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Weekly Messages

The Evidence of Transformation!

By Angela Willingham

2012-10-02

There should always be real evidence when transformation takes place.  Many times we call it transformation when in actuality it is not.  Maybe something changed temporarily or you might have wanted to change but you kind of fumbled along the way.  Real transformation is lasting and visible to us and the people that really know us.  In the heat of the battle you won't go back to your old ways if you have really and truly been transformed.

The other day we were preparing to start our fitness class.  Lisa and I were getting set up like we always do and she said,


 "oh shoot" in her southern accent.  I said what and she said I forgot my Ipod and the connecting adapter for the speaker.  Well we have two adapters, so that was no problem.  The Ipod was another story.  (Kim had just told me we needed to get another one for the ministry to have on hand.)  I got on the phone and called Kim to see if she had hers.  The answer was no.  The ladies from our team that were already there had their personal phones with music on them so we started checking on that.  Lisa called Leslie to see if Leslie could bring hers.  Lisa was a little excited and understandably so.  Anyone that knows anything about a fitness class knows that the music is what keeps it going.  I never felt myself becoming the slightest bit worried or upset about the situation, which I realized later was new for me.  The fact that our workout that night was so impromptu probably made it one of the best workouts we had had.  Nobody knew what we were going to do, but God was definitely in control.  Oh I forgot to tell you the young lady that was supposed to do our warm up was running late and we did not know what had happened to her, but God did. 

What do I think?  I think it was a test of our faith.  A test to see if we would trip or trust.  Well maybe I shouldn't say our faith.  Maybe the reality is that it was a test of my faith.  What would I do?  A couple days later as I thought about the situation and my reaction, I had to acknowledge what God has done in my life.  I know what I would have done in the past.  I know how i would have responded, because I had been in a similar situation several years prior and I had not responded properly.  Sorry God, I finally get it.  The truth is I had responded very badly.  My ministry partner at the time showed up with out the CD player.  The first time it happened I was okay, cool.  The second time it happened, I was not so understanding.  I was upset and quite rude about it in front of people, not a good response for our participants to see.  Wow, when you look back and see that you responded better this time, did something different, something more pleasing to God, it is a blessing.  When you know that who you are and how you respond has changed and is more in line with what God would desire from you.  I know that the situation so many years ago was a mess up.  At that time, I thought I was right to be upset.  Since then I have learned that some stuff just isn't worth it and it does not glorify God.   I realize now, I had to go through this, I had to go through the preparation, because I could not be in a place of working through these types of issues as the ministry grows.  There were 5 people the day I misbehaved.  There were 25 the day I did it God's way with love, peace, patience, compassion and understanding.  (Just for the record, the fourth day of class, we got a new speaker and I forgot the cord to plug it in, no one chastised me, they treated me with love and understanding also.  We all laughed.  We all make mistakes.)  I owed somebody and apology.

When I talked to Lisa about it a couple days later, I shared how I would have and had responsed to something like that in the past.  I told her how grateful I was for the changes, the transformation God was making in me.  She said I wondered why you were so cool about it.  I learned a valuable lesson.  Situations will happen, how we handle them is what matters.  How we handle people is what is important.  Would me being upset have changed the fact that she forgot the Ipod?  No!!! And it did not change the fact that he had forgotten the CD player.  God provided and opportunity for me to apologize to him this week.  I thought I was going to send an e-mail, but out of the clear blue sky, that same day he called.  We played phone tag for a minute and I could have used that as an excuse not to apologize, but I knew what I needed to do.  I did and he said the same thing I said earlier, "we all make mistakes".  I needed to learn this lesson in order to move forward to the next level of ministry God has for me. 

Earlier I said real transformation is lasting and visible to us and the people that really know us.  In the heat of the battle you won't go back to your old ways if you have really and truly been transformed.  I know what I had done before.  I did not do it this time.  As a matter of fact it never crossed my mind, the emotion never rose up in me.  I really was cool, there were no hidden emotions, that I was pretending not to have.  You know what I am talking about, when we stand there being fake when we really are feeling something else.  Telling people it's okay when we really don't mean it.  I really meant it.  I really meant we will figure it out and God took care of it. 

