Sunday, February 06, 2011
For the first time in my adult life I've been enjoying jogging and I'm just so bummed that I've developed shin splints. They've been hurting for the better part of a week now even though I've stayed away from the gym, and any rigorous exercise, for three or four days. I got some good advice on "active recovery" yesterday which I plan to take, but if I happen to feel good enough I do think I'm going to try to run tomorrow as well. I don't know, I'm so eager but also concerned that I'm going to exacerbate the problem and really hurt myself.
Oh well, one way or the other I trust the Lord and I'll keep pursuing a healthy lifestyle. I'd sure appreciate any advice or words of wisdom.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Hey, everyone, I've been an avid cyclist for years but took up jogging this year. Unfortunately I've developed a slight case of shin splints and don't really know what to do but I'm afraid to continue jogging until I get them under control. Any advice?
Thanks in advance!
Friday, February 04, 2011
I am the pastor of a small church in Elk River MN and right now I'm teaching through the first book of the Bible, Genesis, on Sunday mornings. This week I'm to teach on chapter 4, the story of Cain and Abel. Cain killed his brother in jealous rage and then paid a high price for that lack of self-control but, in the end, what this story is really about is the mercy of God in the life of Cain.
God did punish Cain and this was a mercy. Can you imagine a parent who never punished their child for anything, including murder? That would be a very bad parent and most of us would suggest that that parent be punished! God is a good parent, if you will, and therefore he does punish.
But he's also a gracious and merciful God and he doesn't punish us exactly as our sins deserve but he finds a way to deal with the sin but also release us from the more severe consequences of our sin if we will only humble ourselves.
In due time Cain did humble himself and the Lord did extend his massive mercy to him. God protected Cain from those who would kill him for what he had done, and God promised to avenge Cain "seven-fold" if anyone did in fact strike him dead. There's more to be said about the story but the point is this: who treats murderers like this? God does because he's immensely merciful!
I woke up at 5:00 a.m. this morning feeling very moved by the mercy of God not only in the life of Cain but in my own life as well. I just felt so stunned and breath-taken by how patient God has been with me, and I worshiped him. Then about 5:30 I got up and wrote to God in my journal and expressed my feelings to him, after which I turned to my daily Bible reading which "just happened" to be Exodus 34-36.
Only six verses into my reading here are the words I read, words which the Lord spoke to Moses as he revealed himself to Moses: "The LORD passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, 'The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation'" (Exodus 34:6-7).
Wow, I felt stunned and all the more amazed at a God so merciful as this! That he would orchestrate circumstances so that I would be reading these particular words on this particular morning, well that just amazed me! He's such a good and gracious Father.
Oh, friend, seek the Lord while he may be found. He is a faithful Friend and Guide to all who will humble themselves before him, and he's immensely merciful. He will wipe away the guilt of your sin in an instant if you'll only look to his chosen one, Jesus Christ, and believe. And he will walk with you all the days of your life, pouring upon you the massive mercy that's in his heart.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, hope you have a mercy-filled day!
Thursday, February 03, 2011
I've been at a conference the last few days and doing quite a bit of walking in dress shoes. Not a good idea. This combined with the increased load of running from the "Couch Potato to 5K" program has caused a fair amount of discomfort, not really pain, in my shins and calves. So, I'm just going to take a day off of exercise today and try to let my body heal up. Hopefully I'll be good to go tomorrow as I'm eager to take the next run!
Have a great day.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
I've been at a conference for pastors over the last few days, the subject was prayer. As Christians we don't think of prayer merely as an activity or duty or a way to get things from God. We see it as a way of walking with God, communing with him, living all of our lives with him. The Bible says, "Pray without ceasing," in other words, pray as often as you breathe. This implies that prayer is more than something that happens at designated times or in preconceived ways, but that it's a normal part of every part of life.
By the might and mercy of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and was raised from death for what the Bible calls our justification (being made right with God), everyone who believes in Jesus gains the right to be called a child of God and therefore has the privilege of walking with Almighty God as a Father--a close, loving, interested, involved, wise, discerning, honest, generous Father.
This way of living life is what prayer is all about. Yes, genuine prayer happens in designated times and in preconceived ways--like kneeling or closing one's eyes or what have you. But a life of prayer is much more than that, it's much more relational than that.
My heart and soul and mind have been soaking in these kinds of thoughts for days now and as a way of giving closure to, and fulfilling, what we meditated on this week, my wife and I just spent about an hour or so praying with a good friend of ours and I must say that I just feel so at peace in Christ right now.
This is not a surprise to me but it's very satisfying. It's fulfilling. Being near to God in prayer gives one the feeling, "This is what I was made for--communing with God." And when you feel like you've discovered the purpose for your being, well you're at peace. This, by the way, is the purpose of everyone's being. We were made by God for communion with God and when we enter into that communion we find true meaning and purpose in life.
The reason this is not surprising, though, is because the Bible makes this promise to all who pray according to the will of God: "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE of God that passes understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-6).
Right this moment, as with so many moments, my life is living proof that this promise is true. So I encourage you to read the Bible (start with the New Testament book called John), to believe the words of God such that you act on what you read, to pray in such a way as to simply express to God who you really are and what you really think and feel, and in this way to know the peace that's as real as the air you breathe but is not easy to explain.
Thanks for reading, I pray that the Lord will use my weak words to make a difference in your life today.
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