When I trusted God and began exercising (even though I didn’t want to), I learned a life-changing principle
ntil I turned 64, I’d never exercised in a serious way. I had walked and done a few things to stay in decent shape, but I was not dedicated to exercise. I had reached into my excuse bag many times over the years and come up with all kinds of “reasons” I could not exercise. But, the Lord spoke to me and encouraged me to begin a serious workout program so I could be strong for the last third of my journey through life.
I already had good eating habits, but when it came to going to the gym several times a week, I used the excuse that I simply could not do that because of my travel obligations. I truly couldn’t figure out how I could manage to put serious workout time into my already busy schedule. I finally decided to do what I could do instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do. The thought of getting started with a serious workout routine was overwhelming to my mind, so I had to put Philippians 4:13 to work in a very practical way and discipline myself to say: “I can do this. I can do whatever I need to do in life, and God says I need to be on a serious workout program.” I had to take the challenge one day at a time because if I looked at my calendar for the year, it appeared as if I was attempting some-thing that was truly impossible. I strongly urge you to face your chal-lenges one day at a time. Looking too far down the road only tends to overwhelm us. Trusting God requires that we believe He gives us our “daily bread”; that is, we receive what we need as we need it and usually not before. As I started seeing the benefits of working out regularly I felt it was important enough to me that I needed to eliminate a few other things I was doing that cluttered my schedule to make room for the exercise. I quickly discovered that if we want to do something strongly enough, then we find a way to do it. I still continue to this day to have challenging times with the workout program. I still get sore, and some days I have to go to the gym by sheer determination, but I refuse to give up. At one point after I had been working out for three or four months, my coach put me on circuit training. I didn’t even know what circuit training was, but I quickly found out that circuit training is doing five exercises in a row, as quickly as you can. It took me 35 minutes to do 75 lunges on each leg, 100 bench presses, 75 dumbbell dead lifts, 75 abdominal crunches and 75 exercises with a pulley. After that, I was so sore I thought I might not survive. When my coach had originally told me what he wanted me to do that week I quickly said, “That is going to be too much for me.” I reminded him of my age and that working out was fairly new to me. He said: “Don’t let your mind get in your way; you can do whatever you decide to do. Our motto here is: ‘No excuses, only results.’” With that encouragement, I thought:
OK, I’m going to get a good mindset about this. I can do this.
I had to tell myself over and over again, “I can do this.” I got started and did OK, but by the fourth set, I began to get dizzy. I told my coach, “I’m getting dizzy,” and he responded: “Then you don’t have to do all five sets. You can stop with four.” Something rose up in me when he said that, and I answered: “I am not quitting with four sets. I’m going to do the fifth one.” And when I did, I was so proud of myself! The same principle that applied to me as I began working out also applies to many other areas of life—getting out of debt, cleaning and organizing your house, solving marriage problems, disciplining your children, being on time for work or completing a project. What-ever you need to do in life, you can do it. Remember, Philippians 4:13 says you are ready for anything and equal to anything because God gives you strength. Nothing is too much for you when He is on your side.
WHEN WILL GOD ANSWER MY PRAYER?
If your prayers remain unanswered, maybe it’s time to ask yourself a few questions
ave you ever spent weeks—even years—praying about one specific thing and still found your-self wondering,
When is God going to answer this prayer?
If so, I know exactly how you feel.When I pray, I really want my prayers to be answered. I know faith, patience and timing all are in the mix, but sooner or later I need to hear from God.The fact is, He gives us some pretty outrageous prom-ises in His Word about prayer. If you’re not seeing the fruit of those promises and if you’re still in the waiting period, I encourage you to simply ask why.At several times in my life I’ve had to get honest with myself and say: “OK, God, I see what the Word says. Why isn’t it working
?” Each time, God has led me to ask myself three very direct questions. I believe they can also help you to find the answers you’ve been seeking.
1. Am I really praying for God’s will?
John 15:7 (AMP) says: “If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”Well, I thought I knew that Scripture up and down. But it turned out there was a word in that verse I hadn’t paid much attention to:
. It means “to live in, dwell in
remain in.” When you have that kind of close relationship with God, you get to know His heart and you have a greater sense of the things you should pray for, and what His will truly is.We can never
we’re praying the will of God. We need to test and approve our prayers by abiding in God’s Word and seeking the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
2. Am I self-sabotaging my prayers?
For at least 25 years, I’ve been praying for God to move so that people will receive miraculous healings at my conferences or while watching my TV program. I was standing on Psalm 107:20 when God led me to another verse: Isaiah 58:9. Now, that scripture shows a clear connection between answered prayers and the words of our mouths. It says, “Take away from your midst yokes of oppression [wherever you find them], the finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and every form of false, harsh, unjust and wicked speaking” (AMP).So, God’s saying it’s just as important to glorify Him through the words you speak when you’re
praying as it is when you
praying. I encourage you to examine your speech regularly so that you can experience even more suc-cess in prayer.
3. Is my love walk lacking?
I believe the mouth is such a major part of the love walk. I don’t think we truly realize how much we can do for people by building them up with our words. And we need to be even more careful not to say things that tear them down.The Bible says the heart is deceitful above all else (see Jer. 17:9). We want to believe we have a good heart, so to learn the truth about ourselves we need to give our tongues a real close examination.Do you remember when you went to the doctor and were asked to open your mouth and say, “
”? The reason you were asked to do that is so the doctor could examine your tongue. The tongue tells a physician a lot about physical health. Likewise, the tongue tells us a lot about spiritual health.
Learning to abide in God—focusing on His heart and His desires—will bring you to a higher level of spiritual maturity and help you discover the amazing authority you have in prayer.
Speaking in line with His Word can move mountains in the Spirit, and growing in your love walk opens powerful opportuni-ties to show others who God is.I encourage you to search your heart in these three areas. As you do, I believe you will begin to experience a much more effective, fulfilling prayer life. In His perfect timing and way, He will always answer you.
We can never assume we’re praying the will of God.