Planning to move you have to take inventory on all the things you have. You have to decide what is trash and what is treasure. The things you will keep and those things that you need to get rid of. The Lord knows we only have so much room for the things we need.
As I sit there taking inventory, I examine deeper into my heart. The Lord was showing me my own thought life. I have thoughts that are good. I have thankful thoughts, thoughts of love and joy, and even thoughts of HIM and all He died to give me. Sadly, as I was taking inventory, I also found in there some thoughts that were not so good. Thoughts that are of hurt and sadness, confusion, and even anger towards things that are unjust! I thought how much time and care I will be investing in getting rid of the garbage in my home that is taking up space but not so useful. How much more should I take care to get rid of those negative thoughts that are stored up in my mind. I want all the freedom Christ has died to give.
As I contemplated my own heart, I began to see how far I have strayed in my thought life. I began to see the ugliness. With all my heart I want to make better choices in my thoughts so that the water that flows from my mouth will be refreshing to those I am around and full of grace and love. That is my hearts cry. I prayed and opened up my bible and started to read some life giving words. God create in me a clean heart...
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1
I was reading chapter 12 of Hebrews this morning and it ministered to me so deeply. I wanted to share this with you today, not knowing who is out there that might be in a place right now where you feel heavy. The WEIGHT in this verse is the burden we carry besides the temptations we have to grow hardened and bitter.
So much of my life has been filled with a lot of weight. So much weight for one soul to bare. Sometimes we even help carry others burdens when they come to us with all that weighs them down because we are called to that purpose. We bare even each other's burdens to be a light and to be a good neighbor at times. All of burdens weigh us down. It cripples us with anger and fear. We sit and think about WHY people are so mean or so evil. I have spent WAY too many hours feeling the WEIGHT on my heart so heavy that my heart would feel like it was being crushed. Yet the bible says to lay every WEIGHT aside. That means as heavy as any burden may be, we must take it off and lay it aside and run with patience the race that is RIGHT NOW set before us. The further instruction is…
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Thank you God for understanding the shame some of us bare. In my lifetime I have been slandered, evil has been spoken of me at times unjustly, and I felt the weight of that shame because I can never fix it. Once someone says the words, they shed doubt in others minds. People are afraid of you. The comfort is knowing that Jesus suffered also evil spoken of him. For he was called a WINE BIBBER, a GLUTTON, a BLASPHEMER!!! This perfect HOLY son of God was called such evil things that were not true. As he was being reviled, he reviled not and he turned and told us to do the same. We can only have joy in that because we know that the son of God it was the JOY that was set before him… JOY? How can enduring the cross be joy? I can’t imagine. Yet he did despise the shame. I heard that right. Jesus despised the shame of it. We all despise the shame of unwarranted persecutions that come in this life. It hurts. I know it hurt our Lord, too, yet the Joy was before him for things to come, the time when he would be seated at the right hand of the father.
What one of us can consider the joy past our trials? It is hard to see through the clouds of disappointment. I make the mistake of trying to figure out WHY people who claim to know Christ are prideful, quick to throw the first stone, assume things, and act in a way that they would not want someone to act toward them. That is the first mistake I make every time!!! We do not have to try to figure it out. That WEIGHT is too heavy. We need to rather not lean on our own understanding. In Proverbs it states…
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We need to rather trust the Lord with all our hearts, knowing he understands. We do not have to. We just need to acknowledge him in everything, EVERYTHING, because it says ALL our ways. Not some of our ways. ALL of them. I love how the bible uses extreme words, like EVERYTHING, ALL, or NOTHING. In this life we never want to be so absolute, but the BIBLE is absolute. There is comfort in that ABSOLUTE! It would not carry as much power if it says you only need to trust God with SOME of your heart. It says ALL of your heart. It also says ALL of your ways, not just some. The promise is that if we give him our ALL, He will direct our paths. That is so reassuring.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:3
We must consider for a moment this…Jesus was perfect and sinless and he endured such contradiction of sinners who were against him. What is contradiction? Contradiction: noun
a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.
Such contradiction. That means a lot of contradiction by people who were not perfect. They rejected him. What do we do when people contradict us? Our kids do. Sometimes our spouse does. Many friends or close family members will be contrary. But hey, we are all imperfect so when we argue, we could have a misunderstanding. Christ was not misunderstood in all his ways that were righteous, the word misunderstood is not the correct word, he was contradicted so wrongly. We can have misunderstandings every day, but there is no misunderstanding GOD. He said this so that we would not be wearied and faint in our minds when we consider what he went through. What Christ went through was completely and utterly for no cause. We should take comfort since we are not always guiltless. I know I have cast my stones when I have been misunderstood. I have a real temptation to vindicate myself or set the record straight when my savior was so much higher than human. He reviled not, nor defended himself, but trusted in the one that judges justly.
