“The more I let go, I’m caught in your overflow, and there’s more of you… My all in all, you fill my cup beyond my dreams.”

Most of us can think of a time when we wanted more of God. The hard thing to learn is that he pours out more on us as we let go of things, giving him space to respond to our cry. Life is a process of letting go, and as we do, God will fill us with more of himself–beyond our dreams! This session, purpose in your heart to let go, and God will certainly give you more of himself.

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Questions: Have you ever tried to control your own destiny and come up empty? Do you desire more of God? What would that look like for you?

Prayer Power: Lord, help me to let go of those things that are holding me back in life. Fill me up with more of you.

Sir Isaac Newton wrote a book that was published in 1687 called The Principia: Mathematical Principle of Natural Philosophy. In this book, Newton unpacks research that redefined the way the world looks at science and physics. One of the three Laws of Motion he wrote about is this: an object in motion tends to remain in motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Interestingly enough, this particular law of motion presents a compelling analogy for increasing growth and progressing toward mature faith. When it comes to growing in spiritual maturity, the most important thing to do is getting started. Once you begin to move, it is much easier to stay in motion. To progress. To mature.

Motivation often follows the simple discipline of getting started.

Though I know this to be true, I am still the princess of procrastination. (Tiara worthy!) Even though I am aware that progress and procrastination are oil and water, I am also blissfully delusional with rationalization. My oil and water blend just fine, thank you very much.

The antithesis of procrastination then is simply to do something . . . anything! Find a way to move forward. Start small. After all, objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Right? So if you and I want to experience the power that God has for us, we need to intentionally direct our hearts in ways that leads us to His strength.

The writer of Hebrews gave a challenge to those who are believers in Christ, but who lack maturity.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.(Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV)

Where are you in all of this? Are you intentionally moving forward in faith or is your faith unintentionally waning and taking a back seat to everything else in your life?

There was a short season when my children were young and needed to be fed and carried. Brad and I encouraged them as they progressed from sitting up, to crawling, and then to walking and running on their own. Their growth was our mission.

My spiritual growth needs to be my own personal mission. Mature believers grow.

Spiritually speaking, where are you now as compared to a few years ago?

One marker of spiritual maturity is that the fruit of God’s Spirit is evident in our lives. Do people see God in you? They know about your pains, but do they know about your peace? Do others leave your presence and wonder where your joy comes from or do they wonder if you were weaned on a dill pickle? And how do you respond when you face temptation? Are you led by the Spirit of God or by your own desires?

The Apostle Paul encouraged the believers in the church at Colosse to draw strength from Jesus by being rooted in and built up in Him.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.(Colossians 2:6-7)

To make this happen, I have to know the teachings, the character, and the life-changing love of Jesus. Since motivation often follows the simple discipline of getting started … I need to just get started. Pray a prayer. Talk to Jesus. Read a verse. Read a whole chapter. Read the notes in my Bible that correspond with that verse or those chapters.

I can do this. You can do this. We can strengthen our faith by just getting started.

Let’s start now in prayer and then move into a time of response – a time of motion – in the “Now It’s Your Turn” section.

PRAYER:

Dear Lord, I want to grow in faith. Please help me to intentionally seek and know You more so that others might see evidence of Your goodness in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE:

COLOSSIANS CHALLENGE: Pick a starting point from the following:

  • Read the book of Colossians, a few verses a day. Read then respond in prayer.
  • Read the book of Colossians, one chapter a day. Read then respond in prayer.
  • Read the book of Colossians for four days straight, a different translation each day.
  • Read then respond in prayer.

AND since it helps to lock in some accountability, CLICK HERE to leave a comment on my blog and tell me which of the Colossians challenge levels you are committing to: Daily Verses, Chapter or Book! {No shame! A few verses per day or a whole book a day … doesn’t matter! Do what you can do. Just do something!}


Gwen Smith is a popular conference speaker, author, worship leader, podcaster and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina with her hunky college honey, Brad. They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing young people who keep them on their toes and on their knees. Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net
where she helps women know and trust God more. Her podcast, GRACEOLOGY with Gwen Smith, has fun, faith-focused, grace-filled interview-style conversations with practical tips and honest discussions to encourage women in meaningful ways to live out and lean on the grace of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. Gwen speaks, leads worship, and eats guacamole at women’s events everywhere, and she is a co-founder of the conference and devotional ministry Girlfriends in God.

Connect with Gwen on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter where she hangs out as @GwenSmithMusic.

This post first appeared on GwenSmith.net. Reprinted with permission.

“You quiet my soul as you take control. Yeah-yeah. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll never fear, you’re with me Lord. You never left. ‘Cause all I am is in your hands. Though I walk through the valley, Lord, I’m never alone.”

Life is a series of hills, even mountains, and valleys. And some of the valleys feel like the shadow of death is near. When we must take the next steps to get through those valleys, Psalm 23 reminds us that we are not alone. We are never alone. God is with us. God shepherds us through those hard times. He comforts us with his rod and his staff. We are his flock and he cares for each one of us—on the mountaintops and in the valleys, too. As we draw near to our tender shepherd he quiets our soul as he takes control, making us to lie down in green pastures. He restores our soul and guides us along the path. Knowing he is with us helps us to trust and not fear evil. We can know for sure that his goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.

Psalm 23The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Questions: What jumps out at you from the 23rd Psalm? Do you relate to the image of the Lord being your shepherd? How has God shown his goodness and love to you recently?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, I thank you that you shepherd me through the hills and the valleys of life. Thank you for your comfort and you love, for your goodness and your mercy. I know I am never alone. You are my good shepherd. Amen.

Other Song Inspiration:

Here we are. The fall season has begun. Schools are open. Cooler temperatures are right around the corner. And the aroma of pumpkin spice is in the air. (I’m not expressing my opinion on pumpkin spice. I’m no rookie. I know there are strong opinions here and that’s not what this blog is about!) This blog is about setting you up for success when it comes to your fitness regimen. With the kids back in school and the summer behind us, it’s time to refocus on our personal health and recommit to our fitness goals.

Fitness is a funny thing. We all want to be fit, and yet the daily demands of our professional and personal lives make it a challenge to feel like we’re succeeding in our pursuit of overall good health. I hope these 4 simple – yet challenging – steps will help you refocus and recommit this season.

Let’s focus on the F.A.L.L.

