Encouragement & Hope

A Spiritual Heart Rate Monitor

This year, Carl and I have both started working out with heart rate monitors.  It is amazing how much knowing your heart rate during a workout can change how you work out.  You may push yourself a little more one day to reach a goal, and another day back off a little to stay in the needed “zone.”  For Carl, adding the HRM to his workouts completely changed his approach and his intensity.  And since, he has seen amazing results.  But here’s the thing, even if we have a HRM, but we don’t use it, it still doesn’t do us any good.  Why? The truth is, that what my dad said all growing up is true, “Knowing and doing are two different things.”

Today, I’d like to discuss three important questions that can help you stay healthy spiritually.  Sometimes we get into a spiritual rut and we don’t really know where to begin to get out of it.  Other times, we have been on the journey so long, we need a little assessment to see if we are still headed in the right direction.  So here are three questions for you to ask yourself at anytime for a spiritual assessment.

1.  What am I reading and learning?

2.  What am I memorizing?

3.  In whom am I investing?

What am I reading and learning?  At all times on our spiritual journey we need to be in the Word.  Taking time off from reading the Word would be like taking days off from eating.  It just doesn’t work.  However, it does happen.  So when it does, pick up your Bible and start again.  Don’t beat yourself up about the past, just make the right choice now.  You can’t change what you did or didn’t do yesterday, but you still have time to choose what you will do today.  So grab that Bible and start reading.  The Bible is so easy to take with you these days.  You can download it to your smart phone, iPad or any other tablet.  You can find it on the internet or have it delivered to your inbox.  We have no excuse not to be in the Word daily.  When you need a little spiritual boost, the first thing to do is open the Word.

The second part of that question, is not just what are you reading in the Word, but what are you learning.  Reading the Word is important, but applying it to your life and letting it change you from the inside out is vital.  If we don’t let the Word change us we are like the man in James who looks in the mirror and then forgets what he looks like as soon as he walks away.  We don’t want to walk away from the Word unchanged, we want to be different because of our time in the Word.

What am I memorizing? This is a great question for me.  I am not currently memorizing anything, but I need to be.  Last night I was reminded of the importance and the benefits of memorizing Scripture.  I was trying to fall asleep and my mind was racing.  I had no way to calm it down.  It just kept running circles around the same conversation from earlier in the day.  Round and round it went, and in a desperate plea to the Lord to help me change the subject in my mind, I realized that if I had been memorizing Scripture, I would have had something to easily turn to in that moment.

Changing the mental subject is not the only benefit of memorizing Scripture.  Memorizing is one of the ways we get the words from off the page and into our hearts.  Memorizing gets you one step closer to hiding the Word in your heart, which as the Psalmist says, helps us avoid sin.  Similarly to reading though, memorizing in and of itself is not enough.  We must understand and apply the words we are memorizing.  This is the step that will move the Word from our heads to our hearts.

In whom am I investing? Jesus was a great model for us of investing in others.  Whatever He saw His Father doing, He did.  And He taught others to do the same.  He had a close circle of followers, and He had large crowds of followers.  But in both cases, He intentionally invested in the lives of others.  What about you?  Do you have someone intentional in whom you are investing?  Who is it?  To whom are you passing the truths you are learning?  Are you keeping these truths to yourself?  Or do you have a person or a group of persons with whom you are sharing them?

This week at church we talked about Judges 2:6-15.  Joshua dies at the beginning of this passage.  The Israelites have entered the Promise Land, and their children don’t know God.  An entire generation grows up not knowing God because the parents weren’t intentional about telling their children the TRUTH!  But you don’t have to be a parent for this to apply to you. You just have to know the truth and know someone else who needs to know it.

Long before I was a mother, I was investing in the lives of others, and it was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.  To know that I was influencing the lives of a few kiddos in and around Branson, MO was a blessing.  I had a group of fifth grade girls who walked through the book of John and learned the “I Ams” of Christ.  In sixth grade these same girls learned the stories of the Old Testament and could walk you through the history of Israel from Genesis to Malachi.  Now as these girls head off to college this fall, I pray that they will take the truths they learned years ago with them into their futures.

Who do you know? Who might need to know what you know?  In whom might God be calling you to invest?

I still have young women outside of my home in whom I invest on a regular basis.  This does not and, in most cases, is not a mother-child relationship.  It is a spiritual relationship.  If you don’t have someone, pray for God to open your eyes to the possibilities around you.

So how are you doing?  Are you spiritually healthy?  Great!  We need you.  Someone around you is hurting and needs you to share with them what you read today.  Do you need to be a little more disciplined in your walk?  There is no better time than now to start.  Don’t make a plan to start, just start.  Open God’s Word right now and ask Him to speak to your heart.  (Don’t forget to open your heart to listen.)

Invest in the future.  Mike Glenn says, “It’s not so much what we leave to our children as much as what we leave in them.” But we can’t tell them stories we don’t know.  So get in the Word.  Write it on your heart.  And share it with others.

I’d love to hear what you are currently learning and how you are sharing it with others!  God bless you as you spend time with Him.  You won’t regret it!!

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