Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Run On

Whether it was the shoes, the amount of time I was there, the sweet baby girl due to appear in a few months - or all of the above - my feet and back were telling me all about my trip to Target on the way home and into the night. They were not happy.

My husband jokingly suggested I should shop barefoot next time, which prompted a discussion about a increasingly popular trend in the running world to hit the pavement barefoot. (Yes, we have odd discussions like this quite a bit. I do love that man of mine!) Hubby is a great runner, not only because of his physical capabilities, but he is so knowledgeable about the science and mechanics of it.

Marathon Man pointed out that there are certain populations that have a culture of running - always done barefoot - and they can go for crazy long distances (think 40+ miles).

It's in their blood.

I personally could not get over the distance people are apparently capable of achieving. Husband noted that we are the only creation with that ability - many wild animals obviously have speed and agility on us but none could outrun us distance-wise. Their bodies do not have the sweating/cooling capability that humans do and they will overheat and die. (Ever seen anyone running a marathon with their doggie? Um, not so much.)

The spiritual parallel sprang into my ever-analytical mind.

Of all the beautiful creatures God has made, of all His magnificent creation, we are the only ones made to spiritually endure this life. To run the race He has marked out for us. To go the distance until greeted with "Well done, good and faithful servant" at that beautiful finish line (which is really another beginning).

Lions have might, but not perseverance. Bears have power, but not endurance. When an animal dies, it has reached the end. God did not create them to inherit His eternal kingdom. That honor belongs solely to the Lord's most magnificent creation of all - us.

When steep inclines intrude on our nice little jog through life, the temptation comes to throw in the towel. But keep going. Persevere. God made you to.

It's in your blood.

And one day, you will fulfill the same hope that Paul communicates to the Philippians:

"...that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."
Philippians 2:16

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We really don't watch the news much around here. Not that we don't want to be informed, but having dumped cable and using *gasp* just an antenna leaves us with mostly local news.

Boring. Depressing. Ick.

I don't miss cable bills or endless channel surfing. But I DO miss the news channels. I used to love cable news - Brad and I would settle down in front of O'Reilly and then spend the rest of the evening going back and forth over the talking points.

These days our news stories come more from radio, Internet, word of mouth, and - admittedly - Facebook. Not the same, but it still boils down to the same effect: Delivering the verdict that, yes, this world is still a heap of a mess today.

I met some girlfriends at a pizza place tonight and couldn't help glancing up at CNN every now and then. Even though I couldn't hear it, the visuals were more than enough to remind me how much yuck is in the world right now.

After much pizza, laughter and chatter I started the drive home, the mess of news stories that I had caught in glimpses still in the back of my mind.

But then as I drove, I noticed the fog hovering over the river against an indigo blue sky. I realized the little flashes of light I kept seeing to the side of the road were the lightning bugs making their nightly debut. My spirit immediately calmed as I stepped out of my car into the dusky silence of our driveway, noticing the blur between the tips of the pine trees and the skyline was fading as night descended.

Deep breath. Smile. Some things are still very right in this world.

Monday, June 7, 2010

10 Minutes, 2 Things

I'm not sure what first prompted it, but for about a year now there has been something on my heart that simultaneously grieves, angers and motivates me: The persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world.

How can one not be grieved when you see a picture of a 4-year old girl missing an arm due to a machete attack on her village targeted toward Christians?

How can I not be angry that this isn't front-page news? That most Western Christians have NO clue what is going on? I know I didn't until about a year ago. I had some vague idea that in some places things were not good for Christians. I had NO idea.

And how, after learning even a portion of what goes on, can I not be motivated to do something?

Like I said, this has really been on my heart for about a year now. But within the last few weeks I feel like the Lord has really been bringing it to the forefront of my attention.

Just within the last two weeks He has:

- Put a book in my hands regarding Christian martyrs and persecution both past and present

- Brought a family into our circle that is in ministry for Iranian Christians, including the persecuted in Iran (Iran is not exactly a Christian-friendly place to live, you know)

- Literally brought to my door another ministry that serves persecuted Christians around the world

I think I'm sensing a theme here . . .

I hope to be writing more about this soon, but in the meantime can I encourage you to do two things? They won't take more than a few minutes each. Promise. But the effect could be life-changing for you and/or someone across the planet.

1) Check out one of these websites. They are easy to navigate and just a quick glance on any of them will give you just a taste of what is going on around the world. Seriously - just take 5 minutes and look at: (The Voice of the Martyrs - this organization serves persecuted Christians and their families around the world) (International Christian Concern - I don't know much about this organization. They are out of D.C. so I don't know political ties, etc. but they have an excellent summary of situations around the world) (Elam Ministries - serving Iranian Christians both here, in Iran, and I believe out of England as well)

2) After checking out one of the websites, PRAY. Please, oh, please pray for your Christian brothers and sisters. Pray for their countries, their governments, their protection and safety, their families and their faith. Lift them up before our Father. Just spare a few minutes and PRAY.

Ten minutes (at most) to do two things that could have a big impact:

Read. Pray.

Okie dokie?