Tag Archives: running

Revelation 9:12-14:8 

Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity. It implies permanence or, at least, duration. It’s an act or an instance of enduring or suffering. It was my word for the year in 2022–mostly because I was focused on stamina, not so much the part about suffering. When I think of endurance, I think of physical and mental toughness. I apply it to training plans and finish lines. Endurance goes farther and deeper than that.

It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Whoever has ears, let them hear.

10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
    into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
    with the sword they will be killed.”

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Revelation 13:7-10, NIV, emphasis added

An enemy is given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And this familiar refrain from the gospels “whoever has ears, let them hear” tells me to pay attention. But it’s the word endurance that really grabs my attention.

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

It causes me to ponder endurance and faith when it comes to my walk with Christ, and how my example, effort, and attitude not only affect my ability to endure, but are seeds sown into future generations. I was 47 years old when I bought a pair of running shoes. I couldn’t even run .25 mile without stopping to catch my breath. Now, at 53, I run half marathons, and I’m signed up for my first triathlon in 2023. That progress took consistent, intentional effort. I factored in cross-training and rest days. Some days I was enthusiastic. Some days I went through the motions just to get started. But what it all taught me was that there was growth outside of my comfort zone–and that I was capable of way more than I ever imagined.

This year, an Advent study on 1 John sparked new intention in my Bible studies. I’m grateful and excited to read through the Bible on 66 Books again in 2023–and expectant of what God has in store. So grateful to have his words in my hands and in my heart. So grateful that he can do way more than I ever imagined.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

Did you have a word of the year in 2022? Do you have one in mind for 2023? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Courtney (66books365)

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James 1:1-4:10

I have a calendar where I write down my training plan for each month. I write what I hope to accomplish and what I did accomplish toward that goal. It helps me to get my head around what I need to do, and to make forward progress toward a goal (race). One thing I learned this year was that I couldn’t just wing a half marathon. I had to train for it. I learned that lesson in October during a half marathon where I had slacked over the summer on the training, and I wasn’t prepared for the distance. (It was a physically painful lesson.) Because of that experience, I have a deep and serious respect for training.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:2-8, NIV

While I can plan what races I want to run and create a training plan to support them, I don’t always know what the day holds in other regards. I don’t always get a warning of conflict, disappointment, loss, or challenge awaiting me. And I tend to lose sight of the purpose and point when I fail to look at life through a kingdom lens. These verses in James redirect my focus. They reset my perspective. And because I tend to relate everything to running, I get it. God is training me. He is growing me so that I may be mature and complete. Not only that, but God is always with me, always ready and willing to give me wisdom–generously!–because he wants me to finish strong–it’s for his glory! God knows what’s ahead, and he’s preparing me. But if I go through my days failing to recognize this training, I can easily let my thoughts or emotions take control instead of my faith.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:19-22, NIV

Father God, I am grateful for your word. All the time. I’m grateful that when I come near to you, you are near to me. So tender. So willing. So loving. Help me to keep a kingdom focus. Help me to mature in my walk with you, for your glory.

Courtney (66books365)

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Mark 4-5

It’s kind of a joke around the house now, but when watching something action packed and seeing a character running (or stumbling to outrun danger), I mention to my people, “This is why I run.”

It’s doubtful I’ll ever be in an action-packed situation outrunning spies, predators or space aliens. My pace is no record breaker; but I know that what I lack in speed I can make up for in endurance. Endurance is my 2022 word for the year, and I rather expected it would have to do a lot with running. But with any story, the plot twist gets you to pay attention in a fresh way, and God is using this word endurance to strengthen my spiritual muscle.

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Mark 4:13-20, NIV

I woke up yesterday still motivated by a fresh intention to finish the year strong (goal-wise). I had my training plans and followed them … later over a recovery shake, a random post on candle making took me down a rabbit hole to beeswax and process … I never saw the one-two punch coming. Oh grief, time had softened my memory of you. I forgot how you stun-and-drop. One, two.

Lord, your word is always beneficial. As I turn toward the Scriptures today, I say to myself, “This is why I (read, study, meditate on your word).” I draw closer to you in this season, Lord. Thank you for teaching me how to endure.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 9-12

Jeremiah takes his complaint to the Lord.

You are always righteous, Lord,
    when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
    Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all the faithless live at ease?
You have planted them, and they have taken root;
    they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
    but far from their hearts.
Yet you know me, Lord;
    you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
    Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
How long will the land lie parched
    and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
    the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
    “He will not see what happens to us.” (Jeremiah 12:1-4, NIV)

I love that Jeremiah talks to God and brings his complaint to him. What I love more is God’s response:

“If you have 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 the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5, NIV)

This response speaks to me of perspective and endurance. Jeremiah’s perspective focuses on the actions of others. But God’s response is of a much bigger picture–a race among peers vs a race against pros. A path along a street vs a quest through wilderness. The comparison pulls back to include a new level of competition … an untamed landscape.

Your relatives, members of your own family—
    even they have betrayed you;
    they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
    though they speak well of you. (Jeremiah 12:6, NIV)

God knows the things Jeremiah doesn’t.

But God made the earth by his power;
    he founded the world by his wisdom
    and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses. (Jeremiah 10:12-13, NIV)

I can look back and see evidence of his power and wisdom. But I wonder if complaining is a doubt of the present and future–a doubt that though he was able to do mighty things in the past, is he somehow ignorant of the present? Is he somehow unable to affect the future? Truly, he is wise. Truly, he is able. God knew things Jeremiah didn’t and couldn’t know. I hope I remember this swiftly before I ever set my mind to complaining, and remember his response as well.

Lord, help me to stay diligent in my work, keeping my eyes set on your kingdom and your sovereignty. I could become frustrated or discouraged if my focus is elsewhere, but that doesn’t serve me. I can trust you know the things I don’t know–let me take comfort in your warnings.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalms 132:1-135:14 

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

I became an ambassador for a sports event company earlier this year. Being part of that group of athletes has been so very positive. I serve alongside them as a volunteer at races when I’m not actually running in the races. My first run out was a trail run in February. Wave 1 was on the second loop of a half marathon as Wave 6 (my group) was starting out (I was running a 10k). One of my team members called out to me as we passed, and we smacked hands. That was my first experience on the team and my first race ever.

I’m glad that this was my first experience because it’s played a huge role in shaping me and my focus this year. Even the leadership of the company maintains a focus of unity. These athletes cheer one another on, from first to last. It is the most positive environment I’ve ever been part of.

I think on unity. I think on God’s way. He wants the best for us. Oh, he knows that unity is good and pleasant. Precious.

Thank you, God, for real and authentic glimpses of unity. Help me to take this experience into other aspects of my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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