Pick Up the Sword

Pick Up the Sword

As many of you may know (or maybe not, if you’re not a fan), there is another Star Wars movie coming out next week.  Ok, now since in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM DOES THIN WITHIN ENDORSE STAR WARS, then…. what in the galaxy, far, far away does this have to do with eating 0-5?

Well, a while back, my pastor did a sermon series about putting on the full armor of God.  He entitled it “Spirit Wars”.12289551_10153796867651079_5613164851751776929_n

My pastor is a huge Star Wars fan and so with this movie coming out, he used the analogy of Star Wars to how we are in a spiritual battle. This led us thru putting on the whole armor of God.

I had heard many sermons and read a lot of blogs, book and articles about this subject. However, I had NEVER heard it quite this way before!

Being a Star Wars fan myself, I was intrigued.

So, in case you are not familiar with it, here is the passage from Ephesians 6 that we are referring to here:

14 So stand strong with the belt of truth tied around your waist, and on your chest wear the protection of right living. 15 On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. 16 And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows that come from the Evil One.17 Accept God’s salvation as your helmet. And take the sword of the Spirit—that sword is the teaching of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all of God’s people.

Here’s the armor in (Star Wars) summary:


(ok…so yes, I added the shield. And…ok, these guys were bad guys if you know anything about the Star Wars movies….but work with me here.  We’ll pretend that this one is a strong believer in Christ!)

Now, I could write on and on about this whole armor but we don’t want me to write several blog posts here in one!  So, I want to focus on my favorite sermon from my pastor’s sermon series and that is the Sword of the Spirit.

Of all the pieces of the armor, did you notice that the Sword was the only thing that is an offensive weapon?


Take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Ephesians 6:17

When my pastor preached the sermon about this aspect of Ephesians 6, he asked some of the children to dress up to illustrate how the characters used the light-saber to battle one another.

If you know anything about Star Wars, you know that the main weapon of choice is the light-saber.PicsArt_12-01-09.58.22

The “bad guys” have red light-sabers
and the “good guys” have white. This illustrates how evil is always ready to battle us with weapons of deceit and lies.

If the good guys just stand there and never take out their light-sabers, they will surely be cut down by the bad guys!

In the picture you see the good guys don’t have their light-sabers in hand, but what you don’t see is they have them on a table right beside them.  When our pastor said the word, the good guys grabbed their sabers and began to fight (and of course the good guys won!)

We have the Sword of the Spirit (our white light-sabers) available to use at any time.

Our “Sword” could be reading God’s word each morning, quoting memorized scripture or using “Truth Cards” (which are index cards or a note card app on your phone with scriptures written on them for quick reference).

So, what are we battling? 

What are the “bad guys” or the “Dark Side”? It is the evil of this world.  The evil within…. those lies… of defeat, dieting, poor body image, feeling like a failure. 12321625_10153804385571079_7452286617039464187_n

Yes, this is the “Dark Side”! We are pulled by its deceptiveness and what we think might be power or beauty or strength or _______________(insert your temptation here).

12 Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

So, let’s think about this.

If I am feeling defeated or ugly or unworthy, I am listening to the lies of the “Dark Side” and not drawing on the power of God’s truth. I am not drawing on the strength that His Word can give. I am not using my sword!  I am just like a good guy who is standing there allowing the bad guy to cut me down.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!  God has given me HIS strength and power.  He has given me His word to use.

So,  let’s use this mighty weapon God has given us!light saber

Meditate on the word. Use your scripture truth cards. Pray the word and speak the word.  WIELD THE SWORD!  Use your light-saber!

What about you?  Have You picked up Your light-saber?  Your Sword? What do you need to change to be in the Word more often?

Use your weapon!  Cut down the enemy with the TRUTH. 


From Caterpillar to Transformed Butterfly

Romans 12,1-2

One of the first things I came in contact with when I was looking for a different way to control my yo-yo weight, my constant focus on my current diet, the next diet or going off my diet because I really just wanted to eat the way I wanted to in the amounts I wanted to, is these verses found in Romans 12:1-2. I’ve read through my Bible a few times, and have read the book of Romans many times with special focusing on certain verses, so I can say I have read this verse more times than I can remember. It is even written in many of my journals and I have written a scripture prayer around it. It’s easy to remember and throw out when pointing out someone else’s sin or for pointing out how we as Christ followers should not be like those around us who aren’t.  It’s like a good friend where sometimes familiarity breeds contempt.

