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#5kMay2018 Day 2

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Day 2 in Oklahoma with Jodi (my lovely bride), Tiffany Swihart, and my three oldest daughters, Taylor, Abigail, and Piper

Another day, another state, another 5k…

We woke up this morning in beautiful Weatherford, OK. We are staying at a hotel right on historic Route 66, which is pretty cool!

Last night I sang and spoke at a “House Concert” that was actually held in a church. (JPM House Concerts are typically held in houses, as you may imagine, but this one was held in a church, which ended up being fantastic.) The House Concert was originally going to be held in a canyon (super cool!), but the wind was too fierce that it was wisely relocated to church fellowship hall. That was a good move.

We had a wonderful time of eating a meal, meeting wonderful people, and sharing stories and songs. I love being a Musicianary! God is good.

This morning we drove a few miles to the home of the family who put on the House Concert so that we could do our daily 5k together. Tiffany Swihart, one half of the dynamic duo 2Harts Surrendered (who are wonderful people, awesome musicians, and recording artists who have recorded several albums in Taylor’s Playground Recording Studio), joined us for a 5k today. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that we joined her. We were definitely in her stomping grounds (“Dead Woman’s Crossing” -yikes!)

We walked and ran a total of 4.6 miles in 56 minutes for an overall average pace of 12:10 per mile. Altogether it was me, Tiffany, Jodi (my lovely bride), and my three oldest daughters, Taylor, Abigail, and Piper. All six of us are a part of the “5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018” challenge, so it was cool to do it together. I think I ended up with an extra mile because I wanted to truly run at least 3.1 miles, but I joined them for some walking in the beginning and end, and I ran with them until they felt like they needed to walk.

We had a great walk / run in beautiful Oklahoma. I felt like I was in a John Wayne movie. The landscape is truly breathtaking. I had been to a different part of Oklahoma several years ago when I led a Youth Group Mission Trip to do an outreach based out of an Indian Reservation in Ringold, OK, which is about 4.5 hours from here. The landscape here in Weatherford is very different from the landscape in Ringold. This is really the beginning of “Tornado Alley” Yikes!

I have been watching the weather rather closely these past couple of days. Apparently there is a pretty major storm brewing, and the chance of tornadoes is really high. I would be lying if I tried to say I wasn’t worried about it. I am fairly terrified, actually.

Thankfully, the Bible has something to say to people like me, and I think it was made very clear in today’s scripture reading of Matthew 4-6. As a follower of Christ, I am called to not worry.

I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34, NLT, emphasis mine)

It can be so easy to worry, but like Jesus said, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

No. They cannot. I am convinced that worry actually robs you of beautiful moments of your life.

Jesus calls his followers to an amazing life of truly living to the fullest! He actually says so plainly in John 10:10! He does not want us to be filled with fear, but filled with faith! Look at this same Matthew 6:25-34 passage through a slightly different filter… instead of noticing worry, let’s notice God, and what He is up to:

…I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34, NLT, emphasis mine)

Pretty cool, huh?! God is taking care of the birds and the flowers, and we are more important to Him than they are. He already knows our needs, and He wants to meet our needs!

When you read through the chapters that we read today, especially the “Sermon on the Mount”, it becomes very obvious that we have all fallen short of God’s perfect standard! I personally have fallen VERY short of the right way of living, which Jesus lays out in these chapters. But that is a part of what makes Christianity so amazing!

Other religions are about what you can (or have to) do in order to be right with God. That is not Christianity! Christianity is all about what Jesus has done in order to make us right with God! No one can live up to God’s standard perfectly, but through the power of Christ in us, we can.

God created us to live rightly. He created us to enjoy relationship with Him (and with one another). He has shown us how to live correctly through the Ten Commandments, but also by writing it on our hearts and in our conscience. We know the right thing to do, but we have all chosen the wrong thing. When we choose the wrong thing, it separates us from God! This is true of every relationship that we have. When we willingly and knowingly do something that we know someone doesn’t want us to do, it separates us from them. In this case, since we are willingly and knowingly doing something that God (our Creator) doesn’t want us to do, the punishment is death. The One who gave us life has every right to take that life away.

In everyday relationships, when we know we’ve messed up, we typically try to make it right. We typically try to do more good things towards the person than bad things. In that way, we hope that the wrong we have done is outweighed by the right that we have done. It doesn’t actually work this way with God. There is no amount of “good” we could do to outweigh the “bad”. In fact, the Prophet Isaiah points out that:

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6, NLT)

Even our “righteous deeds” are like “filthy rags” to a Holy God. “Our sins sweep us away” from God. In other words, there is no amount of “good” deeds that we could ever do to repay the “bad” in our relationship with God.

