Categories
encouragement theology

Stress overload?

How many times have you gotten into stress overload this week?

I found this reminder at the end of a very stressful week:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4

The word “mind” used here could also be translated as our thoughts or intentions.  Likewise, the word “stayed” could be translated as leaned or rested.

Therefore, the encouragement here is that we need to rest our thoughts and our plans on God.  When we are sure that we are leaning on God with our plans, then we can have peace regardless of what happens with these plans.  It is now up to God and not up to us.

How much time do we spend talking with God about our plans?

Do we allow God to give us input?

Do we search out His Word for what he would want us to learn?

Do we trust God with the results?

If you are like me, this is very difficult to put into practice.  I often put put together my plans and then quickly go into action.  It is only after I failed that I realized that I never included God in my planning.

Thought for this week: Spend some time each day simply talking with God about your plans.  Be listening for Him to answer.

Categories
homeschooling marriage and family

Homeschool Blindspots

This is an important article for all parents and is not specifically related to homeschooling.  I highlighted some of the important points below:

Having self-centered dreams:

It is only natural for parents to have high hopes and dreams for their children. However, when we begin to see our children as a reflection or validation of us, we become the center of our dreams, and the children become our source of significance. When that happens in our home it affects the way we relate with our children, and subtly breaks down relationship.

Raising the family as an idol:

When we allow the success of our family to determine our security or sense of wellbeing we are seeking from it something God intends us to receive from Him. I am describing idolatry.

Tending to judge:

When pride is working its work in us, we sincerely believe our personal opinions reflect God’s utmost priorities and standards.

Over-reliance upon sheltering:

Sheltering is a critical part of parenting, but if parents keep it their primary focus, the children will grow up ill equipped to handle the temptations in the world.A child isolated from disease may appear to be of the greatest health to his parents, but the health of the human body is only proven by how it withstands an attack. A weak constitution succumbs to every germ and virus – a strong one fights them off. Our spiritual and moral health is developed and proved in the same way.

Conclusion:

I am convinced that the most contagious parenting is living a heartfelt faith before your children. Fruitful interaction is not about what you do to your young people, but who you are with them. It’s about having a real faith in God, and expressing it in a real relationship with a real person–not about methods and self-working principles. God intends that the side-effect of loving Jesus and enjoying the grace of the gospel will be that all people–including our children–will be touched by the Savior in us.

I encourage you all to read the entire article here.

Categories
theology World etc.

The End Is Near!

Harold Camping has been in recent headlines as he predicts that the world will end this Saturday: May 21, 2011.

For those who don’t get to read this post until after Saturday, my apologies. Camping was wrong.

Actually, Camping says that May 21 is the first day of Judgement. The world will not be destroyed until 5 months later. Camping arrived at these figures by combining two Bible verses and a lot of date calculations. See specific details below.

Jesus himself warns us to not predict when he will return:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Matthew 24:36

Despite this warning, there is a long line of people in history who have attempted to predict when Jesus will return.  Camping is not alone.  So far, not one of them has been correct.

One such man in the early 1800’s was William Miller.  Miller had calculated that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844 (revised from March 22).  Several of Miller’s followers had sold their farms and stood with Miller on that night in October. That night would go down among these followers as “The Great Disappointment”.  Afterward, some of Miller’s followers revised their understanding of these events and began the movement that we now know of as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  See here for more details.

I was in college when a popular booklet was distributed, entitled, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988″.  The author, Edgar C. Whisenant, had done extensive research into arriving at the conclusion that the Rapture would occur on September 1988.  I can recall my pastor at the time critiquing Whisenant’s findings, yet commending him on his scholarship.  But Whisenant was mistaken and the rapture did not take place in 1988.

Even in our more recent past, several people believed that Jesus would return in the year 2000.  (This belief was often in conjunction with the widespread fear of Y2K computer failures).

Harold Camping himself had originally predicted that the world may end in 1994.  Once again, the passage of time has shown these people to be mistaken.

