Sunday, October 25, 2015

Eleven Things I Learned from Running

Image courtesy of huffpost.com
As I am preparing for my first half-marathon race on December 6 at the Standard Chartered Marathon here in Singapore, running has given me enough time to train and think in between.

Here are the ten things I learned and benefits I got from running during months of training.

1. Plan and prepare for the race
An athlete who fails to plan, plans to fail. You don't just wake up one day and tell yourself you want to run a marathon, then run for it. You are heading to disaster my friend, and even if you find a way to struggle through the finish line, wait till the next day, when your body screams at you with all the muscle pain and injuries.

2. Proper breathing matters
Never under estimate the power of breathing, this will keep you through the race. Breathing deeply while running can also relieve the pain of side stitches.

3. Know your pace and keep it
Find your "sweet spot" speed where your body allows you to run long distance in comfort.

4. Move beyond your intentions
Your best intentions will not bring you to finish line, unless you step on that treadmill or path walk and start running. Intentions no matter how good are not enough. Run!

5. Gear up
Grab a comfortable pair of running shoes for everyone's sake. After all you owe it to your feet.

6. Believe in yourself
Four months before I registered for the 21 km run, I knew it would be very difficult but it is possible. And "possible" is enough for me, I'll just  figure out how to solve the "difficult" part within 4 months of training before the race..

7. Straighten up 
Poor running posture, puts excessive force to your lower body that may lead to injury.

8. It's not how you started that matters
Every runner starts at a common starting point but not all make it to the end. You may start fast and strong but that does not guarantee completion. Warm up your body and mind, run comfortably, find your pace and finish well(without injuries please).

9. Work harder
To plan is one thing, execution is another story. That deliberate course of accelerating the speed, increasing distance or work out hours overtime to build up your endurance pays a lot.

10. Sense of direction
Running somehow de-clutters my thought life and gives me a different perspective. Why am I doing this? What really matters? When to stop? Questions that pop in my mind because I am freeing it from its usual worries and concerns.

11. Remove the irrelevant
Taking away the unnecessary load allows you to run freely not just in marathons but also in life. Leave all your grudges, fear and insecurities, these will weight you down. Instead run with hope and perseverance, believing that the finish line is just few steps away.  

Finally if there is single most important thing I learned from running, that is I realized I am blessed. Blessed with two sturdy legs that can take me distance. Blessed with stamina that keeps me going further. Blessed with good amount of discipline to persevere during the training. Blessed with a strong heart that pumps blood and energy to my whole body. Blessed with a vision to look forward to the end knowing that the best is yet to come.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

CCF: A Godly Citizen and A Godly Rebel

Romans 13:1-7
By Matthew Dela Serna

Paul's letter to the Roman church teaches us how a believer of Christ should represent and conduct himself in different aspects:
Romans 12:1-2 > In relation to ourselves
Romans 12: 3-8 > In relation to the church
Romans 12:9-21 > In relation to society
Romans 13:1-7 > In relation to government
Romans 14 > In relation to other believers

Focusing on Romans 13:1-7, Paul reminds Christians why and how we should submit to earthly authorities.
  1. The Rule
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. We are not just to obey or follow command from authorities but as Christians we are to submit or yield out of respect to the government whom God appointed.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. “ Romans 13:1a

  1. The Reasons
Apostle Paul gives us three reasons why we should have respect for authority. First is theological reason that all authorities under heaven are ordained by God. Secondly, the external reason of consequence that we will endure as the outcome of our rebellious behavior. Lastly, is the internal reason to have a clear conscience.

For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. ... But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; ... Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:1b-6

Whenever we violate our conscience we hinder our fellowship with God and our service, to Him and to others. A violated, guilty, conscience makes us less sensitive to sin and more vulnerable to error

Acts 24:16 - In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
  1. The Exception to the Rule
There are times when we rightly defy government-approved authorities who tried to impose ungodly policies contradicting God’s commands.
In other words, God allows us to be godly rebels in few occasions.
Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
But when a believer feels he should disobey his government, he must be sure it is not because the government has denied him his rights, but because it has denied him God’s rights.
In conclusion, every Christian should be a godly citizen – good and involved citizen. That’s our calling. We need to be the salt and light in our country and we need to teach our children about that. The Lord commands us to submit to God as well as to earthly authorities. Submission to God is always the right thing to do. Submitting to the government is usually right and good. Sometimes disobedience toward human authority is justified when that authority attempts to force us to disobey God.
Let us choose to respect authority as commanded by God because no matter who seats in the government, God will remain established in His throne. He will always be in full control of everything and have the best interest for His children.

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