Running with my bad self and good Jesus

My husband gave me an apple Nike watch for my birthday and the first Sunday morning with it on my wrist, it pinged. I looked down at it and read something like, “68,000 people have already run this morning. Are we gonna run?”  Are you kidding me? This was around 7:00 in the morning. That many people have already run?

“Yes, I’m running today,” I said to the watch with gusto.nike-watch

After church I hit the start button and was off running, I heard a voice from my watch say something like “Whoo hoo! We’re glad you’re running!” So was I with this watch that cheered me on! Apparently Nike had a 3.1 mile run scheduled for Sundays and towards the end of that stretch a voice said, “you’re almost there, kick it in for a strong finish.” By golly I kicked it in and when I hit the 3.1 set mileage all kinds of cheering came from my watch. I loved that! I had planned a longer run so I kept on. After the next mile a voice said, “Ah, running the victory lap are ya? You keep going with your bad self.” Awesome!

I loved having my own personal cheerleader encourage me along the way. But, even when I’m not running and I don’t hear the voice from my watch, I have Jesus with me. Why is that so hard for me to remember at times? I’ll plod throughout the day as if I’m on my own, stressing over decisions, getting angry when the day isn’t going as I’d planned, worrying over things I have no control over. I’ll get easily flustered, easily angered, easily stressed, and end up being wound as tight as a stretched out rubber band ready to snap at the next person who looks at me the wrong way.

It’d be nice to have Jesus ping on my watch and say, “68,000 people have talked to me today. Are we gonna talk? Or 68,000 people have trusted me today. Are you?”

He’s always waiting patiently. All I need to do is call on Him. It’s not even a start button that I need to hit. Just a mere whisper of His name and He’s there as more than just a cheerleader. He’s promised to be my comforter when I’m scared, a companion when I’m lonely, my peace when I’m stressed, my consoler when I’m sad, my source of joy throughout the day, my counselor in decisions, my conscience in temptations, my guide when I’m lost. He’s the lover of my soul even when I’m not acting very lovable. He’s my running companion guiding my thoughts, my inspiration to write, to smile, to help and serve. He’s my hope, my joy, my peace.

I love this watch. It pings throughout the day reminding me to breathe deeply, to stand, or update me on my exercise progress through the day. It pings when I have a message and rings when my phone rings. Maybe with every ping and ring of my watch, I’ll imagine it’s Jesus saying, “Time to remember me! Talk to me!”

I’ll hope I’m part of the first 68,000 people to have talked to Him each day. And I’ll hit the day running with my bad self and my good Jesus.

But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you. John 14:26-27

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Running in a Tiara

On a recent cruise my husband and I took together, I enjoyed morning runs on the ship’s track. I’d learned from the previous morning that the sea breeze blew my usual running cap off my head. My hair was too short to fit in a ponytail but long enough to blow in my face when the wind was at my back. So this particular morning I grabbed the only headband I had brought and positioned it on my head. As I headed out of our room to run, my husband took one look at me and said, “A tiara? You’re running in a tiara?”

This was a dressy headband with blingy jewels on it that I thought I might like to wear some evening to dinner. However, I have never worn this headband out in public but used it to pull my hair out of my face when I applied make-up. To me it was just a headband, though it had tiara tendencies. “It’s all I have to keep my hair out of my face,” I said in my defense. If my daughters had come along, I’d have had a heap of barrettes and various hair clasps to choose from. However, this was my only option that day.

I headed out to the track in near tropical force winds as a cold front blew in. Needless to say, this little headband did little to keep my hair out of my eyes. When I ran into the wind on the forward facing stretch the wind blew my hair behind me though it felt like I was running into a wall. I had to ran with my head down to spear the wind. However, when I turned the loop to run with the wind, my hair blew all over my face though the wind  pushed me along with speed.

I realized I must have been quite the sight – Fighting the wind then being blown by it. A mess on all sides. But I recognized it didn’t matter what I looked like because I wore a tiara! I loved the fact that my husband called it a tiara because it served to remind me that no matter what I looked like, I was still a child of the King. Not only was I a child of the King, I was a child of the King of Kings. I was loved by God. I was a princess. I was an heir to all the King’s blessings. Not only did I have a King for a Father, He was my Lord and my Savior. I was His and He was mine.

Don’t you love getting sweet yet profound tokens from our God? Oh, how the Lord blessed me that morning with that pleasant reminder of who I was. I was not just a mere pauper struggling all alone to get by when the winds of life blew in the wrong direction. I wasn’t merely a dust particle being blown around and carried haphazardly by the wind. I was a beloved child of God here for a purpose, chosen and blessed. God would help me in the storms of life, would direct my course in the crazy times, and would hold me close through it all.

