Monthly Archives: November 2012

Cross Training

Contributory Negligence

Crusty leaves crumble at the slightest touch. Once green and fragrant, the citronella plant sits by the pool, rusty-brown and lifeless, its Miracle-Gro potting soil hardened into a pot-shaped ball.

The reason? Neglect.

Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

“Put to death” flashes images of CSI, NCIS, and The Mentalist. Death can be violent and Paul challenges us to show no mercy to our sin nature. Yet, death doesn’t have to come through a bloody gunshot wound. Neglect, as with my citronella plants, serves as an effective weapon against flesh. And dead is dead.

When flesh begins to whine about spending time in God’s word instead of ___________________, ignore it.

When flesh shouts, “I want ________________, NOW!” get busy doing something else and give thanks for what you already have.

When flesh says, “Me first.” remember grace and yield the right of way.

It’s a matter of survival: God’s life in us or the life of the sin nature. As the flesh withers, the life of the Spirit flourishes. Focusing on sin only increases its hold on us. Kill it by neglect and shift the focus to godly things. Practice some contributory negligence.

Questions for the Week:

1)                  Paul gives a list of struggle spots in Colossians 3:5. This list is not all inclusive. What’s on your list? It can range from a sin that seems to have your number or an area in which you would like greater discipline.

2)                  What will your new focus be? What verses of Scripture or worship songs speak to your new focus and will point you to God and away from the struggle spot?

3)                  Are there times you are more vulnerable? How can you protect yourself?

4)                  What are the benefits of putting this sin to death?

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Cross Training

Harvest Time

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (2 Timothy 2: 3-7 NIV)

Like a spray of bullets, Paul hits us with not one, but three word pictures in his second letter to Timothy: soldiers, athletes, and farmers. Has Paul had too much coffee or is there a common thread? (Please check previous blogs for posts on Paul’s first two word pictures.)

Pull on your overalls because this week, we’ll tackle Paul’s third word picture of the hardworking farmer. Paul’s word picture shifts from doing hard things such as being a soldier and training for marathons to sharing in the harvest. If you have ever grown something, you know the pleasure of seeing it thrive. I love to garden. Unfortunately, I love running more and tend to neglect my plants. Soil prep and planting, I like. Pulling weeds, not so much. But when the flowers bloom, I can’t wait to show them off. Paul reminds us life will not always be hard things. Even the rigors of training sweeten as we see progress. Soon, however, the mission will be completed for the soldier, the race finished for the athlete, and the crop harvested for the hardworking farmer. Persevere through the hard things. The harvest is coming.

Questions for the Week:

1)                  List the tasks of a farmer. What kind of schedule does he keep?

2)                  Are the results under his control?

3)                  How do you think this affects his work?

4)                  Share your own gardening experiences.

5)                  Of what spiritual harvests might Paul be thinking? What would be your sweetest spiritual reward?

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Zuno’s Pick

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel  (Zuno and I loved this one! Laugh out loud funny!)

Bear’s Loose Tooth by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano, illustrated by Lee Harper (Also a favorite! Hilarious!)

The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Terry Widener

Saying Grace: A Prayer of Thanksgiving by Virginia Kroll, illustrated by Timothy Ladwig

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Nursery Crimes by Arthur Geisert

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson, Pictures by Judith Byron Schachner

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Cross Training

DQ’d

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (2 Timothy 2: 3-7 NIV)

Like a spray of bullets, Paul hits us with not one, but three word pictures in his second letter to Timothy: soldiers, athletes, and farmers. Has Paul had too much coffee or is there a common thread? (Check last week’s post for my blog on the first word picture: a soldier.)

This week, let’s move to Paul’s picture of the athlete. In September, I decided to train for a marathon, my fifth. The son I mentioned last week was to begin intense training in October. My heart was grieving over the letting go process and the fact that the Navy was going to do its best to beat down my child. Since I couldn’t train for him, I chose to train with him. As he endures more punishment than I could ever stand, I will run my miles and pray for him.

To compete well, speed work and long runs fill my training schedule.  Yet, the speed work and long runs are for nothing if I don’t wear my race bib, attach my timing chip, and follow the race course. Training is wasted if I don’t run according to the rules. It is this requirement of obedience Paul mentions in his picture of the athlete.

God has a standard. We cannot choose for ourselves how we will live. He says, “Be holy as I am holy.” Yes, there is grace, but grace does not give a license to sin. To run well spiritually means God calls the shots and we do things His way. When we stumble, we confess, ask for forgiveness, then get up and keep going as His Spirit leads us.

The victor’s crown awaits.

Questions for the Week:

1)      How do athletes train for their sport? What things do they refrain from and why? What things are sacrificed for training?

2)      Give some examples of rules athletes are expected to follow. Are these rules unreasonable? Why?

3)      How do we train for godliness? What things are sacrificed for training?

4)      What rules do you think Paul is talking about in this Timothy passage? Is it reasonable for God to expect His children to make such choices? Why? Where does grace come in?

5)      What benefits do athletes experience over someone who is not an athlete? What spiritual benefits do God’s children experience over those who do not know Him?

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Gayle’s Gable

Gayle recently finished:

Combat Swimmer: Memoirs of a Navy SEAL by Captain Robert A. Gormly, US (Ret.)

The 39 Clues Book 9: Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park

Book 10: Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall

Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Captive by Kathryn Lasky

Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture by Brandon Hatmaker

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

The Gateway by Obert Skye

Gayle is currently reading:

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

The Warrior Elite by Dick Couch

Spiritual Classics Ed. By Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin

Alienated by Andrew Auseon and David O. Russell

What are you reading?

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Cross Training

“Sir, Yes Sir”

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (2 Timothy 2: 3-7 NIV)

Like a spray of bullets, Paul hits us with not one, but three word pictures in his second letter to Timothy: soldiers, athletes, and farmers. Has Paul had too much coffee or is there a common thread?

My son currently serves in the U. S. Navy. We visited him at boot camp graduation in Great Lakes, Illinois. We were so excited to see him—but things had changed. We were civilians, he was not, and it was awkward. We felt separated from him; he felt self-conscious.

And there were other changes. I was amazed at how meticulous he had become. Everything had to be just right from his cover (that’s a hat) to his backpack. He answers to a different calling and to a different authority. The Navy dictates when he eats, sleeps, works, and what clothes he wears on what days.

As believers, we also answer to a specific calling and authority. God asks for our undivided allegiance and requires a distinction between those who claim His name and those who do not. We are not our own. Are civilian affairs our norm or do we have a military mindset which seeks only to please our Commanding Officer and to follow His orders daily?

Paul challenges Timothy to endure hardship like a good soldier. When my son enlisted, he understood that hardship and potentially death were part of the deal, and he embraced it. Paul exhorts us to do the same. Are you ready or have you gone AWOL?

Questions for the Week:

1)                  Do you have friends or family that have served or currently serve in the military? What is your perception of military life? How does it differ from civilian life? What do members of the military sacrifice? What do they gain?

2)                  Why do they choose to serve? How does their service affect their families?

3)                  How should the life of a Christ-follower differ from someone who is not? Look at the questions in 1-2 and answer from a spiritual perspective.

4)                  Is it difficult to have a military mindset in spiritual things? How civilian-like is our walk with Christ?

5)                  How can you please your Commanding Officer and keep that as your focus?

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