  1. Find an activity or exercise outlet that you can stick with. It brings you joy and makes you feel accomplished. This is the group fitness or individual exercise activity that you can commit to for at least the next few months.
  2. Acknowledge that committing to this fulfilling exercise may mean other activities have to be put on the back burner for another season. Your plate is only so big, and overloading it only leads to feelings of being overwhelmed and defeated.
  3. Log your progress in your chosen exercise activities. Track your weight loss, record your attendance in your group fitness classes, or document your personal workouts. When you’re struggling, this log will encourage you to keep going, and will be an excellent tool that illustrates your forward momentum.
  4. Lifestyle will begin to feel natural. This is important as you change your activity level, and acknowledge the commitment required to reach your fitness goals. Long-term healthy engagement equals a new normal. Good habits produce positive results.

As you continue to make positive choices in terms of your physical fitness, these steps are key. Be encouraged. Join a Body & Soul Fitness class in your area or commit to starting a class if one is not already established. This has been my experience. I wanted to be more active and participate in a group fitness class where I was encouraged, where I felt welcome, and where I could make new friends. Body & Soul Fitness has become the exercise outlet I was searching for. It is a priority that takes precedence over other schedule-stealing appointments. I log my participation which keeps me on track, and it has transformed my physical fitness lifestyle. I am grateful for the F.A.L.L. reminder.

May this fall season be the one that you always remember as the turning point in your fitness lifestyle. Here’s to kids back to school, cooler temperatures, and all things pumpkin spice. Bring it on!

Click here to find a Body & Soul Fitness class near you!


Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness, certified personal trainer, ACE faculty and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is a leader in the fitness industry and a popular speaker for women’s events, retreats, fitness conferences. For information on booking Amy for your event or for an interview please email amy@bodyandsoul.org. Amy currently teaches in the Williamsburg, VA area.

“This is the race of my life. I’ve got my eye on the prize; I’ve got my eye on it. I’ve got my eye on the prize and I will not quit.”

Life is a daily race—a marathon, in fact, so we need to train well so we can be strong, take one step at a time, one day at a time and always keep our focus on the prize at the end. With regards to training, we need to get in shape both physically and spiritually. That’s where Body & Soul comes in. In our classes we grow stronger physically through the fitness aspect and we grow stronger spiritually through the message in the music and the sharing of spiritual truth. The “one step at a time” is a daily, hourly, minute by minute decision to keep moving forward, never giving up, always trusting. The prize we need to focus on is our eternal life in heaven with God. This world is temporary. We all know it—even those who do not know God personally know this is true. By God’s grace, this is not all there is. There is a better world waiting and we need to keep our eye on it!

Hebrews 12:1b-2a “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

1 Corinthians 9:24b-27 “Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Questions: How are you doing in your physical and spiritual training for the race of life? What are the key things in this life that you keep your eye on? Are there any things that you are keeping your eye on that you would like to pay less attention to? How are you doing living life with an eternal perspective, keeping your eye on what lies beyond this life?

Prayer Power: Lord, give me the stamina and perseverance to run the race of life. I pray for those that I know and love who need this perseverance right now. Help us to be able to have an eternal value perspective and keep our eyes on the prize of heaven.

Music truly makes me come alive, time and time again. For example–I’m having a good day; I click to listen to one of my favorite Body & Soul songs—and as I sing along with it, my soul soars. It lifts my heart in gratitude. It makes me smile. I feel alive! Or…I’m having a bad day, so I click to listen and the words encourage me, even if I have tears in my eyes. The music helps me survive what I am going through as it reminds me of God’s love for me, that he is always with me, that I can be an overcomer. God gives me hope through music—and I come alive, even in the midst of sorrow.

How about you? Does music make you come alive, too?

If you have been in our Body & Soul classes for awhile, you will recognize the music that we are exercising to this fall. We have chosen the ‘best of the best’ music from recent years and revamped the choreography to rev it up for fantastic workout options in all of our programs this fall. We are excited!

And I am particularly excited about the lead song for the session, “Alive” by Hillsong Young & Free. When we used it previously, it was a low impact cardio, but now it is a ramped up warmup for several of our programs. I love this song! When I hear the first notes, it begins to inspire my soul as well as my body. I find that as I get moving to the beat, I feel the energy welling up from inside of me, and by the end of the song I feel hope rising, joy bubbling up and faith strengthening my heart as my body gets physically strengthened, all because of the message of the lyrics.

This song is a declaration of praise to God: “You are my freedom. We lift you higher. Your love is never-ending. You are alive in us. Nothing can take your place. You are all we need. Your love has set us free.”

For more insights into this session’s songs, look up the lyrics (below) or click here to read our revAMPED Devotional.

revAMPED Music & Lyric Links

Songs Artists
Alive Hillsong Young & Free
Eye On It TobyMac
5, 6, 7, 8 Newworldson
F-I-R-E (feat. Manwell Reyes) Press Play
The More Mikeschair
Let It Roll Group 1 Crew
Tonight TobyMac
Turbo Style Beckah Shae
King of the Comebacks Audio Adrenaline
Move (Keep Walkin’) TobyMac
Ready Set Go Royal Tailor
Don’t Miss It  Francesca Battistelli
Messengers LeCrae
I’ll Be Alright Beckah Shae
Talk to Me Abandon
Mighty Beckah Shae
Psalm 23+ Group 1 Crew
Ready or Not Britt Nicole
All This Time Britt Nicole
Light Up the Sky The Afters
Stronger Mandisa
Strong Enough to Save Tenth Avenue North
Same Power Jeremy Camp
Greater Is He Blanca
Desde Que La Conoci Hechos de Barro
Gimme That Funk Group 1 Crew
Backseat Driver TobyMac
Crazy Ayiesha Woods
One Girl Can Change the World Shuree
Sanctuary Flame
J.E.S.U.S. Hechos de Barro
L.O.V.E. Tembalami
Higher Unspoken
Fishers of Men Newsboys
Shake MercyMe
VIP Manic Drive
Alone Hollyn
Bigger Citizen Way
Heartbeat Beckah Shae

revAMPED Session Devotional

Click on image to view PDF of the Fall 2018 revAMPED Devotional.
Fall 2018 revAMPED Devotional | Body & Soul Fitness


Jeannie Blocher is the President Emeritus and Director of Spiritual Impact of Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband Roy founded Body & Soul in 1981, and now Jeannie serves in a volunteer capacity. She is an author and speaker, who treasures first her role as wife, mother of three and grandmother of eight. She wrote the First Place 4 Health Bible Study “Make Every Day Your Best Day” and the book “Encouragement for the Body & the Soul.” She enjoys speaking on behalf of Body & Soul, sharing the message of faith & fitness.

