Real Love

Heart-cross  There can be little doubt that people are interested in love. We talk about it, we sing about it, we spend our lives looking for it. Studies have shown love to be one of our most basic and crucial needs. When we feel we have the love we desire, we are happy and content and full of smiles; but when love fails us, our entire countenance changes and some of us may slip into utter despair. So basic and essential is love that it is the subject of books, poems, plays, movies, songs, paintings, and many other forms of art and entertainment.

Our first tangible experiences with love often come from our parents, and research has shown how vital this parental love is to our development. Parents hold us, care for us, sing to us, talk to us, play with us, teach us, dress us, set rules and boundaries for us, and become our first role models. But even parental love often falls short of our needs and expectations, manifesting dysfunction in our lives that affects our ability to give and receive love as we mature.

Eventually we seek romantic love beyond our families of origin. It is here that we tend to experience our biggest hurts and frustrations. We extend ourselves toward others in hopeful expectation and often experience rejection and letdown. Many of us try multiple times before finding that one special person with whom we feel we can spend our lives. And then, in the midst of what we were sure was the perfect relationship, we find futility and heartache. Indeed, we often find, as the popular hit song declares: love hurts.

Maybe another popular love song has it right when it proclaims that we are looking for love in all the wrong places. The fact is, as vital as it is for us to have love in our human relationships, the starting point in our search for love must be with God. For it is only in God that we can find and experience perfect love. The Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and it gives us the perfect description of love: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

The Bible is filled with examples of God’s love and assures us that “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) When we seek His love we find all that we have been searching for; we find perfect, endless, limitless love. He will never forsake us despite our mistakes, our struggles, our bad habits, or our shortcomings.

And when we experience God’s perfect love it becomes our example of love: “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19) and our definition of love: “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10) And it is because of God’s love for us that we can approach Him in confident expectation. For we know that Jesus has experienced all our human struggles and He has empathy for us. “This High Priest of ours (Jesus) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

So are you ready to lay aside your struggles and receive His love? It’s easy to get started, just get alone and talk to Him. Acknowledge He is Lord and that you need Him. “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:8) It’s that simple and if you are humble and genuine, you will experience new life and new hope in a way that is real and tangible. And you will know real love at last!

Our hope for you, then, is summed up in this verse from Ephesians 3:19: “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Want to know more about how to experience His love? Please visit KnowGod.org

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Thru the Storm

Storm  In today’s world, it doesn’t seem to matter where you live, there are hot button issues of all kinds. News headlines, editorials, blogs, and social media feeds flow readily with various viewpoints in support of, or rallying against, just about any issue you can think of. People cry out for tolerance but often intolerance seems to rule the day. Sadly, I have witnessed in my own social media feed friendships and family relationships strained over strongly held positions on one issue or another.

Without a doubt, there are many issues that have significance in our daily lives. But no matter where you stand on these issues; regardless if you are pro-life or pro-choice, for Brexit or against, a climate change skeptic or believer, for same sex marriage or against; whether you favor a more global governance or oppose it, support open borders or don’t support them; or whatever other issue may be of specific importance to you right now, the day is coming where none of it will matter except for one thing.

That one thing is this: what do you say about Jesus Christ. Here there is no middle road, no compromise position, no negotiation. You either accept the free gift of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus or you don’t. Jesus plainly said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

And the psalmist wrote: “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (Psalm 46:10)

And the Apostle John wrote: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)

There’s no intolerance or exclusion here, because Jesus makes his grace equally available to all. In fact, the only way to be excluded is to opt out, but even then, you will one day realize that Jesus  is Lord.

The great prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 45:23) and the Apostle Paul (Romans 14:11 & Philippians 2:9-11) both assure us that every man, woman, and child will one day acknowledge God: “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

It is important to be involved in our world and to do what we feel best for our communities and our neighbors, but the reality could not be more clear: whether we consider ourselves conservative, liberal, or something in between; a day is coming where the only thing that truly will matter is what we decided about Jesus Christ. We all instinctively know that we are sinners and we all fall far short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) so it reasons that we also instinctively know, deep down inside, that we need grace.

So the fact remains that all those issues we feel so strongly about will one day pass away, just like the earth itself. For Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” (Luke 21:33) And the Apostle Peter tells us: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.” (2 Peter 3:9-11)

While he was here on earth, Jesus told us this plain truth: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” (John 3:16-18a)

And, dear friends, there you have it. God loves you and wants to extend his grace to you. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what storms you’ve been through, God longs for you to return to him. But to receive his grace you have to do two things: repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus. Won’t you please do this right now, before it’s too late?

