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there are 2 verses that i often mash up in my mind. whenever i hear one i immediately think of the other. to me they are connected in their message.
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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:2
Let us throw off everything that hinders us.
Let us repent and live holy.
Let us take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus and follow Him.
Let us be transformed.
Let us be transformed by the renewing and changing of our mind.
Let us be transformed so we can change and throw off everything that hinders us.
do you see the connection?
as i am changed by the Word of God revealing truth and the way i should live and changing me from the inside out, then i throw off the entanglements of temptation and sin.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3
God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven. Hebrews 1:3 CEV
He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3 AMP
okay i just had to share that one too! i mean isnt it gloriously wonderful!
“The quest for His face is the ultimate quest. But to embrace the quest for the face of God, one must be ready to die. Thus, this quest is not a journey for the faint of heart. It is far too costly to pursue from mere curiosity”. Bill Johnson
But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him. Hebrews 11:6
One thing I have desired of the LORD,That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4
“Two things must be discovered; the greatness of God and the vastness of the devastation of the fall as pertaining to your own soul. It is an understanding so vast that no tongue can express it. From this revelation proceeds a glimpse of the grace of God… a grace which takes pleasure in encompassing that person with the pure goodness of God.” Michael Molinos from 100 days in the secret place by gene edwards
So we continue on the journey today which I think can be summed up in the statement above by Molinos. To surrender afresh and undergo this life transformation that we are all called to we must recognize our need and also the greatness of God, knowing WHO He is and how He loves us and works in our life.
We could go on the road of refinement with our eyes fixed firmly on our sins and weaknesses – but we would walk eyes downcast and focused on our naval… which is not healthy per such. Nor does such eyes on self achieve the glorious transformation that God desires with this process. We see what WE want to see and depreciate ourselves, which can lead to discouragement and disappointment.
We need to keep eyes on God, our Father, who loves us and knows us. This gives us hope when the day gets dark. This gives us courage when the discouragement threatens.
This is something we cant manufacture or fake till we make it. It comes with the grace and surrender to God.
These are my 3 favourite verses at the moment – or perhaps ones that are speaking to me loud….
Make sure that no one misses out on God’s wonderful kindness. Hebrews 12:15
But God was kind! He made me what I am, and his wonderful kindness wasn’t wasted. I worked much harder than any of the other apostles, although it was really God’s kindness at work and not me. 1 Corinthians 15:10
But I don’t care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God’s great kindness. Acts 20:24
People who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:
1. they are facing only one direction,
2. they can never turn back, and
3. they no longer have plans of their own.
as christians we are bought with a price and no longer livng for our own selfish desires.
1 Peter 1:18-19You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever. You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb.
we are now part of the family of God. we have a heavenly father whom loves us and whom we love. we should live like we are part of his family. live with a family resemblance.
i like tozers quote above. christians are human yes. but we should have a goal and a purpose, to please our God who has rescued us. to live in his wonderful grace, to know him and make him known. to live changed and transformed lives.
Romans 12:1-2 Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think.
we should live lives that are surrendered and submitted to God.
Romans 8:12-16 My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires. If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God’s Spirit you say “No” to your desires. Only those people who are led by God’s Spirit are his children. God’s Spirit doesn’t make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. God’s Spirit makes us sure that we are his children.
our plans should be God’s plans. God’s plans should be our plans. the things that God loves should be the things we love. the things that God hates should be the things we hate. we need to allow God to shape and transform us so that his heart is formed within us.
Hebrews 10:16 “When the time comes, I will make an agreement with them. I will write my laws on their minds and hearts.”
are you living a life that brings joy to God? a life that pleases him? a holy righteous obedient life? a life knowing him and walking in his ways?
we are not our own. we are brought with a price. we are redeemed and set free from sin which destroys us and seperates us from God. lets be people who live in gratitude and love to God. lets make our lives a response to his grace and salvation.
Isaiah 64:1 Oh that You would tear the heavens and come down
This is a heart cry – Oh God…. Oh Lord…. That you would rend the heavens and come down…. Oh that you would move heaven and earth and come visit upon us… Oh that you would come…. Come Lord….!
And when you think about it…. He did.
He rended the heavens and sent his Only Son, Jesus the Christ, who was concieved in a woman, born, lived, dwelt as a man, died on the cross such a full on death, so that we can have relationship again with our Father…
God did move heaven and earth to come, he did all that was possible (it even seems impossible when u think upon it!) he came in flesh, he came down…
Philippians 2:6-11 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And he did rend the veil between the holy of holies in the temple… the tore that which seperated man from God through the death of Jesus.
