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When I last saw my cardiologist a couple months ago, he asked me the personal question, "Do you consider yourself to be obese or just overweight?" It was his 'kind and gentle' way to lead into a conversation challenging me to lose 5 pounds over the next 6 months. I decided to wait until after November and December were over to work on it. Now that January has come, I am committed to spending 20-30 minutes each week on the treadmill (I know that's not much, but this is in addition to the conditioning I normally do).

The popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, and I am wondering if that definition was created by someone as they walked on a treadmill.

Then again, perhaps my focus is wrong. This is my third week of treadmill walking and I do not think that I have lost a single pound. My first thought is, "What's the use! I may as well quit now." However, I am feeling more fit and energetic than I had been - could it be that this is more important than a quick loss of a couple pounds? And I am actually enjoying my time on the treadmill!

For the past six months we have been strongly encouraging people to read a couple chapters from the New Testament each day. If one follows the daily reading guide we are giving away, the entire New Testament will be read in 6 months. I am still in Revelation - which means I got a little behind somewhere along the way. The recommendation when one finishes is to start all over again ... sort of like being on a New Testament treadmill.

But there is nothing insane about this ... depending upon the results you are looking for. If your goal is to become a top-ranked New T theologian, good luck! If your intent is to be able to wow people with your knowledge - or just to wow yourself with such knowledge - OK, but ... but that is sort of like expecting to lose those five pounds after three weeks of exercise. The real value is found elsewhere ... and may not be nearly as obvious.

Consider the promise our God makes. "So it is with my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55.11) and then ask yourself the question, "Am I fixating upon the results I desire or listening to the promises of God?" The promise is that it will accomplish what HE desires ... even if our desires are different! Earlier in Isaiah the Lord says, "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught ... (They) turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Can the pot say to the potter, 'You know nothing?'" (Isaiah 29.13, 16)

So, here is my suggestion: Try reading a couple of chapters from the New Testament each day ... purely for entertainment's sake. You can listen to it while walking on the treadmill (which is what I am doing). You can even watch videos of the Gospels (check out the YouVersion app). Don't worry about it if your mind wanders ... or if you can't remember what you read three weeks ago. Remember, God promises to be at work in you through his word ... making you to be "like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." (Psalm 1.3)

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