Spirit Come

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 (NIV, NET)

My ministry work is about enfolding the body into our spiritual journeys.  It is about including our physical selves in our spiritual lives.  The body — your body — in an integrated part of your “self” … and God longs for your whole “self” to be devoted to Him.

Yet, broadly speaking, the body is largely excluded from our relationship with God.  Most of us, if we consider our physical selves at all in our spiritual journeys, might give it a secondary … or tertiary … role.

Which makes me think of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is an equal and integrated part of the Godhead. (I know every Christian reader would intellectually agree.)  And yet, if you are like me, the Holy Spirit gets a secondary … or even tertiary … role in my life.

For example:  If God the Father said something to me, I would jump to it. If Jesus suggested something to me, I would run after it. Yet daily … often multiple times a day … the Holy Spirit prompts me about things, and I only occasionally follow through. A 50% response rate, perhaps on a good day.

It seems that I don’t give equal weight to the Holy Spirit who is undoubtably an equal member of the triune God.  I grieve Him all the time.  (Spirit, forgive me.)

Our God is the great three-in-One. And He made us in His image, and we too are three-in-one.

May we learn to give equal weight to the members of the Godhead in our daily life of following God …

And may we learn to embrace and include all of our own “members” in our daily life of following God.

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Strength-Training

“The Lord strengthen and protects me; I trust in Him with all my heart.”  Psalm 28:7a (NET)

“Will you trust Me in the shadow as well as in the sun?'” God said to me. “Do you not yet know that inner strength comes in and through the struggle?”

Strength comes through the struggle.

Yes, it does. And the same is true for strength-training. In order for our muscles to grow stronger, they need to be progressively overloaded. In other words … to get stronger, muscles need to be systematically and repetitively loaded beyond the point at which the muscle is normally loaded. Plain English? A muscle needs to repeatedly work against resistance to a point of fatigue. Then the muscle repairs and grows.

This is how God made us. As we struggle to lift a heavier weight, our muscle is growing stronger.  It is one of His principles in this world.  And when we struggle to get through trying times, we get stronger in spirit too.  (See also “Growing Stronger” post (8/10/15) and “Growth” post (6/24/14)).

So every time I weight-train these days, I think about growing stronger. I think about all of me growing stronger.  Because, rest assured, the thought and intention I put into my weight-lifting routine is nothing compared to the thought and care God puts into the “shadows” He allows me to go through.

“Will you trust Me in the shadows as well as in the sun?” He asks.

Yes, I will Lord.

And with You by my side, I trust that I can and will come out stronger on the other side.

Matter of the Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

The heart is essential not only to life, but also to every form of exercise. And exercise is an important factor in caring for the heart. Clearly, cardiovascular exercise benefits the heart by making the heart muscle stronger, helping it to pump more blood per beat. But do you realize the role of the heart in all forms of exercise? The heart pumps blood throughout our bodies, bringing oxygen and other nutrients to our working muscles. This oxygen is necessary for the body to produce the sustained energy necessary for most forms exercise. The pumped blood also carries away waste products that could otherwise be harmful to our working systems.  Said differently, the heart is designed to fuel & facilitate fruitful behavior while is also purifies & protects from the bad. But we must take care of it.

Similarly, the heart is the center of our spiritual life too. God begs us to guard our heart and to watch over it, because out if it flows everything we do.  David pleads for God to create in him a clean heart so that he can please God in all he says & does (Psalm 51:10-13).  Again, our heart is central to everything we do, but we must take care of it.  It marvels me how God makes the role of our physical heart so similar to that of our spiritual heart!

As you exercise, capture the time. Use it to care for your heart in two ways. Use the time you spend strengthening your physical heart to also cleanse & grow your spiritual heart.  Consider how God might want you to be as proactive about your spiritual heart as you are about your physical heart. It’s an investment well worth it! For from it flow the springs of life!

All of Me

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 (NASB)

Hanging in my exercise room, I have a poster of the human body and all its various muscle groups. Each muscle group has a different color, and as you look at it, you cannot help but be awed by how intricate and complex it all is … how all the various muscle groups are interrelated and interdependent.  I find it amazingly beautiful! And on this poster, I have placed a translation of Psalm 139:14 to constantly remind me of the amazing God who fashioned us with such care.

Sometimes when I look at it, I am reminded that this poster only represents the muscular system. There are other systems too, like our skeletal system, our neurological system, our system of veins and arteries, etc, etc. Layers upon layers of care and complexity! We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made.

So, with fear and wonder, I want to honor what God has so carefully fashioned. With fear and wonder, I want to care for this intricate mechanism He has fashioned for me. With fear and wonder, I want to thank God not just with my mouth, but with my whole being.

With fear and wonder, I am reminded that my physicality is intertwined with my spirituality. And I want to love God with all of me.