This morning I got up and (after Bible reading, of course) warmed up then made my best attempt at interval running. It’s actually moderately intensive jogging for 20 seconds then walking for a minute, but it really got my heart rate up and the sweat pouring! It’s hard to find time in the evenings to workout and run, so I really hope to make doing so in the mornings my usual thing.
I followed that up with a very refreshing cold shower, then drank my COLD water. Why do I make it a point to drink iced water early in the morning?
Introducing that cold water to my system in a fasted state and early means my body has to burn a few more calories to warm it up (and to warm me up).
It kicks off my daily hydration focus with a nice start. The routine is easy to remember and gets me hydrated before I have my black coffee, a diuretic.
It helps me feel full, making intermittent fasting much easier. My mind isn’t on my empty stomach, because it’s not really empty; I can focus on what I need to do instead of food.
In future posts, I’ll go into the whys of:
Walking 30 minutes to an hour a day
Eating one meal a day (OMAD, 23:1)
Making a conscious effort to stand as much as possible, rather than sitting
Plus, there are so many out there competing for limited listening time.
Therefore, I’ve put a lot of time into something very few people listen to. I’m so glad to have met great folks through the podcast over the last 18 months, but the return on my time investment is just not worth it. I can spend that time praying, meditating on God’s Word, reading, with family, working on the homestead, etc.
Plus, I’ve found that several audio Bible apps pretty much do what I’ve been doing with the Scripture Memory format. Furthermore, the brilliant Dustin Benge recently started a podcast that is basically the Rapid Theology format. And trust me–he’s much better at it than I am!
Maybe I’ll pop up in your podcast feed from time to time with the informal episodes like I used to. But that’ll have to come after spiritual disciplines, family, church, homesteading, and work.
I had a cold, my wife had it too; my older daughter had bronchitis and a nasty fever, and my younger daughter had an ear infection. It was a rough few days with COVID tests for everybody.
I caved and took warm showers for three or four days, but I’m back on the cold shower train today.
Why cold showers? Cold therapy, such as one gets by taking a cold shower, has been shown to:
Decrease inflammation and soreness
Aid the immune system
Increase the metabolic rate
Help convert “white fat” to “brown fat,” a type of fat that is leaner and lowers levels of certain amino acids in the bloodstream that studies have linked to obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes
Plus–and I really don’t know any other way to say this–I just feel cleaner after a cold shower!
In future posts, I’ll go into the “whys” of:
Drinking a quart of iced water early in the morning
Walking 30 minutes to an hour a day
Eating one meal a day (OMAD, 23:1)
Making a conscious effort to stand as much as possible, rather than sitting
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
We encountered Colossians 1:24 in our scripture memory passage earlier this week, and that verse is particularly difficult to understand given the phrase, “I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body ….” On the surface, it appears Paul is saying the work of Christ was not sufficient for salvation, but that Paul himself must contribute something to finish the work of salvation for the people of God.
Well, let’s not look at this verse in a vacuum. Remember: we allow Scripture to interpret scripture. What do other parts of the Bible have to say about Jesus Christ and his work to secure our redemption?
1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”
Ephesians 1:7 tells us concerning Jesus: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace …”
Of Jesus, Hebrews 9:12 says: “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
And Paul writes in Romans 3:24-25 that God’s people QUOTE “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
Christ’s suffering of the punishment we deserved for our sins is sufficient to redeem a people for his own possession. Since Paul clearly is talking about something other than the effectiveness of Jesus Christ’s suffering and afflictions, it becomes a question of just what he does mean. Here’s what I believe is clear in the context, so bear in mind Paul finished his thought in the sentence in question by talking about his ministry:
Notice Paul uses here his favorite word picture to teach us about the church: the body. Paul says he’s filling up what is lacking QUOTE “for the sake of his body, that is, the church …” And remember that Paul told us explicitly just a few verses prior what Christ’s place is in the body: the head. So whatever Paul is talking about is for the sake of the church, but not its redemption. Thus, I believe it is about the building up of the church, or in other words, the growth of the church–God the Son’s Kingdom. Redemption came through the first cause, Jesus Christ. Expansion comes through the means God typically uses: people. People who minister.
Think about the mission of the church: to make disciples. In discipling, we have discipline–in our context, the spiritual disciplines. Our serving and suffering sanctifies us and can be used by God in the salvation and sanctification of others. It’s not that there is anything lacking in Christ’s afflictions unto salvation, but there are afflictions—there is suffering—to come to Paul, John, the martyrs, and in likely small ways to you and me, and these afflictions are for the sake of the church which grows every day because of the power of the Gospel ordinarily so through the means of its members. Listen to …
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Paul writes in Romans 5 of Jesus and the fact that QUOTE “2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” verses, 2-4.
