Tag Archive | Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us

Is it time to open those boarded doors?

Do you find yourself compartmentalizing your walk with Christ? Are there doors that you would prefer He didn’t walk through? Secret places you keep boarded up? I have done this in the past. I have found myself not willing to talk to the Lord about  certain behaviors, attitudes, or habits because I felt disappointment with myself or even shame. I am learning however, that it is those very things that must be talked about with Him. These are the very things  Christ wants to heal or free me of. Instead of trying to fix myself up before I go to Him, He wants me to come to Him just as I am. I can bring every sin battered area of my life to Him and confess it. He is not surprised. He knows anyway. He is just waiting for me to bring it before Him in order that He can forgive me and give me the grace and strength to overcome. We follow a Savior that knew temptation of every kind yet never sinned. He understands the battle we go through here. He also is our provision for our sin. When God looks at us, who have made Him Savior and Lord, He sees us through the blood of His precious Son. So we have no reason to try and hide anything or any area of our lives. We have Jesus as our advocate. We can bring anything before Him and know that He will not only forgive us but if we are willing, He will deliver  us from the things that beset us!

There will be times when through our disobedience we will feel the sting of correction. If we continue in something we know we should not be doing the Lord will allow us to be corrected just as we correct our children or grandchildren when we see them doing wrong. He loves us and therefore will not allow us to continue in deliberate sin without suffering any consequence. It is so much easier to run to Him and confess before it gets to that stage. If we make the choice to continue in deliberate sin knowing it is wrong, we run the risk of suffering the shame of open correction either by God Himself, or another and suffering the consequences of the sin which tends to be a lot more painful. We also run the risk of hardening our hearts to the Spirit of God and thereby allowing sin to become our master.

There was a time in my life that sadly  I  allowed heartache and disappointment and the cares of this world to draw me away from my intimacy with Christ. I have since learned that He never stopped loving me and He never stopped wooing me back into His arms. He loves me and He forgives me.  He loves you and He will forgive you!

Let’s read together Hebrews 12 NIV  12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves,   and He chastens everyone he accepts as His son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Why waste any more time trying to shelter the sin in your life? Isn’t it time to open up those boarded doors and confess your sins to the One who is able to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness? Don’t allow anything to keep you from the lover of your soul.  There is no sin worth the separation it causes between us and God. Our God is a consuming fire and yet He has made a way for us to come before Him and that way is Christ.

Father  help me to really understand that You are a holy and consuming fire.  I come before you  and bring all my baggage. I confess my sins before you. I have messed up and am in need of your cleansing. Please forgive each of my sins and cleanse me now of all my unrighteousness. I pray that You will guide and direct my through your Word in how to live a life that is pleasing to You. I ask that You will keep me from temptation.  I thank You that I can  ask this all in the name of the One who died to enable me to be forgiven. I ask it in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

Keep Him in your goals

There are many things I hope to accomplish in this coming year. I have goals I hope to achieve in my home, at my place of work, at my church and even personal  goals I want to accomplish. I think these things are important. I find when I have a goal it is much easier to keep moving forward.  A goal keeps me focused. It helps remind me of what I need to do and how I need to do it. Without a goal I tend to stagnate.

As important as our short term goals are they must never become more important than or take the place of God’s long term goal for us. In fact we may have to tweak our short term goals on occasion when the Lord reveals to us that it is in the way of something He has planned for us. We must learn to be flexible with our goals, always being sensitive to the Spirit of God’s leading. After all, His ways are better than our ways! He knows the beginning and the end! We form our goals with short term vision. He doesn’t.

With that in mind, there is one long term goal He has for all of us. This goal must never change! This goal can be found in the book of Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

Any goals we set, any plans we make must include “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Even our own personal goals must not impede the ultimate goal of running the race God has marked out for us. A race that will ultimately result in hearing the words, “Well done though good and faithful servant!”   Anything we plan that pulls us away from Christ is not a plan that He will bless or flourish but as we submit ourselves to His will for us and plans for our future, we can be assured that He will guide us as we go. He will also nudge us when we get off track.

Why not join me in 2014 and ask God to direct every goal and plan for the future?

Lord we pray that in this coming year You will guide our steps, You will give us vision for the future and You will keep us close to You. We know that anything done without You is done in vain. We ask for Your hand in all we do, no matter how small the plan or goal. If we begin to wander off the track You have planned for us, help us to be sensitive and obedient to the nudging of Your precious Spirit and get back on track.  We ask this in the name of our beautiful Savior and King, Jesus.

Amen

Fall, the season for change!

Hebrews 12:1 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

This Fall I hope to put into place some disciplines I have set aside throughout the Summer months. Though I used to carefully watch what I ate, this Summer I have slipped into some bad habits that have changed the shape of my body! Bad habits, physically, spiritually or emotionally always change us. We allow things to slip in on occasion at the beginning, the odd extra piece of cheese, that desert we usually would bypass etc. and before we know it, we are  allowing more and more of the very things we should be avoiding into our life.

