Similarities of Physical & Spiritual Disciplines

What Do Faith and Physical Exercise Have in Common?
Continuing on a theme of running a race, I have found some similarities between faith and exercise. You see, I have known the benefits to physical exercise but yet, I kept putting it off. I was reluctant to begin or not consistent in doing it. It takes discipline to get good at it. I have had to make changes and sacrifices to discipline myself in order to succeed and do better. I now choose to get up early three mornings a week to run/walk 3.1 miles and do strength exercises on the off days. The benefits that I have experienced are better sleep, healthy blood pressure, and improved appetite. I have even begun to like to exercise and hope to continue to do so.
Putting one’s faith in Jesus and following Him is similar. Yet, there are eternal benefits as opposed to the benefits of physical exercise. There are choices and sacrifices to make such as changes in one’s behaviors and the possibility of rejection of friends or family. The rewards, however, are definitely worth it. At first, one does not want to accept and follow because change seems daunting but once one makes that step of faith, God will not disappoint. With faith comes the discipline of prayer, reading the Bible, and worship. The benefits are both physical and eternal. The fruits of the Spirit are eternal mentioned in 
Galatians 5:22-24, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
 Physical benefits are less stress and comfort in times of trouble. 
Philippians 4:6-7
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
As I have been working on my discipline of exercise in order to participate in a 5K, I also strive to improve my spiritual discipline to become more like Christ and bring God glory both in my actions and in my words.
How is your discipline? What has been your experience?
Interesting Bible Fact: The last word in the Bible is AMEN.
My prayer: Dear God, thank you for giving my the desire to exercise and increase in me an even bigger desire for Your word and faithfulness to You. To You be all glory and honor. Amen.
 
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Reading God’s Word from Cover to Cover.

This is My Goal for the Year!
Why?
There have been two people who made an impression on me. One was a member of my church who died last week. His name was Tom and at his service it was mentioned that he had read the Bible from cover to cover 25 times and I have read and studied various books of the Bible but I have not read it from front to back. The other person was a female pilot who had learned to fly when she turned fifty. I am approaching fifty this year so I was thinking of what could I strive to accomplish. I decided to set myself a goal to read the Bible from front to back before my birthday next year. Then I had another thought, I am reading the Bible in the English Standard Version this year so why not read it again in another version such as American Standard Version. Therefore I am asking for accountability. I will post on Tuesdays how I am progressing and what I am learning. I started yesterday. Today, I read Genesis 3-6 and here are some thoughts on what I read.
Genesis 4:7b God is talking to Cain after Cain killed Abel. “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Sin has its desire for me as well but I must rule over it. Meaning that I have a choice to let sin have its course or choose to refrain from it.
Genesis 5:24 & 6:9 Enoch and Noah both walked with God. God took Enoch and He spared Noah from the flood. I, too, desire to walk with God and let Him rule in my heart.
Genesis 6:6-7 God had regret in having created man and it grieved His heart. Genesis 6:12 gives the reason for this because the flesh had corrupted the earth. Yet Noah found favor with God verse 8. 
God gave specific directions to Noah for building the Ark. 6:22, Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. I am always amazed at the faith of Noah for he did all that was commanded of him by God. This, too, should be my desire to do all that God has commanded me. One of His commands is to love one another and to forgive as I have been forgiven.

Challenge to you; What goals have you set for yourself?

 My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I am thankful that I can read and that I have Your Word available to me. Help me to be faithful to my goal and place in me the desire to follow through. Amen.
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Giving Thanks for …

God’s Promises


I am thankful that God is true to His promises and for the willingness to push through on something that I kept putting off. God cares about every detail of my life and yours. If I put Him first He will direct my path and order my days. This has happened more than once in my life. Yet, I get lazy and forget and then wonder why chaos has ensued again. Praise God that He has not given up on me. I need not put off to tomorrow what I can do today because tomorrow will have enough troubles of its own. I am to take things one day at a time.
Matthew 6:33 (AMP)
33 But seek ([a]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([b]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [c]taken together will be given you besides.

 

Proverbs 3:6 (AMP)
 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
Take God at His Word and see how He blesses you with order and increase your time. Prioritize your life.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I give thanks that You are true to Your word. Forgive me for the times that I have not always put You first. Help me to get my priorities right.   Use me to draw others to You. Amen.


