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Is It Time To Become A Vegetarian?

I love food! Especially a good meal of meat and potatoes. (Yes, this can be burgers and fries!) But, there might be a time in which an adjustment will be made to eating only veggies. Let me explain.

Would you rather have a meal with meat and potatoes and sit with people who are full of hate? Or, enjoy a meal of with veggies and be surrounded by love and grace? Interesting question, huh?

It’s much better to have a meal of vegetables surrounded with love and grace than a steak where there is hate.

Proverbs 15:17

I’m immediately whisked back in time to the lunchroom in middle school. It was there that I was bullied. Often times, I sat with only a few friends. Yet, those friends loved me for who I was.

Sure, there were bigger tables with bigger friend groups, and they always acted like they had it better than the rest of us. Basically, they were at a table filled with steak. Yet, their main course consisted of name calling, shooting paper wads, with a side of popped-collars. Some legacy, huh?

Me? I sat at a smaller table, with a smaller friend group. But we had laughter. We had joy. We had love and grace! A smorgasbord of the finest veggies!

I do plan to stick to meals filled with meats and potatoes. However, it is best to always have a well balanced meal. “Excuse me? Can you please pass the veggie tray?”

Eat veggies. Go make a difference. Always Run by Faith.

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Dove Chocolates And The Bible

I love dark chocolate. It is a true obsession. Especially those little Dark chocolates from Dove. The taste is amazing. But something else recently amazed me; the little message on the inside.

Sure, often times there are cute little phrases like, “Be proud of your age”, or “It’s a bubble bath day”. But, the message on my chocolate really caught my attention, “Trust with your heart, not your head“. WOW! Is it possible Dove dark chocolates is reaching into the Bible for inspiration?

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Thinking with ONLY your head will get you into trouble. YOU’LL begin to drive the ship with your OWN understanding. YOU’LL begin to make choices that aren’t always right with your OWN understanding. But, trusting with your heart, is walking by faith. “For we walk by faith, not by sight”. (2 Cor 5:7)

Sure, we may not see it happening right now, but God is working. And when you lean into what God has put inside of your heart, you think differently. You think of not just YOUR needs, but the needs of others. You yield to what God has in store for you, and your life. Simply put, thinking with your heart, (trusting in the Lord) is different than with your head. (your own understanding)

Thank you, Dove chocolates, for your amazing taste. And, for reminding us all to “trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding”.

Trust with your heart. Eat dark chocolate. Always run by faith.

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Life Is Short. God Is Good.

High School picture of Kelly

Today, I should be texting my sister, “Happy Birthday”. Today, I should be eating cake and ice cream. Today, should be the day my sister, Kelly, turns 46.

My sister, Kelly, left this “home” on January 9, 2001. Her life was taken short from a rare disease called, “Wegener’s”. Kelly was only 25.

My children would’ve adored Kelly’s laughs, jokes, and her unconditional love. Sadly, they never got to know Kelly, as she passed away when my kids were too young . Kelly was my only sibling.

One day, while she was in the hospital, I asked her if she had made the decision to follow Jesus. “Yes”, she said. That simple “yes” gives me the confidence that I will see her again in Heaven. It is the most important decision you will ever make in your life, too.

24 “I speak to you an eternal truth: if you embrace my message and believe in the One who sent me, you will never face condemnation. In me, you have already passed from the realm of death into eternal life!”

Jesus as recorded in John 5:24 (The Passion Translation)

I’m asking you for a favor today. Would you take a moment and simply text/call your sibling (s), and say, “I Love You”? My sister is gone. I don’t have the opportunity to do this anymore. If you have a sibling, I encourage you to reach out today. Push differences aside. Life is too stinkin’ short!

Use an emoji. Share a funny memory. Or, whatever else is coming to your mind as you read this. It would mean a lot to me for you to simply connect.

Here is a picture of Kelly. I miss her, and look forward to seeing her again. And yes, I know that I will!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fb_img_1578618968537310633097780240729.jpg

What is something YOU do to connect regularly with your sibling(s)? I’d love for you to drop a comment, and also subscribe for more encouragement.

Love your siblings. Go make a difference. Always Run By Faith!

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Running By Faith

Running the miles. Sharing the encouragement!

Hi. I’m Tommy, and I love to run. I love encouraging people! And, I choose to Run by Faith!

