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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

Daily I’m reminded of this fact.

My soul’s three enemies:

The World

The Flesh

The Devil

The one I most constantly battle is The Flesh and its three agents:

Me

Myself

I

Try as I might, I am weak in the flesh.

Rom 7: (KJV)

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Romans 8:1-39 ESV — There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What a promise!

God is Faithful! Even when we aren’t.

We sing about it:

🎶Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father

There is no shadow of turning with Thee

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness

Morning by morning new mercies I see

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me🎶

We talk about the faithfulness of God. But do we grasp it, and understand it and trust in Him as we ought? I’m guilty of forgetting and turning away from what I know of God’s nature. I too often look inward instead of remembering it is he that holds me, and not me who holds him. I have no power in myself to hold on… The Lord has all power (And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”)

Lamentations 3:21-24 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

God is faithful when we are not. 

Christian, God gave his only son in order to fulfill the Father’s perfect requirements for the redemption from sin in order that by his Grace we who are being saved can be called sons and daughters, in Christ Jesus.

Every day I need to be reminded of this.

The Gospel is not just a means to an end, it’s not merely the means of salvation, but it is the very essence of life in Christ. It is the foundation of life in Christ Jesus, and there is no life without it. 

We need to remind ourselves and one another of this truth daily, and worship El ’emunah, the Holy one who is Faithful.

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Anyone else like me?

I know whose I am but I often do not live like it. Take for instance, Life.

What is life? Is it just the living, the breathing, and being conscious? Yes, those are necessary in order to sustain life. 

But what is life?

Is life what we do? 

Is life who we are?

What is life?

When I was a younger man I didn’t think of these things. I took them for granted. I was…  therefore I was alive. And if alive then I had life. I never questioned what life actually was/is. So what is life? 

Genesis 1:26-27

¶Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

¶So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:7

…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So…

All these years I have misunderstood what life was. I was under the delusion that life is about me. It’s actually about God. Just as I have misunderstood the Bible. It’s not the story of man but of God. Man is secondary. Man is the result of the will of God. Life is the result of the will of God. 

John 1:1-4

¶In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Are you beginning to see as I see?

Life is a gift of God. When one speaks of the sanctity of life this is what they are talking about. Life is not man’s to give and therefore it is not man’s to take unless according to God’s Law. 

Obviously I have much to learn about life.

At this point I see my learning is sorely lacking as to what life is and how I should regard it. I have only seen life as a series of circumstances and how they affect me personally. My life has been based on my reactions to the events of life and I haven’t stopped to think on what life is, and where life comes from. Right now I see through a cloudy, dimly lit, out of focus glass. I pray I will grow, mature and begin to see with more, and more clarity. 

Yesterday at church, Pastor Kyle mentioned that when we are in distress and need clarity (at least this is what I got from what he said) we should give thanks in everything, and for everything be thankful. That caused me to think of the most basic thing of all,”Life.” 

Now as scripture says, “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” we see life is literally, God breathed.

Later, in the Garden of Eden, man disobeyed God’s one command and became spiritually dead, becoming separated from Adonai through his sin. Thus Death entered the world. 

And so death reigns from then until now on the physical body. But God had, before creation, prepared for us a sacrificial lamb, without spot to take away our sin and restore us to himself: his son, Jesus, the Christ. 

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the LIFE*. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

(*Emphasis mine)

All of John 14 is Jesus’ witness to the Truth, of himself, and of the Father. 

Our restored life is in Jesus Christ, who is in the Father. 

Again, “life” is a gift from God.

Yet how lightly we esteem it. How flippantly we care for it… how often we neglect and abuse it as if it were our own. 

Anyone else with me?

Do you see what I see?

Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

God has to deal with me in degrees, as with an infant. I have to learn to crawl, and then walk before I can run. In this case I have a small taste of the truth and small understanding about life now. 

So here is something I was given earlier as I was thinking about all of this. How do I start my morning? What is the first thing I do when I wake up?

I reach for my phone.

I check in on the world before I recognize the very one I claim is Sovereign Lord over all Creation, Adonai.

What if I change that?

What if instead of reaching for my phone I would recognize Adonai first and as Kyle said, give thanks. What if a prayer of Thanksgiving was the first thing I do every morning?? How would that affect my day? How would that change my life? My approach to life?

I found this Prayer

Morning Prayer

I give thanks unto You, Adonai, that, in mercy, You have restored my soul within me. Endless is Your compassion; great is Your faithfulness. I thank You, Adonai, for the rest You have given me through the night and for the breath that renews my body and spirit. May I renew my soul with faith in You, Source of all Healing. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who renews daily the work of creation.

Maybe seeing life as less about me, I will appreciate the life I have more… because I will see it for what it really is a gift from God. 

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Hope

The morning air was a nearly perfect sixty-five degrees with only a slight breeze.  Ideal conditions to be out on the road. A day worth remembering. I hate I have lost so much of my sense of smell as I would love to capture the aroma of this early fall day in my memory bank as well.

I’m asking things of my body that it doesn’t like especially since it still has too much weight to be carrying around.   The body is fighting against itself and the mind, while the soul is just weary of it all.

