How much time should I spend improving my body?

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  1 Timothy 4:8.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Timothy 1-4.

Believers must be careful on this one.

We need to live in a healthy way.  That’s in God’s Word.

But we also must be aware of our spiritual health.  That’s in God’s Word.

Our spiritual health is more important than our physical health.  That’s explained in today’s verse.

Good spiritual health affects the now and impacts our after-life.

Heaven and hell, for each of us, is not decided by our physical health.  God will be checking out our hearts on Judgment Day.

There are many physical health clubs in my area.  There are also many spiritual health clubs in my area: churches.

I need to realize that I don’t have to travel to those “clubs” to improve myself physically and/or spiritually.  There are countless home opportunities.

The key here is having the proper balance between the two.  The most important one is the spiritual one.  Am I spending enough time getting the spiritual in shape?

“Lord, I want to please You.  Help me to organize my life so that I do exactly that.  You know my spiritual/physical needs.  Plug in where I can develop them as You want them developed.  I am desperate for Your Help.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

What does your spiritual/physical time-spent ratio look like?  The ratio will tell you what is more important to you.

 

 

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A tip on witnessing

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  Colossians 4:5-6.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Colossians 1-4.

I am looking at these verses and I’m thinking that they are only about interacting with nonbelievers.

But on second look, and I pray before writing these entries, I am struck by the word “always” in the middle of it.

Could it be that one of the reasons witnessing is so difficult for many of us is that we see it as a part-time activity.

If we aren’t witnessing to those in our midst, no wonder it is difficult when we try it in new territory.

Witnessing must be present in our normal conversations.  If not, it becomes convoluted and awkward to do.

I believe that successful witnessing requires an understanding of appropriate techniques.  There is a need for, “They say this, so I counter with this.”  However, the skill of being a conversationalist must not be left out.

I must enter every conversation with Psalm 19:14 in mind: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart (thoughts) be acceptable/pleasing to You, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”

“I need You, Lord, in every conversation I will be in today.  Let me not take any of them lightly.  Fill me with You, I beg, so that every thought, every word, brings glory to You.  Prick my conscience when I mess things up.  I love You, Father.”

I must be Godly in every conversation I am in today.

 

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How can I be more thankful?

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”  Philippians 1:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Philippians 1-4.

My mind is often cluttered.  Something comes to mind and then it is gone.  Another time that same thought returns only to escape again.

I have discovered that I need to constantly think of things if they are important enough to remember.

I know the names of my neighbors despite nearly never seeing them.  How is that possible?  I pray for them daily by name.

Today’s verse follows the same thinking.  It tells me to thank God for people as I remember them.

This will cause me to think of not only them but also think of why I am thankful for them.  That enlarges the recollection.

I can assure you that I think plenty about folks in my midst.  Sometimes my thoughts have been about why they are a problem for me!  Today’s verse forces on me thankful creativity.  This will be a good thing.

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word.  I thank You for insights into what Godly behavior involves.  I want that now for me.   You have blessed me so much.  Forgive me for seeing things otherwise.  Forgive me for questioning You.  You know best.  Help me to live within the wings of Your Love.  I love You, Lord.”

I can be more thankful to God and to others.

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Is your light on?

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ephesians 5-6, and Psalm 119:1-80.

Following both parts of this verse could get you into trouble.  Are you ready for that?

I’m not writing about the first part; of course, we should avoid darkness.

It’s the other part that could put you in harm’s way; exposing darkness.

I can play it very safe on that second part by insisting that it is all about me.  I must realize my need to recognize when I’m darkening my life and call myself out of it into the light.

I don’t believe that “safe” way is Paul’s intention.

Paul was confrontational.  He wrote in several places that he had the scars to show for it.  He did not play it safe.  He called things as he saw them.

In this world there is an abundance of evil.  Some of it is within me.  I know that, and I need to consistently deal with it.  But there also is evil elsewhere.  I can ignore it.  I can figure that within my midst I can mention it.  Or I can use the social media to call out evil.

I have done that “call out” thing in a few places.  Let me warn you from experience that “Amen, brother” won’t follow call-out’s most of the time.

Is it possible for a Godly person to disagree with an ungodly person without trouble following?  Not every time.

That is why I must speak God’s Words from the get-go.  I have latched onto Psalm 19:14: “May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”

I said that verse before I wrote today’s entry and I am determined to say it before I write other things.  I still won’t always get it right, but I believe that if I start with Him I’ll represent Him better.