Contact Jeannie at jeannie@bodyandsoul.org.

“Broken hearts on the city streets… I can hear that you’re calling me to be the hope, be the light, be the love right now, starting right now. Oh, you put my life in motion, your love makes me want to give my all. Ready set go, oh!”

Our hearts are gripped as we see the broken hearts on the city streets around us. We hear the call to reach out and help. The question is will we make time to do it? God calls us to be the hope, to be the light, to be the love. Brainstorm together as a class about what you can do in your community. Perhaps there is a need in the family of one of your students. Maybe there is a special cause that is dear to your heart. We can’t do everything, but we can do something! It’s easy to think that we will do it “later,” at a time that is more convenient. The fact of life is that it doesn’t slow down—and that “later” may never come. So—Ready-Set-Go! Now is the time!

Galatians 5:13b-14 “…serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Questions: What do you think of when you hear the words “ready, set, go?” What does it mean in the context of this song? Have you been involved in a service project recently? Have you encouraged your children to also be involved in “loving their neighbors” whether near or far?

Prayer Power: Heavenly Father, We live in a world of so much need. So many people are hurting and struggling to know your truth. I ask for a heart to help others and the willingness to invest time to do it. May it all be for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen

Get Back on Track | Body & Soul Fitness

So, you say you want to get back on track with your eating. So, you say you want to start exercising again. As the summer is winding down and school approaching, there is a ton to do. If the summer schedule has your exercise routine and healthy eating choices out of whack, welcome to the club.

Give yourself grace.

First thing, stop and give yourself some grace. Schedule change can sometimes have a negative effect on our bodies and spirits. Stressing over it is not healthy.

Evaluate your situation.

What also helps me is to evaluate. Take a good look and see where you maintained well and see where you need improvement. For example, this summer I have continued to keep to my 4-5 times a week of cardio, but have been lacking in my 2-3 times a week of strength training. Also, look back and see what life brought your way this summer. Did you have a traumatic experience? Lose a family member? Maybe welcomed a sweet new addition? I recently had my mom help me with some practical evaluation regarding my weight loss. She said, “Meg, honey you stopped nursing, so I know that has affected your calorie expenditure.” Hello! I was still eating as if I was nursing my baby 2-4 times a day. She also reminded me that it takes at least twelve months for your body to even come close to where it was pre-pregnancy. I felt better about my softness.

Make healthy choices.

If you are a new mom or just feeling defeated by your “mom” body, there will be time. There will be time to get those muscles back, if you want. There will be time to choose the exercise that you want. For now, make healthy food choices, fit in time to exercise when you can, and enjoy being a mom. Society is a liar and has zero logic for what is expected of young women. So you say you want a fresh start? It’s never too late and something is better than nothing. Now stop just saying it and put those words into action. So I say … let’s go!

More Encouragement:



Megan Keefe has been teaching or attending Body and Soul classes since she was 18. She is very active in her home church, promoting Body and Soul as well as First Place 4 Health. Megan was a 4th grade teacher for twelve years before being home full time with her daughters. She and Philip have been married for seven years and reside in Charleston, South Carolina.

"Alive" by Hillsong Y&F | Body & Soul Fitness

“I was lost with a broken heart. You picked me up, now I’m set apart. From the ash I am born again, forever safe in the Savior’s hands. You are more than my words can say. I’ll follow you, Lord, for all my days. I’ll fix my eyes, follow in Your ways, forever free in unending grace… ‘cause you are my freedom.”

What a powerful thing it is to know that we can be “forever free in unending grace.” That is what God offers us, when we choose to follow him, confessing our sin, and accepting Jesus as our Savior. We are made new, born again in the true freedom that comes with God’s unending grace. God can put our broken hearts back together as we fix our eyes on him and follow him. This session let’s determine to follow God even when we don’t understand where he is leading, even when the path is dark. He will shed light in the darkness, one ray at a time, for he is light. He is a mender of hearts and the giver of true freedom.

Romans 3:23, 24 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Questions: What does it mean to you that you can be “forever free in unending grace?” Practically speaking, what does it look like to “follow” God?

Prayer Power: Pray for those you know who need to say yes to God and begin a life of true freedom by trusting Jesus as their personal Savior. Renew your prayers for those you’ve been praying for over a long period of time. Don’t give up! God offers true freedom to all who choose him!


Join Body & Soul Fitness This Fall

Are you like me, and as the summer season winds down, do you change your focus from vacations and the change of pace, to back to school or back to more of a work routine? Is this a time that you press the reset button, evaluate your long-ago new year’s resolutions, and start the fall season with a renewed outlook and refreshed goals?

I’ve seen a lot of messages on social media recently, and I’m betting you have too. It goes a little something like this: everything needs a reboot from time to time – just hold down the reset button – it’ll all be okay.

This is me as we move from summer into fall, and Body & Soul Fitness is helping me do just that. We are revved up and amped up to start a new session of fitness, faith, and community! At Body & Soul Fitness, we are igniting our love of exercise, music, and fellowship in classes all around the country!

Take a look at our fall session graphic. What do you see? Here’s what I see: I see the word revamped, which Google defines as “give new and improved form.” I also see rev, which can be a verb or a noun, and is a shortened form of revolution, usually applying to the revving of an engine. The third word I see is amped, which can be defined as turning up, or amplifying music; however, I prefer the informal definition by Merriam-Webster: “filled with energetic excitement and enthusiasm.” This perfectly describes our upcoming fall session and YOU ARE INVITED!

We are going to experience new and improved, revved up and amped up workouts that ignite our energetic excitement and enthusiasm – all while igniting revival and fellowship in our classes and communities!

I don’t know about you, but this is just the type of reset I’m looking for, and the thought of it revs me up! It’s been a wonderful summer filled with family and friends, and the less rigid routine has been good for many reasons, yet I’m beginning to long for the “normal” order that returns my work/play schedule to a more balanced equation. I’m ready to get back on track with my resolutions and focus on finishing this year as healthy as possible – both physically and spiritually. So, I encourage you to reset, reboot, and get ready to ignite your fitness goals by joining a Body & Soul Fitness class near you, where you will experience energetic excitement and enthusiasm as you connect with the best instructors and students anywhere!

Click here to find a class near you!


Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness, certified personal trainer, ACE faculty and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is a leader in the fitness industry and a popular speaker for women’s events, retreats, fitness conferences. For information on booking Amy for your event or for an interview please email amy@bodyandsoul.org. Amy currently teaches in the Williamsburg, VA area.

