Training for the Race of Life…..Day 72 (God is good All the time)

Training for the Race of Life…..day 72 (Catch Up Day)
Today was not a day of running, but a day of trying to catch up on some rest and some visitation. I used to dread non-running days because I felt like I was missing out on something, but now I realize that we heal as we rest and recover. Putting in over 40 miles last week had definitely taken a toll on me and the day off from running was definitely welcomed.
Some times in life we dread things too don’t we? Things that we really don’t need to dread. We dwell on them, we worry about them, we focus on them, we lose sleep because of them, then when they occur (whatever they are), we find out that they weren’t as bad as we imagined. We have worried and dreaded things for nothing. In fact a recent George Barna poll shows that only 8 % of the things that we worry about or that we dread ever come to fruition. In other words we waste a lot of time dreading things that we don’t need to dread.
I used to dread non-running days, but now I have learned that they were nothing to dread and that I actually needed them. Many things in life are the exact same way. We don’t need to dread them, but we just need to trust that God is working in them and that even if they do happen, God can make something good come out of them.
That really is faith isn’t it? That really is “trusting in the Lord with all our hearts…..”. Romans 8:28 says, “God works all things together for good for those that love the Lord.” In other words even in those difficult things, those things that we dread, God can somehow make something good come out of them. That is hard to trust in sometimes and yet it’s the type of faith that we need. Faith in an absolutely amazing, awesome God who can take something bad and make something good come out of it. It is that kind of faith that says (and believes), God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
God certainly does that doesn’t He? In fact He took one of the darkest days in human history, the day Jesus was crucified and made something good come out of it. What good came out of it? The fact that because of the sacrifice of Jesus that salvation was know available for the whole world (which includes each and every one of us). God really is good all the time.
So keep running with Jesus and keep trusting Him no matter what.

Training for the Race of Life……Day 71 (Unlimited)

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 71
I decided to get my long run for this week over with early on in the week. I had somewhat of a less busy day today so I spent almost 2 hours running and got in around 10 miles. I had hoped to do more but with the week I had last week, I just ran out of energy. As someone put it, “my get up and go got up and went.”
We do have limitations don’t we. A song that was released recently talks about our limitations, “we’ve got to eat and need sleep in the evenings.” We are limited but we are limited by God’s design. He made us and He made us good but He made us with limitations other wise we would be like God.
I may get tired, I may need rest, I may have to eat and all of those things but God doesn’t. He is unlimited 100%, all powerful. 100 percent amazing. No wonder we can always rely on Him and always trust in Him. He isn’t limited. He is never tired.
When Elijah took on the prophets of Baal in the Old Testament and challenged them to perform a sacrifice to their gods, a sacrifice that wasn’t consumed because their “gods” didn’t exist, he taunted them by saying, “yell for your gods louder perhaps they are asleep or out of the room (my paraphrase). In other words your “gods” are limited. They were because they were non-existent. Our God however is 100 percent alive, 100 percent real, 100 percent unlimited. That is why we can trust in Him.
He is also 100 percent faithful. A song says, “Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong,….” and He really is. Faithful, unchanging, unlimited. He is God, and it is He that has made us and not we ourselves.
Because of that He is the one who can trust in and the one we can follow.
So keep running with Jesus but remember you are limited (so don’t overdo it). God however isn’t, so hold on to Him as He leads you on this journey of life.

Training for the Race of Life…..Days 69 and 70 (Impact)

