Getting Fit With Jesus

June 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Jesus waved to me while I rode along the bike path this morning. He showed up at my step aerobics class too.

I blame my kids. Not for driving me insane (although they’ve come close) but for creating an animated Jesus that appears on my Wii Fit game. I bought the system as part of my resolution to exercise more. For those of you who don’t know, the Wii computer lets you create cartoon versions, called avatars, not only of yourself, but anyone else you’d like to populate your virtual world. So along with our two dogs, King Tut, Sean Connery and Sarah Palin, they made a Jesus character that periodically appears while we’re playing the various games. They did a good job with the avatar. He’s dressed all in white and sports the long brown hair, beard and mustache I’ve always pictured Jesus as having.

I’ll admit, it’s a little strange and at first I thought it might be sacrilegious. But I soon noticed something, my heart lightens when I see the Jesus avatar waving at me as I jog in the virtual world. And when he’s clapping for me at the goal of the obstacle course, I’m reminded that Jesus really is cheering me on to the finish line.

It’s also served as an eye opener in my spiritual life. I realized as I jogged with Jesus the other day how much I try to compartmentalize my faith. I may have a morning quiet time and attend Bible studies and church, but I often forget that the Lord is with me through every moment of the day. It’s easy to remember that when I’m reading scripture or singing a praise song, but when I’m making dinner or folding the laundry I tend to forget.

Psalm 139:2-3 says, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (NIV). Seeing the avatar of Jesus is a great reminder of that passage. It helps me keep my focus on God, not on the minor irritations of the day like traffic jams, overflowing laundry hampers and burnt dinner rolls.

Of course, I still find it strange when Jesus knocks me down with a direct hit in the “Snowball Fight” game. But my kids just laugh and tell me I’m being purified and made white as snow!

Being Real, Fake Nails and All

June 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Connie Cavanaugh –

Needing accountability to stick to regular exercise, I asked four women to walk with me, one each day, Monday through Thursday every week.

Last week “Wednesday” called to see when I wanted to walk that day. I snagged the portable phone between shoulder and chin and continued sanding my heels.

“Sheesh!” I wailed, “I don’t know if I can make it today!”

She pressed me for details.

“Well, I’m the keynote speaker at a women’s event tomorrow night so today I have to get a haircut, wax my eyebrows, shave my legs, bleach my teeth, tweeze my chin hairs, borrow an outfit from ‘Tuesday’ and stick on fake fingernails.”

She agreed that I had a lot to do and asked what I planned to talk about.

“Being real, you know, being yourself,” I replied.

“Fake fingernails and a borrowed outfit so you can talk about being yourself?!” She couldn’t stop laughing.

She quickly convinced me I needed some fresh air and exercise and a friend to share it with so an hour later we were on the trail. She gently probed to find out why I was sounding stressed.

“I thought you enjoyed public speaking,” she began.

“I do. I love it,” I replied. “But I feel so inadequate…surely there are thousands of people out there who have deeper insights, more varied experiences, a richer prayer life, a more disciplined Bible study regimen than I do. What I do best is make people laugh. Anybody can do that.”

“I can’t,” Wednesday replied, stopping and looking right into my eyes.

We stood there, looking mutely at one another.

“You can’t?” I asked, doubting I had heard correctly.

“Nope, I can’t,” she said.

“But you wrote an Old Testament study manual for seminary students in Hungarian!” I countered. “You lived overseas as a missionary. You don’t need to make people laugh. You’re a scholar and an educator and a Bible study teacher and…”

“And you can do something I can’t do,” she interrupted. “You can make people laugh. How is your God-given gift any less than mine?”

I had no answer so we resumed our tramp.

We continued on in silence and, as God so often does, He spoke to me through the voice of a godly friend. His message, as always, was simple: recognize your gifts as coming from Me and use them for My sake.

As soon as I got home I made a cup of tea to take off the chill and grabbed the nearest Bible; it was The Message. I opened it to where a bookmark had been left and my eyes fell on this highlighted section:

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…Hebrews 6:19, 20

I was humbled and in awe of God who is personally involved in our lives. I thanked Him for Jesus who was running on ahead and I thanked him for making me the person I am. I promised to encourage others, as “Wednesday” had encouraged me, not only to be who they were created to be but to be thankful for who they are.

And while I sipped the last of my tea, I glued on my bright red nails.

Wavy Lines

June 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

Hemingway’s endearingly tragic infatuation with the sea was unavoidable given the parallels of its ebbs and flows with those of life. Not long ago I spent an entire week at the beach, and I developed a similar consuming respect.

Every day the water was different. One day, it was calm and soothing. The next, jellyfish swarmed. The day after, clear waves chopped. Our final day, rough storms threatened. I was cut by seashells, burned by the sun’s rays, stung by slimy, floating globs of “jelly,” and chased by tiny, translucent crabs. I shared a mother’s panic and prayers for her lost little boy and crumbled in tears of relief when he was found. I watched lightning spark the night sky and stars twinkle from afar. I was lulled to sleep by the steady breakers and laughed at by gulls.

