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We pray they are a blessing to you and your family.

Staying strong when your body weakens ~ 3-12

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. — Jim Elliot

Imagine you’re sitting in the office of your family physician… but this isn’t just any doctor. It’s the office of the Great Physician. You thought it was just a routine visit to make sure everything is okay with your body, but with gentle and serious eyes, God asks you to sit down.

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” He starts… and deep inside you know He isn’t making a joke.

Might as well start with the bad news?

Your body will deteriorate.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

When I was in college, I set a life goal for myself: To be able to dunk a basketball on my 50th birthday. The week of my 30th birthday I developed excruciating pain in my lower back. It turns out I had three bad discs in the lower portion of my spine. I could barely work out.

At the beginning of my 45th year, I decided to get serious about dunking that basketball again. With a fresh New Year’s resolution, I set out on a short run on January 1. “Pop!” By the middle of January, I was on the operating table repairing a torn meniscus.

Then, just before I hit the big 5-0, I actually dunked for the first time in 13 years. I worked really hard toward it, and I was overjoyed. But I also knew it was just a temporary accomplishment.

Second Corinthians 4:16, indeed. Yeah, there is plenty of bad news, but there is amazingly good news, too. In the days ahead, may we get a clearer, truthful diagnosis through God’s Word!

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Looking around beyond the physical ~ 3-11

Health is not valued till sickness comes. — Dr. Thomas Fuller

After God created Adam and Eve’s bodies, He said everything was “very good.” But that was before sin; that was before Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden. Sadly, we no longer live in the best place to take care of our bodies the way we want/need to. This is bad news because despite its complexity, and despite its importance (or even partly because of these), the human body is vulnerable to things it was never designed to withstand.

Your body is susceptible.

God intended for the human body to be used in a certain way. If it’s used differently than He intended, there are going to be natural consequences. Too much alcohol, too much food, sex outside of a monogamous life-long union… if you don’t follow Scripture, you can bring upon yourself obesity, heart disease, alcoholism, sexually-transmitted diseases, etc. God has our best interest in mind when He commands things like this:

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat. (Proverbs 23:20)

Because we live in a world bombarded with the effects of the Fall and sin, many things may come upon us through no fault of our own. Allergies, Alzheimer’s, cancer… many ailments are not always caused by our actions or result from any sins we may commit, but that does not lessen their effects in the slightest.

Are you feeling the susceptibility of your physical body today? God’s Word puts it in eternal perspective:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Settling in for the long haul ~ 3-10

I don’t generally like running. I believe in training by rising gently up and down from the bench. — Satchel Paige

Life is like a marathon. It’s a good, long race that lasts a long time (Lord willing). But you don’t decide on Saturday to run a marathon on Sunday. Marathons take preparation, vision, and training. The apostle Paul says that we’re supposed to do the same thing in life. We’re supposed to discipline and train our bodies as the race ahead of us is long.

They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave… (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

Your body is trainable.

That’s actually very exciting news because the Scriptures also say that offering our bodies is worship:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

Training and disciplining the body is also worthwhile:

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Romans 6:13)

What a great perspective to have about your body: It is a living sacrifice, an instrument of righteousness in the hands of God! THAT is a good reason to be joyful if I’ve ever seen one!

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Your essential earth suit ~ 3-9

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. — Jim Rohn

These days in Christian culture, we are often taught to look away from our earthly selves and focus on God. This appears most often in response to problems like physical temptations, obsession with personal image, or substance addiction. While it is certainly important that we do not become our own idols and serve our own fleeting wants, let’s not forget our bodies are “fairly important” for the act of living on earth (sarcasm intentional). Let’s be realistic, you can’t live here without it!

Counselor Bill Gillham calls the human body an “earth suit.” Just as a spacesuit keeps an astronaut alive, the body is essential for our earthly existence.

Your body is indispensable.

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The Bible says human beings are made up of a spirit, soul, and body. In God’s creation, we are confined to a limited existence so we can reach others and tend to the creation He entrusted to us. While it is really important to pay attention to the growth of your spirit and soul, the body is what sustains those things on this earth. We must treat it with healthy respect. Each part of us sustains the other, so being negligent to one part is just as bad as paying too much attention to it. Paul told us to take care of our whole selves, and that includes our body.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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You are His masterpiece ~ 3-8

The human body is a machine which winds its own springs. — Julien Offroy de la Mettrie

Modern technology has uncovered a phenomenal biological world inside the human body. Its complexity far exceeds anything that anyone ever imagined… and in many ways, we haven’t even begun to explore it.

Dr. Lang, a friend of mine who was once Head of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, showed me just how incredible the human body is with these statistics:

There are 74 trillion cells in the human body. The white blood cells in the lymph tissue can form 10,000-100,000 different antibodies. They fight against foreign tissue and can make these anti-bodies at a rate of 2,000 per second. A single white blood cell can kill as many as a hundred bacteria. Over the course of a lifetime, the heart will pump an average of 52,560,000 gallons of blood. That’s enough to fill a New York skyscraper! I could go on, but you get the point:

Your body is incredible.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

When God sculpted humanity in His image, an amazing amount of detail went into the works, resulting in an amazing, intricate masterpiece. He created life the way He did to glorify Himself, but He took another step further with humanity in His love: He designed us to represent Himself!