When I started letting go of my constant focus on food and food issues, and really started surrendering to what God’s Word was saying to me, I came up short by these verses. You see, there is power in the Word of God. There are promises that are full of truth and change for us when we actually do what God’s Word says. I was playing on the outskirts of this new program and community I had found, having a day or two of 0 to 5 eating, then a day where I ate all day long, then a day where I may eat only one meal from being stuffed from the day before. I believe I had traded my dieting by following my favorite food plan for a “new” dieting method…0 to 5 eating. What I found was that it wasn’t working for me and I couldn’t figure out why. I was reading the book. I was making truth cards. I was journaling. What was wrong??

The truth was I was still conforming to this world. I sought out TW/HW to lose weight. I saw where others had lost weight quickly and boy was I on board. The missing part was that I was not spending the time and energy I needed to in having my mind transformed. Through my familiarity with these verses, I can honestly say I didn’t quite believe them. I don’t think for one moment that I am alone in the boat of crying out to God many times over my lifetime for help and healing from weight issues and the compulsion that I had about food. I am sure that many of you, just like me, has seen God work in HUGE ways over BIG issues that have come against us. But, what about this weight thing? Isn’t it my fault that I have walked in the shoes of being overweight? Since it is my sin of gluttony that landed me here, then shouldn’t I be able to get myself out?? In my heart of hearts, do I really believe that God really cares about what or how much I put into my mouth? Or, the question that I am sure hurts our Loving Almighty Father so much when we utter it: Does God love me enough to cure me from my addiction to disordered eating? Do I really believe deep down in my soul that God can and will transform my mind in this area? Do I really believe that I will change?

The answer is YES!! I didn’t believe it at first, but now I assuredly say that yes, God is still in the business of changing hearts and minds! Because that is the transformation that God is making in me. And I know that God can and will transform you too. Can I be blunt? I see a generation of people who call themselves Christians who are happily conforming to this world. I see many Christians getting caught up in fear and “what ifs” without remembering that we love and praise and serve an All Knowing, All Seeing, Ever Present, All Powerful Sovereign God. He has always been in the business of taking people who have been broken and crushed by the world and it’s ways, and creating from them something beautiful. There are so many pithy phrases we use to say this…like, God uses cracked pots. What I am seeing though is that in many ways, we are happy being a cracked pot and really don’t believe there is anything else better for us. In essence, we don’t really believe that God will take the cracked pot that we are and use His mighty super glue to heal all those fractures.

What I am saying here is as much for me as for anyone else. My heart breaks though when I see a group of believers that still get so caught up in legalism. What I mean is that even with the God given bodily boundaries of eating 0 to 5, there has to be more, like counting calories within 0 to 5, or counting carbs (we know this is a good medical practice with certain health issues, so continue with following your doctor’s orders) within 0 to 5, or checking after each small bite if that was the one that put me at a 5 and not at a 5.25. Believe me, I feel the draw, but each time I do, God transforms my mind around it. The other thing that breaks my heart is the easy way in which we fall off and say that’s okay. It is like saying God isn’t really working. Where is the cry to Him to change our hearts once and for all?? Our God is the Great Physician and He does and can completely heal us from the compulsion of disordered eating. It takes belief. Sold out belief that the God we know is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and as He was in the business of miracle making in the Bible, He can and will be in the business of miracle making in my life and yours.

Do you believe that? Will you believe that? This is the transforming message of the HW material. I know that God is using it to transform me. Will you join me in the journey?

This Christmas Focus

I remember in former weight loss programs the encouragement to have one day a week where you ate anything and everything you wanted.  After all, who could actually stay disciplined without a “fudge” (no pun intended) day each week.  If only they knew the power of God!

