MAKING A DIFFERENCE

MAKING A DIFFERENCE                                                                                                              Andy Hollifield 7-30-19

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

What can I do? That is the question asked by a lot of us as an excuse for not doing anything. There is nothing wrong with the question and there is a simple answer to it; “Do what you can.” In Mark 14:8 Jesus made a statement when Mary was being ridiculed for anointing him with oil instead of selling the oil and giving to charity. In verse 6 he told them “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me.” In verse 8 he summed it up even better when he said in her defense; “She hath done what she could.”

It isn’t great works or even great ability that Jesus is looking for. It is “good works” with the right heart of compassion that Jesus wants from us. Mary had no great ability but she was just available. Jesus wants our availability and then he can give us the abilities he wants us to have. If we have a heart and mind to work for the Lord as in the book of Nehemiah, there is work each of us can do.

There is one glowing example that we all know about but few of us know the actual origins of it. In 1829, in the home of a builder in England, little Willie was born. Fifteen years later at a Wesleyan revival meeting, Willie accepted the Lord and became a revivalist preacher. That night he reportedly wrote in his diary these words: “The Lord shall have all there is of William.” He was working as a pawnbroker apprentice in London at the time and reportedly hated the business. He did, however, get to meet people from all walks of life. He developed a great distaste for poverty, drunkenness, prostitution, homelessness, and any other vices that contributed to the ruining of lives.

In 1861 after only ten years as a Methodist preacher, Willie broke with the Methodist and began his life as an independent revivalist. Growing weary of all of the squalor and suffering he saw in others daily, he decided these folks needed Jesus in the worst kind of way. He began to try to focus his energy and efforts on the down-and-outers on the streets of London. He didn’t just go where they were and preach to them but also began to establish places to meet the needs of the poverty-stricken of the city. He opened homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and even halfway-houses for people released from prison. Over time he even established some job training programs to allow the poverty-stricken to learn a trade.

For years, Booth faced the opposition of the local government until the late 1870s after the government had seen the effects of his work was actually lifting people from their degraded condition. He was then embraced and heralded as a savior of sorts for his work and financial support began to roll in. Willie and his wife went on to establish an army of volunteers that over time helped establish 16000 evangelical centers in 80 countries and also establishing over 3000 welfare institutions, hospitals, schools, and providing preaching in over 112 languages. Not too bad of a resume for a pawnbroker apprentice.

If Willie could do all of that starting at only 25 years old, think about what you can do. When Willie died in August of 1912, there were as many as 150,000 people passed by his casket during the three days he was lying in state. Between 35 thousand and forty thousand attended his funeral. Most of those were the same people he had preached to and rescued from the gutters and alleys of London. From a carpenter’s son to a pawnbroker apprentice he was definitely nothing special. He was just a man with a heart of compassion that did what he could. You now know this young man as Willie. The entire world knows him as General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. Just do what you can. It will make a difference for more than you may ever know. In the words of the late Paul Harvey; “Now you know the rest of the story.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE AGAIN

EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE AGAIN                                                                               Andy Hollifield 7-29-19

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

exceed———–(1) to go beyond in quantity, degree, rate, etc…(2) to go beyond the limits of (3) to surpass; be superior to; excel

Abundant—— (1) present in great quantity; more than adequate (2) well supplied with something; abounding (3) richly supplied, as with resources

Way, way, beyond! As a preacher, I love it when God starts you off preaching a message and then completely takes over. That was how it happened on Sunday for me. Sometimes it helps us to be reminded of all the times when God has done “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” It is especially wonderful when God is the one doing the reminding.

As I began to preach Sunday I had only two scriptures on my heart. First was Ephesians 3:20. The second one was Matthew 6:34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” What I got hung up on was the phrase, “take no thought.” In Matthew 6:32 Jesus told the disciples that “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.”