Yet even amidst the turmoil within me I am struck by a moment of grand beauty.  In the middle of a pain concert raging in my feet, legs, back and lungs I stop for a moment to watch a squadron of maple leaves launch from their branch and be carried along on a gentle current.  Watching as they spiral down in the morning sunlight. Twirling and twisting in a death dance celebration of their short life.  The sun spotlighting them, highlighting their performance.

For that brief moment time seemed to stop and allow me to take it in.  The sound of the leaves rustling on the trees, the feel of sun on my skin,  the breeze gently caressing my face.  A moment of pure beauty in the midst of an internal storm.  A reminder that no matter how out of control things seem to get, there is hope because there is beauty.  Because there is beauty I know there is love.
Because there is love… I have hope.

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Update (read: bragging)
Here we are 14 days into the New Year and yes, I am still at it.
For the new year I have decided to learn how to swim. (yes, I’m AARP eligible and just now learning to swim.)
I have had a couple of swim lessons and I haven’t drown yet. I’ve inhaled my share of highly chlorinated water… but not drowned yet. (I will probably die of chlorine poisoning… but not by drowning.)

This past week we found out at work that our per-ordered uniform allowances from 2013 were processed wrong so we had 15 days to re order. I did (and for the first time in 8 years I used every single penny of the allowance)… but there is a catch.

As of this moment I’m in 42 pants. Now the smart thing to do would be order 42’s right? Well… no one has accused me of being smart so what did I do? I ordered 40s and 38s. So… now I have to keep at it in order to fit in my new clothing allowance.

So here is the real reason for the update.
**Now let me preface this with some disclaimers:
I know that to the purists, machine mileage is not the same as “real” or “on the road” mileage. I further concede that my times are s-l-o-w compared to real runners and people who are in a shape other than round.

Having said that:
Tonight I was on Mistress Sadie’s cousin the Elliptical (name yet to be determined) and I did 95 minutes of the “Rolling Hills” program for a total of 7.31 miles. Again, that’s 7.31 miles. That’s averaging sub 13 minute miles. (12.99589603283174… but who’s counting, right?) which was 11770 strides on the elliptical.
Now the interesting part is, that is more than a 10k. (and again I realize that’s not “real” running… but still, it’s pretty darn impressive if you ask me! )

I’m going to have to get a shirt or a hat that says, “I’m Getting There”

Anyway… that’s the update, we now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing and lurking.

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Ok, now for some good news.
It’s the little things these days, which bring me joy.

This time last year, along with the tight pants I had a shirt issue as well.
When I looked down I had gap disease. You know the “pucker” effect that a tight shirt will produce around the buttons? Where there just isn’t enough material to line up the button rows. Large breastses and moobies will cause that same problem. Well, I was infected with it. My shirts were eat up with button strain.

My belly was at maximum expansion in some of my shirts and the pressures on some of my buttons had reached critical mass. I even had to take out extra Ralphie Insurance just in-case a button fired off and shot someone’s eye out. Breathing deep might have caused a rapid fire burst sending buttons down range to do major damage.

However, today, I noticed that not only do my buttons now line-up, but there is breathing room inside the shirt. In fact, the shirts now fit loosely around my belly. I noticed my moobs are on the decline as well. My shirt pockets no longer arrive in a room five minutes before the hip pockets. And, an added plus is that I can no longer pass the pencil test. (meaning my moobies no longer sag and hang over my belly)

It’s the little things that keep me going, and today it was startling to realize that my shirts actually have breathing room… you know…. while I am wearing them!

We now return you to your previously scheduled surfing.

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It has been a while since I updated The Orange and Lime Green Sherbets, or how things are going with Mistress Sadie.

I will have to admit there was, shall we say, a pall in my resolve.
What with “The Wedding” and so much other stuff going on over the summer I found myself dozing while my life was on autopilot.  I had let my guard down and when I awoke from my self-induced stupor I realized the enemy had retaken ground that was hard won the first time.

So there I was, faced with the ultimate decision, what do I do?  Do I go ahead and take the easy road back to the couch and give up?  Or do I man up and dig down deep inside myself and find the Marine that I once was, pick him up dust him off and between the two of us become the man that I once hoped to be but never have been yet?

To tell you the truth everything within me fought against me this week.  Every demon from my past, every failure I have ever experienced popped up and sang its tale of woe, weakness and frustration.  All my failures, disappointments, and personal flaws whispered to me to just give up and quit.  “It’s not worth it,” they said.  “Why even try?” they said.  “No one cares about or wants you,” they argued.  “What difference will it make?”

It dawned on me, they were absolutely right, “What difference WILL it make?”  So I quit arguing, and somewhere deep, deep down inside I started to get angry.  I stopped engaging my demons and my failures and my dead dreams, and my personal flaws altogether… and in my mind I stood up, turned around and began walking.  They all withstood me, began to taunt and make fun of me until I finally growled, “To hell with all of that, I’m doing this for me!”  I don’t care about my failures, or my flaws, or even about what anyone thinks of me!  I’m doing this for me, and when it’s done I hope to finally meet the man that I once hoped to be.  Not the man someone else wants me to be, but the one who I let life beat down, the one I smothered with religiosity, the one I never allowed myself to be.