 Footnotes:
  1. Matthew 6:33 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  2. Matthew 6:33 Charles B. Williams, The New Testament: A Translation.
  3. Matthew 6:33 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
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Today’s Acronym

B.I.B.L.E.
Basic
Instructions
Before
Leaving
Earth
Basic means fundamental.  It is where we should begin. Proverbs 1 verse 7 states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. We learn to fear – reverential awe or respect –  God from reading about Him in His word. He is the creator of all things. Isaiah 40:28, Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
Instructions meaning knowledge or information imparted. God instructs us to forgive has He in Christ has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). We are instructed to bear with one another and to be patient with each other. In John 13:34-35 we read, 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.
Before Leaving Earth, there is a saying that there are two things that are inevitable death and taxes. As we come into this world our days are numbered. John 3:16-18, For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish by have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Here is the rub. Those who believe in Jesus die and spend eternity with Him and those who do not believe die and spend eternity without Him in hell.

This is the truth. This is what I believe to be true and accept for myself. I want others to know Jesus because spending eternity without Him will not be pleasant. 
Do you believe?

My Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, I do believe in the cross of Christ. May I be Your instrument to bring the good news to others so that in believing they to may know You and have eternal life. Amen
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Giving Thanks to God!

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart!
Words from a song that comes to mind when I think about giving thanks.
I give thanks for Celebrate Recovery (CR), a twelve step Christ-centered recovery program. It is not just for those with a chemical addiction but for anyone with hurts, hang-ups and habits and we all have them because life hurts all of us at some point in time. My first sponsor is one reason I am thankful for CR. She, with the help of God, helped me to change my “stinking thinking.” She also encouraged me to get connected with others outside of my extended family. This was a huge step in my recovery over my hurts, hang-ups and habits. God helped me to see past myself and get connected with healthy people.  
1 Peter 5:10, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. This verse was a big encouragement to me. I came to understand that God uses the trails in my life to shape me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast.
I am thankful for my husband. He is my heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4 reads, Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  My husband has been my greatest supporter and has challenged me to grow without demanding that I grow and change. He loves me for who I am.
I am thankful to live in a country where I have the freedom to attend Bible study and church. I cannot take this for granted because I know that not everyone has this freedom. I have had a love of God’s word since I was a child. To me the Bible is God’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It has the answers to all of life’s questions and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study His word in Bible Study Fellowship and now Community Bible Study. Romans 12:2 is one of my favorite verses. It reads  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. I am grateful for the church that I attend. Our Motto is Know Christ, Live Christ, Make Christ Known.

My Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, there are not enough words to express the thanks I have for the people that you have brought into my life. I am blessed beyond measure to be able to study Your word. Help me to impart its importance to others so others may know You and Your Son, Jesus who You sent to die for us. Amen.
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What I am Thankful for Today

Laughter in the Midst of Grief
 Proverbs 15:14-16
 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
 Whilst I was a way to attend my father’s memorial service in Henderson, Nevada, God gave me the gift of laughter. For you see with grief comes many different thoughts and feelings. There are times of tears and sadness and times of intense anger and strife, but I find it to be a gift when something causes one to laugh and not just a funny ha-ha but a gut busting laughter. There was a time of levity while I was there and I wrote about it and titled it, names have been omitted as not to offend.
“Something Funny Happened on the Way to My Brother’s”
 There were four of us in the car. We had to make a stop to pick someone else up along the way. There was some confusion as to where to find the other person. Something funny was said and we will started to laugh. The driver and passengers were laughing so hard that I thought that we were going to have to pull over. I thought that it would be hilarious if we had to pull over and should a police officer pull up and ask us what was the matter? I would say, “Officer, quick call an ambulance we are dying of laughter!”
 It felt so good to laugh in midst of our sad time. I am thankful too for the opportunity to offer words of comfort and prayer for those left behind. For I am instructed to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which I have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Blessings to family of my father in Henderson, Nevada and elsewhere. May God comfort them and give them peace has He alone knows best.
Disclaimer: I share with you what I have learned and experienced for myself so that you may know that the love of God is real and that He sent His son to die for you. 
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The Acronym for Today

F.R.O.G.
FullyIsaiah 26:3
RelyProverbs 3:5-6
On   Acts 4:12
GodDeuteronomy 32:3
First, fully means completely or entirely; to the further-est extent. There is no doubt or holding back for Isaiah says that God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is resolutely or dutifully firm and unwaveringly on Him.
Second, rely is to depend on with full trust or confidence/be dependent on Him. Trust in the Lord all my heart.
Third, on who? Christ for there is no other name under heaven by which man must be saved. In Him I place my full confidence.
Fourth, God, the Name of the Lord. I will proclaim His Name and ascribe greatness to His name.
Summation: I will completely and entirely to the furthest extent depend on with full confidence in Jesus Christ. For there is no other name under heaven by which man must be saved. The name of the Lord I will proclaim and ascribe greatness to His Name forevermore.
My challenge to you is to ask yourself, who do you place your trust and confidence in man or in Christ alone?
My disclaimer: I know that each person’s relationship with God is unique and one of a kind. I am sharing with you what I have learned from the study of God’s Word so that you may know Jesus Christ and Him crucified. To be to God be the glory now and forever Amen.
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Grace: There is No Sweeter Word