1 Peter 2:21: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”
Finally, in Paul’s second letter to Timothy he beautifully ties together mission as a member of Christ’s body, suffering for the sake of Christ, and eternal hope found in Christ:
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
This is how I learn long texts. Say it with me, read along, and listen more than once!
Colossians 1:24-29 ESV
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
In an effort to a) look better; b) have fewer things; and c) lessen decision fatigue, I’ve decided to totally redo my wardrobe. I will:
Wear nicer clothes,
Have fewer clothes,
Wear pretty much the same outfit every day.
Here’s the plan thus far:
Blue jeans (2 pairs). They go with everything.
Gray slacks (2 pairs). I wanted navy slacks at first, but the problem with those is I wouldn’t be able to use the next item.
Navy blazer. This classic is extremely versatile. I can wear it with a my slacks of course, or jeans.
Oxford shirts (2 blue, 1 white) with chest pocket and dress collar. I plan to wear the blue every day, with the white available for preaching, weddings, funerals, etc.
Dark navy blue suit. For weddings, funerals, and occasionally preaching (I have a dark gray suit I plan to hang on to for now).
Socks (3 pairs gray, 1 blue). I really like Darn Tough socks for this.
Vest (1 navy) and sweaters (1 light gray, 1 blue).
Others include white tees and briefs.
That will take care of work and church functions. I already have brown brogues and a decent pair of boots, so I’m good on shoes. I haven’t thought about my coats and jackets yet; I hope to keep 2-3 I have and save some money.
I’ll keep a couple of my old shirts and jeans to work around the homestead, and maybe pick up a sweatshirt and lounge pants to wear around the house.
I’ve never liked talking about my weight. It started creeping up in high school, jumped up in (my first round of) college, ballooned after I got married and started a VERY stressful job, and stabilized once I got serious about college and had my first daughter.
I even cut quite a bit of weight in 2016, put it back on, and cut again in 2017. In 2018, it started right back up. But instead of the downward trend of the yo-yo-ing, it kept going up.
Then the lockdown started. Working from home was not the best thing for my weight. I put on 20+ pounds to be the heaviest I’ve ever been. I felt bad, looked worse, and had to spend money on new clothes that are so big they could never look nice on me.
And so, I’ve started another weight loss journey in 2021. Really, it’s more a lifestyle change journey:
I want to be healthy for me wife.
I want to be healthy for my kids.
I want to be healthy for my homestead, to care for the home and land with which God has blessed me.
I want to be healthy for my church so my appearance doesn’t detract from the message of the Gospel and mission of the saints.
I’m DOWN 4.5 pounds thus far! In the next post, I’ll talk about some things I’m doing to make these changes for the better.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, 25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.
Of the several categories of the Psalms, lament and imprecatory are the two that really suffer from a lack of teaching in the modern American church, to the point of being completely ignored in many settings. Even so, the difficulty our modern sensibilities face with the lament Psalms is nothing compared to that of the imprecatory Psalms. Why? Simply read the definition: an imprecation, according to Merriam-Webster, is a curse; or the act of invoking evil upon another. Psalm 10, verses 12 through 15 are an example of imprecatory prayer in the Psalms:
12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
Recently, in the December 27, 2020 Sunday School lesson from Bible Studies for Life, a publication of the Southern Baptist Convention entity Lifeway, the commentary in the leader guide said the imprecatory psalms are, QUOTE “pre-Christian,” and, QUOTE “don’t fully reflect the ethic taught by Jesus” ENDQUOTE. Did what is ethical or moral change with Jesus Christ establishing the New Covenant? No, but imprecatory prayer does warrant an awareness and certain posture of our hearts before God.
Bob Rodgers, pastor of Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, caused quite a stir on Sunday, January 10th when he prayed curses down upon those to whom he attributed election theft and cheating. QUOTE “Father those that have lied, those that have stolen this election, those that have cheated I place the curse of God upon them. … I curse you with poverty, I curse you with the worst year you’ve ever had in the name of the lord” ENDQUOTE. Several pastors local to Rodgers have publicly rebuked him, with one describing his prayer as QUOTE “hate and evil in the name of God …” ENDQUOTE.
