For the past couple of days I have been running with partners -which has been great! But it has also kept me from running at my happy pace. So this morning I decided to get back to my typical pace to make sure that my legs still had a little get up and go.
I ran a quick 5k in 22m 25s, which is an average pace of 7:14 per mile.
“5k Every Day in the Month of May” has been fun.
After the run this morning I played guitar at my home church and then took off for the OARDC to sing a couple of worship songs and preach after the Wooster Wellness 5k. I hated missing part of our church service at MCA, but I was happy to be able to offer somewhat of a church service to the runners in Wooster.
Not many runners stuck around for the service at the OARDC, which I kind of expected. But I hope that the service was encouraging and helpful for those who did stick around.
Through the message, I tried to encourage us to keep a perspective of God as the giver of every good and perfect gift.
There were some amazing runners at the Wooster Wellness run today. Some of them have worked really hard for years to become the runners that they are today. (If you thought my 5k time above was good, there were more than 20 runners ahead of my time at the Wooster Wellness run.)
We are really blessed as a nation and as people. Whether we realize it or not, we live under a banner of freedom that some other generation purchased for us long ago.
None of us sailed across the ocean to form a colony in the United States. Some other generation did that a long time ago.
None of us stood our ground against the tyranny of England in the Revolutionary War. Some other generation did that a long time ago.
None of us were a part of writing the U.S. Constitution, or of forming a system of law based on Biblical principles taken straight from the word of God. Some other generation did that a long time ago.
None of us fought against the evils of American slavery or fought to keep the nation united in the Civil War. Some other generation did that a long time ago.
I could go on…
But here we are in the year 2016 experiencing freedom, good health, and prosperity unlike any previous generation has ever known. And what have we done with it?
Largely, I’m afraid that in our prosperity we have forgotten the Lord.
We tend to look at all we have worked hard for and accomplished, and we say, “Look at what these hands have done!”
But that is the wrong perspective! In fact, it is a dangerously wrong perspective that will ultimately lead to a devastating downfall.
Moses spoke of a similar situation in the book of Deuteronomy. As the children of Israel were about to enter the promised land, Moses had this warning for them:
Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 8:11-20, ESV)
Of course Moses was talking to the generation who was about to enter the Promised Land, but I can’t help but feel like he was talking to us, as well.
Oh, how we have forgotten the LORD! We do not keep his commandments.
We have eaten and are full and have built good houses to live in (while millions around the world are starving and / or have no home at all).
Our herds and flocks have multiplied. Our silver and gold is multiplied. All that we have is multiplied. And our hearts have been lifted up, and we have forgotten the LORD.
We say, “My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth!” We forget that apart from the Lord we would neither have life, nor breath, nor strength, nor ability to work for anything whatsoever.
We have forgotten the LORD! We serve other gods and worship them.
On my way home from the OARDC today I drove by a church that was in service. The parking lot was only half full. I also drove by a soccer field complex with multiple fields. Every parking spot was taken and people were making new parking spaces. I also drove by a baseball complex with multiple fields. Again every parking spot was taken and people were making new parking spaces. What is wrong with that picture on a Sunday morning?
We serve other gods and worship them.
Perhaps we need to hear this warning again…
And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 8:19-20, ESV)
Friends, it’s not too late.
We could be the generation who turns back to God.
We could be the generation who acknowledges that every good and perfect gift comes down to us from God the Father (see James 1:17).
We could be the generation who realizes that we have been blessed to be a blessing (see Genesis 12:2).
We could be the generation who humbles ourselves, prays, and seeks the face of God -turning from our wicked ways, and seeing God heal our land.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV)