Thursday, December 24, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Not long after that, Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman's only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, "Don't cry." Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, "Young man, I tell you: Get up." The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother. They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful—and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, "God is back, looking to the needs of his people!" The news of Jesus spread all through the country.Luke 7:11-17, The Message
You are already a widow.
You only son has just died.
You'll have no means of support in our society.
Yet, I tell you, Don't cry.
"Don't weep. Don't sob. Don't wail aloud," are more accurate translations & more accurate for this situation. Have you been there? Let your memory of the past or your imagination of the future take you there with that widow. Have you ever been so heartbroken? Too many questions? Few answers? Life smoldering about you? Stability banished? Uncertainty stalking? Weeping like breathing? Pain unbearable?Yet, Jesus. Yes, Jesus was there in Nain. God in flesh. And "his heart broke." Splanchnizomai (splanhk-nid-ZOH-my) in Greek from the root of "spleen" or "guts." Translated as, "compassion, heartbroken, take pity," or the like, it is used in the entire New Testament only 12 times. Other than in Luke 10:33 of the Good Samaritan, a parable of the character & actions of Christ followers, all 11 other mentions are of Jesus himself. Jesus was stirred up. He alone was heartbroken this way. Sick to his stomach. Moved with compassion. By suffering. By pain. Yes, Jesus. God in flesh.
My daughter skins her knee while playing. In her pain, she'll weep & wail loudly. My built in Daddy response is, "don't cry." I can hold her. I can clean & bandage her cut. I can comfort her. But my abilities stop there.
When Jesus says, "don't cry," he alone has the ability - the power - to change the very situation. He can heal. He can restore sight. He can raise. And, for the Widow of Nain's son, he did. As God willed, Jesus did. Jesus raised the dead man.
This doesn't mean God will remove all my pain, or heal me, or make everything in my life right whenever I ask. Jesus didn't heal everyone or raise all the dead he happened upon either. Those are questions of God's providence that I can't understand. He is God. I am not. Based on this Scripture I do understand:
God knows my pain.
He, the God of the entire universe, is moved with compassion for me.
God. Heartbroken over me.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
John Mark is at it again. Reinventing the English language.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
- The Unalienable Rule. We hold these truths to be self-evident that NOT all runners are created equal. We have the right to life, liberty & the pursuit of PRs, but we all do not possess the same physical abilities. So, inasmuch as we measure running by time, distance, calories, & other metrics, we must remember that we are not all created equal. Noncomparison is the first rule of happy, lifelong running.
- The Failure Rule. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. Have a training plan. Your plan may be determined by your personal fitness goals or preparing you for your next race. Have some variety & purpose to keep it fresh. This rule has a negative sounding name to remind you of its positive value.
- The Elephant Rule. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, states the cliche. Consistency is key for running success. If you are going to run a marathon for instance, then you need six months to a full year's training. You need a plan. Rule #2. Followed day after day, one bite at a time, to be properly prepared for the distance. Africans don't like to eat elephant. This is just a catchy phrase to remind us that consistent effort accomplishes much.
- The Nike Rule. Just do it! It rings true, that is why it's one of the greatest marketing slogans of all time. If you have the miles planned, the time, permissible weather, & no illness or injury preventing you from running, then just do it! If you make an excuse now, then you can make one later or some other aspect of life will crowd in. Rule #4 is the will behind Rule #3.
- The Mailman Rule. Don't be a sissy! Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor gloom of night get out there & run. The more challenging, the better. Running against the elements & proving yourself versus nature is one of the joys of running. Get out there with the right gear, however. Be sure to refer to Rule #7.
- The Hamster Rule. If you must, then get on the mill. Some folks like treadmills. Climate controlled, predictable, TV. Don't take my last rule with too much machismo--sometimes it's just smart to stay indoors. Just in case you need examples: ice; thunderstorms; temps or windchills below zero; tornadoes; hurricanes; etc.
- The Paine Rule. As in Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense. If in doubt, use your common sense. Something hurts? Your body is telling you there is a problem! Slow down or stop. Ask for advice or assistance. Icy surfaces? Take care. A little fall could cost you a lot of running & cash too. Head-cold?As long as your congestion is from the neck-up you can run. Double-pneumonia? Don't even think about it!
- The .92 Rule. Yes, you read that right. It's 92/100th. It's less than one. But it is a BIG one to obey. In short it can be interpreted as: know where you are going; follow the map; don't follow the guy in front of you; don't get lost. Benefit from my experience & have a laugh too.
