We Are Going to do Up-Downs Until …

Coach Boone: What did you say?

Blue Stanton: Said, we need a water break.

Coach Boone: A water break? Water is for cowards. Water makes you weak. Water is for washing blood off that uniform and you don’t get no blood on my uniform, boy you must be outside your mind! We are going to do up-downs, until Blue is no longer tired, and thirsty.” (Remember the Titans)

(if you did not know that was from Remember the Titans, we can’t be friends)

I love this movie and this is one of my favorite lines.  I remember football practices similar to this during two-a-days in August. (Maybe not this bad)  I don’t advocate withhold water, but suffering to a certain extent does develop strength. Whining and complaining reinforces weakness.

My first 2 weeks of Marathon training this time have been a series of “Up-Downs” .  First day … great, a little sore but OK. 2nd run … woke up late and only go in 2 of 4 miles.  With the intention of making up miles the next day, I allowed circumstance to overtake my week and well  … that was week #1. (only 6 of 15 miles).  I did get in some workouts, just not running.  Week 2 – run #1 … woke up late, but ran home from work and it was good (4 miles instead of 3)!  Run # 2 – Again ran home (4 of 4  miles).  Run #3 (3 miles)  is still pending, but definitely in the cards at this point & run #4 (7 miles)  is scheduled for Saturday with some accountability on this one (It is Facebook Official). I think training is going to be a series of “Up-Downs” until  either I get more disciplined or race day.  I am OK with that because either way, I will be getting stronger.

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16 ESV)

Often, I think my life is just a series of Up-Downs.

  • Sometimes I am knocked down by circumstanced beyond my control. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33a ESV)
  • Sometimes I just trip and fall over my own two feet   “…the sin which so easily ensnares us…” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

Tripping

The Bible is full of examples of people getting knocked down or tripping.  Sometimes circumstances dictate the fall like Joseph (Genesis Joseph) or Job (Job in umh … Job).  Other times (like most of the time) it is sin that trips them up like David, Peter,  etc.  In a few cases it was the whole nation that messed up and landed on their faces.  Remember the whole wandering in the desert for 40 years thing?  “Water makes you weak … water is for cowards”  (Maybe Denzel should portray voice of God in the next version of the “Ten Commandments”.)

How awesome is it that  it does not matter how we end up on the ground.  God has a plan to get us back on our feet … if we will let him.  Those verses that I referenced up there, yeah … they were incomplete.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

First Marathon Finish

God’s plan for me is not to grovel in the ground.  He has a plan and I am a part of it.  He wants me to perform at my very best.  That means he has to turn my weakness into strength and yield my strength to His strength.  When I end up on the ground, it is His plan for me to get back up. So … I may have to do Up-Downs until … I am no longer tired and no longer thirsty and I enter His rest have been completely filled with the Living Water.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.(Proverbs 3:11 NKJV)

The Time Has Come – A Fresh Start Running & Blogging

Walrus and Carpenter “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

(This has nothing to do with my post, but anytime I say “the time has come”  I think of this line from Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter.)

I have made attempts ever since my knee surgery (Injury & Recovery Wandering & Purpose) back in early 2011 to:

  1. start training for another marathon
  2. start writing consistently and seriously

Physical TherapyRehab & Running: I was diligent in the rehab of my knee; that is until my ‘official’ physical therapy was complete.  Once that accountability was removed … performing calf raises and single leg balancing and stretching exercises just did not seem that exciting.  I tried running a few times and even got into a routine … sort of … only to have lifeprioritiesdistractions, laziness move me in another direction (generally toward the couch).

I think I have attempted 4 restarts the last being about a year ago.  I did pretty well for a month or so and then vacation, summer chores … the couch played their dirty tricks on me.    Each restart had it’s own list of excuses.

 

Writing: My writing tends to follow a similar process of deterioration.  My motivation to write is pretty much directly proportional to the passion I am showing to some other part of my life.  When I am hot & heavy into coaching or training hard for an event, I have no problem finding subject matter and time to write.  When the passion for life wanes and writing becomes nearly impossible.  (I do not find it easy to write from the couch.)

couch-potato

Why now and what makes me think it will be different this time?

