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Journaling
November 1, 2016ArticlesComments Off on Journaling

I have valued journaling as a spiritual discipline since the early 80’s, shortly after coming to faith in Jesus. I was a “gutter rescue” in The Father’s house and the process of sanctification and healing was written up in my daily journal. It was a messy process but the Holy Spirit used this practice to create in me an awareness of my inner life (seriously messy!) and to keep a record of the process of Him shoveling out the garbage and uncovering the treasure.

For this reason, one of the “pillars” of the 40 day LIGHTEN UP journey – in fact, TIGHTEN UP and even BRIGHTEN UP too – remains, keeping a record of your 40 day experience.

It’s a practice that creates mindfulness.  It has been used to stir gratitude – remember Ann Voskamp (http://onethousandgifts.com/a-letter-from-ann) who dared thousands to live FULLY, right where we were.  Arthur Burk, John Piper and Sam Storm (http://www.samstorms.com) , were all used in my journey to confirmed and give explanation to a deep conviction that all men are created by God with a JOY BASE.  The capacity for joy and the desire to find joy is written onto every human heart!  Life, sin and wounds can damage that inner JOY BASE CAMP to such an extent that it will take quite something to find it again, to clean it up and to then service and maybe even extend it!  Thankfully, God is not afraid of messy and is committed to the restoring all His vandalized works of art!

his-workmanshipA Jesuit of the 1500’s, Ignatius Loyola (another messy life!) taught a discipline called EXAMEN.  It involved 4 basic steps in reviewing your day with God and then praying forward into the next day. Reading about it reminded me of the dinner-table tradition in our home called High’s and Low’s.  At dinner each evening, every member of the family had to share their best moment and their worst. It was an opportunity for connection, compassion, celebration and certainly discipleship.

There’s no right or wrong way to keep a journal, it just needs to work for you.  I’ve always favoured the old fashioned, write it down in longhand kind of way. The slowness of the process is valuable to me.  It helps me uncover my thinking, but recently I have been using a brand new method called DAY ONE.  It’s not new – been around since 2011, but I’ve been testing it as another option to those who value the whole idea of journaling but find themselves unable to consistently practice it.
It’s an app on my phone.  I’m able to celebrate WONDER by putting in a picture of my highlight. The immediacy of the entry is nice for me.  A song, a “key” SMS – all these I can enter immediately.  In the evenings I can savour, review and prayerfully process my day. My appointment book or diary and my journal have always been one book, because my everyday life is the matrix through which God’s kingdom either comes or doesn’t. This app lets me enter appointments in the future and edit past entries as needed. And storage is so much simpler. You might want to take a look. http://dayoneapp.com/

One of the things I discerned directly from journaling, was some of the nuances in my relationship with TIME.  One of the early patterns I found was the nightmares that occurred only at full moon.  With no real understanding I was still able to sever myself from whatever caused that destructive pattern. Those who attended our CHRONOS and KAIROS retreat will have done similar work on their timelines.

Finally I want to say that I know many people who live deliberately, who represent Jesus very well in this life and who do not journal. As with most spiritual disciplines – they have no value in and of themselves unless they position us before God more receptively.

To those who criticize the practice, I remind you that the scriptures on which we base our salvation came through about 40 “journallers” or scribes, who left us our sacred foundation.

Break your weight plateau with INTERMITTENT FASTING
October 24, 2015ArticlesComments Off on Break your weight plateau with INTERMITTENT FASTING

All the greats of the Bible were fasters.  Actually MANY world-changers in history, were habitual fasters. And for those of you who are doing all you can, (see the website www.litenuf.co.za for the 7 basics of wellness) BUT your weight is not shifting and you are still a distance from your God-given “original design” – I want to suggest that THIS might be your missing key.

