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Posts Tagged ‘#hebrews12’

sun

It is dark.
It is wet.
The outer seeps in to the inner … the dark and twisties.

In the Pacific Northwest it is simply called winter. A season that can last from a relieving of a dusty summer sprinkling in October, until an eye-rolling, from under the covers, downpour in February (or June, depending on the year).

As of January 29, our area saw 204mm of rain (over 8 inches). As a comparative, all of January, 2017, the total was 98mm.

Do I hear the choir singing “rain, rain go away”?

After almost twenty-two years of calling this coast home, I still have not acclimatized to this season that I call the winter of our souls.

In January I start to get impatient, and (not so wisely) begin to take note of the hours of sunshine each day. As I scan weekly forecasts, for the last line, they usually look quite similar to the one below:

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 8.20.15 AM

It is a rare day that provides the hope that this coming Sunday forecasts (unless, of course it has changed). Truly, the norm is, as the rest of the week indicates, with one or two hours being the norm (I always pray that they fall on my way to work, and home again).

As with others, who prefer their precipitation white and fluffy … and bright, it takes a very deliberate effort to not fall victim to the dark. To not allow it inside our minds and souls.

It is like with the very deliberate effort it takes to not fall victim to sin.

Going back to Hebrews 12 (The Message), we are given a focus for the the race, which is life (v. 2-3):

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

When the rains fall, when the skies are dark and there is so little light in whatever our dark, dark winter may represent, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, for he is our light and encouragement.

 

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snailTo persevere is to practise persistence, pertinacity, tenacity.

It is to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

It is not easy to keep going when the going gets tough. When life gets tough, we tend to pull back, making a U-turn or a dead end stop. We often change our trajectory, looking for greener pastures. There is a reason that there is a road less travelled … it is bumpy!

Sometimes we do need to avoid the tough road, but often it is the only route to our ultimate destination.

For some it is the pursuit of a career, requiring either night courses, after tiring days at work, or starting a less-than-desired job, knowing you need to pay your dues before you will reach the career of your dreams.

For some it is the pursuit of parenthood, beyond a couple’s biological ability, and through human dissection of every area of their lives to be granted permission to adopt the child of another.

For some it is the fight for a marriage that seems as though were hopeless. Going to any and all lengths to, not just prevent it’s demise, but to flourish into a mutually-gratifying relationship.

For some it is that thing that is controlling their very life. Perhaps the addiction comes through an activity, substance or way of thinking, and will require personal tenacity and assistance from others … the greatest struggle being to acknowledge that the problem is our own.

For some it is tests and treatments that seem worse than the diagnosis itself.

As I continue in my personal study of Hebrews 12, I haven’t made it very far (ironic? I think, yes).

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
Hebrews 12:1b

As I continue in my pursuit of the sin that hinders, Hebrews is instructing me to not just persevere, but to run with perseverance. I find myself wondering if, what the author is really saying is to persevere in running from my sin? Now that sounds like an intense cardio a work out! That sounds like something that would require an immense and constant choice to be tenacious, persevering.

But … (and doesn’t the Bible usually provide a but?)

that is not all.

The verse continues, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. This is no Amazing Race or Survivor, where obstacles are put in front of us to make us stumble or fail. This is a path with an unknown end to us as the runners, but breadcrumbs have been placed to keep us going in the right direction, by the one who knows of the prize at the end.

This is hard, but the prize is worth persevering through the tough stuff.

Another day on the journey.

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IMG_2954

It has been happening again …

the obvious sense of God’s intentional stalking of my heart and thoughts, reaching into my very being, taking me on a journey that will test my preconceived notions beyond anything I could ever imagine.

God has been leading me to a variety of teachings, on a specific topic, but he keeps bringing me back to Hebrews 12.

And it all starts with nudity choosing freedom.

“let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”

I’ve gotta admit … I am not so comfortable talking about my sin. I can talk about the sin of others, or the sins of my past, but … present sins (yes, sins, as in plural) … kinda gives me the heebie jeebies.

It kinda makes me feel … naked, exposed, stripped down.

when sin is exposed, and we feel exposed

It is as if the sin becomes us, we become the sin.  As if the light that illuminates our wrong way of living, shines a spotlight on our very selves, our very souls …

But, to “throw off” our life-hindering sin, it has to come to light, so that we can live.

dark to death
light to life

So, we are to throw off this hindering sin. It is hindering because it becomes like heavy baggage, resulting in bitterness, sorrow and feeling stretched and weighed down. To throw it off means to move on, 

And to move on … well, isn’t that what we need to do? Isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are all about? moving on from the old, and toward the new?

This stalking by God, that I have been sensing … it is all about moving on, it is all about throwing off the sins that are hindering,

but first, I have to call a spade a spade,
and admit that I sin,
so that I can strip it from my life.

Day one, the journey has begun.

 

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20140402-070304.jpg

One of my favorite re-counted stories in the Bible (Matthew 14:22-34) is the one of the disciples out on the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus is seen walking ON TOP OF the water, and Peter, in yet another example of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), says, “hey Jesus, here I come!” …

and Jesus stretches out his hand towards Peter in an act of affirmation …

and Peter

walks on the water …

Imagine the adrenalin rush that Peter must have felt!

Imagine the sparkle in his eyes,

the smile on his face.

Imagine the stunned look on the faces of their boat-dwelling friends!

But, who was more ‘safe’?

The ones with wood and balsam holding them above the waves?

Or the one held above the waves by his gaze, his faith, towards the Messiah?

It is interesting to me that when Peter looked down, removing his gaze from the eyes of his Savior, he started to sink into the waves.

What a simple example of how we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, to maintain our balance … to keep our head above water.

I recently began listening to the following song, one that parallels this simple teaching.

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.”
Hebrews 12:1-2a

 

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