Training for the Race of Life……Days 69 and 70
The busyness of this Saturday and Sunday left no time to run, but that was ok because my body needed some recovery time after putting in a 40 mile plus week. Saturday was filled with going to Knoxville to visit a friend whose father was in the Hospital in bad shape and Sunday was dedicated to worship, Bible study, and then an afternoon wedding. I was able to get in a lot of walking both of these days at the Hospital and back and forth between the chapel where the wedding was held and the fellowship hall where the reception was held.
Both days I was able to spend time with friends and family that I love and care about very much. And as I reflected on all of that I couldn’t help but be thankful. God has really blessed me and I am thankful for that. The wedding was filled up with people, many of whom I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years, and yet as I saw them all I was thankful for them and the impact that they had had on my life during my childhood and teenage years.
Its amazing the impact someone can have isn’t it? To take that to the next step on this journey of life (this race of life if you want to call it that), its amazing to think about the impact that we can have. For the truth is that all people impact the world around them. Some for good and some for bad. These folks had impacted my life in a good way and I was thankful. But even as I think about that from the ones that encouraged me at church, to the ones who taught me in Sunday School, to the ones who just simply took time to talk with me when I was younger, I am challenged. Challenged to have that kind of impact on those that God has placed in my life.
God has given each of us a calling. The Bible says, “for I know the plans that I have for you….” God has plans for us. He wants to use us to impact the world for His glory. Again God’s word says, “that He has good works prepared in advance for us to do.” He wants us to be people of influence. As we take this journey of life, as we run this race, He wants us to be His vessels and impact the world around us.
How? Maybe through teaching a class, maybe through praying for a child or a teenager, maybe through taking time to listen to the hurting, or maybe through taking time to visit with someone, or to cook a meal for someone in a tough time,…….There are all kinds of things that we can do to impact the world and to expand God’s kingdom.
I’m thankful for the people who impacted me and for those who impact me today. I hope you are as well, and I hope that as your thankful you are challenged to be God’s vessel to those around you.
Keep running with Jesus and keep serving Him as well.

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 68 (Family)

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 68
Well it was another snowy day here in the Artic. Oh wait I don’t live in the Artic, I live outside of Johnson City, TN. It is an amazing winter that we are having. This one wasn’t a particularly big snow but it did get the schools out, which gave me a chance to head out and get a long run in before a busy evening of wedding rehearsal.
I had every intention of getting in around 15 or even 16 miles today but my time simply ran out. I had a lot to do that evening, so I got in around 12 miles and headed home. I should have started earlier but I needed some time to play with the kids so I left a little late. Which was okay because we had a great time together. Family is extremely important.
Or at least it should be. It should be for everyone of us, our families and our friends and our church families should be a priority in our lives. Sometimes I am good and making them a priority and other times life gets extremely busy. I am glad however that today I was able to spend some quantity and quality time with them. Family time is extremely important.
Sometimes we forget that don’t we? Sometimes we get so caught us in our schedules and our to-do lists that we neglect the people who enrich our lives. Simply put we need to take time to be with those that we love.
The Bible tells us that every good gift we have in our lives is a gift from God and certainly our families, our friends, and our church families are a gift from God. We shouldn’t neglect the gift, but instead we should cherish it. We should take time to spend with those that we love to make them feel cared about, to make them feel special, to let them know that they are appreciated and to let them know that they are loved.
It may take leaving some less important things behind, it may mean saying no to certain things, it may mean compromise and flexibility, but we must do it. The Bible says, “he who doesn’t provide for his family has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” Strong words aren’t they. What do they mean? Don’t sell your family short, don’t neglect the ones that you love and the ones that love you. Make them a priority for in doing so you are honoring God for He is the one who blessed you with them in the first place.
So keep running with Jesus and keep loving Him by loving those He has blessed you with.

Training for the Race of Life……Day 67 (Normal)

Training for the Race of Life……Day 67 (Normal)
I was able to get away for about an hour today and hit the treadmill. I got in around 6 miles and my ankle actually felt pretty good. I’ll have to say it was good to get back to normal. To just run normally and clear my mind for a few minutes. Normal is good but sometimes we take those “normal” things for granted don’t we?
I have a good friend whose little boy spent 5 weeks in the Hospital, as I read their caring site they talked about when he got out and got to come back home how good it was to have a “normal” day. I know last year we spent almost a month in the Hospital with my mom, when she finally got out and got to come home it was good to have things normal again.
Our oldest son spent some time in the Hospital when he had heart surgery at 3 weeks old. We were new parents and hadn’t really established a normal routine when they flew him to Duke Hospital on a medical helicopter, so we didn’t know what normal was. When we got home and finally did establish some sort of normal routine it was absolutely wonderful. (Even though we were normally getting up every few hours to feed him). Normal was good then.
And normal is good now. We sometimes take it for granted. I know I do, but normal is good. The Bible tells us that “God’s mercies are new EVERY morning.” Again whether it is a normal morning, a great morning, or a hard morning. God’s mercies are new. Which means this, God is there. He is there in every moment and every second. Every good day, every bad day, every normal day. We need to remember that and we need to be thankful for those NORMAL days. The Bible says, “give thanks in all things,” and that even means to be thankful in those normal days that we sometimes just take for granted.
I was thankful to normally run today. We need to be thankful everyday to a God who loves us and is there with us, no matter what. “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
So keep running with Jesus and being thankful no matter what. In fact live thankfully so that being thankful becomes normal for you.

