Devotional for Saturday and Sunday January 19-20

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”

Our Bible verse for today: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)

Our thought for today: “Develop a positive mental image of yourself.”

In recent decades it has become fashionable for Christian speakers and writers to debunk what is known as “the power of positive thinking” or the “self-help” movement – as if there is no value in thinking positively, and as if we are not capable of helping ourselves.

Nonsense. Not only is it imperative that we be optimistic and train ourselves to think positive thoughts, but we must also be proactive and intentional as we take responsibility for resolving our own issues and doing the things necessary to be the best person we can be. There is great power in positive thinking, and there is a lot we can do in terms of “self-help.”

This is Biblical. Yesterday we read Paul’s words of encouragement and exhortation in Philippians 4:8 about how we must train our mind to think right. Today we are considering Solomon’s great insight in Proverbs 23:7 which says how we think about things goes a long way towards determining how things actually turn out for us.

In 1903 philosopher and inspirational writer James Allen released his classic little book “As a Man Thinketh”. Here is some of what he wrote, “As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have happened without them.”… “Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.”… “The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought. … “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” And, “Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life.”

In 1952 Pastor and author Dr. Norman Vincent Peale published his book “The Power of Positive Thinking”. It built on Allen’s work but went into great detail explaining how a Christian man or woman could apply those principles in his or her life. It is still a good and helpful read today.

In 1993 Dr. James Loehr released his book “Toughness Training for Life”. In it he explained how Olympic and professional athletes use the techniques of positive mental imaging to achieve peak physical conditioning and winning professional performance.

My point in all of this is that how you think about yourself matters. The mental image you have of yourself goes a long way towards determining your actual physical condition. So regardless of who you are, no matter how old you are or what your current physical condition is, I encourage you to develop a mental image of yourself as you would like to be at this time in your life. Be sensible and realistic. Simply imagine yourself with the health you would like to have and the physical condition you would like to be in. Then hold onto that image and use it to motivate yourself as you take the steps and implement the disciplines needed in order to move you closer to that ideal “you” at this stage of life.

“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It’s true. So develop a positive mental image of yourself and then do the things needed to achieve it.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Devotional for Friday January 18th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “We must control how we think”

 

Of the four major aspects of our person (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual), the mind is by far the least disciplined. Most of us exercise less control over our thinking than we do over any other part of us. And it is more of a problem than we realize.

 

In the 1970s the philosopher Hannah Arendt published a groundbreaking work called “The Life of the Mind”. In this very extensive body of research Arendt convincingly made the case that the mind is a living thing and that it therefore has a life. There literally is “a life of the mind” and just like any living thing, the mind has to be cared for, nurtured, and disciplined in order to be healthy.

 

In 2010 pastor and author John Piper published a book of his own that built on Arendt’s premise but from a Christian perspective. Piper’s book is “Think: The life of the mind and the love of God”. Like Arendt, Piper made the case that the mind is a living thing that has to be attended to, structured, and disciplined. But accomplishing that is not so easy.

 

The mind is a lot like the old cartoon character “Ricochet Rabbit”, it is always bouncing from one thing to another like a pinball. The mind is difficult to control and often runs amuck. Therefore it has to be taken control of, disciplined, and trained. Christian author Joyce Meyer once wrote a best-selling book entitled “The Battlefield of the Mind”. Good title because yes, the mind is indeed a battlefield.

 

This is what the Apostle Paul was referring to in Philippians 4:8. There he was urging us to be intentional and disciplined about the kinds of things we allow into our mind to begin with, and the kinds of things our mind is allowed to dwell on. You do have control over those things; you can make choices about the kinds of influences that are allowed into your mind; but you have to be intentional and you have to be disciplined.

 

The life of the mind has a direct and powerful impact on all aspects of our overall health, therefore we’re going to come back to this subject and explore it in a little more depth tomorrow.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

 

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Devotional for Thursday January 17th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”

Our Bible verse for today: “Dear friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and are in good health, just as your whole life is going well.” 3 John 1:2

Our thought for today: “Work to achieve a good balance in your life.”

So far in this series we have considered at length why we must take good care of the body the Lord has given us. It is a gift from Him and it is to be used in His service. Also, your body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit and it must therefore be treated as such. And also, the healthier you are the better your overall quality of life will be.

