health, exercise and “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over…”


“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” – Luke 6:38

Other than being an “attention-getter,” the dog picture (Scout Labradoodle, taken yesterday evening) is also a health tie-in. Scout has been my personal trainer for eight years now, and she continues to make a huge difference.

That’s what I told my doctor this morning, when I went in for a follow-up consult after a round of routine blood-work. I haven’t established a history yet with this practice, so this first time around she wanted to talk about everything in detail.

KUDOS! However, instead of being in trouble, or getting one of those, “These numbers are a real problem” lectures, Dr. S. gave me kudos all around.

“Your numbers are really good,” she said. “I’m very happy. So all I’m asking you to do is the same, only more.”

“The same, only more.” That’s good.

What she was talking about was keeping my weight below 180, eating a lot of fresh vegetables, cooking more chicken and fish than red meat, avoiding too much fried food, not wasting my calories on sweets, and maintaining a healthy exercise regimen.

In other words, my doctor reminded me that health is a life-style, not something I can check off a list.

SPIRITUAL HEALTH: And I couldn’t help but think about my spiritual health, and all the conversations I’ve been having about being a disciple of Jesus. Spirituality isn’t about taking a pill, or getting a shot: – “I go to church every couple of weeks;” “I read up on my Bible-lesson for Wednesday nights;” “I say a blessing before I eat dinner;” “I go to this big-name evangelist conference every year.” Check; check; check; check.

IMG_6029No, not what we’ve been talking about. Spiritual health is a complete diet, a daily discipline, a cumulative exercise.

My mainstay is exercise and diet; walking and nourishment. I walk 8,000-10,000 steps a day (that’s where Scoutie is a BIG help); I try to make all three meals healthy and balanced (or at least 18 of the 21 in a given week). That’s not a pill, that’s a lifestyle.

Following Jesus is a lifestyle. It’s likely several hundred small steps per day, that’s the exercise. Jesus explains the nourishment part in the following way:

“The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14b

“Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” – John 4:32-34

My food is to do the will of him who sent me…” I may be doing OK. Jesus may even tell me he’s happy with my spiritual health. But one thing I know for certain, even if I am registering fairly good on the faith scale: “Derek, I’m asking you to do the same, only more so.”

IMG_5993“A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

All right, Lord; I hear you loud and clear – DEREK

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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