Maybe it’s just me but God uses simple thoughts for simple people I guess. I can even figure out the fact that God knows what I need. Not only does he know, but he can do far above what I think I need and he wants me to not worry about all of those things or to “take no thought.” I did something Sunday morning that I never do unless I have some kind of emergency situation pending. I took my phone into the church to use my bible app to find some more scripture. I just felt like what I had on my heart was not enough and I was afraid it wouldn’t do anyone any good. I was worried that I hadn’t prepared enough and God’s sheep might go away hungry and it was my job to feed them. I didn’t know how right I was. The last part of Ephesians 3:20 was the part that God demonstrated for us Sunday morning, “according to the power that worketh in us.” He worked in a way in my heart that I desperately needed.

I was of the mindset that there’s no need for us to even worry about the things we need because God is going to do “exceeding abundantly above” anything we could ever think in our wildest imaginations anyway. I started off talking about a friend of mine who had struggled to buy toothpaste while he was in bible college. He prayed for a tube of toothpaste, not for the money to get it but for the toothpaste itself. To make a long story a little shorter, he told me how that God had blessed him since providing him the toothpaste. He had gone to class after praying about it and when he got out of his car one of his classmates called for him to come to their car for a minute. He said he had cleaned out his closet and had some suits that my friend might could wear. That was a tremendous blessing and met a need so my friend thanked him and put them in his car. As he started toward class, his classmate called for him again. When he went over this time, the young man reached in his backseat and pulled out a bag. His family ran a store and for whatever reason, they had pulled it off of the shelf. The young man told my friend that he hoped it wouldn’t offend him but he thought he might could use it. God didn’t provide a tube of toothpaste but a whole case!

That isn’t the end of the story though, it gets better. Through a series of events that I may get into later, my friend wound up back at his bible college recently after graduating about ten years ago. As he walked into the office and told them who he was and asked for the person he came to see, they all began to tell him how good it was to finally meet him. They explained that they had heard a story about a former student praying for a tube of toothpaste and how God provided an entire case. It seemed that over the ten years since he had been gone, his story had sprouted legs of its own.

As if that wasn’t good enough, it gets better. While at the college he met with a man who upon learning who he was, told my friend that he was glad to meet him because he had given away countless cases of toothpaste to students of the college because of him. His story had apparently made its way to another preacher who had a friend that was a wheel at one of the largest toothpaste manufacturers in the world. Since hearing my friend’s story, he decided that no student at that college would have to worry about struggling to buy toothpaste again. He had been providing cases of toothpaste to the college for who knows how long all because of my friend’s story.

All of this was completely unknown to my friend until recently. Because he had prayed earnestly about needing toothpaste, God provided not only a tube but rather a case and over several years had provided several cases to college students at that school. All because one man prayed about an embarrassing situation and what some would call a silly need, and God met it.

I began to think about how God gave me a kidney that has lasted nearly thirty-six years after I had been told I could expect about twenty years out of it. I was also told by my doctor that she figured as long as I took reasonably good care of myself, she thought something else would take me out before that kidney did. I would definitely call that “exceeding abundantly above.”

There have been times in all of our lives when God has done “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Not just a little above but surpassing our expectations abundantly. To see things like this in our own lives, we must first be willing to let God’s power work in us. We can see great things if we do. I hope this has all been a blessing to you and reminded you of the times in your life that God has done exceeding abundantly above what you asked or thought. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

 

THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE                                                                                                         Andy Hollifield 7-28-19

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

That was the very scene in the beginning; nothing. Darkness, no form, void, empty, desolate, a wasteland………..until God moved. Over the next 6 days, everything changed. Just that fast. Where nothingness was in bountiful supply, now it had been replaced by unimaginable beauty. Fullness, flowers, trees, birds, all types of animals, fish and all kinds of sea life in only six days. From the mind of God to reality in only six days and a man to dress and keep it and then his wife. A very brief description of what the world was before sin invaded the newly created garden of Eden.

