Washed By The Word

As Christian’s we are constantly growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). This is our calling from God as believers. 2 Peter is warming the people of the evils of this world, and stating that we must stand firm in what the Lord is teaching us. Peter lays this fact before his audience when he states the purpose of his letter in 2 Peter 3:2 “that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandments of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. The Word also reminds us in Hebrews 12:1-3 to throw off anything that hinders us and run with perseverance! Jesus is the example we are to follow, looking at Him, his suffering, and realizing that our lives will never get to that degree of hostility or rejection. This alone gives us the assurance that we can and must set our minds to be diligent when it comes to the Word of God. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith; He is with us every step of the way! We have a Bible full of stories of those who have gone before us, showing us that we can and must persevere in our faith. Our obedience to God comes from a heart that learns to long for and that wants to please him more and more. He has washed our sins away by his blood and now calls us to relationship with Him and the Father through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in His Word to come and meet with Him, to learn his ways, to experience his goodness, faithfulness and love. This is a life-long process. I used to mentally beat myself up because I wasn’t where I wanted to be with the Lord, or maybe where I thought I should be. I was seeking, but never seemed to grasp the wholeness of his truth at times. There were times when His Word would seem void, and other times it would illuminate and bring great revelation. I never liked the times of when He seemed silent, and I always thought I was doing something wrong. But it was the Lord trying to remind me that He will bring about the revelation he wants me to know in his perfect time; Hebrews 12:2 fits in here as well, as I am probably being somewhat redundant making my own point. Jesus continually reminds me of the journey, and that there are many life lessons that I am learning as I strive to seek to know Him more and that He is fitting all of this together like puzzle pieces to help me better understand what He wants to teach me. Maybe He is testing my perseverance? Checking to see if I am going to hold on even when He seems far away? How could I not? Even when I start looking around, He continually nudges me back to Him and His truth. It’s all just part of the journey again; doing my part and letting Him do His. This morning He brought it home to me with a simple illustration of being washed by the Word. The word-picture he gave is of one taking a shower and getting their physical bodies cleaned. It’s what we do because if we don’t we will smell really bad and people will not want to associate with us for very long. But we are more than just a fleshly body; we have a mind and a spirit that is actively working within us. , The Word of God truly is living water that never runs dry!! The More we call to Him, the closer He comes! Here are just a few scriptures that the Lord has been pointing out to me. Again, the Word of God is overflowing with so much truth we will never be able to know it all in its fullness. So as I am reminded of that fact today, May the Word of God encourage you to continually to seek the Lord right now at this very point of your own journey, even if He may seem far, remember, He is always with us; He will never leave us or forsake us!

Romans 12:2 2 Do not conform 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.

Phil.4:8 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

John 17:17 (NLT) 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.

Ephesians 5:26 (NLT) 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.

What’s Your Plan?

Well 2011 is finally here and many of us have made resolutions, and are excited to see how our efforts are gonna pay off. I for one have decided to read the Bible in a year, hence getting on a plan. I know there are tons out there. I had used a really good one at You Version during the Christmas Season and an Advent Wreath calendar from Focus on the Family also have Logos Bible Software and Bible Explorer on my laptop that utilize reading plans as well, but I really like to be in the Physical Bible when I do my reading. Those Pc tools are great for reference and study, but nothing, in my opinion takes the place of a bound Bible. I found some great plans at Discipleship Journal and have personally chosen the Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan. For me it’s just easy to tackle one thing at a time, then having to be all over the Bible in a single reading. I have enough multi-tasking and multi-reading to do in seminary so I want my Bible reading to be simplistic. This brings me to my other plan for the New Year; simplicity. I have been cleaning out a lot of clutter in pretty much every area of my life and have declared my own personal theme of peace. Jesus was the Prince of Peace and I am seeking to simplify my life and have peace. We can get so tangled in the stuff of life that before we know it we feel overwhelmed and feeling deflated and unfocused. I have vowed to take things one month at a time, Planning out as best as can, but at the same time, living in the moment and enjoying the simple things in life like spending time with my daughter, and helping her also to learn the Bible stories in her books. I have taken a few small steps in organizing things such as my files on my computer and getting rid of many links and sites I have saved in folders that I never got back to last year in hopes of acquiring yet more information. It’s been interesting too to come to the realization that we all have our own preferences and that’s Ok. For example, I was looking at ereaders online, reading reviews, ect; and people can debate products till they are blue in the face but the deciding factor is always preference. Some folks like touch screens some don’t’, some swear by an ipad and all its multi-functions, while others swear by e-ink technology such as in the Kindle and non-color nook. I bring up this silly point to bring us back to what one reviewer stated which was what does it matter the tool you use, just as long as your reading. Same can be said in pretty much anything. What Bible reading plan, what study method, what tools you choose to use to accomplish your goal doesn’t really matter, just as long as it is helping you accomplish your goal, then the rest of that comes down to individual preference usually. Another interesting trend (if you want to call it that) I have noticed this past year was the onslaught of reality TV and reality Face book. Yes all you have to do I turn on the TV or click to your page on FB to get the latest scoop on how people live life. Guilty as charged, as a blogger, I say it, and likewise as a face book user; but it has gotten a little tiring for me recently. Do I really want to be spending my time checking in on peoples latest status updates or could I be utilizing my time better. Don’t get me wrong, FB is a great tool for keep up with friends and family, but it can also become dramaville if you let it. I personally have not had that bad of experiences, but we have all heard the stories, seen the woe is me post or the friends we had to delete for their constant inappropriateness in a public forum. Point being, all things in moderation and for me, I need to cut down on my “face time” with face book. Well, for now that about does it for me and my plans of a deeper dive into the word of God and simplifying so that I can hear and comune better with my Abba Father. Of course I’m gonna have to blog, that’s just the fun part of the journey. So let me close by asking you what your plan is for the New Year. What things do you want to change? How do you want to grow closer to God and what steps are you taking? Sharing the Journey is part of the Adventure!

Deuteronomy Chapter 2

This chapter starts as the Israelites turn back toward the desert as the Lord commanded. Then God begins to give specific direction as to which way they should go, how long they should travel, and how to behave when they encounter certain groups of people. The Lord reminds them that he has blessed them and has been with them, but clearly instructs them and tells them three different times that He will not give the people that they are encountering into their hands. Finally in verse 24, the Lord tells then that He is giving Sihon, King of Hesbon into their hands. He begins to tell them to take possession of it, engaging in battle; and that this very day, He will begin to put terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. God made the Spirit of Sihon stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him over to their hands. The Lord reminds them what he has just done and tells them to go and take possession of the land. Verse 33 states “The Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down”; even after this victory, at the very end of this chapter, the Lord reminds them in v. 37 that in accordance with the command of the Lord our God, you did not encroach on any of the land of the Ammonites, neither the land along the course of the Jabbok not that round the towns of the hills”.

Application:

Well, putting the geography lesson aside, I think the basic message of this chapter is once again obedience. I can also see it as a possible test from God. After these people refused to listen to God in the first place that sent them back into the desert, He is checking to see if they are really ready to repent and put on their listening ears. It must have been frustrating for them to travel to all these different locations and not be able to take possession of them, even stating that he had given that right to others. I think that would have been a really hard pill to swallow; to have traveled and finally learn to obey, yet not reap any reward for it. I think at this point the lessons can be that obedience is primary, and that just because you are instructed to obey, don’t expect it to become like a magic wand for what you want to get. How many times do we go to God with this same attitude of “God if you just deliver me from this mess this time, I’ll never do it again”? And how many times, have you found yourself breaking that very promise? So perhaps God here is testing their true obedience to them? Perhaps when we think we are obeying and fail to see the fruit, we need to not give up, or get discouraged, but let it be a time of learning, and character building, and perseverance, and really showing God that our heart wants to obey for the right reasons, which is hopefully out of love and remembrance for all his has done for us; much like He reminded the Israelites in verse 7. I find it interesting too that God, in this verse not only reminds them that he has been with them, but also for the entire 40 years! I think that speaks volumes. I think God is trying to tell them “hey, I haven’t left you, and I provided all your needs, and watch over you, keeping you safe during this long period of time; so what’s the problem here?” And yet in Verse 9 God again does not let them take possession of the Land. He reminds them back in verse 7, chooses not to bless them in verse 9 and finally sees that perhaps they do trust and believe enough that He goes ahead and hands over the King, starting in verse 24, but even with that, and God hardening the Kings heart, at the end He still reminds them of their consequences; not being able to take over the land of the Amorites and the area of the Jabbok. Here, I think the application is that even though God may honor our obedience and bless us with victories in life, there are also root consequences of our prior actions that are still in place. I am sure we can all attest to this at some level. God is full of mercy and love, he is a God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 200000th, chances, but that doesn’t take away the consequences of our messes in the first place. This is a very humbling chapter for me, it helps me to remember the sovereignty of God, and yet be reminded that he will always come to our rescue and want to give us his good gifts. It also reminds me of going around the mountain, how many times do we have to keep re-learning our lessons for God to see that we are really serious about making a change in our lives?

Deuteronomy Chapter 1

I have decided today that I have to retire one of my Bibles. It’s actually the first Bible that I received back as an early teen. Needless to say, it is full of markings and many of the pages are falling out. I though it be a good idea to go through and re-read my markings and possibly re-mark those verses in one of my other Bibles. As I was paging through, I came across the book of Deuteronomy, which is one of my favorites, and had a lot of markings, so I thought I’d re-read it this morning, but really try and study and apply it chapter by chapter. So today is Chapter 1 and I thought I’d share my notes here. As you read mine, and maybe read the first chapter for yourself, ask how it applies to your life, and look for circumstances maybe presently or in the past where you have dealt with issues of obedience unto God.

Deuteronomy: 5th book of the Bible. It was written in 1410 B.C. Has 34 chapters. It is the last book of the Pentateuch. Author: Moses. “Deuteronomy” is from the Greek word “Deuteronomion” meaning “second lawgiving”. The book is said to be the longest sermon in the Bible. It restates many of the laws and teachings given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It reminds God’s people of the faithfulness and saving power of God and stresses the importance of people’s gratitude for all the Lord has done. Moses challenges the Israelites to rededicate their lives to Serving the Lord. As you read this book, think about God’s daily care in your life and His desire that you dedicate your life to serving Him.

1:1-8 Moses commands the Israelites to leave Horeb.

1:9-18 Moses appoints leaders for the tribes that are growing too big to handle

1:19-25 Scoping out the land of the Amorites

1:26-46 Israel doubts and so God sends them packing.

Application:

Go where God leads you 1:6-7

Receive fully what God gives you 1:6-8

Choose leadership wisely, don’t show partiality, and help and support one another 1:9-18

Do what God commands; don’t fear or be discouraged. 1:19-25

Don’t doubt God when the circumstances look impossible 1:26-28

Remember what God has done 1:30-31. You must let this be enough even when you can’t see all the details-God can see it all, because He went ahead of you in your circumstance 1:32-33

When we doubt God or choose not to remember His goodness, we’re telling him we don’t really trust Him and open the door to escort him out of our problems and not giving him a chance to reveal his power through our lives 1:26-35.

He wants and will bless wholehearted followers 1:36.

Vv.37-46 reminds me how “one bad apple” can ruin the whole bunch. Even with the best leadership in place, like Moses, if the majority that we are trying to lead, be it a church, organization or family will not get on board with what we are trying to accomplish, the door of opportunity closes and the blessings that God wanted to grant will be given to those who will fully believe and not doubt. As verse 41 shows us, we don’t always get 2nd chances to make things right, so we must consistently seek God in prayer and ask for strength wisdom and increased faith, so that when God calls us to task we will be ready and willing to surrender all for the cause of Christ with unwavering confidence that He will bless our obedience, as we look back and remember all that He has brought us through. Father, forgive us for doubting your goodness and faithfulness in each of our lives. Help us to remember all that you have brought us t through and protected us from. Increase our faith and trust in you that we would go where you send us, and have confidence as we walk in your will. Amen.

