The Devotional Diva - Life or Death by Exercise
The Devotional Diva - Life or Death by Exercise
By Barbara Gobbs
Executive Assistant and Ministry Partner - Pocket Full of Change Ministries
”Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” II Tim 2:15 (NAS95)
A few weeks ago, one sweet, lovely and misguided soul decided to start an exercise class at church. When I heard the rumor, I thought it sounded good - in theory. Theory morphed into reality and classes began. I noticed my friends actually going. Before long, I started to feel left out. But I was too tired to exercise. Suddenly, my clear calendar became full so there was no time either.
Just this weekend I read in Isaiah where it states, “In repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is my strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) Rest and quietness means no exercise in my book! Of course, I could have misinterpreted the meaning. Perhaps “my book” is out of date.
Well, I guess I could stand to tone up and firm up. I’ve notice the jeans are a bit tight. However, I do walk! So what if it’s from the kitchen to the sofa. Doesn’t that count for anything? Finally, I realized I needed to make a decision when I noticed tears streaming from the readout plate of my scales! So today, I prepared for class. I put on my tank top and my sweats. I found my unused yoga mat and gathered a towel and a water bottle.
As I slipped on my sneakers, I announced to Bob, “I am going to class. I will not return, so please tell my grandchildren that I love them. Don’t let them bury me with my jewelry on and oh yeah – if you remarry – I will come back and haunt you!” I gave him one last hug, took a final look around my house and left.
Ninety minutes later, I arrived back home and proclaimed, “I did not die but am alive!” “ Bob laughed as he rolled his eyes exclaiming, “Praise the Lord!” Okay, I might be sore tomorrow, but I’m going back.
Here’s something you never thought of – Bible study is a lot like exercise. Think about it. It requires work and discipline. It can even hurt. But it always helps and the more you do it - the more you get from it!
To be honest, I am not a total stranger to exercise. Bob and I met in a high-impact aerobics class in 1990. I know the value that exercise can have on your body, your spirit and even your mind.
However, I also know what happens when you stop exercising. Muscles get weak and you just get lazy. The health benefits subside and it’s really hard to get back into it.
Bible Study is the same way. We think we exercise spiritually when we read one verse of Scripture as we suck down our coffee and fly out the door. While that can be a start, it’s not good enough for a healthy routine.
Today, I muddled through class – walking through most of the steps I could fly through years ago. But I am smart enough to know that if I tried to jump in full steam ahead my body would revolt. I’d risk becoming injured or discouraged and soon quit. So I will commit to pacing myself striving to better my routine in the days ahead. Beginning a Bible study routine works the same way.
Now even though I write devotions, I am a firm believer in real Bible Study. I will not sit here and tell you that I have expert status in it. Yet, I know the value spiritual training can have on your mind, your spirit and even your body! I know that once you start - the easier it becomes. I also know that if you stop, the harder it is to jump back in.
Can I offer some help to you today? If you already have a firm Bible study routine in place – then use this as encouragement and pray for those who might take this invitation to begin, or begin again. Here is an outline you can use:
1. Make time (min 15-20 minutes) Notice – I didn’t say find time, I said MAKE time. If you can find time to watch Desperate Housewives, you can make time to read your Bible, so you don’t become a desperate housewife!
2. Get your Bible, pen and notepaper
3. Ask God to bless your reading and thank Him for loving you.
4. Then read your selected passage.
5. Do a brief outline of the verse you read and think about their meaning and how you might apply it. You may ask yourself a question or make a note of something you do not understand (yet).
6. My version of an example is from Anne G. Lotz. Take Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
7. I note: God is already present at the beginning. He made the heavens and the earth. I might ponder the greatness of those facts for a few moments.
8. I might ask: Do I daily recognize God as creator of all things? I might consider: since God is the creator of all things, He can certainly handle any situation arising in my life.
9. Repeat with each verse you select and sit back and be amazed at what God will reveal.
10. Close in quick prayer thanking God for the time you spent together
11. Meditate on what you’ve discovered all day.
Try this as a starting place and work into 30-45 minutes or maybe do your 15-20 minutes twice a day. Let God lead you in a wondrous adventure of becoming more personally acquainted with Him. It might hurt at first! You could be sore from some of the training that will occur but I promise you – you will not die from it. Instead, you will COME ALIVE!
The Bible Rocks!
PS: if anyone want any specific help with mapping out a study – let me know – I have many ideas!
Barbara Gobbs is a ministry partner with and the Executive Assistant of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information, to schedule a speaker for an event, or to request a newsletter, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden, Publicist at 904 316-5462. This ministry is supported by donations. If this ministry helps you or others, and God calls you to help support this work, you can make a donation to Pocket Full of Change Ministry at POB 51205, Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32240.
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