Pray and Act

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. Acts 3:7-8 NLT

Peter and John were approached by a man who had be crippled since birth asking for money. Peter didn’t have money, but he told him what he did have. He then prayed for healing and helped him up. Peter’s example shows us that he knew what he didn’t have (money) but he was confident in what he did have (God). He prayed and then acted by helping the man to his feet.

Sometimes we focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do. We won’t always have what people want but we can always offer what we do; prayer and action. Had Peter responded with what he didn’t have the crippled man would have never been healed.

God, help all of us today to focus less on what we don’t have and more on You which we always have. May prayer and action be our response to help those who approach us in need.

Nothing they can say

But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. Acts 4:14 NLT

Even though the religious leaders were trying to stop the apostles from talking about Jesus, they could say nothing. The lame man whom God used Peter to heal was standing right next to them. He was healed and made new, the man was living proof that God had done a miracle.

There will always be people who will try and stop you from telling the truth about God. However, it’s very hard to deny God when you or someone with you has had a dramatically life changing experience. You become the living proof of God’s power to change, heal, and restore broken lives here on this earth.

God, may our changed lives serve as evidence to quiet those who oppose You. May every person who has been transformed by your power walk boldly today as living proof that You have the power to change lives.

Finding Purpose in Pain

During a workout or in a difficult season of life, we will all experience pain. In this episode I will discuss how to find pains purpose and how you can respond.

Pain comes from our freedom to choose

We were created to choose

Think about a life where we didn’t have a choice

You can make right choices or wrong choices.

Pain helps us in a least 3 ways

1. Pain reveals danger

Image if you tore a muscles, cartilage, or ligaments during a workout and you didn’t feel anything?

When you eat something bad, your stomach is going to tell you.

2. Pain equips us to help others

3. Pain reveals who we are

How do you respond when things aren’t going your way?

You think your strong, patient, until you get hurt and can’t do anything.

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Anything that drives us to God is a good thing, sometimes that’s pain.

Even though you may not understand it, trust God.

Let pain make you stronger!

Finding purpose in pain

During a workout or in a difficult season of life, we will all experience pain. In this episode I will discuss how to find pains purpose and how you can respond.

Pain comes from our freedom to choose

Think about a life where we didn’t have a choice

You can make right choices or wrong choices.

Pain helps us in a least 3 ways

1. Pain reveals danger

Image if you tore a muscles, cartilage, or ligaments during a workout and you didn’t feel anything?

When you eat something bad, your stomach is going to tell you.

I have to stay away from dairy and hot chili

2. Pain equips us to help others

3. Pain reveals who we are

How do you respond when things aren’t going your way?

You think your strong, patient, until you get hurt and can’t do anything.

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Anything that drives us to God is a good thing, sometimes that’s pain.

Even though you may not understand it, trust God.

Let pain make you stronger!

Addictions

Addictions grow best in the dark. We all have some type of vice, what’s yours? In this episode I talk about both the neurological and Biblical perspective of harmful addictions.

Why does God allow addiction to happen that literally destroys people and their loved ones?

Definition – the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. https://www.google.com/search?q=Dictionary#dobs=addiction

  • It all starts in the brain! You brain is a reward seeking machine.https://www.inspiremalibu.com/blog/drug-addiction/dopamine-and-addiction/
  • Studies show that your frontal lobe, is what processes plot and narrative… We all love a good story!
  • Anytime you do something pleasurable… eating, reading, working out, watching a movie, making a baby, your brain links these pleasures to a reward and releases a neurotransmitter dopamine… it’s like getting a hit.
  • Your brain rewards you even at the thought of a pleasurable activity.
  • The interesting thing is that this same reward system plays a role in drug and alcohol addiction as well as other harmful and destructive addictions.
  • You may be dealing with a loss, death, divorce, suffered as a child, and the thought (although unhealthy) of drinking after work, taking a pill, or drug, gives me that hit of dopamine… because I know I’ve got problems but later I’m going to do something to forget about them… then you get caught in a vicious cycle called a “reinforcement loop”
  • The Bible also talks about addiction, the Bible calls it idolatry, because we become mastered by things that aren’t always good for us.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

  • This word mastered can also be defines as controlled by or enslaved. It means to be brought under the power of something.
  • Caffeine, smoking, social media, your appearance, your body. working out, drugs, prescription drugs, pornography, gambling, Xbox, PlayStation, shopping.
  • Take a moment and be honest about something that may be mastered you.

We’re seeking to find what only god can provide.  

We want peace so we look for it in other things.

1. Acknowledge you have a problem.

Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God… Jeremiah 3:13

2. Don’t gratify your fleshly desires.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

3. Don’t keep your addiction a secret.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

4. Depend on God’s power, not your own.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Wonderful Results (devotion)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 NLT

James is helping the early church understand the power of confession and the healing that it brings. He reminds them of how much power that prayer has the results that it produces.

Most of us struggle with a hidden addiction or unhealthy dependency. We know that we want to be free from what’s destroying us inside but can’t seem to shake it. We need to remember that we are stronger together. As difficult as it may be, find the right person to confess your struggle with and ask them to pray with you about it. This is where healing and results begin.

God, help each person who reads this devotion today be brave enough to confess their struggle to the right person. Help this act of bravery bring about healing in their life. Amen.

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Where does God stand on the subject of Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage?

Many people enter marriage preparing for the big day – but have no plan to maintain.

Before long the D word comes up (divorce).

Jesus said some shocking things about marriage.

His disciples even said, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”

1. God created marriage.

Tim Keller talks about – the meaning of marriage https://goo.gl/sB46ge

Consumer vs. Covenant

2. God hates divorce.

It makes a huge mess and affects everyone you know in one way or another.

