Archive for the ‘Grace and Weight’ Category

Thanksgiving has ushered in
the Christmas season.
I am sobered
not so much by the calories
I have consumed
as by the contrasts I see.

There is plenty and want,
joy and grief,
love and hatred,
hope and despair,
the real and the artificial.

Father, help me to see You
and to share Your love.
Move me to give
as Your Son gave
when He willingly went
from the manger to the cross.

Let there be a difference in me
that is visible and credible –
that points others to Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and only hope.

The reality of children going hungry – even right here in America – as I eat more than I should (and more than I need), deeply concerns me. And then there is the grim forecast of global famines of ‘biblical proportions’ [that] will be caused by coronavirus pandemic.

About 40 years ago I read What Do You Say to a Hungry World? by Stan Mooneyham* who was then president of World Vision. His words were convicting and compelled me to organize the “Hands Reaching Out” Community Hunger Bazaar. Over 100 women from 17 churches created handmade crafts to put food into the hands of women whose hands were empty. We raised almost $4,000 in the handcrafts we sold at the day-long bazaar.

Grace and Weight | Write His Answer MinistryToday, rather than teaching women how to make sand paintings, wreaths, and Moravian stars in classes in homes and churches, my hands are now better put to use editing and publishing books for others as well as writing my own books. My latest, Grace and Weight – Encouragement for Dieters, is a book I began 37 years ago. (Click here for the God-story and an excerpt.) Karen Linamen Bouchard, author of Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt, says:

“Perfect for gift-giving, solo reading, or reading with friends, this book delivers inspiration and grace for the journey. Any book dealing with weight can be a tricky item to give to someone, right? But Marlene’s writing is so authentic, heartwarming, and encouraging that anyone who receives it will consider it a blessing.”    

Grace and Weight came off press this week and is available on Amazon. Set up a SmileAmazon account and 0.5% of your eligible purchases will go to the charity of your choice. Or order directly from me, and I will donate 10% of the purchase price to Becky Spencer’s Grand Staff Ministries to the children of e-Swatina (formerly Swaziland). The need, as Becky shares each year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference**, is so great.

“Children in Swaziland, Africa, are as vulnerable as ever.  Burying parents who have died with AIDS, being driven from homesteads of relatives who don’t want them, foraging for food in the forests, stealing food from street vendors, and worst of all, finding themselves victims of deceived individuals who believe that AIDS can be cured by relations with a virgin.” 

As you shop for Christmas gifts, please check out the Write His Answer bookstore. Today I added over 60 writing how-to books plus you’ll finds books I edited, Ampelos Press titles I published, and lots of other books that I recommend – over 200 in all. I will gladly donate 10% of the price of any titles you purchase now through Christmas to Becky’s Grand Staff Ministries. Together we can make a difference!

“Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?
Or thirsty and give you something to drink?”
Jesus will say, “I tell you the truth,
when you did it to one of the least of these
my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Matthew 25:37, 40 (NLT)

*Stan is home with the Lord and his book is out of print, but you can find it at BookFinder4U.com.

**I am hopeful that the May 12-15, 2021, Colorado Christian Writers Conference will be held in person at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center with the faculty and program that was in place for 2020. Visit the website at https://colorado.WriteHisAnswer.com. If the coronavirus continues to make it unsafe to meet, the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will be virtual. I do not yet have a date for the Greater Philly conference, but the faculty is partially planned (see https://philadelphia.WriteHisAnswer.com).

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Here’s a excerpt from Grace and Weight, the new book I’m writing. Even if you don’t struggle with excess pounds, I believe you’ll find it relevant.

Stress Eating

Let him have all your worries and cares,
for he is always thinking about you
and watching everything that concerns you.

1 Peter 5:7 TLB

Someone has said a picture is worth a thousand words. Drawing isn’t a gift I possess, so picture this caricature in your mind: A wild-eyed woman is clutching a big bag of potato chips in one hand and stuffing a fistful in her mouth with her other hand. The caption reads: “I’m not stressed!”

Stress may not cause us to look wild-eyed, but it is likely to cause us to consume food without thinking. We can call it “just nibbling,” but let’s face it, we’re likely to nibble more than we realize. We’re horrified when we finally have the courage to get on the scale, but we deserve those pounds we’ve put on.

[Don’t I wish I only weighed 118 pounds!]

Now picture one of those graphs that have become so familiar during the pandemic. This one represents the weight gained each week from a cross-section of women who tend to be overweight. I have no doubt the curve would be trending up and not flattening.

The past months of lockdowns, mask-wearing, and social distancing have been stressful. For some it’s been a life-altering time with the loss of employment. And tragically, for others the pandemic has caused the loss of loved ones.

We hope and pray that a vaccine will soon be available that will put an end to the coronavirus, but invariably we’ll encounter another crisis. None of us are immune. Jesus sought to prepare His disciples, and to prepare us, for hard times. He said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 TLB).

Christians are not promised that life will be easy, but Jesus has promised, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 TLB). I don’t think it’s stretching the truth of this Scripture to add, “So don’t use food to try and ease your stress.”

What does Jesus want us to do when we’re confronted with a stressful situation? And let’s be realistic. More often than not it won’t be just one situation that is causing us to stress. What can we, should we, do? Instead of reaching for comfort food, let’s reach for Him. After all, “He knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and he is wonderfully able to help us” (Hebrews 2:18 TLB).

Thank You for Your promises, Lord. When life overwhelms me, help me to turn to You and to Your Word rather than to food.

If you need to lose weight, I hope you’ll visit my new Facebook page, Grace and Weight. And please pray I can finish this book and lose the excess pounds that are not helping my knees.

Reminder: The special price of 37% off MP3s of the 2019 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is good through July 31. Go to https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

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