Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Post for Shepherds -- Think.

I simply exhort you to be a thinker; to love God with your mind (Mt 22:37), to gain biblical understanding via God's means -- the work of the brain, like my son Joah here. Or is he sleeping?

"Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything."
The Apostle Paul to Pastor Timothy, in 2 Ti 2:7 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Treating the World the Way the World Treats Jesus

"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." -- The Apostle Paul, Ga 6:14

Sinclair Ferguson comments: "What is to be done to the world in the Christian life? It is to be crucified. It is to receive the same treatment at the hands of the Christian as Jesus received at the hands of worldly men! . . We must deal a mortal wound to its influence in our hearts and lives. Just as the Lord Jesus was an object of revulsion and rejection to the world, so it must be to us." -- From "Grow in Grace", page 60.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Physical Body Matters to God

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on exercise via P90X, I offer the quote below, which I read this morning. I would also refer you to the many Scripture texts that refer to our bodies and how they are connected to right worship and service of God. I am not saying these texts command physical fitness. What I am saying is that Dr. Murray is right (see quote below); our bodies matter to God. They must matter to us also.

"There is a more fundamental and foundational life than the Christian life; 'creature life.' Before we are Christians, we are creatures. . .A renewed understanding of our full-orbed creatureliness, with due place given to the body, will produce safety, piety, productivity, and creativity. . .Starting with salvation rather than creation often results in a dualism that views the soul as the only important element of our humanity, the body being a hindrance or an irrelevance. All our problems are "spiritual problems," and the almost-exclusive focus is soul health. In general, those who cultivate healthy souls enjoy healthier bodies. However, God did not just give us souls to protect our bodies; He gave us bodies to protect our souls. If we rest well, exercise well, eat well, and so on, our minds will be clearer, our emotions will be steadier, and our moral defenses will be higher."
From the article "Created to Create" by Dr. David Murray, found in the Oct 2012 edition of Tabletalk, pages 44-45

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Commending Fitness Via Suffering Via P90X

In past posts I have commended exercise and shared a little about its benefits. Now I commend it via a particular program, because I am under the impression that most of us need coaching and training and encouragement when it comes to this realm. Many possess little useful information on how our bodies work and what our bodies need. And it's quite normal to struggle to maintain a regimen without help. Let's face it, discipline does not come naturally to us, and even the most disciplined among us is prone to drift from even long embraced good habits. All of this leads me to commend Tony Horton's P90X, and its affiliate programs, found at

I found Horton himself to be a pleasant, realistic, and encouraging fellow. He seems obsessed with fitness, as one might imagine. But he doesn't appear to be under the impression that everyone ought to be just like him. He also offers modifications regarding the exercise moves thereby accommodating various fitness levels. In short, he understands the struggle to be fit and does what he can to help. This includes not only the exercise program, but an eating guide and all the hands-on scheduling tools that are useful when taking on a new routine.

And now, as a P90X grad, I offer these additional comments:

1. The program is designed for folks who are already fit to become even more fit, or extremely fit, which is the reason for the "X" in P90X. Having said that, I have heard folks who were not remotely fit say they gained much from the program. This is understandable. If a person is willing to work, suffer, and sacrifice, then he/she can get into good shape by this program even if in the beginning he/she struggles mightily. It should be said though that the Beach Body company offers less intense programs for weight loss and fitness.
2. This program is difficult. I thought I had strong and fit legs, until I engaged in P90X Plyometrics. And over a lifetime of intense exercise, I have never been sore like the Legs & Back Workout made me sore. Related to this, I noticed during the 90 days that I was at least a little sore almost every day. All this to say that if you are considering this program, take the "X" seriously. In speaking with someone who had begun the program and quit, his reason for stopping was that "the workouts are too long". Well, the program does advertise as "extreme". But actually, most of the workouts are under an hour. And that includes the warm-up and stretch before each session, and the cool-down at the end. That's really not very long, especially when you consider how much time it takes to drive to the gym, exercise, and then drive home.
3. This is not like your gym workout. At the gym, if you are working biceps, for example, it is normal to engage in 5 or 6 exercises (with multiple sets), but waste time in between those sets, and waste more time moving from apparatus to apparatus. But with P90X there is zero wasted time, and many more sets with many more reps. Many of the moves in the program were previously unknown to me. One of the benefits of the program is its pace. It keeps you moving, so that every workout is to some degree about burning fat, not just building muscle.
4. It works. As Tony says, keep showing up and keep pushing play. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Get Wisdom - Post 28

Proverbs - Chapter 28

There are multiple themes that run through this chapter. They include wickedness in contrast with righteousness (v1, 4-5,12, 15, 28), the evil rich in contrast with the honorable poor (v6, 8, 11, 19, 22, 27), and the law-hater in contrast with the law-keeper (v4, 7, 9). Other topics are wisdom (v26), understanding (v2, 7, 11, 16), integrity (v6), repentance (v13), work (v19), contentment/generosity (v8, 24-25, 27) and the fear of the LORD (v14). The text also speaks of what we produce, that is, our fruitfulness for good or evil. Another way to say this is to talk of consequences. All of us are producing something in this moment. What is that something? So God warns, "Whoever trusts in His own mind is a fool"; And promises, "but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered". In other words, our own minds are not naturally wise minds. They are in contrast quite foolish, unable to please the Lord, because they do not operate from faith (See He 6:1-6; Ro 3:11-20, etc), and "that which is not of faith is sin" (Ro 14:23).

The Scriptures repeatedly tell us that our minds are naturally hostile to the law of God and twisted beyond any human ability to straighten. Consequently, we are easily deceived. So the sanctification of the mind is a must if we are to get wisdom, that is, live to please God. This sanctification happens by digestion of God's Word (Jn 17:17) which washes our minds clean (Ep 5:26). So let us do the joyous work of learning to love God with our minds by cultivating the thinking of Christ (Mt 22:37; 1 Co 2:15-16) -- the perfectly sane, never deceived, and altogether wise One.

To do this, I suggest a weekly participation in the hearing of sound preaching/teaching. This is a chief means God has given. So gather with God's people for it. God has designed the church so that His people mature by being taught by those built for the work. In addition, consider a listening plan -- an audio Bible, and/or a reading plan -- something like "Read the Bible for Life" by George Guthrie. You can give it a look here.

The Scriptures make extraordinary claims about themselves and about their eternally good effects upon the the one who learns, believes, and does them. We believe these claims or we do not. Our affection level for the Bible and our practices with it reveal our confidence in it, and it's Author.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God"
Jesus, Mt 4:4

"Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, and my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the grass, and like showers upon the herb. . .take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of the law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life. . ."
Moses, Dt 32:1-2, 46-47