That for me was evidence of real transformation and it is not the only one I have had.   I know what I would have done.  I know who I use to be.  God thank you I am not her any more. 

2 Corinthians 5:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!  When we really allow Christ to come in and to mold us and live inside of us, we will experience real transformation physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.  As always we need Him to do it from the inside out, to make it lasting.

Lesson learned

Emotions in check! 

Ready to move forward!!!

What about you?

Copyright New Beginnings Holistic Fitness Ministries, Inc. 2012.

 

Transformation Is A Process, Best Done From The Inside Out!

By Angela Willingham

August 20, 2012

The other day my good friend Carroll Roberts, The Fitness Angel told me that he had found a company near him that could convert a VHS video to a DVD.  I thought that was interesting.  He said he had them convert the original Temple Time video we did 10 years ago.  At first I thought I misunderstood.  He is in the process of doing a new video, but no he said he had them convert the Temple Time video to DVD.  He had two copies made, one for him and one for me.  Ten years is a long time and a lot has happened.  He went on to tell me how different we look in the video compared to now.  He told me that I was heavier then.  He said I could show the video to people to let them see how far I have come.  I kind of blew past it and then when we talked later I told him, you know my outward appearance has changed, but that is not the greatest change.  I was heavy in other areas as well.  When we shot the initial video I was a size 20 and now I am a size 14.  The difference in my appearance is in direct relation to the transformation God has allowed me to walk through. I cannot tell you that I lost a lot of physical weight but I can tell you I have lost a lot of emotional, spiritual and relational weight/baggage.  I was a lot heavier then, but not in the way that was most visible.  The greatest weight was what was on the inside of me.  

The difference is that I am not carrying the things I went through.  I went through them.  They are part of my past.  They are part of my testimony, but they do not hold me.  They do not have my emotions or my relationships.  When God called me to this ministry, I would have never imagined the experiences that would come with it.  I would have never imagined being able to love unconditionally.  I would never have imagined not having a bad attitude based on the things that were going on around me.  I would have never imagined the peace that comes from getting fit on the inside.  I still have a lot of work to do on the outer package and I am far from perfect on the inside, because I am a work in progress, but I am grateful for what has already been accomplished.  Size 14 is okay, but I know this is not where God intends for me to remain.  2 Corinthians 5:17 is the theme scripture for this ministry.  I never knew how God was going to make me an example of it in the natural.  I knew He was going to make me the face of it, but not to what extent.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  Some of the stuff God wants to make new in us, the stuff that is to pass away, we may not even see as a problem, at least I can say I didn't.  Honestly, I did not even know the issues existed.  Insecurity, jealousy, bad attitude, negativity, controlling, etc., etc., etc.

Spiritually,  you would have thought I had it together.  I did.  I was in church every Sunday, worshipping and praising God.  Actively involved in the prayer ministry, teaching ministry and trustees ministry of the church I attended.  In looking back I know I was heavy.  I was heavy with the dos and don'ts.  I was heavy with the spirit of religion, but not as loving or kind as I should have been.  I knew Christ but did not have the attitude or mind of Christ.  I tell people that every church I have attended taught me something.  My first church, Antioch got me saved.  My second church, FIBC. taught me the rules and taught me how to do things in excellence.  My third church, Berean taught me to love people, the rules are not always the most important thing, especially not at the expense of the people.  My fourth church, Desert Life taught me that church, like heaven should be multicultural and it taught me to minister to people no matter what they look like, because underneath our skin, our struggles are the same.  A divorced person or single parent still has to figure out how he or she is going to move forward no matter what race they are.   My current church Fountain of Life is teaching me community.  Touch those that are in your sphere or influence, your family, your neighborhood, your job. love them and bring them to Christ.