We actually know nothing of the timeline between null and void and creation. We also know nothing of the length of man’s stay in the garden before the sin of Adam and Eve. Still yet, it is a beautiful, peaceful, picture. Today I want to look past that. Back to before creation. To before God created man. He made a man out of the dust and formed him and breathed in his nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Before that, where did he come from? When did God step out of wherever he came from? That’s an easy one: he stepped out of nowhere. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Where was he before he created heaven? Nowhere; but yet everywhere because he had to be somewhere and he always has been. He has no beginning or end. Are you confused yet? We don’t have all the answers and that is why it is called faith. You know, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). I am not really trying to confuse anyone and all of those questions are things that wouldn’t do a thing for us if we knew them. If we had answers to all of those questions, it would only serve to diminish our faith rather than increase it.

The thing I want to talk about is “nowhere”. All those other times when God came from there. You might be wondering, when was that? All those times in your life when he came from out of nowhere to save the day and make a difference in your trial. Those times when you thought no one knew the personal hell you were going through, and they didn’t, but all of a sudden, totally unexpected, there God appeared bringing with him his peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7). He also brought a solution to that impossible situation you were facing that you were sure was going to take you under. The one where every option you had was worse than the one before it. When you looked to see even the slightest glimmer of hope and there was none to be found. When you cried yourself to sleep but was sure it was pointless because no one cared anyway if they would have known. And out of the middle of nowhere, where no one had been just a moment before, there he is; The Prince of Peace himself. Calming your winds and waves and instead of your world being rocked, he just rocks you to sleep in his arms. Peaceful sleep, the kind you haven’t known in a long time. Remember those times? No, most of the time things didn’t change overnight. As a matter of fact, some of those trials were rather lengthy even after you had assurance from God that he was in control.

I have got to tell you about one time that comes to mind when I enjoyed the sweet, sweet, presence of the Holy Ghost all day. Even when I was exercising, God began to bless me by the songs I was listening to over my phone. The Mckameys sang “That’s Where Faith Begins”. The song talks about those dark times I just eluded to. The song was right; if you can just believe in those times, that is where faith begins. The average run of the mill trials seem a lot easier after having faith to believe in those impossible times. Another song that stood out to me was one by Karen Peck and New River called “God Works When Nothing Else Can”. When you have tried everything else and nothing else has worked; God can! Just like the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48); God can! When you have waited all day for it to end and then spent all night waiting for the day, God can! (Acts 27:20-44). When you haven’t seen the sun in many days, but then… there stands by you one night an angel of the Lord that assures you that you won’t perish! Lets you know that God hasn’t forgotten where you are.

Just like the disciples in the midst of the sea (Matthew 14:22-33) going to the other side at Jesus command while he went to a mountain to pray. The wind got contrary even though they were doing exactly what God wanted. The waves were rolling all around them even though they had been obedient. They were fearing for their survival and most likely beginning to doubt. Then……..out of the middle of nowhere in the darkness of their storm…..the impossible happened! Jesus came right to where they were in their darkness and doubt and even though he told them not to be afraid, he did nothing immediately to calm the storm. It was only after he got into the boat that the storm subsided.

He’s there, do you see him? No, right over there, right in front of you. He’s waving at you. Can’t you see him yet? Yeah right there, that’s him! He came from right out of the middle of nowhere! Just hang on, he will be in the boat in a minute. He may want you to come to him first though. If he does just remember; whatever you do, DON’T, I repeat DON”T take your eyes off of him! Forget everything else, you just look at him. Just keep looking at him! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

I’M BACK

I’M BACK                                                                                                                                         Andy Hollifield 7-27-19

Just when you thought it was safe to go back onto Facebook…I’m back! Sorry for the absence but I took a much-needed vacation. I am not exactly sure how that is supposed to work though. You work yourself to death trying to get ahead so as not to leave anything undone like your mowing and trimming. There is also a boatload of laundry because even if you don’t take everything you own, you don’t want to leave it in the hamper for a week to get all sour and stinking. If you take a camper, you kill yourself getting it ready and packed. Then, upon arrival, you kill yourself getting it set up. You work yourself to the nub grilling out and making sure everyone has a good time. You always spend more money than you should and then you do everything all over again to get ready to head home. When you get there, you have all of the cleaning and unpacking, catching up laundry, mowing again, and countless other things that had been left undone before you left. If you have to go to all that trouble just to get back to where you started, why go to start with? The obvious answer is, to make the memories.