Back when I was writing consistently, I started following a few blogs.  I could at least follow these blogs from the couch even if I was doing nothing else.  The first blog that I followed was Unshakable Hope.  Although Bill does not post very often, his writing always lift me up an reminds me that we serve a God that has a plan for each of us no matter that circumstances tin which we find ourselves.  Additionally, between his blog and the experiences of a friend of mine (Silver for my friend) I have developed a need to help in the fight for a cure for ALS. About the same time I started following Kenny over at Morning Story and Dilbert.  His blog has been my devotional when the couch has overcome my desire to spend time in the God’s word.

Those two blogs have been instrumental in keeping me uplifted over the past few years, but is another blog that has continued to kick me in the teeth just when I needed it.  I remember the first post I read should not have grabbed me.  How many men would be not only moved by, but been able to relate to an article about … wait for it … menopause?  But Annie at Eyes Wide Open had me from that first post about “Brain Fog”.   A few weeks back I was catching up on Annie’s posts.  Her transparency about her feeling while battling Fibromyalgia convicted me and when I read about her desire to run again in “How Fibrmyalgia is Helping me to Know God Even Better” I knew that I could not let the call of the couch keep me from fulfilling the plan for my life.

That very day after dropping a comment to Annie, I registered for the Air Force Marathon on September 20th.  Am I even close to ready? Absolutely not! I realized though, that I needed a goal and some accountability (I do not intend on paying an entry fee for something I do not participate in!). I was not ready the first time I ran a marathon in 2008, but with a goal in front of me, I knew that it was impossible (Why a Marathon).

It is not easy and I am still having some stop and start issues, but if it is God’s plan, I will be running 26.2 miles on September 20th in Dayton.  If Annie can get on that treadmill when it every movement is causes pain and Bill can continue to encourage others when he his body has trapped his mind in a non-responsive body for over ten years, then I can resist that seductive sofa and press on. I should have plenty of subject matter for this here new self-hosted blog.

So why a self hosted blog?

For the same reasons that I signed up for a marathon.  I am by no means a professional or accomplished writer. My writing is raw and unpolished and I am too impatient to spend time proofreading.  Still I have been contemplated this for quite a while.  If I shell out the investment to pay for a domain and hosting,  I better get serious about this writing thing.  It is time to hone some skills, meet some needs and find a niche.

I have soaked up a bunch of information and encouragement from Amy Lynn Andrews (If you are serious about writing or blogging on line and not subscribed to her site … don’t right another thing until your have checked it out! Start here) Of course being impetuous and impatient, I have jumped in and skipped quite a few steps (sorry Amy), but if I put it off and wait … well … those cushions still have the impressions of my backside.

So if you followed me over at crazyoldmaraman.wordpress.com switch those bookmarks and follows to runningwiththefootmen.com

My random thoughts and daily training babble will be posted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RunningWithTheFootman

Remembering the Sacrifice – ETC(SS) Hill

21 Gun NavyHonoring the heroic comes so naturally to most of us. The soldier who sacrifices his life to save the life of his comrade is a no-brainer for the average American with any heart at all.  Those who return home from overseas at Dover AFB in flag draped caskets leave an image that draw us all in and helps us to memorialize those who have fallen to protect our freedoms.  We will wince at the report of seven rifles fired three times and the haunting tones of Taps at the graves of those killed in training accidents and un-explainable murders while on duty receive on their home soil.  We rightly honor these service members and acknowledge the their sacrifice.

I have only personally known one individual who died while on active duty.  It is for him and all who have fallen at the hands of an enemy that attacks every service member that has chosen to put on the uniform and served his country in peace time or on the battle field.

Fouled AnchorETC(SS) Hill (Alias) reported to the USS Albany (SSN753) during our post-commissioning shakedown period.  A newly frocked Chief Petty Officer reported to take the reins of the Reactor Controls division.  Chief Hill arrived at a major cross roads in his career and his life.  He was a young ambitions submariner who had risen quickly to join the “Goat Locker” (Chief Petty Officer Mess) at the earliest opportunity. Add to this that he was one of the few nuclear trained black submariners in the fleet: It was obvious that he was a star on the rise.  Unfortunately, he was also making a transition that any career sailor is forced to make – transition to a non-deploying command.  Although not quite shore duty, we were home most nights.

