2019 Dietary Makeover: 41 Days and Counting-A Commitment to Self-Care


1 Slice of Toasted Ezekiel Bread with Almond Butter (A common snack while studying)

First I want to apologize for the delay in posting status updates. In the 2nd week of this experience my life became really busy. I am maintaining the regimen I have shared thus far. I never appreciated the sustenance nuts provide to a healthy lifestyle. They are amazing! Allow me to specifically share with you how my commitment to self-care is changing my life for the better.

What is self-care? Using my own words, I define the term as any and all behaviors I employ to be good to myself. Prayer, Bible study, meditation and regular ministry outlets are aspects of self-care in my routine for over 20 years. So I am focusing on other self-care behaviors that directly connect to my 2019 Dietary Makeover.

  1. Intermittent Fasting – “Clean and Lean” living incorporates this process into the experience. My current fasting schedule is 14 hours a day – for the past 41 days. When I started out I feared I was overzealous in my effort to fast. I was so wrong! The Lord became my focus in ways where I was overlooking opportunities to experience God because food was such a stronghold. Upon releasing from its grip, I found the grip of Christ Jesus and His word to be far more satisfying. And so it is from day to day.
  2. Regular Body Movement – In the first month I made walking an intentional self-care experience. It began by deciding to park in the farthest row away from any retail outfit I visit. This season of heat in Atlanta is extreme. 90+ degree weather would normally be an excuse to avoid walking. Yet I found myself walking the entire distance of the parking lot of various Kroger supermarkets before and after my shopping experience. Secondly, I walk around the neighborhood regularly. I have even went to the gym and walked on the treadmill on a couple of times. Finally, I regularly take the stairs at school and, at home, make a point of going up and down the stairs at least 5 times a day.
  3. The stairs are a key element of progress with self-care I must tell you about. In the past, my disability made me avoid the stairs like the plague. Stairs were my nemesis for over 10 years. Avoiding them seemed like a justifiable form of self-care. The pain associated with walking up or down stairs made the experience difficult physically and mentally. I can not tell you how much I have not done because of stairs. I suffered greatly because of the dilemma stairs presented. Pain and weakness were a constant experience. “But God, who is rich in mercy..has quickened us together in Christ (by grace I am saved).”(Ephesians 2:4-5) Fear about taking the stairs is now overridden with daily faith in the resurrecting power of Christ in me raising me up out of “I can’t” and I am experiencing “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13). Week after week I continue to be amazed at the physical strength and endurance in me by being willing to try stairs and walking with pain.
  4. Preparing Healthy Meals – I have always been a great cook. My culinary skills were influenced by my mom, aunts and countless others who took the time to show me how… and there is nothing I can’t cook. Unhealthy cooking was my norm. Today, with the help of the 12 rules laid out in “Clean and Lean,” I now have guardrails to keep me on course with my Dietary Makeover. I eat salads regularly, infused with pecans/walnuts/almonds, dried cranberries, healthy vinaigrette self-prepared, grilled/broiled chicken/salmon after preparing fresh romaine lettuce, fresh spinach, green/yellow/red/orange peppers, cucumbers and onions as the standard items. I create all sorts of combinations which never disappoint. I cook hot food entrees using only chicken or fish with brown rice and fresh/frozen vegetables when time permits. I am slowly moving towards weekly meal prep skills to minimize my time in the kitchen. I have learned that it is important to spend time with food planning to avoid opportunities to indulge in unhealthy eating. Healthy snacking with fruit/almond butter combinations and/or almonds are always on the menu too!
  5. AVOID FAST FOOD – This is by far the most significant self-care exercise I have initiated. My ignorance about the practice of regular fast food visits being a form of self-harm eluded me for far too long. The commitment has set me free from the bondage of overeating/unhealthy eating facilitated with the ease of placing an order in the Drive-thru. There are still times when the thought of a double-cheeseburger and fries still becomes tempting. The biggest deterrent is the drink order. I can no longer have the drive-thru experience because I detest all of the beverage choices and it does not make sense that I order water with the meal. Therefore, I consistently resist the temptation and avoid the outlets altogether.

The next post will include more pictures. I am starting to wear my clothes differently because of the weight loss and decrease in inches around my waist. The goal is still the same. The 2019 Dietary Makeover will enable me to go anywhere, do anything and no longer be enslaved by unhealthy eating. Improving my eating habits will ultimately improve the way I look, feel and live. It’s a win win scenario with Heavenly benefits because I must keep my trust in Christ Jesus each and every day. “For without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God…” (Hebrews 11:1) By the way, this is how the Conqueror Lifestyle is achieved. My podcast will start on October 10, 2019.

“It Ain’t Easy; It’s an Experience”(DDP) – Day 10: 2019 Dietary Makeover


I Still Feel Good!

Changing the way I eat, at this stage in life, is not easy. The experiences are akin to climbing a mountain. My success so far gives me more insight regarding the difficulty. It was simple for me to consume unhealthy meals and/or snacks. However, once I became willing to invest in healthy choices, the SIMPLICITY vanished. A changed dietary lifestyle becomes a catalog of experiences – occasions to experience God more intimately and episodes designed to prepare me to help others who are struggling. My dietary makeover is a productive investment in me.

I became exhausted with living a sedentary lifestyle due to physical disability. My behaviors need to change in order to realize different results. This is especially true in the investment world. When you are in denial of or dishonest about unfavorable rates of return, you are likely to suffer great loss. Investments are either productive or non-productive. Concerning my dietary investments, my health and body have greatly suffered as my returns have consistently been unproductive regarding quality of life. The more honesty I practice the more willing I become to change my investments.

The Natural vs the Spiritual

It is easy to be driven by sinful unhealthy impulses in the flesh. It is an experience to spiritually die to the flesh daily and live the Conqueror Lifestyle spiritually. I was invested in using food impulses to make me feel better. History has shown my dietary lifestyle was an unproductive investment in self. If I thought about it, I ate it – my dietary lifestyle was that specific. Regular emotional eating of unhealthy fried foods, sugary and/or salty snacks, vegetables cooked with fatty meats and lots of salt and a bevy of favorite desserts was an easy way of being regularly detached from a healthy lifestyle. The fast food industry enabled me to double down on my poor investment.

A dietary makeover is NOT easy! Similarly climbing a mountain is difficult. Healthy dietary productivity becomes possible when you understand there will be opportunities to realize victory over fast-food cravings, late night eating and overall unhealthy food choices as a new way of eating is on the horizon. This is what I experience every time I engage the Facebook Community of “Clean and Lean” subscribers. I am empowered spiritually by the Conqueror Lifestyle and naturally every time I connect to Dr. Ian’s content.

The combination of “Clean and Lean,” the product I use (I will unveil it on Day 20) and daily connection to the 10 Spiritual Directives of LiveTCL, are investments I have chosen to redefine my diet and redesign my active lifestyle.

Now, I know the returns will not come quickly. This productive investment is a long-term endeavor. I am be grateful for all results while I continue to embrace the daily experiences. I will not be deceived by self-defeating ploys for instant gratification like I used to. My gratitude is primarily based in God’s grace, loving-kindness and power. I am more than a conqueror through Him that loved me!

Yesterday I Won Over a Struggle

Here’s my inspiration for this post. I was having a great dietary morning/afternoon. The struggle to eat unhealthy food came, once again, as the result of seeing a McDonald’s commercial. At first I wanted to eat pancakes. Then I started thinking about making an iced lemon pound cake. The final thought was for White Castle double cheeseburgers and fries. The struggle with unhealthy choices became real intense! In the progression, the idea that I was doing well on the makeover and DESERVED a treat surfaced. My response was to use urban language and have a honest conversation with myself about what I REALLY deserved. Without sharing the specific content of my discussion w/ self, here are some of the highlights:

  • “You are not even hungry”
  • “Those foods you are thinking of are killing you, INCLUDING MICKY DEES”
  • “You deserve a better quality of life than to be fat, unhealthy and sedentary”
  • “You deserve the freedom to choose healthy options”
  • “Jesus Christ is your gateway to the freedom you need”
  • “Stop letting your sinful thinking influence you”
  • “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13)
  • “Walk by faith; not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7)
  • “Endure hardship (suffer trouble) like a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3)

My new investment is in the POWER OF CHRIST in me! I can do ALL things through Him, not self. He made it possible to live in me, so why not be more willing to invest in me? He’s in me! I ended up having a good time with the Lord, enjoying the comforts of home and eating “Clean and Lean” to conclude Day 9. God is faithful to ALWAYS be there in moments of temptation, struggle and unhealthy options to keep us from falling. In Christ, we can remain steadfast, unmovable and determined to stay committed to the investments He has given us the opportunity to make.

Day 5: Dietary Makeover & I FEEL GOOD!


It is Day 5 and I am not HUNGRY!!! To God be the glory for getting to this all important milestone (future posts w/b every 5 days). Here are some of the developing details:

  1. I am sleeping soundly
  2. I wake up with energy
  3. I drink 2 smoothies a day – 1 before 10 am and the other before 830 pm
  4. I eat 1 meal a day that is low in carbs and high in protein and fat – after much research I realized that this would be my starting formula – AVOID ALL WHITE PRODUCTS LIKE THE PLAGUE (a DIRECTIVE from Dr. Ian Smith “Clean and Lean”)
  5. I use a SPECIFIC PRODUCT – I will endorse eventually – in my smoothies:
    • It keeps me full
    • It tastes great
    • I mix it with coffee/almond milk every morning
    • I mix it w/ green vegetables and berries at night
    • The more cubed ice the better
    • I AM NOT HUNGRY and I AM EXPERIENCING INCREASED ENERGY DAILY
  6. My thoughts are clear WITHOUT the food obsession/cravings/greed manifestations
  7. I am more connected to Jesus Christ in my daily prayer life
  8. I NEED TO MOVE MY BODY – walking in place/standing in stead of sitting while watching TV, daily walking outside (with my disability I am realizing more progress with stamina with the aide of my devices) and I am working my abs while listening to House Music w/ light cardio movements.
  9. I drink water when I am thirsty
  10. NO MORE LATE NIGHT SNACKING WITH CAKES/PIES/COOKIES/POTATO CHIPS/CANDY/ICE CREAM

I Do Not Think About or Focus on Weight Loss in My Daily Routine

I believe the weight will come off over time. I did not accumulate it in 60-90 days – this body started developing in 2006. Most of all, I have a commitment to NO LONGER LIVING A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE. I am CONVINCED it is the primary cause of ALL my weight/health issues.   However I have natural bowel movements daily. I also recognize the deflating of my belly – at some point I will share the pictures of it the night before I started the makeover. My focus is on re-establishing what I put into my body and listening to how my body is speaking to me. I have a firm belief in the process of Spiritual regeneration/renewal. For clarity read Faith in CPR² DAILY.

Therefore, my soul gets the overflow of my spiritual regeneration/renewal. As the overflow continues it has profound effects on my body. Conqueror Ministries platform introduces my personal belief in the tenets of 2 Corinthians 5 – I am a new creature in Christ: “Old things passed away(died i.e. Galatians 2:20), new things have come” (v.17). This is the process of Spiritual development/growth most Christians want to wish away/deny/bypass.

The older I get the more I become aware of the fact that I must die to the flesh so that the Spirit of Christ in me can introduce me to “new life.” I wrote about this: Conqueror Ministries Suit Up Series.  6 days ago, absent of utilizing the “helmet of salvation,” I was allowing for the works of the flesh to manufacture deceitful/deceptive ideology about food which produced lies I believed. In the past 5 days the helmet is firmly affixed, my mind is stayed on the LORD and the truth continues to set me free from the bondage of poor eating choices. 

I Feel Good Gif 2

After 21 days I will begin to follow Dr. Ian’s 30 Day plan for the development of consistent progress in the #2019DietaryMakeover.  I can only hope and pray that this report will continue to be relative to my experiences on this leg of the journey. I firmly believe that my use of the #LiveTCL Directives (10 Spiritual Directives to live by featured in my upcoming book releases) are majorly responsible for these results. This joy that I have the world did/can not give to me. In the wake of all the National Terrorism in the news, I have a blessed hope in our Savior Jesus Christ and his uninterrupted/unfailing love. By His grace, I am more than a conqueror through Him.

 

Willing to Help Others


There is always someone who is in need of help. Driving through Atlanta it is clear to me that people are struggling. The homeless need shelter, food, clothing while the drug addicts need a dose of self honesty to stop the downward cycle of self-destruction. Commuters encounter each other in the hustle and bustle of hard work, appointment making and networking often in need of help just to smile. Hell, I need help just to cope with the mental, emotional and physical demands of being me – a middle-aged man called by God to preach, teach and live to serve others as a vessel of Light. There is a solution!