Discussed in the LIGHTEN UP journal on day 21, intermittent fasting is the biblical two-meal-a-day pattern.  Another very effective introduction to this concept, is to keep fasting until lunchtime.   Hopefully you’ve replaced “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” in your head, with “eat only when hungry”, but the 16:8 pattern, which is keeping your night fast for 16 hours and then resuming normal, healthy REAL food eating for the other 8, is in fact another simple way to break a weight plateau. Keep drinking water.  Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.  I even drink the odd cup of coffee to kick start my day, but no solid food. Ideally your fluids should be without calories, but even with a milked coffee, the results have been good.  

Warning: If you are still addicted to sugar then this is not recommended.  (PF) Partial Fasting ie full abstinence of sugar, is the 101 of FASTING and should not be preceded by (IF) intermittent fasting.  Your hunger and cravings will just be enhanced! This is exactly why we only introduce it in the LIGHTEN UP program on day 21, once your sugar dependence is broken. But if you’re free of your sugar addiction, give IF a go and let me know how you get on!
God bless your efforts to be the best version of YOU as you partner with The Holy Spirit.

This article was extracted from LITENUF news Sept/Oct 2015Fasting (resized)

Lighten Up – www.joymag.co.za – July 2010
March 25, 2011ArticlesComments Off on Lighten Up – www.joymag.co.za – July 2010

LIGHTEN UP –

GET YOUR SPIRIT INTO SHAPE!

PULLER

Vivienne Heath exchanged her obsession with food for godly balance: ‘I don’t want to count calories, I want my life to count!’

INTRODUCTION

Vivienne Heath and Retha Redelinghuys from Pretoria are two inspiring women who decided to stop counting calories and start counting their intake of spiritual food. Coming from two completely different backgrounds, they are the hearts behind the 40-day journey, ‘Lighten Up’, of which there is also an Afrikaans version, ‘Leef Lig’. This out-of-the-ordinary program will upgrade your health status by shifting the focus from strict dieting to nurturing your spirit-connection with God.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

God directed these two women’s steps to meet many years ago: Retha has been the administrator of the ministry ‘Fit for Praise’ for over 12 years – a praise and worship fitness concept that Vivienne started 18 years ago (now that sounds like my kind of exercise!) They believe that their life experiences, failures and victories, qualify them more than any course on nutrition they have ever done.

It is in fact Vivienne’s daughter, 23-year old Jess, who inspired ‘Lighten Up’. In 2006, Jess came home from London with 9 extra kilograms and a few health challenges that she wanted to shed! She approached her mother with a desperate heart: ‘Mommy, can you help me?’

Prompted by God, Vivienne asked Jess to give her 40 days of obedience… Here were 40 opportunities to say something to Jess that could change her life. During this time she daily emailed Jess lessons she had learned from her own struggles with health and wellness, and as messages were sent from her computer to her daughter’s, Jess stepped into the life of abundance God planned for us. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30).

JOIN THE JOURNEY

If you desire a fresh start, put on your comfy shoes and walk along. ‘Lighten Up’ assists you in taking the weight off your body, soul and spirit. You can participate even if you are not interested in losing weight, but are longing for spiritual rejuvenation: there are separate sections for those who want to shed the unwelcome holiday kilos!

‘Lighten Up’ includes a manual, a 40-day journal, as well as a gift pack, which contains, amongst other motivational goodies, a pedometer – yes, ladies: you are going to get moving! Here it is certainly not about being thin, but about having godly balance in your life. Vivienne is convinced that the enemy wants to keep us obsessed with anything other than the life-changing person of Jesus.

Here is a journey you will not have to endeavour alone. For the 40 days you set apart, Vivienne and Retha will be praying for you each day and they will be available via email to ‘coach’ you en-route. Commit to three days of preparation before the 40-day journey and spending a minimum of 20 private minutes with God each day for the 40 days.

FASTING, NOT STARVING

During this time you will also learn how fasting can bring godly balance and release into your life. Retha explains that ‘fasting is the biblical discipline that humbles our flesh and gives our spirits a chance to rise up and interface with God’. According to Vivienne, ‘starving is about you, but fasting is about co-labouring with God to see His Kingdom come’.