While I don’t want to encourage total unrestraint this Christmas, I do want to suggest that you take the day off from obsessing over (perhaps they’ve already become your natural habit) practicing the Keys to Conscious Eating and what your progress/status is with regard to goals you’ve set, and what others may think of us when they see we are still heavy, etc.  I suggest this to all of those (myself included) who like to check all the boxes, and get terribly discouraged when we miss a box.  By all means, go into the day with a realistic and godly plan for your eating (especially when it comes to setting the day apart before the day gets started)focus However, let’s focus on Jesus instead of our weaknesses.   Let’s focus on what His birth came to bring us (freedom!).  Let’s focus on the loved ones, including those who bring with them unhealed places that rub against us and rejoice that we’re still living and breathing together this year.  Let’s set the tone in our homes for offering peace and blessing and giving words of encouragement to those we’ll see.  Let’s take cookies to that cranky neighbor next door, and bridle our tongue when a sibling forgets to say “thank you” for including them in the festivities, or our child(ren) don’t offer to help with anything.  Let’s take the high road and share with others the great things God’s been teaching us this past year.  Let’s take the day off from focusing on our carnal selves and enter the eternal place that Jesus’ birth has given us.  The place that is free from the sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1).

To be prudent we must remember we have an active enemy who will want to use this day to sabotage all thoughts of freedom and hope.  As John Eldredge in his book entitled, Waking the Dead, says, “The enemy knows who you are in Christ and fears it.  His only agenda is to do whatever it takes to hinder you from walking in that knowledge.”  Wow!  Suffice it to say, the enemy won’t be taking Christmas off and so neither should we.   What I’m suggesting is that by focusing on Jesus Himself, and what the true meaning of Christmas is, rather than focusing on ourselves and the flesh of our journey, we’ll find ourselves resisting the enemy at every turn.

faith focusWith regard to “setting the day apart” if you plan nothing else please plan to wake up as early as necessary to grab your bible, journal, truth cards, and a cup of coffee.  Then go and hide yourself in that quiet place where Jesus will be waiting to equip you for the day(s) ahead.  And throughout the day when the conversation goes awry or you find yourself losing your peace step away and quickly go find a place, any place (a closet, bathroom, or car works just fine) to renew your mind and encourage your soul, even if for only a few minutes.  Don’t let the enemy pull you back into the place your purposed earlier in the day not to go.  Remember, Jesus’ birth brought you freedom from that place.

What about you?  As the holidays rapidly approach are you finding yourself anxious or at peace?  Where can you carve out those few minutes to regain some control?  Between now and Christmas/New Year’s visit the Thin Within blog often, even going back through the archives to strengthen yourself in the Lord.  Keep an eye on the testimonies via Facebook.   Remember this Christmas, Jesus’ birth brought us freedom.  Let’s focus on that today.

Comrades In Arms

During this season of thanksgiving and holy celebration I find myself overwhelmed with the kindness of the Lord in bringing me back to the Thin Within community. Do you realize what a blessed group of people we are to have comrades (companions) in arms, who will help us fight the battle for freedom!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Every day as I read the testimonies of others on this journey I am imparted with hope. I see many on this battlefield relentlessly getting up after each setback and pressing on. I see fellow comrades rally around and offer words of encouragement and prayers to help steady the person back on the path toward freedom. And it makes me smile and builds my faith. It also gives me the courage to keep on keepin’ on.

So many of us have no idea the value of accountability and exposing our weakness to another. But as Ecclesiastes says, we are “better off”, we “conquer” when we are walking in community with others. We find Christ-like acceptance in the Thin Within community, acceptance void of all judgment and condemnation. It just doesn’t get much better than that!

If you’re facing discouragement today here’s an exercise that will encourage you. Stand up and take two steps forward, now take one step back. Now do it again, and again and again. commarades 1See what’s happening? You’re still moving in the right direction, only at a slightly slower pace. Now picture this exercise with one or two others on each side of you … taking those same two steps forward and one step back. For me, this is what comradery is all about. It’s about walking forward, falling at times, getting up and walking forward again, but with others who want to fight the same battle with me. What a precious gift this is.

I’ll admit that this year’s Thanksgiving holidays with relatives was not one of my stellar events with regard to my eating.   Added to this was the disappointment I felt after Heidi and Cathy had so selflessly provided victory-tools for us to use. I even armed myself with those tools.  But still, I fell on the battlefield. And yet as much as the enemy was hounding me to throw in the towel and just give up, on Monday morning I grabbed my bible, my journal, my truth cards, and a cup of coffee and I returned to that spot in the house reserved for me and Jesus. And there I cried and repented and began to process what happened (how I lost this holiday fight).