Hebrews 6:17-20 To those who were to receive what he promised, God wanted to make it very clear that he would never change his purpose; so he added his vow to the promise. There are these two things, then, that cannot change and about which God cannot lie. So we who have found safety with him are greatly encouraged to hold firmly to the hope placed before us. We have this hope as an anchor for our lives. It is safe and sure, and goes through the curtain of the heavenly temple into the inner sanctuary. On our behalf Jesus has gone in there before us and has become a high priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 10:19 We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain—that is, through his own body.
my favourite bible verse is 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit.
For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.”
i love love love this passage! and because i love it i live my life on it.
you see most people only read the eye has not seen and ear not heard nor has the heart compherended God and leave it at that – happy to accept that yes, God is indescrible, awesome, big, great, wow type thing. which he so is. God is a mystery and wonderous and indescribable and allpowerful and amazing.
(one of the best butsin the bible i reckon!)
BUT God has revealed these things – what are the these things – the things that eye has not seen, or ear heard, or heart compherened – these things he has revealed to us his children because he lives in side us! inst that wow.
it means thta we can know God, hear God, live for God, honour God, walk with God, be known by God, have relationship with God, know his will and his ways etc etc etc.
i dont take it as that we can know every minute detail of God or even the big picture but we can know so much more and so easier than we think or limit ourselves.
Remember, Jesus died on the cross to make a new and living way to God, so we are now acceptable, righteous, holy and his children, part of the family.
We can boldly approach the throne of grace, the veil that was between man and God is gone, torn, destroyed by the work of Jesus on the cross and now the Holy Spirit lives within us – God IN me. he teaches and guides us. wow. wow.wow!
so be excited and freed by thekreality that eye can see and ear can hear and our heart can know the good things that God has prepared for us because he lives within us and reveals those things to us.
“Come To God often just to sit in His presence and renew yourself. Nothing is as important as lowliness of heart and detachment from our own opinion and will.” Fenelon in 100 days in the secret place
I lay in bed last night thinking about this segment of my devotional book. Often when we are going through a hard time sitting down to pray and read the bible and talk to God is soooo the last thing we want to do or do full stop. We can get angry with God – when will this stop? Why wont you intervine? Pleeeese God come? You know… all of those things are valid. David was a big stomp ya feet say how he really felt kind of guy. His psalms are filled with WOE IS ME and emotions that I read as angry and depressed (its all in the tone of voice…) but then he also gets it in perspective and remembers God and His ways and that gives him peace and strength to carry on.
Psalm 73:16-17 When I thought deeply in order to understand this, it was painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.
In this Psalm David is going through a really hard time on all fronts. His understanding came when he went and spent time with God. Likewise for us – we may look at our circumstances and go “da wah?” and throw our hands up in despair. We need to remember to come and sit and pray and read the Bible. Sometimes just even putting on a good worship CD can bring us into the presence of God.
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Psalm 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah forever.
We may not get any answers from God. We may come away from a prayer time with no firm understanding. But we need to UNDERSTAND that God is God and God is good and loves us and is at work in our lives, to work ALL things for good for His glory and purposes. Your hard times may give you the experience that is able to help others.
2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
The value of spending time with God is that we hear His voice, we can feel His presence –we can remind ourselves of WHO he is and draw closer, knowing that as we draw near to Him he draws near to us. Even if God is silent the time is not a waste. It is relationship building. It can bring comfort when we drop the walls. It changes us whether we feel like it or not.
the challenge for us to to be still and know God, to be still from our own efforts and to recognise who God is – the one who loves us and cares for us and is at work and is also refining us. he is our strong tower, our refuge, our Father. he cares for us so much. he is with us.
when we stop and take time to pray and read the Word we are fixing our eyes upon him, not upon the cirucmstances of our life and not upon the hard times. we fix our eyes on the rock that is greater than us, greater than all things. we build our faith.
there is one key aspect of prayer that we sometimes forget, esp if we are going through the flood and fire. that is to listen. to listen to what God is saying IN that time. God is with us, he promises to walk with us in the flame and flood and though we feel scorched and drowned we are not. we need to be encouraged by God. just a glimpse of him makes it all worth it. makes life do-able. just a glimpse of him gives us hope.
keep coming and pressing in untill you get that glimpse and that hope. dont give up. dont stop for a minute and then give up because “God didnt come right then.” sometimes part of the challenge of a hard time is that we need to persist and press in and seek God and not give up. the Word of God is truth and right. we need to trust it and live by it and have faith in it.