Training for the Race of Life….Day 66 (Settling)

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 66
Because of the ankle injury it was back to the elliptical machine today for almost 7 miles. I set the program on “hills” so it would be more like actual running. Still when I use the elliptical I feel like I am settling. I certainly didn’t use to feel that way, in fact before I started running regularly I used the elliptical machine quite a bit and always found it to be extremely challenging.
Now however I just feel like I am settling. I’m not sure why I feel this way, but I know that even after I “run” on the elliptical machine I wish I could actually go run somewhere. But as I allow my ankle time to heal, I guess I’ll just settle.
We do that in life don’t we? We settle for things that we shouldn’t settle for. Again Jesus said that He wants us to have “abundant life” so why do we settle? We settle for things that really don’t bring us lasting joy or peace or hope. In short we settle for the things of the world, when God so willingly offers us the things of the Kingdom.
Yet time and time and time again we as people settle for sin. If you don’t believe it look at the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. They would be close to God for awhile and then they would begin to settle for the things of the world and fall into sin. Then things would go wrong, they would run to God for a little while and then the lure of sin would pull them back in again (Can you say roller coaster ride?).
We are a lot like that as well aren’t we? We settle for the things of the world. For spending time doing things that don’t benefit us at all. For spending money as the Bible says, “on things that don’t satisfy”. In short we waste a lot of our time, our resources, and our lives by settling.
And yet God says to us today, “you don’t have to settle”. Let me give you abundant life, let me be your hope, your peace, your joy. Quit settling for the things of the world, God says, and just simply trust me.
How are you settling? Ask God to show you, then simply repent (ask Him to forgive you and help you to turn away from those things that you settle for), and God will honor that and put you back on the right path and teach you how to have life “and have it to the fullest.”
Keep running with Jesus and quit settling.

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 65 (Overdoing It)

Training for the Race of Life……Day 65 (Overdoing It)
What a day, a good day, a fairly productive day, but a busy day. I went through most of my normal routine day with Bible study, visitation, and some time on the phone, but I still managed to find a little bit of time to run. I got in around 5 miles and felt really good. I know over the next few weeks I really have to step things up a little bit as I get ready for the Marathon, which is a little over 10 weeks away. I need to be diligent about getting up my weekly mileage and in getting in a fairly long (and sometimes extremely long run) at least once a week.
5 miles used to seem like a long run, but today it went by quickly and by the time I was done I was feeling very good. I wasn’t tired and my ankle was feeling good too. All of that was great but because of all of that I went to church and ended up playing a couple of games of basketball. Which means by the end of the night I had overdone it. There was a constant dull ache in my ankle and I knew that I had done to much., which could be detrimental to my training.
Have you ever been there in life? Jesus tells us that He came so that “we might have life and have it to the fullest” (John 10:10), but do you ever feel like you are missing out on some of that fullness? There are many reasons that could be happening, but one of which is just simply maybe you are overdoing it. I know having a full calendar is a badge of honor in our world today. For some reason we think if we are busy, even overly busy, that other people will admire us. In fact sometimes people have competitions to see who is the busiest.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that we should sit back and do nothing, but I think we need to realize that life isn’t about being busy. Jesus said life was really simple, in fact He summed it up this way, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words life is about relationships. First and foremost our relationship with God, and then our relationships with other people. Its not about a full calendar or on overbooked schedule.
The story of Mary and Martha certainly shows us that doesn’t it? One sister was extremely busy doing this, that and the other, while the other one just simply sat at the feet of Jesus. And Jesus said of her, “she has chosen what truly matters.” In other words it wasn’t busyness, but it was spending time with Jesus and with the ones you love that matters.
Simply put we can get too busy, we can overdo it, and when we do it can be detrimental to us. I overdid it and it hurt my ankle and if I’m not careful is going to hurt my training and preparation. If we overdo it in life however, it hurts more than that, it hurts our joy, our peace, it hurts our “abundant life”, and it hurts our relationship with God and with other people.
So take time not just today but everyday to spend with Jesus and to spend with the ones that you love. Keep running with Jesus and don’t overdo it in life.