So, if you’re ever feeling tossed around by life’s circumstances or like you’re constantly running into a wall, put on a headband or tiara and let it serve as a reminder of who you are. You are a child of the Living God. You are loved, adored, and cherished. Your King hears you when you call and will help you through all storms of life. He truly desires the best for you and is with you every step of the way. Remember – You are a child of the King.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1

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Calm, Relaxed, and Glowing

by Jill Lord

I heard an ad recently for a tanning bed salon that said something like, “Do you want to be calm, relaxed and glow…?” It went on to state that using their tanning beds would achieve this state for us. I realized they were hitting on an inner desire of many people – a longing, a yearning that we have to escape the craziness of this life, if even for a few moments, in order to experience a relaxed, calm state. Slithering into the tanning bed, being immersed in its warmth, then arising tanned, feeling good, and glowing is a dream. I immediately thought that we don’t have to ruin our bodies and increase our chances of premature skin melanomas in order to be calm, relaxed, and glow. Jesus does that to us without all the radiation.

When Jesus lives in our hearts, He will cover us in His peace. He stated it in scripture, “My peace I give to you.” It’s a promise. Through all situations, trials, tribulations, hectic, frantic, crazy, rushed times we face, we can still experience His peace in our lives and this warmth that allows us to arise and ‘be calm’. His peace transcends all understanding, which means, we may not be able to wrap our heads around the fact that we feel peace amid chaos, but it still happens. I want that.

We can relax knowing our future is in His hands. Not only our future, but our here and now is in the palm of His hands. Our sins don’t define us. Our pasts don’t define us. The wrong things we’ve said or done or even thought are all tossed as far away as the east is from the west. We are forgiven of all that mess and given a freedom to live the life He designed us to live. He has great plans for each of us, for good, not for harm. Though we may be going through a tough time, it’s not the end. It’s not permanent. If we give our burdens to Him and trust that He will work it all out for the best in His omnipotent, amazing ways, we may relax. He’s got us covered and halleluiah for that!

When Jesus lives in our hearts, He will shine through us radiating His love and joy to all those around. His love will gush forth, pour out from us, beam through us, smile through us, and love through us simply by living in our hearts.

So, save your money, save your skin, and save your health! Avoid those tanning beds. Accept Jesus as your Savior and let Him do His thing in you. You’ll experience calmness, relaxation and radiate a glow, you never knew was possible.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

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Running in Circles

By Jill Lord

Running in Circles? Not in God’s View.

My husband and I managed to escape for a few days on a cruise recently. Thankfully this ship had a decent running track on an upper level, so I wasn’t confined to a tread mill nor a tiny little track. I found a sign that stated 5 ½ times around equaled 1 mile. Perfect! My first morning on the ship, I turned on my music and wondered if the GPS on my apple watch would work in the middle of the sea. I’d find out. I hit start and was off. I loved the view of nothing but God’s vast ocean, a few early risers heading towards breakfast, and workers preparing the ship for the day. I loved the warmth of the Caribbean morning sun, the sea breeze in my hair which made me remove my cap before it got blown off my head, and the distant aroma of coffee and breakfast cooking.

After a couple laps, my watch voice told me of my mile completion at 3 minutes and 34 seconds. What? I seriously have never run that pace, and secondly, I’d only completed 2 laps. Guess GPS wasn’t accurate at sea. Didn’t matter. I counted my laps. After another 3 minutes and 34 second block, I was told I’d completed 2 miles. Well, at least

nike-watch

I love my apple Nike+ watch!

she was consistent. I told myself I wouldn’t need this app the next day.

As I continued running looking over the ocean, it hit me and I began laughing. The app was working perfectly. Not only was it picking up my running, but also the advancement of the boat through the water. I was on a moving vessel.  For all you physics geniuses, you can figure out the speed of the boat, my pace running on the forward stretches into the wind, minus the backwards facing stretches with the wind at my back to equal the pace and mileage and knottage. Counting the laps sufficed for me.

Then the parable hit me. Don’t we get so consumed with our tasks that we don’t see our advancement in God’s kingdom? We may feel we’re working our hardest at a goal, only to meet resistance, setbacks, even failures. We may feel like we’re literally running in circles. But with God’s grace and in God’s views, we’re still advancing. Each failure brings us closer to Him, closer to the dream He has for us though we may not see it. The resistance we face helps us lean on Him more. The setbacks cause us to explore more options, depend on His guidance, seek His ways. While we may feel like we’re still standing on the starting block, we’re actually on our way to becoming more of the people God intends for us to be, closer to accomplishing His dreams for us, closer to the goals He has in store for us.

So, don’t give up if you haven’t achieved your dream, if you keep falling short of your goals. Life is not a sprint to the finish line. It’s more of a never-ending marathon, running around the same laps on a moving vessel. You’re making progress! Though it may seem you’re right back where you started, God in all His Wisdom, Mercy, and Grace is moving you along so that you’re much closer towards your goal. He’s accomplishing more in you than you could ever have imagined.  Keep the faith, my friends, and run your race knowing God is moving you along at His perfect speed.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

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