Helping others is spiritual. It promotes selfless acts of love inspired by inwardly receiving the love of Christ ourselves. Jesus Christ is love. We would not know true love if it was not first demonstrated by Him towards us. “We love Him because He first loved us.”(1 John 4:19)  His loving kindness is so enduring it progressively proves the excellence that is God’s faithfulness towards us. No one else in this world is going to love us like Him. His love is spiritual and great enough to influence that which is natural and earthly. Through His love in us, we become willing to help others experience real love through giving, caring, sharing, laughing and releasing it into the lives of others.

Agape love is the love of Christ characterized in 1 Corinthians 13. I Corinthians 13 GraphicHere’s how it works for me:

  1. When I see my ex-wife happy in another relationship and/or my associates happy in their marriages and family lives, my selfishness can make me bitter, disinterested and aloof. Agape love is patient, kind and is not jealous. Through Christ I can be glad for their happiness and thankful for the happiness I have know in my former marriage and family. I can and do celebrate their lives unselfishly.
  2. – my adult children’s safety, their financial stability and life choices –  Here is where I become fixated on controlling tactics to influence outcomes in others that will make me feel better about myself. The fact is agape love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails. Through Christ I can experience the peace of God through His love effectually embracing me spiritually. It is so powerful it enables me to experience faith overriding my fear. In the moment of someone’s crisis, I can “be” a staple of love, kindness, wisdom, hope and willing to help others – loved ones, strangers, members of the Body of Christ, etc.

In myself (my flesh) I am unwilling to be of help (service) to anyone unless I am getting something out of the experience. Selfishness will even make me lose out on capitalizing moments. However, through my spiritual position “IN CHRIST” I am fortified to be a vessel through which His love is freely demonstrated towards others. You too can experience the powerful, strengthening love of Christ Jesus compelling you to live in the Spirit and stay willing to help others in any way possible. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

Rev. D

YOU’VE GOT TO WAIT


Did you know that everytime you wait it is an opportunity to strengthen your faith? God has sovereignly maintained the use of time to develop our faith muscles. Yet we do all we can to avoid the wait or keep ourselves occupied with outside influences which distract us from the boring, wearisome experience. It is the soul and body which objects to the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of waiting. All the while our spirits are starving for freedom which only the Spirit can provide. You’ve got to wait on the Lord in the midst of it all.

I am going to restart the Cyber Bible Study next week. It is a labor of love I started last year with my mom. Thankfully, it is an archived experience I will have to remind me of our Spiritual relationship now that she is no longer here. Every morning I am reminded of her loving care for me as her first born. She is the one who, with the help of the Holy Spirit, taught me the importance of waiting on the Lord. It is time well spent!

This morning I heard the Lord in my quiet time. He said, “Job waited on the LORD!” This was a phrase from a gospel song I used to sing in my youth now becoming a shining glimmer of Spiritual inspiration as I pondered the remaining lyric “tell me why can’t I…” I began to reflect on the intensity of his experience. Since 2011 I have realized how important the Book of Job is for me as I continue to recover from being divorced after 20 years of marriage. I have lost my strength, my career, my wife and family, home, cars, vacation properties, savings, security, social standing and youth. Through it all I have had to “endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and fulfill my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3) The rewards are eternal! The waiting is so unnerving! His voice reminds me of  My mom who taught me these 2 verses as a child:

Job 13:15 NASB  “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him…”

Job 23:10 NASB  “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold…”

The first verse compels me to share with you how, in spite of all my loss, I found the value of “this treasure (I have & you may too) in earthen vessels (our bodies) so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7. God has strategically removed from me ALL the things I used to IDOLIZE so that I would learn to trust in, rely on, have faith in the excellency of the power of the Spirit of Christ, the risen Savior, in me. It is from this source of power that I wait patiently on the LORD with good courage and He strengthens me in ways I can’t even explain. I NEED HIS HELP DAILY!! And because of His steady supply of strength I will maintain my case that He is my waymaker, heart fixer and mind regulator in whom I trust in as I HAVE TO WAIT ON HIM FOR ALL MY HELP!!! (Hallelujah Praise is in my hands!)

