Taking A Stand For God

September 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Marty Norman

The world is in conflict. The scripture tells us that in the last days evil will be called good and good, evil. Anyone with spiritual eyes who follows the news is aware that this statement is true. Darkness is, indeed, falling upon the earth.

In Ezekiel the Lord talks about the watchmen on the walls, those who stand and warn the people of the danger that is coming. These are God’s people, the believers. As watchmen, our assignment is to tell what we see and know, to warn of danger when we see it coming.

And make no mistake, danger is coming. In fact many of us believe that danger is here. It behooves us as God’s people to speak out to take a stand for right, to do what is right no matter the cost. If we do not, we are complicit, and accomplices in the coming evil.

Time and space limit the many topics for which we could take a stand. But you know the issues. Take your pick. But whatever you do, pick one and speak out.

Some might say, “but I don’t know how to speak out. I don’t know where to begin; I don’t know what to take a stand on, there are so many issues.”

I say it doesn’t matter. Just begin; begin somewhere. Begin with what you know. Practice taking a stand on things that you know. Start simple Get comfortable on forming an opinion and back it up with fact. Then expand.

I began taking a stand with issues that involve my grandchildren for that is what is most dear to my heart. The topic: God being removed from schools and the public arena. Not only do I feel strongly but I also have personal experience in this area, so I know from which I speak.

As I wracked my brain to give an example, I decided to use one from my upcoming book “The Savvy Grandmother – Building A Legacy of Faith” to be released in June 2012. This is from page 162 and speaks about learning to be a savvy grandmother who stands up for what she believes.

“Whether in the political or spiritual realm, my opinion is rarely in question. Lucky for me that God gave me sons to push me to the next level. Recently one challenged me to compare news stories from opposing media outlets. For three weeks I checked the websites of eight different outlets: four liberal, four conservative. I even charted their differences for my own information.

The exercise not only solidified my own position but it also gave me clear talking points and a platform from which to debate.

A most interesting discussion transpired. As I shared my observations, I also talked about my experience of prayer in school growing up. I quickly realized this world was totally foreign to him.

“But Mom, you attended a parochial school,” he responded.

“Not so,” I replied. “This was not a church school. This was a public school. Religion and prayer were not only in the public schools, they were also at the sporting events, graduation exercises, and more. We sang ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’ and ‘God of our Fathers’ at my sixth-grade Thanksgiving program. There were no conflicting messages. Everywhere—church, school, and home—children got the same message.”

“But what about the separation of church and state?” he asked.

It hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. My son had no frame of reference for the world I grew up in. The change had been so dramatic that his generation, Generation X, had no idea of what it used to be like. How could I have let this happen?

As usually happens with God, this topic came up again not long afterward with one of my grandkids. But this time, this savvy grandmother was prepared. When Jack reported that he was getting out of school on December 22 for winter break and could come visit me, I took advantage of the teachable moment.

I carefully instructed from the other end of the phone: “You mean Christmas break.”

“No, Marme, it’s winter break,” he said.

Raising myself up to all of my five-foot-six-inches, I told him that indeed it was Christmas break. That Christ was born, that the son of God was made man and came to earth, and that is why the celebration began in the first place. Christmas started out as a religious holiday and that is what it still is.

“The school can call it anything it wants,” I said in a firm voice, “but it’s Christmas break, and that’s what I’m calling it.”

No budging for this savvy grandmother.

Are You Content?

September 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts –

We recently returned from an amazing Caribbean vacation. I savored each moment with my husband. I loved the sun and the fun. When we were heading home, I was surprised at how many people said that they get “post-vacation blues.” I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t sad that the vacation was over, but I was so excited to be with my boys and other loved ones that I was happy to come back to my daily routine.

Is it possible to be happy in every circumstance? Paul gives us the answer: “For I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11 KJV).

Obviously, it’s challenging to be content no matter what’s happening, but we really do have a choice. We can give thanks in all things, as the Bible commands (1 Thessalonians 5:18) or we can choose to complain. If we complain, we “put out the Spirit’s fire” at work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Our negative attitudes become wet blankets on the Spirit in us and we squelch any spiritual fruit that might be trying to blossom in us. Love, joy, peace, patience and all the rest wither and we miss out on many of the blessings God has for us when we complain.