I don’t like to post when I am not home for a few days because thieves use Facebook also and I don’t like to advertise that I am not home. To me, all of those beach pics everyone likes to share just says; “Stop by the house and get my stuff. I won’t be back for a few days so no one will be there to bother you.” Something about that doesn’t sit well with me.

I will make a couple of recommendations in case anyone is interested. Oak Creek Campground in Walton, Kentucky is a great place to camp. They have full hook-ups on each site except tent sites. They have a pool, laundry, cable hook-up, clean showers, and even a tank pumping service every other day by campground personnel. They even called to ask if I had forgotten a water hose when I left. I had so they promised to send it out to me on Monday. They are family owned and have live entertainment on Friday nights. They are located just off of exit 171 on I-75.

The reason I mention this is because if you are interested in visiting Cincinnati, The Ark Encounter, The Creation Museum, or the Cincinnati Zoo, you are located about 20-25 miles from each of those attractions. The Cincinnati Zoo is the second oldest in the country and also very large but not easily traversed as there is a lot of uphill walking. Although it was good, to be honest with you, I would rather go to The NC Zoo at Asheboro. It is closer, just as good or better, also is a lot easier walking, and has a tram to pick you up throughout the park and drop you off wherever you like throughout the day. If you walk the whole thing, you can catch the tram at the last exhibit and ride all the way back to the main entrance.

The Ark Encounter was impressive. Just the sheer size of it will blow your mind. There is a lot of info inside about the animals that were on the ark and how they were chosen. There is a lot of detail about the flood itself as well as the aftermath of it. The engineering systems such as for feeding and watering the animals and disposing of human and animal waste are mind-boggling. A lot of those kinds of details may not be factually accurate but are a good guess and likelihood based on the technology of the day. It also required great skill by Noah and his sons to improvise and develop the things they needed to endure the journey.

I have heard The Creation Museum raved about for several years. To be honest, I was rather disappointed with it. As with the Ark, there are a lot of details that are passed into history. There has also been a lot of research put into both places but I could read a book of opinions at home. Some of the research comes down to an educated guess because there are no concrete facts to back it up.

A couple of the best things I did was to visit some of the Chili restaurants in Cincinnati. I found out through some research of my own that Cincinnati is the chili capital of the US. I tried two different locations of Skyline Chili. It is a franchise restaurant founded by two brothers somewhere in the mid-fifties I believe. We also tried one place called Camp Washington Chili in Cincinnati. It was founded in 1940 and still has that “diner atmosphere.” All of the chili places we tried liked a little bit of chili with their cheese. They are actually very generous with their portion size and everything is covered with cheese. The service was usually pretty good everywhere but not as good as we have been spoiled in the south and have gotten used to. Both of the chili places I have mentioned have been featured on the Food Network show, “Diners, drive-ins, and dives.” A quick google search will tell you all you need to know about them. We also tried White Castle which is a little burger joint franchise that puts me in mind of Krystals as far as menu items, size, price, etc…

The riverfront is a beautiful park designed for a lot of foot traffic. They also have little sidewalk scooters all over the city. They apparently are operated by a phone app for which you set up an account. You just scan and ride and leave them anywhere in the city you want. They also have motorized bicycles available on the same set-up.