What does “Run by Faith” mean? Pretty simple, really. My favorite book, the Bible, has a great quote that says to, “walk by faith, not by sight“. Well, as a runner, I ‘run by faith, not by sight’. Get it now?

Here, I plan to share my passion for running, along with my passion of encouragement. I want to help you run some trails, and help you navigate through life. Bottom line, this is my new blog where fitness, friends and faith come together to help you, “Run by Faith”!

Winter: The Longest Ever?

Spring. The promise of a new season. Birds begin to sing. Grass goes from dead, to living. It is the start of something new.

Easter. The promise of a new hope. People begin to sing. Jesus went from dead, to living.  He is the start of something new.

Are you in a “season of winter?” Have you been praying for the birds to sing? For the “grass to green?” To run on dry sidewalks? What in your life needs the reminder that Spring does come? 

Trust that Jesus will walk you through the valley of the shadow of death. He’s been there. He knows a thing about death. He knows a thing about new LIFE! He knows a lot about making All Things New!

Winer ends. Go make a difference. Always run by faith.

Would Judas Have Been Forgiven?

Judas. That name is synonymous with betrayal. Judas, a disciple of Jesus, is the one who betrayed his friend, Jesus, with a kiss, and 30 pieces of silver. While the silver might have brought him immediate satisfaction, the weight and severity of what he did was heavy on his heart.

“When Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matt 27:3-5)

Judas made the biggest mistake of his life. He was so distraught with guilt, and filled with so much shame, that he took his own life.

But, imagine for a moment, if he didn’t. What could’ve become of his life?

What if, after he threw the money back to the chief priests, he ran back to the rest of the disciples and said, “I cannot believe what I just did. I betrayed our Lord!”

I imagine Peter saying, “Judas, I did too. 3 times I said, “I don’t know him.  I wept bitterly for denying our Lord.”

I also picture another disciple saying, “Me too. I ran, and hid, due to fear!”

And over by the trees, 9 other disciples are huddled up, shaking their heads, and wiping tears from their eyes, because they betrayed him, too.

Judas wasn’t the only one who betrayed Jesus.

Those next few days would’ve been very dark. Not only for Judas, but for all of the disciples, too. They all dealt with shame, guilt, and denying they ever knew Jesus.

The difference? Judas took his own life. He couldn’t take the heaviness and the weight of it all.

Days after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter, and three times reiterated his love for him. Why three times? Because Peter denied Jesus three times. Peter then went on to help change the world!

I wonder, if Judas hadn’t taken his own life, what that first encounter with the risen Savior might’ve been like?

“Judas. My friend, I love you. I forgive you. Now, go tell others that despite any mistake you have made, you are loved! I died for you. I would do it again. You have a future. You have a hope. You have forgiveness.”

Judas robbed himself of experiencing the same grace Peter received from Jesus. Today, I tell you friend, Jesus offers grace to YOU!

If you feel hopeless, because of something you did, Jesus stretched out his arms for you, and said, “I love you.”

Today, I encourage you, seek Jesus. He will restore you. He will give you hope. He loves you.

Forgiveness awaits. Go make a difference. Always run by faith.

I welcome your thoughts in the comment section, and I’d love for you to subscribe!

One Simple Step To Become A Better Person

For many years, I coached many different sports. Basketball. Baseball. Soccer. Football, Cross Country. Even Bowling. Every year I had a common theme, some kids were set in their ways, and some kids loved to be “coached”.

What I mean by, “love to be coached”, is the ability to take what a coach says, and apply it to their life. The students that were coachable, were always wanting to learn to grow. A few students would come up to me after practice and say, “What should I work on, coach?” That isn’t an easy thing to do. They had to be willing to push their ego aside, and embrace the constructive criticism.

On the other hand, the students who thought they knew it all; who never wanted any coaching, always got in their own way. No matter what advice I’d share, I was met with resistance.

Proverbs 25:12 (TPT) says, “When you humbly receive wise correction, it adorns your life with beauty and makes you a better person.”

This is one of the things I love about my group of running friends. We learn from each other. There are no egos.

Advice I’ve been given includes, “You run a little tight. Swing your arms more.” And, “Remember to pick up your knees when you run.” I could easily say, “Hey, I’ve been running for over 10 years. I think I’ve got it.” I am SO glad I haven’t taken that approach. Those words, spoken by my true friends, have made me better.