To learn more about accepting God’s free gift of grace, please visit:

KnowGod.org

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Waterfalls

Waterfall2

Donna and I just completed our annual Memorial Day weekend getaway, once again visiting Lake Superior. This year, we were along the North Shore, near Grand Marais and Grand Portage, almost to the Canadian border. It was a wonderful trip just full of amazing scenery. Visiting Lake Superior is becoming a thing for us, as we have now visited several locations around the lake over the last few years. For me, Copper Harbor last fall and the North Shore this year have been my favorites.

We stayed at the Cliff Dweller on Lake Superior and I would be amiss if I didn’t take the time to mention this wonderful little hotel with the friendly and accommodating staff that felt much more like a resort than a hotel. The Cliff Dweller is situated right on the shoreline and overlooks the lake from each room. Every room features a balcony where you can sit and relax to the sound of the crashing waves while enjoying your morning coffee. It was a lovely way to wake up and start each day!

The North Shore area features many hiking trails, scenic overlooks, historical landmarks, and astounding geological formations. In Grand Marais, we discovered such wonderful eateries as The World’s Best Donuts, Sven & Olie’s Pizza, and the Angry Trout Café. The smell of campfire permeated the town as several businesses had outdoor fire pits going. Being so far north, Spring was just beginning, but despite being so early in the season, the weather cooperated such that we enjoyed hundreds of miles of top down driving and dinner outdoors overlooking the harbor.

Two of the most amazing stops on our journey came near the Canadian border. The first was the “High Falls” on the Pigeon River. This amazing work of nature straddles the border and is simply incredible to see in person. As torrents of water plummet 120 feet over the falls and you are sprayed by the mist as you watch from the man-made overlook that you come to after a beautiful half mile hike through the forest. In days gone by, this waterfall was such an obstacle to river travel that American Indians created a nine-mile portage trail to Lake Superior that became known as “The Grand Portage”.

The second amazing site was the Grand Portage National Monument. Here a reconstruction of the old fort holds a wealth of information about life in frontier times, complete with actors fully in character who bring the era to life and answer all your questions. The visitor center contains many artifacts from archeological exploration of the area along with recreated items and knowledgeable guides to explain it all. The rich history of the area combined with the awesome views of Lake Superior was overwhelming to the senses and fired my imagination of what life must’ve been like in those distant times.

It was here in Grand Portage that I came across the following quote, posted on the wall: “I believe in going back to the magic of the earth and the lake, the sky and the universe. That kind of magic. I believe in that kind of religion. A religion of the rocks, the lake, the water, the sky. Yes, that’s what I believe in.” Upon first reading, this quote might seem profound, but it left me with a feeling of sorrow. I find the thought that any person could come to this exquisitely stunning area and come to appreciate its magnificence yet seemingly miss that it was all created by the Lord God Almighty profoundly sad.

To witness the majesty of this area is to see the wonderful works of the Creator firsthand. And such elegant beauty should deepen our admiration and appreciation of the God who created it all; it should move us to praise the Creator not the creation. But the quote above seems to resound with just the opposite, which reminds me of what the Apostle Paul was moved to write in his letter to the Romans: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature….(but) they traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” (Romans 1:19-20,25)

Whether standing in the mist of the High Falls or staring out into the vastness of Lake Superior, I am reminded that, though these things seem magnificent to me, they are but a mere teardrop compared to our Creator God. For God is infinitely vast, having created not only the planet earth and everything in it, but also the entire universe, the size of which we cannot precisely determine. It is God who set in motion all the laws of physics and science which we so earnestly study but scarcely yet comprehend. And it is this same immutable, eternal, and infinite God who has numbered every hair on my head, who cared enough about me…and you…to send his very own Son to redeem us so we might also live eternally in fellowship with him.

Yes, to think anyone could experience the beauty of the North Shore and miss the significance of its message about the Creator and about the love He has for each and every one of us fills me with deep sadness. And I hope this little blog will help you see that the very beauty you see in nature pales in comparison to the divine beauty God sees in you.

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17-18

God loves you. More than you will ever know or understand. If you’d like to learn more, please check out:

KnowGod.org

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

True Confessions

true confessions  Would it be fair to say that you have something in your past that you wish you wouldn’t have done? Something you regret? Someone you hurt you wish you hadn’t? A dark moment that you’d do differently if you only could? If you’re like most of the human race, you probably have several such things lurking in your past. And from time to time, they problem tug on your conscience.

