MAKE IT A HABIT

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

Psalm 127:1  (NIV)

 

We do most everything in our life by habit… when we rise, when we sleep, what we eat, who we spend our time with….the list goes on! It can include both good and bad habits.

One good habit we make is how much of our time we spend with God. We can start our day, end our day or include Him in every area of our life. I bet we can all think of ‘God moments’ that will occur any time in our day… sort of like ‘divine reminders’.

I am always looking for new ideas to talk about in my blog. My friend, Kim suggested I write about worship as something we can & should do 24/7. She had many practical ideas on how we can do this.

Just as we care for our bodies around the clock through exercise and diet and rest, we need to care for relationship with God 24 hours a day in Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving.

Try parking your car at the furthest end of the parking lot and using that longer walk to praise God. Thank God that you can drive. And He’s given you an automobile and the ability to drive. Thank God for the mobility.

Be humbled, knowing that at any moment, it could all be taken away. Make time to give God the reverence He deserves as our creator and Lord. Just like anything else it all can become a habit. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5-18  (NIV)

There are so many ways to bring the Lord into our daily lives.If we’re daily Bible readers…wonderful! Just be sure to bring God’s word into the normal, every day aspects of living. Many of us read daily devotions that point us to where to see God working in our life and the lives of others. I read a daily devotional called Jesus 365. It helps me to see where He may be presenting himself each day!

Many Catholics attend daily Mass or pray the rosary honoring Jesus’ mother, Mary as Mother of God.

Is  daily formal prayer not a part of your routine? We’ve all heard the saying…pray constantly… and if necessary, use words. God is much more concerned with how we treat each other and look out for each other than any repetitive prayer we recite. As long as we acknowledge that He is the source from where our actions come from.

Make it a habit to always ask, ‘What would Jesus do in this situation?’

If we make the Lord part of our daily routine, He will show up in ways we never imagined.

Just make it a habit through continuous repetition!

 

Dear Lord,

Help us to make acknowledging You a habit in our lives. Your word tells us You will never leave us or forsake us. Thank You for understanding our fallen human nature. We DO forget You sometimes!

Remind us to use the holy Bible, devotionals as well as how we behave in this world to always point to You as the source of our continued joy.

 

If you have any topics you would like me to address in a future blog…please email me at [email protected].

As a subscriber, you can make comments directly on my website.

If you’d like to subscribe, once you are on mvarga.com, you can enter your email to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS

With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders

Deuteronomy 29:3  (NIV)

 

God DOES speak to us…not in an audible voice, but in very specific circumstances in our lives. We need to be consistently looking for the signs God sends us…or He’ll just keep showing us the same lesson over and over again.

I learned this lesson the hard way a few weeks ago! I rode my TRIKE up to the UPS store to drop off a package. I don’t have the balance for a regular bike. Unfortunately, I also don’t have the balance to correct a falling TRIKE.

One of my back wheels caught the curb as I was riding up the little ramp going to the shopping center. Over I went! I was wise to protect my head with a helmet AND my hips. So I threw my arm out to stop the fall and snapped my clavicle (collar bone). I suppose that could’ve happened to anyone, BUT…

That was NOT the first fall off my bike. Two years ago, I hit a pothole as I entered a shopping center. I went over quickly. My sunglasses scraped my scalp just over my ear. That’s when I learned that scalp scrapes REALLY bleed. I was ok…but all the blood scared me. So I secured a PROPERLY -FITTING  helmet from the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky.

My next fall was a year later in the same shopping center…same uneven pavement. This time my head was protected as I landed on my face. The scrapes & bruises changed my appearance for several weeks.

My first fall just scared me. The second fall beat my face up. The 3rd fall landed me in the hospital for 3 weeks with a broken clavicle.

I chuckled as the EMS got me settled in the ambulance. Wow! I’ve always wondered what the inside of these things look like. The only other time I’ve been in one, I was unconscious!

Unfortunately, this was not the first time I had caused my family grave concern about my wellbeing. My sister, Julie was my immediate savior this time. She lived close, so was able to get to me even before the ambulance did. Then Julie spent several hours in the Emergency Department as I waited for a room.

