How to Get into Spiritual Shape

Photo by Imani Clovis

Photo by Imani Clovis

I may be able to sit in this position for a few minutes, but the real problem would be standing after having sat like this. No, the above photo is not one of exercise, but it makes me think of someone who is physically fit.

Physical fitness it a hot topic today. We have many popular exercise and diet programs out there. But what about our spiritual shape? What are we doing to improve our spiritual shape? Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying ‘what are we doing to be the best we can be?’ Jesus died to make us new creations, not a better version of ourselves. We are to conform us into His likeness.

That’s a tall order and one we cannot do on our own. But God…can and will get us into spiritual shape, if we’ll surrender to Him daily. The thing is, we never get into such shape that we don’t have to keep working at it. (Nor do we ever achieve a physical fitness to the point that we don’t have to keep working on it.)

Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. I Timothy 4:7b-8

So how do we train ourselves for godliness? We do what we know to do:

  • Read the Bible daily - preferably in a methodical way

  • Pray - repent, praise, intercede

  • Practice - live out the things the Bible teaches

  • Repeat

This may sound simple and it is, but that doesn’t always make it easy. We often get so caught up in the busyness of life with work, family and the urgent that we somehow push God to the back burner. At least I know that I have done that more times than I want to admit. When I do that, I think about other relationships in my life. How would my marriage be if I just pushed my wonderful husband to the back burner? NOT GOOD, I’m sure!

How can we expect God to deliver us from a crisis or soothe us with His peace when we don’t even spend time with Him on a daily basis? And I don’t mean a five second prayer before we collapse into bed. I mean real, meaningful conversations. Digging into scripture to get to know Him more. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks like this, but I know when I am seeking Him with all my heart I see His merciful acts all around me.

Don’t misunderstand me, God cares for His children no matter what we do or don’t do. He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL even when we’re not. But my point is, how are we to stand firm in the faith when we have not been spending time with our Lord?

I don’t know what shape you are in today. But I do know that Jesus will meet you right where you are and He will transform you into His image as you surrender your life to Him. Surrendering your life is a moment by moment and day by day process.

Join me in doing what we know to do - getting to know our Lord in such a way that we trust He is who He says He is and trust that He can do what He says He can do. Perhaps we’ll meet at the feet of our Saviour this week as we come before Him!

It's Time to Do a New Thing

Photo by Austin Chan

Photo by Austin Chan

Behold, I am doing a new thing… Isaiah 43:19 ESV

i often find it very hard to do something new or to do something old in a new way. Do you? We all know change is inevitable, but we resist change until we’re forced to comply. Maybe I’m just talking about myself…

I take comfort in the fact that Jesus never changes. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. That comforts me because I know that no matter what He is the same. His love for me is the same. His forgiveness is the same. His restoration is the same.

Yet there have been times throughout scripture when God did a new thing. Just think about it for a minute:

  • God called Abram and started a nation with a covenant

  • God sent His Son, Jesus, as the new covenant

  • God created the world by His spoken word

  • God destroyed the earth with a flood

The truth of WHO God is and WHAT He is capable of NEVER change so His message never changes. Now with that settled, we know the gospel is salvation by Christ alone through His work alone.

But sometimes God does a new thing. Just like in the verse from Isaiah. God does not change, but He may do a new thing. Here are a few more examples:

  • God lived among His people in a cloud by day and fire by night

  • Then God dwelt in a tent

  • Then in a tabernacle

  • Now inside believers

He did not change, but He did a new thing.

That leads me to you. Is God calling you to do a new thing? You may feel a little uncertainty. Maybe some excitement and nervousness at the same time. You may have even had people confirm this new thing whether they knew they did or not.

Let the photo at the beginning of this post be for you. This is the sign you’ve been looking for… If you feel the Holy Spirit tugging you, pushing you or urging you to do a new thing, just do it.

The message of Christ will never change, but God gives us the privilege and responsibility of sharing His message. In so doing, He may very well be calling you, yes you, to do a new thing to reach a certain group of people for His glory.

If you’re being called to do a new thing - this is the sign you’ve been looking for.

In A World of Noise, Who Are You Listening To?

Photo by Alireza-Attari

Photo by Alireza-Attari

Do you hear it? There’s so much noise. In this world of technology, we are inundated with noise from every direction: television, radio, social media, YouTube, podcasts and so much more.

We are accessible all the time with the hand held devices that we just can’t live without. Our phones are glued to our hands or stuck in our pockets at all times so we can reach and be reached twenty-four seven.

So in the midst of all this noise, let me ask you, “Who are you listening to?”