So what then can we do to have our relationship restored?!

Well, that is where Jesus comes in!

God created us to be with Him but our sins separated us from God, and those sins cannot be removed by good deeds. So Jesus paid the penalty of our sins on the cross! The Prophet Isaiah makes this clear in Isaiah 53. Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross, but He rose again from the grave to prove that His payment was sufficient. Now everyone tho puts their faith in Jesus alone as LORD will have eternal life! What is eternal life all about? Well, let’s let Jesus Himself tell us what eternal life is:

… this is eternal life, that they know you [the Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3, ESV)

“Eternal life” is a restored relationship with God -a relationship built on His perfect love that will last forever!

So Christianity is not about what we can do, but it is about what Jesus has done. His primary purpose was to restore our broken relationship with God, our Father. That is super good news!

Yes, He wants us to actually live out the things that were spoken in the Sermon on the Mount. Yes, God wants us to actually live out the Ten Commandments. But we cannot do that on our own. We can only experience that kind of life through the power of God living in us. And that power is available to us each and every day!

So for me, even though it is so easy to give in to worry, I am going to choose worship instead.

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*5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 is brought to you by Jeff Polen Music and Vertical Runner of Wooster. If you are joining the fun, don’t forget about the Facebook group, the Strava group, and the printable PDF.

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10 thoughts on “#5kMay2018 Day 2 Leave a comment

    • Dave, great insight and great question! It does say that he was led by the spirit to be tempted. I think the answer is simple obedience. I wonder if I would be able to display that same level of obedience to the clear will of God.

  1. I can say I’m not use to the warm Ohio weather yet when it comes to running. But at least I had great running partners tonight. It’s been great getting to know Ruth and Ed and tonight I had to he privilege to run with them. We put some extra miles in and made a 10k tonight.

    It’s cool to see how Jesus called the first disciples. They were fishing and when he called Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew it says they immediately left there nets. Same happened with James and John. They immediately left to follow Jesus. Challenging to me. I had to think how do I respond when I’ve asked God for advice or how willing am I to listen to him. I think I do eventually but not immediately. That’s really cool to see that from them.
    Also reminder/challenging is how do I let my light shine before others to show God? This one here is a struggle.

    • Haha. I’m looking forward to getting back to the “warm” Ohio weather. It’s a little too windy for me here in Oklahoma.

  2. Jeff thanks for the good Word Man! It’s a lot of what I was thinking about as I read this. Why do I worry so much! Even through this 5k in the month of may. Sorry and fear came over me just about not being as good as the rest and fear of failure, however each day I have read before I have gone out and ran, and it’s just amazing how God uses his word to give us strength and energy when we think we don’t have it. Or in this situation confidence. I can’t do it on my own, but with the support of my friends and this group it makes it nicer. The same way as with God living our deepest worries and fears so we don’t have to fight them alone! Thanks man! And thanks for asking me to join!

    • You are doing great, Ronnie! One thing I love about running is that the only person you are really competing against is yourself! We’re all cheering each other on. You’ve got this!!

  3. I love reading about being the salt and the light of the church. I am always reminded of one my my favorite quotes from The Hole In Our Gospel:
    “If the house is dark when nightfall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house; that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is “Where is the light?” Similarly, if the meat goes bad and becomes an inedible, there’s no sense in blaming the meat; that is what happens when bacteria is left alone to breed. The question to ask is “Where is the salt?” Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or stinky fish, there is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen man and women are left alone to themselves and human selfishness is unchecked. The question to ask is “Where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?”” I just love being reminded of that and feel like it always gives me a better way of looking at society.

    Today wasn’t the greatest running wise. We are both still getting into the swing of things. Our time was 32:15 in the rain today. We are looking forward to being back in shape again as we keep running!

    • What a great perspective on salt and light! Thank you for sharing that challenge! 32:15 sounds like a pretty great run to me. Good job!

  4. Day 3 ✔️ We enjoyed seeing the moon peek through the clouds then watching as the sun came up this morning. I’m sure many other 5Kers enjoyed it too this morning! It’s a great way to start the day—walking and listening to God’s word! I was impressed by the centurion’s faith, and I realized that even though he didn’t realize it, he was exercising faith every day, and that’s why he understood it so well. I thought a lot about exercising faith every day and how that looks for me.

    • It was a beautiful morning in Oklahoma! I could watch the huge thunderstorm from a distance as I was running… very cool.

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