Grace No Sweeter Word

Grace: Without It, We Would All Be Lost

The acronym for today is GRACE. I have two for this one. One came from my pastor at Faith Lutheran and the other comes from Celebrate Recovery. Let’s look at them respectively. Grace is receiving unmerited favor.
God’s    
Riches  
At         
Christ’s  
Expense
You see grace is receiving that which we did not deserve. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have received God’s unmerited favor. It is like a man going before a judge and having his fees paid for without asking for help.
God’s gift
We are justified by His grace as a gift. (Romans 3:24)
Received by our faith
 For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8a) 
 Accepted by God’s Love
God loved us while we were still sinning. (Romans 5:8)
Christ paid the price
 In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7)
Everlasting Gift
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
Grace is so amazing in that there is nothing we can do to add to or take away from it. It is a gift freely given. Christ paid a debt we could not pay and died a death we deserved. It is so simple but yet so many have a hard time accepting it. 

For you

Furthermore, Christ continues to make a difference in my life and I desire for others to know what I know about Jesus. I encourage you to spend time this Easter contemplating on what He did for you. On March 28th here in the Austin area, you are invited to see the Easter Passion Play at Manor High School click on the link, Easter Triumph Passion Play.
Here is something that I think that you will enjoy Acappella Singing of Amazing Grace.
Related link, if you like acronyms: H.A.R.D.
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Thankful Thursday

Oh Give Thanks to the Lord!
I did a search for the phrase ‘give thanks’ on Bible Gateway. It gave me 73 results. I particularly like
1 Chronicles 16:34, 
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever. 
King David was a very thankful servant of God. The Psalms are full of thanksgiving to the Lord. Last year when I studied the Servants of God, I learned a lot about David before he became King. He had a terribly rough time under King Saul and many times David’s life was threatened. Yet, David did not fail to give thanks to God.
The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah instructed the people of Israel to give thanks to the Lord.
 Isaiah 12:1-2, 
 You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”
 Jeremiah 33:10-11
“Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:
“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
    for the Lord is good,
    for His steadfast love endures forever!’
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord

Daniel gave thanks to the Lord after God revealed to him in a dream the mystery of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. 
Daniel 2:20-23, 
“…To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
For me personally, something has changed in me for the better when I began to look at my hardships with thanksgiving in my heart to God. I read it somewhere that ‘you will not often find a strong person who has had an easy life.’ I am thankful for my scars because they have helped me to become stronger person for them. God has a purpose in all that happens in our lives. 
Hebrews 12:10,
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
My challenge to you is to offer thanks to God for whatever He has brought you through and for what He is bringing you through now. An attitude of gratitude is life changing as well as an uplifting perspective to all that we go through in life. I invite you to leave a comment about what you are thankful for.

My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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Conflict Resolution Acronym

Conflict

Think of H.A.R.D. When It Comes to Conflict Resolution

This is one of my favorites from Bible Study Fellowship days. Personal conflict was something that I often dreaded. I actually had an opportunity to put this into practice.
Honest – Be honest with the person(s) that you are wanting to talk to.
Appropriate – There is no need to make a scene. Find the right time and place.
Respectful – Keep in mind that each person has the right to be treated with respect.
Direct – Do not beat around the bush. Get to the point promptly.

What Does the Bible Say?

Matthew 18:15-17 is a passage that, in my experience, is often abused and not explained nor modeled. There was a sermon on this very passage at my church by Pastor Ted Doering sometime ago that I found to be quite helpful. The passage reads as follows from the ESV, If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Therefore, we are to make every attempt to reconcile our differences. Yet, if someone refuses to be reconciled we ought to treat the individual as we would an unbeliever thus not giving up on that person but continuing to extend grace and mercy in order to win the person back. This is what the sermon taught me. As a result, one can learn to resolve a conflict.

Personally, I want to learn to resolve a conflict.

For me, it is a challenge to be direct because I want to please people. I want them to like me. Yet, I have come to learn that it is better to be direct and leave the rest to God. I am to do my best, to be honest, appropriate, respectful, and direct with others. Either I keep a friend or part agreeably.
Yet, I should not neglect prayer because it gets my heart in the right frame of being in order to do this with someone who matters to me. I have had the opportunity to put this acronym into practice and I am thankful for having learned this. Hence, some of my relationships have improved.
With whom could you use to put this into practice? Does this person matter to you? Would you prayerfully consider acting on this?
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His Word.
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