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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual health’

Faith, Family, and Friendships

August 30th, 2017

Faith, family, and friends are essential to Life

The Father is the One who invited you into this wonderful friendship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 NLT

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Faith, Family and Friendships.”

I recognize three Biblical and irreplaceable priorities in my life. In this order, those priorities are: my faith, my family, and my friends. All are significant, but their order is important. Priorities clarify and simplify daily life. When you are right with God, you have the guidance of His Word and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to get all other relationships right. If that personal, relationship is lacking, even the best of the other relationships is less than its potential. There is a temptation you must resist. God’s Word is clear. “Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God.” James 4:4 NLT.

And prioritizing family is a Godly assignment with eternal accountability. Family can either be your fulfilling joy or will become one’s greatest sorrow and regret. The Bible has much wisdom and guidance for the relationships of husbands and wives, as well as parents and children. As your fellowship with God is resource for your family relationships, your Godly, family relationships have so much to do with the potential quality of your personal friendships.

Now, let’s talk about friends and friendships. God established the truth that, “two are better than one.” Solomon advised that righteous friendships make you are more successful, secure, satisfied, and stronger. See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. I have found friends and friendships to be foundationally vital to health and happiness. Friendships are not  optional; they are essential. Life is less, much less, without the company and fellowship of true friends. God’s Word provides a lot of wisdom about friends and friendships. The Bible presents many exemplary friendships – Moses and Joshua, David and Jonathan, Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Paul and Barnabas, as well as Jesus and the Disciples.

Friendships are based on a simple principle. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV. Be the friend you hope to have. The character of friendships entrusted to you reflect the friend you have chosen to be to others. I am very grateful for the many friends who have included me in their lives. I am better than I would have been without them. I hope my God, my family, and my friends would feel the same about our relationship.

I think the following verses provide the Biblical origin and foundation for all of this. “For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by His life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.” Romans 5:10-11 NLT. The spiritual health of your family and the authenticity of your Godly friendships rest upon and flow from the depth and steadfastness of your, “wonderful new relationship with God.”

Today, I pray for you to enjoy life-affirming friendships born of the friend you chose to be.

Christian Communications 2017

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Health and Holiness

March 23rd, 2017

Care about eternal matters more than temporal

“I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health.”

3 John 2 NAS

My thoughts and comments today are about, “health and holiness.”

Recently, I had my Annual Wellness Checkup, as it was called by the doctor. It was overdue but ultimately reassuring. The practical wisdom of being more health conscious is undeniable, especially as you add years and miles. Living a healthier lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, managing your weight, reducing stress and worry, getting enough rest, and having a medical check-up periodically makes good sense. You are wise to take care of your body. Doing so is a personal investment in your continued well-being and length of life. And I recommend, you are wise to take care of your soul.

Spiritual health impacts physical wellbeing. Deliberately attending to matters that contribute to your spiritual health and well-being is wise. John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NAS.  It is incongruous to prioritize your physical health which only benefits your lifetime, yet neglect your spiritual health which impacts eternity.  

Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Bodily exercise profits a little, but Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV. Jesus’ question was direct, “How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mark 8:36-37 NLT. The question is clear; the answer is obvious.

Here are my practical suggestions for a Spiritual Wellness Checkup. What you need most is a good report from the Great Physician and Savior of man’s soul. Keep your mind clean and clear, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV. Walk in faith, “For it is impossible to please God without faith.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV.

Live gratefully, “In everything give thanks, this is the will of God concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV. Forgive generously; “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NKJV. Pray instead of worry; “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6 NLT.

Choose trust above understanding; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not upon your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NKJV. Practice faithfulness for, “It is required of a steward that he is found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV. Pray frequently and fervently. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT. God’s Word is proven and productive for health and holiness. “Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:24 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to value and hold fast that which is eternal.

Christian Communications 2017

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Vital Signs

April 17th, 2015

“[Physical] exercise profits a little, but Godliness is profitable for all things.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV.

Your eternal soul warrants more thought and care than your mortal body merits.

My thoughts and comments today are about “vital signs.”

EDL graphic vital signsHealthy habits are a wise investment in the quality and length of your life. There is no debate about the practical wisdom of being health conscious – practicing a healthy lifestyle, managing your weight, eating properly, exercising regularly, eliminating stress, reducing worry, getting enough rest, and having a medical check-up periodically. The same attention would be good for your soul, giving deliberate consideration of habits that contribute to your spiritual health and well-being, or lack thereof. “I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is.” 3 John 2 NLT.

There is an incongruity to being so careful about your physical health which affects only the limited years of your lifetime, while being careless even for a moment about your soul’s health that impacts eternity, years without end. “[Physical] exercise profits a little, but Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8. Your eternal soul warrants more thought and care than your mortal body merits. See Matthew 16:25-26 NIV. I have observed that some people follow their exercise regimen with more commitment, priority, frequency, regularity, and passion than they give to their spiritual disciplines. That could be expected of non-church attenders, but should that ever be true of a Christian?

Let me suggest some practical, spiritual vital signs. Evaluate your priorities. “Live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:33 NLT.  Keep your mind clean and clear. “Those who live according to the Spirit, [set their minds] on the things of the Spirit . . to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6. Read Philippians 4:8. Nurture a healthy faith. “For it is impossible to please God without faith.” Hebrews 11:6 NLT.