Even bigger mess in a world of social media

3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” 7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. 9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” 10 Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” Matthew 19:3-10 NLT

  • God invented marriage between and man and a woman
  • They leave home and two become one
  • God says for nobody to split the new single union apart
  • Moses just allowed because they were complaining so much
  • This was not God’s original plan
  • If you divorce and remarry for any other reason than unfaithfulness then you are committing adultery.
  • The disciples say, “forget it!”

It feels like Jesus is picking on divorced people
It feels like nobody should ever try to un-one what God made one. Yes, that true.

Jesus was only explaining how it should have been.

This is the same Jesus that also…

  • Defends the women who committed adultery. He told her not to do it anymore.
  • This is the same Jesus who forgave the thief on the cross
  • David committed adultery with Bathsheba and they had a son named Solomon who God used.

Where do I stand with the church?

You can stand in line with the rest of us adulterers.

What should I do?

1. Take a deep breath and accept what Jesus said.

2. Confess, I didn’t know, I did know,

3. Ask for grace on your current marriage.

Hope in a dark world

It’s easy to lose hope when the world seems to be filled with so much darkness. In this week’s episode of Faith & Fitness I will discuss a distinct and unique hope that only God offers.

You can go weeks without food, days without water, minutes without air, but you can’t go 5 seconds without hope.

  • We put a lot of hope in different things every day.

Politics, money, drugs, alcohol, hope for the weekend, hope that we stay together, hope that I don’t get caught, hope they make it home.

  • We also go through seasons of hopelessness.

You feel alone/abandoned, life seems out of control, you don’t see a purpose, grieving a loss, you don’t have what you need, you’ve done something wrong, deeply hurt by someone, pulled in the wrong direction, overtaken by fear, when it looks like defeat, when tragedy happens.

  • When we come face to face with a tragedy our hope is tested.

What is hope?

  • The Bible talks about 3 different types of Hope

1. Wishful Hope –  I hope we get there on time – I hope I win the lottery – I hope it doesn’t rain. not guaranteed.

2. Expected Hope – If I plant something in my garden. I hope and expect it to grow. When a woman is expecting a baby – there is an expected hope. But it’s still not guaranteed.

3. Certain Hope – (Biblical Hope) You can build your life on it.

18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. Hebrews 6:18-19

  • Real hope has 3 characteristics

1. Strong
2. Trustworthy
3. Anchor

An anchor does at least two things

1. Keeps the ship from drifting.
2. Keeps stability during a storm.

Real hope is based on God’s Word not our wishes.

This is where faith comes in.

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Hebrew 11:1 TLB

  • Faith and hope go together
  • You cannot hope without faith.
  • If you have faith, you have hope.

One of Job’s friends in a speech says what is wrong with the world

…those who forget God have no hope… Job 8:13

The further we get away from God, the less hope we have (Hopeless)

The closer we get to God the more hope we have (hope)

God and the Gym

4 Reasons why God wants you to take care of your body

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NIV

  1. God values your body
  • He cares not only about your spirit, and soul, but he cares about your body.
  • When God created us, He made us physical beings.
  • He gave us food and work (Genesis 1:28-31).
  • Psalm 139:13-14 talks about God knitting us together in our mother’s womb.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!  Psalm 139:13-14 The Message

  1. Taking care of your body honors God
  • Glorifying God should be the objective in every Christian’s life.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

  • Paul uses “Temple” as his audience would be familiar with it
  • It’s also what Jesus referred to as His earthly body was a temple (John 2:19-21)
  • Our bodies and the church collectively are the Spirit’s dwelling place.

19 Do you not know that your body is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. 20 God bought you with a great price. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT

  1. You’re setting an example

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.  Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Titus 2:7 NLT

  • I always tell my classes at the gym that working out is selfishly unselfish.
  • You are taking care of yourself so that you can be an example and be better for everyone around you.
  1. You’ll have more energy to do God’s Work
  • The more fit and healthy we are the more energy we will have.
  • The more energy we have the more we can put into what God has us doing.
  • We will set ourselves up for God to use for the long haul.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

  • Don’t get caught up in how you look, this won’t lead you anywhere
  • God is not concerned with our physical appearance or our health in the way that our society often is.

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

Why does God allow natural disasters?

It’s often hard to see God in the middle of a world that seems to be out of control filled with natural disasters causing pain and death. In this weeks episode I discuss what the Bible has to say about natural disasters and offer three things to remember when they do.

“Just as earthquakes create aftershocks, natural disasters created religious aftershocks”

3 THINGS TO REMEMBER

1. We live in a broken world.

• There is a huge difference between the world God originally created and the one we live in now that erupts with volcanos, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and tsunamis.
• We are living on a once flawless planet.
• The Bible tells us that when sin entered the world, all of nature was cursed.

…the ground is cursed because of you. By hard work you will eat food from it all the days of your life. Genesis 3:17 NLT

• We must accept the fact that we live in a fallen world or a world that has been cursed because of sin.

20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Romans 8:20-22 NLT

Erwin W. Lutzer An act of God? “Mankind, now tainted with sin, could not live in a perfect, sinless environment. So, creation became an impersonal victim of Adam’s personal choice to rebel. Nature is cursed because man is cursed”

• We can understand why natural disasters occur.
• What we do not understand is why God allows them to occur.
• Because He does have the power to stop them

2. God is sovereign

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39 NLT

3. Pray and take action

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

• Whether you believe in God or not, we all agree that the world is imperfect.
• God, however offers hope.
• Natural disasters don’t serve as God’s end in mind.