Daily D – Luke 2:39-40
When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him. LUKE 2:39-40 (NLT)
Compare these two verses with verse 52.
“Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”
Jesus grew up. He grew up “healthy and strong.” There are five characteristics of his wellbeing mentioned here or assumed from what is stated. Jesus grew healthy and strong
This is a good time to review this year’s growth and progress in each of these areas. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, in each of these areas. Honestly assess where you are compared to where you would like to be.
Think about the areas that are most important in relation to the others in keeping you healthy and strong. Consider whether you have a critical weakness in any of these areas. What immediate steps should you take to strengthen the area? Whose help do you require?
First things first, I pray about these five areas for myself and my family each week. There is a handy acrostic to help me remember these five areas: PIERS.
Most people think about New Years’ resolutions this time of year. Most people who make them see them bite the dust before they get halfway through February. Then they wait a whole year before trying and failing again. Let’s try something different together.
Instead of annual goals, let’s set quarterly goals. What is the most important thing you need to do in the next ninety days that will strengthen you to live a life that honors God and serves others? This does not mean you will ignore the other four areas mentioned here. When we strengthen one area, we tend to strengthen the others as well.
Accountability helps us stay focused. In a book entitled, The 12 Week Year, the authors give us a positive spin on that word which is often received negatively. They say accountability is a promise I make to myself which I ask others to help me keep.
My friend Dave Rhodes puts it this way: “How can we help me become all God wants me to be?”
My first ninety-day goal this year is in the Physical area. This is also the ninety-day goal for about ninety-percent of Americans. My need and my plan are not all about weight loss like most folks, although that is included. I have three bulging disks in my lower back. This limits my physical capacity. I cannot accomplish all I believe God wants me to do if I do not stay physically fit.
This is not about bulking up through weightlifting. Due to the issues with my back, I have to be careful with how I lift weights. You may have heard my sad laments about the mean doctor who told me I cannot run anymore. There are two things I cannot do. There are a million things I can do. Let’s pick some.
Here is my first ninety-day goal for 2021:
I will arrive at March 31 with a healthy, fit 170 pound body. I will accomplish this through at least five days of workouts each week along with a healthy diet. I will walk, ride my bike, swim, perform core strengthening exercises at home, and return to the gym when it is safer to do so.
My current weight is 178. Christmas and COVID restrictions have expanded my waistline. Why exercise five times per week? This keeps my core muscles strong and helps prevent the chronic and occasionally acute pain in my back from sidelining me for weeks at a time.
I have second-stage kidney disease. There are no symptoms requiring treatment, but guidance from my doctor and the experts in the area of nephrology strongly suggest five days of exercise each week.
Using a variety of exercise methods helps prevent boredom. My bride will accompany me in most of these exercise activities. She helps me keep my promises to myself. I hereby grant you permission to ask me how it’s going as well.
Notice the specifics of this goal. It answers the questions regarding who is doing what by when and how. This is a SMART goal.
Specific – I will be healthy and fit
Measurable – I will weigh 170 pounds on March 31
Attainable – I will lose eight pounds in twelve weeks
Relevant – This is important to everything else I do.
Time-bound – I have a deadline which helps me mark forward progress each week
Use this goal-setting method to help you set your own goals. Use the SMART Goal formula as a guide.
If you or I are only eighty or ninety-percent successful in hitting our ninety-day goals, please understand that this is a win. We are still well ahead of where we are now. I want to help you succeed. How may I serve you?
I have given you my goal. What’s yours? Let’s encourage one another.
I will increase my capacity to honor God and serve others through better health.
Our Father, I want to practice good stewardship of the body you have given me. I want to live a strong and healthy life that honors you and serves others. Give me the healthy habits I need to succeed. Empower me to live with self-discipline that will keep me focused on the right things and self-control that will lead me away from the wrong things. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 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!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.