My Fitness

Monday, July 31, 2017

science and us

I'm compiling these articles for my own benefit. You may find them interesting as well.

Gerald Schroeder

More from Gerald:

It's sad that so many Christians are afraid of science or see science as the enemy. Science is the language of God.

Redeeming Science -by Vern Poythress

Thursday, July 27, 2017

daily devotions

I tried to make a video about how I organize my daily devotion. It did not go well. Mostly, I am not practiced or skilled in making videos. I was aiming for about 3 minutes and it was about 20 minutes. I deleted it. It was ridiculous! You could read everything I said in that video in far less time. I might try again and then update this post with a video at the end. In the meantime, here's my run down:

You need to have a daily devotion time. It doesn't matter what you call it. If you have a special name, use that. Popular names include: Bible time, quiet time, devotional time, prayer time, and more. The idea is that it's time set aside for you and God. Some benefits of this time can be found in numerous posts online including THIS ONE from Focus on the Family, which is often a good resource.

Mine fell apart but you can order one HERE
The absolute essentials for your personal Bible time is a Bible. It can be physical or electronic or even audible. Some people benefit from journals to write down key concepts and prayers. Some people use a highlighter or pencil/pen to underline verses that seemed memorable. Some people benefit from using a devotional book to lead them through their Bible study - this can be good so you hear different perspectives that you might not have considered but it can also be bad if the source is simply wrong about what the passage means. Critical thinking and a discerning spirit are necessary to navigate which resources are good. THIS is a devotional that is emailed to you each morning. -that's extremely convenient!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
I have my quiet time in the morning. I awake 30 minutes earlier than my kids so I have time to get distracted and refocused before making them breakfast. If I wait until they are awake, it won't be too quiet. It isn't necessary to do it in the morning. Some people aren't morning people. I'm not a morning person but have still found that it's more beneficial in the morning because I can then think on those things throughout the whole day. It is better to have a quiet moment with God at lunch or right before bed than to not have it at all or once a week at church. There isn't a holier time of day. You don't get more points for having it at 7am than you would at 7pm. There's no points to be had!

you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
Whatever you decide to do, do it out of love and not a feeling of religiosity or superstition. If you choose to only read, that's ok but make sure you're not being lazy. If you choose to take notes and thoroughly study with commentaries and books, make sure you have pure motives and aren't trying to be self-righteous and superior. I have found it very helpful to write down in my outline what I have studied. I tend to be a more kinesthetic learner and will retain info that I write and can revisit longer.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
I go through the Bible line-by-line instead of topically. Topic studies have their place when they are needed, but going through every verse of the Bible means you don't get to skip the unpleasant topics. (each person will have their own idea of which topics are unpleasant) If you go through every verse in the Bible you will cover every topic.

...but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Start with prayer. Simply saying, "Turn my heart to you in this time and help me please you." is enough. Here's a short article on PRAYER and a BOOK that I love and helped me when I was a beginner; Stormie Omartian has other books on prayer that are beneficial to different life circumstances. My daily prayer is basic and variations on this idea: God, help me to be encouraged, convicted, and cleansed, and help me to focus on you, learn from you, and worship you. Mostly I want to worship God during this time. If I worship God, everything else will fall into place.

Start with just a paragraph, and then maybe a chapter. Depending on variables, maybe you can read an entire book. Some books are really small. There will be seasons when you completely forget to

not glamorous
have a daily quiet time for months, and times when you remember but can't figure out to make it work, and times of great growth and sweet spiritual communion. There will always be a reason to not study the Bible. I have a mountain of clothes to be put away right now, for example. But if I die tonight I will look back glad that I chose to spend time with God instead of with cleaning. Of course, I could pray and recite verses while cleaning...

Well, there are many more spiritual disciplines that I work throughout my day and week. Perhaps I will write on those in the future. I'm inconsistent and forgetful. My desire is toward God and as I grow I'm getting better at consistency. You will too: You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

From Elisabeth Elliot Quotes Facebook page

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

kindness leads to repentance

There exists a type of shame that reveals our sins to us. With our eyes open to our sin, this shame leads to repentance. This is good. We do not need to wallow in our shame. We need to repent. It is a kindness of God to allow this shame. This kindness is love. 

