Ready To Leave the Wasteland?

December 31, 2011

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NIV

As I review my life in 2011, I see the hand of Jesus all over it.  I also see myself clinging to the wasteland.  Time to let go of the log that’s keeping me back from His plans for me and to swim upstream with Him.  Who’s with me?

 

 

 

 


Grab a Large Coffee THEN Hit the Gym!

December 30, 2011

Okay, I realize this piece is a departure from my usual writings here, but since many of us are suffering the aftermath of holiday eating, I couldn’t hold this back.  I found a study on the link between coffee (or tea) and a BETTER WORKOUT.  There really has been testing on this, so read on . . .

 

For me, and for a great many, there’s no better way to start the day than with a good cup of coffee.  A hot fresh one in my favorite mug, the morning paper or another favorite morning read, and a few minutes to relax and get ready for the day ahead . . . oh, yeah!  Thinking about that cup of coffee, I’d have to say that it makes just about any time of day just a bit better . . . but a better work out?  Hmmm.

 

There was a study recently done which sought to prove just that.  Specifically, the study was seeking a link between caffeine and exercise and whether in fact that cup can make you a better sport!  Does it enhance performance?  Will it enhance your enjoyment of your workout?  We have known for years of the jolt from coffee and athletes have been clear on the benefits shown in their running, their cycling, and in Olympic events, but now the question is whether these same benefits can be shown linked to less aerobic physical activity?  If it benefits those who perform in sports with constant activity, does this also mean it has those same results for other sports with less continuous action?  Why or why not?

 

Well, scientists at Coventry University in England wanted an answer and conducted the study.  Some details of the study:

·        Participants:  13 healthy young men

·        Asked to drink a sugar free caffeine laden drink one hour before a weight lifting routine

·        Asked on another occasion to drink the same without caffeine prior to the same workout

The results?  The participants in the study performed longer and stronger with caffeine than without.  It is interesting to note that not only were they less tired, but their general attitude toward working out was improved and the participants who drank a beverage with caffeine were more eager to get in another workout!

 

According to an author of the study, “Essentially, we found that with the caffeinated drink, the person felt more able to invest effort,” says Michael Duncan, a senior lecturer in sports science at the University of Exeter in England and lead author of the study.  Caffeine is know to increase the level of fats in the blood and thus the originally known fact of certain athletes able to perform stronger made sense.  However, for the men performing a weight lifting routine, the increase of fats in the blood would not have had the same effect.  It is not entirely known why they found both a physiological and psychological benefit.  Clearly, however, the results of this study did show this.  The doctor believes that the caffeine enables muscles to contract with more force by fighting against substances in the blood which fight against this, however more study is needed to confirm this. 

 

While the full analysis on caffeine consumption in general, quantity, in what form, etc., is not yet totally clear, one can reasonably consider that this does show many will find the travel mug in the car will perhaps see more attention on the way to a workout!  Stayed tuned for further study results on  this exciting news!


There Is Only One I AM and It Is NOT YOU!

December 30, 2011

Nor is it me.  Okay, you’ve been reading my blog a while, perhaps.  Thank you.  You may, as a result, already know my opinion on New Years Resolutions.  They are a waste of time and effort and doomed to failure.  Think about it.  I am right.  Okay, maybe you are a rare soul who can say you succeeded, but to you I say . . . don’t worry.  I have great sympathy for the delusional.  Seriously, everyone, it’s a no go situation for me.  Thinking seriously about this, I went in seek of more information on the topic.  I looked for it in my favorite guide to living – the Bible.  With the help of technology, I found that the word “I” appears in the NIV 1984 Bible way too many times to count, but when I did a keyword search for the word “you” I found pretty much nothing.  Proves my point.  Yes, I do have one.  You see God wrote the Bible through the pen of those He enabled.  When we read “I” it’s Him being spoken of.  When we read of “you” that would be us.  So, the result of the clicking once again reminds us that without Him we can do nothing.  Fortunately, He is with us and in us and all we need to do is say “yes, Lord” and He will live through us and enable us in the most spectacular ways.  This is GOOD NEWS!

Need more proof of this than my words?  Here are some from the Bible:

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. -Job 42:1-3

““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.””  -John 16:33  

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.  -1 Corinthians 8:5-7

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.   -1 Peter 4:10-12


I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  -Philippians 4:13

 


John Wycliffe, Priest, Shepherd, Minister of Change

December 30, 2011

On this day, December 30, 1384, John Wycliffe was in his deathbed yet still shaking things up in the Christian church.  Wycliffe, a priest, an Oxford Scholar, and chaplain to the King of England, was not only incredibly intelligent but also outspoken in his beliefs and did not hesitate to vocalize what he viewed as corruption in the church and among his fellow clergy.  These very clergy flocked to his bedside as he breathed his last fearing what his last words would be.  He spoke not a word.  He was instrumental in the very first England language translation of the Bible, believing that the people of God needed the Lord’s Word and needed to understand it.  His work was instrumental in later work to make available English translations of the Scripture.  Church leaders feared him because he spoke harshly against their theology and their leadership.  He urged clerics and church leaders of his day to live lives of simplicity and holiness and to shepherd their people rather than “plunder” them.  He died of a stroke.