Practice gratitude. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Lose unhealthy weight. “Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us.” Hebrews 12:1. Welcome healthy exercise. “Discipline yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised by it.” Hebrews 12:11.

Forgive easily and generously. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32. Give God your worries. “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6 NLT. Cultivate trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not upon your own understanding. Commit your way to the Lord, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5.

Develop faithfulness. “It is required of a steward that he is found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2. Make prayer a priority. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT. These are not meant to be an exhaustive list for spiritual health, but suggest spiritually significant “vital signs” the Holy Spirit will examine when you invite Him to do so.

Today, my prayer for you is a good report from the Great Physician that all is well.

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Weight Loss

July 7th, 2011

“Strip off every weight that slows you down.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT

“Self indulgence is the enemy of spiritual health and well being.”

My thoughts today are about “weight loss.”

Does it sometimes seem like everyone you know is trying “to lose a few pounds?” What’s up with that? In spite of attempts to ignore, we all know that extra physical weight complicates so many things you do, makes every effort more difficult, and is unhealthy as well. You have a choice; you can do something about that as hard as that may be, or you can go on the way you are.

Yet, too many people readily indulge or ignore different kinds of weight that can even more negatively impact everyday life – emotional weight, feelings that cloud your judgment; mental weight, worries and thoughts that are unhealthy and/or unholy; relational weight, selfish behavior that complicates families and friendships, or spiritual weight, an accumulating neglect that wearies and weighs down the soul. To be in better shape – body, soul, and spirit – you may need a pretty serious weight loss regimen. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14-24 NIV.

Here’s a good place to begin. Has your spiritual life slowed down, or even stopped all together? “Strip off every weight that slows (you) down, especially the sin that so easily hinders (your) progress. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT. People seem to focus a lot more time and attention tripping over entangling sins, while ignoring the less obvious encumbering weight that minimizes progress and growth, or eliminates it altogether. Notice the metaphor Scripture used is that of a marathon, not a sprint but a long distance race. This race takes vigilance and endurance; the task successfully accomplished requires perseverance. Self indulgence is the enemy of spiritual health and well being.

Can you imagine trying to successfully run a distance race wearing a long, heavy, winter woolen overcoat? Do you have worries? Heavy laden with care? “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you . . Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and . . you will find rest for your soul.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT/Matt 11:28-30 NKJV. Now that’s a weight loss program that works wonders!

Troubling thoughts out of control? “For the weapons of our warfare are . . mighty through God for pulling down strongholds, casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV.

Here’s the Apostle Paul’s advice: “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win.” Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT. Our daughter-in-law, Amy, is quite a competitive runner. She runs to win, not just for the fun of running. She has little sympathy for her competitors’ struggles. She is single-minded – in it to win it!

A successful, victorious Christian’s life allows no less – a strict regimen of training, tenacity, fitness, discipline, endurance, courage, confidence, and the like. “Train yourself to be Godly. For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV. You won’t win carrying needless weight! See 1 Peter 1:3-11 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you will be fit and trim in your most important race.

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Happier and Healthier

February 15th, 2010

“I came that they may have and enjoy life . . till it overflows.” John 10:10 Amplified Bible

“Laugh a lot more, and live a lot better, and longer!”

My thoughts today are about “happier and healthier.”

There are some folk, both in and out of the church, who seem to think that God doesn’t appreciate people enjoying themselves. Some would live as though anything fun must be spiritually suspicious, if not plain wrong. No wonder people who are not yet believers are hesitant to have much to do with any church or its families on a personal or social basis. Who wants to hang out with joy-killers?

I have found that truly happy people are usually spiritually and emotionally healthy people as well. Reading the Gospels, I find that Jesus always seemed to be a much sought after guest at dinners, weddings, and parties. People wanted Him to be there. He did not lessen their enjoyment; Jesus seemed to add to every celebration, not take way from it. I don’t see Him standing on the sideline frowning with disapproval of people’s simple joy.

I have traveled to Israel a couple of times, and observed that the Jewish people like music and dancing. I can imagine Jesus and His disciples joining the festivities, without any apology for doing so. One of the godliest men I have ever personally known was a joy to be with, with a ready smile and hearty laugh. “Happy indeed are those whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 145:1 NLT.

Supposedly religious people, who presume for themselves the task of squeezing the joy out of everyone and everything, disappoint me. My Dad laughed a lot and enjoyed friends that did. Our home was a place of fun and laughter. My Dad said that everyone makes others happy – “some make people happy when they come, and others when they leave.” I think we both know people who qualify for the latter. I want to be counted among the first more often than I have.

Give yourself permission to smile more readily, and laugh more frequently. One of the best gifts you can give to your family and friends is a bit more laughter in your life and theirs. Here’s Solomon’s practical wisdom on the matter: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful; the cheerful heart has a continual feast; a cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 15:13,15 and 17:22 NIV. That sounds to me like God considers people with a sense of humor to be healthier and happier.

There have been a number of medical and psychological studies that show that humor and happiness – positive emotions and attitude – produce healthier lives. That kind of joy is found in Jesus. The Savior came that you would, “have and enjoy life, till it overflows.” John 10:10. Laughter relieves stress, and stressful situations, lightens the burdens you feel weighing you down, and puts the worst of matters into proper perspective. As a pastor, I have been with grieving families and watched them brighten at the recall of humorous family memories; the good times always outweigh the bad. Laugh a lot more, and live a lot better, and longer!

My prayer for you today is: give your self permission to be unexplainably happy.

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