To my shame, I was inspired by past teachings and remembered this right after I yelled at the kids for bickering. Shame is ok if it leads to repentance. Well-placed shame is a gift from God that leads to conviction and restoration. "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17"

It is easier to be myself; to sin. I must die to myself every day and take up my cross if I am to follow Christ. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

faith, hope, and love

For the longest time, I found myself doubting everything. If someone said something, I doubted its truth. If I read something, more doubt. It didn't matter if it was a newspaper, a textbook, or the Bible. I doubted. I didn't like this about myself but I hated being deceived and I had a trickster for a father who delighted in watching me fall for his lies. These were usually benign jests but the foolishness bothered me. I didn't want to be a fool any more.

I prayed for wisdom and faith. I wanted to have faith in the Bible. I wanted to believe. The first step I found was to read the Word for myself. No one can trick you into thinking something is in the Bible that isn't if you're reading it for yourself. They can still trick you into thinking it means something other than what it means so you must also study it more than merely reading.

[I'm reminded of a foolish child who was slightly older than me trying to tell me that the Bible said I had to do what they said because it says to "respect your elders". HAHAHAHAHAHA! oh kids.]

My reading led to more praying, and praying led to more reading. Every time I doubted something, I'd pray and find a Scripture to help me find the wisdom in the situation. Eventually this led to someone remarking on my spiritual gifting of faith. I was shocked! I had been praying for faith and acting and speaking the words of faith but I didn't feel any different. But my friend was right - I was acting in faith. I did this and not that because in faith I was believing the Word of God. I didn't even realize it. I don't think it was a "gift" so much as a "discipline". I had to learn it. This was ten years ago.

This week I heard a sermon that spoke about faith and hope. You can find it here. One of the points I remember is that faith looks back to the cross and hope looks forward to the promises of God. So I learned that all this time what I was calling "faith" is actually called "hope". [I don't know the Greek words, so these might not be the right definitions still. But my second point still remains that God listens to the heart..."groanings too deep for words".]

This is great on two fronts for me personally. First, I had just been wondering what hope was because I hope I get to live at the beach and I hope my dinner tastes good, but surely that isn't the same as the Biblical "hope". And it isn't. The second is that I'm so glad God doesn't take my words literally. We don't have to be eloquent and well-spoken, or even use words correctly, to pray and receive from God what he wants for us. He didn't even seem to care that I was using the wrong word. He knew my heart and he knows yours. He's not a magic genie waiting for a specific incantation or magic spell to be spoken. He wants our hearts.

With talk of faith and hope, my mind naturally went to the conclusion of I Corinthians 13: So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. What does that mean? Faith looks back to the cross. Hope looks forward to the promises. Love is present life. It is good to have faith in the cross of Christ. It is good to have hope in the promise of heaven. But love covers a multitude of sins and allows us to live in peace with each other. Love draws others to Christ. My faith and my hope does not affect you, but my love for God is naturally expressed in love for you and living a life in Christ that edifies and up-lifts you. A life of Love sacrifices self for the good of others. A life of Love puts your needs before mine. A life of Love treats you the way I would want to be treated. A life of Love gives without expectation of any return. Love reaches so far into the past and into the future beyond measure. Love encompasses faith and hope. You can't love God without having faith and hope.

So now my new prayer is to learn to love. Maybe in ten years someone will say that I have the gift of love. I will read and pray and pray and read until then. I will act as best as I can in love. This is not natural for me and I readily admit my failings. I am not a loving person. But I'm also not a faith or hope person and yet people say that I am - that is not me but Christ in me. So hopefully, I will also be loving because that too will be Christ in me.

edit to add: since writing this, I've read THIS sermon, again by Piper, that further encourages me in the Path as described above.