Why does Camping believe that the world will end on May 21, 2011? Camping bases his conclusions on the following premises:

  1. Amos 3:7 says that “The Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets“.  Camping takes this as a promise that God will reveal the timetable of the world’s end.
  2. In Genesis 7:4, God is commanding Noah to enter the Ark and says, “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground“.  Camping takes from this that God will destroy the world in “Seven Days” after Noah entered the Ark.
  3. 2 Peter 3:8 says that, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day“.  Camping combines this with the Genesis account above to conclude that the “seven days” from Genesis 7:4 really mean 7,000 years.  Therefore, he concludes that the world will be destroyed exactly 7,000 years after Noah entered the Ark.
  4. Camping has concluded “by careful study of the Bible” that the flood occurred on May 21, 4990 B.C.  Therefore, 7,000 years later will be May 21, 2011.

Camping has done a lot of calculations in order to arrive at this date.  However, he has these problems in each of the above premises:

  1. He uses Amos 3:7 to prove that God will show us his timetable.  Amos 3 is warning Israel of their pending judgement.  But God also promises that he will deliver a warning through his prophets before sending judgement to Israel — a warning that God is currently doing through Amos.  There is no basis for extending the prophecy in Amos 3 beyond the Old Testament judgement on wicked Israel.  Also, Camping is equating himself (and his followers) with the Old Testament prophets.  He makes this conclusion without any basis.
  2. He uses Genesis 7:4 to set a timetable for the end of the world, yet the context of Genesis 7 is God’s command to Noah personally.  He has a week to get himself and all the animals onto the Ark.  There is no indicator here that the “7 days” has a further meaning beyond the worldwide flood of Noah’s day.
  3. He uses 2 Peter 3:8 to translate the “7 days” above to 7,000 years.  In addition to the problem mentioned above with trying to stretch the command to Noah beyond the flood, Camping is being inconsistent with translating days into thousands of years.  For example, why translate the 7 days waiting for the rain as 7,000 years, but not translate the 40 days of rain as 40,000 years?  2 Peter is not a tool to convert timetables from days to thousands of years.  Instead, a better understanding of of 2 Peter 3  is to look at 3:8-9 and realize that God will keep his promises, even if it takes a thousand years!
  4. He says that he discovered that the flood occurred on 4990 B.C. “by careful study of the Bible”.  Unfortunately, I could not find any information to support his claims for why he has so definitively chosen 4990 B.C. (There is an option to order a free book with these details, but I fear that they will not be able to ship it if the world ends).  This date is much older than any research that I have done, and it is in conflict with other Bible scholars who date the flood at approximately 2304 B.C.  See the link here for specific details on 2304 B.C.

You can see the full details on Camping’s treatise here.

What are the consequences of making predictions like this?  Unfortunately, there are two groups that are hurt by false predictions:

The first group is Camping’s followers.  Like William Miller in the 1800’s, false predictions can leave a trail of disillusioned followers.  Many of these people have contributed greatly to his cause, selling property and contributing to help spread his message.  These people have put their credibility on the line for a belief without a solid basis.  Like Miller’s followers in the 1800’s, this disillusionment can be fertile ground for new false teachings.

The second group that is hurt are those who are lost.  The mockery of a Christian leader grows as the word spreads about this prediction. Christians lose their credibility and the lost have one more obstacle in their way before they will listen to the truth about Jesus.  Regardless of attitudes, we need to pray for those around us.

What should we do?

The best advice comes from reading the rest of 2 Peter 3:

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Wait for Christ’s Return!

Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and be at peace!

Don’t be carried away by the error of false teaching!

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Jesus can come today, tomorrow, Saturday, or any day after that!  Until he returns!

Categories
Uncategorized

Easter Weekend

Easter Weekend has come, bringing lots of discussions….

  • Day off of school (Good Friday off)
  • Earth Day on Saturday (See a great post here)
  • Commercial Trappings (Easter Bunny, Sugar, Easter Baskets, More Sugar, etc.)
  • Church Services (make sure to wear something nice!)
  • Spring Weather

But what is the big deal about Easter? 

We don’t worship a dead savior.

