This morning I write this update – just a little tired and worn out, but it is a very good tired and worn out. When we went out for a run this morning, it was already 70 degrees and almost 100% humidity. It made for a very tough run, but the thing is I was an overcomer. The plan was to run 5 laps of Gypsy Hill Park. The park is a relatively flat 1.36 miles, which means if I completed it, I would have run 6.79 miles. Yes, I was able to complete it and I am very excited about that.
Today, I really had to fight those voices inside my head. If you don’t know, you play a lot of mental games when you run. Sometimes you negotiate with yourself. This was one of those mornings. Even though the plan really was to run 6.8 miles – sometimes you just have to take 1 mile or even a half mile at a time. This morning as I was running I thought of this scripture.
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26.
While my running is just an earthly hobby – it has made quite the difference in my body – I run with purpose in every step – not to beat other runners – but so that I can have energy to run for the spiritual prize.
Proper 16 (21) (August 24, 2014)
Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20
1 What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
2 What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
3 They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
4 The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.
6 Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
8 Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
What a great encouragement on this morning. What if the Lord had not been on our side? What then? The psalmist answers – you really don’t want to know. Look at the things that would have happened to God’s people if He wasn’t on their side.
I think it’s hard – especially when we are going through trials AND temptations to remember that God is on our side. It’s hard to remember that when the world looks like it is falling apart – and who can’t say that it looks like it is falling apart right now? The Lord is on our side. He cares for us. You may be in a place where you are thinking, “There is no way that God is on my side right now,” but he is. He cares for us – He knows us.
I don’t know about you, but when I am in that place, one of the things I love to do is sing – that shouldn’t be surprising. I love to sing God’s praises. That is what David did when he was in those hard times. Remember that the book of Psalms is the Hebrew hymnal. David cries out to the Lord. But look at his answer in verses 6-8: “Praise the Lord who did not let us be torn apart! We escaped! Our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Yes, the Lord is on your side.
“The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality, or school prayer. The critical issue is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer the good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into ‘nice people.’ If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested.”
“Lord, I ask you to help me keep the doors to my heart and soul closed to the devil! I know he would like to slip into my relationships and ruin them, so….[please] help me stay free of offense, free of unforgiveness, and free of bitterness. …. I don’t want to give the devil a foothold in my affairs through a wrong attitude. …. Help me identify every wrong feeling or attitude in my life that the devil could use to ruin relationships with people I need and love. I pray this in Jesus’ name! (Taken from Sparkling Gems: From The Greek Devotional by Rick Renner)
One of my favorite artists at the moment. While this is not a “worship” song per se, it is song of challenge that points to Jesus. All you gotta do is turn around. Christ desires that you turn to Him and he can make the difference.
August 17, 2014
10th Sunday after Pentecost
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship and Invocation
Songs of Worship
Come Christians Join to Sing
Ancient of Days
Worship Through Prayer
Songs of Worship
(Responsive Reading) – God of All Comfort
It Is Well
I Will Rise
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Commitment