To most, this would be perceived as a great opportunity to reconnect to the family.   To a sailor, this is often the most stressful time in their career.  Life for the service member while deployed although difficult and sometimes wrought with danger is “comfortable”.  Each day is filled with structure, focus, and purpose.  He is doing exactly what he has been trained (programmed) to do.  Yes … he misses his family and the life that he left behind, but that is something he does not have any control over so he loses himself in duty.

What about his family while he is gone?  They have to go on without him.  The spouse takes over the tasks in their marriage that he would fulfill if he were at home.  Mom’s become both Mom and Dad.  Yes … the family misses the service member and they acknowledge the hole that has been left, but that is something they do not have any control over so … they loose themselves in their duty.

CasketDuty changes everyone.  Often times, the end of deployment finds strangers reunited without common purpose.  Chief Hill found himself locked in a battle between family and duty and there is rarely a winner in this battle.  He and the stranger that had once been in love with could not find enough common ground to rebuild; divorce was eminent.  A young, intelligent, and intensely proud man could not bring himself to surrender to defeat and succumbed  to the enemy of our soul.  Without note or notice, Chief Hill took his own life.

Chief Hill represents a casualty of war that is a constant threat; not only to those who put on the uniform, but for those that take up the duty of the military family.  No service member walks away unchanged.  Under the best of circumstances, one may endure and discover renewd strength through the experience, but in too many case families are destroyed and in some cases lives are lost.

No shots will be fired.  Taps will not haunt our dreams.  Heroes rarely are counted in their ranks. But as I reflect today I chose to memorialize the service members and families that have been sacrificed to serve you and me.  The ones who have fallen before the true enemy and author of all war.  I ask that you pray for those that are serving today that they will be stronger and better prepared than Chief Hill to face the unseen enemy of our souls.

Fair winds and following seas ETC. Rest in peace

Navy Bugler

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

When the Mountains Come to You

 Mark 4:35-41:  Jesus Calms the Storm

Sea story … December 1992 on the USS LY Spear, crossing the Atlantic on our way home from the Persian Gulf. We were experiencing heavy seas for 5 days straight.  The Spear was a flat bottomed, 645 ft monster of a ship.  Being a flat bottomed vessel allowed her to give us an exciting ride with 6 to 10 ft swells.  Standing on the covered quarter deck beneath the helicopter pad made for an interesting ride.  While riding the mountains of ocean, one moment as we rolled to starboard looking down over the side, I could not see the ocean and then as the she rolled back to port I could no longer see the sky.  At first it was a bit novel for most of us who were submarine sailors.  Some of us who had stronger stomachs made fun of those who were sick, after a couple of days, the ship reeked of vomit and all of us where vying for a piece of floor near the waterline where the effects of the waves was the least.

rough-seas1

On day 5 our chaplain, a medal of honor recipient from Vietnam had had about enough.  During his 1700 (5pm for you civilian types) prayer he cried out to God on behalf of the crew. He quoted Mark 4:35-41 and then prayed, “Father, we have had about enough of these crazy seas and we would real appreciate it if you could give us some relief.”  Within the hour, the seas calmed down.  He was an even more beloved chaplain after that.

For 4 chapters, Jesus has been doing amazing miracles and telling stories about the power of this new kingdom.  He tried to explain how little is actually expect of us and that all we need to do is place our faith and confidence Him.  He’s got our back.  He is a little disappointed in their ability to get it.

I am looking forward to getting it.

“By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains,  being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.” (Psalm 65:5-8)”

The Unseen Farmer and an Unexpected Harvest

 Mark 4:26-34:  More Seed Parables

Again I find myself reflecting on thoughts that I here expressed over and over again.  Thoughts that have flooded my mind at times. Thoughts something like this. “Is this all that there is?  I get up, do the daily routine, go to sleep and then start all over again.  I barely see myself moving much less a move of God!”  I remember thinking this when I had a young family and, although I do not really see the growth in my own life, from that “daily grind” God has produced seven young adults that love God and are beginning to make an impact on the world around them.  They have started their own invisible farming process.