We were enemies with God.

Jesus bought us forgiveness with his life.

But he is not dead.  He is alive again!

We don’t worship a dead savior.

Is this news?

Is this new news?  Is this old news?

How does it change your life?

How does it change your weekend?

What if there was no holiday?  How about next weekend?

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
– 1 Corinthians 15:17-21

Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
– 1 Corinthians 15:49

I want share again a post from last year: He’s Alive!

Have a wonderful Easter!

Categories
Uncategorized

Most obnoxious toy?

 

Categories
culture entertainment theology

Save the planet!

Save the planet!

Be kind to the earth!

This common theme runs throughout contemporary American culture.  You see it all the time in popular music,  movies, and television shows.

This issue gets hotly debated, especially across political lines.

But how often do we look to see what God has to say about the issue?

I came across this passage in Leviticus:

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations … lest when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

-Leviticus 18:24-30

WARNING: This chapter in Leviticus contains a list of some of the most disgusting, vile, and deviant practices to ever be recorded in Scripture. But what is the warning? Don’t do these things “lest the land vomit you out“!

Few of us would even think to stoop to the level of depravity in Leviticus 18. But let’s celebrate the earth that God has given us by keeping our lives pure!

Categories
humor sports

Top 10 lessons for a swim coach

My top-10 list of lessons I learned from coaching swim team this season.

10. You don’t know it all. The minute you think you have it all figured out, something is going to make you look really dumb.

9. The best technique cannot replace poor fitness.

8. The best fitness cannot replace poor technique.

7. 79-degree water feels much colder!

6. There are no rest areas between Cary and High Point.

5. The most encouraging away meets are at schools with the same mascot. Everyone cheers for you!

4. Make sure you have enough room for everyone at practice.

4. Learn to count!

3. Don’t be afraid to push for the next level. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish!

2. Don’t forget why you are there.

1. Remember: you are not alone!

Categories
humor Uncategorized

Tim Hawkins on the Ark Encounter

Categories
encouragement

New Year’s Resolutions

This is the time of the year when we tend to take stock of ourselves and our lives.  We often make promises on things that we try to improve – many of which we never complete.

In the early 1700’s, Jonathan Edwards compiled a list of 70 resolutions. While we may review our resolutions every year, Edwards committed to reviewing his resolutions every week! You can read Edwards’ complete list here.

Instead of making yet another annual list of promises that I cannot keep, here is my list of resolutions for this year and following:

1. Resolved to seek Christ as the top priority in my life.

All other priorities must take a secondary role after Christ.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

2. Resolved to developing spiritual growth in myself, my family, and in other believers where I have contact.

It is not enough to pass the time or to make good conversation. We  must  continue to grow in our own lives and seek to build each other up.

Hebrews 3:12-13
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called”Today,”so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

 

3. Resolved to present Christ to those who do not know him.

Walk the talk, but also look for opportunities to speak of him.

1 Peter 3:15
but set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

 

4. Resolved to be honorable and exemplary in my professional life.

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

 

5. Resolved to be active and responsible in physical, financial, mental, and social matters.

1 Corinthians 9:26-27
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

 

6. Resolved to never break from the fight against temptation.

Philippians 3:19-20
… whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

 

7. Resolved to seek out service to others, not for my gain, but for the advancement of Christ and for building up others.

James 2:15-17
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them,”Go in peace, be warmed and be filled”, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

 

8. Resolved to repent and seek forgiveness when I fail in these things.

1 John 1:8-9
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Categories
culture encouragement Poem

While You Were Sleeping

Thanks to Casting Crowns for writing this song and making it famous:

“While You Were Sleeping”

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you’re lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

Categories
humor sports

Triathlons: Crash Course

There is a great article on Runner’s World here.

This article chronicles the experience of an experienced runner attempting his first triathlon.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

“I was already a decent if casual cyclist, and as for the swimming, well, all kinds of folks swim a good distance without drowning–so why not a runner in marathon shape? … ‘You’ll find out,’ said my Wise Inner Voice, and then it went off to spend the summer with somebody more inclined to listen to it.”

