Staying alive is KILLING me!


I just had a visit from the editor of The Fit Christian Magazine.  I wrote this study for the magazine originally because the idea of hiking in Arizona leads to good helath.  Sharing a bible study around the campfire is a bonus.  I find that life outdoors gives us a look at a shepherd’s community life and some of the vitality that comes with an active lifestyle.  While King David is enjoying some liesure in a real bed, let’s consider how health contributes to a soldier’s life.


A new soldier is taken to a reception station for reassignment to basic training.  Physical fitness training begins as soon as the bus stops.  When I was inducted into the US Army in November 1966, Fort Knox was a forbidding, cold, gloomy place.  Getting off the bus we were ordered to run everywhere by screaming NCOs.  There was a war on, and we soft civilians had to get military fit fast.  I think we may need this mindset for the Army of The Lord today.  It doesn’t have to be hard to do though.

REBUILDING THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE BEGINNING OF ARMY LIFE.  This nation is in a crisis of physical weakness today.  I must include some exhortation to physical activity that helps bring the word to life.  Seniors can make a little effort to be good examples to our youth too.  The patriarchs lived a vigorous lifestyle, and we can have the same benefits today. 

THE TABERNACLE TRAIL is an idea for outdoor fellowship that offers fitness by walking with Jesus;   A WALKING BIBLE STUDY.  The concept is found in the Feast of Tabernacles.  It is an outdoor remembrance tour of the Bible.  If we have fun in fellowship, we can encourage faith for service.  Faith requires works, so health is a real need.  You may try this in your home church to bring lessons to life in camp.  But this can’t be just an outdoor club, so we need to get grounded in the bible first.

If we are to be the Army of The Lord in this service, we should do more than we did in the Army of the World.  So I propose to be Army of The Lord Strong; a commissioned officer to the Captain of the Host.  He called us to the Great Commission after all.  Our pattern then is to be like the military recruits, who train mentally, physically, spiritually, socially, and financially.  The bible provides this foundation.

Israel grew from physical labor, and an army builds strength in its recruits.  We are born and grow in the same sequence, so I am targeting easy steps to  physical fitness early in our development.  This has to begin with the simple step of walking.  For this goal Tabernacle Trails is to provide the scriptural basis for growth as we walk to health in every area.  Tips are available in The Fit Christian Magazine, a free award winning on line publication that I write for:  I am no superman at 64 years of age though, so expect an easy walk, not a drill sergeant march!

Israel was a nomadic family, moving often.  Jesus taught while walking about the land.  Outdoor ministry is appropriate to reach people and to help us experience the Bible in a real way.  Starting with one step at a time will transform the church into a real army.  And don’t consider age as an excuse either.  Abraham and Sarah were real people.  And I am going to show some great examples to you in this article too.  Today’s seniors are quite able to serve God by rebuilding the temple of the Holy Spirit too. 


Can you remember when you started your spiritual walk with Jesus?  Perhaps you had a problem or two.  Faith produces changes, and eventually manifests some rewards.  You began with faith, and now you see the fruit of the waiting.  Now you know what produces results.

Perhaps someone encouraged you.  Friends and pastors know what will happen if a prescribed course of action is followed.  Many witnesses have reinforced these expectations, so they urge you to try the formula.  The same thing happens in education, as we grow mentally, and in physical training.

There is a similar process when we decide to start physical training for fitness.  It begins with an easy goal, such as walking.  I want to suggest that merely walking the dog is a step towards a rebirth, if done while walking with Jesus.  With a scripture for every week, a simple walk can become a journey to a new life. 

Sometimes the mind doesn’t absorb all of this fully.  When someone else starts training or learning, we don’t see much hope for them.  “What a sad sack!  Looser!”  Of course I know that you Christians always encourage faith in our friends and neighbors.  We remember where we were when the Lord found us!

He knew who we would become before we were conceived in the womb.  He has a special assignment that fits your gifts.  We need to discover our calling in Christ.  The exploration may lead down some blind alleys before we find the right one.  But every discovery may teach us to appreciate what others can do, even if we can’t match their contributions. 

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.  Jeremiah 1:4-7

As a contract employee, I have often reached the time when my employers have had to end my job.  It is part of the job, to help solve problems of excess work and a short staffing.  I have also been fired a few times.  I am not always able to deliver what every customer expects.  We try to be sure our needs are matched, but it is often impossible to fill every requirement.  I have been strengthened to retain my self-esteem, and my humility, in the face of many rejections.  I know many strength athletes who had to overcome life issues on the path to their own training successes. 

If you are young, or new to an experience, it is not easy to resist depression in the face of a perceived defeat.  We have an enemy who takes advantage of this.  There is a spirit who is called “The Accuser of the Brethren”.  That is the name and job assignment of Satan.  He is real.  Have you ever heard a voice that wants to make you dislike someone else, or even yourself?  Do you hear a voice that doesn’t like the worship music, or the preacher?  Guess who that is!