My thoughts on The Book of Ecclesiastes

Last night as I opened my Bible God led me to the Book of Ecclesiastes.  God dropped me right at 12:13 which reads ”
13 “ All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.” AMP. Bible.
 
I keep dwelling on the amplified part which kept moving in my spirit: the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.”
 
I thought wow, FULL, ORIGINAL PURPOSE OF HIS CREATION, THE ROOT OF CHARACTER, THE FOUNDATION OF ALL HAPPINESS, THE ADJUSTMENT OF ALL INHARMONIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS. WOW!  DO YOU HEAR THAT?   That just blows me away.  The root, the foundation, his original purposes!  Talk about the core fundamentals of the faith!!! I ended up reading the whole book this morning and seeing verse 13 showed up in different places throughout the text, and as I read the introduction, I know it is the underlying theme of the book to fear and revere God.  It made me think of all the different blog posts that I have complied; I can’t remember them all, but I have a pretty good guess that they too hold this underlying theme in the majority of them, even through my frustrations and the working out of my own salvation.  I’d just like to encourage you to read the book of Ecclesiastes this week if you can.  It penetrated so deep within me yesterday and today; half the book in my AMP Bible is underlined 🙂  I’ll just leave you with the intro from the Amp, well a few lines.  The purpose of this book is to investigate life as a whole and to teach that in the final analysis life is meaningless without proper respect and reverence for God.  In the end faith teaches him that God has ordered all things according to his own purposes, and that man’s role is to accept these, including his own limitations, and God’s appointments. Man therefore should be patient and enjoy life as God gives it.  Reverence and respect for God and a genuine devotion in serving God are essential in making life worthwhile.  I guess this is where I am on the journey.  I get this and now it’s just oozing out of me.  My hearts desire is to live and worship the King, to bring him Glory in all my life, as I learn to love, fear and revere him.  It’s such an awesome adventure, and as much as I have learned to love and accept people where they are on their journey, my heart cry for them is to taste and see the fullness of God in their own lives.  I am praying to God to continue to give me wisdom and guide my every step as I know he will.  May you be blessed and encouraged as you read this passage and let God speak deeply and clearly to you.  In Grace and Peace, Robin

Do You Love Me? Then Feed My Sheep.

These were Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21:15-17 It’s what he expected of him to show him that his love for Jesus was authentic. Jesus asked him 3 times. Why? I think he wanted to emphasize the importance of what he was asking Peter. I think Jesus wanted to make it crystal clear that this was not going to be an easy task. It’s easy for us to say “Sure Jesus, I can love your people, but then add our own disclaimer to it… (As long as they don’t mess with my comfort and way of doing things). Did you ever notice how smelly sheep are? I’ve been to plenty of county fairs to know that when I go into the sheep barn it is the one that smells the worst. No amount of clean bedding can take away the penetrating smell of sheep; it just lingers there. Have you ever touched a sheep? Their coat is wooly and coarse. People are wooly and coarse. I am learning to love on messy, smelly, coarse feeling sheep. Isn’t that what Jesus did? He didn’t go to the “safe” people in the synagogues and church gatherings; he went out to the messy sheep, the smelly sheep, and the sheep that nobody else wanted to touch. We have that same call. Christ does not call us to comfort, but to death. He calls us to walk in unselfish love, to have eyes, ears and hearts of compassion for one another. Just this morning God pointed out a very blatant truth to me. How often am I willing to “die to self” for the sake of the sheep? I found myself switching up my prayer to the point of praying “Lord, whatever it takes to get them to follow”. That means my ideas don’t need to be the ones chosen and used. This means having faith that God is moving in my prayers even when I can’t see. This week already, at church, I have seen and heard stories of very messy sheep. Sheep I serve along side of. Sheep God has called me to go to and love on and feed with words of encouragement and hope.
This means loving messy people when I don’t feel like it. WHEN I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! Oh, yeh, he’s up to something. I have found myself more patient with others, I have found myself willing to step out of myself this week and come along side messy people. I have found myself learning to take more time for my daughter. I have found myself biting my tong and praying for wisdom and understanding of another’s point of view. I have found myself saturated in prayer and the word, and I know that is the only way that growth is going to not only happen but be deeply rooted. Jesus, I thank you for helping me to see and feel with people this week. I thank you for the ways in which you are growing me; it is amazing! I thank you that you never leave us or forsake us; and that you continue to mold us into your image. Father I repent of when I fall short and I thank you for your forgiveness. I thank you for everything in my life; the good, and the bad; and yes Lord; I thank you for the smelly sheep. We are all smelly sheep and you love us with such amazing grace. I pray right now for everyone that is reading this and for myself that you would continue to transform us in such amazing ways God that it just blows our little minds. I know you’re up to something God and I can’t wait to see what that looks like. Now may I go today, and be a good steward of everything that you put in front of me and may I lean on you alone for guidance and direction as you lead my every step. With a completely surrendered heart and desire to serve you I ask this all in Jesus Holy name. Amen.