We have also considered the truth that God created each of us as a complex being that consists of body, spirit, mind, and emotions and that all of those parts of us are interconnected and each impacts the other. Therefore it’s important to care for the whole person, and doing that will require a life that is balanced in all of those important areas.

But often we pay too much attention to one area, and not enough to another. Some people put a lot of time and effort into keeping their physical body fit and healthy, but they don’t pray, read their Bible, or come to church very often. Other people are disciplined in their spiritual life but pay little attention to what they eat and they get no exercise. Some people make little effort to care for themselves at all, physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, and their lives are really a mess.

A healthy person is a balanced person. In their great little book, “The Life of the Body: Physical well-being and spiritual formation” Valerie Hess and Lane Arnold write, “The definition of “wholeness” includes being fully integrated as a human being, body, mind and spirit; therefore, physical health and spiritual formation are closely related.” They go on, “When I take care of my body, with good food and an active lifestyle, I can tell the difference in other parts of my life. When I am more mentally alert, more joyful, and well rested, I can see the difference in so many other areas of life.”

The truth is that discipline in one area of life carries over into other areas of life in significant ways, but that always requires some kind of intentional action on our part. Sometimes we spend too much time praying about our problems and not enough time doing something about our problems. Striving for better balance in life, and actually making an effort to do the things necessary to be healthier in our body, mind, spirit, and emotions, will go a long way towards cleaning up much of what we struggle with in life.

Tomorrow we will think about the life of the mind, the impact it has on the whole person (including your body), and some things we can do to have better control over it.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Devotional for Wednesday January 16th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Taking care of your body”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “But we encourage you, brothers and sisters, to do this even more, to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may behave properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.” 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “Your work should improve your life not diminish it.”

 

I know a young man who has decided to be a barber. He has a winsome personality, he loves people, and he has a passion for cutting hair. So he is going to be a barber. He is also a talented musician and singer, and he is very smart. He is the kind of young person who would excel at whatever profession he chose, and he knows he could make more money doing something else, but he has chosen to do what he loves. Good for him.

 

I know another young man who is also a talented singer, songwriter, and guitar player. He is also a writer, an artist, and an actor. He too is very smart and would easily excel in whatever field he chooses. But he has decided to be a welder. He chose that field first of all because he likes it, but secondly because he knows it is honest labor that will provide him with a decent income, and it will still afford him plenty of time in his life to pursue his various creative interests in his spare time.

 

Both of those young men have chosen quality of life over the pursuit of high incomes and lots of possessions. Unlike the man I told you about yesterday, the one who spent his life chasing riches and in the process lost his family and his health, these young men have set themselves up for living balanced lives that are rich in the things that really matter.

 

I don’t mean to suggest there is anything wrong with pursuing higher education (I have four college degrees); nor am I saying that we should not aspire to a career in the professional ranks such as medical doctor, attorney, business owner, or even as a pastor. The point of these two devotional messages taken together (yesterday and today) is that whatever we do for a living, we need to be sure it does not consume us and get our lives out of balance. Quality of life is more important than quantity of wealth and possessions.

 

If you are already trapped in a job that is eating you up and causing your life to be out of balance, I recommend you read the book, “Half-time: Moving from Success to Significance” by Bob Buford. It’s all about how to make a mid-life course correction that will help to greatly improve the quality of your life.

 

The picture Paul paints for us in 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 is of a person who is living a quiet and content life that includes honest labor that provides for him and his family, and it is a life that others would deem honorable and well-lived.

 

That’s a pretty good life.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Devotional for Tuesday January 15th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”

Our Bible verse for today: “Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; because you know better, stop! As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.” Proverbs 23:4-5 (CSB)

Our thought for today: “Avoid overworking”

I read a sad story once about a very wealthy man who was only in his sixties but he was dying. This man had worked extremely hard and had achieved great success in his business, and he had the wealth and possessions to show for it. But as he lay there close to death, thinking back over his life, he wasn’t proud or happy or satisfied. Instead he was remorseful and grieved.

It seems that this man had been a compulsive workaholic his entire life. He had thrown himself into his business pursuits, and he routinely spent 70, 80, 90 hours a week either in the office or traveling for business purposes. Even when he wasn’t actually at work, he was thinking about it, planning for it, making phone calls, etc. In the process he suffered through three divorces and ended up estranged from all six of his children. He had grandchildren that he had never even met.