Fearless | Body and Soul Fitness

“I wasn’t given the spirit of fear; I was given the power of love. Everything I’ve been fighting against, I’m gonna lift it up. I wanna be fearless! No holding back, no backing down. Fearless! Because I believe; You’re with me now. Bring on the unknown. Lead me and I’ll go. Come set me free. God, I want to be fearless. I won’t be afraid; I’ll call on Your name. I’ll walk out in faith.”

We can experience joy even in the midst of the unknown when we are walking closely with God. Just knowing that he is with us, as the song says, helps us to be fearless. This song is a cry of the heart that we can resonate with -— we want to be fearless, but fear still creeps in. We don’t want to hold back or back down, but we hesitate and we doubt. But, in our hearts we know that we have been given the spirit of love, not the spirit of fear. We want to lift up our fears to the Lord and experience his joy.

So where do we start? This song gives us step one — Look to the Lord and call on his name. Declare “I won’t be afraid.” Believe his promises. God can take you from fearful to fearless one step at a time as you trust him to guide your way. Walk out in faith!

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” ESV

Questions: Do you feel fearful about something right now? What helps you move from fearful to fearless?

Prayer Power: Pray for those you know who are feeling fearful, that they would call on God’s name and become more fearless as they abide in him. Pray for your own needs and call on God to help you be fearless.

More Song Inspiration:

The song “Don’t Miss It” by Francesca Battistelli slayed me the other day.

“Burn up the interstate (I do)
Got somewhere you need to be, you’re (Always)
Not gonna let nobody slow you down (Right, don’t slow me down)
Turn off the radio and
Turn up your telephone
(Got my headphones in to make calls while I drive)
You don’t have the time to smell the roses now(Too much to do to stop and drink in the day)

Am I so busy that I’m missing life around me?

Am I reaching so hard for the next season or the next “thing” in life that I can’t or won’t savor the season I’m currently in? What have I missed living this way?

“Don’t try so hard
To move past the moment
These days go by
And they’re gone before you know it
So come on, open your window
Let the light shine in
This is life don’t miss it”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us there is a season for everything. So why do we seem so anxious for the next season of life? When the baby is born, we say, “I can’t wait until they crawl…walk…talk…go to preschool…kindergarten…full day of school…” Then they become teenagers and they begin to say, “I can’t wait until I drive…graduate…go off to college…get a job…get married…have children…”

Why are we so bent on moving through life so fast? Is this why we grow weary? How many moments of life have I missed because I’ve hurried to embrace the next season rather than embracing the life and minutes right in front of me?

What am I missing spiritually as I race through life? Am I pursuing God’s truths, savoring them, allowing them to take root in my life and transform me into who He has created me to be right now or simply checking the boxes and miss experiencing His deep refinement that can come from spending real time with my Father?

Jesus’ ministry was three years. His example isn’t of running hurriedly through those years. Instead, we see conversations and deliberate moments that impacted lives. We see the personal touch of God. We see time taken to heal, deliver, celebrate, and forgive.

“What if you took the time
To really soak it in
Like a September morning
Like snow without a warning
Like how the summer feels upon your skin”

Be present.

Be available. Have conversations that impact lives.

Slow down. Pray.

Embrace the season you find yourself in. Right here. Right now.

“Hmm, just take a second maybe
Before the sun goes down
Breathe before your breath runs out”

God has given us a life to live, and he doesn’t want us to miss it.

More Encouragement:


Mary Ward serves as the Marketing Director, Northern Virginia Area Director, and Group Fitness Instructor for Body & Soul Fitness.  She currently teaches classes at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, VA and at the nZone Gym in Chantilly, VA.  Mary also sits on the Board of Directors for First Place 4 Health, a sister ministry B&S partners with. She is a speaker and presenter at women’s conferences and retreats.

You Found Me by MercyMe | Body & Soul Fitness

“You found me—never, never, never gonna be the same…I am yours and You are mine. You will never have to hide. Before the heavens, before the earth I knew exactly where you were. And I am yours and You are mine! Only You are Lord. You are mine.

Do you remember playing ‘hide and seek’ when you were a kid? Did you ever hide in such a good place that you were worried after awhile of sitting there that you would not be found by the person who did the counting? In life God knows where each lost sheep is, and he is longing to find each one of us and bring us into the fold of his love. This song expresses the joy of being found by God. True joy is being “found by God” when we are lost in our sin. We are found and forgiven through the blood of Jesus. We become part of God’s forever family, and we never have to worry about being lost again. Even if there are times when we wander, our heavenly shepherd is not far away, ready to guide us back to be close to him.

1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Questions: Did you like playing ‘hide and seek’ when you were a child? Do you sometimes play hide and seek with God? What was it like for you when God ‘found’ you? Are you feeling lost right now, longing for God to find you? Have you personally experienced the “inexpressible and glorious joy” of salvation like Peter describes?

Prayer Power: Pray for those who are lost, that they will grow in their desire to be found by God. Pray for yourself and your loved ones who are feeling a little lost right now and need God’s shepherd’s touch of love and guidance.

More Song Inspiration:

 

The other week I started reading the Gospel of Luke. Chapter 3 contains a record of Jesus’ genealogy that I hadn’t really read before. To be honest, the first time I read Matthew, which starts with genealogy, I was cross-eyed by the time I got half way through and I skipped to the end. That was almost 20 years ago and in that time I have been through several amazing Bible studies, none of which had much to do with genealogy. However, in my studies on Covenant, Romans, Revelation, Joshua, Ruth and many more, I got to know some of the incredible people in the Bible and guess what? A lot of them are in the genealogy of Jesus! When I read through the list of names of who begat whom it wasn’t a list of strangers but a list of people I knew. They aren’t strangers to me, or faceless names but rather they are men of courage, integrity, and faith. Not perfect certainly (see David for instance) but real men living a real life who managed to be part of a family line that brought us Jesus. I would not have known them had I not been in Bible study all these years.

Family can be complicated (again, see David) but even the complications can define us in many ways. It can cause us to embrace traditions or push away from them. For the good or the bad, it is often the springboard we use as we navigate through life making decisions for ourselves and for our own families God has gifted to us. I signed up for Ancestry after Christmas and did the DNA testing, and I have discovered so much more about my family since digging into my family tree. It’s COMPLICATED!!! It’s MESSY!!! It’s full of characters who were brave, crazy, passionate, depressed, lonely, focused, hard-working, sinners, and saints. I come from some weird and wonderful people y’all, but don’t we all?