Song of the Day – How He Loves

December 29, 2011

I was needing a little love and what i found was more than I ever knew possible.  With the help of the David Crowder Band, I share this love with you:  Click here for “How He Loves.”


CS Lewis on Loving God

December 29, 2011
“Some writers use the word charity to describe not only Christian love between human beings, but also God’s love for man and man’s love for God. About the second of these two, people are often worried. They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feeling in themselves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, ‘If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?’ When you have found the answer, go and do it.”
C.S Lewis- Mere Christianity

I love this quote.  I admit, I am not a fan of CSL but love this quote and it’s so true. Love is a course of action and not just hormonal response and getting all hot and sweaty.  We get this totally twisted in our relationships with eachother and for certain it makes those relationships short-lived in many cases.  When we hunger for a personal relationship with God, it becomes a real source of inner conflict.  It doesn’t have to be.


Joy in the Ruins

December 28, 2011

Then I would still have this consolation—
   my joy in unrelenting pain—
   that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.    – Job 6:10

Why do we hold onto our faith in adversity?  When things crash down around us, or seem to, what compels us to trust in the Lord?  When our friends who love us think we’re nuts yet we stand alone in our knowledge that God’s power and majesty are bigger than we can ever grasp.

His love for us is also more than we can ever fully grasp.  That’s all we need to understand.  When it’s all we have to hold onto, we still have more than we can desire or pray for.  He is our joy as none other can ever be.


I’m Full of Wonder

December 27, 2011

There is nothing like that feeling – being full of wonder.  I have felt it a lot in the last few days.  This got me to thinking and the result was to look further into the concept of “wonder.”  What I discovered was initially quite surprising.  For starters, the word appears in the Bible 104 times, compared to the word “awe” which appears a mere 51 times got me thinking even more.  So I looked up “wonder” in the dictionary.  This is where my surprise came from.  The word, at once, means all of the following:

  • To speculate
  • To doubt
  • To be filled with admiration, amazement or awe
  • To marvel

Laying next to me on my desk is a book by Ken Duncan called Experience the Presence of God  and it is full of the wonder of God, yet as I say this I realize that there is a reason that the word “wonder” appears more than twice the number of times in the Bible than the word “awe” does. 

Humans do speculate.  We have doubts.  We come to new realizations through faith and then come quickly to the conclusion that the evil one has planted those doubts and caused the speculations, but might it be that our human weakness is also a factor?  I think it is.  Then, looking to the  rest of the definition, we are brought to how much more meaning there is in the word “wonder” and in this we find the true definition of our reaction to our Lord as we grow to know Him in a deep and personal way. 

That baby whose birth we celebrate at this last week in December who is our King of Kings all at once does indeed fill us with awe, with admiration, with amazement.  Who can fail to know Him and not marvel at His love for us?  I do not think I ever came close to understanding what love is until I was blessed by a deep and personal love relationship with Him.  One day, I shall sit at His feet, but in the meantime, I shall tell of His wonder to all I meet and I pray that my unconscious words and deeds tell of His wonder as clearly as my conscious ones, for those can be the ones that reveal the most! 

“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted”  Job 5:9


You’re Wrong, Gandhi!

December 27, 2011

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

- Mahatma Gandhi -

 

I am willing to assume Gandhi’s heart was in the right place when he spoke these words, but I believe that the world is in the shape it is in for exactly the reason this quote states.  We have an “all about me” mindset in this world, and until we set our mind, along with our heart, and our soul, on the changes that our Lord wishes to make through us, that will not change. 

In these last few days of 2011, let’s resolve to let Him work His change through us – His people. 

If we sincerely do this, we will see a new world!


What Was Mary Thinking?

December 26, 2011

 

As I sit here on the day after the celebration of my Savior’s birth, I am thinking many things.  I’m thankful I didn’t spend money I couldn’t afford in preparation for the day.  I am concerned yet eager as I look forward to a new year.  I worry about keeping a roof over my head then remind myself that my faith tells me I will be fine and try to let go of the fear of human weakness.  I look outside and realize it’s cold out there, and then decide to stay in and work on a few projects, thankful that my house is clean from the festivities of yesterday.  I think with delight of the church services of Christmas Eve, and frown at the weather prediction for tomorrow of stormy wind and rain, even knowing it won’t likely prevent me from doing what I need to do.  This day is calm, bright, and when I keep my focus on my newborn King, it is full of hope. 

 

Newborn King!  Wow, on this day those many, many years ago, Mary – a girl of barely 14 and still a virgin looked down at her baby who was also her Lord and her King.  She was likely tired as it was, after all, the day after her firstborn came into the world.  The excitement of His first visitors had likely passed.  Her husband might well have been watching closely and wishing to get his party on the way home.  As Mary gazed into the eyes of Jesus who was at once her baby son, her God Incarnate, her King of Kings, did she think of tomorrow?  Next year?  Thirty-three years from now?  Did she smile as he snuggled close?  Did she worry about having enough swaddling clothes for the journey?  Was she thinking of the bigger journey – the one which her life had been all about since the day a certain angel came to her and asked a question which meant her life would change in ways she couldn’t possibly understand?  Did she cry at the thought of it, as I am now?  What was Mary thinking this day?


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