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I ride my bicycle to commune with God; the exercise is icing on the cake. Our conversations are most often about people He has me praying for, conversations I need to have with others, or lessons we are preparing to write or teach. Every once in a while, God uses the ride to show me something about myself and/or His kingdom.

Here’s one from the other day.

Distractions are a big part of cycling – passing cars and approaching dogs in particular. Most are not a threat, but it only takes one. Having to deal with them on a regular basis has taught me to allow distraction when necessary, and then get back to matter at hand. It has become a natural part of the process.

I wish I could say the same about hills.

Hills are different than cars and dogs. They don’t generate the same adrenaline spike as a ferocious dog on the loose or a driver passing on a hill. In fact, they don’t scare me at all. On the other hand, they last longer, the distress builds over time, and the distraction is real and present discomfort and pain.

Hills are a major distraction to my communion with God.

For me, hills are a metaphor for the challenging seasons of our lives. These may be momentary, lengthy, or any amount of time in between. God has used the hills in my life to reveal a few things about myself and my relationship with Him:

  1. The more I focus on the pain, the greater the pain becomes.
  2. When I set my mind on things above, the hill is not only less of a distraction, but easier to navigate.
  3. The approach I take has a dramatically positive effect on my mental and physical response to the effort after cresting the hill.
  4. It occurs to me as I write this that having a riding partner to remind me of these things – and encourage me in them during the climb – would be an incredible blessing.

Read the rest of this entry »

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To the beloved, whom I love in truth:  I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers; just as you walk in the truth.

I have had a good season of cycling this summer. I have logged some extra hours riding with my wife; and I have been intentional about riding the harder hills around my house. Those hills are not as hard as they use to be.

It occurs to me that I can choose to enjoy the ride being easier, or I can apply my recently developed strength to push up the hill faster. Settling for the former leaves me at a plateau in my conditioning. Choosing the latter leverages what I have gained, preserves developmental momentum and, in this case, leads to stronger legs and lungs.

Don’t get me wrong: We all need to rest and relax. I am not necessarily suggesting you “work harder”. I am suggesting that you leverage what has been established in you during seasons of increased effort. This is particularly applicable to Christians in the workplace – with one bit of explanation. Read the rest of this entry »

God meets with me when I ride my bicycle. Exercise and communion with God, who wouldn’t love that? I try to remember to ask Him what He would have me pray. A couple of days ago, He encouraged me to pray for the grace to love Him more. Here’s what came to me.

Father God, I come to You, in Jesus Name, for the grace to love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

I come believing, with all my heart, that You created me with the desire to know and love You, Your Son and Your Holy Spirit. I believe that You first loved me, and sent Your Son to die for my reconciliation with You. I believe that You allowed Him to be buried for me; that I might put off my old nature and put on Christ. I believe that You raised Him from the dead and seated Him with You, at Your right hand; and that I am raised with Him into saving life, to sit beside You, in Him.

I come to You for the renewing of my whole mind; to be transformed into the image of the glory of Your Son, and this by the Holy Spirit. I submit to His work; and I reckon Your word to be true for me. I commit, by Your grace, to put on the mind of Christ – to be humble and sacrificial in my love for the brethren.

I come to lay down my whole soul for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel; that I would find His life and salvation. I surrender my will to You; and I eagerly anticipate Your working in me to will and do to Your good pleasure. I receive Your kingdom. Your will be done.

I come to offer my whole body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You, as my reasonable service. I desire to be used as Your instrument of righteousness. I deny myself, to be used in Your service to others.

Father God, I come for grace to love my neighbors as myself. I believe You have put this desire in my heart – and the faith for it. I believe You have given me the mind of Christ for that love. I surrender to Your will for them; and offer my strength for Your use in making Yourself a glory in their sight.

Father God, I come to surrender, sacrifice and submit myself to Your work in me, and in the world – for Yourself, Your kingdom and Your glory. Amen.

I hope this prayer will be a useful blessing to you in your communion with our Father. I believe we should pray it every day.

Humbly yours and forever His,

A Storm is ComingStorms tend to inflict pain; emotional, physical and mental pain. The pain of loss due to poor foundation (or poor anchor), or damage from a poorly built structure. The pain of watching a loved one suffer from poor decisions. The pain that comes with having something removed that doesn’t belong. This will be our pain; pain we will be blessed to share with someone in our spheres of influence.

Whatever the cause and nature of the pain, God has promised two things:

  1. He will be in it with us.
  2. He will work it to our good.

Or course, this is only true for those that are prepared to face the pain with faith and courage. I recently learned this lesson while riding my bicycle.

At fifty-five, riding regularly ends with a lot of pain in the legs (no pain, no gain).  This time, the pain began less than one mile into the ride.  I had sensations in my left leg unlike any I have experienced.  It started in my knee and moved from there to my thigh and calf; almost like a double cramp.  It was weird. Read the rest of this entry »

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