Well, I hope my travel review has done someone some good. I am thankful to have had some time away but now it is back to the real world. I have got backpacks coming up for the ministry on August 10th and possibly another trip to South Carolina before then. Like the old saying says, “There’s no rest for the weary and the righteous don’t need it.” I guess that pretty much tells which I am because I seem to stay weary all the time. I will try to be back to more of a serious nature tomorrow. Please come visit us at Spring Mountain Baptist in Fairview at 11 and 6 where I will be preaching on Sunday. I can promise you will be made welcome. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

THE BEST LAID PLANS

THE BEST LAID PLANS                                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 7-22-19

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

Have you ever just had one of those days? You know; the kind where when things start to go wrong the day just doesn’t seem to end. I had one of those this week. I’m not writing about it to complain but rather to prove that I am by no means super-spiritual. Anyone that knows me very well doesn’t need any more proof. Even when you have the best of intentions, things can happen to change even the simplest of plans. It pays in those times to remember Romans 8:28 “And we KNOW” (but sometimes we need reminding) that (ALL things) both good and bad) work TOGETHER (with each other) for GOOD (our best interest) to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED (God put you in a job) according to HIS purpose” (His purpose, not ours.)

The short version is this; God works everything in our lives to our benefit. When plans start falling apart it is sometimes hard to remember that. We even sometimes start thinking that if what we were doing was of God, we wouldn’t be going through those kinds of days. That sounds reasonable until you read the book of Job. He prayed and offered sacrifices for all of his kids and sent someone to sanctify them just in case they had sinned or would in the future. He did this each time his children held a big feast in each other’s houses. Job did everything he possibly could to intervene for his kids. Still, in spite of all of that, the day came that he lost all of his wealth. In a matter of moments, he lost all of his flocks, wealth, and even all of his children. One messenger didn’t get finished speaking before the next one came in with more bad news. What did Job do immediately following all of the bad reports? He worshipped! He realized his God was just the same yesterday as what he was that day. The bible has no guarantee for us that everything will be smooth sailing but rather God will always be with us. Contrary to popular belief; we don’t even have to like everything the Lord does. We just have to accept it and realize he is God and his ways are always right (Hosea 14:9).

As I mentioned before, sometimes our plans get waylaid by our adversary. Opposition and hardship isn’t necessarily an indicator that you are going contrary to the Lord’s will but often indicates you are right in the center of it. Just keep in mind that the devil doesn’t bother anything that doesn’t bother him. He knows his days are numbered and he doesn’t have time to waste.

On Friday, I went to South Carolina to get some stuff from Help 4 Kids to bring to their office in Swannanoa. I was supposed to go and hook to a trailer that was loaded and head back home. Considering that I am working for the Lord, I should have known it wasn’t likely to be that easy. The devil had to find a way to hinder. After all, a lot of kids would be reminded that the Lord loves them and provides their needs as a result of being given the food I was bringing back.

I arrived right at quitting time because I left here late due to some errands I had to have done by Friday. I immediately noticed the tire was low on the trailer. That was no big deal, I would air it up when I stopped for fuel as soon as I left. I hooked to it after considerable trouble which was my fault. I had forgotten to change the ball on my hitch and the one I had was too big. When I finally realized my mistake, I switched balls and hooked up to leave. I guess that’s what you get for trying to be in a hurry.

After I fueled and put the air in the tire I realized it was still way too low to the ground and too heavy to be safe and not damage the trailer. I headed back to Help 4 Kids to offload some of the food. After unloading about 100-150 cases of food onto another trailer and locking it up, I finally headed back to Florence where I had booked a hotel room for the night. It was now 8:20 PM. It had taken about two hours and forty-five minutes to offload the stuff in the 94-degree heat. The supper I had planned to have at Quincy’s in Florence was going to have to wait till another trip. Even though the trailer was still heavy, it was at least safe.

We had no further events this trip and it sure felt good to stretch out on that bed. That kind of heat is hard on an overweight, middle-aged, little fat man. We made it home on Saturday with no problem and was expecting to unload but only had to drop the trailer at Help 4 Kids building in Swannanoa, NC.

The moral of the story is this: If you are going to work for the Lord you can expect the devil to try to hinder. Things like that will happen and it is all just goes with the territory. On the flip side, it is times like this when you pay extra attention to what you are doing because you don’t want anything bad to happen due to carelessness. I have put too much on a trailer or loaded it wrong and created problems in the past. If you are going to haul anything from point A to point B these things will happen. The big picture though is this; hundreds of kids in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee will be helped when Help 4 Kids delivers this food to them. The meal they might have missed will not be missed due to the ongoing efforts of the folks at H4K in both Swannanoa and Myrtle Beach.