My TRIKE fall changed my ability to move independently; scared my family and temporarily ended my passion in life… which was teaching seniors how to be fit & move correctly. I sure could not move correctly with a broken collar bone!

Was God asking me to stay out of shopping centers? I KNOW He was telling me to stay off of uneven payment. I loved riding that TRIKE! I think I’m being taught a lesson here. The endorphin high of riding is NOT worth the cost of falling. Lesson learned Lord!

This is just an example of how the Lord may send us a warning. He also loves to send us GOOD signs!

A much more PLEASANT sign God gave me is just how much others care for me! I was astonished with the cards, flowers, gifts & food I received from friends, students & family. I believe that even in this horrible incident God was showing me just how much others care and how many lives I have touched.

The Lord sends us signs all the time. Are we listening? More importantly, are we following His lead?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28  (NIV)

Maybe the Lord was giving me a repeated warning to stay off the TRIKE. He was also showing me the impact of my actions on other people’s lives. When I was finally able to start teaching again…I think my classes were as excited as I was.

We never know how our actions and behaviors are impacting others’ lives. Our desire should always be to improve their lives and NOT just to have them think better of us.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

The dearest lesson the Lord showed me was the love and support of my son, Andrew. He has lived in a different city than me since he was 4 years old. Since January he has been living and working here in Louisville.

Andrew was at the hospital the night I arrived. He came to see me every night I was there. He filled me in on work news, family news…and he brought the AV chord from my DVD player at home to hook up movies from my laptop to the big screen in my hospital room! I am not that technologically advanced!  It sure made for a more entertaining visit though!

Then Andrew moved in with me for two weeks after I returned home. I thought everyone was being overly cautious…but I sure was glad he was there! I never realized how much we cannot do without full use of one arm.

God’s signs and wonders are all around us. Sometimes He will bring us outside of our routines and comfort zones. We might be missing valuable lessons is we try to ignore His promptings!

 

Dear Lord,

Thank You for saving me from breaking more than my collarbone! I’ve been a fall-risk for over 25 years. Thank You for all the other falls You’ve protected me from.

Thank You also for showing me through this accident just how much others want me to have a functioning, independent life. I am truly humbled by others’ concern for me. Thank You for giving me so many signs!

I promise to not ever give up. Because of Your signs & promptings though, I also promise to slow down a little. Please prompt us to always look for Your hand in our lives.

Thanks for always having my back!

 

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DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK!

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Luke 11:9  (NIV)

 

This is actually more of a request than a blog post.

It’s uncomfortable to ask others for favors. We don’t want to put them on the spot. We don’t want to seem needy or incompetent. It would be easier to just do it ourselves!

How do we feel when others ask us for something? I am personally very flattered when someone asks me for something…even if they’re just seeking my opinion. I’m sure that’s because others rarely do…other than my son 

 “Mary has enough on her plate. Don’t bother her with this.”  Like all of us, I like feeling needed by others. Don’t we all like feeling useful? So don’t be afraid to ask! We make others feel important when we do.

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Luke 11:10  (NIV)

Now I want to do some asking, seeking and knocking myself. We never know where the greatest ideas will come from!

Below is a link to a 4-minute video created for me to publicize my fitness business, SilverStrength®. It’s made up of excerpts from a video shown every Fall at the Brain Ball to explain my brain injury and what I’ve been able to do to live a fuller life. 

 

I’m asking my blog subscribers if you have a parent or friend who attends a senior club or senior center that might be interested in a weekly exercise class. The name of my class is Strength & Balance. We all need more of both of these attributes as we age to stay active and independent!

If you have any ideas for me please contact me at [email protected]. That email is also at the end of the video.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

John 15:16  (NIV)

 

Remember that one of the finest and choicest ways to honor God is to help His children.

Those children can be seniors too!

Dear Lord,

Your holy Word tells us that You actually order our steps. We also know that You work through other people. If we believe this…then why is it so hard to ask others?

No man is an island unto himself. We NEED each other. That’s the way You designed us.

After consulting You…please give us the courage to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK.

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HOW STRONG ARE YOU?

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:15  (NIV)

 

When we ponder how strong we are, most of us think about the strength of our physique. As a fitness instructor, I know this does not happen instantly. Our bodies only grow stronger when we continuously challenge their limits.

I’m going to talk about 3 different types of strength: We are all tri-part beings… PHYSICAL, MENTAL and SPIRITUAL. I believe that all three are essential for living a peaceful life of purpose. If interested, I published a book, “The Afflicted Healer”, with chapters contributed from 15 different guest authors and experts in their field. You can order the book online once on my website mvarga.com.

PHYSICAL STRENGTH

It seems to be an ongoing challenge with my physical therapist, Mark, to keep me from pushing my limits more than is considered safe and effective. If we don’t use it, we lose it…right?

Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.

Job 4:4  (NIV)

My challenge is NOT physical strength, but neurological imbalance. So God sends us trained professionals to keep us from stumbling, while strengthening our faltering knees…

I believe that God gives us physical therapists to put the limits on eager overachievers like me. We can’t reach our top physical performance if our muscles are frequently recovering from overuse!

If we need something fixed…We want it NOW! After 26 years dealing with this same issue…don’t you think I’d learn that God doesn’t work on my timetable?

No, I have not been miraculously cured (YET), but I see the Lord show up every day to make my life easier or show me ways to expand my life. Sometimes He even sends experts to help me.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.

Isaiah 30:20   (NIV)

MENTAL STRENGTH

Just like we need regular stress to strengthen our muscles, challenges to our mind are needed to improve how we will react when life gets hard or ugly.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

1 Peter 4:12  (NIV)

Our minds, just like our bodies react best to stressful challenges when it’s been trained to stay at peace right in the middle of life adversity. Want to know how best to handle anger…frustration…disappointment…grief? Talk to those who have personally overcome these challenges. What motivated them? Where did they get their strength?

By calling on others who have overcome what we struggle with, we may just end up with an advocate. Others love to help those who have struggled as they have. It makes them feel useful…and perhaps led by God.

Most times we find that there is also a spiritual component to others’ success.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12   (NIV)

 

SPIRITUAL STRENGTH

Someone close to me once said, “Mary has more strength in her little finger than most people get in a lifetime!” I think they were speaking of my determination to have things done correctly, whatever the cost.

That mindset could be considered mental strength…but I know where my motivation comes from. I was raised and believe even more-so today that the Lord is the originator of all our strength.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 41:10  (NIV)

 

On easy days and even more-so on tough days, rely on the Lord to present us with the strength we need to handle whatever may come our way!

 

Dear Lord,

The Bible says You are the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. I believe You are also the author of our strength.

Help us cling to You whenever and wherever we need Your strength.

 

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PRIVILEDGED and ENTITLED

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 4:15  (NIV)

 

If we look at our TV, our newspaper, our laptop or our phone…we see a lot of discussion about certain classes or even races being privileged and entitled. Are we not ALL privileged and entitled? We should be.

I recently went to my 50 year grade school reunion from St. Raphael, the Archangel Catholic School. The reunion began with the regular Saturday evening Mass…with 5 rows of pews reserved for me & my classmates. It continued with a tour of the school and a social.

I felt very privileged to be a part of the 1973 graduating class. All of us had quite literally grown up together. We started together at 5 or 6 years old as 1st graders. We went through our awkward adolescents, and then began puberty, graduating from 8th grade at 13 or 14 years old.

We were all privileged to attend St. Raphael because our parents thought that a Christian education was paramount to our upbringing. They believed the curriculum would teach us all the scholastic requirements, while also teaching us what God expected of us and how to love others.

We learned ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’ like every other child our age. We also learned about the holy sacraments and traditions of the Catholic Church. Most importantly, we learned that we were a part of God’s family; that He loved us dearly; and was expecting all of us to love and help each other.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

2 Thessalonians 1:3  (NIV)

It was sort of surreal seeing each other after all these years. I recognized most everyone. I brought my walker instead of my cane so I could move quickly. I was prepared with my two-sentence explanation of what had happened to me….but no one even asked!

My brain injury was 26 years ago. Perhaps they had already heard. Perhaps they were just being kind. Whatever the reason, I was ecstatic to just be part of the group again and not have to talk about my own misfortune.

