New Year…Fresh Start – Get Fit

Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. Rather, I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Common English Bible).

Look at me! All it really takes is one look at me and you will know, I am NOT, I repeat, NOT, the person who should be writing a blog post about being fit. When you see me, while I am probably not the least fit person you will encounter, I am also far from the top rung of the ladder.

The truth is, since I got the list of popular New Year’s Resolutions I have avoided this one like the plague. I have avoided it because I recognize I am not the person who should be giving advice. I shouldn’t be the person to write this because I am overweight and more than just a few pounds. Yet if I am going to include this possible New Year’s Resolution, it is down to now or never time as there are only two left in this series.

So, I decided I would use the advice from a web page I ran across while searching for the right Scripture to use with this particular post. While on Beliefnet, I found an article titled “Seven Bible Verses to Motivate You to Exercise (I will also confess here, even after reading them, I am no more motivated to exercise and get fit than I was before I started writing).”

This is what they had to say about exercise:

Don’t make exercise a halfhearted endeavor! Set goals, create a plan, and then execute it. Don’t be afraid to pray for help.

God will help you and reward your fitness efforts, if they are done in His service and not out of vanity or selfishness. Put your trust in God, and He will guide you.

Nothing is impossible with God! Certainly we have to look at our human limits—it would be difficult to run a marathon if you are in your 60’s with severe arthritis—but don’t be afraid to set lofty goals. Dedicate your workouts to Christ and see if that doesn’t make a difference.

Your workouts can give glory to God. You can pray while you walk, meditate while you swim or simply put yourself in God’s presence in the weight room. The possibilities are endless.

It’s important to include strength training exercises as part of your fitness program. Not only will everyday chores and activities become easier, but you will also strengthen your bones. Try lifting weights, using stretch cords or bands, medicine balls, kettlebells, or simple body weight calisthenics.

Discipline is critical for success in both your spiritual life and in a fitness program. Try keeping a journal to chart your progress. You can use one section to log your exercise goals and accomplishments and another to record your spiritual aspirations and successes.

To really get motivated, sign up for a race or event and train for it. Better yet, ask a friend or family member to join you and train together. Fitness is important and can give us more energy to help others, but it’s crucial to keep your focus on the ultimate goal—eternal life in heaven.

As I said, I am among the last people who should be talking to you about being fit, so I am going to stop right now.

Can you help others. Leave a comment for others on how they might get fit in this New Year.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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