There will be a lot of other trips and there will also be other problems. The devil will hinder again and get whipped again just like he did this time. God’s purpose will be accomplished again and hungry children will be fed again. I will probably have to offload some stuff again but that is better than a mechanical breakdown like I had once before. And just like this time and all of the times before, next time we will go at it with a good plan. It may get waylaid again but it will still get accomplished again in spite of the devil’s interference. Have you ever thought about how frustrated he must get to give his best effort at hindering God’s work and yet it still gets accomplished? You know, after writing all of this down, it doesn’t seem all that bad. It could have been a lot worse. Even when we face trying circumstances at times, with his grace God still has “the best-laid plans.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

SEEING WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE

SEEING WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 7-19-19

Nehemiah 2:5 If it please the king…send me…that I may build it. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

You might have noticed I left quite a few words out of that verse. I am not trying to change God’s word at all. I just wanted to get down to the meat of the matter so to speak. The meat would simply be that it wasn’t the accomplishment in the end that is the basis of the story. It isn’t even the destruction in the beginning that is of primary concern. Both of these, while they are facts, are not the most important part of the story. This story takes place for one reason. The result happens for one reason. The book of Nehemiah is in the bible for one reason. I don’t believe the main emphasis is on what was accomplished but why it was. It is the attitude and burden of one young man that brought this story from a broken, forgotten, part of history to a city set on a hill honoring God by overcoming impossible odds.

Nehemiah had it made. He had a job in Shushan in the palace working directly for the king and was before his throne multiple times a day. The last thing on his mind probably was going to Jerusalem much less rebuilding the city. However, a random conversation lit a spark that kindled a fire in the heart of Nehemiah. As he spoke with Hanani and others who had recently come from Judah to Shushan, they informed him of how dire the circumstances were in Jerusalem. This news so disturbed Nehemiah that he immediately did five things. Keep in mind that five is the number for grace in the scriptures. Verse four says he sat down, then he wept, he mourned for days, he fasted, and then he prayed. Isn’t it interesting how things begin to change when prayer is made part of the equation?

When was the last time that someone else’s problems became so important to you that it affected your work, sleep, appetite, and last but not least, your prayer life? When there was nothing to be gained personally as far as you were concerned, but you just couldn’t get it out of your mind.

That was the exact situation Nehemiah found himself in. There was no good reason for him to even worry about Jerusalem aside from his heritage. If the truth is known, he could have sat back and enjoyed his life, his work, and anything else he chose to occupy his time with, but yet he couldn’t get Jerusalem out of his head and the condition of the inhabitants. As far as heritage goes, he could have been the start of a new heritage for his family.

That’s where his attitude came in. He began to become more concerned with his past than he did his future. By doing that, God made his future far better than his past and also better than his future would have been. When the burden got to be so great that it began to show up in his countenance, he had to give an account of himself to the king. To say what he needed to say to the king, could have meant instant death for him. But when a burden gets to be so big, eventually your own life means less than accomplishing what God has put into your heart.

To sum it up, when Nehemiah finally made it to Jerusalem with the blessings and provision of the king, he was met with destruction so bad that he couldn’t even pass through the streets with his animal he was riding. We know how “the people had a mind to work” in chapter four verse six. We also know they had to work in shifts to maintain a watch. They also had to work with one hand while holding their weapon in the other one. They also had to listen to a constant barrage of insults and taunts from the enemy.

In an amazing time, only 52 days, everything that had been destroyed had been repaired. It wasn’t easy because of the hindrances of their enemy. Conditions could have been better and the work could have been easier but nevertheless, they faced the opposition and didn’t quit. As Nehemiah 4:6 says, “So built we the wall.” Why was it accomplished? Because one man had an attitude and burden to do whatever he could, however he could, to accomplish what he set out to do.

