up the first verse which was Deut. 1:29-31. So I said to you: Don’t be terrified or afraid of them! The Lord your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. And you saw in the wilderness how the Lord your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place.
    I think this is my first real victory and I am happy. Thank you for your advice. I wrote down my fear and His answer to it.

  2. YAHOO! I love the real victories!!

    I can’t tell you how much my heart thrills in these words you write. This is soul food to me, to join with God’s maidens and glean what gifts God gives them. I feel like he somehow nourishes me through your triumph!

    God bless.

    1. Lord, Thank you for another opportunity you have given Dee to minister to women. Lord, empty her and fill her up with you as she speaks. Give her wisdom and help her hone in on women whose hearts you want to draw into you today. Lord I pray that the seeds planted in the hearts of women already through Amy Shreve’s music would go even deeper and that you would tie in Dee’s message even deeper yet into their hearts today. Lord may your name be lifted high today and we ask that the women there would sense your presence whether it comes in a whisper or a hurricane.
      Lord we thank you that your presence is there among these women and thank you that you brought them there to hear what you want to tell them. We pray their hearts will be open and that they would be broken and spilled out before you inside..They would be teachable and willing to listen and not just hear but do..We love you Lord Jesus and thank you for sisters like Amy and Dee who have thirsty hearts wrought out of surrender of their hearts to you..Thank you for the blessings of hard times in their lives in order for them to be at your feet being filled up with you and spilled out onto us. In Jesus precious and holy name we lift up in praise..Amen.

  3. Marie, I so hope that you can stay with us a little longer. You carry with you the fullness of His Spirit and we are being lifted up, revived. I think this is what it means for the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts. As I watch the buds sprout and grow on the trees, I know that this is what is happening here among us and in Dee’s speaking ministry. Perhaps the revival that we have prayed and longed for will break forth now. Teach us how to labor in prayer that we may participate in ushering in Your kingdom.

  4. Marie, Ditto what Anne said! We love you and are thankful for your God breathed encouragement and hope you stay through today. (I must add I hope you stay on a lot longer, but understand if you don’t. 🙂

    I have a question..Where can I go to find healthy ideas for meals..lunch and dinner. Simple and healthy and inexpensive. I don’t care about calorie content because as you said, if it is healthy it doesn’t really matter. I would love to shop at whole foods but really can’t afford it with a family of 6. (Oh, and I am adding that I am now at a healthy, normal weight. Now is when the test comes in to play as to a real change in my heart in this area when I go back to eating a normal diet and increase calorie intake.)

    I go to some good grocery stores but also Wal mart to buy certain things cheaper. I would love to find some farmers markets around here but not sure I would have the time to include that in my shopping experience. It depends on where it is at.

    Do you know of any cook books, websites, etc?


    1. The least expensive foods will require time and effort if they are to be less expensive. It will mean cooking from scratch. There are time savers like baking extra and freezing.
      The best fast food is an apple.
      There are millions of sites and even you tube stuff on whole health. I promise it’s lots less expensive to cook this way than other easy foods ($4.00 box of crackers=one HUGE bag of oranges.) Just as easy, just as enjoyable for kids and adults alike.

      The real thing you’re up against is habit and having to re-educate yourself. That takes time. Don’t go out and buy all these healthy raw foods at once. Start with one new recipe at a time. Other wise you may waste a lot of God given food.

      When you have eight to twelve new recipes- that you like- it is enough to buy all your groceries from. Most people cook the same eight to ten things over and over out of habit. You change those few meals and you will have an easy way to change your habits.

      Good luck!

  5. Monica,

    How are you today? I will pray for you today..Any specific struggles, requests?

  6. hey all-just logging on for some prayer–my husband has a severe case of the stomach bug–so far me & kids are safe, but please pray he’ll get better–he is literally crying out to God right now, so frustrated God hasn’t taken it away…he is also supposed to leave town next week so I’m praying extra we don’t all catch it while he’s gone. But mostly just pray God will show Himself to my husband and heal—thank you dear friends and sisters

    1. Heavenly Father: Bless Elizabeth and her family in this illness guide her in her steps to heal her family. Help her to know the things she can do to help her husband with his health. Help her to know if she needs to pray for an out-right miracle or if there are things you would do to guide the healing process. In the name of thy Son Amen.