Jesus had some serious characters in His family tree too. I encourage you to get into your Bible and read about these people. They were weird and wonderful too. God used them in incredible ways and through their stories we can see hints at the redemption to come through Jesus. And through Jesus we all have been grafted into this wonderful family of God! Hallelujah!

I love the song “Show Love” by Family Force 5 that we do in class. Okay, love may be a strong word and maybe I am not always feeling strong by the time we get to the out, out, in, in but I do love hearing my class sing/shout that part about being one big family. It’s such a special thing to be part of a ministry where the atmosphere creates a family. I hope you all feel like family to one another. You certainly feel like family to me! And what a BLESSING it is to be part of the family of God. Forever family in Christ!


Tracie Durham is a Cardio Strength Trainer for South Central. She is a former attorney, full-time home schooling mother of three kids (Abbie, Aubrie and Charlie), wife of a Fire Chief (Phillip) and unabashed fan-girl of “all the words” and mostly importantly…of Jesus.

“Unstoppable God, let your glory go on and on. Impossible things, in your name, they shall be done. Freedom conquered, all our chains undone. Sin defeated, Jesus has overcome. Mercy triumphed when the third day dawned. Darkness was denied when the storm was gone. Nothing shall be impossible. Your kingdom reigns unstoppable. We shout your praise forevermore. Jesus, our God unstoppable.”

This song is a proclamation of the power of our unstoppable God. Impossible things are done in his name. He breaks chains and gives freedom. He shows us mercy and forgives us when we don’t deserve it. He forgives sin, when we lay down our pride and our control, and say yes to Jesus as Savior and Lord. So, what is our reasonable response to all he has done? Faith, trust and praise! Lift up your heart and sing —let his glory go on and on. Proclaim that his kingdom will reign unstoppable. Shout his praise forevermore!

Psalm 113:2,3 “Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised”

Questions: Have you personally experienced something impossible becoming possible? Share your story! Have you felt God’s mercy in a personal way? How do you express your praise and gratefulness to God for all that he has done for you?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, we praise you for your mercy and grace towards us. Thank you for breaking chains and setting us free. Thank you for making the impossible possible. Your kingdom kingdom is unstoppable. Let your glory go on and on. We praise you forevermore! Amen.

More Song Inspiration:

 

When my family first contemplated a cross-country move, I automatically began searching websites for possible churches where we were relocating. As I did my Internet search, I stumbled upon a women’s ministry announcement about the local Body & Soul Fitness classes. I had never heard of Body & Soul, but I thought that it sounded like a cool idea to try it out. Well, the cross-country move happened, and Body & Soul remained just that – an idea of something I might do someday.

A couple of years later, it was time to move again but thankfully just across town. As I lugged boxes from storage and into our new place, I was flabbergasted at how incredibly weak I felt. Not just tired from the move. but WEAK. To top it all off, somehow I managed to hurt my back in the move and was in pain for nearly two months. I hurt and felt unable to adequately do my daily tasks. I was miserable.

Just as the pain was finally receding, I knew that I needed to gain strength and start exercising again. I’d tried running in the past. Hated it. I tried workout videos. I never had the discipline to keep doing them because I usually hated the music. I needed to find a fitness routine that worked for me, but I wasn’t sure what to try next.

And then I got “the ask.”

My sister-in-law Aimee asked me to try out a Body & Soul class with her.

That was it. I just needed someone to ask me to join her on her fitness journey. Although I was too intimidated to go to a group fitness class on my own, I was happy to try it out if I knew that Aimee would be there too. And you know what? I loved it!

From the first routine, I fell in love with Body & Soul. I got a tremendous workout while listening to music that I actually liked and that was uplifting and encouraging. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly didn’t do the routines perfectly, but that didn’t deter me from coming back the next week. I felt so joyful to be in that room full of women who were all at various fitness levels who were just there to connect, be encouraged, and do something healthy for their bodies. No comparison. No judgment. It was a place that I knew that I wanted to be again, and I was kicking myself that I hadn’t had the courage to go on my own before Aimee asked me to join her.

Are you like of the me and waiting for the ask? Don’t be! Do the asking yourself! Find a friend to come alongside you on your fitness journey. Look for a local Body & Soul class to join. If you’re already a part of Body & Soul, look around you and ask someone to join you! You’ll be happy you did.


Janel Piersma is a Body & Soul instructor in Santa Barbara, California. She is a wife, mother of two young daughters, and now an exhausted puppy momma.

“I’ve watched my dreams get broken. In You I hope again. No matter what, I know I’m safe inside your hands. On the mountains, I will bow my life to the One who set me there. In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there. When I’m standing on the mountaintop, I didn’t get there on my own. When I’m walking in the valley, I know I am not alone. You’re God of the hills and valleys, and I am not alone.”

When we watch sporting events we get a good glimpse of how people in the spotlight react to wins and losses based on the under-girding faith they have in their life. Do they take credit for their victory based on hard work? Or do they give glory to God acknowledging that He is the one who ordains the wins and losses for his own purpose and plan? It’s not that we don’t appreciate the hard work and focus that talented athletes put in – it’s just that we also know that hard work does not always lead to victory in the game, if that is God’s will.

Read the words to this song and note the spiritual perspective that is clear—God is God of both the hills and the valleys of our lives—the wins and the losses, whether on a field or in a home. When we are on a mountain top – whether in athletic power or in our career or relationships—God has put us there and we need to bow our life to him in gratefulness and humility. And when we are in a valley we need to lift our eyes to him and learn the lessons he has for us, knowing that we are not alone and he won’t leave us there. Our God is always with us in all of our hills and valleys in life—and that’s good news!

Psalm 121: 1-2, 7-8 “I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. the Maker of heaven and earth… The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.

Questions: Have you been on a mountaintop or in a valley recently. How have you given glory to God when you were on a mountaintop? How have you given glory to him when you have been in a valley? Have you felt that feeling of knowing God was with you in the valley; knowing that you were not alone?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, thank you for being the God of the hills and valleys of my life. Thank you for always being there with me in the valleys. Help me to always give you glory when you set me on a mountaintop. Amen.

More Song Encouragement:

 

I have some good news to share! Did you know that God’s not done with you? Seriously, He’s not done. You are a work in progress. You are:

  • a painting the Master is still working on
  • a tapestry that is still being woven and spun
  • a house with a foundation but maybe not walls
  • a book with pages left to write
You are unfinished and that is good news!

