Saturday, May 14, 2011
Last November I decided to try the "Couch Potato to 5K" plan again. I've never liked jogging, actually I've always hated it, but I thought it would be a good way to stay in shape during the winter months when I couldn't ride my bike.
It took me more than 9 weeks to complete the program because I only moved ahead as I was ready, but I did complete it and somewhere along the way I actually started to enjoy jogging. I think the reason was that I allowed my body to adapt to the rigors of it and didn't try to do too much too soon.
So for the last few months I've been jogging 1-3 5Ks per week in the neighborhood and thought it was high time to sign up for an event--so I did! I entered the Maple Grove 5K and completed it in 13:14 or something like that, which is slow but still 1 minute faster than my previous best.
The route started and finished on the track of Maple Grove High School, and as I entered the track for the second time I immediately thought of Paul's words in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing."
And I prayed, "Oh Lord, others will run faster and farther than me in this life with you but I want to finish my race. I want to fight the good fight. I want to keep the faith. I want to receive the crown of righteousness you have prepared for me which will be a monument to the glory of your grace. So help me love your appearing more than anything else and live my life with you."
Oh Lord, hear my prayer, and give all who believe the grace to finish this race.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Most Friday nights Kimmy and I go out on a date. We're mildly addicted to Applebee's 2 for $20 deal and so we often end up there. Tonight was no exception.
Then after dinner we read a chapter of a book together. Right now we're working our way through Paul Tripp's book on marriage called, What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (Crossway Books, 2010). Thanks James and Shelly Vanderlinden for recommending this book to us.
Tonight we read the third chapter entitled, "Whose Kingdom?" It challenges the notion of what we consider to be love and gently--sometimes not so gently--confronts us with the reality that what we call love is often self-love. In other words, it's the "I'll love you as long as you're everything I expect and need you to be" kind of love.It says it loves the other but in truth it is deeply self-interested.
The solution to this devastating problem, Tripp rightly points out, is not other-centered love but God-centered love. To remove ourselves from the center of our affections and place our spouses there is a kind of idolatry. It's putting someone on a pedestal who was not designed to be on a pedestal. It's making an mini-god of a person. However, to remove ourselves from the center of our affections and place God there is worship. It's getting the order of life right. It's the path to communion with God through Jesus Christ. And that communion becomes an ever-flowing fountain of true love that enables us to serve our spouse with joy rather than bitterness and resentment.
Tripp uses two terms here to contrast these loves: the kingdom of self and the Kingdom of God. When our deepest concern is rooted in the second Kingdom we enter into God's vision of our marriage which is much better and more satisfying than our vision. He's right about that. Kim and I have learned this lesson 1,000 times over the course of the last (nearly) 20 years. It was good to hear this truth again and be reminded that the true fountain of our joy is in God's way, not ours.
Tripp asks why God designed things this way and answers with a potent sentence: "Marriage is a beautiful thing that only reaches what it was designed to be through the methodology of painful process" (52). In other words, the very things we think signify the lack of God's grace in our marriages are God's grace in our marriages because he's using these things to make us more like him, less like us, more perfect in love, and more full in joy.
So the application for us today was this: surrender to God and let him have his way in our marriage. In this way he will receive much glory and we will receive much joy. Amen, Lord, help us to put these things into practice.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tried a new climbing workout yesterday, goes like this:
Pick a course with rolling hills. When you hit the first hill, stay seated and pedal at a high cadence all the way to the top. When you hit the next hill, choose a comfortable gear and stand all the way to the top--do not give up! As you hit the following hills, first sit, then stand, then sit, then stand all the way to the end of the course.
This was a challenging workout for two reasons. First, I don't normally stand for that long and so it drew on muscles I don't normally tax that much. This felt good, though, and I look forward to watching my muscles get stronger. Second, it is aerobically challenging. On two of the steeper standing climbs in particular I was very winded at the top and had to back way off in order to recover. This also felt good and I look forward to seeing my aerobic capacity increase. It's much better than last year already but this workout helped me to see I still have a way to go--that's exciting!
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!
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