DAY 34: Tuesday 21 April
Good morning everyone –
today’s thoughts come from Christian author and speaker, Jeff Lucas.
I am a fully paid up member of my local gym. I paid the joining fee and now a weighty standing order hits my bank every month, hard evidence indeed of my athletic ambitions.
My joining the ‘Lycra set’ was long overdue. My belt was running out of expansion holes and not only were my feet disappearing behind my expanding waistline, but small children and animals were found sheltering beneath the shadow of my belly. I was getting breathless every time I opened my Bible. A page flip from the Gospels to an epistle was okay, but turning from the Old Testament to the New really taxed me to the limit and I knew that if I dared to pick up a large concordance it could actually take me out completely. My physical exercise was limited to building up the muscle of my right arm as a result of lifting hamburgers to my mouth. Something had to be done.
I donned my ancient sports gear which was probably in fashion when Roger Bannister was at his peak and headed to the torture chamber for my ‘evaluation’. A grim-faced instructor with a permanent ‘who's-been-a-naughty-boy-then’ expression made me run on a treadmill, puff into what looked and tasted like a vacuum cleaner hose, and then passed a few watts of electricity through my frame in order to measure my body fat. The result proved that just about everything except my toenails was in fact top quality lard.
So, he prescribed a rigorous daily routine that would turn me into a Bruce Willis courtesy of stepping machines, rowing contraptions that bite your shorts when you push back, and a demonic bike which is always pointed uphill.
So now I have the key to a hard body. I've been twice - the first time I loved it and decided to turn my back on Christian ministry in order to pursue a distinguished athletic career. Why, I would visit the gym twice daily not just once. Soon I'd be a musclebound stud who would hand out Christian literature on the beach kicking sand in the face of any heathen who refused a tract. The second visit I hated every second. I staggered out of the gym, face flushed blood-red, chest heaving, frantic for oxygen, a picture of ill health.
And I've not been back. I think about going back every day of course, and a guilty wave hits me. I overcome this by being in denial, refusing to buy larger clothes. My gym membership card sits in the back pocket of my jeans which are very tight because they carry a waist size closer to the measurement of my upper thigh. I aspire to fitness, I believe in fitness, I long to be fit but I just don't want to take the steps needed to get me from aspiration to achievement.
The same sad flabby situation often exists in my spiritual life. I want to believe in effortless maturity, development and growth without cost, resolve, or decision. I confuse ‘salvation’ which is mine without cost to me, through shed blood, with ‘sanctification’ which demands purposeful discipline. Paul the Apostle told his disciple and friend Timothy to train himself for ‘godliness’. The word train in the Greek is ‘gumnaze’. Sound familiar? Yes, this is the root for our word ‘gymnasium’. He's telling Timothy and us that maturity isn't automatic. We need to get down to the gym, as it were, and embrace grace-inspired discipline without legalism if we want to sport some spiritual muscle.
Time to go, I have a pressing engagement with a demonic bike. Jeff Lucas
Received yesterday from Linda Smith -
Well, the start of another week and blessed with another lovely sunny morning.
Last week was just a bit traumatic, both Stuart and Philippa were not well, and it was confirmed on Thursday that they both have Covid19, fortunately only mildly (they think the children have it also). They all appear to be getting stronger but even a mild dose takes its toll and it is still not known whether they will now have immunity or whether the immune system will be compromised.
What's that saying 'calm on the top but paddling madly below the water' that was me (us). It's a good job that God hears everyone's prayers because I took up an awful lot of his time last week, but each day one Bible verse kept cropping up., Psalm 46 v.10 .. Be still and know that I am God. Wonderful !!!
Today, Monday, I logged on to Our Daily Bread - 'Being Cared For' and guess what .... today's reading is Psalm 46.
Thank you to everyone who are praying specifically for Stuart, Philippa and the family, I know some of you are, and it is very comforting to know that they are being covered in this way.
I'm sure we are all praying for the 'key' workers but please remember Anne Roberts (still working at John Taylor Hospice) and Natalie Roberts (sorry don't know her married name), Lillian Swinnerton (care worker) and Ellen (Sally’s daughter in charge of one of the Covid wards at Good Hope). I'm sure there may be other 'key' workers within our church family that we could pray for if you let Wesley know.
Be still and know that I am God ..... I am the Lord that healeth thee ..... In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust.
Well, to follow that we need to sing those verses with Linda & Mike >>>
MAKE YOU SMILE:
It said that there are two kinds of people in the world;
those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning Lord" and those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning".
So let’s follow that with another HYMNALONG (the only recording I could find features Linda Lord singing close to the mic – so join in) >>> https://youtu.be/tnekRt8cyko
Keep safe, stay fit, and be encouraged