I started training last week for a 5k run this fall. Its the second year in a row I left the couch after a long cold winter and headed out the door. This year I’m 15 pounds lighter and hopefully maintained a small measure of conditioning from last fall.
My early conditioning plan is to walk/jog three times a week for 20-30 minutes with at least one rest day in between. I’ve chosen Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays as my workout days. Since I’m in my 60’s, I want to test my joints and ligaments by alternating jogging and walking laps on a 400 meter track. Once I build up my distance, I plan to head out on a scenic cross-country route on a woodland trail.
Last Tuesday was my first workout. The weather couldn’t have been more challenging; a cold, stiff northern wind with 40-degree temperatures surely taxed me mentally. I spent most of the time muttering and trying to talk myself out of completing the 25 minute workout. Thank goodness for I-tunes. Thursday’s workout fared much better. An overcast sky and southerly breeze hiked the temp to 74 degrees. Such is the weather this time of year in Upstate New York. Saturday it was back in the 40s and I had to resort to dog walking. Brody pulled me around the neighborhood while I held on to his leash.
Easter is sometimes called resurrection Sunday. Belief in a bodily resurrection extends clear back to the time of Abraham. Job, a contemporary of Abraham, had this to say:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God.” Job 19:25-26
Today, the hope of a bodily resurrection remains the greatest single desire for those who wish to live beyond the grave; to have their slate wiped clean of heartaches, defects and maladies; to once again be able to converse with lost friends and loved ones. How can we be sure there will be a bodily resurrection for every believer in Jesus Christ? The gospel of John records these words of Jesus just before the bodily resurrection of Lazarus:
Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…” John 11:25
I am told Where I am is the last book written by Billy Graham. I decided to read this book after being reminded of the one year anniversary of his death. The book features short chapters encompassing the whole of Scripture, beginning with Genesis and continuing on to Revelation. In classic fashion, Graham gives insights into discovering who God is and covers subjects such as heaven and eternity.
Along the way, the book offers a concise history of the human race. Graham highlights each human life has a choice of two paths, to pursue one’s own selfish path leading to destruction or accept God’s gift of deliverance and follow the path leading to eternal life.
Graham’s book speaks often about death and life in the hereafter. It’s 36 chapters and wealth of scripture makes the book an excellent devotional. I found it to be an uplifting read.
The gates to Jericho were closed. No one could get in or go out. Jericho’s massive walls towered over the entrance to the Promised Land. The people of Israel looked at the situation, realizing the hopelessness of it. Contrary to the song I sang as a child, God, not Joshua fought the battle of Jericho.
“And the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given into your hands Jericho with its king and all its men of war.” Joshua 6:2
The people circled the city daily in silence as instructed by God, carrying the Ark of the Covenant before them. On the seventh day the people blew horns and shouted. Who would believe the massive walls of the city could simply fall down unless they were there to witness it. Have you ever wondered what the people shouted? Perhaps it was hallelujah, which in Hebrew means a joyous praise; to boast in God.
Rahab and her family were the only ones spared from destruction. The plunder of the fallen city was dedicated to God. Could the people resist putting some of the glittering silver and gold lying among the stones into their pockets? (Stay tuned for the answer.)
Spiritually speaking, we build evil fortresses like Jericho in our hearts. We wall off certain areas of our lives we wish to protect from God’s control. Only after these fortresses fall can abundant life be experienced. Freedom comes with letting go, not reinforcing our fortresses.