God is in the business of working on us: His works in progress. We are not finished and for that, I rejoice!!! God is so faithful and He has promised that He will complete a good work through us (even you and even me. Philippians 1:6.) That is good news to my heart that has a tendency to wander away and quickly become discouraged. I am the prodigal who finds herself in the pigsty more often than not. So frequently I become mired in the muck and the mud and wonder, how did I get here and then I think, I can never go home. But God says, COME!!! Come back, I am not finished with you. He will remake and restore the years the locusts have stolen. (Joel 2:25.) He will redeem and restore my story and He will do the same for you. (See Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.)

I have had the strange gift of being a part of a church that was broken and beaten down and nearly destroyed. In the thick of the heartbreak, I wasn’t sure that the doors were going to stay open. I wasn’t even sure that I wanted my family to stay because it was so hard to be a part of the shame, the loss, the hurt and the confusion but we stayed in spite of the challenges. There were plenty of Sundays when I just barely talked myself into going. There were Sundays when I told myself we weren’t coming back. But God had us stay and because of that I am watching Him do something new and exciting with a body of believers that He didn’t forget or forsake. He remains faithful and true to His bride, always. God is redeeming and restoring His church for His glory, not ours, and it makes me bow low and say, How Great Thou Art.

He can redeem and restore you too. You are unfinished. You may even try to take the brush from the hand of the Master Painter. You might tear a hole in the tapestry He is weaving. You might demo the wall He built up for your safety. You may tear out pages in the book He has written but God isn’t finished with you yet. He can repair the damage. He may leave the scar (because consequences for our sins are real) but He sees you without those things in the end. He sees His Son’s blood poured out over you. He sees you dressed in a robe of Righteousness. He sees you as you were meant to be.

So lean into Him! Remember that yesterday is done and today is full of new mercies, and let Him do a new thing in and through you. You are restored. You are unfinished. You are loved. That is some really good news!

Related Posts:


Tracie Durham is a Cardio Strength Trainer for South Central. She is a former attorney, full-time home schooling mother of three kids (Abbie, Aubrie and Charlie), wife of a Fire Chief (Phillip) and unabashed fan-girl of “all the words” and mostly importantly…of Jesus.

“I know His history and the kind of God He is. He might make it a mystery, but he’s proving I can trust him. And, yeah, I believe it. So I can pick myself back up and keep on telling me –no, my God’s not done making me a masterpiece. No, my God’s not done. He started something good and I’m gonna believe it. He started something good and he’s gonna complete it. So I’ll celebrate the truth; his work in me ain’t through. I’m just unfinished. He’s still workin’ on me.”

Do you feel like God’s still working on you? Do you feel “unfinished” like Mandisa does? We probably all can relate to this feeling. There are times we want to give up—but God says the best is yet to come—now is not the time to give up. He is still at work and his plan is good. It takes time to make a masterpiece, right? Along with Mandisa, let’s celebrate the TRUTH —- we are all a work in progress. And God is not finished—we are just unfinished at the moment, and that is ok. When he starts something good, he always plans to complete it—this is good news! Be strong and have hope—he’s still working on you and on me!

Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Questions: When was the last time you felt “unfinished?” How did God show you how he was working through that set of circumstances? How can you celebrate the truth that God is still working in your life and that he will complete that work in his perfect timing?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, thank you that I can know it’s ok to be a work in progress. When I am feeling “unfinished,” please remind me that you are with me and that you are still working on me to create something good. Thank you that you always finish the good work you start. Amen.

Other Song Inspiration:

“Sometimes my mind is my own worst enemy. Sometimes my eyes trust only what they see. But have You ever run out of faithfulness? Have I ever needed more and gotten less? No, You always come through, so I won’t worry what tomorrow brings. Your love’s got a hold on me. And You won’t let go through the highs and lows. I won’t worry what may come my way, ‘cause I believe every word You say. I don’t have to be afraid.”

Are you someone who tends to worry? We all have to fight worry from time to time. And we’ve got some powerful weapons to use to fight it. We’ve got the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God—when your heart wants to worry, run to his Word and read his promises. (Ephesians 6:17) Use the power of prayer – “pray in the Spirit on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18) And don’t forget your shield of faith—use it to extinguish the fiery arrows of worry that the evil one sends your way. (Ephesians 6: 16) Be bold and tell the devil to run away from you, as it says in one of the other songs this session. God is with you. You can trust him. He has always been faithful. Sing this song and hum the tune all day long and the Lord will bring you his true joy as you trust in him.

Ephesians 6:16-18 “In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for God’s people.”

Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.”

Questions: What do you worry about most? What do you do to turn your heart from worry to trust? What is your favorite Bible verse that helps you to stop worrying?

Prayer Power: Pray for those you know who are worrying right now about something that is happening in their life—pray that they will seek God in his Word and trust him more. Pray for those you know and love to turn from worry and be filled with God’s supernatural true joy.

Related Posts:

prayer

“I see revival rising. I see hope on the horizon, as a generation stepping out in faith. Because we will be a people on our knees, as one before the King. Yeah, we believe. All the world starts changing when the church starts praying, strongholds start to break. Oh, when we pray, prison walls start shaking at the sound of praising. Nothing stays the same, oh, when we pray. Let your kingdom come, Lord. Let your will be done.”

Prayer brings hope. Prayer is something we can do when we feel helpless to do anything else in the face of disappointment, discouragement and danger. And it is the most important thing we can do! There is unstoppable power when we pray. Let’s be part of a generation on our knees, stepping out with unstoppable faith. Let’s live what we believe—that all the world will start changing when the church starts praying! Start today to ramp up your prayer life. Pray on your own, pray with your family, pray with your friends. Pray in the morning, at midday and at night—pray without ceasing! Be a part of the prayer revival that is called for in this song!

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: “…pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Questions: How much do you believe in the power of prayer? Have you seen specific answered prayer in your life recently? How will you “ramp up” your prayer life, starting today?

Prayer Power: Dear Lord, thank you for the opportunity to pray. I know you are listening. Help me to be more faithful and more fervent in my prayers, Lord. I want to pray with unstoppable faith. Amen. (don’t stop praying here—go on and pray for the things that are on your heart right now. Don’t worry about getting the words right. God will understand. He is eagerly listening for your prayers.)

Related Posts & Resources:

Keep Moving This Summer | Body & Soul Fitness

We’ve made it to July, and summer is officially here! Just because your schedule may be a bit more relaxed than usual, that doesn’t mean you should abandon your fitness goals. If you’re not already enrolled in a Body & Soul class this summer, check to see where Body & Soul is being offered near you.

If your schedule doesn’t allow for a class at this time or if you’re looking for some additional workout ideas that you can do on your own, try these:

Keep Moving | Body & Soul FitnessSPARK Workout for the 4th of July

Amy Stafford, President of Body & Soul, has a short two-minute video to inspire you to keep moving this summer. This SPARK routine is easy to remember, especially at the 4th of July! Just think Squats, Push Ups, Abdominal Plank, Russian Twist, and Kickboxing Kicks. Best of all, these exercises don’t require equipment so you can do them wherever you are.

4 C.O.O.L. Exercises for Summer

For those days when it’s hot outside or a Body & Soul class isn’t being offered, you can do these four exercises in the comfort of your air-conditioned living room. Again, Amy keeps it easy-to-remember: Cross Mountain Climbers, Oblique Crunches, Out-and-In Squats, and Lunges.

Take It Outside

If the weather isn’t too hot, take your workout to the great outdoors! Be sure to drink lots of water as you workout. Check out this well-rounded workout that uses whatever props are available in your surroundings. Use it as inspiration and adapt it to your surroundings.

However you choose to stay fit this summer, keep on moving!

“I’ll put one foot in front of another, take one breath and then take another. Lead the way, Lord. I’m gonna follow you. ‘Cause you’re faithful every moment, when it’s easy, when it isn’t. You’ve never led me wrong, never let go. Your love is strong and your arms still hold me right here to forever. Like a child and like a treasure from the start to the end, through the ups and downs. You were with me then, and you’re with me now.”

Life is a journey and thankfully when we know Jesus, we never have to walk alone through its ups and downs. Our job is to put one foot in front of another and take one breath at a time. He will lead. He will guide. And he has our best in mind, even when we can’t see it. When it’s hard for us to have hope, when we don’t feel like saying “bring it on,” he will be strong for us. He is faithful every moment and he will hold our hand, just like a little child needs hand-holding. He will scoop us up in his arms, just like we scoop up the children in our own lives. He has been with us in the past and he is with us NOW!

Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.”

Questions: Have you ever had a day when all you could do was put one foot in front of another and take one breath at a time? What did you do to help you “take hold of God’s hand” at times like that? How do you experience the strong arms of God holding you up?

Prayer Power: Lord, help me to put my hand in yours and take one step at a time and one breath at a time, trusting you as I walk through this journey of life. I know that you want the best for me and that you have a plan. Help me to trust you NOW as I have in the past.

Other Song Inspiration:

Let me tell you a little story about a journey I am on. A journey to true (and lasting) health and wellness for myself and for my family.

I look around and everyone I see is either very unhappy with their weight, struggling to lose weight, or wishing they could be healthier. It wasn’t until recently, that I understood just how fast we can lose control…how fast I was losing control. I also never understood until recently, how incredibly linked our health is to our faith.

Last night I was tempted. I mean…really, really tempted. We were at the fair and, well… fair food. Enough said. But then, something really cool happened. God reminded me of His truth. It says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 : “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Now, at the time I didn’t say it just like that, and I definitely wasn’t sure exactly where it was in the Bible, but none of that mattered. God had already written those words on my heart long ago. He knew in that moment, in that time, I would need to call on them. And I did. And it worked! You guys! Do you see what I am saying?!? It WORKED. God worked. His word WORKED. As soon as I spoke those words into my life, my temptation dwindled, my attitude changed…and my actions… followed. Through His strength, not in my own – I. Resisted. Temptation!!! (And I have to fill you in on what it was because that matters. It was a warm, homemade, glazed donut, like… seriously?!?!? I didn’t eat that?!?! I didn’t justify it away by saying “I’ll just have one small bite” or “it’s not that big” Guys, I fed one to my baby and didn’t even lick my fingers!!!! WHHHHHAAAAATTTT??!!!) God’s strength is SO strong. SO secure. SO powerful. And SO unfailing.

It says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 : “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

I want to honor God with all aspects of my life. So that I can experience everything He has in store. One thing I have learned, is that God’s word is so real. It is so alive. It is so true.

So, as I sit here HAPPILY drinking my plain hot tea (that is naturally detoxing my body), I tell you, God is good. His promises are true. Rely on Him and what He can do and there will be no limits on how He can and will change YOU. You will overcome your addictions, your weight loss, the marriage you want to give up, the kids that you want to sell (okay, maybe just adopt out sometimes)…lol. God will change your world if you allow Him to. I know He came in and totally changed mine. (And continues to!).

I hope this can help inspire even just one person today.


Lauren Bradley is a full time mom to four boys and a Body & Soul Instructor in Greencastle, PA.

Hi Everyone!

Today we are revamping and taking you back to last year’s 4th of July SPARK workout by our own Amy Stafford, President of Body & Soul. So while it’s not quite the holiday weekend, you’ll be sure to stay fit for the holiday with this themed exercise routine. Enjoy!

Join our Summer Shape Up classes at a location near you. To find a class go to www.bodyandsoul.org.

Hawk Nelson

“You are essential, not accidental, you should realize that you are beloved. Let it soak into your soul. Forget the lies; rise above the hurt and listen to these words. You are beloved …Don’t be afraid. Don’t let hope fade. Keep your eyes fixed on the light above. In the heartbreak, in your mistakes, nothing can separate you from love. You are beloved.”

We all go through times when we doubt ourselves. We make mistakes, our heart breaks and we feel like there is no purpose to our life. Have you been there? I think we all can relate. It is at these times that we need the reminder of this song. We need to know that no matter what we do or say, we are beloved by God. Nothing can separate us from his love—not even our mistakes. This song exhorts us to NOT let our hope fade. Let this thought soak into your soul as you sing along with this song. God’s love is unstoppable and you are his beloved!

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  

Questions:  Have you ever needed the reminder that you are God’s beloved? Do you seek him in his love letter to you, the Bible? What will you do to stay close to him so he can speak his words of love to you?

Prayer Power:  Dear Lord, thank you for this reminder that we are your beloved. Help me to truly understand that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from you. Help us to seek you in prayer and in your Word. We love you, Lord. Amen.

My grandma, Marcie Schipma, is 94 years young. And I want to be her when I grow up.

