Sunday, January 24, 2016

Led by the Spirit

This post is based on some notes I prepared for a discussion with our youth group. There is a lot more that can be said on the topic. However, I believe the points made are a good foundation for daily application.

When it comes to being led by the Spirit, the Christian must remember we follow a Person who lives out the definition of what it means to be Spirit led. We don't have to scratch our heads as if no one has done it. Jesus, even to this day, lives by the Spirit. There is no moment when our Savior ceases to yield Himself to the control of God's Spirit. So we must not look to others as our chief example of the Spirit filled life. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

In scripture we see how Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, dealt with temptation, loved people, prayed, and forgave. If we are going to do the same, we too must be filled with the same Spirit. I have been a Christian almost half my life now. I have seen and experienced what it looks like when people allow the Spirit fill them. Unfortunately, I have seen what it looks like when those who say they follow Jesus don't allow the Spirit to fill them. I won't go any further with that one.

Below are four practical ways I see in scripture and experience to be Spirit led.
1-  Read the bible, John 14:25.  How can the Spirit remind you of what Jesus has already said if you don't download it? Many times in my life there have been instances in which I would have made a decision that could have a negative consequence if the Spirit had not reminded me of a scripture passage. See how Jesus defeated temptation in Luke 4. He spoke the Word.

2- As a Christian, ask for the Spirit, Luke 11:9-13. Notice how the Lord promises when we ask and seek for the Spirit from the Father, He will not send something else. He will send the Spirit. This is something that should be done daily. I ate three square meals yesterday. Will that keep me going today or tomorrow? It might for a little while, but eventually my energy will be depleted from lack of caloric intake. It's the same with the Spirit. Yesterday's fill up will not sustain me forever. It must be daily sought. 

3- Be a person of prayer. Luke 11:1 Jesus got up early to pray and spend time with God. He had a spot the bible said was "certain". Designate a place that is known to others you live with as that "certain place". If He needed to do it, shouldn't we? If we are to walk and be led by the Spirit, it must be intentional and will take effort on your part to make it a priority. Jesus didn't live a life in the Spirit by chance, he had a relationship.

4- Actively listen for the Spirit's leading as you go about your day. Galatians 5:16. Don't be shocked when God gives you a prompting. When He does, obey. Have you ever been driving along and someone popped into your mind and wouldn't go away? So you drop by their house or gave them a call and they needed it?  That's a God thing that happens when we listen and obey the Spirit. 

Again, there is more that can be said about living a Spirit led life. However, I do think the above points are great starting point. Remember, it is Jesus who is our example of what it means to live Spirit led. Follow Him. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Remember your baptism

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[c] with you I am well pleased - Luke 3:21-22

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. -Romans 6:4

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. - Galatians 3:27

Today we remember the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. What is the big deal about remembering the baptism of our Lord? We read in Luke's account that "all the people had been baptized, and Jesus had been baptized". The baptism being performed was led by John the Baptist. It was for repentance. Yet Jesus is sinless and has no need of repentance. In His baptism he identified with sinners like you and me. The voice from heaven declared, "this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". Everything Jesus did and does pleases the Father. When the Son of God chose to identify with sinners in His baptism, it was God's desire and will. It pleased the Father for His Son to identify with you and me. Let that sink in.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 

So, in our baptism we are identified with the Son of God (Colossians 2:12).  In our baptism our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16). In our baptism we put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). In our baptism our hearts are circumcised (Colossians 2:11). In our baptism God speaks over us as He did with Christ, "this is my child" (Luke 3:22). 

Baptism is God's doing, not anyone else's. He does it right the first time so there is no need for any "re-baptisms". Ephesians 4 states that there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.

We would do well to remember our baptism and be thankful.  Martin Luther would tell himself each morning, "I am baptized."  He knew what his baptism meant and what it meant for all who had been baptized. He encouraged his hearers that each time they washed their face they should remember their baptism. 

Today and tomorrow, remember your baptism and be thankful. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Starting back in the gym


As the new year starts, it's quite common for many of us to want to get back into the gym. Whether it's been several years of no physical activity or we blew our diet and exercise through the holidays like a boss, there are a few important things I would like to share to ensure we all safely get back to the grind. 

First things first, if it has been a long long long time since you last did any physical activity, check with your doctor. They will be able to help with any underlying issues. It might be time for a check up?

Second, you need to have some clear goals. What are you wanting to do? If you plan on losing weight, have a goal you can realistically attain by a certain time frame, and then make another goal from there. Maybe you want to get back into that swimsuit you were rockin' three years ago by July? Whatever it is, you need to have a specific goal and a specific time frame. This will help you stay disciplined and track your progress. 

Next, when you get back in the gym, warm up. A 5-10 minute walk on a the treadmill will help get the blood circulating. Numerous injuries can be prevented with a simple warm up. Don't neglect your warm up people. After your warm up, stretch for a few minutes.

Lastly, ease back into it. This probably is more for the guys. We have been gifted with the larger than life ego. Anyways, start back light. Just because you used to workout with three wheels on each side of the bar a month or years ago, doesn't mean that's where you should pick back up. 

Leave your ego in '82, and start light...real light. You will be sore, don't cripple yourself by adding unnecessary weight. 

Here's to us all.  Good luck.