Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 8 April 2019

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.   2 Timothy 2:1 (NIV).

Lately, I’ve been struggling with going to the gym each morning   For years, my alarm has been set to 0500 hours (5 AM to you non-military readers).   I go to the gym soon after for cardio and weights.   These last few months, however, I have struggled.   I tire more easily, and I find it tougher to get motivated to go.   Physically, I’m in pretty good shape though I’m carrying more weight than I want to or should.   But I tire quicker, and, most days, I would rather just turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.

This won’t be one of those stories where Jesus rushes in to save the day, however (even though He does).   I wish I could say I felt the strength of the Savior pull me into the gym and go all Arnold on the weights, but that hasn’t happened yet.  What does keep me going is a goal of losing weight, of being able to walk freely and easily when I’m 80.  The thought of being in better health than my parents were also motivates me because my genes are, unfortunately, working against me.   The combination of that and bad choices means I’m fighting an uphill battle.  On my own it’s tough.   That’s where Jesus comes in.   And when I recognize that He’s motivating me, I begin to see that He’s been there all along, before I even started.

That’s always the case in our lives because daily living is an uphill battle without the strength of God to encourage us.   To push us to always give just a bit more.   I like to think that He wants me to be in better overall health, so He does motivate me to get up and go, to walk those 10000 steps per day, to eat a little healthier.   As my health slowly improves, it really isn’t me improving it:   it’s Jesus, who is motivating me to be better.   The spark of inspiration to improve comes from Him, from Him giving me the desire to take better care of the body and life He gave.

In fact, the only real strength there is in this world is from Jesus Christ.    Human strength (and the desire to fight the alarm clock) eventually fails.   Yet strength from Christ is always constant, always there.   He gives it freely.   Sure, we can train up and tone our bodies and minds and even our hearts to better perform.   But we don’t earn it or deserve it or work it out.   Strength isn’t ours just because we worked hard.   It’s ours because Jesus gives it.

For further reading:   Ephesians 6:10, 2 Timothy 2:2.

Lord Jesus, You are strength.   You are the only real strength in this world.   Thank You for abiding with me and strengthening me

Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 25 October 2016

He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.  Hebrews 3, verse 2.

Moses was God’s servant.   When Moses was a tiny baby, floating in the reed ark in the Nile, Jesus knew him.   When Moses murdered the Egyptian and fled in hypocritical fear, Jesus knew him.   When Moses stood in front of God’s presence and doubted himself and this God, Jesus knew him.   When Moses was an old man dying on top of Mount Nebo and looking into the Promised Land he was told he would never enter, Jesus knew him.  And when Moses, along with Elijah, appeared to Jesus, Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration, Jesus knew him.

You get the picture.   Jesus knew Moses.

And Moses, try as he did otherwise, knew Jesus.   He may not have known Jesus as the man incarnate, yet Moses knew Him as the three in one.  As Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 6 in the great Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”   Moses saw the Three in One personally, as God, as three persons in One.  He knew Jesus was God’s person abiding with Israel as it struggled with its newfound identity.   He knew Jesus as his deliverer and mediator when he stood in God’s presence and pleaded for his rebellious people.   He knew Jesus when He spoke comfort into Moses’ doubting heart.   And, after death, He knew Jesus as Lord, friend, man, and brother, talking with Him on that mountain in the desert where Jesus revealed a taste of His glory to a hungry world.

Through it all, Moses was God’s servant.   Just as Jesus was God’s servant.   Just as you and I are God’s servants.   Noodle that thought for a minute.  You and I have things in common with Moses and Jesus, the two greatest figures of antiquity, the deliverers of millions, the founders of Western civilization, and one of whom is God Immanuel the Savior of all mankind.  It isn’t just similarities, chance behaviors or traits we have in common with figures in history; you could say that about anyone.    No, we have a brotherhood, a familial bond with Jesus and Moses that goes beyond our shared humanity.   By God’s grace, He considers us to be His servants, doing His good and loving will in a world that needs to know Him.

I don’t know about you but I’ll admit that my independent American nature doesn’t like being told the best I can be is a servant.   I’m no slave…and yet I am one.  God forgive, then, my stupid head and ignorant heart.

Just this morning at the gym, I spent 10 minutes alone in the sauna.   I often do this at the end of my workout, and today I spent my time praying.   Going in, I decided I would only pray thanks to God for things that crossed my mind.   That and I wouldn’t pray for the same thing twice; it would only be new things that came to me during the prayers.   10 minutes doesn’t seem like that long of a time, but in reality it was.   Yet the longer I prayed, the harder – and easier – it became to pray for things.   By the end of it, I was praying for even simple things I’d taken for granted, things like dry floors and warm showers and clean clothes and even the air I breathed.

When I was done, I was left full.   I felt both satisfied and tired; can you imagine the thrilling exhaustion of praying for days-straight the way Nehemiah did before rebuilding the Jerusalem walls?   As I was walking out, I prayed again:   where would You have me serve today, Lord?   The God who appointed Moses to lead Israel out of slavery and into a new birth of liberty is the same God who sent His Son to deliver all of humanity out of slavery to sin and into the true birth of real liberty.   He is the same God who was with them in their most glorious and most trying moments.  And He is the same God who lives in the fires of the sun, the renewal of springtime, and the simple miracle of a newborn child.  God speaks to us in many ways, but in all those ways He calls to us to serve Him by using our lives and our talents in His purposes here on the Third Rock.  When we do this, we’re channeling our brothers Moses and Jesus, who were also God’s faithful servants:   servants we can know here and now.

For more reading:   Hebrews 3:5, Numbers 12:7, Deuteronomy 34:5-7, Joshua1:1-2, Psalm 105:26, Deuteronomy 6:4.

Lord God, I am Your servant today.   Thank You for blessing me this way.  Uphold me to do Your bidding as we will today, in service to You and Your good Kingdom.