The past does have a way of creeping into our thoughts and affecting our future. Try as we might, we can’t always escape the consequences of our prior actions, and sometimes the residual effects of our past affect us in unpredictable ways. So what do we do when faced with our own history? Is there any escape from the regret we feel? Any way to truly put the past in the past?

Fortunately, the answer is yes! God has made provision for our forgiveness and our path forward. His mercy is actually part of his very character and when we turn to him and sincerely seek his forgiveness, he does not withhold it from us. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) God actually wants to forgive us.

In twelve step recovery programs, dealing with the past is paramount to success. From the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, pp 63-64: “We launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.”

Indeed, in AA, steps 4-9 all deal with setting the past right. Steps 4-7 primarily focusing on setting our relationship with God right and steps 8-9 solidifying that spiritual direction by pursuing reparation with those we have hurt. Few people realize that the twelve steps are based on Biblical principle, which certainly explains why they have been so successful for so many. Turning to God is the natural solution for our Creator longs to render us aid!

So when those darker things from your past creep into your today, turn to the one whose very character is defined by his love, grace, and mercy. Find a close friend, confidant, or spiritual leader and make your confession. You will feel an instant and tangible easing of your burden, like having a weight taken off your shoulders, and you will start to feel a new freedom and a new nearness to your Creator. “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)

God loves you. More than you will ever know or understand.

Here are some links that you might find helpful:

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

KnowGod.org

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Future Things

Future Things-532989_960_720

For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

As you look at the world around you, what do you see? Everywhere, people are going about their activities, rushing to and fro, seemingly with ant-like singleness of purpose. From a higher vantage point, perhaps that’s even what we look like, ants darting around. And while we hear stories on the news and have at least a casual awareness of international events, we seldom give them much thought, at least not enough to truly affect our plans. Wars, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tsunamis, economic collapses, people dying of starvation or suffering persecution at the hands of oppressive regimes, and so many more things are happening all around the world but life goes on and those things fade into background noise as we focus on executing our own plans. We go forward with every expectation of living our lives to their fullest extent.

But it’s all coming to a climax. We don’t like to think about it, we don’t know much about it, and we mostly try to deny or dismiss it, but despite our ant-like bustling around, way deep down inside each of us knows that there has to be a day of reckoning; that this growing global chaos cannot continue forever; something has to give. Perhaps as evidence of a burgeoning concern for our collective future, attendance at the fall prophecy conference put on by Jan Markell and her Olive Tree Ministries last October was double expected levels. More than 6000 people attended, some waiting in traffic for more than an hour to get inside for this event. Indeed, it seems people are becoming at least more curious about what is to come.

But we don’t have to wonder too hard. God has made it clear in the Bible that the end will come and Jesus will return as he promised. The question really is: when? And Jesus answered that question in Matthew 24:36-44: “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Of course, probably every generation since Jesus ascended to heaven has thought the end was near. So are there any signs right now that signal us we might be truly getting close to the end? Well, certainly the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 is a unique event of epic proportions and a signal we should not ignore. But a little closer look at the world today reveals certain situations that fit with Biblical prophecy as signs of the times. Space here doesn’t allow an exhaustive list, but let’s take a cursory look at some of them.

We’ll start with unrest and lawlessness in Europe. Greece’s fall into near financial ruin and the well-publicized Brexit vote both signal dissension and economic instability in the European union. Meanwhile in Switzerland, the opening ceremony for the Gotthard Base Tunnel showcased a bizarre and tasteless opening ceremony that featured a dancing goatman, which is often symbolic for Satan, with other dancers bowing down in what appears to be an act of mock satanic worship. And more open borders and mass refugee immigration from troubled areas of the world have led to increased terrorist activity leaving citizens and governments alike on edge. Many prophecy experts believe the Antichrist will arise from Europe and the current unrest there certainly seems to be the perfect breeding ground for such a thing to happen.

And we have wars and rumors of wars seemingly in every direction we turn. One country threatens another, terrorists seem to operate everywhere, and North Korea is stirring the pot in the biggest of ways. Rogue nations dabble in nuclear programs while the people of the world watch powerlessly. On December 23, 2016 the UN voted against Israel while Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, abstained from the vote. This seems to align with prophecy in Zechariah 12:3, which speaks of countries aligning against Israel. And, rather obviously, this only adds to the tension in the middle east.

