Training for the Race of Life……Days 106-112 (Routine)

Training for the Race of Life ……….Days 106 – 112 (Routine)
The last few weeks I have settled in to a pretty good training routine, running either 4 or 5 days a week with some walking and other types of cross training thrown in. This week was no exception as I ended up getting 47 miles in for the entire week, which is my highest total so far.
The one different thing about this week was my long run. I was able to get in 19 miles in around 4 hours and I was absolutely surprised at how good I felt during the run. Perhaps all of the training and hard work was paying off. I probably smiled for 3 straight days after the run was completed.
God gave me an absolutely beautiful day to run at Warriors Path State Park and even though I was tired after it was over. I was energized as well, and I really believed that this marathon was certainly an attainable goal. As I said the training was paying off.
It pays off in life as well doesn’t it. Paul says physical training or exercise is of some benefit but spiritua training ( or training towards Godliness) is immensely.valuable. When we train for a race or whatever, we get our bodies ready for that event but when we train ourselves (I.e. spending time in worship, in prayer, and in Bible study) we get ourselves ready for the events both bad and good of life.
Training for a marathon is time consuming. There are days that I have to clear my schedule so to speak so I can have time to get in a long run. This is important but how much more important is it to make time for God. We need to clear our schedules so to speak so we can spend time with him and so we can allow Him to train us up for Godliness. So that He can get us ready for the events and the days of life.
So keep running with Jesus and make sure you are spending tine with Him.

Training for the Race of Life……Days 99 through 105 (Consistency)

Training for the Race of Life…….Days 99 through 105 (Consistency)
This week was largely an uneventful week running wise, I was able to get in 5 runs during the week and with some walking I totaled about 34 miles. As the marathon draws closer (its only 5 weeks away now), I am told by people in marathon training and also by people who have ran marathons before that it is extremely important to log 30 plus miles a week as you approach the big day.
The only way to do this is to be consistent. You have to consistently run 4 days a week and some weeks 5 or 6 days a week to log this many miles and to get ready to run a marathon. In other words consistency is the key. There will be days when you don’t feel like running, there will be days when you don’t want to run, there will be days when you actually hate the thought of tying your running shoes, and there will be days when finding time to run is almost impossible (and sometimes it will be impossible), but in order to successfully train for a marathon, you have to overcome those things. You have to be consistent.
Consistency is not only key in long distance running, consistency is also key in life, and that is especially true in our walk with God. The Bible says we are to “love Him with all of our heart” (that’s consistently). It says “if we love Him we will obey His commandments,” (again that’s consistency). And Jesus tells us that in order to be His disciple “we must take up our cross DAILY.” And certainly that implies consistency. We are also told to “rejoice in the Lord always”, which means consistently. And we are commanded to “give thanks in all things”, which again means consistently.
We are told to meditate daily on the word of God. We are exhorted and encouraged to pray without ceasing (that is certainly consistently isn’t it). And these are just a few examples. In short we have to be consistent in our walk with Jesus.
And if we are honest there will be times when we are tempted not to be. We will be tempted to fall into sin and take our eyes off Jesus. We will be tempted to doubt. We will, if we aren’t very careful, get to busy and neglect our relationship with God. Some days we will “feel” very close to Him, and some days we will “feel” that He is a million miles away (He is but He is also right beside of you). On those days our consistency can waver, but we have to remember we are not told to walk by feelings, but to walk each day (consistently) by FAITH.
We must make up our minds (as Daniel did, he “purposed in his heart”) to be consistent in our faith. To not get distracted, to not doubt, to not be controlled by sin or by feelings. We must everyday through the power of the Holy Spirit, trust in the Lord more and more and consistently walk with Him. So keep running everyday with Jesus, and keep glorifying Him.

Training for the Race of Life…..Days 96 through 98 (Philippians 4:13)

Training for the Race of Life……Days 96 through 98
Friday I did a little bit of running and walking, nothing major but just enough to make sure I didn’t stiffen up after yesterdays long run, and hopefully just enough to help stimulate some recovery and healing. When I used to lift weights I would get sore, but the soreness that you feel after running for hours and hours is somewhat different. Not as intense but maybe a little deeper into the muscle tissue, if that makes any sense.
Saturday was a day with a little more running and a little more soreness as well. I was able to log a few miles because they say that your total weekly mileage should go up as the big race approaches. I hesitate to call it a race because I won’t be trying to beat anyone but I guess I am racing against my own limits and in some ways against myself.
Of course Sunday was another wonderful day of worship at church, and generally on those days of worship it affords me some time for rest and reflection. And today I was struck by the fact that the time is drawing near, in just 6 short weeks this marathon will be over, and hopefully and prayerfully I will have finished.
I know when Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he wasn’t necessarily talking about running a marathon but I know that if I am going to complete the training and ultimately the 26.2 miles I will have to have His strength. In and of myself there is no way that I can do this. And yet with the strength of Christ, and being surrounded by His creation, and with His songs in my heart, and the family that He has blessed me with waiting for me at the finish line I anticipate finishing the course. And when I do I will know that it is through Him that I did. God is so good and we should take time to be thankful for all of the things that He enables us to enjoy. So keep running with Jesus, keep running with joy, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Training for the Race of Life……Days 94 and 94 (Running with Perseverance)

