Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 – December 17 – Working Out for an Eternity

Study from God’s Word The entire letter from Paul to Timothy – 1st Timothy, Chapters 1 – 6 … Passage for Reflection: 1st Timothy 4: 7 - 8 [note highlight text in bold/underlined] … NIV 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 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. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.

My Journal for Today: “No pain, no gain!” You’ve heard that trite, but true, old saying when it comes to physical exercise. And no one, who is intelligent, denies that all of us should be committed to maintain the physical temple that God has given each one of us. And Paul even recognized this when he was writing to the young evangelist/pastor of the church in Ephesus, Timothy, whom he regarded as his spiritual protégé. But Paul also exhorted Timothy to recognize, even more than the discipline of physical exercise, that all Christians, especially called leaders, anointed by God to lead His church, should put any even higher, eternal priority on maintaining the disciplines of the faith. Hence, we read Paul’s instruction to Timothy in today’s highlight passage to do all that it takes to maintain a regimen of spiritual discipline which models Christlikeness and exhibits the preparation with which all of us should be preparing for the heavenly life to come.

Dr. Smith is right-on today, when he writes, ”Considering that even the best toned bodies will eventually die and decompose, exercising the soul must surely take top priority.” And he says that when it comes to decisions we make on what we must do to maintain good bodily, emotional, and spiritual good health, we should prioritize those disciplines which give us eternal rewards above all other disciplines.

I often ask people whom I teach if they brush their teeth every day; and then I ask how many floss. Fewer people do the latter everyday; but almost everyone reports brushing their teeth daily. And everyone who does either discipline knows why they are doing it … to prevent tooth and gum decay. But when I ask how many – in a given class or audience – have a rigorous workout in God’s word and in prayer EVERY DAY, even though Christians know that this is a good and Godly thing to do, few report being committed to maintain this eternally important discipline of the faith. Dr. Smith asks, as his motivating application question, today: ”How can I hope to be fit for eternity if I shrink from the painful routine of stretching myself spiritually?” … Ugh! No pain, no gain!

Right now, at this very moment, as we close out 2010, I’m convicted that I need to be doing more to keep fit with regard to my bodily health by getting in the swimming pool and swimming laps more often than I’m currently doing. It’s an aerobic exercise I can do even though I have pretty bad hip arthritis. I need to remember and exercise more regularly and rigorously to maintain the physical temple God has given me (take note of 1st Cor. 6: 19 – 20 - linked).

But though I need to more finely tuned as to my prayer regimen daily, I can report here – for accountability purposes – and being regarded as a “Pastor,” Elder, Minister, and teacher in my church, that I do keep a rather rigorous daily discipline of maintaining my devotional studies in God’s word … EVERYDAY, … because I know just how vulnerable I am to spiritual lethargy and inertia when/if I were to break my discipline and “take a vacation” from my daily devotional routines.
Anyone who has followed me, by reading here, knows that I do prioritize my time to insure that I report my devotional journal daily by blogging what God has given me in my spiritual “exercise” for that day. And I’m bragging only here on my God, Who ALWAYS enables me to do what HE calls me to do.

So, as we close out 2010 and enter 2011, I will make a covenant commitment to God and anyone reading here that I’ll be rolling out every morning – usually early – to pray and to dive into God’s word, seeking the spiritual success God promised to Joshua (and to me) if he (and I) would meditate on God’s word day and night, i.e., everyday [see God’s promise for any/all of us in Joshua 1: 8 - linked].

I guess it’s a matter of whether we believe God will do what HE says, if we do what we should be doing in exercising our spirit. So, if we desire to be successful and prosperous in doing what God would have us do, the charge – by Paul to Timothy as well as God to Joshua and all of us – is out there for us to carry out. >>> BUT, … how many of us will do so?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I believe Your promise and have experienced its outcomes as I’ve read through Your word, cover-to-cover, this year; … help me to KOKO in the exercise of my Spirit-led disciplines this next year and beyond in the time You give me to prepare for eternity. Amen

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