Monthly Archives: October 2018

God’s representative?

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“Can’t find God in the usual places…churches, books, or preachers’ faces? Keep on searching and don’t give up, you may just find Him in the eyes of a pup.”

Richard C. Call

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Joshua 1: Be strong and courageous

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The opening chapter of Joshua is filled with encouragement.  It comes on the heels of the Israelites’ most grievous and devastating loss – the death of Moses.  They were on a roll, under Moses’ command they had already defeated the kings on the east side of the river.  They were ready to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land.  All their momentum evaporated like dust in the wind.  For thirty days their grief was evident.

After a period of mourning, it was time to pick up the pieces and finish the journey.  Joshua, tasked with leading millions of Israelites across the Jordan River, receives much needed encouragement from God.

Be strong and courageous… Joshua 1:6

Have you ever been tasked with doing something that looked impossible to accomplish?  Have you ever suffered a devastating loss?  Maybe you find yourself in desperate situation?  God says, be strong and courageous!  But why should you? How is it even possible?

God wants Joshua and his people to courageously follow his teachings.  Joshua can be strong and courageous because the Lord:

  • Will not leave him or forsake him (v5)
  • Will be with him wherever he goes (v9)
  • Will give him rest from his arduous journey (v13)

Be strong and courageous! Follow in Joshua’s footsteps and see what God will do for you.

Freedom

memorial-day-354082_960_720As Veteran’s Day approaches I am reminded freedom comes at great cost.  American soldiers paid a price, often with life or limbs, to preserve our freedom.  May God bless our service men and women as they serve our country.

Just as soldiers paid a price for our physical freedom, one solitary person paid the ultimate price for our spiritual freedom.  Jesus died in our stead so we could be free from the bondage of sin which leads to physical death.   Death is not the end for those who believe in Him.  They will experience eternal life on the other side of death.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

God’s man Joshua

IMG_0640Joshua is a remarkable, heroic Old Testament Bible character worthy of our admiration.  He did what Moses could not do; lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land which God gave to them.

Joshua had a servant’s heart.  He was an assistant to Moses since his youth, serving him in Egypt, during the desert wandering and leading men into battle.  He never married or had children, dedicating his life to serving God.

“Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua…” Joshua 24:31

The book of Joshua opens with the death of Moses, and concludes with the death of Joshua. In between we find a person worthy of our study.  For Christians, there’s a host of parallels between Joshua leading the children of Israel and Jesus leading the body of believers in Him to our promised inheritance.  For starters, the name Joshua means Jehovah is salvation, and the equivalent name in Greek is Jesus.  Taking the name one step further, we read in Joshua 1:1 that Joshua is the son of Nun.  The word “Nun” means eternal or perpetual, no doubt underscoring him as a type of Christ.

Join me as I journey  through the book of Joshua.

Of Creatures and Trees

tree-779827_960_720Here’s another excerpt from my yet to be released book:

“In my early teenage years I loved to walk alone in the wooded areas near my home. In my meanderings, I was struck by the timeless nature of the forest. Time didn’t seem to matter to the trees. They could be found, day or night, year after year, right where I first spotted them. These tall and stately giants adorned themselves with colorful leaves in autumn, as if readying themselves for a grand ball. I sat for hours watching as the arbors gracefully danced in October breezes. When I returned to the woods in November with my rifle in hand, I looked on as cold windy gusts stripped the trees naked.

It impressed me that the grand order of things did not lessen the generosity of the trees. They labored through the seasons to produce a bounty of fruits, nuts and seeds, not for their own consumption, but as gifts for the passerby.

From my perch in a rotting tree fort, I watched creatures, large and small, carrying out their agendas. In stark contrast to the trees, time for them was of the essence. They spent the precious little time they did have attending to personal needs. These included hoarding and gorging themselves on whatever was available. Animals, it seemed, lived a life of extremes, one of excess and depravity.”

 

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Couch to 5k: the result

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Race day, Saturday September 29th, was a sunny, cool 50 degrees.  I couldn’t ask for better weather.  It was hard to keep my heart rate down as I strolled over to the registration table.  After check in, I mingled with the crowd and talked to several friends and acquaintances who I was surprised to learn had entered the event.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 able-bodied individuals anxiously wanted to get the race underway.  After a few instructions and a prayer, the gun went off.  Like a herd of cattle we launched ourselves across a grassy field towards a pond we would encircle.  It was immediately apparent this was a serious group of runners who had been training much longer than me.  I, along with one other gentleman, settle back to guard the rear of the pack.

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In hindsight, my training did help me mentally and physically prepare for this run.  Mentally, I knew I had completed training runs longer that the 5k distance.  Physically, I knew I could maintain the consistent pace necessary to keep from being winded.  My strategy was simple, to complete the first two kilometers in around 20 minutes and then throw caution to the wind for the final three kilometers.  That didn’t happen.  Determined not to fall too far behind the pack of runners ahead of me, I completed the first 2 kilometers four minutes faster than planned.  My body was not used to running at this pace.  For the next kilometer I focused on controlling my breathing.  Then, feeling I still had energy in my legs, I decided to maintained the pace until my body told me something different.  I was surprised to see my time was about 40 minutes on the big digital timer at the finish line, a 15 full minutes faster than expected!

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As good as this whole experience has been for my health (I lost 25 pounds over the summer), I have not made any promises to myself or anyone else that I will continue training.  I’m paying close attention to my knees, which have been little sore off and on the last few weeks.

Perhaps if I lost another 15 pounds I could entertain running (jogging) another 5k.

Here is a picture of yours truly showered and dressed post race sporting my new t-shirt.

 

The Old Man and the Sea

IMG_0070I came across a copy of The Old Man and the Sea while cleaning a bookshelf.  A required read in high school, I recalled very little of it.  I was anxious to give it another look.

It’s a short story about a Cuban fisherman down on his luck.  He’s an impoverished old man who maintains a relationship with a boy.

The boy was once taught to fish by the old man.  He repays the elder by finding ways to  attend to his sustenance.  The two used to fish together before the old man’s string of bad luck caused the boy’s parents to insist their son fish with someone else.

A quote from the book:

“Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her? I would take some though in any form and pay what they asked.”

Hemingway successfully walks a tightrope, offering vivid descriptions while maintaining the flow of the story.  He also captures the double-edged sword of angst, which faces the serious fisherman; the plague of drought (not being able to catch any fish) verses hooking the catch of a lifetime (and being able to successfully land it).  Finally, there’s the struggle pitting man against beast.  The old man possesses seasoned and hardened skill while the fish possesses great strength and power.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.