Spiritual Fitness

Guard Your Heart
Proverbs 4:23
Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 
Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
We train our bodies to be physically fit and we read or attend school to sharpen our minds. Physical fitness and mental wellness are important to keep active and alert but one needs to guard one’s heart. Spiritual fitness is done through a relationship with Jesus first and then time spent in reading God’s word and prayer. As I have been training for the 5K, I have felt the benefits to physical exercise. I enjoy reading various types of books both for leisure and knowledge. Getting back to doing my blog is part of my spiritual exercise. It helps to reinforce what I have already learned and it builds new knowledge and strengthens my faith. According to Proverbs 4:21-22, I am to keep God’s word in my heart for they are life to those who find them and health to my whole body.
The Apostle Paul referred to running the race. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1b-2a. In 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 Paul urges believers to run in such a way as to get the prize. The prize that one is to run for is a crown that will last forever. One receives this crown in heaven. Self-discipline is needed to stay the course. By knowing God’s, one is less likely to sin. 
Psalm 119:10-12
I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
Run your race well and guard your heart. 
Here is a Bible fun fact: The Bible is the most shoplifted book in the world. 

My prayer: Dear Lord God, help me to run the race marked out for me. I will hide Your word in my heart that I may not sin against You. Amen.
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Grattitude Thursday: Give Praises to God!

Four-fold Reason for Praising God
1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
 
Remember the milk commercial, “Milk. It does the body good.”? Well, the same can be said about praising God. It does the soul good to sing His praises. There any number of reasons for doing so. One, life itself. Waking up to another beautiful day for we are not promised each day. It is a gift from God. God has chosen those who love Him and are called according to His purpose to be His. Second, His gift of salvation through Jesus, His Son. Jesus is the only name under heaven by which we must be saved. I am thankful for another day and the weather that has been amazing as I am training to run a 5K this year, my first.
Colossians 3:15 (ESV)
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
 
Third, it is God’s will for us to give Him thanks and praise. From this attitude of gratitude comes freedom to love others as well as to be able to forgive. When I take time to think of all that God has forgiven me, I can, in turn, forgive those who have hurt me. This sets me free. Fourth, in all circumstances, we are to give thanks. Yes, even when times are at their worst, there is always something to be thankful for. I may have to ask God to show me and He does. I remember, in time of grief, being thankful for anger because it was a change in how I felt and gave me energy to do what needed to be done. I am very grateful for the new life He has given me so that I can be who He created me to be and to show His love to others.

May you find your own reasons for giving thanks and praise to God. To God be the glory, honor, and praise.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I am forever grateful for the life You have given me and for carrying me through my darkest hours. May others come to know You and see Your goodness. Amen.
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Let’s Talk Wisdom: God’s Versus Worldy

Another Choice to be Made.
God’s Wisdom or Worldly
James 3:13-18 (AMP)
13 Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth.
15 This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal).
16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).
18 And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].
There is a wealth of information here. First, let’s look at wisdom that is not from above. You will find jealousy, contention and defiance to truth when it comes to earthly wisdom. Where you find this, you will also find confusion and all sorts of evil and vile practices. Second, when you look at God’s wisdom you find peace, gentleness and compassion. It is open to reason and it is wholehearted and straightforward.Yet, the world despises God’s wisdom and chooses contention and confusion. For believers, all one has to do is ask God for wisdom and He will give it liberally to all who seek it. 
You can look at society and see the stark contrast between the two. Choice has become limited to what the world would have and fights against anyone’s freedom to choose for themselves, especially, when it conflicts with the world’s. With God’s wisdom, one can accept the choice that others make even when it is not the choice that one would make for one’s self. This is nothing new nor will it be any different until Christ returns. So why did I get upset when people I love make a different choice, because I know that God is not happy yet He allows them to make that choice. It is not right for me to mistreat anyone for their differing choices and I can only hope that with time the truth will be made known to them. After all God makes the same decision with those who choose not to believe in Jesus and with me when I make a poor choice more than I like to admit. He waits for me to confess and repent and choose to follow His will for my life.

God desires for all people to choose to accept His gift of salvation but does not force it. He is a gentlemen and He is righteous and just to all. He allows people to choose for themselves who they will serve, and they have to accept the consequences, either heaven or hell. I know from my own experiences that God is the better choice and I will follow Christ until the day I die. As it it is written in the serenity prayer, “trusting that You (God) will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.” I paraphrase Joshua 24:15, If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord God of the Bible, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether gods of this day and age in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
My prayer: Dear Lord God in heaven, You are worthy of all my praise for there is no one like You on all the earth. May I not forsake You or Your word. I want to proclaim Your goodness to all the earth.
Amen
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