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Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.
I love this verse – it may seem to be a challenging verse(about sin, which we so easily fall into), but I find it majoring in the encouragement and hope.
It encourages me to Look To Jesus – the author and perfector, finisher of my faith. It encourages me to remember all he has done for me, that he died on the cross to purchase my forgivenness and wholeness and freedom from sin.
It encourages me to then desire to walk a life that makes Him smile, so thus I desire to throw off the sin that so easily entagles me… I look to him and I see what is holy, pure and wonderful. I look to him and see him looking at me with love and grace – his arms open wide, as they were on the cross in welcome.
Look to Jesus. In Him you will find peace, security, love, wholeness, freedom. He is the way to the Father. The way to heaven.
We all make mistakes and trip and fall. We all have issues and weaknesses. We all have sins that so easily entagle us. BUt look to Jesus, Look at Him. Picture him on the cross. Picture his blood shed for you. Picture him robed in glory as he is rise and alive and victorious. Look to Jesus.
I’ve moved into Galatians in my reading now… and again got struck by a snipit…
Galatians 1:16 …to reveal His Son in me….
Here is the fuller context…
Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and having called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the nation…
I want the Son revealed in and through me to. So that people see my Father in Heaven in praise Him and come to know Him. I want them to see the love of God, the grace-fullness that God is and has, compassion, forgivenness, freedom, wisdom, power, authority, healing, prophetic, radical tranformation-ing, prayerfulness, relationship with God.
Life as a mother of pre-schoolers (and probably school aged and teens too!) is often the life of drudgery – picking up washing, doing dishes, making food, wiping snotty noses, changing nappies, vacuming the floor, making beds, folding washing, wiping faces…. you get the point…
Then there is the repetitive play, build the tower, knock it down, build the tower, knock it down… roll the ball, catch the ball, roll the ball, catch the ball, roll the ball…. read the same book a trillion times a day…
This is the testimony of St Theserea – the Little FLower – who lived a life of simple hard work, in the drudgery, with prayer and worship in those tasks. She found the glory in the drudgery. Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work.
But Theserea possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Theserea said she came to the Carmel convent “to save souls and pray for priests.” And shortly before she died, she wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”
I know that the times I am serving my family is indeed glorious work, as my children and husband are my joy, despite the work sometimes! I know it is teaching me patience, servanthood, compassion, mercy, grace, humbleness. All things that i personally wouldnt have learned without children.
The Apostle Paul also learned through hard work. He made tents. “This is why Paul the Apostle had to make tents for a living. We may think this was a tragic waste of the great apostle’s time, but the Lord required it of him to keep him moored to the practical so that he could be given the great revelations which he received. For this reason, do not run from the drudgery in your life. Resolve to turn it into worship. Do all that you do as unto the Lord, and He will be able to trust you with more. We need much more.” Rick Joyner
Discovering great glory and revelation is often found in the obscurity of life and its challenges.
Character that succeeds in God’s eyes is formed in the fires of refinement.
True greatness is often found emerging from the secret place.
It is found in climbing the mountains that are set before you, in holding fast to God’s truth and purposes.
It is in partnering with God allowing Him to work in us, through us. Though it may seem like the antithesis of the road to success, the road of obscurity, of dwelling in the presence of God, is the best road to achievement in God’s eyes
Motherhood can often seem like obscurity. We take time off to have our babies and to nurture them and grown them. We are their food supply often for several months, thus tied to our babies in a manner of speaking. We are tired. We go to bed early. We have a house to run and keep tidy and functional. As parents we are not only a mum or dad, but are negotiators, teachers, entertainers, chief cook and bottlewasher, psychologists, pastors, nurses, dieticians, safety instructors, peacekeepers, time managers, behaviour moderficationers…. You get the picture. Motherhood is a secret place. I’m really thankful that as a mother, as a woman really, that I have this “enforced” time of obscurity and secret place time.
The secret place is the place of reward with God, and where it is relationship with God that counts, not what I DO or am involved in.
It is where my faith grows and becomes real every day. I say enforced because for me I would not choose this road or stop to even notice it. I would be busy and doing. I’m a high output person. I hazzard to guess that many men are also like this. So again I’m thankful for this enforced time to just be me and God and me and my family.
Be encouraged. Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
So take the time to serve, and the time to learn, and the time to worship God, no matter what you are doing ) And if you’re a mum like me, enjoy your kids throughout it all! (even though they are the ones making most of the work and mess!)
my son has just become a tool time fan… you know tim the tool man taylor… Who here are tool time fans. I get bored of seeing the same re- run over and over and over again…. Anyway for those that aren’t fans – at the start of Tool Time Heidi (the token chick presenter girl) comes out in her short shorts and says “Does Everyone Know What Time It Is?”
