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From the August 2013 issue of Gospel Advocate Magazine…reprinted by permission
By Timothy Agee
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:1–2, ESV)
The words “Guard your steps” could be a physical instruction offered to someone approaching difficult or dangerous terrain. However, the writer of Ecclesiastes uses them to represent a significant spiritual concept: the truth that approaching God is a serious matter.
How often in our Christian lives do we mindlessly perform the outward acts of worship or become satisfied with our own understanding instead of continually seeking God’s word? Going through the motions or being puffed up by our own pride may cause us to feel spiritual or religious, but this warning tells us that we might actually be offering up “the sacrifice of fools” because we do not have the proper appreciation for who God truly is or what He means to our lives.
When we look at the significant problems facing the Lord’s church, are they not all a symptom of the greater crisis of not having the proper reverence for the almighty God? Biblical illiteracy is rampant among our churches, but if we truly understood that God was the only hope of living beyond this earthly life, would we not “hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6, ESV) that only comes from the study of His word?
What about divisions and splits within our churches? Do these not arise because we focus so intently on ourselves instead of God almighty? If we truly understood that we are nothing without Him, would we not be filled with a spirit of humility that allows us to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3, ESV) as prescribed by Paul to the church at Philippi?
When considering our own regard for God, and the impact this has on our lives (or lack thereof), we would be wise to remember the words Isaiah delivered prophetically to the children of Israel who were grumbling in the midst of Babylonian captivity:
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28, ESV)
Lots of Rambling Here >> I’ve really been missing my friend Kerry today for a number of reasons. One of these is that I loved to talk with Kerry about music. Earlier this year I told him about a conversation Olivia and I had been having where we were discussing the singers or groups we most regretted not going to see in concert while they were still actively touring. One of the bands that I mentioned to Olivia was Huey Lewis and the News, and ironically the very next day they announced a new tour in recognition of the 30th anniversary of their album “Sports.” Once Nashville was announced as a tour stop, we quickly scooped up a pair of tickets, and ended up going to the show last night after evening worship. Kerry and I talked a lot about Huey Lewis and the News and that upcoming show, and after the concert was over last night the first thing I thought was that I would not have the chance to talk to him about it.
Anyway, on one occasion when we were talking about Huey Lewis and the News, Kerry mentioned that he had seen them perform on “Dancing with the Stars,” and that Huey’s voice was really struggling. This lead to an extended discussion regarding various singers that had either lost their voice or were still going strong. I mentioned to him that the singer who amazed me the most was Tom Jones. I’ve been a Tom Jones fan for a long time, and have seen him in concert as recently as 2011 (the year he turned 71). His voice is still incredible, and in many ways I would say it is even better than when he was younger. I don’t remember the month when we were discussing this, but later in May, Kerry was very excited when he started telling me about seeing Tom perform a song off his new album “Spirit in the Room” on the Tonight Show. He just went on and on about how good he sounded, and how I had to find a video of the performance. I did find one video on YouTube of this performance the day that Kerry mentioned it (above), and looked it up again today when I was missing my friend (Literally the only one I could still find, and it is crooked!). As a matter of fact, I finally bought the album today, and have listened to this song several times already. It will always have a special meaning to me. Kerry, you were right…Tom’s voice does sounds incredible on this video and on the album as well. Missing you my friend. (R.I.P. Kerry).
What a difference a day makes. Last wednesday I posted about trying to push through with my hip injury to still be able to line up in NYC this November. Well, the very next day I attempted a tempo run with Nathan, and it was a complete bust. The pain started radiating down my leg from the first step and never let up. I got through the tempo section by gritting through the pain, but eventually had to stop and walk back to the car.
Since that point it has been hard to even walk without a limp. So…to sum up my chances of actually being able to make it to NYC:
I’m going to take at least the next two weeks off from running and see what happens. Not sure yet of whether or not I’m gonna go see the MD again, or even who I would go see if I decided to go that direction. Just really frustrated with not being able to run, and about the prospects of not being able to run in NYC. This has been a tough two weeks for me personally, and I’m now without one of my primary emotional outlets. This has also been a rough 12-months from a running perspective. I’m now on my third significant injury in that period of time, and this one comes after making some drastic changes in my training. Beast Mode is definitely not ON.
However….I do know that this is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I am a very blessed man.
Well, it has now been over a week since I started back to running after my hip injection, and I’m pretty sure that it didn’t have any impact on my injury. I’m convinced that the reduction in pain I felt last Wednesday and Thursday were primarily due to taking time off, because by Friday evening the aching had returned.
However, since my ortho things this is something that I can’t injure any worse, I’m going to continue doing my rehab exercises and try to push through to NYC. To that end, Nathan and I did a very, very chill 3-mile shakeout run on the Vaughn’s Gap cross country course last Friday morning, and then I got in a very solid 18-mile on Saturday with the Nashville Striders on the Shelby Bottoms and Stones River Greenways.
My hip was very sore for the first 3 to 4 miles of the long run, but after taking a quick break to stretch out, the pain vanished for the remainder of the run. All-in-all it ended up being really good. Some fatigue started setting in around mile 14, but I was still able to finish all 18 with a fairly decent pace.
The other great thing about the 18-miler was that it was the first time since I learned about the sudden death of my dear friend Kerry on Wednesday that I had been able to focus my mind on something else. Of course, this flooded back quickly as we laid him to rest on Saturday afternoon. Tidal wave of emotions on Saturday.
By Monday morning, my hip and leg were pretty sore (and tired!), but Nathan, Paxton, and I (the Bellevue Trio!) cranked out 6.5 easy-paced miles on the White and Red trails in Percy Warner Parks. Of course, “easy pace” definitely does not mean “easy run” on these trails with the monstrous elevation changes:
Yesterday morning, Nathan and I did a chill 8.3-mile run through Bellevue, Edwin Warner Park, and the Harpeth River Greenway. My hip and leg were still sore, but this slowly subsided throughout. We survived the return of the nasty humidity to have a pretty good run.
Today was a scheduled off-day, and then I hope to be back on Thursday with some tempo intervals if my hip will allow it.
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