My grandma has raised 5 children, has 19 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren and can name them all in order without skipping a beat. When she wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, she prays for them all in order from oldest to youngest. She says she gets through all of them almost every time. (I’m thankful I’m one of the oldest 😉

A few years ago, my grandma decided after some heart trouble and mini strokes that it was time to move into an independent living facility. After looking at several options and landing on the one where she now resides, she told her children, “I’ve decided I’m going to like it here.” This was before she actually moved in. It wasn’t after she was there for a bit and decided she did like it, or she was liking it. She decided she was going to. And she has followed up on that decision with a positive outlook and zero complaints.

Chriss with her Grandma and sister

This past weekend, my mom and my sister and I had the opportunity to visit my grandma at her new home. We enjoyed a lovely lunch in her dining room together, cafeteria style. We talked about the usual stuff, from our kids and our jobs to our future plans. During the lunch, my grandma was interrupted several times by her friends coming over to meet her granddaughters. One of these ladies, Rose, came up to our table because she wanted us to know how special our grandma was to her. She said that when she came to Saratoga Grove, my grandma was her first friend. This didn’t surprise me or my sister, and we smiled and told her we knew how special our grandma was too.

But we didn’t know the whole story.

What we didn’t know, and what my mom told us on our drive home from Chicago to Michigan, was that after my grandma had been living at her facility for a while, she announced to her kids that she had found her purpose at Saratoga Grove.

Now, if ANYONE has an excuse to just stop, hang up her “purpose,” cash in her chips and let others serve her, it is a 94 year old woman who has raised 5 kids, lost her husband 40 years prior, has had several small strokes, a heart attack and a few falls.

Not my grandma.

She started noticing that there were a lot of people coming to Saratoga who weren’t from the surrounding community, and they were scared and lonely. Grandma made another decision. She decided that she was going to be intentional about introducing them to her friends, inviting them to bingo, and showing them the ropes. In other words, being a friend. She did not let her age or her health or her gender or her living situation stop her from finding a purpose.

What about you?

Have you come to a place where you are discouraged by your circumstances? Have you doubted your influence, your purpose or even your faith? Sometimes you have to make a decision. What do you need to DECIDE that you are going to not just tolerate, but actually LIKE? Your body? Your job? Your house? Your living situation? Your purpose? In our Spring session of Body & Soul Fitness, Unstoppable, our theme verse is Ephesians 3:20-21, which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.” Today I am so grateful for my grandma’s example, and for the legacy she is giving us through her steadfast, unstoppable love and unstoppable faith. To God be the Glory.


Chriss Pruim teaches Body & Soul Boot Camp and Power Strength programs in Byron Center, Michigan.  She is also a Boot Camp trainer, and wife to Mark and mom to Owen, Grace, and Lily.

Today we are sharing some fun from one of our classes in Oklahoma. One day as Instructor, Jamie Gray was teaching this fun hip-hop song in class, the children in childcare were headed back in from playing and peeked their heads in to see what was going on. They were invited in and the rest, as they say, is history…

Take in the message of this fun song and get up and move with Jamie and the kids. Don’t worry about getting the “moves” down, just dance and sing to the Lord. Tell him what an Awesome God he is.

 

For more about our programs check out www.bodyandsoul.org.

 

A group of us were sitting in a small group circle on a church retreat, talking about something the speaker said, when I excitedly started talking about how God had recently helped me save money by leading me to a sale on venetian blinds. One of the men in the group called me out. “Um, is that why we seek God? Is this what faith is about—God helping us find sales and parking spots?” Those may not have been his exact words, but he said something to this effect. His words stung and stopped me short. I needed to hear this. And then he went on. He was a church attender, but not really a person of faith. He wasn’t trying to condemn me; but he was truly trying to understand what believing in Jesus was all about.

I blushed and stammered as I slowly realized how self-centered my comments had been. And how self-serving my faith was, consequently. Had it truly become so small? Since when had it centered on God meeting my needs, instead of my serving God and being a part of His vision/dreams?

That conversation was a wake-up call; a significant milestone in my faith journey. It must’ve taken place some 20 years ago but it all came back to me this morning as we read the lyrics to the song “Warrior” at the end of our Body & Soul cardio strength class. In that song, the vocalist says “Faith is my shield. Love is the armor.” And my thought was, “What are we suiting up for? Is it a battle to get the ‘deal of the century’ or a primo parking spot in front of our favorite store? Or is to serve our mighty God? To intercede for others? To be bearers of light and grace in this world’s darkest places?”

This Body & Soul Fitness session theme has a focus on our unstoppable God and His limitless power. I want to call you out, as that acquaintance did for me, those many years ago. As we think of God’s limitless power, whose dreams do we hope to fulfill with it?

I’m not saying that God cannot (or should not) meet our smallest needs. He cares about the details of our lives, obviously. He knows the number of hairs on our heads and what we’re thinking before a word reaches our tongue! I’m simply reminding you of the truth that I needed to be reminded of. It is this: that God’s heart is to reach the world with truth and love; may our lives be girded in His strength to bring it to those around us, to meet His dream, to live out His vision.


Hilda Labrada Gore is a Regional Director and Program Trainer for Body & Soul Fitness. She teaches in Maryland and Washington, DC. She is also the host of the Wise Traditions podcast. For more encouragement from Hilda, go to holistichilda.com.

 

“Staring down the face of fear, gotta keep breathing. When the negative is all you hear, gotta keep believing. ‘Cause in the dark there is a light. Your truth, it keeps on burning bright, makes me brave enough to fight the fight and shout the battle cry. You’ll never stop me; I’m a warrior. When I fall down I get stronger. Faith is my shield and his love is my armor… I will keep hope alive. I will find the strength inside. I will survive. I’m a warrior.”

In this world full of negative, our battle cry needs to be: I will follow my unstoppable God! He is the light that burns in the darkness. He is the one who helps us to be brave enough to fight the fight. He is the one who gives us hope to carry on, when we are at the end of ourselves. So, what can we do to prepare for the everyday battles of life? We can put on the shield of unstoppable faith! We can trust in his unstoppable love!  God IS our rock and our salvation. He is the winner of battles, the unstoppable warrior who triumphs in the end. Let’s be warriors in his army—unstoppable because He is unstoppable!

Ephesians 6: 10, 11, 14-16 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  

Questions:  How do you prepare to be a warrior in God’s army? What does your shield of faith look like?

Prayer Power:  Dear God, help us to be brave warriors in your army, battling with your strength against the darkness and fear in this world.  When we fall down, make us stronger and help us to get back up again. Keep the hope alive in us; fill us with your light! Amen.