Running into the Wind

Running into the WindI debated about my long run this morning.  We were up late last night because of my son’s 15th birthday party and sleeping in was very tempting.  In addition, the weather wasn’t very promising with occasional gusts of wind that brought the temp around 40 degrees.

After an hour delay, a cup of coffee and some quiet time completing another day in my Bible reading plan, I couldn’t stay inside any longer.  I chose a new route for my 8 mile run this morning, an “out and back” with decent sidewalks.  The weather was a bit windy but I prepared and headed for new territory along Dave Ward Drive.  After five minutes of running and glancing at a few flag poles, I realized that my “out” was going to be much easier than my “back” as all the flags indicated a very nice tailwind.

Sure enough, I hit four miles, turned around and the fun began.  To top it off, I was near the overpass – up hill AND into the wind.  So what do you do?  I changed my thinking and decided to look at this as a great workout opportunity.  I pushed harder to keep my average pace knowing it would payoff two weeks later as I cross the finish line of my 10k.

On an open stretch of road I was reminded once again of why John and other biblical writers often compared the Holy Spirit to wind (John 3:8).  I was running with the wind at my back, thinking, “I feel good today!” but I knew in a few miles the truth would be told.  As good as I felt with the wind, the opposite would soon come to pass.

Here’s what I learned:  1) Don’t take for granted God’s blessing on you and don’t take credit for the “good” things that are happening.  The Holy Spirit is in control of all things.  And 2) God often allows difficulties to strengthen us, so don’t give in, but strive to see God at work in the situation.  Let me explain… Read more of this post

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Planning Your Time With God – Part 2

In Luke 11:1, one of Jesus’ disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” It was obvious that Jesus’ strength came from His time in prayer.  Yet, we tend to find strength in everything else but prayer. 

So what is prayer?  I like to define it simply as a conversation between you and God.  Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Just think of trying to cope with your problems if there were no way to communicate with God. Job, in the Bible, is a perfect example of one who made it through tremendous trials because he had God. God was his strength!

Remember, God created us for a RELATIONSHIP, so He desires that we learn to spend time with Him in prayer.

Why don’t we pray?

I think we often convince ourselves that we can make it through the day without praying.  We find ourselves believing that we can lean on our own understanding rather than trusting God’s leading and direction (Prov. 3:5-6).

Some pointers on how to pray…
1) Be yourself. Be honest and open with with God.  (Psalm 24:3-4)
2) Talk to God as you would a friend. “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.”  (Exodus 33:11a NAS)
3) Pray with conviction, not with worry.  (Luke 18:1)  Someone once said, worry is “taking responsbility for something God never intended us to.”
4) Pray specifically. Pray generally and you’ll never know.  Pray specifically and you’ll see God at work.  Consider this quote: “We too often pray for things that would probably happen anyway.” (Miller)

My wife tells me I am notorious for praying the same thing at dinner time over and over.  If you struggle with originality, your mind and heart are probably not into your conservation with God.  Try one of these easy-to-remember acronyms when you pray next time to help bring focus and meaning to your prayers:

A.C.T.S.
Adoration – adoring God, worshipping Him, ascribing worth to Him
Confession – agreeing with God about the things you’ve done that He hates
Thanksgiving – giving thanks to God
Supplication/Intercession – coming to God with our need

S.H.A.P.E.
S … Is there sin you need to confess?
H … Is there some habit you need to correct?
A … Is there an attitude you need to change?
P … Is there a promise you have not claimed?
E … Are you an example for others to copy?

My goal this week: to spend quality time with God by 1) daily interacting with Him, 2) putting aside one afternoon this week in long mediation with Him.

Leave a comment and share how about your time with God this week!

Planning Your Time with God – Part 1

This is multi-part series to follow-up from last week’s post “Planning Your Walk Like You Plan you Run.”

This morning it was 41 degrees, foggy, damp, and a little windy.  Not the ideal conditions for running, but not terrible.  I had been meaning to do a speed workout all week but found a number of excuses and plenty of interruptions to my running that caused me to postpone it.  Today was different, I was determined.  So Kendis and I hit the path at 6am.  She took off and I psyched myself up for 5 x 800 repeats.  After the fourth one I was ready to give up.  I struggled to keep the pace on my fifth repeat but found myself only 7 seconds off my split time.  Not bad.  In fact, it felt good.  I stuck my mind to it and I experienced the reward.

Our walk with Christ is no different.  Maybe you woke up this morning and said “I know I should spend time with God, but…” then one little excuse wins over and you find yourself hitting the snooze button.  One of the first steps to daily physical exercise and to your spiritual exercise is to have a plan and prepare for it the night before.  So the first step is simply to have a plan to get into God’s Word.

God’s Word

As many of you know there are a lot of different running workouts to can do throughout the week.  There are also many different aspects to your time with God.  Let’s start with one of the most basic aspects.   Just as with a running workout you must decide to show up.  Once you have made the choice and you are there, you need to have a plan for getting into God’s Word.  I have set it as a goal many times to read through the Bible in a year and to be honest; I have never completed it, at least not in one year.  I’ve read through the bible many times using different plans,  just not in the prescribed amount of time.  Like all training workouts, you need to customize your plan to fit you.

One plan I have recently started is Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System.  The short version: read ten chapters from ten different parts of the Bible a Day.   Check out the following links:

I would love to hear what you think of this plan so leave your comments – what works, what doesn’t, how to make it personal…

Here are a couple of good plans from Discipleship Journal to choose from:

The 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

5 minutes per day, 5 days per week, 5 ways to dig deeper. Takes you through one chapter each day. Read the New Testament in one year.  Download the 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan

Intersperses Old and New Testament books in each month’s readings, with the four gospels spread throughout the year. Read the complete Bible in one year.   Download the Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

Read four places in God’s Word every day to better grasp the unity of the Scriptures. Read the complete Bible in one year.  Download the Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

The Challenge:

So as I am preparing for my upcoming 10k on May 1st, I am going to challenge myself to get into God’s Word like I am preparing for Race Day.  My goal: a minimum of 5 days absorbing scripture and hearing from God (and using Horner’s method).

What’s your goal?

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