I just finished a heart pounding, sweat breaking, ab tightening, arm wiggle shrinking workout on my total gym.

I feel good. I feel physically good, and I feel good emotionally. I just made an investment in myself, my health and well-being on several different levels.

The endorphins must have really kicked in because I started thinking, “I wish someone could get as excited about this as I am…so excited that they would pay me a thousand dollars to lose a hundred pounds and another thousand to keep it off for a year.”

I’m sure that this kind of thinking is residual fallout for the incentives my parents dangled before as school kids to get or keep good grades. The best one of those was dinner at the Kahiki in Columbus, Ohio. That one was pretty motivating…and tasty.

But I’m not a kid anymore. So where’s my motivation? What’s going to push me further? Is feeling good enough?

As I sat here pondering this, my mind naturally drifted to a conversation I had recently with my husband. He is the quintessential provider…and sometimes worrier regarding money and our retirement status. At some point as we talked he said, “The older we get the harder it is to invest.”

That little nugget of truth may not apply to everyone. Some folks received sound advice at an early stage in life and they began systematic and profitable savings that will keep them comfortable in their retirement. We were not so lucky. And it didn’t help that we struggled while I pastored very small churches that weren’t able to pay much and the many moves kept Nelson from establishing fiscal longevity…not much fiscal at all.

So we do what we can and pray a lot.

Maybe that’s another reason I was day dreaming about some benefactor who would invest in my health venture.

Don’t we all dream about that someone who will ride in and rescue us from the mess we’ve made of things? Someone who knows the enemy and how to defeat them. Someone who would give their all. Someone who wants more than anything to see us succeed.

Do you know anyone like that?

Sitting here pondering, I felt a nudge at my shoulder. Perhaps you know the kind. I stopped and reread what I had written and it became undeniably clear that I did know someone like that.

Someone who loves me, wants me to succeed, knows my enemy and how to defeat it, and made the ultimate investment for me.

I guess the question now is: what will I do with that investment? Will I work at ways to make it grow, or will I squander it?

What about you? That investment was made for you, too. Here’s how I know that to be true:
For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16, NLT)

Now that’s a retirement plan I can get into.

Never Leave the Temple

I’ve had a convergence of sorts happen in my life. It’s one of the ways that God gets my attention.

Not long ago a writer friend expressed a desire to memorize scripture in the coming year. I was intrigued with the idea, but it was the text she chose that caught my attention. Her choice: John 15. And the word that jumped out at me from that first was “meno”, abide or remain.

Then our pastor referred to the Prophetess Anna when he gave the children’s story. He talked about how Anna “never left the temple.” (See Luke 2:36-38) It wasn’t that she lived there, but that she was there physically whenever possible and in her spirit she carried the temple wherever she went.

And I began to see my theme forming. My #oneword is meno, abide, remain, dwell. And my #oneverse is “never leave the temple.”

Sitting in the pew, I found myself lost in thought…but not really lost because I began to see things unfolding, the many facets of abiding.

Spiritually I will need to pay attention to the verses that point to praying always, thinking on these things, dwelling.

But it also reminded me of where Paul describes our bodies as the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:20). I can’t leave the temple even if I want to–and I need to be taking better care of this temple. And therein lies a whole bunch of goals and work for 2014.

So now that you know, feel free to ask me occasionally how things are going at the temple…and I’m sure I’ll find a few things to write about, too.

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