OFF AND RUNNING                                                                                                                   Andy Hollifield 1-5-19

Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Well, here we are. We have survived the first week of the new year. A lot of people have started off running, walking, biking, hiking, dieting, or all of the above. Many have made various resolutions that in all honesty, probably won’t last very long. I make only one every year and I keep it without fail. My resolution is to not make resolutions. If I have to pick a certain day and make a promise to myself, I am not likely to keep it anyway.

As a whole, we are off and running. Christmas has, for the most part, been forgotten. People are back to being their grumpy, discontent, hateful, self. Not everyone but those that were before Christmas, are back in full swing now. The Valentine’s Day displays are all in the stores and even New Years day has been forgotten already. The first Sunday of the year is upon us and did any of us resolve to go to God’s house more and be faithful to him? That is a resolution that many won’t make but it would do us all good if we did it all year.

The benefit of being faithful to the Lord is that the more you do it, the more you want to and the easier it becomes. If something is easy, we have a tendency to keep on with it. The most important benefit of faithfulness is that God will bless you more, the more faithful you are. You will be able to recognize the goodness and blessings of God a lot more if you have a personal relationship with him and talk to him on a regular basis. Faithfulness will make you more spiritual-minded and you will begin to see all the things God has done and is doing in your life that maybe you have been taking for granted.

We make all kinds of excuses for unfaithfulness to the Lord. “I just don’t have the time for church” may be the most popular excuse of all. “Sunday is the only day I have to rest” is another over-used excuse along with “It is just too long.” We don’t seem to be able to be “Off and running” to church but we can manage to spend all day at the lake or flea market or yard sales out in the hot sun and spending a lot of time on our feet or at a race or ballgame sitting for hours on end. But we don’t seem to be able to manage to sit on padded pews in air-conditioned and heated churches for a couple of hours on Sunday morning and usually less on Sunday night.

Where would we be if Jesus had of used all the excuses we use, to keep from going to the cross? Have you ever thought of that? I have heard people say I believe God understands.” I do too. He also understands the difference between a reason and an excuse. God has listened to excuses far longer than we have been making them. Remember in the garden of Eden. Adam blamed God for giving him the woman and blamed the woman for giving him the food. The woman in turn blamed the serpent for “beguiling” her to eat the food. Even though the serpent got a severe punishment, he was the only one that didn’t blame someone. He had already accomplished his goal and that was to cause the fall of man. God has heard them all a lot of times and they still aren’t acceptable.

I don’t mean to sound “preachy” but I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to be close to a God like we have. Some people will be chummy with folks with money or boats or campers etc… in hopes of benefitting from someone elses labor. Yet, God has invited us throughout his word to come and have a relationship with him. He will be glad for us to enjoy the benefits of his labor. We are what he has done all of his labor for. God has all power and all wealth, after all, he does own the cattle of a thousand hills (Psalms 50:10) and the hills they are on. He is the richest person any of us will ever know. He desires to be close to us so he can share his wealth with us and bestow blessings upon us and meet whatever need we have. He also has the best security force ever to grace the face of the earth. Psalms 91:11 says “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, and keep thee in all thy ways.” His angels that he has commissioned and equipped to be able to take care of us will keep us in all our ways. According to Matthew 18:10, we all have angels of our own.

Paul said to the Philippians in 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God will supply all of our need and will give his angels charge over us and we all have angels of our own. What more could we want from God than what he has given us access to? Prayer is the key to his house. With all of that said, how in the world can we expect God to do all of that for us when we can’t even give him a few hours a week in church and studying his word? Like I said in the beginning, God is faithful whether we are or not. Jonah said in Jonah 2:8 “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” Why would we observe lying vanities when we can have all that heaven has to offer? If you want riches; run with God. If you need peace; run with God. If you need grace; run with God. We may be off and running in the new year, but if we aren’t running with the Lord, we are just running in circles never getting anywhere and forsaking our own mercy. We are running the wrong way.  Is something hindering you and keeping you from running well? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!


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