"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kingdom Living (Part 2 of 2)

... as a parallel thought in part two of this post, I would like to consider the Beatitudes as they relate to our running, or more specifically, our Running for God ...

So goes the final paragraph of an earlier reflection. And now, here we are - part two.

We’ll begin by recognizing that our small group study Kingdom Living: The Sermon on the Mount has reached the halfway point (er, mile 13.1, as it were), and I think most all of us have found it to be every bit insightful and challenging as we had hoped. Yet despite the difficulty of the various topics that Jesus teaches us, there continues to be a very simple, straightforward theme; obedience to God, and our call to discipleship, are matters of the heart.

So, since a transformed heart - one genuinely changed in such a way that we act, think, and speak differently - is key to understanding the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel, we might as well consider what the transformed heart might result in for one who Runs (or Walks) for God with these same beatitude attributes.

Perhaps, we might run like this:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit (the runners who are most humble on the course and in their accomplishments), for their most significant race brings eternal rewards.

“Blessed are those who mourn (for others who can’t move forward, whatever the reason), for they shall be comforted on the day that running is no longer possible.

“Blessed are the meek (those who exhibit great strength under control, with kindness to all), for they shall inherit true joy and goodwill (especially at that race day starting line ‘happy place').

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (runners who represent Christ on the course, who don’t cut corners, cheat, or run as ‘race bandits’), for they shall be fully satisfied with their effort and honesty.

“Blessed are the merciful (those who aid fallen runners and encourage the discouraged), for they shall receive mercy when they need it most.

“Blessed are the pure in heart (runners seeking God’s pleasure while on the run and move forward as an expression of Kingdom mission), for they shall see and hear and experience the presence of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers (those who engage with all participants and run as agents for societal reconciliation), for they shall be called sons and daughters of peace.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (who experience the pain, the sweat, and the tears when trusting the plan and finishing the race), for their most satisfying rest and recovery will be found in the kingdom of heaven.

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