Like most of America this time of year my wife and I have been exercising. For a long time she refused to work out with me because of an unfortunate incident in a gym previously. I won't go into all the details but let me give you one piece of advice. NEVER agree to what someone says if you don't actually hear what they are saying. Seriously, it could get you into a very deep bucket of hot water. I am still dealing with some second degree emotional burns.
Okay, let's get this thing back on track here. We have been working out. I have really enjoyed being able to get healthy together with my wife even though it has required me to break out of my normal routine. Whenever I would start working out before, I had my go to routine. 20-30 minutes of cardio, usually a treadmill, then heavy weightlifting. That was my routine and I never really strayed away from it. My wife however, doesn't really like sticking to the same fitness routine for long. She enjoys shaking things up every couple days and doing something new.
Normally whatever we decided to do we would do it together but the other day she threw me a curve ball. When we were getting ready to do our cardio work she suggested one work out for me and another for her. We were still near each other but it was just another way for her to shake things up. I went along with it and let me tell you. Her workout kicked my butt!
She found this stair workout that involved stair steps, push-ups on the stairs, and squats. It was brutal! By the time I had finished my 15 minutes I was flat exhausted.
Now, this is the point where the blog takes a little turn. As we were catching our breath, I made a comment about how amazed I was at how hard taking a single step up could once you were physically wore out. My wife looked at me as we were both panting and trying to catch our breath and said "that is a word right there". I have been thinking about that ever since and I feel like it is something that someone needs to hear.
The Christian life is one of movement. We should always be growing and moving. As Paul said we are to "run the race". (Hebrews 12:1)
Sometimes though, we miss the signs telling us just where we are supposed to be running. We get so focused on moving forward that we exhaust ourselves and aren't able to take a step up when God calls us to come up higher. I see it like we are running around the mountain of God. Sure we are moving forward but we aren't actually getting any higher. We're just running in a circle! Meanwhile God is calling out to us saying, " I have so much more, come higher"! But, we have run in circles so hard for so long we can't take the step up.
I am reminded of when Moses and the Israelites came to the mountain. There was thunder and clouds. It freaked the people out to the point that they were satisfied camping out at the foot of the mountain. Moses saw the same things and was like, man I gotta get up there to the top and spend time with God! So, Moses goes up and while he is having an experience with God that many of us can only imagine, the ones that stayed behind decided to start partying and sinning.
You see, it isn't enough to camp out at the foot of the mountain. It isn't enough to run circles around it. You have to step it up and climb into the cloud of God's glory! In this season, I believe God is calling out to the ones who are ready, willing, and able to come up higher!
I hope this has spoken to you the way it has me over the last couple of days. If it has, please feel free to comment on this blog or send me an email at email@example.com.
So, this past week two of my children had birthdays. Me, being the big softy that I am, felt rather emotional about both of them. There is a part of me that wishes my kids didn't have to grow up at all. While I worry about what kind of world they will be living in once they reach adulthood. Mostly I know that there will come a day when they just don't need me the way that they do now and that scares me!
While I was happy and sad about both birthdays, there was one that hit me a whole lot harder than the other. Our oldest daughter, Nevaeh, just officially entered the double digits. She is officially the big 1 - 0!
Don't let the picture above fool you...I was not a happy dad. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Not even a smidgeon. Wait, is "Smidgeon" a word? My spell checker says it isn't but I don't always believe it.
Anyway, back to my point. My kids are growing up on us and I am not thrilled about it. But, I can't stop it either. Growing up is a part of life and I have to do my best to deal with it. Good thing for us, the bible let's us in on just exactly how we can do just that.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
While our kids are still young, we can keep ourselves from sitting around worrying by getting busy training. Since everyone loves lists, just check the Internet, below is my list of 3 things we can do to train our children up in the way they should go.
Not only should we pray for our kids but we should teach them to pray for themselves. Every night before bed, we pray with our kids. We say the same prayer, it is one that I wrote myself. I included certain things that I wanted our kids to learn. My wife has also written a prayer of declaration, one for the girls and one for the boys, that she goes through with them every night.
2. Presence over Presents
My wife and I love to spoil our kids when we are able. We love them and want to give them things that we know they will enjoy. For example, our son Caleb loves legos. Because of that, I may have gone a wee bit overboard this past Christmas by getting him 4 large lego sets. As much as we enjoy doing that, what we love doing even more is spending time with them. We make a conscious effort every day to give each of our children some one on one time with each of us. It isn't always easy and we aren't always successful but we make the effort. Our children can always use more of us before they get more stuff.
3. Love them FULLY
We love our children with all of our hearts. Because we care about them so much, we discipline them. Being parents means that we must be more than our children's friends. It means that we have to go above and beyond mere friendship to ensure that they are ready for adulthood. Truly loving our kids means that at some point I have to bring discipline to them so they will understand healthy boundaries.
My wife and I have found those 3 things to be invaluable to training up our children in the way they should go. If you have any tips or ideas feel free to comment and let us know!
I recently saw a video where Mashable Watercooler recut the trailer to the movie "Dumb and Dumber" and managed to make it look like an Oscar contending drama. If you have ever seen the actual movie you know that it is actually a bit of a low brow comedy. Seeing the recut trailer made me laugh out loud! It really is something that you need to see for yourself to truly understand just how funny it is. So, go ahead and take a few minutes to watch the video below.
LOL! How funny is that! Really?!
As I watched the recut trailer for a second time, I was amazed at how just changing the music and a keen eye for cutting out the humorous parts made it seem like an entirely different film. It was such a dramatic difference in presentation.
Imagine watching that trailer and being convinced that you would love to see that movie. You share your excitement with a few of your close friends and can't wait to get out to the theater to see the film. The night finally arrives! You go to the local cinema, buy tickets and popcorn, then make your way into the theater to find your seat. The preview trailers play and then finally the moment has come, it is time for the feature presentation! Then the film starts playing and utter disappointment washes over you. Your heart had been set on seeing a dramatic and emotional love story but what you are getting is the farthest thing from that.
How often have we set up people for that kind of disappointment in the church?
With the best of intentions, we tweak our outward presentation to appeal to certain people but once they actually walk through the doors of our church they get something completely different than what we originally presented. It is truly important that we examine just what we are advertising to the world to make sure that it lines up both biblically and with what is actually happening in our churches. It is Gods plan to expand His kingdom here on earth through His church. We don't need to try and be anything more than what God has called us to be.
There is another danger lurking among churches that dresses itself up as one thing but is actually another.
Deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
1 Timothy 4:1 says that the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
These two things work together hand in hand putting on display enticements that will draw away those who are already a part of God's church. We have to walk in discernment so that we can see past the glitter and lights. Because the heart of the spirits and doctrines are not Godly.
As we live out our faith let us be careful to not set up others for disappointment and to protect ourselves from being deceived! The only way we will accomplish either of those things is to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Phillip Reed is the Associate Pastor of Faith Chapel Ministries. His passion is to reconcile the lost to their Heavenly Father.