Last night my wife and I fell back into old habits when she discovered we could watch the Superbowl live by downloading the FOX Sports app on our SmartTV. I cannot remember the last time I watched a Superbowl. I used to work in the grocery business, so the “Big Game” Sunday was huge business to capitalize on consumer spending. I love watching college sports over the pros, so many Superbowls I would close my department, or store, to allow my associates to have the night off and enjoy the game. And now, with all the commercials available on YouTube, who needs to watch the game live? I slowly shifted away from watching America’s favorite past time. But there we were last night, sitting around the TV after dinner, our daughter watching the biggest game in America for the first time in her young life. And just like that I saw the distractions of this world trying to edge their way back into our lives. I tuned in until just after half-time, then I went back to business as usual as I prepared for Monday morning and a career I could not call out sick for. What surprised me the most about the game were the commercials promoting “Super Monday” when millions of Americans call out sick for work because they overdid their Superbowl celebrations. And Fox was trying to capitalize off this wave of occupational slackers who would be home to binge watch all of the networks most popular shows. Instead of wasting your time watching mindless entertainment, I hope America does something productive with their “sick day” and puts their nose in a good book, preferably THE GOOD BOOK. Here’s a little Super Monday Motivation for everyone out there.
17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
In the passage above, Jesus is being questioned by the Jewish Pharisees because he was having dinner with sinners and tax collectors. Just a quick point of reference, Pharisees were a group of Jews who strictly followed the Jewish laws and customs and had their own, even stricter rules they stuck to. And while the Pharisees felt they were “righteous,” throughout the Gospels, Jesus points out how hypocritical they are and, even more importantly, how wrong their hearts are. As Mark shows readers in chapter 2, these self-righteous Pharisees are judgmental of Jesus for sitting with sinners, as if they were not worthy of being saved by the Son of Man. And Jesus quickly rebukes them and points out that a physician does not help the healthy, but takes care of the sick. So Jesus came to Earth to bring the sinner to saving.
Thank you Lord for that! I would be a man without hope if I had to live a perfect life, following the rules of the Old Testament, and I would have given up on the hope of Heaven long ago. But thanks to Jesus, I know that no matter how deep my sins go, Jesus will forgive them all. Of course, this is not a free pass to sin and keep sinning. Forgiveness only starts when you make that final commitment to Jesus and God and STOP living a life steeped in sin. So, yeah, you are going to have to make some solid changes after you get baptized and washed clean. But the rewards are infinite. And as you’ll see in this year ahead, life is much more rewarding once you break the chains of this world and start living a life for Jesus. Trust me, I know. I spent ALL of my 20s living a life of sin, being as much into this world as I could. I thought I was having fun in life and experiencing happiness in my actions. But I never knew joy and TRUE happiness until I fully understood Jesus and living a life of righteousness and love. Before I found Jesus, I was living a life of self-righteousness and I really only loved myself. But God placed certain people in my life to bring me to the table of Jesus. As I said before, thank the Lord for that. If Jesus didn’t come to call sinners to saving, I would have just kept living for myself and having what I thought was a “good ole time.” But I accepted my invitation to the table, and after dinning with Jesus my life has never been more full. You have the invitation, come find your seat at the table of Jesus.
Reading plan: Mark 3:1-19
Deeper reading plan: Numbers 1-4
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and thank God for Jesus’ forgiving grace.
Fitness challenge: Week six of our 7×14 challenge. This week we will take a little more time on our two sets. For each exercise, I want you to incorporate a one-second (count to 2 so you get a full second) pause in each movement. So on the standard push-up, when you drop down, hold yourself just above the group for one second before slowly pushing up. On the sit-up/crunch, hold your body at the top of the lifting portion of the rep for one second. Air squat, pause at the bottom and stand-up slow. Leg lifts, pause with your feet in the air. Lunges, pause at each dip of your hips. And, yes, on each movement of the 4-count flutter kick, pause before moving your alternating leg up. Nice, controlled movements. We’re only on two sets now. (Hint: that’s going to start increasing). Just remember, if you can not yet do a full set of 14, keep pushing yourself to failure. If 14 has become too easy, keep pushing yourself to failure…
1. Standard push-up 2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats 4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts 6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kick