Do you get worked up seeing the news and hearing of all the world trouble and devastation? Are you scared to be out on your own after hearing of crime being on the rise? Do you wring your hands over things that you can’t control?

Or do you try to live by the old adage, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Unfortunately, that’s not a switch most of us can just “turn” on. But we DO have Someone that we can and should be listening to in the midst of all this noise. This Someone brings peace in the chaos, calm in the storm and assurance amidst all doubting. This Someone is Jesus Christ.

He wasn’t a prophet or a good teacher. He was and He is the Son of The Living God. He is God Incarnate. God in the flesh. And He promises those who are His a peace that surpasses all understanding.

How can I possible know that? Well, I’m glad you asked. I know those things because I belong to Him. I was raised in Church. One evening during a revival service, the Holy Spirit called to me as loud and clear as anyone ever had. I realized then and there that I was a sinner and destined for hell. I fell on my face before the loving God and received His free gift of salvation.

Nope. Stars didn’t fall from heaven. Bells didn’t sound all around me. But I stood up a new creation. I have never been the same! Praise the Lord! The day, Jesus saved me from sin and to Himself. Every single day now I know I am not alone. Jesus is always with me. I have experienced more than once that peace that surpasses understanding.

While I have lived a very blessed life; one that may be considered without tragedy and sorrow, which is true in a sense - I have experienced some blows of life that are common to us all. Just so you have a picture of the peace that Jesus extends when we are His, here are a few of the losses and uncertainties that He has carried me through:

1.. The loss of both parents (one before I turned 30 and the other just into my 30’s)

2. The loss of 3 siblings (one in between my parents

3. The dreaded call from my physician - something looks like “c” and more tests are needed

4. Giving depositions for an upcoming trial

5. An ‘adopted’ child walking away from our family

6. Job struggles and financial struggles

These are all normal struggles in life. Sometimes they are devastating and people never really recover. But when you have Jesus and are listening to Him, He brings PEACE in the storm. There’s a Christian song that has a line that says “sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He calms His child”.

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
— Mark 4:39 ESV

I love that line in the song because it so poetically reminds us that Jesus doesn’t promise us a life of “smooth sailing”, but He does promise to never leave us or forsake us. However, as in the verse above, sometimes He does calm the storm that rages around us.

So, again, in this world of noise that we live in, I ask, “Who are you listening to?” I hope it’s Jesus Christ. He has all the answers! He loves you. He wants to save you and give you a purpose for your life. He is peace.

Behind the Scenes of Family

Photo by Liane Metzler

Photo by Liane Metzler

I have to say that I have loved every stage of our family life! Now, that being said, I have not loved every moment. Some have been trying, some extremely hard, but for the most part, it’s been wonderful!

Before my husband and I married, I told him I wanted a very large family. Seven to ten children, in fact. But after my first child was born, I was done. Infancy was hard work! He didn’t sleep. He threw up everything he ate and then some. For two years, we both (my child and I) cried ourselves to sleep. Of course, I’m exaggerating…some. But then it happened again, with our second child. Whew! Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Like many families, ours grew and grew up. Nope, no grands just yet, but we are holding on to hope. :)

Today, we are helping our adult children with getting settled in their first homes each. This is more that just helping them move. My wonderful husband totally renovated my daughter’s fixer upper. And it’s beautiful, I might add. And now, we are twenty hours away from home renovating a kitchen in my son’s new home. And you know it, too, will be beautiful.

While it’s been exhausting, especially for Dad, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are so thankful to our Lord that He has given us the health to help them. And we are so proud of the adults they’ve become!

But flesh and blood are not our only family. Just this weekend while we were driving I posted a few photos on social media about our travels. Our pastor commented that our church would miss us in worship. I quickly responded that we, too, would miss being with our “family”.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

I don’t know where you are in regards to family. But I do know this - no matter what may be going on behind the scenes of your family, Jesus offers us to become members of His family. For us, we definitely feel such a part of our church family that we really miss them when we’re away. We count on them when we’re there. And we want to serve them and along side them as often as we can.

Growing up in my family, we might have been rough with one another, but no one else was getting away with that. In other words, no matter what was going on between us, we loved each other extremely. Jesus said that the lost world will know we are in His family by the love we have for one another.

So stop and think a minute. Whatever may be going on in your family - “family” - love them. Love them. Love them. I have found that in our blood families and in our Jesus families (hopefully, they are one in the same) , we sometimes get cross ways. And that’s often due to just plane old misunderstandings. Life is so much better when we love one another through it all. With the love of Jesus in us, we can do just that!

Let love be what’s happening behind the scenes of your family.