James, our Spiritual Fitness Instructor

James is perhaps the most cutting letter in the New Testament. It is written by James, possibly James brother of Jesus. It holds the believer under the microscope and asks, are we really walking the walking and talking the talk?

We wish people well, but we do not help them. We say all our equal, yet we give special privilege to the popular and wealthy. We say Christ is sufficient, yet we war with one another over our wants. We sing worship and praise God, yet denigrate our peers. We say we trust God, yet do not not ask Him for anything in true faith, believing that He can hear us and  deliver on His promises.

During James’ probing onslaught, the question arises, what about grace? Grace abounds as always, but food while you’re working out gives us energy and strength, whereas food while we are lazing about only leaves us out of shape and weighted down. We are called to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12), not in order to earn it (Christ has done that work for us), but to keep it honed.

In doing this, James empowers us to greater than we thought possible. Does the process hurt? You bet! Not that we would cause ourselves injury, but that we would stretch and shape our spiritual bodies. Who’s ready for a workout?

Stretch

Today I strummed chords I seldom play

and sang notes I seldom sing.

My fingers strained to strike the frets

My voice trembled at the top of my register.

After I was done, I felt strangely alive

and wondered why I so often hold back

from these places,

these wonderful places,

where my blood races

and my spirit soars.

A pox upon the demon of the commonplace,

holding its infamous net of security

and three cheers to the angel of uncertainty,

who calls us “to come and die and find that I

may truly live.”

I Like to Live Dangerously

I’m always amazed by risk takers.

Some who know what they are getting into, others just dive in blind.

Of course, it’s good to be safe, but breaking down borders,

exceeding expectations, pushing the envelope beyond where the safety net lies.

These are the dreamers, these are the inspirers

these are the scouts, the trailblazers, and the visionaries

I am so grateful for all of them,

for because of them I see through the hedges,

to a bright view of tomorrow.

How lovely it is!

 

 

Hwy 55 Burger

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Today I tried the Hwy 55 Burger: 55 oz. burger with fries and a drink. I didn’t eat all of it, but it was delicious and I had a lovely conversation with the staff. I love how even attempting to do the incredible enlivens people. It’s so easy to just go through the motions. It’s another thing entirely to really experience life for all it is worth.

 

FitBit

A few months back, my wife bought a FitBit-type apparatus

It tracks how many steps she takes per day;

sets a weekly step goal;

and beeps whenever she has been sitting too long.

Her persistence to the program has yielded amazing results

She is fitter than ever, has a huge boost in energy,

and relishes the competition of meeting and exceeding her step goal

each week.

In everything worth pursuing in life,

I think we need a FitBit,

keeping us on track,

giving us steady encouragement to succeed,

and giving tangible goals that we can celebrate.

It’s so easy to base our success of fictions,

fictions too low that we never really achieve our true potential

or fictions too high that we simply give up out of pure dismay.

While we pursue these fictions,

the FitBit is waiting, extending its silent invitation

to rise to its challenge and reap its rewards.

LORD, be my FitBit. Keep me accountable to my calling.

Challenge me. Encourage me. Let me know how I can grow

in You.