About swimming:

“Pool swimming is as different from open water as running on a treadmill is from running from a hungry bear.”

About biking:

“Legends are full of heroes who unknowingly pick up the instrument of their own destruction, but rarely do they pay retail for it.”

“…cycling encompasses everything from Lance Armstrong climbing an Alp to an English vicar pedaling about his parish, and the difference is discomfort. Runners train so they can run long distances comfortably. Cyclists train so they can cover long distances while in pain the whole time.”

About running:

“My legs complained at the strain, feeling both stiff and soft. They felt as if I had swapped my legs for someone else’s…I was pretty sure I could do the distance. I just didn’t know whose legs I’d be using to do them.”

Personal note: I was thrilled with my 52 minute PR for the 10K run leg of an Olympic Tri.  This guy did a 43 minute split on the run leg for his first ever tri.  That is why he gets to write the articles and I end up reading them!

Categories
sports

Northern vs. Southern Triathlon

Northern vs. Southern Triathlon

I was able to compete in two separate triathlon in June: Kerr Lake (NC, Southern) on June 6 and North Country (NY, Northern) on June 26. Both races were roughly the same distance, but were vastly different in both latitude and geography. While in no way a complete sampling, this is my comparison of the two:

Weather

Southern race was sunny and very hot (high 90’s). High humidity.

Northern race was overcast and cool (60’s – 70’s). Low humidity.

Assessment: Much much better in the northern weather — especially the run!

Major advantage to the northern race.

Terrain

Southern race was small, rolling hills.

Northern race had a hilly run course, and a huge mountain on the bike course.

Assessment: The hills and the scenery were part of the draw of the northern race.

Still, the northern race was much more difficult, and there is little chance of a PR on this course.

Advantage to the southern race.

Organization

Obviously, the organization of the race is not at all related to its location in the country. The southern race was larger with much more organization. However, the northern race had a lot more food and giveaways.

Swim

Southern race was faster and warmer.  Water temperature was not wetsuit legal. Steep hill to T1.

Northern race was colder and rougher. Water temperature was about 69 degrees, making it wetsuit legal (I didn’t use one). Breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear water.

Assessment: This swim course was my reason for doing the northern race. It wasn’t my fastest swim but one of my strongest and my favorites.

Advantage to the northern race.

Bike

Southern race had low rolling hills. Despite the hot weather, it was my fastest bike course.

Northern race had bigger hills with a huge mountain in the middle. I had to push my bike up some of the steepest grades. Crazy downhill speeds.

Assessment: Northern bike was an adventure, but it was almost suicidal.

Advantage to the southern race.

Run

Southern race had small hills, but the heat was unbearable.

Northern race was more hilly, but with much lower temperatures. An added benefit for me was that a friend ran the 10K run course with me. I ended up with a PR for the run course.

Assessment: I’ll take the northern hills for the lower temperatures on the run course.

Advantage to the northern race.

Accessibility

Southern race was close to my home, accessible by an early morning drive on race day.

Northern race was available only as part of our vacation travels.

Conclusion

The northern race was much more scenic with better temperatures. However, the southern races have faster times and, most importantly, are closer to home. I will try the scenic challenges when I can, but will look first for races nearby.

Categories
encouragement praise theology

Forever

“No matter how great your pain is right now, it is not forever.”

I heard this quote from my pastor recently. The lesson is about our Eternal State with God himself. Forever.

We are reminded in Scripture to to focus on the forever.  The problems that we encounter here and today are nothing compared to the Forever.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, while we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I am reminded again and again how little I know about life.  I cannot even manage my own problems this week, let alone my entire life.  And my life is much more fortunate than many.

How little I know.

How little we all know about life.

We look at life as if it is about to crush us down.  We look at what we see, hear, and touch, and define this as our life.

We measure ourselves by our accomplishments and our pains that we encounter.

How little we know.

God has not made us for this 70-year span here on earth.  We are meant to be with him.  Forever.