“Lord, may my words be Your Words.  If they aren’t then erase them.  Have them unread.  But if they are of You, then use them to help me and to help others to know You better, I beg.  I love You, Father.”

I must recognize darkness in my own life and in the rest of the world AND do something about it in BOTH places.

 

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Why am I learning so slowly?

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ephesians 1-4.

I was taught, alright.

My problem isn’t with the teaching.  It’s with carrying out what I’ve learned.

It is a sad state of affairs when you know something and yet you don’t act accordingly.  If I do that with the weather, I might get a little cold or wet.  With the things of God, it is a slippery slope to behaving godlessly.  It’s a place I don’t want to be!

I am wrestling lately with consistency in my walk with God.  The only good I’m finding in the experience is that I am quickly distressed by my waywardness.  I want to fix it and the sooner the better.

But I am still drawn to separation from God.  I still unintentionally drift apart from Him.  I go waking hours without awareness of Him.  That won’t get me where I want to be.

I know the relationship with God that I want.  I can envision it.  I have a sense for what it would be like, yet I regularly migrate away from what could be.

I continue, by using the words of today’s verses, to put on the godless clothes even though I have Godly ones.  The “new” will be so much better.  Why would I ever, for any reason, even consider the old?

I must make some definite stopping places in my day in which I remind myself of my relationship to God.  Here’s a few for me that would be good stopping places; (1) when I get up, (2) when I am about to interact with someone in the house, (3) when I leave the house, (4) when I am about to interact with someone during the away-from-home part of the day, and (5) when I return home.

I must have a quick prayer or verse ready to fill my mind with at those stopping points so that I will be mindful of the Godly track that I must be on.

“Lord, I need You every second.  I say that.  I have learned that.  I now want to live that.  Too many missed steps.  Too many regrettable godless times.  I want a tight, ongoing relationship with You, Lord.  Fill me with You.  Overwhelm me, I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

How do you keep from losing your connection to God?  Disconnection from God is never a good thing.

 

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How can I stay away from evil?

“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”  Romans 16:19.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Romans 13-16.

There are some fine lines here.  We need to remember that evil exists but not be too curious about it.

We are flooded with alternatives.  The “same old, same old,” doesn’t attract interest.

We need to get straight what Godliness really is.  How will we do it?  Connecting to God is the obvious answer.

I need to remember that God’s Word is the manual on how to build a Godly life.  The bonus in God’s manual is that I also learn how NOT to build a Godly life.

There are enough “do’s” and “don’t” in Scripture to keep me occupied!  I wander away from Him when I neglect to live out the certainties found in His Word.

The stronger I am grounded in His Word the more accurately I will represent Him in my world.  How often do I have those, “Why did I do that?” moments?  More than I would like, for sure.

“Evil” is another piece of today’s verse.  I need to know it exists, not exist in it.  Everything wireless seems to be loaded with evil options.  I must, in His strength, fight off the curiosity that leads into the doorway of evil.  My Godly sense needs to be fully activated BEFORE I even venture online.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for ever thinking that I have the capacity to figure out right and wrong.  I want You dominating every part of my life.  I surrender now to You. Forgive me for my waywardness.  I know better.  Thank You for Your Word.  I love it and You too.”

I must be prepared spiritually to discern right from wrong otherwise I will mess things up.

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How can I know right and wrong?

“Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.”  Romans 7:7.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Romans 5-8.

It is spelled out plainly for you, my friend.

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) lay out the foundation for rights and wrongs.

We are a nitpicking people.  We look at the Ten Commandments and notice that there is no mention of road rage.  “I guess that’s up to me,” we imagine.  Wrong.  If we knew what “murder” encompasses, we would cringe at our driving behavior.

God knew the importance of rules and regulations.  We can’t be trusted to figure out right and wrong without them.

The ultimate beauty of the Ten Commandments is that once we have figured out what they mean, we realize that we all are Ten Commandment breakers.

In God’s sight, one sin moves me into the SINNER category.  It isn’t quantity that gets me there.  Many live under the delusion that God will be weighing sins and good deeds on Judgment Day.  Their hope is that they’ve done more good than bad.  It DOES NOT work that way!  Sin separates us from God.  Once we grasp that truth then we know that we need help.  “Needing help” is where we must first be.  If my good deeds won’t carry the day, what will?  That leads to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that carried our sins to their deaths.  His resurrection brought life without the sins for all who will believe it.  It is so simple!

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word.  Open minds to You and to what You have done.  May they not miss out on recognizing their need for You.  Nudge them toward You, I beg.  I love You, Father.”

Do you understand why the Ten Commandments are important?

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