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.
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!
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.
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” —Luke 16:19-31
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. —Romans 2:4-7
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. —Romans 1:18-25
You live here in Pamlico County now, but have you planned your final destination beyond your life here? When the train leaves the station, do you know where it is taking you? In the Bible, we are told that we will be judged by our Lord based on how we live our lives and how we relate to Jesus, and that if we are judged favorably, we will be in heaven with Him.
If, on the other hand, we are judged unfavorably due to our decision not to accept Jesus as our Savior, rejecting Him and following the wicked ways of the world instead, we will be “cast into the lake of fire,” there to suffer eternally. Do you know how to get where you want to go: Which train to board, which track, and, of course, to make sure you have your ticket and reservation?
You don’t need an 800 number or an email address to get everything planned and finalized. Jesus told us what we need to know: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” All aboard!
BethCom’s Three Salads and a Mint Takeout luncheon is today. If you have reserved a plate, please don’t forget to pick it up after worship. The price of the luncheon plate is your donation of whatever you think is fair.
Plates will contain a shrimp salad, a cucumber salad, an orange fluff salad, crackers and a mint.