Joshua 4: Twelve Stones

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After the Israelites crossed the Jordan river, Joshua commanded the people to carry 12 large stones up out of the river and pile them up on the shore as a memorial.  Then, when someone asks, “What do these 12 stones mean?” tell them how the Lord cut off the flow of the Jordan and let the Israelites cross over into the promised land.

This event occurred on the 10th day of the first month of the Jewish calendar (Joshua 4:19) marking the end of the Exodus (the date 40 years earlier the people of Israel left Egypt (Exodus 12:3)).  The message: God will finish the work He starts.

Followers of Jesus celebrate communion, “Do this in remembrance of me,” to remind us what God has done for us through his Son.  The cross of Christ demonstrates God can accomplish the impossible in our lives if we will let Him.

And like the people of Israel we must be ready to tell those who ask us, “what is the reason for the hope that lies within you?” 1 Peter 3:15.

 

 

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Couch to 5k: A line to be crossed

Looking back over my life, I recall numerous situations a proverbial line in the sand has been drawn.  For most of my life I have been exploring the boundaries created by them.

  • As a child, my sister and I shared the back seat in the family station wagon.  One of us invariably drew an imaginary line separating her space from mine.  Quarrels began when the line was crossed, even if breeched by a single finger.
  • As I grew older is spent a good deal of my time trying to test the line of acceptable behavior my parents had laid down.  I learned there were negative consequences for crossing their line.
  • When I entered adulthood, and set off on my own, I realized there was a line separating the life I had already realized from things I had yet to experience (marriage, career, raising children, etc.).  With trepidation I launched myself across this line and into the great unknown.

Ash Wednesday occurs this coming week.  It marks the start of a 40-day period referred to as Lent leading up to Easter Sunday.  Those who observe Lent usually do so by abstaining from a materialistic vice (i.e. chocolate, red meat, television, etc.) or affirming a spiritual virtue (devotions, prayer, etc.).

Since my couch to 5k experience to date has been marked by physical, mental and spiritual wellness, I have decided to choose Ash Wednesday as a starting line I intend to cross!

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A Heartbeat Away

{28D833CC-BD09-4475-B8F0-B0439C21365C}Img400It’s time for another book review.  This one, A Heartbeat Away, is written by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Harry Kraus.  He is a surgeon who serves as a medical missionary to East Africa.

“A novel is way too long of a project to write simply for entertainment.  Don’t hear me wrong! I think entertainment is important; if I can’t capture and entertain, no reader will hang in there to the end.  But in the process, I hope that a small message of hope, faith, or grace is absorbed.” Dr. Harry Kraus

The story follows the life of a surgeon Dr. Tori Taylor whose cold, unforgiving demeanor and perfectionism toward her colleagues and nursing staff makes her and island.  Still, her work is outstanding and she is well-respected.

Tori maintains complete control of her life, that is, until a virus attacks her heart, making a heart transplant imperative for her to survive.  Once the transplant procedure is complete she begins having vivid dreams, so real she believes she is witnessing some horrid event.  But these are someone else’s memories not hers.

Kraus introduces two teenage lovers seemingly unrelated to the plot and the two separate story lines race along in parallel.  Are they connected some how?  Once Tori begins receiving warnings and threats to cease pursuing the identity of her heart donor, she realizes the dreams are memories to witnessed murder.

Kraus does not let the reader relax at any point in the story.  Several late plot twists keep the reader guessing until the last pages.  Dr. Kraus’ experience as a medical surgeon adds authenticity to the writing.  This is a must read for anyone interested in fiction, murder mysteries or dramas with a medical theme!

Joshua 3: Crossing the Jordan

water-872016_960_720For people of God, the Jordan River carries heavy symbolism.  If you are a churchgoer, take a quick peek in your hymnal.  You will find songs revealing the Jordan as a symbol of death.  Crossing the Jordan and reaching the Promised Land meant  entering the gates of heaven.

Some time after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, baptism took the meaning of dying to your old self (upon immersion) and being raised to new life found in Christ (being drawn back up out of the water).

In Joshua chapter three we read the people of Israel needed to sanctify themselves before they could cross the Jordan River.  For this ancient people it involved devoting themselves completely to God and worshiping him.  God was about to perform a miracle and he wanted their undivided attention.

“Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”” Joshua 3:5

Unlike the Red Sea crossing found in the book of Exodus, crossing the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land required an act of faith on their part–especially by the priests.  God wasn’t going to stop the flow of the Jordan River at flood stage until their feet were in the water.  The priests, however, didn’t go into the water alone.  God was with them in the form of the ark of the covenant, which they carried.

“The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.”  Joshua 3:17

Some thoughts for those who know God through his son Jesus:

  • God sometimes performs miracles at the most extreme times, often only after we step out in faith
  • How many miracles have we missed because we failed to take that first step of faith?
  • Every person passed by the ark (containing the Word of God) as they traveled through the dry riverbed. Much as every person today must encounter God to pass from death to everlasting life.
  • God will accomplish the impossible in our lives if we will trust Him.

 

 

Couch to 5k: Redo

It has been almost two months since my last post.  Since that time my car was repaired and the weather turned much colder.  Then, the snow came–lots of it.  Since I work in building maintenance, I get to spend a portion of my day outside shoveling snow.  Keeping the snow off the sidewalks benefits me in a couple different ways.  It helps slow down my weight gain over the winter months, and it lets me rack up tons of steps on my Fit Bit.

walking-1283978_960_720Traditionally, I use my free time over the winter to work on indoor projects.  Since I have neglected my model trains for about three years, I’ve been working on my train layout.  In addition,  I’ve committed to teaching a class Sunday mornings for the next several months so there’s little time left to begin a training regiment.

It looks like I’ll have to circle the wagons and wait until spring to resume a training program.  April 1st seems like as good a day as any to start a couch to 5k for the second time.  This year I’ll begin training two months earlier and fifteen to twenty pounds lighter.

Between now, and then, I plan to try to keep my step counter whirling.

The Kremlin Conspiracy

51Uwwhjh-5L._SY346_If you are looking for heart pounding read this is one I’d recommend.  It’s book one of a three book series written by Joel C. Rosenberg featuring the adventuresome Marcus Ryker; former marine and former secret service agent.

One of the things I like about Rosenberg’s work is his ability to incorporate important world events into his writing in an almost prophetic manner.  The Kremlin Conspiracy is no exception.  A quote from the book:

“America’s next president needs to understand that as troubled as the Middle East is and as volatile as North Korea remains, the most serious threat facing the United States–the truly existential threat–comes from Russia.”

The plot follows a reckless Soviet president bent on consolidating his power and restoring Russia to its former glory. His plan includes capturing and annexing former Soviet states into the Russian federation and adopting the dangerous countries of Iran and North Korea as strategic allies. Will his plan succeed?

As the plot thickens, a mole surfaces from deep within the Kremlin’s inner circle taking the story to even loftier heights.  Can the information the mole entrusts to Ryker be trusted or is it meant to trap him?

Joel C. Rosenberg is one of my favorite authors.  The second book in this series is due out March 2019.  The Kremlin Conspiracy is a must read political thriller.