It’s the same situation with our emotional life. If we allow things to sap our emotional strength such as a lack of sleep, spending too much  time with complainers and grumblers, beating ourselves up over things we have done, we begin to suffer emotionally. It then becomes much more difficult to fight off the negative thoughts and patterns in our lives. We become the walking wounded and instead of being a blessing and encourager to others we slowly become self centered and pitiful.

Our spiritual life is no different. When we spend our time watching too much tv, listening to music that does not glorify God or doing anything else that draws us away from time with our Heavenly Father, we begin to suffer spiritually. He has given us many wonderful things to enjoy in this life of ours but He must always come first if we are to keep these things in their proper perspective.  If we are not reading the Word of God, or spending enough time in prayer we become weak spiritually. We don’t recall the scripture we need at times of temptation or difficulty. We tend to try and work things out for ourselves, which usually does not end well.

I have a long way to grow but as with any growth, it has to start somewhere.  My prayer is that this Fall will be a season of new growth, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Just as the leaves on the trees die and fall to the ground, I want those bad habits and patterns I have allowed in my life that are no longer life-giving to be put to death.  Lord help me to lean in closer to You, to stand on your Word and with the help of your Spirit,  to lay aside the things that so easily beset me. Let me use my time wisely and run the race the way you have called me to, putting away the things in my life that are drawing me away from your beautiful presence and are keeping me from fulfilling all that you have designed for my life.

Amen

Hebrews 12:1 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Phillipians 3:12 NIV12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

1 Peter 2:1-5 NIV 2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.As you come to him, the living Stone rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Keep your eyes fixed as you run!

Hebrews 12:1,2 NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1,2 NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

As we follow Jesus we are all participants in a race. It is a race that requires us to  keep our eyes on the finish line. Our finish line is Jesus. He is to be our focus. As long as we look to the right or to the left we will get easily waylaid but if we keep our eyes on the lover of our soul we will grow stronger in grace and be able to complete the race  and hear the wonderful words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”

There are so many distractions along the way. Distractions that cause us to forget about the race and stop moving forward. These can come in many forms; dabbling in sin, busyness, rebellion, anger, bitterness but they all accomplish the same thing. They remove our eyes from the finish line.

As times moves on and the Lord’s return draws even closer we need to encourage one another to stay on course. To not allow anything to come between us and our relationship with Christ.

We need to take to heart Paul’s words in Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Anything that we allow to come between us and Jesus will slow us down and eventually may even take us out of the race entirely. If you have gone off course, humbly ask the Lord to forgive you. He will extend mercy to the humble!  Get back into reading the Word of God.  It is the map God uses to keep us on track. Get involved in a church where the Bible is preached and the Holy Spirit is moving and you will find yourself enjoying the benefit of others encouraging  you as you run the race alongside them.

Lay aside selfishness

If we were to believe many of the “self help gurus” today, we would be convinced that it  is not only emotionally healthy but  in our best interest  to put ourselves and our desires first. After all doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy, regardless of what pain and suffering our actions may cause others?  Sadly, doing just that has produced so many of the problems we are currently dealing with in society. Selfish ambitions and desires have often replaced care and concern for others,  including our own family members. How many marriages and families have split because one or both partners decided they no longer liked the restrictions of monogamy or grew tired of pouring themselves into the raising of and nurturing their children. There are so many lonely kids growing up in homes where they are considered an after thought. Just check out the Children’s Aid Society  or Child Services stats. In most cases, the family problems started with one or both parents choosing a selfish desire over their loved ones.

I’m not advocating that anyone should stay in a dangerous or unfaithful marriage. That’s a decision each person has to make for themselves but I am suggesting that most of the problems come about as a result of our selfish desires and ambitions.  We begin to look for greener grass elsewhere instead of investing and improving our own relationships or situations. Decisions are made on feelings alone, which at best are fickle and at worst can be downright dangerous.

As followers of Christ, the Word of God has lots to say on the matter of selfishness. If we are to love as Christ loves, we have to learn to surrender our selfish ambitions and be willing to line ourselves up with the Word of God. We shouldn’t be tossed to and fro by our emotions. We need to regularly be reading the Bible and staying close to the lover of our soul. When we neglect to do either we begin to surrender much too easily to the whims of our emotions.  Acting on emotions alone will have us riding an emotional and spiritual  roller coaster.  Too often, we see  Christians compromising their walk with Christ  as they act on their feelings. It not only impedes their walk  but the fall out wounds the entire body!

Here are just a few words from the Bible on selfishness….

 James 3:13-17 NIV  13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.                                                                                                                                                                                        Psalm 119:36 NIV, David knew the importance of what he was asking of God when he said, 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

We serve a mighty God, who loved us enough to send His precious Son to redeem us. Let’s put aside selfish ambition and walk worthy of the calling God has put on our lives or as Paul penned in Hebrews 12:1 NIV  Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”~Martin Luther King, Jr.