We should not dread fasting but see it as an opportunity to deny ourselves for a higher cause. God schools us in ‘baby steps’: you can, for example, only fast rusks for a day – don’t be a hero and fast that soft, warm bread for life! With each small step comes God’s grace to obey and obedience results in freedom.

FREEDOM FROM FOOD!

Vivienne’s daughter, Jess, enjoys her newly found freedom: ‘I lost 9 kilograms and I have renewed zest. I love that it is more about time with Jesus than fixating on what you eat, when you exercise and what your weight is.’ The Scriptures teach us that we have died to the basic principles of this world: so “why, as though [we] still belonged to it, do [we] submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’?” (Col 2: 20-23)

‘Lighten Up’ turns the focus from self to Him. “Let your roots grow down into Him, and draw up nourishment from Him.” (Col 2:7) We need to feed our spirits first and from this will come freedom: it will not come from man’s own willpower.

I have had a peek into the 40-day journal, and let me tell you: this journey will not be boring! The pages are filled with cute icons, interesting facts on nutrition, intimate devotions with God and the most refreshing and inspiring photos. Go for it: ‘Lighten Up’ and get your spirit into shape!

SIDEBARS

Five simple and affordable power foods:

* Green apples
* Oats
* Eggs
* Tuna
* Bananas

Five foods that will fail you:

* Sugar
* Transfatty acids (found in most commercially baked goodies)
* Preservatives (eat what God made!)
* Lean/sugar-free” products that are artificially sweetened
* Colourants (if you can’t pronounce it – don’t eat it!)

Five ways to increase your activity levels:

* Get a puppy and a leash.
* Arrange to meet the girls at the Mall for a serious group-walk.
* Do a daily prayer walk in your area.
* Get a skipping rope if your area is not safe for lone-walking.
* Avoid lifts and escalators.

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth
September 19, 2010ArticlesComments Off on Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

Reading this myself at the moment – given it to a well-read LITeNUFER to review, so ……watch this space for a synopsis of this book – the latest book of this nature to be endorsed and promoted by Oprah Winfrey.          viv 20/09/2010

I have finished the above mentioned book and submit the following thoughts until the awaited review comes in….

Geneen Roth’s view of God:”I don’t believe in the God with long-white hair and x-ray vision that favors some people, some countries, some religions and not others.  I don’t believe in the sky dweller, the knower of all things, the granter of prayers.  But I do believe in the world beyond appearances and that there is so much we can’t see or touch or know by just looking. I believe in love.  And beauty.  I believe that if you follow this love all the way to its end, if you start with the thing you find most beautiful and trace its perfume back to its essence, you will perceive a intangible presence, a swath of stillness that allows the thing you love to be visible like the openness of the sky reveals the presence of the moon.”

The problem: “Women turn to food when they are not hungry because they are hungry for something they can’t name:
a connection to what is beyond the concerns of daily life.  Something deathless, something sacred.”
Here Geneen and I are in total agreement!

The goal of the book: Geneen wants to get you to eating with moderation, freedom from obsessive, compulsive eating, to a place where you can trust and listen to signals of your body.  Absolutely!!

A summary of her methodology to get her students to this goal: 1. Tracing the pain or the trigger to its source and  recognising that compulsive eating is a way of self-medicating an issue too painful to face. eg. loneliness, unworthiness, deprivation, self-loathing, the feeling of being damaged in some way.2. Learning that there is part of you that is not damaged and accessing that. 3. Using daily meditation to learn to inhabit your own body, your own life.  Becoming present with yourself.4.Learning to shut out “The Voice” that makes you feel defeated, incapable, inferior.5. Learning to live and eat deliberately, without distractions.

Geneen and I agree on much.  We long to see people set free from complusive, destructive habits that cause us to simply survive – until we die.  We both long to see people stop living “autistic existances” and get authentic lives, full of genuine LIVING .  Our methods of getting people to this goal even share some common threads.