We all have misfortunes in life. Mine just happen to be very visible. After 50 years, I’m certain that my graduating class had their share of life adversities. We all however had the privilege of growing up in a school that taught us to lean into God when things got difficult. We learned how to make lemon aide out of our lemons.

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:22   (NIV)

Jesus Christ gave His life for all of us by dying on a cross. He was resurrected to a new life, allowing us to spend eternity with Him. Because of this, if we believe in Him, we are entitled to live our life after we die in the paradise He has prepared for us.

Entitlement is defined as having a right to certain benefits or privileges. I’m not referring to ‘government entitlement programs’. Nor am I talking about entitlement based on riches, talent, social class or race. All of those seem to have a negative component attached to them as they leave specific individuals out.

I’m talking about our entitlement as children of God. If we are faithful to His precepts for our life…then He will be faithful to us. Then we will all be entitled to live with Him forever…no matter what group or class we belong to. And I am expecting to see all my classmates from the graduating class of 1973!

 

Dear Lord,

Thank You for giving us all the privilege of serving as a member of Your family. We know it won’t always be easy. Sometimes we will even suffer.

Console and encourage us with the fact that as Your children we are entitled to live forever in Your kingdom.

 

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THE LORD’S TEMPLE

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain

1 Corinthians 15:58  (NIV)

It’s been awhile since I posted a fitness blog. Let me show you how I bring Jesus into my daily efforts to maintain a proper body posture…something I constantly struggle with. Knowing I’m doing everything for the Lord makes what usually challenges me feel almost effortless.

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Collosians 3:23  (NIV)

Let’s start with our ankles and feet. We want to stay always grounded in the Lord. We can do this for our body by digging our heals into the floor, which will help to keep our ankles firm, yet flexible.

Traveling up the leg, we want to also keep our thighs strong and sturdy.

They too are grounded in the Lord. This means both the front of our thighs (quadriceps) and the back of our thighs (hamstrings). Strong thigh muscles help us to keep our hips in the correct alignment over the top of our thighs.

This will keep your abductors/hamstrings engaged every time you think about them while sitting….Imagine pushing both the front AND back of the thigh into the seat you are sitting on. As you do this…notice how the muscles in your bottom contract. Just keep thinking…PUSH HAMSTRINGS! PUSH HAMSTRINGS!

Then I count on the Lord to keep my hips strong and in the right alignment. I get my body to go along with the plan by pulling my hip bones UP toward my waistline. This one move will pull our bottom under and make our bottoms very stable.

Read through all my posture cues and tips for keeping the body in right alignment by visiting my October 2020 blog post, HEADS UP – MARY VARGA (mvarga.com)

As we continue to travel up the body, we meet our chest and shoulders. To maintain the right posture, we need to open our chest, starting with the breast bone as our anchor.

This is where I really place Jesus right at the top of all my posture cues & prompts!

Imagine Christ living in the middle of your heart…His light and love illuminating out in all directions. That will get our chests open! Then imagine that radiance extending to everyone you come in contact with.

My biggest posture challenge is keeping my head in line with my chest & shoulders, (not in front of them).

I give my classes continuous cues & prompts. Make a long neck; Pull your ears back over your shoulders; Balance a book on top of your head! Those are my standing cues.

Here’s a couple of simple exercises we can do while lying on our bed.

1. Lay on back pushing the back of our head into the pillow. Tuck the chin back into the throat. Hold that push for 3 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions.

2. Lay prone with chest/shoulders at very edge of the mattress. Contract bottom muscles while pulling the neck and head over the edge of the bed. Hold for 10 seconds. Start with 5 repetitions. Work up tp 10.

These tips and cues will help us to sit and stand in a posture that will benefit us as we move our heads, shoulders, hips and feet. Remember that exercises work more effectively if we hold our body in the right posture.

Remember also that we are the Lord’s holy temple. He lives inside of us and He wants His love for us to radiate from our hearts outward to touch everyone we meet!

Then we can imagine a bright halo over our heads pulling us up toward heaven. That can replace the book we are trying to balance on our head. 

For our posture AND for our relationship with the Lord…

Remember that all things point UP!

 

Dear Lord,

Let us think of You as we go about our daily fitness routines. That includes how we carry ourselves during the day. Inspire us to follow the advice given to us by the experts in physical health.

You made us just as we are. That includes our bodies. Before we go trying different methods to change what You’ve given us…remind us to check in with You first….and perhaps our physical therapist.

 

You can now comment directly on my website! A friend showed me how to eliminate robo comments and still allow my subscribers to comment on my blog posts.

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

WHAT TO DO WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2  (NIV)

 

I left Little Rock in 2000, leaving my then 3-month-old son, Andrew with his dad. So many times in the last 23 years, I’ve longed and prayed for him to live in the same town as his Mom. Because of my balance disability, he was better off in Little Rock with an able-bodied parent to care for him. I HATED IT! This was not the life I signed up for! My dreams certainly weren’t coming true.

I had not even grown accustomed to my new, disabled life when I was hit with a divorce and custody battle. Seriously God! What else? I have learned over the years to not ask that question. It was more important for Andrew to have a normal life, surrounded by friends and family who loved him….but not his Mom.

Fast-forward 23 years. Andrew is now living in Louisville with my brother Andrew. Years ago my brother, Andrew decided to change his name (around the family) to Uncle A to eliminate all the confusion when my son was in town about which Andrew was being spoken to.

So now Uncle A is employing my son Andrew at his own company AND has invited him to live in his home. Uncle A is a marketing consultant. His purpose for having Andrew live and work with him was to help him grow up and take responsibility for his life’s direction. With that newfound confidence, my son could either flourish in a new career or complete his college degree…OR BOTH!

I’ve seen Andrew’s confidence level increase since he’s been here. He seems truly happy being able to accomplish tasks he never even tried before. He’s meeting new people and learning a whole new city. My prayer now is for him to develop some friendships to make Louisville feel like a real home.

It almost seems surreal to have Andrew living right here in Louisville. My first thought was of his father. He actually encouraged Andrew to move here. They are so close!!…yet he prompted him to move here in hopes of giving him a new purpose and direction in his life. What a totally unselfish love he showed for his son. Being in Andrew’s company so much now makes me realize what his dad sacrificed in hopes of giving him a brighter future.

One of the gifts that Andrew inherited from his dad was his passion and talent for cooking. Now my son cooks for me! My idea of cooking is constructing a good, healthy salad and microwaving leftovers that someone else made. Home cooking is a new and novel experience in my kitchen.

Am I happy that my dream has come true? I thank God every day for giving me an opportunity to be more than a long-distance mom. I’m keenly aware though that this is not about me. As ecstatic as I am to have my son here, he needs to feel that what he’s doing is making a difference for him, and for others. I want him to experience that sense of purpose and accomplishment that comes from doing the best thing.

I know that God sent this blessing to me! In typical Mary fashion though, I’ve worried about what I might do to mess it up. Don’t we all do that in some ways? We can’t believe it happened. We didn’t deserve it!

 

“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Luke 1:25 (NIV)

Why can’t we just let God be God…and love us like He wants to?

It’s human nature to magnify the negative things that have happened to us. We keep looking for the other shoe to fall. We tend to look over the countless blessings we have in our life. We need to remember our special gifts and talents; our relationships and that we live in a free country!

Most importantly, we need to remember we have a heavenly Father who adores us! We didn’t do anything to deserve it either. He loves us because He created us in His own image. We are His family!

We can thank God by being the best version of ourselves. We can pray and surrender not just our worries, but all the people we love to His loving care. Trust our God to know the best way to mold others….then leave it alone! He knows much better than us which way a person should go.

If we truly believe that we are God’s beloved, then we can also believe that He will send us gifts/blessings to show that precious love. So pray for…and then EXPECT the blessings to come…in God’s timing of course. That’s the hard part. Pray for a healthy dose of patience too!

When I think about it, God has not only made my dream come true. He’s also showing his love and favor for Andrew, his father, Uncle A and all those who are enjoying this current change in Andrew’s geography.

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:26  (NIV) 

 

Dear Lord,

You continuously surprise us with Your blessings. Help us to just relax and enjoy Your favor. We know that You work everything together for all of our good. Show us the good You want us to do in response to Your kindness to us! 