I truly believe that our Father in Heaven wants us to be happy. He cares for each one of us and wants us to be content as we learn to respond with love and thanksgiving, like the Savior would.

Being content can also relate to our exercise time. I know that we often can’t wait to finish a workout, but what if we focused on enjoying each exercise? It would be a lot more fun and would also be more effective.

I have to constantly remind myself throughout my day to have a good attitude and enjoy the circumstance I’m in—even if I’m just washing clothes or changing the baby’s diaper. I am teaching myself to have an attitude of gratitude by listing things I am thankful for instead of allowing complaints to swallow up my time.

Through lots of prayer and practice, the Lord is helping me to become more like Paul—and I’m learning to be content. Are you?

In Sickness and in Health

September 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

I was minding my own business while running on a treadmill at the gym. The guy on the machine next to me began hacking. He coughed and sneezed through several miles. This raises a question regarding health, safety, and consideration for your fellow gym members.

Being the obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I already wash my hands more than most, open bathroom doors with a paper towel, and try to avoid sneezers and coughers. Perhaps knowledge is power or maybe it’s just something that assaults us with unwanted thoughts regarding our vulnerability. For example, did you know that when you sneeze, the air moves at 100 miles per hour and unleashes 10,000 bacteria and 5,000 droplets (I have no idea who counts these)?

If you are sick and still want to do a workout, go outdoors or someplace where others won’t be placed at risk of your cold or flu. While this seems fairly evident, for many people in our narcissistic culture, thinking about the welfare of others is the last thing on their minds.

In a gym setting, be aware that equipment, handles, buttons, knobs, and doors carry bacteria to avoid. Wipe down equipment if you sweat on it like I do. If you remind yourself that a third of all men refuse to wash their hands after using the bathroom, it may help change your habits in public places like gyms.

Aside from the obvious, germs and bacteria, other risks abound. For example, while riding my mountain bike this past weekend I discovered that a man had died on one of the downhill sections of the trail. He was riding without a helmet. He had a seizure; fell off his bike and struck his head on a rock. He died, not from the seizure, but from the head injury he sustained. If you ride a bike, even if you just plan to do it for leisure, wear a helmet. If you see kids without helmets, encourage them to put one on. And speaking of helmets…

I was climbing Longs Peak outside Denver this summer, near the summit is a section called the Trough. There can be dozens of people in this steep section at any one time, dislodging rocks that gain momentum as they hurl down. Rather than wearing helmets, I saw many climbers taking their chances, and I wondered whether this form of Russian roulette was worth the risk. One bloodied and mangled face is all it takes change our perception of safety.

For those of us who love the outdoors, it’s never possible to eliminate all risks. If you run, be aware of your environment. I have run in areas where there are grizzly bears, mountain lions, and moose. If you run or ride in an urban area, I encourage you not to wear ear buds, but be aware of what’s happening around you–people, cars, sirens, dogs.

Finally, be prepared in case of emergencies. A fall on a high peak in the Rockies last year reminded me that accidents happen without warning. You have to anticipate the possibilities without being deterred from the activity. We can become complacent and forget that bad things can happen, even if we have hiked this trail, run this course, or ridden this route.

Stay safe and enjoy the journey!

Shine

August 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Heather Allen –

I thought being a teenager was painful. I disliked the sense of awkward vulnerability that accompanied those years. I disliked being subjected to the sheer foolishness that is public high school. And I disliked feeling torn between the numb robotic actions expected of me, so I could fit the status quo, and the desire to flip expectations upside down.

So I tell my teenager the things I wish I had understood way back then, in the olden days. I tell her not to worry who likes her, that this is the time to develop into the woman God wants her to be.The answers to her identity questions are found in scripture. I tell her loneliness is a large part of the human experience. But that it can serve a big purpose if we allow it to. It can drive us away from trying to please others and straight toward God. And when we embrace His love, flaky acceptance we experience elsewhere tastes like saccharine. Once you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good there is no substitute.