And that is my question to you – “What time is it?”
For me – my answer is “It’s RESURRECTION TIME”
For so many of us our relationship with God has got old and crusty… it’s being pushed aside with our bibles to gather dust as we are busy with work, friends, studys, social life, tv, family, shopping, sports – life.
Many of us have lost our confidence in God, because of some “issues” in our lives – you know, hurts, disappointments, discouragements, fears, doubts, rejections… basically broken heart and broken soul stuff that we take to God and say FIX – and NOW! And when it seems that the walls are falling down and the sky is falling – it’s often then that God seems the furtherest away.
But – It’s Resurrection Time.
If you could turn to Ezekiel 37 – a familiar story. We’re going to look at two resurrections quickly.
The first, in Ezekiel 37 is about the valley of dry bones.
Eze 37:1 I felt the powerful presence of the LORD, and his spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones.
Eze 37:2 He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry.
Eze 37:3 He said to me, “Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?” I replied, “Sovereign LORD, only you can answer that!”
Eze 37:4 He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the LORD.
Eze 37:5 Tell them that I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life.
Eze 37:6 I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
The bones were dry and crusty. They were scattered and disjointed. They were a mess!
Most people would look and say “NO WAY” to God’s question.
Can a heart that is old and crusty – a heart that is far away from God be fired up and passionate again? Can a heart that is wounded and afraid, discouraged and disallusioned be confident and free and alive again?
The Lord says Yes! He told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones – to speak the Word of the Lord to them – and that God himself, God – would give them life – he would put the breath in them, he would give them skin and muscles and life!
Often we try to put ourselves back together. We try to work up our enthusiasm for God. We try to look fired up – when instead our heart is saying “God where are you – I don’t know anymore”. Some of us may even say “I don’t care anymore”.
One thing I know – is that my relationship with God hinges on another resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus – a resurrection that started with a death on the cross on my behalf, to take away everything that seperates me from God, to make me acceptable to him so that we can have relationship – a resurrection that began on the cross, naked, abused, whipped and beaten – that started in a cold dark tomb…
Jesus says in John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.”
His death and resurrection gives us the ability to have relationship with God. It gives us the right to come boldly to the throne of grace in our times of need – when we’re messy and feeling far away from God. He can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine – according to the power – the resurrection power working in us.
Jesus is the one that saves us – and reveals himself to us to keep us in love with him.
So – you’re feeling dead. You’re feeling like a dry bone.
The Lord says “I will give them life. Then they will know that I am the Lord”. Ask Him to come. Ask him to reveal himself again. Prophesy life and breath into your spirit. It all sounds very spiritual and supernatural – that is because it partly is. Your relationship with God is supernatural as well as natural and practical. It is practical though. The practical side is to Ask God. To believe he will come. And then to expect change and to make room for change. To make room for life to com…. irs resurrection time…
I was reading again in 2 Corinthains today and came across this wee snipit. I love how you can read the bible many times and then discover something that your eyes may have skipped over too fast or that didnt register to your brain and heart. Today this registered and my eyes were caught.
“I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls…” 2 Corinthians 12:15
This is written by Paul – who definately knew what it was to pour his life out for souls, those who yet didnt know Christ and those who were saved that he cared for. Read earlier in chapter 11…
2 Corinthians 11:21 “What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
FLogging Hard work Prison Whipping Beaten Shipwreaked Homelessness Dangerous travel Dangerous ENcounters SLeeplessness Hunger Thirst Nakedness Worry about the belivers
Gee what a fun life.
What surrender – Paul had a lavish secure lifestyle pre Christ. He was a respected scholar. He was a Pharasee. THe world was his oyster. But he gave it all up to follow Christ and save souls.
Paul said in Philippians 3:7 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
ONe translation says I count it as DUNG…. so that i can know Jesus.
That is a true example of one passion and one devotion…
I know I dont live up to this…
I know I live like my time and my life are my own, with its comforts and regularity and schedules and safe friendships and safeness. I know as a Mum and wife that I do have other priorities (not saying motherhood and wifehood are MORE important – but they are right up there as of course i have responsibilities to care and nurture and provide the physical and emotional requirements of my family) but I know that i could pray more as prayer avails much. I guess there is always more to do eh. SO I lay my life down again. Open before God to be his vessel, in prayer and in action. I pray for opportunties to share the glorious message of Good News. And I ask that my heart not shrink back into complacincy.
i ask that my life would be spent for God, poured out for his purposes and plans….