 

You can now comment directly on my website! A friend showed me how to eliminate robo comments and still allow my subscribers to comment on my blog posts.

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

RISE!

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:14  (NIV)

 

Easter was last Sunday, but we are still in the middle of the Easter season of the church. Easter denotes various things to us. It can mean the beginning of Spring time with the blooming of eye-catching dogwood trees and tulips. It may make us think of baskets filled with multicolored eggs, sweet treats and chocolate Easter bunnies.

Of course we all know the Christian meaning of Easter is to celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday after He was crucified for us on Friday. That resurrection makes it possible for us to live with Him for eternity.

Jesus Christ has called us all to a resurrection life with Him. He wants us to embrace a new, more fruitful way of living. We have to identify HOW to make our life more pleasing to God and more joyful for us.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:4  (NIV)

God desires for all of us to RISE! How do we discover our resurrection life? What do we do routinely that gives us a feeling of joy…of excellence? Let’s identify those opportunities where we feel our very best…as if God were directing our steps.

 It could be when we see the results of our words or actions as they affect an ongoing project for the better. We just know in our heart that what we did…or said made a difference!

It may be when we attain a new level in our physical, mental or scholastic progress. Just ask a new college graduate or a recent marathon competitor if their accomplishment makes them feel as though they can conquer the world.

Like everything it life, God doesn’t just hand THE RESURRECTION LIFE to us! It comes from lots of practice, repetition, and often-time failures. But how sweet it is when we finally get it right!

It may be when we build someone up with our encouragement. That’s what Christ commands us to do and I think He was really on to something! Don’t we get a real sense of joy and accomplishment when we make a point of helping someone else on their journey? Especially if we don’t seek any credit for it!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24  (NIV)

 

Let’s look for ways that we can RISE in our daily lives. We may not be graduating OR competing in an athletic competition…but we can still rise above ourselves by striving to obtain a worthy goal or feel excitement in helping someone else achieve theirs.

How do we impact the lives of those around us? God asks us to strive to make others’ lives easier and more productive for His kingdom. We can live a resurrection life by assisting others in achieving their own God-given dreams.

My disabled life does not give me a free pass either. I may not be able to physically help, but I can offer a listening ear or use my wisdom or influence to put others in touch with those who can make a difference. Most importantly, I can bring my prayers for others to the Lord who heals and restores!

I say this knowing that I fall short in this area many times. Now that I’ve written it down in a blog, I’m committed to help others find their resurrection life. In doing so, I’ll be rising in my own daily life.

We give glory to God by simply stepping outside the norm and giving Him the credit for our words and actions. Let’s not think about what others say or think….but keep our minds set on living the Lord’s will for our lives. Let’s all make a concerted effort to rise to meet our Lord’s expectation in how we live our life.

 

Dear Lord,

As we continue our celebration of Easter, help us to live our very own resurrection life as we look to all You have done for us through Your death and resurrection.

Remind us that Your resurrection was not possible without the pain and agony of the cross. As we attempt a new and restored life in You, there will be difficulty…maybe even rejection or isolation.

Help us to keep our eyes on You to show us the choicest and the finest actions and motives for our lives.

SHOW US HOW WE CAN RISE!

 

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Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

James 3:17

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Hebrews 12:1  (NIV)

God has a special purpose for each one of our lives. He will place opportunities (and sometimes challenges) in our path to lead us to where He wants us to go. We need to pray for His direction and wait with expectant hope.

Like most worthy things, we will need to remain steadfast to fulfill our dreams of a better life or a specific outcome. This will require diligence and PERSEVERANCE.

Webster defines perseverance as… continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition .

The opposite of perseverance is reasoning, excuse-making  and future promises.

“It won’t hurt to skip one day.” “This was a killer day at the office!” “ I will double my efforts tomorrow.”

Gritting our teeth to stand up against an uncomfortable thing (person?) will leave us feeling stronger! “I didn’t want to do it…but now I feel victorious that I didn’t let it get the better of me.”

I was very lucky to learn about perseverance in my 20s as a distance runner. I learned how to hang on when it would be much easier to quit. I discovered the triumph of overcoming being uncomfortable for an extended period of time.