So in goes the sickle and because the harvest is come!  I often do not recognize the harvest that God has already brought.  If I did, I might be more excited for the harvest yet to come.

“Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

Go in, tread, for the winepress is full.

The vats overflow, for their evil is great.

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!

For the day of the Lord is nearing the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:13-14)

 

If in the years that I barely knew whether I was coming or going, God brought about such a great work from the unseen seeds in my own family.  What great things are on the horizon with the seeds that are being planted today.  I am actually getting excited about the harvest that He is preparing today.  Even the smallest word or deed sown today, God can use to bring about new and abundant life beyond anything I can imagine.

Every day seed is planted, everyday seed is growing and every day His Kingdom is spreading it’s branches to make a home for a world that needs Him so desperately.

So I every night I will go to bed with excitement and every day I will get up expecting the wondrous work of those unseen hands and the harvest that is sure to come.

Hand & Seedling

Get out of the Mud / Regaining a Grip

Yes, I have slipped on my commitment to sharing my journeys with Mark.  I will pick it up again tomorrow.

I loved mud.  Walking in it, playing in it, slinging it … the boy in me has always considered  mud to be an oozing, gushy, slimy delight.  Mud between the toes is an experience to be relished.  One of my greatest childhood memories is of the days John Coyner and I spent days jumping into a huge mud pit. the mud was so deep that it we sunk almost our arm pits.  It was an awesome bluish/black slimy that had been dredged from the bottom of the Tred Avon River and deposited within a berm just for our recreation. We would jump in, claw our way out and then go lay on the beach until it dried and our skin looked like it was cracking.  Then we would jump in the river to clean off and then go right back to the mud. In those carefree days of childhood when I was free of responsibilities mud like such an appealing distraction.

Pig in the mudOne of the things I think I love about mud is that it is so slippery and hard to handle.  It makes every action unpredictable.  I makes walking difficult, climbing nearly treacherous, and grasping objects nearly impossible.  In sports like football and horse racing, odds makers often have to change the odds completely when the event is held in the mud.  It often a great equalizer.

I have been reminded over the past couple of weeks that when I allow my priorities to be “muddied up”, my walk becomes more difficult, climbing up from a stumble becomes treacherous, and maintaining a grasp of situations become nearly impossible.  The harder I seem to try and get a good hold on my life, the more it tends to slip away.

A couple of weeks ago, I made some life changes.  Just some dietary changes and a re-commitment to improving my physical health.  As is often my habit, I did not really do this prayerfully and as a result, my priorities became quite muddy.  I tried hard to better “manage” my time to clarify things, but I kept falling farther behind.  The main thing I stopped doing was writing.  This may not seem like a big deal to most people.  It is not like a make a living writing or that people rely on my daily blog posts. Writing is my accountability.  It is a check point that is crucial to the race course that God has set before me.

So the question has been for me, “how do I get back on track?”

GRACE!

Until I realized that I was too slimy to get out of my predicament and that I would need to rely on Him to clean me up and pull me up, I was going to continue to slip back into the mud.  Grace says you don’t have to worry about catching up and making up for past failures.  I don’t have to do two weeks of blogs over the weekend to get back on track (which was my plan).  I just need to seek His face and His will for me today.  Yesterday is gone. (Also see Taking Advantage of a Mulligan)

I understand that in some cases, restitution for our sin is required, but God makes a way for us in those cases.  He does not leave us to deal with those on our own.  If we try to make everything right in our own power, timing, and ability, we may very well end up in a worse condition.  I have many examples of messing this up as well.  His grace is sufficient in every situation.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:6-10)

We Are Not Camels – Don’t Skip the Watering Hole

 Mark 4:21-25:  Lamp on a Stand

It appears to me, Jesus is issuing a warning to His disciples and to us.  The Good News is here and even though it is being revealed privately at first, it cannot be contained and it is going to be heard.  We need to proactively hear the News and then apply it.  Then what? … well go back and get some more.

Marathon DayBack in 2007 when I started this blog, it was intended to be a training journal and now that I have revived it from near extinction, it still is a journal of sorts. From January to April of 2008 I trained consistently to overcome years of neglect with the hope of improving my physical form.  In actuality, I was trying to shake this mid-life cloud of discontent that had settled into my heart.  My goal however was to run 26.2 miles.  Training included short early morning runs and weekend long team runs.  The blog allowed me to share my adventure and share the things that God was showing me through the process.  On the surface, it seemed that this was just the ticket to get me back on track.  It did not take long after the marathon to find that I had missed something significant.

