Saturday, March 29, 2008

This n That

AN EMOTIONAL MOMENT

While I was in Walmart today, having my purchases scanned, I heard a snippet of some music on the store speaker system.
It was enough, just a second or two, to remind me of some other song.
That set my mind racing to try to figure out what the familiar song was.
It took only a few more seconds before I had it - “She Walks This Earth”.
Then, as my mind started “playing” what I could recall of this song.
I instantly became homesick for my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew.

Strange, how my mind works.
I was going to say, strange how our minds work, but I am not sure my mind works like that of other people.
In some ways, I am certain that the workings of my brain are similar to that of many other people.
In other ways, I wonder if I my brain function has much in common with anyone.
Except my sister.
Which is unfortunate for her. Ha!

THE RUN

The temperature this morning was 50 degrees at 5:30 AM.
(This was at the Huntsville airport according to The Weather Channel.)
That is right at the dividing point where I change my clothing layers for running.
Below 50, I cover arms and torso with two layers of CoolMax polyester knit, and legs with stretchy nylon tights (don't try to visualize this – it might damage your eyes) and (looser) nylon windpants, as well as coverings for ears and hands.
(And, for the sake of full disclosure - running shorts are under the above and my feet have sox and shooz to keep them warm.)

Above 50, the leg coverings come off, as well as one layer of the upper body protection.
In addition, the ear and hand coverings also stay in the bin at home.

But what does one do when the temperature is EXACTLY 50?
I chose a middle path.
One layer on legs (running pants – no tights) and torso (a heavier knit one here), knit gloves and ear covering.
What helped me decide was the cloudiness (very), wind (10-20 mph), and possibility of rain.

This choice proved to be perfect.
As soon as I started out – at 6:07 AM – my left hammy started telling about all the effort it had expended this week during weight workouts, installing equipment and cables at work and whatnot.

Running Central and the Coach in me duly took note of the complaints.
The Coach tactfully suggested that a nice little three-mile run might be just the thing to work out all the stiffness.
The Coach's advice proved correct.
I was quite tired last night and went to bed a little early.
So, in the back of my mind, I was ready for a more difficult time this morning.
But I had a splendid time on the road today.

I found myself daydreaming much of the time.
Hill One and Hill Two were both a bit more challenging than I wished, but there was no accelerated breathing required by either incline.
Somewhere near the end of mile two the gloves came off the warm (now) hands.
And the left hams were happily flexing and relaxing with no more complaints.
At the end, there was no sprint, but I was strong all the way to the crack.

The time was 6:45.
So I was just a bit slower than normal – 43 minutes.
I made up my mind somewhere along the way that I was going to return to the Cotton Row course and run a portion of it when the weather warmed up.

SUM THOTS

Several years ago, as I was doing my daily Bible reading, this section was scanned by my eyes.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

-2 Corinthians 5:16-19

I have read this portion of the book many times, but as God often does, he gave me some new insights into his words.

Though verse 17 is the most familiar of these, it is verse 16 that sets it up.

It says “...we regard no one according to the flesh...”
Because we have been saved – changed, transformed, altered, adjusted, modified – our perspective has been changed such that we do not “see” other people as we used to.
We see the inward part of them now, as well as the outward part.
And seeing the inward – spiritual – component of people changes how we “see” them – what motivates them, drives them, their fears, their reaction to problems and circumstances, and how they cannot see some of the things we now see.

Because of this new perspective, verse 17 starts with “therefore” - because of the previous information just presented, the following statements are justified.
Because of this new perspective, we are a new creation.

Most of the time, ministers just read verse 17 and stop.
But since my Bible reading plan entails that I read the entire chapter, I kept on going to verse 18.
It says that God “...has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ...” (not news to me) and because of this, he has given to each of us “...the ministry of reconciliation...”
Wow.
That stopped me in my tracks.
In all my Christian life I had never heard this concept preached.

And just to be sure we understand the concept, Paul expands the view a little in verse 19:

“...that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

In this verse, he explains the following about reconciliation:
How – God, through Christ
What – reconciling all the people of the world to himself by not imputing (keeping count) of their trespasses (sins).

He defines reconciliation as “...not imputing their trespasses to them...”
Or, not counting the sins committed by people against them.
Or, not keeping a tally or holding against people the things they have done against God's laws or will.
And God has placed into our hands the task of telling people about this wonderful news.
I knew that the Gospel means “good news”, but I never grasped this perspective of the good news in this way.

Reconciliation.
1 – to re-establish friendship between,
2 – to settle or resolve a dispute,
3 – to accept
4 – to make compatible or consistent.

The roots of the English word literally mean “back” (re-) “meeting” (concile).
The Greek word is “kat -al-las'-o”, which means to change mutually, come to an agreement.

Now, the changed perspective, on my part, has changed how I view other people – whether they claim to be “saved” or not.
If they claim to be saved, I just accept them on the basis of their testimony.
I know that most people who say they are saved, are not.
But I spend very little time anymore trying to sort out who is saved and who is not.
That is the business of God.
He is the one who can read the inner part of people, I cannot.
If I see some action or words that are not consistent with the Bible guidelines for a saved person, I will point it out at an opportune time.
And, who knows, a person may BE saved, but not aware of a certain part of holy behavior presented in the Bible.
God may be “not imputing” that part of their actions/thoughts at this time while he works with them on some other spiritual issues that are more pressing.
Who knows?

If the person makes no profession of salvation, then I look for an opportunity to share with them the good news of reconciliation.
Sin and our sinful society can distort reality for people and it is rare to hear a simple presentation of how to be saved anymore.
With my new (it has been over two years since this new perspective was experienced) perspective, I find it easier to open the subject with folks.

Sorry to rattle on.....

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