See my past blog https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/uncomfortable/   Are we willing to step out and act or think in a way that’s different from how we’ve always done things?

It’s not only in athletic pursuits, but in every area of our lives that we need to develop determination and perseverance and perhaps embrace a new way of looking at life.

Think of our marriages, our careers, our social lives, our children….What areas do we need to seek God to know how to persevere through the tough times? What exactly is He expecting us to do?

God never promised us a life free of difficulties. However, He does promise to stay right beside us to show us the way to go through any obstacle we face. With Him by our side, we can learn how to make lemonade out of our lemons.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12  (NIV)


The Lord has promised all of us the rewards of His kingdom if we would just trust in His directives for our lives. Anticipate His guidance through both His word and the circumstances that present themselves in our lives.

God wants us to be the best person we can be…even with all the challenges we are facing. It’s those very challenges that prompt us to grow and redefine what is truly important in our lives. These adversities, much as we don’t like or desire them in our lives…can be the stepping stones to helping others with their own struggles.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10  (NIV)

No matter what we have to endure…knowing that our reactions and behavior can inspire and be a role model for others…will ultimately have us seeing our challenges not as something being inflicted on us, but as a blessing to help others in their afflictions.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:4  (NIV)

Dear Lord,

 Please show us how to push on through the uncomfortable things we need to endure in life to follow Your will for us. More importantly, give us the wisdom to discern what is Your will…and not just what we want to see happen.

Help us to magnify You in all of our thoughts and actions.

 

You can now comment directly on my website! A friend showed me how to eliminate robo comments and still allow my subscribers to comment on my blog posts.

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

Whatsoever You Do…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:27   (NIV)

Whenever we would be discussing whether or not I should or shouldn’t do something, I can remember my brother Andrew would encourage (and sometimes admonish me) with three familiar words…’Whatsoever you do’.

That was the opening stanza of one of our beloved church hymns. “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers…that you do unto me.” Sometimes Andrew would even sing it. He was always a musical kind of fellow!

Of course neither Andrew nor I or any of us can make all of our decisions based on those words. Only Jesus could do that. It can sure change the way we look at the situations in our life though. It also reminds us of God’s command for all of us to love and treat others as we want to be treated.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Matthew 25:35-36   (NIV)

 

How can we love someone the way that we would want to be loved? We could become involved in one of the many ministries that cater to the personal and spiritual needs of others. (Prisoners, homebound…)

In our stand-offish, don’t get involved society, sometimes it can be as simples as noticing someone else’s actions. Don’t we like it when someone else notices us? It can encourage us that we are doing something good. Perhaps it will prompt us to stay the course…or even do more to help.

We just never know what’s going to happen when we start noticing others! Maybe we’ll make a new friend. Certainly we can all use more friends! Maybe others can give us tips to make our actions even more helpful. That’s what we call working together.

If we are feeling lonely or isolated, having someone notice us will help us remember…even if momentarily…that we are not alone in this life. AND if we are off in our own little world, being noticed will help us remember that others ARE watching us. They’re watching more than our words and actions. They’re also seeing our attitude and demeanor. Let’s be sure to give them a good impression!

God ask all of us to follow the golden rule

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. 

 Matthew 7:12  (NIV)

Following this decree of the Lord will not only help others, but make us feel pretty darn good about ourselves! We’ll feel virtuous, upstanding and worthy of God’s love. Just like a father, God loves us regardless of what we do (or don’t do). How good it is to feel deserving of that love though!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:23  (NIV)

I speak these words to myself as I walk into teach my class each morning. That way I feel like my message is coming from the Lord, and not from me. Then I am assured that I will receive as much good from the class as my students do!

Remembering the Lord as we go about our day can really give us a boost. It can help us get our mind off of ourselves and put it on other people. Then we can really feel some happiness.

‘Whatsoever you do’….

 

Dear Lord,

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little world, with all its’ responsibilities. You ask us though to put others above ourselves.

Sometimes not an easy task…but doing it for You makes our efforts so fulfilling! And it brings us closer to You.

 

Yay!!! 

A friend showed me how to eliminate robo comments and still allow my subscribers to comment on my blog posts. So you can once again comment directly on my website!

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

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