      1. oh Marie–thank you so much for taking time to pray with me–it really means SO much to me. I know there are far greater burdens, but it is so hard for me to hear my husband in such pain.
        After your post, I opened my One Yr Bible to today’s psalm–and it was psalm 62–verses 7-8, moved me to tears and I will write it because it applies to us all in our places in this journey here, away from our true home:
        “My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.”

        1. Lord Jesus, Thank you Lord that you are there in the midst of Elizabeth’s husband’s struggle right now. Lord, help Elizabeth to step out in faith tonight and tomorrow as she trusts you in regard to this illness. Give her understanding as she gets into your word as she meets with you Lord and give her husband your peace and your comfort in the midst of this.

      2. Elizabeth, I am praying for your husband, also.

    2. Lord I pray that you will heal Elizabeths husband and/or be very real to him as he is suffering. let him feel you with him and walk through it with him. please protect the rest of the family and give her the strength she needs to handle anything she needs to handle!!!!!

  7. Lord I pray too for health Elizabeth and her family. I pray her husband would soon feel better and that he would find a special blessing in Your nearness to him right now in this illness.

    1. Thank you Anne–I just went and checked on him and he said “ask your blog study friends (that would be you all!) to pray” and I told him we already were. What a gift you all are, thank you.

      1. Just wanted to thank you all SO much for praying! My husband seems miraculously improved today! He does get noro-virus about once a year, and this was by far the worst I’ve ever seen him–but today he has not had any more symptoms and has been able to keep food in–amazing! The rest of us so far have stayed well too. Thank you all so much for being here to pray with me.
        Praying for each of you, and thanking Him for you.

  8. I finished my study questions but have not posted because they are not different from what others have posted.

    Tonight I have been catching up on my Isaiah questions because I am also behind with them.

    But first I must say that I am different today. This morning I went early to the grocery store and found myself singing Good Morning Starshine with the canned music in the store. I have never done that. I have been so joyful and part of it can be the beautiful day this has been, but it is more, I know. There has been difficulty but always I remember Him (my love and me as we sing our early morning singing song).

    So tonight I am studying Isaiah 51 and I want to share some of what has encouraged me. I know we all struggle with different things but I feel pretty sure that whatever the idol He has revealed to us is, it is keeping us from using the gift He has given us.

    To me He says “I have put my words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, in order to plant the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people'” Isaiah 51:16

  9. sorry girls….I have been VERY whiny this week. Im doing so much better today. I have been so sick and today im finally feeling better and read what i wrote…I was having a very bad day:) Im much better now.
    Im so sorry I took so much of your time marie!!!
    pms and strep don’t mix well:)

  10. Cyndi, I am so glad you are feeling better. I appreciate what you wrote because this is such a very real thing that as women we all deal with. We want to look our best and that is a good thing. The question is when are we carrying it too far. Thank you Marie. I think you addressed it well.

  11. Monica, Thank you for your help and I hope you can keep us posted on your progress or stay with us also. I like how you claim your body as the holy temple when your tempted to overeat. Any other points that will help us? You and Marie are very inspiring to me. Thank you both very much. Hope you will stick around!

  12. Marie, I have a question for you. I think there may be women among us desiring intimacy with God who suffer with serious health challenges. This is a time when they so need to feel God near yet I know from experience that He can seem so far away. Do you have any advice that you could give them without knowing their specific challenges?

    1. Anne your questions stump me I’ve been mulling it over for a while.

      Lets talk about the Devil for a minute. When was Jesus tempted by Satan?
      It was not after the people spread palms out on the streets and praised His name. It was not when the Woman anointed His feet, or after the Sermon on the Mount.

      He was low. He had fasted 40 days. His BODY was weak, His will was week.

      The Devil has had over two thousand years practice since that day. And you are not the Son of God. You are toast.

      That is what Satan would have you believe. And it’s SO hard not to when it is your lot. This may very well be your Job experience.