The greatest lessons God wanted to teach me about ministry did not come from the church, but from ministry.  Spending the time loving on and being with the people He called me to.  The fitness ministry is more than an exercise class.  It is an opportunity to show those you meet the love of Christ.  It matters who you have on your team.  People working with you need to be genuine, loving, caring and concerned for the people they meet.  It is not enough just to take their money with a good attitude.  The team God has blessed me with is teaching me to greet our community in their own language, Spanish and not to just immediately pass them off to someone else.  Greeting people is important and it makes them feel loved.  I had to learn that everyone that is around you is not necessarily for you and sometimes, you have to shake the dust off your feet and move on.  This was a process.  Because of my compassion I allowed some people to get to close and God had to teach me how to back up.  At first thought I saw this ministry as an evangelistic outreach, but I was going to come at it in a very churchy way.  That is not what God wants.  He wants me to present options to the total person about fitness in every area of their lives not salvation only.  Total wellness options (physical, spiritual, emotional and relational) and not to be upset or offended if they do not take them.  Some plant, and some water.  I don't even need to know which one I am doing, I just need to be obedient to God.  My greatest lessons have been tuaught in the class room aka the kitchen of ministry.  I have made quite a few mistakes in my spiritual walk, but I choose every chance I get to error on the side of Christ.  If I am wrong I will be wrong doing what He told me to do. 

Romans 12:1-2 says, 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  As God is growing me in this area, He has used His word, prayer, experience, fellowship, pastors, sisters and brothers in Christ, devotionals and every way imaginable to keep me moving forward and for that I am grateful.  My responsibility was to make myself available for His use and to be obedient and faithful.  He has grown my faith and trust in Him in ways I could never have imagined and for that I am thankful and spiritually lighter.

Emotionally, insecure and not even aware of it.  In my mind I thought it was okay to always want it my way, because I thought I knew what was best, based on education, experience and knowledge.  I thought I was compromising.  Now I know that inability to compromise, I mean really compromise is just a sign of emotional insecurity.  Unable to allow other people to give the input that God might have given to them.  Unable to take a chance that what that person was proposing just might work, but instead wanting to convince them to do it my way.  I was sure that what they were about to do was a mistake and I had to convince them before it was to late.  How did I know what God was going to do in any situation?  I didn't.  I had to trust that He could work in and through them the same way He could work in and through me.  When I was wrong He changed me and He could do the same with them.  If they were wrong and their decision impacted me, I had to trust that He would protect me and He has a track record of doing that.  My ministry partner always told me to say it once.  I finally get it, it's on the person making the decision, but my trust has to be in God.  I have no idea what God is going to do or why He is allowing things to happen the way He is, but I trust Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to lean not to our own understanding, but in all of our ways to acknowledge Him and allow Him to direct our path.  I finally get it.  He's got this and I just need to do what He tells me to do.

You know when God has placed people strategically in your life for a purpose and you should be able to trust that God is going to work things out for the good of all of those involved.  Insecurity will not allow you to accept that as the case and may cause you to push against the very thing God wants you to pull towards.

Emotional security also takes away fear.  The enemy can no longer get in your head with the same lies he once used to get you off course.  I don't have time to worry about what God gave someone else or what they might try to do to me or take from me.  My focus is on completing the task assigned to me and making sure I connect, yes, making sure I connect to the people He has sent my way to assist me in completing the task-collaborating.  The old Angela could not have collaborated, because she could not have trusted.  My trust and faith in God have been strengthened over these past 10 years. 

Relationally, surrounded by people, but still distant.  I wanted to ensure that those around me would not make mistakes.  I would hear them and at the same time not hear them, because I was attempting to get them to hear me.  My greatest challenges were my son and my business/ministry partner.  I had already made up my mind and as they would both say, I did not listen.  Now I want to listen.  I want the discussion to take place when they have my undivided attention.  The only real way to be relationally fit is to get into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  It is not about religion and it never has been.  As we get in to a right relationship with Jesus all of our other relationships will line up.  We will see people as who they are and that our job is to love on and encourage them, not to change them.  The only one that can change them is God, but your focus has to be on allowing Him to do what He needs to do with you.  I thought it was everybody else for a long time.  When God really got a hold of me, I saw it was me, I don't see them in the same way.  Nothing about them changed but everything about me has. 