Where we disagree is about “accessing the part of you that is not damaged” because in her thinking. “damage is learned not innate” .  I believe that we are flawed, that we are  born flawed – and therefore in need of redemption.  That there is not a sufficient deposit of the sacred within us naturally, to heal us and lead us into a new way of living, unless we receive the indwelling Christ as our Saviour and the very essence and source of LIFE itself.

viv heath

21/09/2010

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth  reviewed by Gail Ziegelmeier

I am one of those people who have tried just about every diet known to man and yet I still find that I have not found success in any of them – I am still overweight. I have lost many kgs in my life but somehow managed to find them again – attached to my waist.

I had recently done the ‘Lighten up’ journey (lost some weight and had a few life changes) and woke up one morning and reread all that God has said to me over the 40 days. When I came home from work, for a change I didn’t have anything pressing in on me so I sat down to relax and watch some TV and managed to catch Oprah. She was interviewing Geneen Roth who wrote the New York Times bestseller book, Women Food and God. My ears pricked, thinking about what I had read in the morning in my journal. I watched the program and then shot out and bought the book as she had definitely put her finger on a few the patterns that drive me. So here is my review of the book.

From the outset I need to say I would hazard a guess that most of the Litenufers wouldn’t define God the way Geneen does, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because I really think there is value in this book. The basic philosophy may not appear obviously Christian but truth is truth.

Geneen basically says what you eat, how you eat, when you eat and where you eat is a reflection of what is happening in your life. Why do you do the things you do around food ? What makes you eat, overeat, binge etc

When we turn to food when we are lonely, sad bored, overwhelmed, there is something we are believing and then acting out. We believe eating the food will make us feel better. If I can just have a piece of cake then I will feel better.  Your beliefs show up in your relationship with food. If we eat when we are feeling these feelings then we are saying we can’t feel these feelings, they will overwhelm us. In that moment we make ourselves small and insignificant. The truth is, eating the food in that moment doubles our pain because the pain is still there and now we feel even worse because of the binge we just had.

Our response is to go on a diet. All that dieting results in is more self hated and self loathing and eating.

What we need to do is have the courage to stop in that moment and identify these compulsions. Many of us don’t want to stop we would rather ‘bolt’ as Geneen says. We don’t want to identify them because we believe it will be too painful so we medicate with food numbing ourselves.  What we don’t realise is that this very pain is the doorway to the freedom we so desire.

Some of us have identified why we overeat, binge, and eat when we are not hungry. Geneen takes us a step further and helps you stop, look and feel what the reason is, but then to move beyond being trapped at that ‘frozen place’. She encourages you to get rid of the baggage that keeps you repeating the same patterns day in and day out, year in and year out. She encourages you to move on, love yourself and live your best life.

She gives you practises to help in this process of moving forwards:

The first practise is to really acknowledge and identify or think in detail what your body and mind are feeling in the moment and why. What experience caused these feelings? Secondly she encourages meditation- 20 minutes to start a day, to quieten your mind to all its daily thoughts and open it up to feeling, hearing,  going beyond the day to day.  Next she helps you with every breath you take to live you best life, you are here on this day for a reason and whether your body is perfect or not stop the war with your body and come home to it, love it- don’t miss out on life. The last practise is to identify what she calls The Voice (also known as the super-ego, the inner critic or the internalised parent). Basically the Voice is the principles that have been instilled in you and formed your thinking patterns and responses from your parents or others when you were growing up. There are however some of those principles that are not always truth and helpful to you. The Voice saps your energy, steps in when you want to challenge the status quo etc. She encourages you to disengage from the Voice or your decisions will always be based in fear instead of longing for truth.

