Monday, March 27, 2017

As It Should Be...

I am never more vexed with myself than when I have done my very best to extol his dear name. What is it but holding a candle to the sun... I cannot speak as I would of Him. The blaze of His Sun blinds me. ~ C. H. Spurgeon

God's timing is perfect and impeccable. I needed to hear what Spurgeon had to say in the deepest part of my soul... the very moment I received it. Not as a rebuke, but as an encouragement.

Nearly every week I speak on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings to God's people. Personally, I don't believe I have ever felt a greater urgency to lift up the Christ of the Word than the present. For that reason, as we move through this Easter season, we are focused on events particular to the passion week of Christ.

Presenting God's Word on a weekly basis is equivalent to writing a term paper every week. The process of writing yourself empty and praying yourself full and preparing yourself, let alone the message, is what God requires, and I believe God's people should anticipate. This past Sunday, Spurgeon's confession was mine. Like him, in the sense that I've done my best to extol Christ's name, there was a humbling awareness I had but lit a candle to explain the brilliance of the sun.

And that is as it should be...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Beautiful Extravagance

Thursday, at daybreak, I spread two bags of apple flavored deer corn in the west pasture and two large scoops of black oil sunflower seed under the bird feeders. About that time a friend sent me a text asking if any turkeys were making their presence known. Not a gobble or a cluck to be heard. Since then, I've talked, texted, and met with a slew of different people throughout the day. Now, my evening is free. No need to be anywhere except The Shire where I can write a little and read a lot.

I continue to work through the events of Christ's passion week. On Sunday we will focus on Mary's anointing of Jesus; an act of extravagant worship. Chronologically it happened eight days before his resurrection. It's a scene of high emotion and instruction. Jesus said Mary's profuse outpouring of love for him--going forward--would be recalled whenever the gospel was preached.

One thing, among many, comes to mind. Rarely do we tend toward extravagance in our worship. You know, the kind like Mary's. Over-the-top in generous adoration and sacrifice. Breaking her alabaster jar, its contents equivalent of a years income, was extreme. In the wings and looking on was Judas, predisposed toward treachery and guile. From another account of this story in the gospels he hypocritically complained and deemed the entire episode a waste of resources. Should have been sold and the money given to the poor. He piously spouted. Quite the ruse for one who would sell his soul and sellout his Savior for 30 pieces of silver. In his response, Jesus didn't blink. Why do you trouble this woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial... ~ Matthew 26

But in all honesty, I'm more concerned with my own miserliness when it comes to worship. Sure, I can look back over the years and recall points when I've given a lot, but I would be hard pressed to lay claim to extravagance. Giving of myself--my all--has always been measured and guarded.


It's a great time to take pause, remember, and proclaim: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty you might become rich. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9

Talk about extravagant...

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Ride

For the first time since my cycling accident 18 months ago, I got back on my bike. It was a short ride; about 13 miles (those familiar with cycling know that's little more than a warm  up ride). At the present there is not much time available to do more.

Not that I need any more reasons to ride--I love every click of the gears and revolution of the wheels, but my doctor told me that if I keep weight off and don't engage in a lot of high-impact activities, my hip replacement should be good for 20 years. Cycling is low impact and high enjoyment...

Along my brief route, for conditioning, I stopped at the bottom of a couple of hills, kept my bike in a high gear, and cranked down on my pedals to get an extra workout. I felt surprisingly strong. Living out in the country, we have the blessing of paved roads with hardly any traffic. I shared the entire trip with only two vehicles. Also, our backroads are kind of a haven for cyclists, so motorists are incredibly gracious in giving us room and aware of our presence. Beside, most everyone out in these parts knows each other.

Over the weeks and months ahead, I'll stretch out my rides. Due to the amount of time commitment it takes, I don't see a Century Ride in my near future. But I look forward to those  40-60 mile treks in the days ahead!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Starting Monday!

It's been 18 months since my cycling accident that resulted in a new hip, four surgeries on my arms, and repairs to my jaw and teeth. Though physically I am but a shadow of my former self compared to those days when I regularly cycled two-hundred miles per week, next Monday I will once again straddle my bike and work my way back into shape.

My road bike, an Orbea, is 11 years old and was a gift from Sandy for my 50th birthday. Since then I've put thousands of miles on it. Now it's tuned and ready to go, the weather is perfect for cycling, the back roads are calling my name, and my expectations are realistic. I will begin by measuring time in the saddle; neither speed nor actual miles matter. I'm looking forward to increasing my cardio, strengthening my legs, hearing the shush of the wind in my helmet, and feeling the wind upon my face.

When I reach some of my conditioning goals, I will find a group of riders to push me. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy the sheer pleasure of re-engaging in something that for years I have immensely enjoyed!