Day 38: My 40 Days of Lent: Pray, Run, Family

The first day of Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, and last 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays). Traditionally, the Lent season for some Christians is a period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter.

The reason for the 40 days is the references in the bible such as the flood (rained 40 days and nights); Moses fasted (40 days before receiving the ten commandments); the Israelites roamed the desert (40 years before reaching the promised land); and Jesus spent in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry (40 days fasting). Most Christians regard Jesus’ time in the wilderness as the key event for the duration of Lent.

Lent is more practiced by the Roman Catholics. There is no command in scripture that we should practice Lent. My church does not observe Lent either, but I wanted our family to use the season of Lent for spiritual reflection and contemplation. I wanted my children to get just as excited about Easter as Christmas, because it is just as important. Jesus’ birth isn’t the only gift to us, but His dying on the cross is our salvation and eternal gift.

This year I am committing to two devotions during the the season of Lent. One is to have daily family activities to work toward making our family Christ-centered. The second is to rise up earlier in the mornings to have personal devotional time with God. For myself, I want to use Lent to focus on my spiritual needs. I have even come up with a theme which is Pray, Run, Family.

Pray: I would like to bring my prayer more deeply into my heart. To have more quiet time with God. I am not a morning person, by any means, but waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual is the perfect way to begin my day with God. For me, this task requires more discipline, so that I can start off my day right.

Run: My running is another strong discipline in my life that I would like to continue. Running is also my prayer and praise time. My alone time. It keeps me healthy, strong, provides energy and a clear head, so I can be my best for my family. Like it or not, women create the mood in the household. I want my family to see God’s light in me and I want to keep joy in our home.

Family: The Scripture is pretty clear on the fact that we have a responsibility to be training our children in the truth. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go and it will not depart from him.” God expects us to be role models to our children by being in the Word and praying with and for our children. God does not expect us to be perfect and know all the answers — he just expects us to be available and to supply the resources for our children to grow and learn. On weekends, My husband and I have tried to be consistence on preparing and leading our family devotions. We’ve had great help from apps and websites to make them fun, exciting as well as age appropriate. Our boys love this time because we not only learn lessons from God’s word, but we always enjoy our time together.

I know that I may fail during these 40 days. I would love to come out of this Lent season a prayer warrior, stronger, and a happier family, but I know that this is a refining process. I am, however, expecting great things. My hopes for this season of Lent is that my 40 days of meditation will lead me to appreciate the suffering and death of Jesus even more, so that I will be able to cry out like David in Psalm 51:9-10, “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Blessing to you and your family during this Easter season. May you be encouraged to draw closer to God and remember the reason for this season.

Day 7: How’s Your Heart Rate?

In our small groups we are learning to the “pronounce it” method in bible meditation. That means to dissect each word in a scripture to find the deeper meaning or as Pastor Rick Warren say, “digesting like in a process of rumination.” For anyone who doesn’t know what this means, let me explain. Rumination is a process in which cows chew their cud. Nice, huh? They chew on their food, swallow, and then bring it back up to chew on some more. Sorry for the visual, but it is what it is.


One of the first verses we used this method was in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” My dissection was this, “Allow the comfort of Christ to be number one in my heart.” The next thing we were challenged to do was to apply it to our lives today. My question I asked myself was how can I enable the Lord to sincerely rule in my heart? It know it doesn’t just happen overnight. I believe some of the steps I must take are similar to what might be involved in running a marathon. First, there is a training period; secondly, there is the actual race; and last, the finish line.


Training period: This is where I develop a desire, the discipline, a plan and a commitment. I must first have the desire to run a marathon, but the desire alone will not give me the strength to finish. I have to put on my shoes on and start running. In other words, if I want to be a marathon runner, I have to start running, not just talk about it. Next, in order to properly train for the marathon, I have to have a plan. I have to figure out how much I want to run and when I will run. This also requires me to be committed to that schedule/plan, even in the midst of ups and downs. I have to understand that there are going to be some days that will be great and others that will really stink. I may be even have doubts about whether you can actually do this, but I will. How is all this training like my spiritual life?


