Someone who actually knows about coffee may be able to contest the quality of Starbucks’ Anniversary Blend, but I’ve just brewed a pot of it for my dad and I to drink and it’s unbelievable.
I ran the second installment of Couch to 5K’s week 5 this morning and found a delightful bike path over by Ames High. I guess it’s the known path to the pool over on thirteenth, but I hadn’t seen it, and the view of the meadow (or whatever that field with scruffy grass and plants is called) was gorgeous.
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;
(2 Corinthians 6:1-8 ESV)
Reading through both letters to the Corinthians I am hearing God’s voice speak to me about endurance and the limits I establish in persevering. I think as I run with a prescribed system I am realizing how frivolous my limits are…if I were to go out with just an iPod or my watch, I’d probably tell myself “yep, done” by about 6 minutes…maybe 10. As long as I’m not keeping track of the distance or the time but waiting to hear the “ok, now you’re ready for your brisk walk,” or “keep going, you’re doing great” I am less inclined to think about the “I can’t go any farther”.
So if I’m so easily persuaded to listen to a voice in my earbuds, why should listening to the Spirit be any different? I mean, in daily life I catch myself saying or thinking things like, “it’s too hard to love ____” or “haven’t I gone far enough?” when I should really trust that in this process of being transformed into the image of Christ He’s not going to toss me into a marathon I’m not ready for:
 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
The sermon at Cornerstone last night was another homerun. It didn’t hurt that the worship set had a lot of running references (God is good at using redundancy in teaching me things). I think the texts on loving others have been especially timely, even with the endurance. Hearing about the context of 1 John 2:15-17’s “world” not being nations or creation but the things which we turn to besides God (and in place of God for people who are lovers of the world). One of my favorite points that Paul Sabino made was that as Christians we go ahead and blow it (hence, sinners), but our lives are not characterized by the “world” or its cravings.
He also defined love as a steady devotion of your will. It’s essentially a choice.
Kind of like my choice to keep running or stop. A steady devotion (okay…my affection for running isn’t really love at this point, so substitute another word of commitment for “devotion”) despite the hard work, the pain [the funny looks I get from people who drive by]. So as I’m training to run a theoretical 5K (pretty sure it’s going to snow before then, and then I’m kinda done until spring), I am also training to love others well. Not just some, either.
Let me close with the lyrics of Anthem’s “Carried Away”, which makes me think of David and his heart for God:
My heart is stirred by a noble theme
As I recite my verses for the king
At this my heart pounds
And leaps from its place
I’m getting carried away,
carried away in your arms
In your majesty, ride forth victoriously
King of Kings
You’re the author of the universe
You gave yourself away so all can see
Your love unending
One great story, all in compassing.
Have a great weekend!