No doubt as Nehemiah rode through the dark streets of the city that night, amid all the devastation of the most recent attacks from years before, he began “seeing what you can’t see.” If we are ever going to accomplish anything for the Lord, we will first have to begin with the proper attitude. Instead of seeing things as they are, we are going to have to get a burden and start “seeing what you can’t see.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

THE OPERATION OF GOD

THE OPERATION OF GOD                                                                                                              Andy Hollifield 7-18-19

Colossians 2:10-14 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the OPERATION OF GOD, who hath raised him from the dead. (13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of the flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

The operation of God. The time when he removed the heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. Twice in the book of Ezekiel God promised to do that. In 11:19 he spoke of Israel as a nation. In 36:26 he spoke as to individuals. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Isn’t that exactly what he did when he saved us. The word “operation” is in the bible three times. Only in Colossians in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament in Psalms 28:5 and in Isaiah 5:12. Both of those verses talk about the “operation of his hands.” The word “operations” is in the bible once in 1 Corinthians 12:6 talking about different “operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

I am not wanting to really turn this into a bible study lesson but I want you to think about the “operation of God” and “of his hands” in your life. One definition of operation is; the power to act; efficacy, influence, or force. Efficacy means;  the capacity for producing a desired result or effect; effectiveness. Why didn’t they say that to start with? That is exactly what God does on a daily basis in our lives when we yield ourselves to him. He will operate in our lives to get the desired result or effect he wants out of us. I am starting to have a feeling that this will be one of those times I will struggle to ever get across what I am trying to say. Our everyday definition of operation is “how something works.” Our other definition of operation is “getting what is wrong fixed.”

In the Old Testament scriptures, the bible talks about because the children of Israel did not consider the operation of God’s hands they would be destroyed. In Isaiah, he warns that Israel had all the instruments of praise and followed the traditions but didn’t really think about all that God had done for them. Doesn’t that really sum up where we are at in the church world right now? Keep in mind that in all of these scriptures, the writers are talking to God’s people. God doesn’t expect the world to even notice what he does for them because they are blinded by sin. But he has done the heart transplant on us and we should have a heart that is sensitive to him.

Almost 36 years after my kidney transplant, I still have high regard for the gift of life my brother gave me. Almost 46 years after my heart transplant (spiritually speaking) I am just now learning how to really submit myself to and be appreciative of the operation of his hands.

There is a children’s song that is actually very appropriate for all of us as Christians. The name of it is “He’s Still Working On Me, to make me what I ought to be”. In just a week he made everything else but after all of these years, I still require a lot of work. You might say I am high maintenance. He is always having to tinker and adjust to keep me running like he wants me to. Every time I sit idle for just a little too long, I have to be jumped off. Just like a car with a weak battery, I don’t hold a charge very well. I am thankful that he doesn’t just get rid of me but he pops the hood and tinkers a little more. If my car ran like me, how far could I get? Something to think about isn’t it? If we had to undergo surgery every time something in our life wasn’t working as it should, how much would we be operated on? Thankfully, with proper diet and exercise, we can stay fit and healthy.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7 to “… exercise thyself rather unto Godliness.” In Isaiah 55:2 the bible says “…hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” A steady diet of the things of God will keep us mindful of the operation he has done in our lives. His work was covered by our assurance policy. Hebrews 10:22 says “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,…”

I could go on and on but I believe by now you get the point. We often overlook the daily operation of God’s hands in our lives. The psalmist said in 68:19, he “daily loadeth us with benefits.” He does operations daily to keep our heart in rhythm. We should be careful to pay attention to what he does in our lives each day. He gives us the desire to worship him. Our flesh is at enmity with God so it takes him instilling a desire to worship him. Left to our own devices, it wouldn’t take us long to get away from him without the desire he puts in us.

Take time in your life today to consider the operation of his hands. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) That doesn’t just happen. It is by the operation of God. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!