Every day of life is different too. One day, everything flows easily and coherently. The next, nothing makes sense. The day after, choppy but fun! And, of course, some days are dark and dreary. Rejections wound my spirit. They cut, burn, sting, and pinch. Many times I have panicked and prayed over frustrations; others I have wept with joy of discovery. Every now and then, inspiration strikes with great electricity and incites my creative energy. At those moments, my jitters ease and my tensions release with a giggle.

After several days of yielding to the surf, my body adjusted to the habit, anticipating the next surge. I’d find myself swaying with the waves of the sea when I was standing on dry land. And so it is with life, a cohesive oscillation with God that in the end leaves me both exhausted and exhilarated.

And I rejoice that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

All Things are Popsicles!

June 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

We’ve all had those mornings. You know the kind. You slapped your snooze alarm one too many times and now only divine intervention or a hovercraft will get you and your kids to work and school on time. It’s happened to me on more occasions than I’d care to admit, but one in particular stands out in my mind. The first thing I remember about it is me, yelling at the kids.

“We have to leave.”

They stared at me from the kitchen table, still bleary-eyed from sleep.

“Now!”

I downed my coffee while I searched for the car keys. Finding them in the last place I looked (who would have thought I’d put them on the key holder?) I tossed the kids a bagel and their coats and herded them out to the garage.

My son slipped into the back seat of our van while I buckled his five-year-old sister into her booster seat. “No fighting today,” I ordered, then softened my voice with a “please.”

The kids must have sensed my frustration because they remained quiet while I jumped behind the wheel and started the engine. As I turned the van onto the road I heard my son humming a familiar tune. I peeked in the rear-view mirror. He was tapping his feet against the seat and smiling.

“What’s that song?” I asked.

His eyes darted up to the mirror, probably to see if I was angry. When he saw my grin he started singing louder. I recognized the music as a song his dad and I had been practicing with our worship team the night before. The tune was right, but instead of singing “all things are possible,” my son crooned “all things are popsicles!” As I glanced again at his face I didn’t have the heart to correct him. He knew the song was one of praise but to his seven-year-old mind there was nothing strange about praising God for popsicles.

Isaiah 12:5 says “Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.”  (NLT)  To my son (and let’s face it, most kids his age) popsicles were glorious things. My mood lightened as I thought about all I had to be thankful for on this stressful morning. Two healthy kids, a loving husband, a warm house. My daughter joined with her brother and soon I did too, “all things are popsicles!”

And thank you Lord, especially for the grape ones!

The Humbled Hunter and Gatherer

May 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Connie Cavanaugh –

In Canada the busiest shopping day of the year isn’t the day after Thanksgiving, it’s Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. Boxing Day sales are legendary. Lately Boxing Day has become Boxing Week. Some money hungry businesses now promote Boxing Month!

A few years ago, long before dawn on a clear, cold Boxing Day, my husband, Gerry, headed for Future Shop, an hour’s drive away. He found an empty parking lot when he arrived at 5:30 a.m.

“I’ll be first in line!” he thought. Taking a chance, he sped off in search of a large java to keep him warm while he waited for the doors to open at eight a.m. That was a strategic error, bumping him to third place. He leapt out of his warm car into the Arctic blast of a winter morning and ran to line up outside the locked doors.

Gerry knew there were exactly three TV’s at this store for $499 — a saving of $200. The first three customers to physically lay hands on them could buy them. Gerry sized up the two guys in front of him and asked what they were buying, “the TV” they replied in unison. They looked fit. And young. And fast. Gerry hopped from foot to foot.

Standing in line for over two hours after a large coffee only increased the intensity of his hopping. He read his pocket Bible in an effort to take his mind off his urgent need to “hop.” Hundreds more bargain hunters lined up as the minutes ticked by.

When the doors were flung wide Gerry took off like a shot. He got his hand on the third and last TV without hurting anyone or compromising his Christian witness.

“Belated Merry Christmas!” He hollered when he got home, catching us all by surprise. The kids went nuts. We set up the new TV in the family room.

Every few minutes Gerry gave a low whistle, “We saved $200.” He couldn’t wipe the grin off his face. He watched sports all day.

That evening, we rented two movies, made popcorn, poured drinks and hunkered down. The proud hunter-and-gatherer doused the lights. It was pitch dark. He reached for the remote that rested atop the TV, beside his drink. He miscalculated.

Crash. Tinkle. Fizzle. Zot! Sparks flew out of the back of the TV. I rushed for the lights. Within seconds, there was a gradual dimming of sound and pretty soon, no sound at all. The color went sickly green and fuzzy before the screen went black. Gerry’s grin slid off his face, but not for long.

Ever the optimist, always the preacher, he burst out laughing. “Now I get it!” he chuckled. We were all ears when he quoted the verse from Corinthians he had read mid-hop that morning: “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

The disappointed kids didn’t see the humor or appreciate the lesson as much as we did, but they listened.

“Boxing Day sales come and go,” Gerry reminded us. “And we can get pretty smug about the great deals we find. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get all puffed up with our latest great accomplishment, no matter what it is. But God wants us to remember that whatever’s good in us comes from Him. Everything else dims pretty quickly in comparison with knowing Him.”

We opened up the games cupboard and spent a great evening laughing and enjoying each other.

Oh, and by the way, we were able to get the TV repaired. The cost? You guessed it — $200.

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