She then moves on and speaks about eating and dieting and she then introduces the guidelines what they are and what they are not. She identifies two types of compulsive eaters: Restrictors and Permitters and how they behave.  She then talks about loving your body by listening to your body and only eating what your body asks for. Her experience was seeing how her body only eventually asked for nutritive food and all other food that in the past she would crave lost its appeal. She encourages you on a path to being present in the moment when you eat which opens you up to freedom in many areas.  It is important to note that her 7 eating guidelines are only a tool to open the doorway to this journey.  

Some people might be suspicious of some of the practises she advocates, every one of them is a recognised practice in Christian circles, but there is however a slightly different emphasis and God is central. So in following what she proposes in the book I would adjust hers to what we believe. I would encourage you to speak to Viv with any questions in this regard.

I think you can exchange the word Food with anything that is an obsession in your life (exercising , watching TV, shopping) because it needs looking at. Lastly, I feel this book has real value and as a Christian would recommend reading  it, with the Trinity peering over your shoulder having Their say along the way!

28/09/10

 We invite your comments.


Viv answers questions about fasting
June 12, 2010ArticlesComments Off on Viv answers questions about fasting

1. Fasting is an Old Testament practice no longer relevant to the New Covenant.

Jesus endorsed fasting as a lifestyle (Matt. 6:16), suggesting that once the Bridegroom (He) is gone away, then His followers would fast. (Mark 2:18). He even said that certain kinds of demonic entities responded only to prayer and fasting – suggesting that there is a certain authority that is gained in spiritual warfare when we fast. In this story a whole group of disciples (in agreement) could not bring about deliverance. (Matt. 17:21)

2. Fasting “supercharges” my prayers.

Fasting is not a way to “twist God’s arm” to do things our way in a particular situation. Fasting is a way to humble ourselves and to more accurately discern His will in a situation so that you may submit and co-operate to see His will established. Fasting is never about YOU or YOUR WILL. Fasting is always about God and His Kingdom being established in the earth – beginning within me!

3. Fasting is an indication of one’s piety and holiness.

Like every discipline associated with Christianity, fasting can be done in the flesh for fleshly recognition and affirmation or with genuine reverential longing for more of God in your life. (Matt. 6:16) Take the study of scripture: Cerebral word study will give you knowledge – knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1). If you study God’s Word to know Him more intimately, with a dependence on His Spirit to teach, counsel and change you, you will gain knowledge & wisdom. One feeds the carnal man, the other will nurture your spirit.

So fasting should be an indication of your hunger for more of God, more of His Kingdom.

4. Fasting is a very radical approach to excess weight.

Addressing any addiction, I think the Biblical, tried and tested approach is total abstinence. When we address an alcoholic we rehabilitate this way. We do not try and get him to be responsible for just 2 drinks a day! Reality: Being overweight is the result of habitual overeating or under-exercising, unless we are dealing with a medical problem. Usually there is a particular food (sugar, dairy, wheat) that habitually causes the person to SIN. If your hand causes you to sin, chop it off. (Mark 9:43).  If you “enslaved” to sugar, fast it for a set period asking God to work a work of deliverance within you.

We so fear anything “radical” we have become lukewarm in our approach to God and His Kingdom. Instead of a formidable army we pose no real threat to the enemy and his ongoing plans of destruction and devastation on the earth.

5. Fasting is too difficult and sets me up for failure.

In a world obsessed with “my rights” and awash with a sense of self-entitlement, Biblical fasting, (the denial of your comfort, fleshly preferences or appetite) is a powerful spiritual statement and one the church should be making.

Do not be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:2)

In my experience, fasting with a desire to be finished and free from the stronghold certain foods and certain destructive patterns had in my life, was life-changing! I am learning now to “co-labour” with the Lord on His agenda through fasting and prayer. Small steps of obedience. Great joy!

6. Fasting will slow down my metabolism and I will get fatter.

Any good health book will speak about fasting as a health practise. One day a week. Drinking lots of water. It rests the digestive system in order to release the body to manage the other processes in the body. Even diabetics can fast in a controlled and monitored way. A Daniel fast (fruit and vegetables only) is a great way to start. Starving yourself can slow down your metabolic rate – fasting is something entirely different.