And people are falling away from sound Christian teaching in large numbers. Just as the Apostle Paul prophesied in his second letter to Timothy: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) This is evident in so many ways all across the globe. Even some churches have become nothing more than social and political outreaches, promoting lifestyles and politics completely inconsistent with sound Biblical doctrine.

So we see that there are, indeed, many signs that the end could truly be much closer than any of us care to think. We are called to be watchmen on the wall, praying day and night and sounding the warning, and there seems to be plenty to warn the people about, for indeed, if that day draws near, and it sure looks like it does, then the time to get right with God is now. Right now.

To learn more about prophecy and eschatology, we are proud to recommend these resources to you:

Olive Tree Ministries

Behold Israel

Pastor Mark Hitchcock

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Where Does Truth Come From?

child-945422_960_720  One thing has become very clear, across our society we have very differing views on morality. There are even moments where it seems as if our differences might tear us apart (though American society is far more resilient than our political squabbles might make it seem). Serious moral concerns fuel activism on all sides of the spectrum, but it seems few can agree on any absolutes.

This is not surprising, actually, given the decline in Biblical literacy in our country. According to a 2014 report by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society, a majority of adults in the US said they consider themselves highly, moderately or somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible, yet less than half were able to name the first five books of the Bible. In a 2013 study, only half the adults surveyed knew that John the Baptist was not one of the twelve apostles.

Yet it is the Bible that provides the framework for right and wrong for all people. Without a solid foundation rooted in the knowledge of our Creator and the book He wrote to us, we soon find that no one is right and everyone is right, all at the same time. Without a foundation in Biblical truth, right and wrong are merely abstracts that vary to suit the individual as he or she might decide based on their immediate needs or circumstance.

Certainly most societies have developed laws and norms that are meant to apply as the rule of law, but without a bedrock of Biblical belief, those rules and laws are subject to change based on the whims of various people groups and their immediate felt needs. Morality becomes a flexible band that is stretched and relaxed to suit the impulses of any specific group that makes the most noise at a given moment. And each individual is compelled to obey only as it suits his or her fancy. Individual circumstances always pose the potential for a particular person to decide the risk of disobedience outweighs the pain of compliance.

The Bible, on the other hand, offers us the truth of our Creator. It is His revealed Word to guide us on our journey through life and it is the promise of the eternity that comes after we leave Earth. Through the Apostle Paul we are instructed: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2Timothy 3:16) And the book of Psalms opens with this promise: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

It seems today that the idea of moral absolutes is distasteful to many and, indeed, we find this is a fulfillment of Scriptural prophecy: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2Timothy 4:3-4) But I want to encourage you to rise above the din of modern society and make your personal choice to pursue Biblical literacy.

I am not asking you to take my word for it because I am confident that the Bible stands on its own and that if you would only commit yourself to improving your personal Biblical literacy, you will soon recognize that the Bible is God’s inspired Word and his Holy Truth. You will discover that when God says “don’t” he means “don’t hurt yourself” and you will find the reality that Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, gave his life so that your sins would be forgiven.  I am confident you will come to know that God’s Word is “a lamp to guide your feet and a light for your path” (Psalm 119:105).

Becoming Biblically literate starts with reading the Bible, of course, but the following resources can help you in your journey.

A good study Bible is essential and you can find one here: Zondervan Study Bibles

A Bible dictionary is also very useful: Compact Bible Dictionary

A Bible commentary will help you, especially if some passages seem difficult: Bible Commentary

A good Bible atlas is also invaluable:  Bible Atlas

Of course, all the above cost money to buy, and if money is an issue for you now, Angel Ministries provides free on-line Bible study resources, and here is a handy link to click: Free Bible Studies

We wish you the best of luck in your quest for Biblical literacy. We’d love to hear how your journey is going, please feel free to write us at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Cross Training

exercise-1244925_960_720  Almost everywhere we turn these days, we are bombarded with advertising about our health. Fitness centers offer us easy, 24 hour access, state-of-the-art exercise equipment, personal trainers, and the latest yoga-zumba-crossfit super workout routines. Or we can buy our own exercise machines for just a few unbelievably low monthly payments and workout in the privacy of our own homes. Elaborate infomercials feature perfectly fit, hard-bodied men and women who assure us we can look just like them if we follow their simple 20 minute per day formula.