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  Revelation 12:10 

Your pastor is a professional, and he has seen more than one success story.  He has no problem prescribing a course of action, and expecting results.  Our un-saved friends may be tempted to sprinkle some humor in as they see you start yet another plan of self-improvement.  Or we may even find those who are working for their father, the Accuser of the Brethren.  Your father has a different vision, including the future.  What seems like an eternally slow progress to us is but an instant to him.  He is already there, waiting for you at the finish line.

A personal trainer has a similar goal to encourage your growth.  You can have the same negative comments in this rebuilding program as well.  God can help you visualize your goals in both areas of growth.  I know a few strength athletes and I know that many have learned to seek their strength in God first.  The next part of this story will bring some of those examples from our modern world.  Stay tuned for a few more surprises.


Finances, family, and health issues may seem like too much to deal with.  We may need this message in America before we can contribute to changing the world.


God wants us to have a positive self image, and strength for the daily grind.  An exercise plan can be a simple walk or a major lifestyle change.  Attitudes and encouragement are important for either plan.

We should have a vision of ourselves and others being the winners of “The Biggest Loser” TV show.  Look forward to a total makeover!  Everyone who can receive Christ can be more than conquerors.  You do not know who will respond to his name.  His sheep know their master’s voice, even if they are black sheep!

Your words can make the difference in the lives of others.  One night my wife and I were awakened by a late night phone call.  I answered, and a woman began a series of lewd sexual suggestions.  Instead of an angry response, I began sharing the gospel with her.  She immediately broke down in tears and apologized.  She promised to start going to church again.  I was stunned.  Why didn’t I expect the name of Jesus to have this power?

(Oh me of little faith!)

Your thoughts form you words, and need to be positive.  You need to have faith in yourself too.  You will be surprised at who gets discouraged around you.  Some of your fellow gym rats may seem way ahead of you in your eyes.  Yet under a heavy workload and high expectations, life gets heavy.  Personal loss and past spiritual wounds can be re-opened even during a great victory.  We never know when we can be able to spot a friend who has challenged a weight that doesn’t want to move. 

It’s OK to ask for help too.  The word says “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.  That does not mean you can do whatever you please, but those things that are submitted to his word, with his help.  The walk is done in accordance with godly and government laws to strengthen us.  Authorities were ordained by God to protect us from drugs and immoral behavior.  Steroids are one example of false fitness; they destroy the body while creating an illusion of strength.  In full context:

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.   I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil 4: 12-13

Paul had to be a prisoner of Rome to preach to its citizens along the way.  He could do mighty things only if he operated under God’s way of doing things.  Samson only had power when his body was the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The final words of Solomon pointed to obeying God as the sum of all wisdom.

Our example can include humility, confessing faults and asking for prayer and encouragement.  We can be accountable by being open about our lives.  Balanced training requires a trinity fellowshipFellowship with the Father in prayer, with Jesus in reading the word, and with the spirit in church attendance

When he was 12 years old, Jesus challenged the teachers in the temple.  He had solid biblical knowledge at that age.  He did not have any Sunday school classes in those days.  He probably learned from his father Joseph.  Much of that may have come while walking to work.  Jesus taught his disciples while walking around Israel.  We may be able to offer a similar outreach.

I want to present some ideas while walking with Jesus.  I want to make hiking in the local parks a way to share a few opportunities.  We can even take the dogs for a walk too, if they are not a distraction.   Think we can find some special surprises along the way to bigger adventures.

Along the way I will share how others have been able to rebuild the temple of the Holy Spirit, their bodies.  Seniors?  I know of people who are competing bodybuilders in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even a beautiful 86 year young woman!  We have resources to help us find better health at an easy pace.  Your self-improvement efforts can be a team effort for faster results.  I interviewed a church fitness leader in Tennessee who used canned goods for weight training, then donated those to the food bank.  Talk about multi-tasking!

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.  Gen 12:4 (KJV)

And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.  The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.  Gen 12:14-15 (KJV)

Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?  Gen 17:17 (KJV)

OK, Sarah was ten years younger than Abraham, who was 75 on leaving home.  So Sarah was 65 years old when the Pharaoh found her irresistible.  Here are some modern day “kids” found on the internet:

56 years old:     

MAXINE JOHNSON is a great trainer and a woman of faith

66 years old:  

“OLD NAVY” Scott Hults is a retired Navy officer and also a godly trainer

THE FIT CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE also offers family friendly tips on line.  Look it up!

Jesus learned while walking with his father Joseph.  We can learn by walking with Jesus.  Together WE CAN REBUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and reclaim our generation for God…One step at a time!