Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Great My Joy!

Last week did not make it to the gym or walk at all last week, yet still dropped another 4 pounds (lost a total of 30 pounds since August). Excellent!

During my week of non-activity, I was thinking more about my walking and looking forward to doing more 5k (these are getting to be regular features, daily when I can excercise). I've been trying to jog once again, but only able to do about 3/4 mile--even in increments. More on that momentarily.

During my "break," I watched this documentary called, "Running the Sahara" about three guys (who typically run the equivalent of 2 marathons per day) who ran from the Atlanta Ocean in Senegal, West Africa all the way across the Sahara to the Red Sea in Cairo, Egypt in 111 days. Talk about inspiration!

Well I finally made it back to the gym and jogged 2 miles of the 5k in increments--I found my stride and divided up the run thus:

1) walk .25 miles;
2) jog .75 miles;

3) walk .25 miles;

4) jog .75 miles;

5) walk .25 miles;

6) jog .25 miles;

7) walk .25 miles;

8) job .25 miles;

9) walk to end, then cool down 2 min.

For a fat man, that's pretty good I think!

I was amazed at how much finding my stride contributed to the workout (as opposed to just pushing myself through, as  I was doing before). I kept thinking of those guys out there running the Sahara and tried to figure out what pushed them through. Most of it had to do with stride. The rest had to do with the direction of the mind.

This morning as I reflect, I think of Jesus where in the scripture it says of Him, “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). This is the concluding statement of the encouragement we have to lay aside every encumbrance and run with endurance—joy.

Jesus found His stride in the joy that was on the other side of the pain. After that unparalleled marathon, He sat down—game over.

Now, many runners have a personal “mantra” (the practice derived from Buddhism of repeating a word or phrase) as a focal point to push themselves along (such as “one more step,” or “keep going,” or in the case of one of the Sahara runners, his wife). Imagine for a moment what Jesus kept before His eyes as He entered this world; as he made those repeated trips to Jerusalem during Passover and watched those lambs being slain; as He entered Triumphally; and finally, as He enduring the cross. He had the joy of knowing it would all be finished: the satisfaction of God’s justice and the redemption of those who will repent.

When I jog (and one day, run), my mind is focused on Him and “the joy set before Him endured the cross”—for me.

How Great My Joy!

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