When it comes to constructive criticism, or coaching, will you receive it? Or, reject it?

Be coachable. Go make a difference. Always run by faith!

I Can’t Believe What He Said About His Wife

By now, you know how much I love running. It has been a passion of mine for almost 10 years. At first, it was for the exercise. But, that has changed a bit. Now, it’s for the exercise, and the community of people.

Recently, I ran 5 miles with a new friend, Ryan. We had a wonderful chat about everything from running, to family, to faith. (The miles go by so much faster when you’re having a great chat).

I mentioned to Ryan that I have been reading, and studying, the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Proverbs aims to teach Biblical wisdom. Who doesn’t need a little more wisdom, right? I shared that in Proverbs 5, it talks about avoiding promiscuity, and the slippery road it can take you down.

Ryan then shared with me something that he overheard at the gym. He was near 2 guys that were bashing their wives. Things like, “yeah the old lady…” and, “I wish that she…”, and other demoralizing things they were laughing about.

Well, Ryan couldn’t take it anymore. He spoke up. “I’m so sorry your marriage is so bad. You know, I love my wife. She is my best friend, and I cannot wait to get home everyday to see her.” At that moment, those 2 gentleman sat in silence. Until one of them said, “Well, we were just kidding, we don’t really feel that way…”. But, the damage had already been done. That was the life-long impression they left with Ryan. Isn’t that sad?

Like Ryan, I look forward to walking in to my house and seeing Patty, my best friend, everyday. We haven’t always had an easy road, but with God’s guidance, it has been so worth it.

How do you speak about your spouse, or significant other, when they aren’t around? If someone overheard your “spouse” conversation, what would they think?

Be wise. Brag on your spouse. Always run by faith.

What God Is Teaching Me Through 8 Puppy Paws

Things have changed a lot in our house in the last few months because we now have 2 puppies: Doc and Lavender. They are Black Labs, and they’re brother and sister! And God is teaching us a lot!

We’ve learned the importance of training, teaching routine, using clear commands, and praising them when they obey and do it right.

One command I am trying to teach them is kind of 3 commands all in one, “sit, stay, and wait”. They did well with “sit” because, let’s be real, who doesn’t like to just sit and chill. And, of course, sitting and then getting rewarded with a treat is awesome!

“Stay” was a touch more difficult. They wanted that treat! So, when I showed them the treat, then walked away a few steps, they were like, “Um Dad? Where are you going with my treat?” Now, all along, I knew that eventually that treat would end up in their mouth. But first, they had to learn to sit and stay.

Then, the hardest one, “wait”. They didn’t like this very much. This command taught the importance of not having “instant gratification”. As I made them sit, then walk away a few steps with their treat, they began to get impatient. (ironically, just like us!) Again, I was going to fully give them their treat. I was just looking for a little obedience.

My steps away from them began small. Maybe 5 or 6 steps. Then I’d shout, “Come!” They’d rev their engines and run at me faster than a DeLorean at Twin Pines Mall. As they became accustomed to waiting, their reward got bigger. I’d pull out better treats. The more they learned, the more they were rewarded.

Just like the late Prophet Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting IS the hardest part.” But, isn’t it always worth it? Doc and Lavender are SO happy after they’ve patiently “waited”. Yes, at first they were frustrated. But, with great restraint comes great reward!

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”

Lamentations 3:25

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”

Psalm 27:!4

“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

Psalm 130:5

Has God been trying to teach you something? Are you getting frustrated? Perhaps today you should sit. Stay. Wait.

I believe your reward is coming. Go make a difference. always Run by Faith.

If I’m Honest: I’m Puzzled

My wife Patty loves doing puzzles! She is REALLY good at it. Recently, she bought a 1,000 piece Alfred Hitchcock mystery jigsaw puzzle based on classic mysteries.

First, Patty had to read a short mystery. Then, as she assembled the puzzle, unexpected clues appeared to help solve the mystery. And, like a good mystery, there’s a twist. The puzzle image is different than the box cover. Whoa!

Patty worked several hours to put this puzzle together, only to realize that 1 piece was missing. UGH! We have no idea if our new puppies enjoyed a snack. Or, if I accidentally sucked it up with the vacuum. All I know is that she worked SO hard for so many hours, only to come up short to being complete. (Look closely at the picture, and you’ll see the missing piece).