- The Shrink Rule. Sweat equals sanity. There may never be a need for a psychiatrist or counselor in the life of a runner as long as we can get out & run. We are creatures of habit & familiarity of the miles provides a sanctuary to process life with no shrink or couch needed.
- The 12:11 Rule. Avowed nonrunners like to point out that runners don't look too comfortable while running. This is true, but you also hear us gush in runese & refer to Runner's World as if it were the Bible. Hebrews 12:11 of THE Bible states, "At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it is the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God." Running takes discipline, but it pays off.
- The Together Rule. Some of us like the solitude & others like a group, but I'd encourage every runner to run with others from time to time. Just remember Rule #1, slow down or speed up as needed, & have fun along the way. Running together has lots of great benefits. Encouragement, learning, companionship, & accountability are just a few. We are better together.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Anybody who knows me well knows that I LOVE surprises. A general rule of thumb at our house is that you don't buy me a gift unless it's a surprise. If you have to hint at it or ask about it, you'll just have to save it for another time. (Just ask Aaron about the bicycle story.)
We moved to Lincoln, NE, almost four years ago. If I only knew what surprises God had in store for me here! Friends that I treasure, growth in my marriage, a new little Householder...just to name a few. One of our first surprises was the house that God provided for us, brand-spanking new with not a tree in sight. We wanted a house in an established neighborhood, lots of trees, etc. God had other plans. He placed us here on South 59th Street and has allowed us to love and learn from some wonderful neighbors.
As on most streets with lots of young families, we have seen much new life. I would have to stop and think for a few minutes to count all the babies that have been born in our short time here, but I am amazed each time I see them. Ella, Embrie, Lewis, Will, Owen, Lauren, Jacob, Will, Peter... plus all the toddlers and preschoolers who are growing way too fast.
Last week was a difficult week for me, one that made my mama want to drive fourteen hours with my sister and her two not-so-quiet little girls, one that left my pillow wet, my heart hurting. God, knowing how I love surprises provided for me. Looking out my front door last night there was a full rainbow and out my back window the sun was peeking through the clouds. Today, in the midst of new houses and small trees God reminded me of His great power to bring new life into the most unlikely places. A robin chose to build a nest in our tiny oak tree (Aaron's father's day present last year) in the backyard. Now there are three baby birds peeking out of that nest in that little tree. Three houses down, a bunny chose to burrow down in the new sod of a brand-new lawn with seven baby bunnies!
I praise God for the new life He gives. I am amazed at the places He brings it forth. I am humbled that He has given me renewal in my spirit, peace and joy when it makes absolutely no worldly sense. If we are willing, He will renew us, revive us, breathe new life into weary and tired, apathetic and cynical souls. And the world will marvel at the newness of life in the most unlikely places.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Two years ago I wrote this to describe a day-in-the-life of Melanie in 100 words or less for a Mother's Day writing contest. I publish it here today, however, for a special purpose. June 7th marks twelve amazing years of treasuring this incredible God-given gift of a woman as my wife.
100 words. One day. One wonderwoman.
Quiet. Sleeping. Still. One.
Cold. Snuggling. Warm. Two.
Dreaming. Wonder. Tossing. Three.
Crying. Baby. Nursing. Four.
Peaceful. Perfect. Rest. Five.
Sunlight. Footsteps. Children. Six.
Coffee. Husband. Breakfast. Seven.
Clothes. Dressing. Toothpaste. Eight.
Kisses. Daddy. Bye. Nine.
Buzz. Downstairs. Laundry. Ten.
Reading. Daughter. Laugh. Eleven.
Backpack. Son. School. Noon.
Blanket. Searching. Found. One.
Napping. Doorbell. Package. Two.
Stirring. Awake. Snack. Three.
Carpool. Home. Smiling. Four.
Fridge. Cooking. Supper. Five.
Dishes. Running. Backyard. Six.
Bath. Pajamas. Books. Seven.
Bedtime. Prayers. Goodnight. Eight.
Couch. Unwind. Novel. Nine.
Heavy. Eyes. Closing. Ten.
Bleary. Diaper. Changing. Eleven.
Quiet. Sleeping. Still. Midnight.
Melanie. Wife. Mama. Day.
And in case you are wondering: She won the contest. Go, Melanie!
I love you always, Aaron.