we need to be like the woman who had the issue of blood who did not give up on her miracle because of the circumstances. did you know that because of Levitical Law that she was unclean and had to live in isolation and that everyone she touched was also made unclean. she was not allowed to be near people let alone in a crowd! but she had heard about Jesus and his power and said to herself, encouraging herself, building faith in herself, if only i touch his cloak i will be healed. she went into the crowd. and she touched Jesus. she graspedthe edge of his cloadk and was healed by the power of God. She did not allow her circumstances to limit her. she pressed through.
in our own lives we face obstacles and hard times. have faith that God can use them to shape your character and conform you into the image of Jesus.
know also that he loves you and that as you draw near to him he DOES draw near to you.
be encouraged that he is with you as he promises in isaiah 43:1-2
have faith in God.
dont give up.
In our head we know Jesus loves us…. We know we are called God’s children and that God is relational. But how do we live that out… not only in what we DO but how do we experience that and live that in an emotional context…
Many of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy with God – are we good enough for him to love and like? Would the God of the universe really want to sit down with a cup of tea and talk to me or listen to me…?
We are sometimes unsure if he really loves us… we know the bible says that he does… but does he really? We get it that we WERE sinners… that we ARE sinners saved by grace, not our own effort or our own goodness but all because of the sacrifice of Jesus… but sometimes I think we forget the saved made righteous and clean part… and we focus on the sinner part… we haven’t recognised that we are new creatures, that we belong to a new family – its like our DNA has changed… we need to not live in the past but live in the reality of who we are today, who God has made us…. His beloved children…
In a way – its like God is our new boyfriend and we expect him to act like an old boyfriend who mistreated us… You know what I mean… if we’ve been in a relationship where someone put us down, or made us feel a bit inadequate and inferior, where what we said wasn’t good enough and where we started to hide ourselves away… we then meet this new wonderful guy, who we marry, who doesn’t treat us like that at all, but we still expect him too…. We live in the feeling of the old relationship, we hold our heart back, reserving ourselves…
Or like a flea who jumps in a glass – they did an experiment and if you put a lid on it the flea learns to jump only so high… remove the lid and they still only jump that high… they restrict themselves, they jump with reservation… they learn to hold back…
Colossians 1:20-22 says “And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.”
Because of Jesus we can know God. Jesus reveals to us who God is. Colossians 1 says that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. John puts it this way in John 1:14 “The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.”
Jesus is God. Almighty God. Creator God. The one who breathed the stars into existence and created the zebra, grasshopper, the daffodil, the puffer fisher, the rainbow, the milky way… Jesus is God, sees all, knows all, all powerful… and yet he chose to relinquish that power and might and become a human, so we can know the undeserved kindness of God. John 1:17 Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth.
Jesus took the jar lid away.
Because of Jesus we can make peace with God. Romans 5:1-2 “By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand.” Without Jesus there is no way to God. Without Jesus there is no peace with God. Without Jesus there is no redemption. Without Jesus we are guilty. But because of Jesus we are now innocent and clean and justified…. Just as if I’d never sinned!
God didn’t hold anything back from saving us – he gave it all, he gave his son. Jesus left the glory of heaven and was born and lived a human life and then died on the cross giving his life, so we can know God. Lets live with no restrictions. He tore the curtain and lets live experiencing that.
Song of Songs 4:12-16 A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, fragrant henna with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron, Calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, Myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices— A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. (The Shulamite) Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits. Sometimes we are like an enclosed garden. We close our hearts off to God – we take a step back – we hold back ourselves… we know we shouldn’t but we do… we need to pray that the Holy Spirit would blow upon us, and that we would truly experience relationship with God, as we were created to.
God isn’t far away or interested in a once a week check in session… he is interested in walking with us and being known by us. He knows how many hairs we have on his head and how many tears we cry. His thoughts that he has about us are more numerous than the sand on the beach – than all sand on all the beaches of the world combined! God loves us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He loves us so much that he gave us Jesus to reveal who he is with flesh on and also to pay the penalty for our sin, to remove the barriers between us.
If there are restrictions, reservations we are feeling, they are our own feelings and fears. God is not holding back, he is calling us to draw near. If we are living in the shadow of how people have treated us we need to know who God is – all the way in….we need to realize that we are soooo loved by God and that there is no jar lid… there is no restriction from Gods side…
Hebrews 4:16 So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.
Hebrews 10:19-20 My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself.
I challenge you to live relationally with God in all the fullness that he won for us – that we can stand pure and faultless and innocent before God – a relationship with no restrictions and no holding back. Seek him wholeheartedly. Tell him everything. Have faith in who he is and promises to be. Stop living life out of the past and the restrictions but live life walking with God…