What will life be like when finally see God?  How little will we care about our day-to-days pains from here on earth?

We will have stepped out of the shadows and will finally get to experience the REAL life.

Forever!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. – Revelation 22:3


Categories
sports

My love/hate relationship with running

Top things I hate about running

  1. Speed work in the severe cold
  2. Tempo runs in the sweltering heat
  3. Hitting the wall miles from home
  4. The pain of minor injuries
  5. The fear of major injuries
  6. Running out of water
  7. Pushing too hard and paying for it
  8. Answering detractors (No, it won’t kill me!)

Top ten things I love about running

  1. The solitude of a solo run
  2. Deep talks on a run with family or a patient friend
  3. Being faster than my brothers
  4. Trying to keep up with my sisters
  5. The adventures of long runs
  6. The goodies given out at races
  7. Eating what I want, as much as I want
  8. Being in shape and having more energy
  9. Accomplishing goals; finding my limits
  10. The support of my family


Categories
sports

Canucks are Golfing

For those who are following the NHL playoffs:

Categories
encouragement theology

What should we pray for?

I often think of the common child’s prayer: “bless Mom, bless Dad, bless my friends, bless my teacher, …”  Now as adults, we can make a much better sounding prayer, with much more more spiritual words.  However, how often do we really think about what we are saying when we pray for others?  What do we pray for?

I am encouraged to pause when reading the Bible when it covers a specific prayer or prayer requests. How often do our prayer requests model these precedents in Scripture?

Paul starts the letter to the Philippians with a prayer of encouragement:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

In this prayer of encouragement, these are some of the specific requests made on behalf of the Philippian Christians:

  1. That your love may abound still more and more” – That their love (agape) would grow in abundance; more than enough
  2. “real knowledge” – That their love would be anchored in understanding and in the Truth of Scripture.
  3. “all discernment” – Also translated as “depth of insight”, that their love would show an understanding of what is good.
  4. “approve the things that are excellent” – That that they would evaluate things for what has real value
  5. “sincere” – lit. “without wax”; illustrating broken pottery that was repainted for a cheap sale.  The prayer for them is that their love and discernment would produce in them a pure faith without secret agendas or motives.
  6. “blameless” – that they would give no cause for offense; have no legitimate accusations against them
  7. “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” – recognizing that the only source of them being able to accomplish this was their salvation in Christ, and his ongoing work in them.
  8. “to the glory and praise of God” – the ultimate goal was for God’s glory in everything.

May we include this in our prayers for others.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Categories
Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc. politics, economy, etc.

National Day of Prayer

The following link is an interesting article by the president of Focus on the Family, entitled “A day of prayer for judicial common sense”

Categories
sports

Ryan Hall on the Boston Marathon

see the link here for Ryan Hall’s blog about his attempt win the Boston Marathon this week.  Ryan finished 4th, but set the American record for Boston.

The more I read about Ryan Hall, the more I am impressed with the way he integrates his faith into his running, and uses his running as a platform for reaching out to others.

Categories
encouragement sports

God’s Word for Athletes

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

– 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

I enjoy preparing for long-distances races.  The training has its share of hardships, but I am always motivated by how the process makes me better: faster, stronger, more efficient, etc.  There are peaks and valleys, successes and failures, elation and misery. Yet at the end, many of my best experiences have come from these training times — sometimes even better than the races themselves.

Yet every race demands personal sacrifice.  I am frequently not careful about what I eat, and the junk food leaves me overweight and sluggish on my next run.  A close friend repeatedly attempts training, yet he is not careful about his other activities.  As a result he pays the price with frequent injuries — many of which have caused him to cancel his race plans.

The list can go on.  We strive to better ourselves in the physical world and to attain to a form of greatness.  In the passage above, God tells us to approach our spiritual life with the same level of intensity and sacrifice that is expected of an athlete as they prepare for a big race.

Let us pursue greatness in our physical lives, but especially in our spiritual lives!

Categories
encouragement praise Uncategorized

He’s Alive!

Thanks to Don Francisco:

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fears that day
Would find the soldiers breaking through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call