How about you? Are you one whose Thanksgiving wasn’t as successful as you’d planned? Have you taken some time to get with Jesus to dialogue about what happened? Have you started working on your battle plan for all the Christmas goodies and the big holiday dinner? Are you thankful for the Thin Within comrades that are standing ready to walk the journey toward freedom with you? Are you taking advantage of the blogs, online bible studies, coaching opportunities, etc.? Or are you discouraged and fearful of being authentic with your Thin Within community? Let me encourage you to not give another inch of ground to our enemy. Instead, turn to Jesus and to your Thin Within community to gain strength for the journey ahead. Afterall, we’re all in this together.



Seeing Beyond What I Can See

Penny is working her way through the Thin Within book. She shares with us here about coming to “Day 5” where the reader is called to do an exercise to be reconciled with her physical body. The exercise is not for the faint of heart! I am so proud of Penny for making it through. When she told me about her experience, I knew I had to encourage her to share it with all of you—the faithful readers of the Thin Within Blog. Enjoy! ~ Heidi Bylsma

Written By Guest Blogger, Penny Davis

As I came to day five’s reading, I was very much crunched for time! I had committed to my reading daily and wanted to make sure that I followed through. However, I just really had no time to go thru the Mirror, Mirror exercise. So I gave myself permission to ” do it tomorrow!”

Three days later…

I am standing and looking at myself in the mirror , knowing this is not going to be an easy task for me! I am the type of person who makes it one of her life’s goals not to look in the mirror at herself. So here I stand in obedience to God having no idea what changes are about to happen in my heart.

I start the exercise off in prayer, asking God to help me to see myself as He sees me, not as I see myself. I had just added to my truth cards earlier in the week that He is enthralled with my beauty (Psalm 45:11). I know that has a spiritual meaning but I would like to think that He likes what he sees when He sees the outside of me as well, no matter what size I am! He loves me!

After my prayer, I start with my feet and I begin to thank Him for all the places my feet have carried me. How they have walked along beautiful seashores while worshipping Him for his majestic beauty. How they have walked me into the slums of the mission field in Honduras while I spread the good news of Christ and His love. I continue to worship him for my feet and all the many places they have taken me. By this time I am so moved by the Spirit I can hardly see myself for the tears!

I fall to my knees and my heart begins to break. You see, my husband has bad knees and they don’t give him the strong support as they used to. I have seen the toll it has taken on him and how it has changed his lifestyle. All I can do is stand here humbled and thank God for the health of my knees. I begin to pray for my husband. It is a beautiful moment.fall knees

I do the same thing when I come to my stomach ( which is the place I like to look least). I begin to thank Him for allowing me to carry three of my greatest blessings. God has given me three miracles! The doctor said that I would never have children. But here I stand looking at the stretch marks that prove my God is a God who heals. I also begin to pray for my Sister and Best Friend who suffer from Crohns and my niece who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis. I begin to pray for people who are fighting breast cancer. I go on like this until I reach the top of my head and I become even more humbled at my health and body.

By the end of the exercise I realize that God has in fact answered my prayer. He did allow me to see myself as He sees me. He gave me spiritual eyes so that I could not only see myself, but that I would see others in their pain.

After I had completed the exercise I read day eight’s lesson and it was on rebuilding the ruins (Isaiah 61:4). I had just stood there in front of the mirror looking at the ruins of my temple due to the misuse of my body and eating. God showed me, that I was not beyond repair! That by His grace, I had not gone so far that He couldn’t restore me!

I am still in the process of the rebuilding and there are days that are harder than others. There is one thing I do know: God is a God of many chances. He hasn’t given up on me and never will! He desires for me to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say ” I am the temple of The Most High God!”

~ Penny Davis


How About You? Have you been reconciled with your body? Are you able to praise your Lord for each part of your body and the many ways he has used each to minister to and through you? You might want to do what Penny did…set aside some time and prayerfully invite God to give you His eyes!


Penny lives in Tennessee with her husband of almost 29 years! They have three married daughters and four beautiful Grands that she is hopelessly in love with. She enjoys riding her bike with her husband and although she is not an avid runner, she loves to run. She also sings on the Praise Team at her church.