New Year…Fresh Start – The Battle of the Bulge

So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you should do it all for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31, Common English Bible).

There are not too many people I know who have not had this one on a list of New Year’s resolutions at some point in time. For many of us, living in Western culture, eating, while a necessity, is also at least a bit of a problem. There is so much good food, and I don’t mean food that is good for you. I am talking about food that is pleasing to the palate. We love our food.

At the same time, many of us are also sedentary in our day to day activities. We sit at a desk in front of a computer all day (or something like that) and we sit on a couch and watch television at night.

As a result, we don’t burn very many calories in our daily activities. If you don’t burn as many calories as you take in, weight gain happens. Then, when we add to that, the stress that is in many of our lives, it can cause our weight to increase dramatically.

I’ve also noticed something else. It goes on a whole lot easier than it comes off. Then you can add an additional problem in November and December, we are surrounded by some really good foods and the weather outside can limit exercise (or at least that is the excuse I use). The end result is, by the time January comes around many of us are feeling a considerable tightening in our clothes. It serves as a reminder to put that need to battle the bulge on our list of New Year’s resolutions.

I think that, as much as any resolution we will talk about in this series, with the possible exception to stop smoking, this is the resolution that we try, and we fail, more than any other. This may be the resolution that gives all resolutions a bad name. We put it on our list, we fail, we gain, we put it on our list again, and we fail again….

That got me to thinking some. Perhaps our approach is wrong. Perhaps our problem is, we try to do this on our own. I thought about this some yesterday. I had lunch with a friend. As we were leaving he asked if I had lost weight and I said “I” had lost about 30 pounds. In truth, “I” haven’t really done anything. My doctor adjusted some of my medication and I think God has limited my appetite. Where is the credit to my doctor for his work. Where is the credit to God for where God has been at work helping me on this period of weight loss.

Whether it is this, or anything else that will improve my life or the life of those around me, if all I depend on is me, I will probably fail. I am not saying this is true for everyone. Some, after all, are extraordinarily self-disciplined. I would argue, however, God placed that self-discipline inside them so even they didn’t do it on their own.

And, as for the rest of us, if all I am counting on is me, I am losing the battle before it even begins. Especially with something like food, something I have to have, all my own efforts will eventually fall apart.

What I need is help from God. And, when I have help from God I really can’t fail. I may not win the way I first thought, but I will win because God is on my side and with God on my side, how can I fail?

Paul reminds us, whatever we do, we do it giving God the glory.

How do you give God the glory?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,


Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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