At every age we need to know God’s word is true when it says we ourselves become a well-watered garden when we focus on meeting the needs of the needy instead of our own. When we pour out, God pours in. And when we strive to fill ourselves we are emptier than before. There is no shortage of alternatives we can cram our lives with and when we do the heart grows heavier and the spirit more afflicted.

I recently heard a man I admire say salvation is not just for Heaven but Earth also. Our freedom from sin and death are for the here and now. The more I wrestle with my sin nature, the more relieved I am that God can and will clean it up. And with precision better than a surgeon His words separate the bone and marrow. I lie down peacefully, gazing up at Him through a starry sky and wonder why I ever choose anything but His presence and an obedient life. Does it make me an old soul to say all else is meaningless, “a chasing after the wind”? (Ecc. 1:14 NIV)

I grew up doing all the right things and being in all the right places. I even went on a spiritual renewal retreat, when it meant not going out with a boy I liked. I remember thinking that living right was something we did, muscling our way through life. That to shine and be a light was mostly self-driven. But when I was broken beyond human repair, God began to speak through me. He began to heal and clean me. I eagerly participated, desiring to be whole and new. I still climb up on the surgeon’s table and hand Him any tool He asks for. I hand Him my confession, my desires, my fears, and my heartache. He cuts out the disease of sin, cleans the festering wound, and stitches the cut that I tried to cover with a band-aid. He did it yesterday, and He’ll be back tomorrow. When I call Him in the middle of the night He is there.

Why trade Him for anything else? He is the only long-term satisfaction in life because He is life.
“In Him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4 KJV).

Benefits of Physical (and Spiritual) Cardio Training

By Laurette Willis –

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV).

This proverb of King Solomon’s is not referring to physical cardio training, but spiritual. We want to keep watch over what we are meditating on in our hearts.

Is there unforgiveness or bitterness? Envy? Worry? If so, the answer is to exercise. Exercise forgiveness, repentance and then cast your cares upon the Lord.

Being what I call a “Fit Witness” is wonderful—not only for you—but the people around you. They will want to know your secret, and you can begin explaining your blessing with words like “by the grace of God.” Then you can mention how you like to combine faith and fitness (such as doing PraiseMoves or prayer-walking).

As a child of God, you are a steward or caretaker of the body the Lord has given you. Did you know your body actually belongs to Him?

For you are bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV).

Both your spirit and your body are God’s property. Don’t let that scare you if you haven’t been taking good enough care of His property. Instead, realize He has a vested interest in helping you take care of your body. Ask Him to help you and then cooperate with Him by doing physical exercise such as cardio training.

Physical Cardio Training

Cardiovascular training involves any activity that requires the use of the large muscle groups of the body in a regular and uninterrupted manner. It elevates the heart rate between 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Some examples of cardio training include brisk walking, running, aerobics, cycling, elliptical training and rowing.

How Much Cardio?

Most experts agree that cardiovascular training should last for 20 to 60 minutes, with the normal range being 30 to 40 minutes per session. Cardio should be performed a minimum of three days per week, with four to five days being optimal.

What Are the Benefits of Cardio Training?

1. Burns calories
2. Helps you lose excess body fat
3. Strengthens heart and lungs
4. Elevates your mood (a real blues buster!)
5. Adds variety to your workout routine

When to Do Cardio Training?

Most people find exercising earlier in the day best—so you don’t put it off! Some find after work is best for them. But almost any time you exercise is fine. Just do it! Avoid doing cardio exercises before bedtime. You may have a difficult time sleeping if you exercise late at night as the energy level of the body will be elevated for a while.

If you are doing weight training, try doing some cardio exercises right after, not before.

A protein shake 30 minutes before cardio ensures that you’ll have energy and won’t burn muscle protein during your workout. It’s best to exercise two hours after a large meal.

Combine Physical and Spiritual Cardio

Select a scripture for the day and meditate on it while you are working out. Consider the scripture piece-by-piece and ask the Holy Spirit (our Teacher and Guide) to reveal hidden truths to you.

Build your faith muscles by speaking the scripture out loud as you are working out so you can hear yourself saying it. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).

Combining these two forms of cardio exercise will help you to keep your physical and spiritual heart with all diligence!

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