So how's my day been going? (I'm sure with Christmas upon us and everything else you have going on, that's all you've been thinking about.) Well, it's cold, as in literally freezing. The sun is out but there's no warmth in it.
The high tomorrow will be 24 degrees, so, yes, I guess you could say that winter has formally arrived. More often than not, I am always thinking of reasons to get outdoors, but man, it is COLD out there!
Instead, this morning I settled into a warm Bojangles and dug into the Scriptures. Had a wonderful time in Philippians 2!
Isn't it beautiful to know that because of God's kindness I can "work out" my salvation because he is "working in" the very same thing? Isn't it exciting to know that required obedience is also enabled obedience? Yes, I am responsible for my spiritual growth. Yes, I am responsible to live up to my privileges in Christ. But the other side of the coin is that my obedience is ultimately a response to God's inner working of transformation and renewal. And -- get this! -- Paul says that nothing can stop this ongoing divine work. As Motyer says in his commentary (p. 101), "With our daily catalogue of failure and our not infrequent despair of ourselves, what unspeakable comfort lies in this truth!" Indeed!
Another reason I'm smiling? This morning I had one of the best workouts I've ever had. It was tough as all get out but I sincerely enjoyed every second of it.
The simple sensation of lifting a weight. The sound of my breath as I begin to strain under the tension. The subtle taste of another Alp in my future (if I work hard enough). It felt like hope.
I love this time of the year called winter. It means we'll soon be emerging out of the darkness. The days will become longer, the nights shorter. One of the greatest feelings in life has to be working towards some future goal, giving it your all, feeling the struggle of the journey, but persevering and reaching your destination. Next thing you know, you're planning your marathon schedule for next year. I've chosen to do two -- the Flying Pig in Cincy in May and the St. George Marathon (Utah) in October. This would be my fourth time doing the Cincinnati Marathon, which was my very first 26.2 mile race. I know it's kind of odd for me to want to do this race for a fourth time, but nostalgia is a very powerful emotion. Today I am giving a huge shoutout to Cincy Photography for making such great videos about this race. Here's my fave:
I have to admit, every time I watch this I get goosebumps. If you've been reading this blog for a while you know I'm a sucker for inspiration. I'll take it wherever I can get it. I definitely get the best dose of inspiration from watching people just like myself not being afraid to fail. Most of us live our lives without even coming close to our limits. I'm a huge believer that we are capable of doing way more than we think we can. Always be willing to see the small achievement in everything you do, even if it does not turn out exactly like you planned. Don't procrastinate on goals. If you don't believe you can reach them you won't. I have many faults -- we all know that! But one of them isn't making excuses or complaining and playing the victim. For some reason I have zero tolerance for not honoring commitments.
So many people my age decide that their best experiences are all in the past and settle down to wait for death. But the opposite ought to be the case. The accumulated wisdom of the years ought to make us most valuable in our last days. Despite his advanced years, Caleb asked God for a mountain. He didn't ask for a pension and an easy chair. And he didn't ask for a hillside either. He asked for a mountain. He claimed God's promises and relied on the Promiser as never before.
We honor God by asking him for mountains in our old age. Let's not settle for less than his best. My apologies to General MacArthur, but God's old soldiers never die and they never just fade away!