A friend once told me that God showed her how powerful I was in the spirit.  I said un hun.  Then she said He spoke to her and said, she will be even more powerful, when I really get a hold of her.  At the time I did not understand what she was saying and over the years, I have tried to remember her name.  As I was writing this article I finally understood.  He really does have me now and I finally remembered her name.  Thank you Charlene Miller Lewis for sharing that word with me so many years ago.  Another intercessor shared Joel 2:25 with me and I did not understand that then either, but I do now.  I thought I was okay, but the power I was operating in was my own, now I sense something different.  I don't fight any more God fights through me.  He is in control of my tongue and my actions, I don't have to defend me any more.  I remember sharing our Temple Time Bible Study Guide with another friend 9 years ago and she said it's good when you are ready.  At the time I did not understand that either and was some what offended.  I get it now.  Thank you Berinda Wallace.  Thank your Bryan Willingham and Carroll Roberts for your patience.  I get it.  I am not as physically light as God or I would have me to be, but He has done a work from the inside out and I am grateful.

My emotional security has allowed me to let people be themselves.  I no longer feel the need to help you get t right, but instead to pray for myself and each of us to hear God and get it right.  God knows the plans He has for each of us and He knows what it is going to take for us to get there. 

Every step God has taken me through over the last 10 plus years has been a necessary one.  Failing to go through it would have caused me to miss or delay my destiny.  One of my team members at work told me she has never seen me smile this much.  The truth is I never have.  When she does not hear me talking or see that smile she immediately comes to see what is going on and I know her concern is genuine.  A smile a real one trully makes you look 10-20 pounds lighter, because you are no longer carrying the weight of the world, but the lightness of Christ.  I am not talking about going through life like you don't have a care in the world.  I am talking about the peace that comes from living a life that is pleasing to God.  Allowing God to deal with all of your stuff.  I am talking about allowing God to take you through daily moment by moment deliverance of attitudes and issues that hinder your forward progress.  I am talking about giving others the authority to speak into your life and to bring needed correction and being open to honestly hear it.  He has taught me to listen and not talk, while He works out the specific details.  Thank you God this is big.....

Transformation is a dqily, moment, by moment, hour by hour, day by day process, but it will not happen unless you submit to the process.  God is trying to bring us out as pure gold, with changed minds, changed attitudes, changed speech and changed behaviors.  I have noticed my tongue is not as sharp and my responses are not as quick.  I no longer sound like the angry Black woman (yes we do sometimes sound like that).  Sometimes, I am still amazed by the changes, but I have commited to stop referring back to how I use to be unless I am doing it as part of my testimony.  Whenever I would say it at work it seemed as though Shawn had developed a case of amnesia.  He can't even see me doing that stuff any more it is foreign to who I have become.  But I can tell you that what God does is amazing.  Trust God to lead you through your transformation.  If He does it, it will become a finished work and there will be no turning back.  It's not reversible. 

I have not always understood what God was doing or purposing in my life.  I am grateful He did not do it my way.  I am grateful that God did it just the way He did.  He knows what is best for me and what it would take to sustain the ministry He has purposed and destined me for.  It had to be a lasting work.  I have to make decisions that I can stand on and stand by.  I can't wave to the left and to the right or everyone will get confused.   People are watching and waiting for me.  He is putting new people in my life, strong players with other experiences that will help to move me along, my insecurity would not have allowed me to accept their help, guidance or constructive criticism.  I need them and their ideas and suggestions.  While I have a lot to give, I also have alot to learn from those God has sent to help me.  Thank you Sis. Annie, Pastor Monica, Pastor Annette.  I finally put my foot in the water, but I think it was the timing of God.

Let the work, God's perfect work continue from the inside out so that you can be whole and complete.

