This week’s blog features a glimpse into my newly released book written for couples seeking to grow stronger together in body, soul, and spirit. Ben and I are so blessed to be able to share what God has shown and taught us throughout our first five years of marriage!
Below, you’ll find one of the 31 devotionals in Perfect Fit Couples Edition, as well as one of my favorite workouts featured in the book. I hope you enjoy it! If you do the workout, I’d love if you would post a picture on Instagram and tag me (dianaandersontyler) so I can repost and see what you thought of it!
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” –Ephesians 5:15-16, ESV
The Greek word used for “evil” in today’s verse translates to “hurtful, i.e., evil in effect or influence.” When Paul wrote to the early church in Ephesus, the influence of the culture in those days (approximately 60-61 A.D.) certainly was evil. It was in Ephesus where one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis, stood, which was a colossal epicenter for idol worship. Loose conduct and licentiousness were also pervasive in the city, as was demonism and sorcery, no doubt a result of the rampant idolatry that polluted the community with the stench of Satan.
The days have been evil since Adam and Eve gave in to the serpent’s temptation and took a bite from that infamous piece of fruit. The days were once so evil, in fact, that God had no other choice but to destroy the earth with Noah’s flood, sparing only two of each kind of animal and eight righteous individuals. But that cataclysmic event didn’t quell humanity’s devilish bent. On the contrary, numerous yet-to-be-fulfilled biblical prophecies foretell another time of unprecedented judgment that will mark the end of this world as we know it.
Today, in 2016, evil has made even more inroads into our lives through the advent of the Information Age and constantly advancing technology that brings the world and all its enticements straight to our fingertips. Movies, music, TV shows, computers and smartphones have the capacity to introduce all manner of evil into our lives, from debauchery and drunkenness to profanity and porn. All the enemy needs is one small crack in our spiritual armor to send an onslaught of arrows whizzing our way, each one tipped with fire and aiming to kill. All he needs us to do is stumble once, make one misstep; then he can send his dark armies after us with snares, temptations, and even doubts about what God says in His Word as he did with Eve in Eden and with Jesus in the wilderness.
So how do we combat this influx of evil? Let’s take a look at what follows today’s verse:
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
–Ephesians 5:17-20, ESV
First, we’re to know the Lord’s will, which we find as we seek Him in prayer and stillness and listen for His voice. And we search His Word for living, active, penetrating truths that guide our every step like lamps to our feet. Second, we’re to be filled not with wine, but with the Spirit and thanksgiving. In other words, we’re not to find our joy or solace in anything that would take the place of God in our lives. Instead of pouring wine into our cups, why not pour out upon others the cheer and contentment, praise and peace that accompanies our relationship with Christ? When you have these things, what need is there to reenact a country music video by drowning your sorrows and hurt in alcohol?
Christian husbands and wives (that means you!) are always in Satan’s crosshairs, not just because we’re Christ-followers, but because we’re a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Church. If Satan can muddy our white wedding garments and strategically conspire to make us renounce our marriage oath, he can lead the disbelieving world to mock and scoff and claim that our faith is powerless. This is why we’re to be wise, ever aware of where we walk, how we talk, and what we see and hear. Ever dressed in the armor of God from head to toe. Ever mindful of the weightiness of marriage and the cosmic significance it bears. Ever thankful for the calling of God on our lives to be salt and light and image-bearers of His Son.
“Whatever their bodies do affects their souls.” – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Essential to any workout, no matter what it is, is a proper warmup.
WHY WARM UP? Because warming up properly is full of benefits, including:
- Elevation of body temperature
- Increase blood flow in the muscles
- Improves efficient cooling
- Improves range of motion
- Reduces incidence and likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries
- Supplies adequate blood flow to heart
- Provides rehearsal of movements performed in the workout
- Mental preparation
As you can see, the warm-up prepares us for an effective and rewarding workout. When the workout (the fun part!) begins, our blood is flowing hot, our hearts are pumping strong, and our minds are thinking fast, each part of us giving one-hundred percent to the exercises at hand.
In other words:
Don’t Skip the Warm-Up!
800-Meter Jog (0.5 miles)
20 Iron Cross
20 Sit-Ups (If you don’t have an AbMat, place a pillow or rolled-up towel above your waistband to help support your lower back.)
