Monday, November 28, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #12

I'm just a tad bit stressed. That's why I'm super happy that my brother (the brother that runs in 100 mile ultra-marathons) told me over the Thanksgiving holiday that it's too late (less than a week before the race) to gain any fitness but to be careful to avoid injury. So, I got in an easy 2.5 mile run today. As I have noted before, just writing 2.5 easy run makes me happy. Though I have run off and on since I've been in my 30's,  because of a foot injury last year I had not been running much. When I started running again just this past April and could not even run 1 mile without walking. To be able to take off and run and run and run and to feel so good is a huge blessing to me.

I picked up my Bible this morning before my run and headed to 1 John 3. Johnny was there yesterday in his sermon. He started a new Christmas series yesterday titled Why? As in, why did Jesus come? Reason #1 (according to the sermon yesterday) is found in 1 John 3:8, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." I loved that he started his sermon yesterday by stating that when we (as believers and followers of Jesus) fully understand why Jesus came we will live more missionally." Like when we go to a great restaurant and we can't wait to tell our friends about it. Or we eat a great cereal and we just want to tell everyone else what a great cereal it is. (you really just had to be there yesterday to fully appreciate that last statement)

I was already on the edge of my seat by the time we got to the sermon yesterday. Wendy sang Beautiful and part of the lyrics contain these words, "Beautiful, I'm lost for more to say." Sometimes it's like that - God is so great that He is beyond words, words are not enough to praise Him or describe Him.

And, that's it. That's why we live missionally and advance the Gospel. So that He will be known. So that others will know what it's like to serve and worship the God who is beyond description. Yes, we want to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, a pair of shoes to bare feet, a house and a family to those that don't know what it's like to live with either...

But, ultimately, the greatest thing we can give is Jesus.

I didn't make it to 1 John 3 this morning. I got stuck on one of my all-time favorite verses. It's Hebrews 12:1-2 --

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (NASB)

The immediate race before me is the White Rock half-marathon. My goal is to finish. No matter how slow or how fast (relatively speaking, of course) I run, it will be a PR. The race before me is prepping for the mission banquet on Sunday evening. Yeah, the same day as the other race, the half-marathon. (maybe I need to check into renting a wheelchair...oh, just kidding!) The race is the life that God has for me. I am easily distracted at times. I'm thankful for the reminder to keep my eyes fixed, focused on Jesus. He's beautiful to me.

Serving the King and running with purpose,


Friday, November 18, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #11

Run length - 2 miles
Song that got me home - O Praise Him, David Crowder Band

I set out this morning for a quick 2 mile run with my dog. My wacky dog and some of my frustrations on taking her out have been well documented on this blog in the past. Today sent me over the edge but more on that later. BTW, I planned a short run today because it is my plan to run 10 miles tomorrow. The race is little more than 2 weeks away.

I left my house this morning thinking I can't wait until the half-marathon is over. And, I was actually thinking that I am looking forward to running a 10k the last weekend in February. Over the last few months, as I've been training for the half, I have renewed my love of running is some ways. Anticipating the 13.1 miles has taken some of the fun out of it. There are some days I would just like to run 2 miles and not worry that I'm not getting enough miles in for the week. There are some days I would just like to walk my dog around the block but I know I must run. That leads me to thoughts like I can't wait for this to be over... 

I'm guilty of that in the rest of my life as well, at times. I'm looking to the future, trying to get past something so I can get on to the next. When I'm like that I'm missing the joy of today or what God wants to accomplish in me and through me in the present. James, the half-brother of our Savior, wrote that we are merely a vapor that is here for a little while and then gone. (James 4:14) Life is way to short and flies by at lightning speed too much to live waiting to get to tomorrow or some other day in the future.

As a side note, I want to inform you that I am writing this without the use of one of my thumbs. Back to the dog story - if you have read my posts about my dog before you know she can freak out a little by the slightest thing. It's super windy today and we turned around at the half-way point to head back - straight into a cold wind and uphill. She was running ahead and I - totally doing what the dog trainer told me - was going to pull back on the leash and have her sit so she could remember who's boss. (We have a little trouble with that on occasion) My fingers got caught up in the leash and I pulled my thumbnail back - I mean, it got bent back halfway down. Then I was running into a cold wind, uphill, with a misbehaving dog, with a thumb throbbing in pain and thinking only this thought - would I rather get blood on my shirt  or on my pants. It's an old shirt that I don't really like too much anymore but I did have on my favorite running pants. And, now I had to hold the leash in my right hand and that totally threw me off because I always run with the leash and the dog on my left.

