RSS

Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Marathon

I am not much of a runner.  I have tried many times in the past to become one, but I am not one.  I don’t know if it is my attention span or out-of-shapeness, but I just can’t stick with it very long.  All I can think about while I am running is the fact that I do not want to be running.  My one and only goal during a run is to not be running when it is over.  I think that mindset has a lot to do with why I am not much of a runner.

Unfortunately, that mindset is not confined to running and exercise.  I sometimes view parts of life that way.  Sometimes my job is that way…all I think about is not working.  Sometimes my homelife is that way…all I can think about is the chores being done so I don’t have to do them.  Sometimes I view parenting that way…all I can think about with parts of our newborn’s life at present (crying and constant diaper changes) is the time when that will be over.  Sometimes I even view my relationship with God that way…I think about being done with reading the Bible while reading it…not praying while praying…or lunch during worship at church.

As I sit here now, I have three days left with my students at school until the end of the year.  I can’t help but thinking about when this year will be over.  I am not concentrated on the time I have left with them.  All I can see is how hard this year has been and how ready I am for it to be done.

Not that doing something with the end in sight is necessarily wrong, but what am I missing when I live this way?  What joy in the moments could I be missing?

I know that it is cliche, but life is a marathon and not a sprint.  When I live only thinking about when something is over I am trying to sprint 26 miles.  I am not a runner, which has been established, so that will never work.  I can’t run that way…I would die.  I can’t live that way either.  God does not intend that.  When we view life this way, we are taking control back from God and we are missing what he is using in the here and now to grow us and give himself glory.  Everything is God’s…even every little moment that we live and breathe.  God intends to use them to grow us, others, and show who he is.

The Bible is full of examples of times God has given promises but waits to fulfill them.  People take matters in their own hands and try to make the promises happen now.  God had a reason for waiting.  People are impatient…and the consequences are usually dire and they are normally natural consequences for what was done or not done.

I live my life that way.  I miss the things that God want to use for me or use me through for other people.  As I start this third-to-last day with my students, I pray that I view every moment as an opportunity for God.  I pray that my focus is on him and that this allows the moments to change me and change others through me.  It is a big goal, but God is a big God.

I know it is only loosely connected to what I posted, but I leave you with Hebrews 12:1-4:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joyawaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.  Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;then you won’t become weary and give up.  After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

We are running the race of life.  It is a marathon.  We have a stadium full of those who have gone before us that have made it through.  If we keep our eyes on Jesus, who lived every moment for his Father, we can also see every moment as God’s and live each one for him.

Father, Jesus, Spirit, you want me to view every moment as an opportunity for you.  Please help me live my life slowly today.  Please help me to not waste the moments with my students and family this week.  Please help me to seek your glory in all that I do and say.  Please slow me down.  I love you.  Please help me to try.  your son, joe

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Call Me Israel…

Life has gotten busy.  My newborn and three year-old, time for my wife, and then work takes up most of my time.  It is hard to focus long enough on God everyday just in seeking him, let alone finding the time to put thoughts to virtual paper.

I have struggled to read the Bible every day as I had been for nearly a year.  When I do, I just don’t have the time to dig in and spend in it as I had been.  However, I am back on track, most days.

I am on my second time through the Bible.  I am not saying this to boast.  No, quite the opposite.  It is quite humbling.  I did not see the same things when I read before.  And what I am seeing is not good.

I am reading a chronological Bible this time through.  What this means is that this Bible puts everything in a time order of when they happened and/or were written.  Because of this, I am not getting the Old and New Testaments together each day (unless I do a seperate reading).  Spending this much time in the OT (Old Testament) has been eye-opening.

The first time through, I remember thinking, “Man, those Israelites just didn’t get it.  God was constantly taking care of them, providing for them, and protecting them, and all they do is run away from him.  How could they have done that?”

This time through, I am realizing that I am Israel.  Their lives as a nation mirror my life as a Christian.  I constantly run from God and what I know is right…all the while God keeps providing and protecting.  More than that, God gave the ultimate sacrafice of Jesus to pay for my sins (my turning from him) and to give me life with hm forever.  How could I keep turning away from him?

I am Israel.  I don’t trust God, even though he is trustworthy.

I am Israel.  I offer little as I ask for much.  God offers much and asks for little.

I am Israel.  I run away from God, and all he wants me to do is turn to him…even in my sin…so that his faithful love and mercy can change me and bring glory to his name.

Call me Israel.  That is my name.  We are one and the same.  The point is God’s mercy for the glory of his own name.  I just need to trust him, look to him, run to him, and know him as my source for everything.  This is when I will change.

Israel is the name God gave Jacob because of Jacob’s trust and faith in God.  Not the good that Jacob did, but because of faith and trust.  This is the other side of this coin.  The history of Israel is a mirror of my life…but the story of Israel (Jacob) should be the goal of my life.  To trust God and put my faith in him, even though I am clearly not deserving of it.

Call me Israel…I have nothing to trust or put my faith in but God.

Father, Jesus, and Spirit, please make this message clear to me today.  Please help me to trust you in every moment of the day.  Please help me to look to you.  Please help me to see everything as yours…even my time and energy.  Please use me to show your glory today.  Love, your son, joe.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,