April 2002

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This week’s First Place Bible study (week 8 of Giving Christ First Place) has really inspired me in a different way. Until now, my interest in First Place has been a little on the selfish side. I was doing this because I wanted to be thin and I wanted to feel better.

But, I’m beginning to realize that the real motivation should be that God’s temple is in ruins and I need to rebuild it. It’s similar to the way I felt when we were remodeling our church. It was almost depressing to know that God’s Sanctuary was being torn down. The only thing that made things better was that we were working on it, and through our persistence and determination we would eventually have a better sanctuary.

That’s what we are doing in First Place. We are determined to rebuild our temples and make them a better place for the Holy Spirit to dwell. If we are persistent, it will happen! What a great lesson! I hope you are having a good time rebuilding your temple.

Jeana Shelton
Oak Hill Free Will Baptist Church
St. Clair, Missouri

P.S. Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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As I went for my daily exercise this morning, I had an inspiring moment that I wanted to share with all of you.

When I started my warm-up lap around the track, I could see this man ahead of me in the distance. He was already halfway around the track, but I could tell he was moving slowly. As I got closer to him, I could see that his right arm was drawn into his side and he was walking with a very distinct limp. As I started around him, I looked at him, smiled and said, “Good morning.” The minute he looked at me and tried to respond, I realized he was a stroke victim. “Wow!” I thought, “Now here’s someone with a very good reason (not excuse) to not be exercising.” It was obvious he was struggling to make it with each step he took. Nevertheless, he kept right on, determined to make it.

If that was not enough, I went down the hill and came upon another man who had been walking when I first got there. He had stopped so I looked at him and smiled and said, “You’re not quitting already are you?” He replied, “Oh, no. I have a joint problem in one of my hips and I have to stop and rest for a minute between laps.” Again, I thought, “Wow! There’s another good reason (not excuse) to not be exercising.” Nevertheless, he kept right on, determined to make it.

Both of these men looked to be in their early to mid 50’s, and I’m sure at one time had been vibrant, healthy and strong. As I thought about that, I realized how precious it is to have a strong, healthy body. God has given us a wonderful gift in our bodies and we should choose to take care of it now instead of waiting until it begins to break down and we are forced to take care of it. I wondered each time I passed them if inside they thought, “If only I had taken care of my body when I was younger.” Not to give myself any pats on the back because I still have a long way to go, I have come so far in my journey to a healthier me!

God has given us something priceless in First Place. He has given us knowledge in learning to take proper care of ourselves. He has given us a wonderful support group of friends who are all going through the same struggles. He has given us His Word as a guide to taking care of our bodies in all aspects – Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically and Mentally. And last, but certainly not least, He has given us a chance to choose to take care of ourselves NOW by learning how to eat right and exercise regularly.

The precious gift of life and health is in your hands today, what are you going to do with it?
I love and appreciate you all and pray that God will grant you sustaining power until you have reached all your goals in the First Place program!

Leisa Walker
First Place Leader
Cartersville Church of God
Cartersville, Georgia