Fear God Not Man

In the following Psalm David is crying out to God to rescue him from his enemies.  I’m sure we can all relate.  It seems the closer that we grow in Christ, the more people are watching us, criticising us, talking about us, and waiting for us to slip up so that they can start throwing stones.  But David goes on to say that He will put His trust in God, praising Him, trusting Him; for what can mere men do?   We’re also reminded that God knows everything that we face; he has our tears stored up in a bottle, He knows every sorrow that we face, and he promises to make it right.  David ends the psalm by renewing his vow to God; that He will trust and follow after him always in all circumstances., and offering a sacrifice of praise, always desiring to walk in the light and presence of God.  To shine for Him alone, his creator and the lifter of his head.  So let us today, as we go out into this world that is  full of problems that are challenging and people who are not always fun to be around, and lets meditate on some of the verses in this Psalm; remembering that we don’t have to fear men, nor does God want us to, but we need to humbly come before the throne of God and fear our creator in reverence, knowing that our faith in his goodness is what will get us through any circumstance, hardship, or words of slander that may come our way.  Let us renew our vow to God and fully put our trust in Him!  Lord, Thank You for your Word this morning, and thank you for reminding us to put our trust in you alone.  Remind us that you over come the world and you have called us, set us apart, putting our feet on the solid rock so we won’t slip into the ways of this world.  We love you Lord, so we come before the throne and humbly ask you to help us live out our faith for you.  Keep reminding us that we can’t do it in our own strength, but we need you; your Spirit to guide us, and your Word embedded on our hearts, that it is always with us and will be the first thing that come from our lips.  We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 56 New Living Translation

 For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath. To be sung to the tune “Dove on Distant Oaks.”

 1 O God, have mercy on me,
      for people are hounding me.
      My foes attack me all day long.
 2 I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
      and many are boldly attacking me.
 3 But when I am afraid,
      I will put my trust in you.
 4 I praise God for what he has promised.
      I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
      What can mere mortals do to me? 5 They are always twisting what I say;
      they spend their days plotting to harm me.
 6 They come together to spy on me—
      watching my every step, eager to kill me.
 7 Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
      in your anger, O God, bring them down.

 8 You keep track of all my sorrows.[a]
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
      You have recorded each one in your book.

 9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
      This I know: God is on my side!
 10 I praise God for what he has promised;
      Yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
 11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
      What can mere mortals do to me?

 12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
      and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
 13For you have rescued me from death;
      you have kept my feet from slipping.
   So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
      in your life-giving light.