The food industry isn’t absent from this concern for our physical well-being, either. Advertisements for the latest diet plan, health food alternative, or miracle weight-loss supplements are constantly beaming into our living rooms. Spokesmen and women are kind enough to teach us about the healthier food choices; assuring us of longer, happier lives where we will simultaneously be more popular and content. With just the right fitness routine and diet plan we can be better parents, more productive workers, smarter and better citizens, and live longer lives. And social media provides the tools we need to share our progress with the world.

The fitness business in the United States is booming. According to IBISWorld, gyms and fitness centers alone take in about thirty billion dollars annually. When you add in the additional business of providing the proper gear, attire, equipment, food, supplements, media, and consulting, the revenue of the fitness industry as a whole is staggering. With so much money in play, it is no wonder there are so many options vying for our attention – all of them trying very hard to convince us our lives could be better and longer if we just spend our hard-earned money with them.

The fitness industry has become a benevolent monster; a seemingly unstoppable force for our own good. Concerned only with making us healthier, happier, and longer-lived; few seem to question the sincerity or integrity of the movement. And while exercise is not a bad thing in and of itself, today’s fitness industry has worked hard to create a sense of insecurity in the general public; in essence it thrives on our deepest fears by convincing us we are not good enough the way we are and we’re not going to live as long as we could. With so much money at stake, is it any wonder that the industry is working so hard to earn more of our cash?

Now I want to be clear that I do believe we should get our exercise. Donna and I try to get in a walk every evening, we hike when we can on weekends, and we try to be reasonably active working in the yard, gardening, and other similar activities around the house. It’s a given that a reasonable amount of physical activity does indeed do us some good. The Bible agrees on this point in 1 Timothy, we’ll get to that verse in a bit. But if we are standing in front of a mirror with our shirt off marveling at our own bodies while we lift weights, if we post endless pictures of ourselves on social media so everyone can see how toned our bodies are, if working out or running the next 5k has become the highest priority in our lives, it’s quite probable we’ve crossed into a form of idolatry.

I hate to bore you with math, but a little discussion of statistics is in order here, so please bear with me. As most of us know, statisticians can twist numbers to make them support whatever argument they wish to make. But there is one statistic that cannot be twisted, misrepresented, or argued. It is a statistical fact that ten out of every ten people will die. Perhaps we should pause just to let that reality sink in for a moment; every single one of us is dying. And no amount of exercise or careful dieting can change that fact.

Pondering this statistical truth isn’t something we should fear, rather, it is a sign of wisdom: Psalm 39:4-5 states: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.” And in Psalm 90:12, we read: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” So instead of buying into the constant fitness industry advertising onslaught trying to convince us how to live better and longer, we are wise to consider the finite length of our lives

But here is the good news, a truth that perhaps the fitness industry would rather ignore: death is not the end! And while the fitness industry would have us fear our physical mortality, Scripture tells us: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28-31)

I hope you are seeing these truths in those verses:

1) Your physical body and your soul are two things; one mortal and one immortal
2) The people or things that can kill our physical body cannot kill our soul
3) Sparrows are not as valuable as we are yet God knows the precise details of every sparrow that has ever lived
4) You are so valuable to God that He knows every detail of your life down to the number of hairs on your head (a detail that, in my case, is getting easier for God to remember with every passing day!)

Scripture has the best guidance for our fitness that we will ever receive, let’s call it the ultimate “cross training” advice: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.” (1Timothy 4:7-9) In other words, we should get some exercise, it is clearly beneficial for us in the here and now. But it should not be our primary concern or obsession, rather we should apply ourselves to rigorously working out spiritually.

And here’s how we can do that: first, read God’s Word daily and do what is says (i.e. James 1:22). Pray regularly and give thanks in all circumstances (i.e. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18). Love others (i.e. Romans 13:8). Attend church and have fellowship with other Christians. (i.e. Hebrews 10:24-25). Tell others the Good News about Jesus Christ (i.e. Matthew 28:19). Make these things your spiritual fitness routine and you will store up treasure for eternity. And remember – life is short but eternity is long.

To summarize, and I want to be perfectly clear, be active when you can, follow your doctor’s orders, and take care of yourself physically. But don’t make physical exercise your number one priority. Rather, recognize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are beautiful just as you are, and God loves you dearly. Pour your heart, mind, and soul into your spiritual fitness and reap the benefits of a personal relationship with the God who cared enough to send His one and only Son so that you may have everlasting life. And feel free to post your spiritual progress on social media!

If you have questions about how to improve your spiritual fitness regimen, please write us at ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com. We’d love to help and we won’t charge you a dime!

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