      Now let’s talk about Job. Who in the scriptures gives Satan power over Job?
      God himself. That doesn’t mean God is cruel. What does it mean though?
      It is the most liberating key in all of your search for freedom from your idols.

      If God is Perfect and the epitome of good, is the Devil God’s opposite. Well, yes I suppose, accept this one secret Satan hides from you. He is opposite but not on EQUAL terms by any means.

      God can give you good things to do for good reasons and you will get good results.

      The Devil could never be convincing if he tried to get us to do bad things for bad reasons and promised you bad results. He is bound by God in that he must use bad things for good reasons or good things for bad reasons and only part of the result is bad.

      Do you see? He has to use some of God’s power and gifts.

      The point here is that God is greater than even this struggle. He has power over this. HE is ultimately in control.

      This is not advice. Just an renewing of things you know in your heart when you are feeling well and just forgot because the weakness of the body is great right now.

      Gather those around you with the gifts of God to heal ask the strong to give you strength through their prayers

      1. Yes, I think I see what you mean. Sometimes we just have to hold on to what we know about God, that He is sovereign and good.

  13. Ladies, I found a verse I can use now at the stage I am in in my weight loss and in ‘craving God’ rather than food stage..God sent it to me via a friend in an e-mail. Whenever I am at a potluck, fellowship, or dinner, or wherever, I will speak this to my soul: “All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.” 1 Cor. 10:23.

    Everyone is different in the foods that will cause them to stumble. For me it is totally abstaining from foods that are not beneficial to my body like brownies, pie, ice cream etc..I can honestly say at this point I don’t miss them. I am seeing my life as a new start..a new beginning full of things God is going to teach me about food, about Him and about craving Him over anything else.. Oops, can’t edit this because I have to go so sorry about the scattering. Hope to encourage you all as I was this morning! I really believe God is going to free me totally from this so I don’t go back to bad eating and Marie has given me tons of hope and encouragement in that truth during this journey! Thanks Dee for having her on here!

  14. Curious about a book I heard of called Valley of Vision so I went to look at it on Amazon. On page 6 I found this to pray:sinners repenting, prodigals restored, backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released, blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up, the despondent cheered, the self-righteous stripped, the formalist driven from a refuge of lies, the ignorant enlightened, and the saints built up in their holy faith. We ask great things of a great God. These things we ask for in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ. Thy kingdom come, Amen

  15. I think this is also relevant to our goals: My God, Thou hast helped me to see, that whatever good be in honor and rejoicing, how good is he who gives them, and can withdraw them; that blessedness does not lie so much in receiving good from and in thee, but in holding forth thy glory and virtue: that it is an amazing thing to see Deity in a creature, speaking, acting, filling, shining through it; that nothing is good but thee, that I am near good when I am near thee, that to be like thee is a glorious thing: this my magnet, my attraction.

  16. So glad your home safe, Dee!

    I want to share some special pages from “Love Letter’s from God”. It is a book I picked up somewhere and is very helpful.

    The only way I can think of you seeing them is through facebook. Go to Joyce L. Peterson (Joyce Bond Keim Peterson) and look under the title “Other Pictures” in my photo’s and you will find a few of my favorite pages of this book. Also there is a picture of another book, written by a lady from NE about their special need’s son that just came out and is very good.

    Happy first day Spring! God be the glory!

  17. Hi everyone! I need prayers! I am really in a low pit and I need God to pull me out of it! Thank you!

  18. Before this Blog is over I want to thank everyone for letting me into your lives. It has been a big help to me to see the new incite you all have on these things. There is reason each human being was not placed on their own little island on this earth. We need each other and I have truly been fed by your lovely spirits.

    Dear Monica, thank you for letting us into your freedom struggle. I pray you will enjoy the most intimate desires of your heart. That your freedom will be pure. That you keep the faith. That you will feel God seeking you out, bless you!

    Joyce I promised to tell you more about juice days. I will as soon as I can, I have a sick baby that needs these arms tonight. Pray for me. Thank you for your offered friendship it means a lot to me.

    1. Marie, I’m praying for you and your precious baby and your whole family. Bless you