The next verse was mom’s favorite! We will ALWAYS be affected physically, mentally and emotionally by the wait. From a human perspective we just don’t like it! It causes us to worry, doubt, fear or become anxious because of whatever it is we want right now. Whether it is waiting on our children to come home from an evening out, or a package coming in the mail or public transportation to get to a destination, the wait causes our bodies and souls to suffer. When we use the distractions of the ear buds, phones, empty conversations or to the extreme become irritable – even to the point of belligerence – we miss out on the lessons of faith during the wait. God uses hardships, difficult circumstances, uncertainty, distresses, anxieties and fears to manifest new growth in our faith muscles. Always remember He is the Chief Proprietor of time. The way He uses it for His glory makes the difficulties with waiting diminish exponentially.

Job said, though He causes me to experience loss, pain, disappointment, weariness through overwhelming circumstances, I know it is GOD who is allowing these circumstances for my good and His glory! He knows what He is producing as my flesh is devastated with the results of the wait. God’s loving response to the difficulty is “YOU’VE GOT TO WAIT!” My faith, my hope and my confidence in Him is going to produce GOLDEN results in eternity which I can’t even imagine!

In the meantime, the waiting is much more satisfying when you focus on His presence, His POWER and His peace which are revealed through His Word while you wait. Can you imagine how Heavenly the wait can be? You will have some of the best encounters with the risen Savior when you hang with Him during the wait! That is what He created us for in the first place. Stop allowing the world and its influences to detain you from your appointed time spent with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth! Spend all the waiting time with Him, His Word and His Spirit in you! YOU’VE GOT TO WAIT for the experiences to prepare you, train you, teach you just how FAITHFUL AND POWERFUL HE IS!

The next time you are bothered by the wait, read CONQUERORSHOTS, the Psalms, Isaiah 40:28-31 ,Ephesians, Colossians or Hebrews 11 & 12 and realize when you wait on the Lord in the midst of the external opposition to the wait, He will reveal the faith growing exercise He planned just for you! It is the epitome of His love for you that makes the wait worthwhile. Sign up for the Cyber Bible Study for more.

 

 

 

 

 

Watching My Mom Transition & Being Inspired


I have not lost my mom to death even though I watched her breathe her last breath. The pain of knowing I can’t call her, visit her any longer is horrific. However, I know she is in Heaven where there is no more suffering to be had. I can only imagine how wonderful it is for her now. That brings me joy. I am thankful for all the years she labored teaching me God’s word rightly-divided. Here is a reflection I began in the hospital and completed today:

I am watching my mom transition into eternity. I can’t help but be reminded of all the years of service (50+) to others teaching God’s Word. My sister and I were her lifetime students. Through the years mom and I have cast an unknown number of seeds of faith in the gospel of the grace of God.

It is for this reason that I am sharing 1 Corinthians 3. Paul’s message in the text lines up with the intention of this writing. It makes no sense to argue, debate or even choose whose message is noteworthy. Gospel seed planting is a group effort with Christ being the LEADER of the group. It does not matter who plants the seeds or who waters the seed to facilitate growth. In fact no seed can thrive on one round of watering. It is necessary for regular hydration agriculturally and Spiritually. Most importantly, all lessons, sermons, publications, blog posts et al require God’s increase for Spiritually, effectual results. No man or woman has the power to cause one’s heart to yield to the authority of scripture. Therefore, we must avoid the temptation to expect or demand instant results when sharing the gospel.

Stop insisting the student/hearer must respond to the Word in the moment of delivery for spiritual validation. Also, avoid being bias to the teaching/preaching of one person. The text indicates that, under the Authority of Christ, God uses multiple vessels to deliver His Word. Be equipped to discern the Authority of Christ and His Word as it is delivered. Or be equipped to discern where man is attempting to deliver the word himself.

Mom taught me, while teaching Bible study throughout the Tri-State area when I was a boy, God is responsible for any and all results after we deliver the Word. All efforts to teach, preach, share or write the gospel should be seasoned with the Spirit. Then, the Holy Spirit adds the increase in accordance to the Father’s will. All the while it is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, sourcing His Word into His children. What a Mighty God we serve. I’ll see you in Glory mom!

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Rev. D