Who is God… He is Knowable. God, who created the universe in all of its magnitude and creative details, is able to be known, by us. He tells us about himself, but even goes beyond that. He welcomes us into a relationship, so that we personally can get to know him. Not only can we know about him, we can know him, intimately.
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23,24)
I use the word appreciate lots. Yet to me it never conveys fully the fullness of emotions, of thankfulness, of love, of gratefullness that i do feel.
yet i havent found another word to use instead… (please feel free to suggest!)
I appreciate God so much. I appeciate the sacrifice of Jesus – to come and be concieved and born and live as a man amoung mankind, to die and rise, to give himself for my salvation. I appreciate that he loves me and knows me so well and works in my life. I appeciate the gifts he has given me – in my family, in my husband, in my darling children, in my friends, in my church, in my new car (which we were given), in talents. I appreciate the kindness and mercy of God. I appreciate his encouragement. I appeciate the Bible and that it is alive and active and works in me. I appreciate the rest and comfort of God.
I looked up the word appreciate on my wee friend http://www.wikipedia.org and got directed to the word gratitude…
…. Gratitude is a positive emotion, which involves a feeling of emotional indebtedness towards another person; often accompanied by a desire to thank them, or to reciprocate for a favour they have done for you. In a religious context, gratitude can also refer to a feeling of indebtedness towards a deity, e.g. God in Christianity.
Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to experience gratitude when they receive a favor that is perceived to be (1) valued by the recipient, (2) costly to the benefactor, and (3) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions
Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being. In people who are grateful in general, life events have little influence on experienced gratitude
So I pray for me, that I keep on appreciating and keep of loving my Saviour!
This is one of my most favourite verses. It always encourages me. God is with me, He is strong and victorious. He delights in me, and loves me. He sings because he loves me. That is astonishing!!! He rejoices because He loves me and I love Him. He restores my soul and my (heart.
(NIV) The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(CEV) The LORD your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.”
(GNB) The LORD your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you,
I love you God.
I always find listening to the Bible been read aloud gets it “into” me in a way that just reading it doesn’t. Is my learning style.
The other night the following parables were been read. They impacted me like never before. It was fresh. Alive. And soooo thought provoking!
Matthew 13:24-28 He put out another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel among the wheat and went his way. But when the blade had sprung up and had produced fruit, then the darnel also appeared. So the servants of the householder came and said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then where have the darnel come from. He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and gather them up? But he said, No, lest while you gather up the darnel you also root up the wheat with them Let both grow together until the harvest. And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the darnel and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my granary.
Mat 13:47-50 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered some of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall come out and separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
After hearing these two parables about the kingdom of heaven I searched my bible for the other “kingdom of heaven” parables that Jesus tells.
I personally am interested in heaven. I know it is my destination. I know my Lord Jesus is there (Mark 16:19 Then indeed, after speaking to them, the Lord was taken up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.) and so I long for the day and the place of perfect peace, perfect worship, perfection!
My son is also very interested in heaven. Where is it Mummy? What is it like? Will there be lots of toys there Mummy?
How does one enter the kingdom of Heaven?
In the parables in Matthew 13 it makes it clear that there are those who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and those that wont.
“So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall come out and separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
“And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the darnel and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my granary.”
What is the difference between these two groups? What qualifies a person to enter heaven, or disqualifies someone?
In Matthew 5:20 it says “For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”
Perfect righteousness qualifies someone to enter heaven. But we all know that we are not perfect, we are very imperfect! We do not fulfill the law perfectly, but have sinned and broken the commands of God.
Romans 3:21-25 But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness through the passing by of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God;
In other word, God makes us righteous and right for entering heaven through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Philippians 3:9 and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith,
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Entrance to heaven is gained through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in becoming born again, by becoming children of God.
There is no access to heaven by “being good”. We can never attain the goodness required. It is only by been a citizen of heaven that we can enter. Only by the blood of Jesus. Only.
I know after reading the kingdom of Heaven parables that I am again renewed to share with people about Jesus. I am renewed and reinvigorated to make sure that they are heading towards an eternity WITH God, not without Him.
The Kingdom of Heaven is worth seeking. The King of Heaven is worth seeking. He is the pearl with out price , the treasure worth selling all for, worth laying our life down for.
Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which when a man has found it, he hides it, and for the joy of it goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Other Kingdom of Heaven Parables to look at:
Matthew 13:31-32 Matthew 13:33 Matthew 20:1 Matthew 22:2-14 Matthew 25:1-13