THEME FOR OCTOBER IS “EXERCISE DAILY—WALK WITH THE LORD”

Editor’s Note:  Thanks to Leslie Cameron and Lucy for making this month’s header photo possible!

And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

—Leviticus 26:12

Many of us exercise. We run, walk, lift weights and do pushups. We do it to benefit our bodies because our bodies are temples of the Lord. Often, though, we fail to exercise our spirits and let them languish and waste away.

How do we exercise our spirits? If part of our physical exercise is to walk, for a healthy Christian life we need spiritual exercise. As we walk for physical exercise,  talk with Him—develop a lifestyle with Him at the center; get to know Him and learn to depend on Him.

I asked a good friend on whom I can depend to get to the heart of a task, to help me with this theme story. Among other suggestions, she wrote this in response:

“Walking with God is like being with a good friend, sharing, talking, enjoying your time together. But it is also walking with him by following his will, striving to be obedient and talking to God about everything (not that He does not already know). Like Enoch, who was blameless, left this world early because of his excellent walk with God. Talk with God through your trials! I prayed recently for God to use me in service and the next day two situations were made available to me and I knew they were from the Lord.” Right to the heart!

So tell God your problems and concerns and ask for strength and guidance to follow His will for your life. Praise God and thank Him for all that He does and will do in your life. Pray in His presence during your walks. Instead of building muscle, you will strengthen your spirit. Making Jesus your friend and learning to depend on Him doesn’t sound too easy, but it can be if you are close to Him.

In physical exercise, repetition is the key to building strength. It is so also in spiritual exercise. The more we walk and talk with Jesus, the closer we become to Him; and when we are close to Him, our spirits are strengthened.

The Lord is beside us already—walk with Him!

THEME FOR SEPTEMBER IS SKIP ROPE, NOT CHURCH!

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. —1 Corinthians 12:27-31

 We know that skipping rope is an exercise with health and fitness benefits. Just as being physically fit wards off diseases and physical disfunction, not going to church has its malign consequences. When we miss worship, we likely are focused on worldly things. Worship puts the focus on God and honors Him. When we miss church, we are missing the fellowship of our community in which we encourage each other and learn to be living examples of what Christ wants us to be. When we don’t go to church, we miss the sense of fulfillment that comes with carrying out our purpose as a member of the Body of Christ. As the Bible verse reminds us, the Body of Christ suffers when its members are not involved in the mission of the church.

“To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.” – Martin Luther

How does one stay fit spiritually? The Bible states that there are spiritual health benefits from going to church. One benefit is guidance. If we go to Sunday School and the worship service, we are sure to receive some informed guidance and wise counseling. Another benefit is being with like-minded Christians and there communing with the Father and the Son.

“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” —Dwight L. Moody

Though worshiping God alone is good, worshipping corporately promotes Christian unity. In worshipping corporately, we experience unity but also guidance and encouragement from our fellow Christians.

So, stay fit physically and spiritually: Skip rope, not church.