But best of all, God designed us to be inhabited by His Spirit, a personal relationship shared by no other living thing in existence. All of these things work together to create a complex, beautiful creature that cannot be replicated.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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More Devotions Coming Soon! ~ 3-7

More Devotions Coming Soon!
 
p.s. … It is Pastor Blake’s Birthday today!
 
 
 
 
 
Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Reality checkup for you ~ 3-6

Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies. — Frank Gillette Burgess

The human body.

This topic is of immense concern in our culture. Look at the diet ads on television after New Year’s Day, the plastic surgeons’ advertisements in the yellow pages, the latest infomercial touting a machine that can make you look like a Greek god in less than two minutes a day.

Consider our “body language.” Our conversations almost invariably end up focusing on our bodies and the dreaded “F” word—fat. We are always talking about our bodies!

But enough about what we, the books, and tabloids say about this… what does God say about the body?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

Your body is wonderful.

Do you believe that? Could you praise God for your body? Do you?

That’s not a simple question, is it? Many of us praise God in spite of how our bodies seem to be made. Some of us can’t think of any reason to thank Him at all. As our bodies interact with the world, they often experience pain, disease, injury, and eventually… death.

Sure, our bodies might be “wonderful,” but not always in the “good” sense of the word. Is it possible that we have been made in a way that is “full of wonder” in the sense that we might have more questions than answers?

God wants you to praise Him for the way He has made you, and to thank Him, by faith, for your body. That might seem like a real stretch right now. But if that’s what He wants for us, He stands ready to make it happen through us.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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What can wash away your sin? ~ 3-5

When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels. — Unknown

When Christ comes into our lives, He usually comes giving us a heightened awareness of sin. This can weigh heavy on our minds, but thankfully the purpose of this awareness is to teach us one of the great realities of Christian spirituality: We are unable to purify ourselves from the stain of our sin; and only He can heal us of the shame of sins against us.

Sin is a give-and-take ordeal. We do it, and it is often done to us. Even if it wasn’t your “fault,” the sins done to you can leave you under a heavy weight of shame and filth. You wish you could wash yourself from both the outside and the inside… but you can’t. You’re not able to. God Almighty, however, can. He is able to purify us, both from the sins we have committed and the shame left by sins that have been committed against us.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

God is all-powerful. We might try to describe that with all sorts of theological-sounding words or with earthly analogies, but the fact is this: He is able to do far above and beyond anything that we can imagine or think. He can even joyfully present us blameless before Himself because of who He has made us to be in Christ. It truly is too incredible to fully understand. What can we do but kneel with our hearts and hands raised toward heaven in worship and thanks?

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Extreme Makeover: YOU Edition! ~ 3-4

The atheist finds himself enslaved by the need to prove himself an unbeliever. In denying the existence of God he finds nothing greater than himself and other selves in the universe. His greatest creed centers in “I believe in myself.” — D. Bruce Lockerby

One of my good friends has a son named Ben. When Ben was little, he wasn’t so different from your average five year old—his room was messy; he never ate his vegetables; and he painted the walls instead of paper. But never had his dad seen someone so young care so much about his appearance. He used to stand and yell for mom and dad to rush into the room. The emergency? Sleeves touching the wrists, or shoelaces with uneven loops!

It was an early sign of a future, larger struggle he would deal with—a struggle that we all wrestle with:

  • Obsession with outward appearances
  • Focus on earthly belongings
  • Satisfaction from impressing others through looks and actions

That’s the bad news. The good news is that God is able to transform us.

God is in the business of remodeling. He is able to transform our spirits and our minds, and one day He’ll even transform our bodies. Sometimes the remodeling is painful and ugly. He comes in and tears out the walls, the furnishings, and the old appliances that He knows must go if we are to reflect Jesus Christ outward through authentic lives. And one day, He will even take our decaying bodies and transform them into something glorious, reflecting His glory.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21)

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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God is working through you ~ 3-3

Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it. — Thomas Fuller

Have you ever wondered why we don’t see God’s active handiwork and presence like we do in the Old Testament? God revealed Himself in some pretty radical ways back in the good ol’ days: Disembodied hands writing on walls, pillars of fire leading the crowds, even having dinner with God on Mount Sinai with Moses and the 70 elders of Israel. (No joke! Check out Exodus 24:9-11)

With such radical signs of God’s hand in the world in Scripture, it’s easy to look around and wonder if He even works like that anymore. I’m convinced that He has never stopped working supernaturally across the globe, but I’m not just astounded by what He is doing “out there.” I’m astounded by something even more incredible: God is able to work “in us.”

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

This is definitely one of the great mysteries of the faith—and yet one of the most practical and profound. God works through those of us who know Him and trust Him to bring honor and glory to Himself. How does He do that in all believers all of the time? I have no idea. But I’m sure glad that He does. Without God living through us, it wouldn’t just be difficult to live the Christian life; it would be impossible.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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