Today marks the second day back in actual training mode.  I went back to Mistress Sadie and she worked me over for 50 minutes.  35-40 minutes was pumping her as hard as I could go.  My heart rate peaked at 180 beats/min. She was glistening with my sweat when I finished.  I wiped her down and she knew I was back only now the intensity is greater than before.  I’m on a mission.

Somewhere in my encounter with Mistress Sadie today I stepped through a portal in my mind, a portal to the id.  I had to find the Marine.  I knew he was in there, covered with the sands of my time, the dust and sediment of my life.  I sent out a distress signal, that he was needed, that I was reactivating him.  If this mission was to succeed I was going to have to have him back.  His ability to endure the mental challenges was needed.  I realize now that it was I who limited his physical abilities and I was the one who held “him” back.

Somewhere around the 20-minute mark he found me.  For a brief shining moment I felt him there; he was there to rescue me.  He was there to carry me over the pain threshold and for the next 20 minutes he ran with me as we pushed past levels 8-10 on Sadie as we took the hill of level 12 and reached the summit at level 14 for a couple of minutes.   Somewhere during the 5 min cool down he nodded and smiled.  I came back to this side of the portal, completely spent but encouraged, knowing the Marine is still with me, “Always Faithful.”

I was able to do one Set of the 14 Fitlinxx stations, then to the steam room to relax, finally shower and leave.

So, here I sit.
I’m not the man I once was.  With heaven’s help I will become the man I once hoped to be.  Not for anyone else or anyone else’s approval, this time I’m doing it for me. (Now I fully understand the meaning behind James 4:14-16.  If the Lord allows me to complete this quest, then so be it.) I have examined my life, weighed it in the balances and it comes up lacking.  And if I fail, let me die in the attempt, because that would be preferable to this life of mediocrity I now endure.

I am Persifler, not the man I was, but not yet the man I hope to be.

*for those who don’t know who Mistress Sadie is:  precor_amt_100_i

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Ok, with the weather and the time change… neither the Orange Sherbet nor the Lemon-Lime have been able to ride here lately.  So… I found out my company will  reimburse half of the monthly fees for health club/YMCA membership.  The Y has “pay-the-day” joining fee this month so I joined for a dollar today.   Now I hope I have a job long enough for this to matter.

*to bring everyone up to speed.  The Orange and Lemon-Lime Sherbet are my persona on a Bike.  I wear either a day-glo Orange or a day-glo Lemon-Lime shirt when I ride.

Day 1:

Alrighty then… Upon arriving I realize I am out of my league right out of the gate.  I keep telling myself, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone, don’t compare yourself to anyone,” but it is humbling when the Geriatrics are putting me to shame.

Ok so this is how it went down.  I thought I had prepared, bag, change of clothes, towels, clean underwear (the non-holie ones),  shampoo, shower shoes, work out shorts, bottle of water … am I forgetting anything?  Lock, need a lock… I know,  I’ll use one from work. (mistake #1) It did not fit… so after 20 minutes of tossing my work van I found a short, small diameter shanked lock.  Most of my exercise so far was just walking back and forth from the parking lot to locker-room.

Thirty minutes after I arrive, I wander out into the hall.  Picture this.. an old, gray-haired, white Fat Albert (just not as cool) with a pony-tail wandering the halls with an, “uh-huh, yep, that’s right it’s my first time here, yep, uh-huh” look on my face.  My inner self was screaming, “Don’t draw attention to yourself!”  Try to blend in… act nonchalant.   One pass through the exercise area doing a little recon along the way.  Now the brain is starting to have second thoughts.  As I look around it is going, “What the heck is T-h-a-t?  What does that do?  How does that work? And finally, “What is this contraptio… oh, I see… it’s a scale.”

Ok I need to know what my baseline is so I’ll start here.

I step up… “Nothing”

Ok, don’t panic.  There, there’s the on button.  Step off and let it “zero.”

Step up… and…this time it tells me a secret, a very weighty, burdensome secret.

I look up and let out a loud, deep, sigh and  that’s when I notice it.   It may motivate some but it’s the last thing I want or need right now: mirrors.  They’re freaking E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!  I’m still not sure how I feel about that image looking back at me.  I try to avoid the guy looking back at me in the mirror, maybe if I ignore him he’ll go away?!

So, baby steps… that’s how I’ll start, baby steps.

In order to avoid the guy in the mirror I skip stretching and loosening up. (mistake #2)  Find something that looks familiar and climb aboard.  Recumbent bikes have come a long way from what I used to know.  I try to look like I know what I’m doing while figuring out how this one works on the fly.  I finally settle in to a routine and the best I can figure I did around 6.5 miles in 30 min.

I’m sweating and sore from not exercising since the time change.  So I call it an evening and head to the sauna.

You know… they are a lot hotter than I remember them also.

So we come to the end of Day 1.

“Baby steps”… that is a massive accomplishment for me.

I leave with a sense of satisfaction.

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