Running Again

Running Again

(Or, “How the Worst Itch Ever Reminded me of the Best Fix of All”)

The itch was so bad I could barely stand it.

There I was, surrounded by the beauty of a fresh sunrise, sidewalk-jogging past a serene waterway and a meticulously trimmed golf course, and all I could think of was the fire under my skin.

It was my first time running in a while, and based on past experience, I knew exactly what this was: my blood vessels overheating because they simply weren’t used to that kind of throughput. The sensory result? Itch, itch, itch, itch, itch.

What made it worse was the fact that I knew a surefire solution that could stop the discomfort. I knew there was one simple action I could take that would completely stop the agony and return me to sanity: quit.

If I just stopped running, gave up on the whole thing and returned to a leisurely pace, the itching in my legs would go away.

Have you ever been there? Maybe not with jogging or physical activity, but have you ever been in a spot where you were in so much discomfort, so much pain even, that it seemed like quitting was your only option to make it go away?

The whole thing reminds me of a passage from a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a group of Christians in the city of Galatia. He knew that following Jesus in their day –as in ours– definitely brought with it an element of discomfort. Yet, this seasoned saint also knew that when it comes to our walk with Christ, the prize is always worth the pain. Look at what he reminded them…

“So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.  (Galatians 6:9)

There it is, a simple reminder with staggeringly powerful implications: don’t give up.

When the discomfort threatens to derail you, don’t give up.

When the struggle feels like it will sink you, don’t give up.

When the pain eclipses your perspective, forget about what you feel, and simply remember to DO this: Don’t. Give. Up.

It may seem like quitting is the only option to deal with the pain, but that would mean ditching the prize. It may feel like stopping is the only way to survive, but failing to finish would mean relinquishing the reward.

You see, in that itch-filled moment on the jogging trail, I knew that quitting might fix the discomfort, but I would have surrendered the satisfaction of a job well done. I also knew that if I kept at it, not only would the itch eventually fade away, but in its place would be the power of better blood flow and the pride of an accomplishment, a much better “fix” indeed.

So, what did I do that day? I kept going until I hit my goal.

Where do YOU need to keep going today?

Maybe you have a relationship that’s seen better days, but don’t give up.

Maybe there’s a workplace conflict you can’t seem to resolve, but don’t give up.

Maybe it’s a habit or sin or addiction that feels impossible to break, but whatever it is: Don’t. Give. Up!

If you’ll keep on pressing forward, I can’t promise your circumstance will improve right away, but I can guarantee you’ll receive a breakthrough in the one place that matters most…

Your heart.

–Pastor Phillip

Your reward is on the way

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 6

YOUR REWARD IS ON THE WAY

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Galatians 6:9-10)

Sometimes doing good gets old.  Don’t pretend like you don’t know the feeling; you do.

You’ve been giving and giving but gotten little thanks in return.

You’ve been working and working but seen little fruit from your labors.

You’ve been praying and praying but nothing seems to change.

Don’t let the waiting wear you out!

Hang in there, your answer is coming.  Keep going, your work is going to pay off.  Hold on to hope, keep doing good, and be encouraged the hope of this simple truth: your reward is on the way.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]

God’s justice will prevail

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 64

GOD’S JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers,
who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows…
But God shoots His arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.
They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them…
(Psalm 64:3-4, 7-8a)

Have you ever had someone speak lies about you?  How about speak truths about you that should never have been shared with more than a few?

Have you ever felt like people are working against you, plotting to harm you, or even just not respecting you the way you wish they would?

Here’s a comforting reminder: we reap what we sow.

That person who continues to spread false accusations?  The day will come when their lies will catch up with them.

That person who betrayed a confidence and spread things around they shouldn’t have?  The day will come when they experience the same thing.

Those people who’ve been working against you through gossip and scheming and disrespect?  The kind of toxic atmosphere they have created will one day come back upon them.

We reap what we sow.

Here’s the thing.  As followers of Jesus, we are called to pray for our enemies and do good for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).  Yet, that doesn’t mean that we are giving a “free pass” for evil, or asking God to let them escape the consequences of their actions.  In fact, sometimes the most loving thing to do for someone is make sure that their consequences catch up with them, because that may be the only way they’ll ever learn.

The reality is that although God is love, He is also just, and He explicitly says in His Word that He will not be mocked, and that whatever a person sows, they will reap (Galatians 6:7).

That means that when you are slandered, spoken ill of and betrayed, you can continue to act in a Christ-like way without taking things into your own hands.  How?  Because of the hope of this truth: God’s justice will prevail.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]


 

Your reward is on the way

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 6

YOUR REWARD IS ON THE WAY

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)

Sometimes doing good gets old. Don’t pretend like you don’t know the feeling; you do.

You’ve been giving and giving but gotten little thanks in return.

You’ve been working and working but seen little fruit from your labors.

You’ve been praying and praying but nothing seems to change.

Don’t let the waiting wear you out!

Hang in there, your answer is coming. Keep going, your work is going to pay off. Hold on to hope, keep doing good, and be encouraged by this simple reminder from God’s Word.

Your reward is on the way.

-Pastor Phillip

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]