Scriptures:

2 Corinthinans 5:17

Romans 8:28

Romans 12:1-2

Jeremiah 29:11

Psalm 139:13-15

2 Timothy 1:7

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Value Yourself!

By Angela Willingham

August 6, 2012

I remember my grandmother telling me once that "It's a poor frog that does not praise it's own pond".  Honestly, when I heard it I thought that is just another one of those sayings that older people from the south had.  As it was brought back to my rememberance today it made a lot of  sense.  We are taught as my sister Monica Craig quoted from the bible not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought think and I wonder if some how we have not taught people to think less of themselves than they should.  To make themselves something with no value in our efforts to be holy.  

Romans 12:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

 

3 As God's messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

It think we never get past the a portion of the scripture which tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.  We never get to the part that talks about doing it according to the measure of faith God has given to us.  Valuing ourselves according to our faith is totally different than just not thinking more highly of ourselves than we should.  He has given me faith to believe I can accomplish some awesome tasks, so that is how I have to value myself.  We instead walk around like we have no value, heads down, speaking in false humility, not acknowledging our gifts or the power of God that is in us.  Not wanting people to perceive us as being haughty or prideful because we know who we are or whose we are.

I remember a friend once asking me, "Angela, why is it all or nothing with you?"  Honestly, at that time I did not know why I was that way.  It was just the way it was.  There were certain things, I just would not tolerate or put up with as it related to me.  There were standards that I had set for myself and how I would be treated without even realizing that was the case.  I watched other people and especially women putting up with any and every thing and allowing themselves to be treated any kind of way just to have somebody's attention and I did not understand it.  I found myself watching episodes of Love and Hip Hop-Atlanta (check it out on-line so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.)  I watched women allowing themselves to be pulled along by a string, manipulated into going along with the flow because it worked for the person in control. 

Another friend told me that my standards were to high.  The way I lived my life they could never live that way.  I think that is interesting.  Yes, there are some things God has changed related to me.  The standards were not lowered, they were changed.  Changed to remove the stuff that was coming from a religious spirit, attitude and mindset and He replaced them with more relational standards.  So the person was right on some level, but at the same time-recognize that the people God intends to be in your life will work with you while He develops you.  It is not their responsibility to develop you even though they might think it is.  They will be in your corner, struggling with you while you struggle to become the person God intends for you to be, but they will not condemn who you are.  They will not try to force you to be who they think you should be.  Anyone that tries to force you is dealing with their own value and control issues and you have to let them do that, but not at your expense.  Not at the cost of losing you to please them.  Understand that God will place the people in your life of His choosing.  They will not deem your standards to be to high, because they will know your value.  My firend Moncia also shared that you should never lower your sticker price.  Let them know this is the price of this model and it's okay if you want to choose something else.  Let them shop the lot, don't lower the sticker price just to occupy their time or to sell the product.  In the end it will not be worth it.  Many times the time we spend in that position or condition only wears us down and soon we no longer recognize our own value.  Stuff that use to be unacceptable becomes acceptable.  Yelling at you, talking down to you, cheating on you, lying to you, controlling you.........  When did your value get so low that whatever anyone said or did was okay.  If you once valued yourself this can happen over time, through compromising what you believe in for what somebody else wants.  Making what they desire more important than what you desire.  Choosing acceptance over standards. 

When my friend asked me why is it all or nothing with you, I really did not know the answer.  It was just the way it was.  But here is the answer "Because, I am worth it!"  Everything about me is not perfect, nor is everything about you.  I may be overweight and I am working on that, but the total package is worth it.  There will be no mark downs for my being overweight or having a past that is less than perfect.  Remember that as a vehicle is restored to it's original or even better condition the asking price goes up, but never down.  God is a restorer and if we allow Him to He will restore us to an even better condition than when we started out.  All right Monica, I got it.  We need to ask for more not less, within reason.  We are worth it! 

 

Psalms 139:14 New Living Translation (NLT)

 

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous -- and how well I know it.

You better know it, because if you don't nobody else has too!

 
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