Rodgers appeared to alter his stance somewhat after the backlash, removing the video of the curses from social media and telling a WHAS reporter, QUOTE “This is a prayer not to curse people but to curse the demonic forces that people have allowed to rule them. … I do pray that trouble will come to them if they don’t repent and that they will turn from their wicked ways” ENDQUOTE.
So who’s right? Is it necessarily “hate and evil in the name of God” to “place the curse of God” on others? We know King David prayed imprecatory prayers. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he wrote imprecatory psalms. But we must remember the immortal–yet re-contextualized here–words of Matt Chandler: QUOTE “You’re not David!” ENDQUOTE We don’t know with 100% certainty who is God’s enemy; we don’t know who is elect. We do know we are to love our neighbor and that God loves justice. Psalm 33, verses four and five say: “For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.”
We will not err in seeking a balance of love for our neighbor and love for God’s law. We will not err in seeking a balance of mercy and justice. In exercising wisdom, we see there is a place for praying imprecatory prayers with love as the main reason to do so. Dr. William VanDoodewaard says when he prayed with his family concerning a dictator, they prayed, QUOTE “Oh Lord, please convert this man; but if he’s not going to repent, please remove him” ENDQUOTE. Take care to remember Ephesians 6:12 when you pray: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
With a careful reading of the New Testament, we see examples of properly prayed imprecations. Dr. Robert Godfrey said, QUOTE “it is not illegitimate to use the imprecations of the psalter to pray for judgment on God’s enemies. Every time we pray, ‘Come quickly Lord Jesus,’ we’re praying an imprecation on God’s enemies. When Jesus comes again, there will be judgment for God’s enemies” ENDQUOTE. And Dr. Albert Mohler contends that our Lord Jesus Christ himself prayed an imprecation in a sense, and taught us to do so at that, in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Dr. Mohler indicated that in the Lord’s Prayer is the reality that QUOTE “[t]here is a judgment coming” PAUSE.
14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
This review is not timely. Aniol published By the Waters of Babylon in 2015. After I discovered him and his book through an acquaintance who is one of his students, I let it sit too long in my online shopping cart before I finally purchased it on January 9.
Structure and Theme
I read it in three days–quite the feat for a father of two young daughters if I say so myself. It is not light reading, but is certainly accessible. There is much background information and theory, but application is there. I would argue Aniol gives readers the tools to apply biblical worship principles rather than doing so much of the work for us. Aniol’s main contribution here is groundwork for most of the book: historical information (transformationalism; the missional church), comparing historical and contemporary understandings (definitions of mission and culture), and where understandings and definitions split from biblical bases (culture is the behavior of depraved individuals). The payoff is in the last third of the book, where Aniol lays out his case for a biblical relationship between worship and mission: the glory of God is foremost, worship is our purpose, and mission is the church’s God-given task to make disciples who are worshipers; or simply, “disciple-worshipers.”
The proper approach to culture, Aniol says, “could be called the sanctificationist approach” which he states, “simply seeks to apply what the Bible has to say about behavior to every area of the Christian’s life” (116). The missional church movement, as helpful as it has been in increasing overall zeal for evangelism, accepted the contemporary anthropological definition of culture and adapted to that. In doing so, their corporate worship time became a) primarily evangelistic, and b) simply a tool for the church to use in fulfilling its mission–a secondary to support the primary.
The Assembly of the Saints
Aniol, on the other hand, makes a compelling and biblical argument that the weekly gathering of the saints on the Lord’s Day is a sacred event, a time set apart as regulated by God for his glory and our edification: ” … corporate worship is the public acting out of the spiritual realities of worship; it is a weekly dramatic re-creation of drawing near to God through Christ by faith” (135). And since the Bible includes various “kinds of imaginative forms God chose to communicate his truth” (158), it follows that ” … the truth must include not only the expression of right doctrine but also the expression of right imagination. The imagination is shaped and cultivated through aesthetic forms” (157). In other words: the manner matters. For example, corporate worship may make us happy–even making us smile with delight in God, but it must be serious. A lack of seriousness in genre or conduct teaches otherwise.
Should every elder who plans and/or executes a worship service read this? YES. Should every elder who focuses on music in the church read this? YES. However, what is obvious (and I am thankful for it) is that Aniol sees worship not simply as music or the arts, but a way of life for the believer with a special regard for the assembly of the body to whom the believer belongs.
Additional suggested reading topics based on this book:
Two-kingdoms theology, ecclesiology, the regulative principle of worship, biblical genres.