Training for the Race of Life……Days 94 and 95
Yesterday was just simply another day of rest as I prepared for a long run tomorrow. I had a lot of things that I needed to do but it was nice to rest from running and to get prepared for what tomorrow and tomorrow’s run would hold. Almost every time I run I feel as if God is teaching me something about Himself or His word or His church. So I look forward to each run and I believe that each long run provides a really good learning opportunity. And yet to maximize those runs you need to be well rested, I have learned that the hard way before to be sure.
Today I eagerly anticipated heading out and getting a long run in. I chose to run at a local park so that I might enjoy some relatively new scenery as I prepared to run for almost 4 hours. Before it was over I got in around 17 miles with a combination of running and walking. It was the longest run that I had ever been a part of and I was definitely excited and feeling like the marathon was more and more within reach.
What did I learn as I ran today? I think I learned the value of perseverance. The Bible says that “the testing of our faith produces perseverance”, well certainly my faith wasn’t tested today (in fact it was strengthened) but my limits were certainly tested and hopefully that is producing within me a physical perseverance. And yet as value as physical perseverance is, it is far more important to have perseverance for life isn’t it.
Paul knew that and he himself was faced with some terribly demanding times. In fact he likens some of his situations to a race (or a marathon) and says let us “run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” In other words let us endure as we go throughout this life, knowing that many times we will encounter difficulties and hardships, and yet also knowing that as we keep our eyes on Jesus, He helps us to endure.
That is why Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” What was he talking about? He was talking about his situation of being in prison (he was imprisoned for sharing the Gospel), and how he was going to get through that situation. The only way I can get through, Paul says is through Jesus. Through the hope that he gives me, through His love, and through His strength.
Do Paul’s words apply to us? Yes! I think that we do can endure whatever hardship that we have to endure while in this world through the power of God and through the hope that only Jesus can give us. And He does give strength doesn’t He? In the book of Zechariah, chapter 4, God says, “not by power nor by might but by my Spirit.” God strengthens us through His spirit, and His strength enables us to persevere. He also gives hope doesn’t He? And as the Bible says, “it is a hope that does not disappoint.” It is a hope of eternal life, the hope that this world is not all there is, and as we run throughout this life, keeping our eyes on Him, He gives us that hope, and that hope enables us to persevere. So keep running with Jesus, and as you go throughout this life, know that as you rely upon Him, He will give you the perseverance that you need.

Training for the Race of LIfe……Day 93 (Surprise)

Training for the Race of Life…….Day 93 (Surprise)
Another beautiful February Day which considering the winter we have had is almost unbelievable. Surprising to say the least, but that is how God is, He does things that are unbelievable, things that in fact are impossible humanly speaking. But as the Bible says, “He is the Lord is anything to hard for Him?” He does unbelievable things and surprising things. Today was one of those beautiful, unbelievable, surprising days. And it was a day that I ran close to home, in my neighborhood. I have a route marked off that is a little over a half mile through the neighborhood and at just about every point I can see my home, which is nice.
I love my home, my neighborhood, the place where we live, and its nice to run through the neighborhood with all of its familiarity. In fact as I run and look at the place where I am, I have to admit that even this house, this home was surprising to me. We bought it a little over 3 years ago, at a time when I wasn’t planning on buying a house, in fact I wasn’t planning on making a move but God surprised us. And He does that from time to time. He loves to surprise us.
As a dad, I love to surprise my kids, whether its with a new toy, a new game, a special trip, or just going to a new place. Surprises can be fun. And God surprises can be as well. As I ran 7 miles or so around my neighborhood today I was thankful for God’s surprises. God is good all the time and all the time God is good, so keep running with Jesus. Keep trusting Him and enjoy the surprises

Training for the Race of Life……..Day 92 (Beauty)

Training for the Race of Life……..Day 92 (Beauty)
Today was an absolutely beautiful February Day, so I seized the opportunity and headed out to get a run in during the evening. I was able to get in around 7 miles with some walking, and it was absolutely wonderful to be outside and to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. I am a snow lover, but of course there was no snow today, instead today felt like Spring, and in all reality I think spring is a beautiful season as well. But in all reality all of the seasons are beautiful aren’t they? They are different, but they are beautiful. From the new flowers coming into bloom to the fiery sun rising high in the sky to the leaves turning their crisp colors to the purity of the snowflake, all of God’s seasons are beautiful. Why? Because He created them, and He is beautiful.
We have been studying the attributes of God on Sunday nights at our church. We’ve talked about His power, His knowledge, His wisdom, His sovereignty, His love, His justice, and all of those things, and certainly we see the beautiful of God on display in all of those characteristics. His wisdom is beautiful, His love His beautiful, His power is beautiful (if you don’t believe that look into His creation that we call nature, or into His creation in the form of the eyes of someone that we love). I could go on and on, our God is beautiful!
Why did He create such a beautiful world? The psalmist says in Psalm 19, “the heavens declare the glory of God.” God created and fashioned all of creation (you and I included) to show forth His love and to declare His glory. In other words we are to point people towards Him and toward His great beauty that is on display in His great love. A love that was (and is) so great and awesome that it led Jesus to the cross to die for you and for me. The Bible puts it this way, “greater love has no man than this, than He lay down His life for His friends.” Love is a beautiful thing, God’s love then is even more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
So as you run (or walk, or whatever) make worship a priority, thank God for His creation, for His love and for His beauty. And keep running with Jesus.