In order to develop a deep spiritual life, my desire must be there first. Since God is the source of this desire, I need to begin my journey of faith by praying for this desire to increase and flourish in my heart, but I will have to pray for this desire everyday! It is a grace that God will gladly grant. Also, if I want to develop an honest relationship with God, I will have to do some work. The work, the training of the spiritual life, is consistent prayer, and letting go of sin. I have to have the whole package, and I am fooling myself if I think I can be holy if I am not willing to put in some time and effort. I know it involves a lot of sacrifice and will power. It takes leading a disciplined life.


The second part is about the actual race, and it is very cool. The day of the marathon (March 3, to be exact) I will go to pick up my registration packet, where there are lots of people and this big expo. I will get a really excellent t-shirt, and I will start to get the sense that maybe all this work really was worth it. Then there is the actual race. I will line up with thousands of people all doing the same thing, so there is this bonding thing happening. During the race there will be thousands of people lining the streets cheering for us. I must admit, it’s a charge. It is a great experience to share with others, and it is definitely more fun to train and run with someone. It will be a long race though, and what frequently happens is a runner will hit a “wall,” which means you pretty much run out of fuel. All you want to do is to stop. But you don’t, because you’ve made a commitment to finish this race without stopping and that’s very hard to deal with emotionally and physically.


In relation to my faith, after I set a foundation and am consistent with these practices, I will enter a new stage, the race. This is where it all starts to pay off. I will then find that my life is directed by Christ. My life changes will begin and I will encounter all sorts of people who hold the same beliefs and support me in my life. For instance, my ladies bible study, small groups, my friends and family. I will discover more joy in my life and enjoy the person I have become. It is totally worth the work. But, I must also be on guard that I may hit a wall. There may come a time when I will be greatly challenged to continue this path. It may come in the form of tragedies where we question God. It may be dryness in prayer where I don’t experience the joy I once did before. I have gone through this before, but it will be more challenging now that my faith has grown. This is when I must realize that I must keep pushing. God is giving me opportunities to mature in my faith, to have a more mature relationship, and to love him no matter what the outcome. So I must learn to persevere because to me, it is worth it because it brings me much closer to the finish line.


And last, there is the finish line: Crossing that finish line was another brand new experience for me last weekend. It was a mix of emotions of relief, joy, a sense of great accomplishment. Words cannot give it enough justice, but it was definitely worth all of the training. It was a unique experience and a unique reward.


I know that this is nothing compared to what awaits me when I cross my final heavenly finish line. The joy is unimaginable. Some of the great heroes in the bible have tasted what heaven is like while they were here on earth. There have been great examples of men and women who have been willing, not only to lead a committed life in Christ and run the race to their best ability, but were willing to die in order to cross that finish line. I want to make sure I make use of my time so I may say with the apostle Paul, “I have run the good race, I have fought the good fight, and now the Lord truly rules my heart.”

Running Tracks: “Run” by Addison Road





Here is one of my favorite tunes by Addison Road titled “Run.” The beat is a little slower but perfect starting your pace. I love it because it is very encouraging and dissects our daily struggles into things we can all relate too. The best part is that the song is telling us to keep on running, look straight ahead, “where the fallen finally land,” there is hope–the light is at the end. Enjoy!!

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Day 4: Run with Perseverance

The New Testament uses imagery of a race to describe our Christian life. God calls us to this race (Phil. 3:14). We train for the race (1 Tim. 4:7-8). Our training requires strict self-control (1 Cor. 9:25). Anyone who runs the race must compete according to the rules (2 Tim. 2:5). There is a prize to be won (1 Cor. 9:24), and anyone who seeks to win the prize must run with singular devotion, with one’s eye set on the prize which is Jesus Christ (Heb. 12:1-3).


It’s a special race, similar to a relay race. In this race, some runners have run before us and others will continue to run after us. The ones who have run before us have not disappeared from the course. Since they have finished the leg of the race, they have gathered at the finish line where they can cheer on those who are still running. The bible says that those who have already finished the race are “the great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1.