Just another reason I am so thankful for the David Crowder Band and am going to cry hysterically after (or maybe during) "The Last Show" at Passion this year is the song that got me home today. It's been one of my favorite songs for years. I'm glad it came up on my iPod when it did. I like it on the music video when the music stops and all you hear is the guy on the street singing. You have to see the video. Look it up on youtube. I was going to link it for you but I'm in too much pain.

My thumb may be broken (not)...

O Praise Him, all this for the King!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rescue, Restore, Refine Revisited

I have the awesome privilege of going to see an old friend of mine this weekend and speaking at an event for her women's ministry. I'm super excited. She happens to live down near the Hill Country of Texas where they experienced some devastating fires a few months ago. When my friend and I were discussing possible topics for her event I suggested the title/topic we used for our Fusion study in January of this year. She added a phrase so the title for this event is Through the Fire: Rescue, Restore, Refine. Of course, fire goes exactly with refine. In the book of Malachi, it is said that God will appear as a refiner's fire and fullers' soap. In the note on that verse in the Ryrie Study Bible, the author relates the refiner's fire to purification and the fullers' soap to cleansing.

My outline for the event has been in my desk drawer for a couple of weeks. I have thought and prayed about it so much while I've been out there running and running. I pulled it out today (since the event is, afterall, in 2 days) to pray and re-write and finalize. The entire theme of the original study, which was on the book of Judges, came out of a time when I did a word study on rescue. Although, when I did my original word study via one of my favorite online resources, the word rescue is not used (in the NASB) in the book of Judges it so is the theme, in many ways, of that book. Today I was pondering that and decided to try the word rescue in another translation. So, I went to my online resource, typed it in and, sure enough, there it was in my focal passage for this weekend, Judges 6:14 - Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!". The NASB uses the word deliver and the KJV uses the word save.

I hope you are still reading because I'm not to the best part yet...

So, I got out my Old Testament word study book and looked up the word from the original language. It's Yasha. Here's what it means, "To be delivered, saved; to get help; to deliver; give victory...It is noteworthy that the personal name of our Savior, Jesus, is derived from this root." (Lexical Aids, 2324) The definition goes on to report that the original meaning would have been physical deliverance, much like what was needed in the case of the Hebrews in Judges 6. The chosen people of God were being oppressed by the Midianites and they cried out to God for help. He chose Gideon to be the one to lead them out of that place of bondage. Back to the definition from the lexical aids, "Later, 'save' developed a theological meaning. God is concerned about our physical well-being, our emotional status, and the salvation of our souls. God has the ability to save us from anything which would harm us. Salvation is God's love in action."

Salvation is God's love in action - I'm about to tweet that and make it my fb status.

What a beautiful message. I hope to communicate it clearly this weekend but I've already been blessed this morning. For some reason, that just washed over me in such a fresh way and I'm thankful for it.

Serving the King, the Rescuer,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #10

Run length - an embarrassing 2 1/4 miles. The only thing worse than running only 2 and one quarter miles today is that it beats the distance I ran all of last week.
Verse for the day - so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow... and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

The half-marathon is only 4 weeks from yesterday and I've pretty much taken the last 2 weeks off with the exception of our 8 mile run on Saturday before last. Yikes! I'm so pumped about our fundraising, though. We even have some people not associated with our church who are running with us & joining our cause! Since yesterday was World Orphan Day and we had (really, this is the coolest thing!) an adopted child dedication (It was kind of like a typical baby dedication that we might do at our church but it was for families whose kids that were not adopted as babies) we decided to designate all our iRun donations of the day for our adoption & foster care ministry. It was our 2nd biggest day so far.

I was reading an article today on anthropology from the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (yes, I do enjoy reading the dictionary - last night in our missions class a man was giving a report about being in prison over the weekend with Bill Glass Champions for Life. He mentioned an inmate in the corner reading the dictionary and all I could think was, what's wrong with that?) Humans were created in the likeness and image of God for His own glory. Nothing we can do can earn or cause us to deserve redemption - it's all about accepting the free gift offered. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Redeemed men and women will, by the blood of Christ, give glory to His name and enjoy Him forever, thus fulfilling their original purpose."

So, when I run I enjoy creation because one of my favorite attributes or perfections of God is that of Creator. I enjoy creation because I am in awe of it and of Him. Even in Texas we are starting to have leaves turning fall colors. When I run I talk to God about the things that are weighing on my heart or the activities I have coming up or about my husband and kids and ministry. When I run I am thankful for health and the ability to buy snazzy new running shoes and the freedom to do so. When I run I worship. When I run I pray for those that have never heard the name of Jesus and the opportunity to share that Great Name with those that simply do not know.

I'm glad to be back running today. Tomorrow I plan to run 4. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Serving the King
  and running with purpose,