7. Is there anyone who should not fast?

Nope. If a community wish to see an Adult shop move out of their neighbourhood they should gather a group of men who will commit to fasting of any media except the Bible for a period of 3 months. A deliberate, intentional period of avoiding anything even with the “appearance” of sexual compromise would give them great authority to pray for the removal of the Adult shop.

A married couple can, by mutual agreement, fast of their rightful sexual pleasures for a set period for the purpose of prayer. (1 Cor. 7:5)

There may be medical reasons that a person should avoid fasting of food in total, but no reason a person couldn’t fast of certain foods. God is wanting to establish within us a fasted lifestyle – a surrender to Him that gives Him access to much more of us. Fasting is one of the Biblical responses to the command of God to “humble ourselves” under His mighty hand. (1 Pet. 5:6)

8. Should I avoid telling anyone when I am fasting?

Secret fasting is Biblical. (Matt. 6:16-17) This helps cultivate your “God connection” and nurtures intimacy in your love relationship with God. If you have a history in bulimia or anorexia I would recommend that you remain accountable to someone mature in the Lord when you feel called to fast. This is for your own safety. Especially if the boundaries around food are still a bit blurry for you. This will certainly not “dilute” the effect of the fast. “To be seen by men” is what we are trying to avoid.

9. What can I expect when I fast?

You can expect discomfort, inconvenience, “time” seems to slow down. You can even expect that your carnal nature might demand to be satisfied in another way. eg. Denial of food can cause you to now want to “shop till you drop”, but as you humble and control (self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit) your flesh, your spirit becomes more sensitive. You might find you “hear” God, discern or experience the spirit realm more accurately. Keep yourself covered under the protection of the blood of the Lamb and face and deal with the things that surface within you. Biblical fasting looses bonds of wickedness, undoes the bands of the yoke, sets the oppressed free … but it does not release us from walking in righteous relationships with those around us. It still includes the sharing of your bread with the hungry, caring for the homeless and covering the naked. –  THEN …

Your light will break out like the dawn, your recovery will speedily spring forth. Your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will  be your rear guard … fantastic chapter Isaiah 58.

10. What should I do during  my fast? 

Keep your daily appointments with God – wait expectantly. Feast on His word. Keep your heart abounding in brotherly love …

11. How long is a Biblical fast?

The Bible records weekly Jewish fasting. Anna was a widow who served in the Temple with fastings and prayer, awaiting the Messiah. (Luke 2:36-37)

Judges 20:26 tells of a fast that lasted until sunset – where guidance was sought.

2 Sam. 12:22 tells the story of David’s heartbreak over his illegitimate son from Bathsheba which appears to have lasted for 7 days. His explanation for the fasting was to beg the Lord for mercy for this sick child. The child died. David washed his face, asked for some food and went to the Temple to worship the Lord saying that he had received his answer from the Lord. It was a “No”.

Daniel fasted for 21 days. (Daniel 10). His answer was delayed 21 days, by a battle in the heavenlies.

Esther, the Jews (and her servants) fasted food and water for three days to stave off the massive demonic onslaught on the Jewish people and the Messianic bloodline! (Esther 4:15-17) Here God’s answer was “Yes!”

Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days. Moses, twice, to receive the Law that would “guard” the Israelites until Christ. Jesus, before He entered His ministry and chose His 12.

By “mutual agreement” – 1 Cor. 7:5. This is a matter between you, your spouse and the Lord.

Sometimes we fast in community – very powerful. A congregation can fast for an agreed period, for a greater measure of God’s Kingdom to come IN them, THROUGH them. Fasting in “agreement” is the same as praying in agreement, it just cements the “agreement” for the chosen period. (Matt. 18:19)

Recommended Reading:

Fasting by Jentezen Franklin

Fasting by Derek Prince

How to Fast Successfully by Derek Prince