Those who are running now are surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses. They are encouraging us moment by moment, reminding us that any difficulty, all difficulties, can be overcome and must be overcome if we are to join them at the finish line. Is this encouraging or what??! Here is the verse.


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and sin that easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1


Think of this great cloud and whose on the cheer leading team. Abel, for instance, kept running despite the deadly harassment from his brother Cain. Joseph kept running despite the wicked slander against him. Moses kept running despite the opposition of the Jews. Most importantly, another person in the “great cloud of witnesses” is Jesus. The “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” described by Hebrews. He is the best cheerleader and trainer of them all and we who are running today are to keep our eye on Him above all. Jesus didn’t run one leg of the race; he created the entire race ahead of us and now wants us to keep on running with our eyes on Him.


We are told in Hebrews 12:1 that we are not to just simply run, but to run with perseverance. So what does it mean to run with perseverance?


To me, I think, first, to run with perseverance means I must keep running regardless of distractions. I must run with a focus, a concentration, an aware determination.


With my run today, I have officially passed the 200-mile mark since late October. Now, I have run for many years, but never really tracked my mileage until recently using a running journal and Nike Plus website. Encouraged after officially hitting this milestone, I tossed out my old running shoes, opened the box to my new treads and synced my new earned success. I am very visual (and an overachiever), so to see where I ranked on the running chart was exciting for me. The cool thing about the Nike Plus site is that it graphs and groups your running mileage into color levels and recognizes the total distance you’ve achieved since joining NikePlus.com. To my surprise, I noticed that I have now reached the ‘green level.’ To a newbie on the site, the level looks like I have accomplished a lot, but if you read what defines the next levels, it is a little discouraging. My excitement and focus diminished in a matter of seconds to discouragement of miles and miles not yet completed.


One fine runner, Martin Fagan, who qualified for the Beijing Olympics, was distracted during his road to the Olympics when he tested positive for EPO (erythropoietin). This is a drug that is one of the most conventional and readily detected methods of enhancing performance. After his one and only injection administered in December, he ended his Olympic career at age 28.


Similarly in the course of life, we get discouraged, defeated, and sometimes we even get clobbered. We become a victim in a thousand different ways. The one thing we should try to avoid is to never let our many victimizations distract us so that we lose our focus, our intensity, our horizon-filling dedication to the task at hand. We must never allow our victimization’s to move us into that place where we throw it all away, which results in stopping the run.


Secondly, I believe in order to run with perseverance I should keep running patiently. The race of Christian life is not a race that ends in 200 miles or at the black level on NikePlus.com. It’s a long race, a lifelong race. I must run patiently.


Most importantly, to run with perseverance I need to run without of distraction, run patiently and I must also run to finish.


A reporter wrote a recap of a marathoner during the 1968 Olympics games in Mexico City:


“It was the marathon: 26 miles, 385 yards. The first place runner crossed the finish line, then the second, the third, and so on. As the last runner, it would seem, straggled in, the spectators and camera crews noticed an ambulance with lights flashing several hundred yards up the course. The flashing lights warned the crowd not to surge onto the track as the race wasn’t yet over. One runner remained on the track.


This fellow had come from a developing country in the two-thirds world. His nation had no funds for state-sponsored training programs. The people had simply sent him off with whatever encouragement they could press on him. Now he was running with men whose economic privilege gave them enormous advantage.


This fellow, ambulance alongside him, would stagger a few feet and fall on his face, get up and stagger a few more feet and go down again, over and over until he had traversed the last few hundred yards. When asked why he had persevered at such a price he replied,


“My people did not send me here to compete (they knew I couldn’t compete); they didn’t even send me here to run; they sent me here to finish.”


Incredible huh? That gives me chills all over to read. The most important part of this race is that we run to finish. Who cares if we get to our goal with scraped knees and a bleeding face? It is only that we finish that we find ourselves standing with the great cloud of witnesses in the company of our Father.

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Running Tracks: “Run” by Lecrae



I thought I would share this song I found while building my running playlist. Not only does it have a great beat to run to, but it is such a motivation and applies to the mission of Faithful Trainer blog. The song is called “Run” by Lecrae. Enjoy!!

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