The Church of Dry Bones: Ezekiel 37

So many times when I get fired up about stuff; whether it be music, a book, or something else I ran across, I can quickly snuff out my fire with things that I may have heard around me, or even my own self doubt at times. But this is what I do know; I know that I am becoming stronger. I am becoming more full of the power of Christ that lives in me, and when this happends, I get bolder, and I tend not to care about how others perceive me, b/c I am living for God and not man. God has truly been transforming me and throwing all sorts of stuff my way, from online resources, to books and music, and yes, of course I am growing in His Word more too! I’ve been really praying reverently for my church. I want to see so much take place, for God to show up and circumcise hearts the way He circumcised mine. I know there are really good people at my church but we all carry baggage (even me); but as I live surrendered my load is getting lighter and I am getting stronger and bolder and becoming who God intends all of me to be. Early this morning, as I was reading Ezekiel, the whole chapter 37 just grabbed me. I felt God saying to me, “Robin, your prayers aren’t in vain. As the bones in this passage get up and come alive, so will the church”. It was a very powerful moment to say the least, and I felt such an inner peace that God was working, has been working, and will continue to work, to wake up the “sleeping church” and transform their lives and circumcise their hearts so that they can go and give the love that they will know away to the world. I’ve also been reading the book “Waking The Dead” by John Eldredge; which I am not done with yet, but it has brought me to a new level of understanding the heart of God that is living in us all. I have been listening to Hillsong United “The I heart revolution” CD’s and they are making me loose myself in worship. I really feel like God is placing these specific things in my hand, touching my heart and changing me forever. I had to blog about this because I have to get it out. I want to share it with others who understand what I am going through, how I feel right now, and as I look at my cell phone, I can’t think of anyone who really understands this. I know there are you, my blogging friends out there who get this, and will no doubt leave me a kind comment (thank you, it means allot). I am not done with the Eldredge book, but I ran across a part that I did want to share that I think sums up what I am trying to say: It’s actually partly a quote from Nelson Mandel as well as the author: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Actually who are you not to be? Your a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is whithin us…and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”. Eldredge goes on to say that the deeper reason we fear our own glory is that once we let others see it, they will have seen the truest us, and that is nakedness indeed. We can repent of our sin. We can work on our “issues” But there is nothing to be done about our glory. It’s so naked. It’s just there-the truest us. It is an awkward thing to shimmer when everyone else around you is not, to walk in your glory with an unveiled face when everyone else is veiling his. Are you a threat”. From Waking the Dead by John Eldredge

We got to keep running the race no matter what

I know in this world we will have trouble; and I know that our trials strengthen our faith and our relationship with our God and Savior. I was reminded today in The Word; somewhere in the midst’s of Hebrews Chapter 10-13. (I started reading and just couldn’t stop). Anyhow, in Chapter 10, I was encouraged not to give up: Don’t Throw It All Away
19-21So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
22-25So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
26-31If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing” and “God will judge his people.” Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.
32-39Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.

It won’t be long now, he’s on the way;
he’ll show up most any minute.
But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust;
if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy.
But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

In chapter 11, I was reminded that followers in the past remained faithful, even though they many times did not see the fruits of their works, but are know reaping the reward in Heaven with Jesus. This really helps me to carry on when I seek to obey God in what He asks me to do, and also do not see results. It’s in these moments that I am reminded of my constant surrender and His never-ending faithfulness to me. I was also encouraged by Chapter 12, being reminded of the importance of God’s need to discipline us, and how as a parent I really need to sometimes step up and do a better job in this area. Lastly, in Chapter 13, I was once again reminded that God does not change, He is always there, ready to help us, never walking away or leaving us. To also be respectful and learn from our pastoral leaders and to “contribute to their joy in leadership and not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them” v. 13:17. This really hit my heart stings this morning as I have been dealing with some unforgivness and hurt in my heart. God was quick to remind me that my strife that I was holding in my heart was unnecessary and just to let it go. Sometimes we want to hold on to our hurts b/c we think that by doing this somehow it makes us stronger, and makes us feel more noble in our efforts; but it actually limits the bigger plans and purposes of God. Yes, we must keep running the race, staying close to our Jesus in moment by moment surrender; knowing that He only wants the best for us, and that more than anything He wants us to live out the faith and love that He has bestowed upon each one of us who call ourselves followers of Christ.