10 Air Squats
10 Jump Squats
Time yourselves as you complete the following six times through:
- 10 Partner Burpees
- 20 One-Legged Romanian Deadlifts (10 each leg; perform these simultaneously with your partner)
- 10 Plank-and-Jumps Each Partner (switch spots after 10 reps)
Exercise Instructions (in the order given):
Walk Out/ Walk In
a.) Begin in a standing position. Bend over to touch your toes and walk your hands out until you are in a plank position.
b.) Walk the hands back in to your feet keeping legs as straight as possible, and repeat for the given number of repetitions.
a.) Lie face-down on a mat or on the floor. Stretch your arms out to either side, forming a T.
b.) Lift your left leg away from the floor as far as you can, then move it to the right, crossing it over your right leg. As you do this, twist your hips to the right, allowing the left leg to touch the ground on the right side.
c.) Return your left leg back to starting position and repeat the movement with your right leg.
a.) Lie on your back with your legs straight in front of you.
b.) Bring one leg straight into the air, then bring it across your body so it rests on the ground.
c.) Hold for 3-5 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Sit-ups (grab your rolled-up towel or AbMat and place it above your waistband, against your tailbone):
a.) Lie on your back with arms overhead and feet in a butterfly position (soles of feet touching).
b). Take a breath in and forcefully “throw” your arms over your body as you sit up.
c.) Touch your shoes as you exhale and return to a lying position, keeping the arms straight. Make sure your shoulder blades touch the floor at the bottom to achieve the full range of motion.
a) Stand with your feet spread apart at a distance slightly wider than the shoulders. Position your feet so that your toes angle out. This angle varies from person to person, but should be about 30 degrees. Keep your weight on the heels to prevent yourself from rolling up onto the balls of your feet.
b) Keep your chest up, shoulders back, head up. This helps promote a nice, safe, intact lumbar curve.
c) Place arms straight out in front of your chest. The arms should be in a comfortable position as they act as counter balance to the motion of the exercise.
d) Bend your knees as you lower yourself down. Pretend there is a chair behind you that you’re reaching back to sit on. Your knees should track over your feet and never jut out over them. In other words, your knees should be pointing in the same direction as your toes. If you find your knees starting to cave in, focus on pushing them out. A good way to achieve this is by imagining you are tearing the floor apart with your feet.
e.) The push back up should be generated from your hamstrings and glutes. Your chest and head should remain pointing straight forward. As you rise, your arms will probably lower back to your sides naturally. Make sure your knees keep tracking with your toes and do not begin to buckle inwards. Also be sure to keep your lumbar curve intact (curved). Generally speaking, if you have your chest and head up, your lumbar curve will be in the correct position.
a.) Refer to the “Air Squat” description.
b.) Jump explosively to rise out of the squatting position.
c.) With control, land in a squat position to complete one rep.
NOTE: Remember not to let your knees jut over your toes or let them cave inward as you jump.
a.) Partner One stands with arms raised overhead.
b.) Partner Two performs a burpee and “high fives” both of Partner One’s hands as both partners do the jump portion of the burpee.
One-Legged Romanian Deadlifts
a.) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and lift one foot a few inches off the floor.
b.) Keep your back straight and the torso tight. Look straight ahead. Pull your shoulder blades back.
c.) Lower the upper body by bending at the hips. Keep the back straight.
d.) Pretending you have a weight in your hand, slide your hand in front of the thigh and shin of your supporting leg. Push the hips back and slightly bend your knee during the descent.
e.) Swing the free leg back so it stays in line with the torso.
f.) Lower the upper body until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings.
g.) Return to the starting position and repeat for the given number of reps.
a.) Partner One holds a forearm plank.
b.) Partner Two stands parallel to Partner One and jumps laterally over Partner One’s body.
c.) Partner Two jumps back and forth for the given number of repetitions before switching with Partner One.
You can find the book in paperback and ebook formats here on Amazon!
 http://www.godrules.net/library/kjvstrongs/kjvstrongseph5.htm (accessed October 2, 2015)
 See 2 Peter 3:8-10, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Acts 17:31, 1 Corinthians 15:23-24, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7.
 Genesis 3:1; Matthew 4:1-11
 Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:105