“Let Us Use Them”

February 21, 2014

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” –Romans 12:6

Read: Romans 12

If you have any classical music at the ready, go ahead and cue it up. (This reads better with it.) Ready? Now, imagine him. With only a candle to light the room, Mozart furiously scribbles with one hand while playing the piano with the other. His fingers can’t keep up. Face buried in the music, he puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. Although he’s alone, he can hear every instrument lending its unique sound to the opus. Before a soul ever hears a note, he raises is head, closes his eyes and then…he’s conducting.

Continue Reading »

On My Knees

February 20, 2014

The wonderful and talented Christian artist Jaci Velasquez once sang:

“There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin.
Then there are days that I feel I’m letting go and soaring on the wind.
Cause I’ve learned in laughter or in pain how to survive…I get on my knees.
There I am before the love that changes me.
I don’t know how, but there’s power when I’m on my knees.”

Where exactly am I going with this? Well, nowhere actually. We’re not moving a muscle. You’ll forgive the analogy, but of the three types of muscle contractions — positive, negative and isometric — the isometric contraction has the least amount of movement (zero movement actually) but packs the most punch. Let me explain.

Continue Reading »

Jars of Clay

February 19, 2014

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are hard-pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” –2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Read: 2 Corinthians 4

Today’s verse is as motivating as it is convicting. Take a look again. Notice what he said. “Treasure in jars of clay”. That verse is coming from a man who was given 39 lashes five times, beaten with rods five times, pelted with stones, shipwrecked three times, and who would go without sleep, food and clothing; all because of his heart for churches, people, and the message of the inconceivable grace of Jesus.

Continue Reading »

The Point Of It All

February 17, 2014

Hey everyone,

As we’re about to resume devotions after the long weekend, I wanted to help set the stage for those who are new (and there are a lot of you, so welcome and thank you). And to those who have been with us for weeks, months or years, you know how much I cherish you; not sure there’s a word I can type that can best express it. But put plainly, Jesus is the point of our story. He’s the point of our ministry. And the PrayFit veterans among you know that it’s not simply a catch phrase. Amidst the waves of an out-of-balance fitness industry, we treat that truth like the life-preserver it is. We cling to it. Eyes closed and white-knuckled, we clutch it. He’s the point of our health we can’t miss.

Continue Reading »

A Prayer About The Ultimate Romance

February 13, 2014

Hey everyone, for my birthday yesterday, Loretta got me what I’d mentioned to her a few weeks ago — a new daily prayer devotional by Reverend Scotty Smith called Everyday Prayers. And appropriately, being Valentine’s Day, Pastor Scotty writes the perfect prayer for the occasion. I wanted to share it with you.

A Prayer About the Ultimate Romance

“I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.” –Song of Solomon 7:10

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the weekend in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates and cut flowers abound — Valentine’s Day is upon us. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which are deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you, Jesus, the consummate lover.

I praise you for how generous you’ve been to me, in giving me rich tastes, tangible expressions, and a sensate celebration of genuine love in my marriage. There’ve been times when I’ve wondered how heaven itself could hold more joy than what I’ve known with my spouse…

But I equally praise you for showing me, time and time again, that no one human being (or any number of them)… no human romance story… no torrid love affair can possibly fill the vacuum in my soul that’s uniquely Jesus-shaped. Even the best marriage is two broken people, two redeemed sinners who will ultimately not be enough for the other.

Grant me, no, grace me with a deeper and richer experience of belonging to you, Jesus. You’re the ultimate Spouse. I know this, but I want to know it. One moment I believe you truly desire me, and in the next I’m filled with disconcerting unbelief. It’s in those times when I’m not alive to your pursuit of me, love for me and delight in me that I place unrealistic demands on other relationships. Instead of a steward, I become a user of others. Instead of a servant, I take up a scorecard to measure them by my expectations. Forgive me and free me from all such nonsense.

Let me love as you love me, until the day my betrothal becomes the day of great banqueting — the Day I long for more than any other… the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. So very Amen, I pray, in your tender and tenacious name.

–Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

Told you he was good. Thanks for reading. And blessings to everyone on Valentine’s Day. Scheduling note: the PrayFit Daily will resume on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18. Are you subscribed? If not, click here.

Walking Joshua To Class

February 12, 2014

“So Joshua ordered the officers of the people.” –Joshua 1:10

Read: Joshua 1

I used to dread 5th period math. Oh, I was fine with numbers, but it was the getting to my math class that had me shaking in my little boots. Each day that semester, a small group of bullies would hang out by my locker, calculating ways to torment me until one day, I got smart and asked my Bubba to walk me to class. Little did they know that the skinniest kid in school was the younger brother of the toughest. They — uhh — they did the math.

Continue Reading »

Marching Orders

February 11, 2014

“When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” –Joshua 6:5

Read: Joshua 6

Looking at Caleb and Joshua this week, it’s tough not to jump ahead at a familiar story. After all, Joshua could relate to our steep challenges. His neck cramped as he surveyed the impregnable wall of Jericho. “Gonna need a bigger army,” he whispered out of the side of his mouth. You might be saying the same about your predicament. Has your health retreated? Does something at school or work have you hoping for reinforcements? If so, stand next to Joshua as he listens to God’s strategy.

Continue Reading »

I Like These Odds

February 11, 2014

“I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me [into the land]; as my strength was then, so my strength is now.” –Joshua 14:11

Read: Joshua 14

Take a look at our verse again. That’s Caleb talking. In yesterday’s entry, he was a 40-year old, modern day Billy the Kid, only with Godly morals and a conscience. Funny, not sure if you ever saw the movie Young Guns, but when Billy the Kid (played by Emilio Estevez) was completely surrounded and in a seemingly impossible scenario, he was the only optimist. The rest of his clan of regulators had all but given up and surrendered, but not Billy. Oh no. In fact, as they realized just how badly they were outnumbered, what did Billy say? “I like these odds.” That’s Caleb. Courageous, optimistic, full of hope.

Continue Reading »

We Can Take It

February 10, 2014

“We are well able to conquer it.” –Numbers 13:30

Read: Numbers 13

Of the twelve spies to survey the promised land, the Bible says that only two came back positive that they’d be victorious with God’s help. Two dream chasers. Two true believers. When everyone else was negative, these two were wide-eyed and hopeful. We can take it, they said. (You know how I am with a good theme.) Well, this week we’re going to take a look at Joshua and Caleb and what it meant for them to stay faithful and true to what God had called them to do. Their story of courage is both spiritual and physical and one that I know we’ll be able to apply to our daily lives. I hope you don’t miss a day.

Continue Reading »

A Prayer: I Need To See You Move

February 6, 2014

“I need to see you move. I need to see your hand. I’m trying to live by faith. I don’t know if I can. But I know you’ve not changed. There’s nothing you can’t do. I’ve done all that I can. I need to see you move.”–Newsong

Dear Lord, like it says in the chorus of this song, so many of us reading this sentence (and the one writing it) need to see you move. From ailing health to crippling financial situations, may the position of our necks mirror that of Abraham during doubt, David during despair and Moses during fear. We know that it’s not only during crisis that you want us to look to you, but we’re comforted to know that we can. We just need you.

Continue Reading »