I’m so grateful that we are complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10 reminds me of that. “I am complete in Him“. In a world that’s empty, there is fullness in Christ. WE are a completed puzzle! Now THAT is a mystery only Jesus can write!

You’re complete! Go make a difference. Always run by faith!

If I’m Honest: Grief Stinks

Grief. It’s ugly. It sneaks up on you. It hits you when you least expect it. It can hijack your day. It can put a hold on you tighter than Hulk Hogan with a figure 4. If I’m honest, grief stinks.

Back in September, I received a text from a friend of mine saying that one of our closest friends was killed in a motorcycle accident. I will never forget starring at phone, trying to grasp the reality of what happened.

I was numb. In pure shock. I had no words. It was like I was punched in the gut. All I could do was sit on my bed, starring at the wall.

My friend was in great shape. We had run, literally thousands of miles together. Told jokes. Made each other laugh. Shared deep talks. Encouraged one another to be better husbands, and fathers. And just like that, all of it morphed into a memory.

For the next several days, I found myself crying…a lot. I figured I would feel like this for a few days. I did. But those days turned into weeks. And then, into months.

There is something about grief that you just cannot explain. And, there are things about it that need no explanation. Like, tears. They are real. Or, hearing a song that brings back a memory. Or driving past a place you used to hang out. Gut punch. Every. Single. Time.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who
believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by
believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Right after Jesus said these words, one of his best friends, Lazarus, died. Just 4 verses later it says, “Jesus Wept”.

My Pastor once said, “Tears are not a lack of faith. It is evidence that someone was deeply loved and missed. Just as Jesus wept at the death of his loved one while knowing about eternal life, we too, feel the deep loss as we walk by faith.”

It has been 4 months since I last saw my friend. Ironically, just hours before his accident I sent him a quick text, “Miss ya bro.” And today, I still do.

I take comfort in knowing that my friend did have a relationship with Jesus. And from that, he is promised Heaven. That brings me great peace. I will see him again.

If I’m honest, grief stinks. But, it is part of life. And, just as Jesus wept, we can too. Tears are healthy. And today, if you’re grieving, or if reading this is bringing up the pain of missing a loved one, cry. Weep. It’s not a lack of faith.

With Jesus, there is Heaven. Go make a difference. Always run by faith.

If you’re struggling with grief, drop me a comment and I will pray for you.

If I’m Honest: I’m Wrestling

As we begin a new year, I thought I’d begin a small series called, “If I’m Honest”. I have a few thoughts that I’d like to share to get you thinking. Because, well, I’m in a season of being stretched.

Saturday, January 1, I woke up like any normal Saturday. I got up and got in my run. I was a bit short on breath, but nothing too alarming. I got home, and I just couldn’t warm up. I cranked up the heat in the shower and stayed in there for quite a while.

When I got out, I still could not warm up. I put on extra layers, but slowly felt myself becoming fatigued. Within an hour, I had to lay down, and layer up even more. I knew I was in trouble.

I spent the rest of the day on the couch, sleeping. Yep. 2022 began with me being sick.

Since then, I’ve been on a roller coaster ride. One day I feel alright. The next day? Blah. One day I test negative. The next day, I’m ruled out because of health and safety protocols.

So, here I sit. In the same room for the last 4 days. But, I am not going to let it steal my joy.

The comical part of it all? The word that I have chosen to focus on for the year: Contentment. Oh, the irony.

So, if I’m honest, I’m wrestling. How do I stay content in the midst of being stuck inside the same 4 walls? It means that I’m making a conscious choice to be OK with whatever comes my way. Now, I’m not loving it. I’m not really happy about it. But, I am trying to be content. Ok, wrestling.

Then, I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always”. Rejoice? Even when I’m sick? Even when it is not going my way? Even when it doesn’t make sense? Yep. Hence, the wrestling.

And, there is NOTHING wrong with wrestling. God welcomes questions.

So, as I heal, I wrestle. I’ll keep on rejoicing, despite sitting inside the same 4 walls. Because, I am content. And my choice of being content, helps me to see things more clearly. Because, if I’m honest, it always could be worse.

Be honest. Go make a difference. Always run by faith.

What’s something you’ve been wrestling with? Be honest and drop a comment. I’d love to connect with you.