To compensate for the excessive stress and strain of working so hard, and for the severe emotional pain from all those broken relationships, he indulged himself in every conceivable luxury, including high-end prostitutes and the richest of foods. So now, only in his sixties, he had lost his health and was about to die. All of his great riches could not give him his health back or restore his broken relationships. He had spent his entire life overworking, and although he earned a lot of money and had a lot of expensive possessions, he had sacrificed the truly precious things in his life.

The Japanese have a word for this, it’s “Karoshi”. Karoshi means, “Death from overworking”. The reason they have this word in their vocabulary is because death from overworking is an epidemic in their society. Newspapers in Japan have almost daily reports about citizens who worked themselves to death, or who were so stressed from their work that they committed suicide. Overworking, karoshi, is literally killing them.

It’s killing some of us too. Some of you reading this work way too many hours under way too much stress. And it’s killing you. It’s killing you physically, it’s killing your relationships, and it’s robbing you of the things in life that are truly valuable.

And it’s not worth it.

When it comes to taking care of yourself by achieving a healthy balance in life, sometimes we need to stop working so much so we can pay a little more attention to the other areas of our lives. We will talk more about this tomorrow.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Devotional for Monday January 14th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven …” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “Human beings thrive on balance and consistency”

 

I’m sure you’re familiar with the old truism about human nature which declares that humans are “creatures of habit”. It’s true. We naturally tend to develop patterns of living that we fall into and which we then stick with. We create comfort zones of habits, activities, and surroundings, and then we stick with them because, well, because they are comfortable. It’s what we know and like. We truly are creatures of habit.

 

This tendency to develop patterns of living and to then stick with them is part of how God designed us. Humans do best with balance and consistency. We don’t do as well when we are living at the extremes, or when our lives are hectic, chaotic, and unplanned.

 

This is why it’s so important for us to achieve good balance and stability and consistency in all the main areas of our lives including spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical balance. We really do need to develop and maintain good habits in all of those areas because as has already been noted previously in this series, each of us is a complex being that consists of a physical body, a spirit, a mind, and emotions; all are interconnected and all of them impact the others. Therefore if one is unhealthy or out of balance it has a negative impact on the other vital areas of our person.

 

Balance and consistency in all of these vital areas is the key to good health and full living. Therefore for the rest of this week we will think about some of the areas in which we need to achieve a better balance in life. We will consider some of the most common demands in life that cause us to get out of balance, and we will talk about some ways to achieve better balance.

 

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 King Solomon reminded us that in life there is a season – a right time and a right way – for everything. That really is a matter of balance, consistency, and stability and it is what we need. We’ll talk more about this in the days to come.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Devotional for Saturday and Sunday January 12-13

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Take care of your body”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (NIV)

 

Our thought for today: “Take a break and get some rest”

 

One of my all-time favorite non-Christian books about health, physical fitness, and living a balanced life is “Toughness Training for Life” by James Loehr. (Next week I’ll tell you about some of my favorite Christian books on this subject).

 

In his book Dr. Loehr explains that when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy and balanced life the most common missing element for most people is adequate rest. Now again, the title of the book is, “Toughness Training for Life”. It’s all about being mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually tough, healthy, and balanced. But we don’t typically associate resting with being tough. Instead we think of the tough person as being the one who can keep going and who never stops.

 

The truth is that if you don’t rest and recover properly you won’t be tough for long. That’s true with respect to life in general, and it is also true with respect to exercise. In general, for good health your body needs to be kept active but then it needs to rest. It needs regular periods of sleep, preferably at the same time every night. If your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, it will quickly begin to break down. Likewise with respect to exercise, your muscles need to be worked hard and they need to be rested well.

 

Dr. Loehr writes, “Recovery is an important word and a vital concept. It means renewal of life and energy. Knowing how and when to recover may prove to be the most important skill in your life.”

 

This is what Jesus was teaching us in Mark 6:31. Often we over-spiritualize the teachings of Jesus and we conclude that every lesson has a spiritual meaning only, as if there were no physical, earthly applications to it. But in Mark 6:31 He was simply telling his guys that they needed a break from work and responsibilities and from everything else they had going on. They needed to sleep and hang out and shoot-the-breeze. They needed to stop walking, stop working, stop stressing, and just rest. That’s true for us too.

 

I encourage you to rest well this weekend. Take some time to rest and nurture your body, mind, and spirit. Sleep well, relax, and come to church. Next week we will continue our discussion about the importance of balance in life.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

 

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment