Monday, March 26, 2012

Conditioning the 'Heart'

When you discipline the body - you discipline the soul.

There's something about this denying of the flesh - this pushing through when you feel like passing out.... that gives endurance beyond the physical.

Weight isn't the only thing that melts away when you exercise.

While many things are lost...(laziness and timidity and fear)...things are also gained. When we work out....we also work in.

This daily dedication...this day after day commitment - it conditions the heart down deep. The arteries and ventricles aren't the only things that benefit. The spirit does, too. And this gaining of endurance that surpasses the muscles - it has the most worth. (Know though, that He is the one working it all in through this avenue of exercise. We must know this - else we get distracted and haughty. We also must know this - so that we don't erect fitness an idol.)

It's crazy what's been happening around here. My husband and I - we are two weeks in. Two weeks into a workout program.... that is thinning out more than my thighs and building up more than my biceps.

To push through - to bust up boundaries - to challenge our very flesh nature - this produces all kinds of goodness. And it eats away at all kinds of ugliness that attaches itself to us.

To fully engage devote completely these last 14 days...oh it's made such a glorious difference. Rigorously (but safely) training the body uniquely tames the flesh in certain areas. Sometimes, He uses physical things to condition us in spiritual things. (For me, anyway.) Expecting more from myself in exercise - it ups the anty elsewhere.

All this conditioning - I feel like it's preparing me for something. I feel like it's throwing me right into submission. And isn't that a good place for a Christian to be? To find oneself in submission before being sent out to comission. It makes sense.

So in this daily challenge of the body - I find myself in the throws of growth. And this makes it worth it. (That - and the smaller dress size.)

So I encourage you, kind friend - to keep going.

Because lifting the bar and adding iron to it.... goes way farther than the bench press.


P.S. We must tread very carefully here friends, and take note - that just as Colossians 2 says, "we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God." (NLT) It's important to guard ourselves from thinking that our growth and gain in Christ comes simply from our own human efforts. Self-denial and severe self-discipline - "have no effect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thoughts and desires" (Col. 2:23) That - can only come from Him. So as we engage in exercise - let us be aware that:

1) He is the one that gave our bodies the ability to undergo strenuous work
2) He alone is the one that spurs us into growth as we strive to tame the flesh in any area

 As you push and pull to condition your body - pray that He does a good, transforming work in you through it...He is the only one who can.

Love and blessings to you all!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Blowing In


And there's cool goodness wafting all through this home.

Curtains billowing. Papers taking flight off kitchen counters. Dirty window sills with cob-webbed corners. A mama's hair blowing in all this wind as she stirs gravy....

It's glorious.

As I pull my hair back in a pony and wrestle with over-cooked green beans - I breath deep and remember the smell of sweet outside! And hope arises from all this freshness moving in.

It leads me straight to Him.

Remember all those waiting, wondering followers in that room? (Acts 2) A rushing, mighty Wind swept right in and seeped right through. Pentecost. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And those wondering followers began to do wondrous things in His name and by His power and through His promise.

This is for us too, you know.

And in this I rejoice.

Because Jesus said, "...when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13)

And does this gravy-stirring Mama ever need some truth!

So I'm gonna keep these windows wide and open. And I'm gonna keep my hair tie handy. Because when He blows on in - my hair tends to get a little messed up. And really, I should want it that way.

Because Him winging in truth and choice fruits (Galatians 5:22-23) is worth the wind-blown look, don't you think?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Snapshots of Kenya

Such beauty and yet such sorrow represented  in these shots from Africa. Gorgeous landscaping, white tents that act as homes, diseased truckers, shoesless feet, playfuy boys, true servants of Christ, beautiful little faces from the orphanage, and wild animals....

Father, you know the story behind each photo and each face. Bring redemption and joy and salvation and healing to them all. Keep their stories fresh in our minds and soft in our hearts. And speak to us in these places...about these faces....and what you would have us do in Your name....yes, in Your name.

Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
- Isaiah 1:17