By Pastor Nikki Ragush
Recently, I have been on a working out kick and it began after I signed up for a gym membership. Exercise has always been an important aspect of my life, likely because I struggle to stay still for too long. Like many women I went to Pinterest right away and looked at the ‘Health & Fitness’ section scrolling through cute little pins, and I found this picture that says “a one hour workout is 4% of your day”. Quickly, I felt a little guilty when I skipped a workout because 4% seems like such a small amount. But, that 4% can also be attributed to the time I spend in my spiritual life. There are several parallels that I find when I compare my spiritual training alongside with my physical training.
1. You don’t see results in one day. Whether I want to get six pack abs or live a Godly life I can’t just make it happen in one day it takes time and dedication. (Philippians 1:6)
2. You must push yourself if you want results. We are warned against becoming ‘lukewarm’, if we cease to strive toward Jesus then our relationship with Him suffers. (Revelation 3:15-16)
3. The little things matter. In our physical training the form we use, the food/water we ingest, and the routines we do make a difference. Similarly, in our spiritual training the way we connect to God, the Scripture that we read (Matt 4:4), and the routine we create with Christ makes a difference.
4. You can see the results. Our bodies change when we begin to consistently workout. Our spirit also changes when we work on those different disciplines, when we seek God you can see fruit in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So, now I have this quote in my mind “a one hour workout is 4% of your day”. Whether this is a physical workout, a musical workout, a mental workout, or my spiritual workout, I must train if I desire to grow.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
by Pastor Vern Kratz
“…there’s a Pharisee inside all of us, and I suspect we’ll struggle with this as long as we live.” (Lance Witt)
This is a quote from a book that I read earlier this year that keeps coming back to mind and won’t leave me alone. I didn’t want to agree with it, but the more I think about it the more I realize that it is probably true. It’s just that some people deal with it better than others.
Jesus himself described the Pharisees with some very pointed words, “Everything they do is for people to see…” (Matthew 23:5) The Pharisees were known as hypocrites – they did a lot of good things, but with the wrong motives.
The Latin phrase “Esse quam videri” means “to be rather than appear to be.” We may do all the right things when there are others around to see us, and we may receive recognition or a pat on the back. But we need to make sure we have not done these things out of a wrong ambition. If we do anything just to hear the praise of people we will never find ourselves satisfied. It is more important that we be a person of good character rather than appear to be a person of good character.
It’s nice to feel appreciated and even applauded, but the smile that should matter most is the smile of God.
So what makes God smile?
I believe God smiles at us when we worship him. I believe God smiles when we spend time with him and his word. And I also believe God smiles whenever we make a right decision in life, no matter how big or how small. I believe God smiles when we reach out and lend a hand to someone in need. I believe God smiles when we share the truth of his word with someone else. But I also believe God smiles at the artist who spends time painting a beautiful picture. I believe God smiles when we take a moment to enjoy nature and his creation. I believe God smiles at the student who works hard on an assignment to get it in on time. I believe God smiles at the child who hits his first home run. I believe God smiles when we celebrate our birthday. I believe God smiles at us when we enjoy a delicious meal. I believe God smiles at us when we laugh and are relaxed in the company of good friends. I believe God smiles at a lot of the same things that we smile at. I believe God smiles when we just be who he desires us to be.
When we choose to live according God’s word and his purposes for our lives we make God smile.
What things are you going to do today that will make God smile?
That’s all that should really matter.
by Pastor Gary Jennings
Every Wednesday morning beginning at 7am I lead a men’s group. This takes place at our church in the lower auditorium. We begin with shooting the breeze. This is always light and mixed with coffee sips, chuckles and laughter. I enjoy these moments with my friends. Following this we have an interactive Bible study for about one half hour.
We open the floor and give each one an opportunity to share what they are thinking as we unfold our study. Then we pray for the men in our church, and other needs we are aware of, have more coffee and add toast, then we are off to begin our day. Wednesday mornings have become one of the many spiritual wake up calls that I continually need. Since September we have been studying the men of the Bible. We began at the beginning with Adam. Among other things, as we study these men, we are looking at their character, their sorrow and their triumph. In every man I am discovering that just as it was then, it still is today. There is the potential for the good, the bad and the ugly in all of us.
On Wednesday, November 5, we looked at the man Joseph. This man was incredible. He was like a blown up beach ball. Have you ever tried to keep one under the water? It’s impossible. Joseph was like that. His story is recorded beginning in Genesis 37. He always seemed to pop up, surface and rise to the top despite whatever and whoever was trying to sink him. The jealousy of his brothers could not do him in. Slavery could not do him in. False accusations could not do him in. Imprisonment could not do him in. These are the majors and sometimes it’s even the minors that can threaten to bust my beach ball. Ah yes, I can learn a lot from Joseph. The only thing I can find that is close to being negative about Joseph is that when he was young, he went to his father and squealed on his brothers and made them mad, and maybe he should have used more discretion in sharing his dreams with his brothers. That’s it as far as I can tell.
Here’s my take away from Joseph, and my spiritual wake up call for this hour. It’s from a scripture that is found in Romans 8:28. I know that God will work all things out in my life for His glory if I will let Him. Now that I have faith in Christ, nothing will ever work against me. All will work for me. I can float. Christ is the air in my beach ball.
Recently I attended a conference in Gimli Manitoba. On one of the afternoons I was skipping rocks across the Lake Winnipeg water. I hadn’t done that in years. I felt like a little boy again. I can be like those flat stones in Christ. I can skip across the water instead of sinking below it. It is not dependent upon what happens to me, but rather who is working through me and in me.
Well, this is my most recent spiritual wake up call. I am sure, and I hope, that there will be many more. What is your most recent spiritual wake up call? We all need to keep waking up to new truths.