Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Good Morning!

A very good morning to you. I hope you and yours are doing well. Here in the Piedmont of Virginia the weather is 65 degrees, the sun is shining brightly, and a cool breeze is blowing -- perfect weather for working outdoors. Earlier today I went through my normal routine of Bible study, gym time, and cardio. Bible study is my absolute favorite part of the day. Jesus Christ is the most exciting person I've ever met. It's been 62 years since I came into a personal relationship with him and it, well, feels out of place to miss my daily appointment with him. I think about reading my Bible as being a personal counseling with session with Jesus and the apostles. For every need I have in my life, there is an answer wrapped up in the pages of this book. EVERY problem we face has an answer in this book if we will just open it and read it. God tells us exactly how to have an exciting Christian life if we will just open his word and hear what he's got to say!

At any rate, my reading today was in the final chapter of 2 Corinthians. 

Here Paul tells us to "examine ourselves." Now, few of us like exams. My students will face a major exam next Monday. But listen -- it's hard enough to be examined. It's far harder to have to be both the examinee and the examiner at the same time. A Greek exam will make it clear to your prof whether you are "approved" (dokimos) or "disapproved" (adokimos). But it's far better if you are able to determine that for yourself. In essence, Paul is asking the Corinthians, "Are you real Christians? Do you pass the test? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren't at all?" Likewise, a Greek teacher asks his or her students, "Are you really Greek students? Do you pass the test? Or are you just pretending to be a student when actually you aren't at all?" In verse 9, Paul writes, "Our greatest wish and prayer is that you will become mature Christians."

That is EXACTLY my prayer for my beloved students. Don't fake it. Don't pump sunshine when you're actually failing. Pass the test!

After that I reread this delightful book by the former president of the Columbia School of the Bible. 

I would sum up its message as follows:

  • One half of the world's population remains unevangelized.
  • The church has failed to follow the Lord's mandate for evangelism with wholehearted zeal.
  • Christians must give themselves completely to learn and to pray, to work and to witness for the completion of the mission task of the church.

Here are 3 quotes I think you'll enjoy:

"Obedience to God is never fulfilled through mere passive availability. It demands active involvement" (p. 73).

"Thus, the 'missionary call' has become a call to location, rather than a call to vocation" (p. 78).

And especially:

"Let us give ourselves to prayer till He ignites us with the flame of His love and scatters us as firebrands throughout the darkness of a lost world" (p. 84).

If you've ever struggled with your commitment to what Paul once called "the only thing that matters" (Phil. 1:27), this is a book you might want to consider buying and reading.

Then it was off to the gym:

As well as to the local high school for a training session focusing on hill work. The course takes you downhill for a half mile then back uphill for a half mile. Here I am about to run uphill again. 

I kind of enjoy running hills. I have a short, shuffling stride that seems well tuned to hills. You have to run with choppy steps and keep your arm swing quick and compact. The key is to run by effort, not by pace. Today I worked on keeping my breathing rate exactly the same as when I am running on the flat. The goal I'm after is even-effort running. 

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for stopping by. Let's keep our eyes heavenward, remembering that the road is narrow that leads to eternal life, and if we turn our eyes to things away from heaven, we can be distracted and end up being tempted to take the wide road.