"Diet & Exercise" - The Pastor's Windshield for Sunday, August 14, 2022
I’m neither a dietician nor a personal trainer. I know that it’s good to avoid eating too much sugar and that it’s important to stay physically active each day. I know that a poor diet and an inactive lifestyle makes us more likely to get sick and be diagnosed with chronic illness. Beyond that, I’ll leave the specifics to those who are smarter than me.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical exercise are part of how we care for the physical bodies the Lord has given us. However, “diet and exercise” are also how we tend our souls, our life of faith.
When He was tempted by the devil to turn stones in the desert into filling loaves of bread, Jesus responded by quoting God’s Word from Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). At a time when Jesus was physically starving, He still drew strength from God’s soul-sustaining words in the Old Testament.
Life is more than something maintained by physical nourishment. Spiritual life and eternal life are given and sustained by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
In your physical diet, you take in everything from little snacks to regular meals to memorable feasts. In your spiritual diet, you also feed on God’s Word in both big and small ways. A daily devotional practice feeds you a few bites of Scripture as you begin your day or pause during the day to hear from the Lord. (If you would like any recommendations from me of devotional resources, please let me know!)
The Sunday service feeds you a balanced meal of God’s Word, both His Law and His Gospel, through the liturgy, Scripture readings, hymns, and sermon. The service culminates in literally eating and drinking Christ’s own body and blood in His Sacrament of Communion.
Occasionally there are worship services that are more like a memorable feast: Christmas Eve, Easter sunrise, a church anniversary celebration, and other seasonal services may leave you with lasting memories and refrains that get stuck in your head!
However, you won’t remember every single devotion you read or worship service or Bible study you participate in, just as you don’t remember every meal or bite of food. Some will resonate more than others. More importantly, the steady diet of God’s Word that you take in will feed your faith and help you grow as a child of God. Each time you receive God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper, you get to “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8)
But exercise also has its place! St. Paul writes, “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.” (1 Timothy 4:7-9) In his book Grace Upon Grace, Theologian John Kleinig comments on this passage, “The secret for the regular exercise of spirituality, as with physical fitness, is to establish simple habits and practices that are embedded in our normal routines.” (p. 54)
In addition to exercising your faith by making devotional reading of Scripture, Bible study, and Sunday worship part of your regular routine, you also exercise your faith through your prayer habits. For example, when you pause to pray at meals, you remember that both your daily bread and all that you have comes from the Lord. He hears your simple prayers and blesses you with His presence.
Morning and evening are also fitting times for us to exercise our faith through prayer. Says Kleinig again, “It is wise for us to be briefed by Him each morning and debrief with Him at the end of the day … In the morning we ask God for His direction and provision for us in our work; in the evening we thank Him for His provision and seek His pardon for our wrongdoings. In this way we receive each day as a gift from God and hand it back as our daily offering to Him.” (p. 56) (Please see below for prayers you can incorporate into your devotional routine.)
May the Holy Spirit fill your spiritual diet with God’s Word and lead you in exercising your faith through prayer and godly living!
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Kory Janneke
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, You have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us in the same with Your mighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Your governance, may be righteous in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Be present, merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of life may find our rest in You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in Your mercy grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.
Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever. Amen.
“The eyes of all look to You, o Lord, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:15-16)
Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Returning Thanks) We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father, for all Your benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
Prayers for Hearing God’s Word:
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Lord, we thank You that You have taught us what You would have us believe and do. Help us, by Your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, to hold fast Your Word, in hearts which You have cleansed, that thereby we may be made strong in faith, and perfect in holiness, and be comforted in life, and in death. Amen.
Prayer for Courage:
Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Posted on August 11, 2022 4:14 PM