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Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)

 I hate to admit it, but I am not as sure footed as I was when I was 25. I was reminded of that last time I went trout fishing on the South Fork of the Tuolumne river. I used to be able to rock hop and leap all over. Now I am much more prone to stumble and fall. In fact, I hit the deck twice a few weeks ago just navigating around my yard. I blame it on my current back struggles and how they affect my left leg.

I watch my grandson trying to gain stability on his young legs. He too, spills regularly, but he doesn’t fall as far and his bones are softer than mine. Yet, if he fails to gain stability on his legs his life will be much tougher, much more bruised, and much more limited.

Of course we don’t just stumble with our legs. Ever stumbled with your mouth? Didn’t find the right words? Made a mess with the words you did manage? Wish you could somehow take them words back?

We stumble with our emotions. For many, their temper and anger (how they express and manage it) trip them up time after time. They continually make them stumble. For others it is depression, or anxiety, or paralyzing fear.

For some it is money, the making of it, the managing (actually mismanaging) of it, the spending of it, the love of it, that time after time causes them to stumble, to upset their lives, to add enormous stress and worry.

James is right when he writes, we all stumble in many ways” James 3:2 (ESV). People have stumbled over their ambitions, jealousy, because of their friends, relatives, how people have treated them, injustice, and ….

Jude’s main concern in his short letter next to the last book of the Bible is far too many people stumbling spiritually. I can attest to that after pastoring for 32 years. Heck, all I have to do is look in the mirror and get a glimpse of a stumbler.

Stumbling is a special concern to me as a Dad and now Granddad. I want to model and contribute to the stability of my children and grandchildren, and that is tough to do if I stumble too much, especially spiritually. There is absolutely no one better at helping me/us when it comes to stumbling, gaining balance, acquiring stability in life with all of its challenges and twist and turns, than God and his Son Jesus Christ. There is no resource better than the Bible (God’s written revelation) when it comes to building the strength of mind, heart, faith, and habits needed to avoid stumbling. There are few foundational habits as important as gathering weekly with other stumblers to encourage each other and worship the one who daily offers his almighty hand to keep us from stumbling.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

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“Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

There is a good chance you won’t like this pastor’s-note (p-note) very much, it sticks a finger into your flab. Most of us are much more familiar with abundant flab than with tight buttocks or abs. We know we should, we know we could, and we know we’d be better off if we would, but we don’t, and we won’t and the result is flab, weakness, illness, ungodliness.

Flab does not surrender easily, it is relentless, it keeps coming back. So you have to work to get rid of it and you have to work to keep it away. To win against flab you got embrace ugly words: discipline, exercise, daily, good habits, commitment, pushing yourself, denying yourself. That’s why we look for alternatives, the two minute exercise routine that will offset even the biggest burger and fries, the exercise machine that will overcome gallons of soda, the pill that will make you skinny, fix the diabetes, and gets rid of wrinkles, the electronic gadget that will give you muscles while sitting in your easy chair. Collectively we spend millions trying to bypass the ugly words, we keep listening to the lies of the flab while getting flabbier still.

Our guts, chins, thighs, and butts are not the only things that can get flabby. We can be mentally flabby, spiritually flabby. Dare we, in just one pastor’s note, to stick a finger in that flab too? Let’s. Same aversion to dirty words: discipline, exercise, good habits, commitment, pushing yourself, denying yourself. Same search for a magical and quick fix. Same result, more, abiding, limiting, useless, ungodly flab.

I hate to say it, but a p-note a week will not make you spiritually strong. P-notes make for great for great flab-pokers, but if you want to get rid of the flab at some point you have to embrace discipline, daily exercise, good spiritual habits, lifelong commitment, pushing yourself, denying yourself. The amount of flab or lack thereof is in direct proportion to how much you embrace the words flab considers dirty, useless, obsolete, and threatening.

Both fit body and a sharp mind are enabling, the same is true about godliness. In fact God makes it clear that the most important thing to exercise, to keep from being flabby is godliness. You can get your body-fat down to 2 % and be a mean self-centered person. You can be sharp as a tack mentally and be proud and arrogant. You can be fit and sharp and be utterly godless. But if we train ourselves in godliness we will deal will gluttony, we won’t stay ignorant, and we will deal with hubris. Godliness benefits the entire person but never to selfish ends.

Before I remove my finger from the flab, let me ask you, “How flabby are you? How flabby is your body? How flabby is your mind? And above all how flabby are you when it comes to godliness, to Christlikeness? And when will that change?”

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans

P.S. I am aware this p-note could easily be understood in our culture which is obsessed with youth and certain kind of ideal body image. The question is not who we are in comparison to others and certain cultural norms, but rather who we are in comparison to who God has made us and for what God has enabled us, namely to be men and women who worship him and Jesus Christ and who whose character and behavior is godly trough and through.

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