Posted by: pastortomvabeach | December 27, 2011

Thought for the Week January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

A brand new year is upon us with brand new opportunities for adventure, excitement, and progress. I hope that some time during this year you get to experience all three but most of all that everyone finds significant progress in that which is most important in life.

What is that? See if you can find the answer in a couple of Scripture verses. Look up Matthew 6:33, then Luke 10:41-42, then Philippians 3:13-14. After reading these verses, what would you say is the most important thing to Jesus? To Paul? If you said, “Growing in intimacy and fellowship with Jesus, the Lord,” or something along those lines, I think you got it right.

If you wanted to improve your overall physical fitness in 2012, what would you do? Well, if it were me, I would probably plan to follow some regular plan of physical exercise, perhaps walking, biking, or jogging a few times a week. I might also add some strength training, maybe lifting light weights for 30 minutes or so a few times a week or even regularly working out with the Wii Fit program. Some might prefer doing Pilates, Zumba, or joining a gym program like Crossfit. But the idea is that to get physically fit we understand it demands some regular type of exercise. We also know we would have to manage what we eat and work at consuming more of the good stuff and less of the “really good” stuff!

So what could I do to improve my spiritual fitness in 2012, to find myself at the end of the year more intimate with the Savior and stronger in my journey of faith? If you said regular spiritual training exercises – you got it! Three exercises that are vital to our spiritual health are the Bible, prayer, and worship. Remember, when we think exercises, we mean regular, consistent activity. So consistent attendance at worship, personal and corporate prayer, individual and group Bible study are exercise that improve our spiritual health.

Just like physical exercises, you don’t start off with the marathon. You start off with consistency! Maybe 5-10 minutes daily reading the Word and praying; exploring ways to make the exercise more fruitful, like devotional readings, prayer guides, etc.; and participating at church through some ministry service. Little by little consistency moves us toward maturity and strength until one day we find ourselves doing spiritual trainer duties with those who see what God has done in our lives and ask our help. You can do it!

So, let’s start where we left off last week. Did you memorize the Lord’s prayer? If so did you take the time to look for a guide or pattern within this short prayer? Daniel Henderson says there are four movements in the prayer that can guide us in personal prayer times and guide groups of people gathered to pray. Can you see them?

I’ll give you the four terms Henderson uses to describe the movements this week and see if you can match them up with actual words from the prayer. He lists the movements as upward, downward, inward, and outward or in other terms, reverence, response, requests, and readiness. Which phrases in the Lord’s prayer do you think coincide with these ideas? Take some time this week to try search this out. Next week, we’ll look at what Henderson sees in these ideas and how that can direct and elevate our times of prayer.

While you are doing that, take some time this week, if you dare, and reflect back on 2011. Are you closer to Jesus today than when the year began? If so what contributed to that move? If not, what may help you in 2012? Will you resolve with me that, with God’s help, we will grow in our love for Jesus and others, through regular consistent training? Just a thought.

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