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—” (2 Cor 13:5)

My blog entries were filled with scripture and encouraging thoughts.  I was actually picking up that bible more than I had in years so obviously I must have been growing stronger in my faith … right?  In retrospect, I can see that it was all a bit of sham.  I was pulling out scriptures I already knew and applying them as best I could to the situation at hand.  After all, I had been a Christian for over 20 years.  I had a wealth of knowledge to draw upon.  The whole thing was an act of pride.  I never examined myself and was not chasing after God.  It was actually acceptance from others that I was chasing. Once the race was over, I fell deeper into the abyss.

camelWe are not camels. Most runners that fail to finish long races can trace the problem back to dehydration or some nutritional deficiency.  Even if one is well hydrated before a race, the race itself deletes more than our bodies store.

Over the years, my live has had periods of great spiritual growth; times when I could not get enough of the Lord.  It is a great mistake to think that once we find salvation, put some Jesus into our lives, and take an occasional drink of Living Water that we can just coast to the finish line. 

Yes, I know Jesus … but not enough.  What makes me think that I do not need to experience more of Him?  The truth is, that I need more of Him and that if I do not seek him continually with all of my heart, I might find myself as the one who has not and ” even what he has will be taken away.”

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (Rev 3:15-18) 

“Don’t let your special character and values,

 the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth

– don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” 

Aesop

 

Jesus and His Rocky Family – Life Making Good Soil

If you are following along in Mark I am a bit behind on my posts, I have not talked about Mark 3:31-35 and Mark 4:1-20. So here is a couple of quick thoughts.

Mark 3:31-35: The Family

I What in the world? Jesus seems to blow off His family.  Actually, if you look back at verse 21, His family had actually tried to restrain Him thinking He was crazy, so obviously, they were missing something. In light of this Jesus’ inference that “Here is my mother, and “Here are my brothers” makes perfect sense. These were the ones who were beginning to receive the gospel and were getting the idea that He might be “The One”. His family just thought He was “special“.

As a dad, I know that at times, I have neglected to recognize the full potential of my children. My own prejudice based on past experience has blinded me to the purposes and plans that God has prepared for them. I may say the right words of encouragement, but they see right through that. Imagine if God’s plan for a family member was to be the Messiah … How do you encourage a purpose and a plan that is higher than anything you can fathom.

I pray that I will not only get out of the way, but will learn to encourage my family, friends and others to strive for all that God has for them and not limit my vision to my own sight.

Mark 4:1-20 The Parable of the Sower

This sort of carries on from this previous thought. Jesus’ family thought the problem might be Jesus, His actions and His words (The Seed), so they tried to restrain Him. The challenge actually rested on the receivers/hearers (The Soil). The Seed is perfect and will grow and bear fruit according to the medium that it is sown. Knowing the rest of the story, it is encouraging that His family, who rejected Him in the beginning (rocky soil), in the end fully excepted the Good News and bore much fruit.

Have you ever been discouraged about the prospects of someone receiving the Gospel? I am even discouraged by my own ability to receive all that God offers me, so of course I have difficulty seeing how God is going to get a seed into some of the rocks I have been praying for. I think we can say with assurance that the Holy Spirit can break up even the hardest ground and turn it into good soil

(He can even take our own waste and turn it into fantastic compost!)

compost-toilet-life-cycle

Sticks, Stones, & Stealing Satan’s Stuff

Mark 3:20-30:  Jesus & Beelzebub

I am not sure if this the origin of the term “demonizing”, but it would make a whole lot of sense if it came from this story.   Jesus, instead of returning venom with venom, kind of teases them with His response, but adds a stiff warning at the end.

bsgfan4evr.deviantart.com
bsgfan4evr.deviantart.com

Now it is not surprising I guess for the family to call Him crazy, I mean, He is the step-child. On the other hand, these other dudes from out of town coming in accusing Him of being a demon or the prince of demons even is quite uncalled for.  First, He breaks down their argument, but with very pointed change of words. He uses the Hebrew word, Satan (accuser) instead of the pagan demon Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies).  This is interesting since they came to him as accusers (and actually were pretty annoying like flies). His argument actually left them with a win-win situation either Satan was in a civil war which would weaken his kingdom or a stronger Man had come along that was going to bring down that kingdom anyway.  WINNING!  Jesus was sort of declaring Himself a thief in Satan’s house.  (A much better thief than Bilbo I think)  If you cannot tell, I find this whole interchange quite amusing.

Then, the hammer falls. Jesus gives a pretty harsh warning about calling God’s work demonic.  Generally, when we hear about the whole blaspheming the Holy Spirit, we isolate as the unforgivable sin and leave it out of the context of the story.  The ‘accusers’ have mocked the works of God and credited His work and His healing power to Beelzebub.  Most of us do not like someone taking credit for our work,but when the one taking the credit stands for the exact opposite of your whole being this is more than enough to send us over the edge.  Pretty serious stuff these experts of the law are doling out.

As the seriousness of the situation begins to sink in, I wonder how many times I attribute the greatness of God to other powers.  Maybe I don’t attribute His awesome works to Satan, I do think at times I may take credit myself for things that I had a hand in and withhold glory due to Him.  On the other hand, do I accuse God of being the bringer of evil or difficulty, hanging my head in self pity or shaking my first at Him.  I know that in some degree, I often lose sight of the giver all good gifts and confuse Him with that old liar.  I do not want to make a political statement, but I will tell you that I have to repent of some of the things I have said about people with different view points.  I do not believe that is no place demonizing or disparaging any person or group.  Jesus took the high (obviously) and set an example for us.  The Good News is that He left the door open for every one of us to recognize the great gift of life that He is offering us.  It is our job to keep that door open for those that have not seen it yet and avoid giving them reason to attribute our mean or hateful behavior to a God who knows none of that.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,

who put darkness for light and light for darkness,

who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,

and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20,21)

Assembling the Posse – You do the Math

Mark 3:13-19:  The Twelve are Appointed

Twelve: We all know the biblical significance of the number 12. Obviously, to the people of Jesus time twelve was representative of twelve tribes of Israel and only added the excitement that God was doing a new thing.  From my limited study, apparently 10 tribes were still considered “lost” at this time and reconciling the twelve tribes would be very significant.

Bible history and Jewish significance aside, 12 is a really cool number.  A twelve sided shape is a dodecagon, but a three dimensional shape with three flat sides is a dodecahedron, now that is an awesome name for a shape.  As a matter of fact, some scientist believe that the universe is a dodecahedron.

Twelve ToesMathematically, Twelve can be divided by two, three, four and six, making it one of the easiest low numbers to work with and separate into groups, said Dr. Kristen L. Zacharias, a historian of science and philosophy assistant professor at Albright College.  The Romans loved 12 so much that they measured weight, length, and money in units of 12.  That is all great, but when I think of numbers I usually go the source of all mathematical wisdom … “Schoolhouse Rock”.  “Little Twelve Toes” is not one of my favorites, but it does make you think.  Actually, Some ancient cultures did use 12 as the basis of their numbering system. How could that be practical?

Glad you asked.  They counted the joints on their hands, three joints per finger.  Add a thumb, also made up of three joints and you have a very useful hand to perform just about any task imaginable.

So Jesus gathered HIs fingers together to begin the work.  Maybe no great insight here, but it is apparent that Jesus was setting a precedence early in His ministry that there was work to be done and that His people were going to be a part of it.

Work is not easy and it is especially hard on the fingers.  How many times has the wrench slipped you busted those knuckles.  From jammed fingers and scraped knuckles to losing a nail. Years ago, I ran my hand through an electric pizza roller.  It smashed all four fingers on my left hand to a point where the skin actually split. Our fingers are on the front line of everything we do.

Regardless, I am one of the fingers that Jesus has chosen to carry out the work and I am supposed to be on the front lines.  Often times, I am not that enthusiastic about the whole work thing.  As a matter of fact, I can down-right lazy.

“How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” (Prov 6:9)

He created me with a purpose and laziness is not an option.  It is time to get to work.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)

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