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” Hebrews 12:4-5
Chastening of the Lord. Truth be told. I never get away with anything. God will always find me out. I have a healthy fear of my God and know how much he loves me…
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Hebrews 12:6-7
He says he chastens those he loves. What does it mean to be chastened? Well, to put it simply, having consequences to our actions. As with our children, when they do something wrong we correct them. Say our little child rips a toy out of another child’s arms and says, “Give me that, it is MINE!!!” As a good parent we would go over and remove the toy from their hands and not allow them to play with that particular toy. We would then instruct them like this, “Son, that is not nice! You can’t just walk over and rip things out of others arms. You have to ask nicely. If you can’t ask nice then you can’t play with that toy.” Simple. If we did not love our child we would turn from the negative behavior and just let them be nasty and greedy. We don’t care if we turn a deaf ear. If a child grows up in a home where they are allowed to act like a mean person or selfish, no one will like them and they will have a horrible life. They will always be miserable and also miserable to be around. I would go as far as to say we HATE our children if we let them behave like that. God is the same. If he loves us, he will work with us to allow consequences to our actions that will teach us to find a better way. When we get knocked down enough times, like I have been in my life, we tend to have a healthy fear of God knowing that He will always teach us from our actions. I am sometimes a slow learner.
“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:8-9
You think of those people that just never seem to have any affliction. Everything in their hands is as if they have a mysterious Midas Touch where all turns to Gold. They live in plenty, they get away with all kinds of evil. They figure out how to live behind the smokescreen of the bible. You see the bible verses, so much great doctrine, yet so far from LOVE and loving their neighbor as themselves. Double standards. They can chew you out, up and down, one way and back again, spit you out, and never give you a fair day in court. Make no mistake, they are the ones that lose. It used to drive me insane trying to figure out how come some people thrive and how come God does not chasten them like He does with me. I could never sit on a high pedestal in pride like others sometimes can, I will get knocked off my high horse in a matter of minutes. I am not allowed that spot. I am glad though. I feel so loved. God loves me enough to not let me have to answer for more stuff at the end of my days. Instead of trying to understand, I am just thankful for not getting away with it all. God Chastens those he Loves. BUT it does hurt. Man, it hurts bad! I bring it all on myself, too! I would not have it any other way. I do not ever want to get away with anything. The longer I live the more I get rid of the weights and burdens of my own life. It just gets freer and freer as I keep my eyes on Jesus! When we have chastisement, we are called SONS.
When we were children, we have given reverence to our earthly parents. How much more should we give reverence, by obedience to our heavenly Father? And to us our rewards are eternal. We are so blessed to be children of the Most High God!
“For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” Hebrews 12:10
That verse is so comforting to my heart today because we can know that God does this for our own profit so that we can be partakers of his Holiness. It is a refining fire. We are being purified, the impurities are burned away. Yes, the burn hurts!
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11
Oh, no, it does not seem joyous at all. It is very difficult. Some call it DRAMA. Some call it STRESS. Some will call it getting our due. But it is sooooo humbling. After all the guilt or shame, all the regrets, we have this feeling of humility that nothing else in life could ever produce. We may not have any friends. We may stand alone after we make enough dumb mistakes, but we have a deeper connection to the only one who can judge our hearts. The God of all Heaven and Earth is standing in the Gap and he who started a good work is faithful to finish it. It is the peaceable fruit of righteousness that is produced. So amazing is the grace of our Heavenly Father. I would rather have a tree full of fruit in the spirit—alone in a desert than be a common plant in a garden full of weeds that never gets cut or pruned, living sheltered there, never growing and never producing fruit. Did you see that last statement? The fruit comes to those that are exercised by the chastening, meaning it is working in us. It is for our profit. Exercise is done daily to get the best results. Well, when we have chastisement from our loving father, we can consider the daily purging a good thing that is creating some spiritual strength when we need it the most!
“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;” Hebrews 12:12
What a meaningful verse! He knows that our hands sometimes are hanging low. He recognizes this about our condition. He knows we can get so heavy that we are weak in the knees and our head is downcast. I have seen enough people think that we should never be like that. We are weak if we are not always smiling. The inner joy is always there, but sometimes it is just plain hard to smile when you are in the heat of the battle. I can try to smile when I am in a battle, but I am not good at pretending, ask my family! I would sooner die than pretend to be something I am not. You can always trust when I say something nice or smile at you, because I only do that because I really feel it and I mean it. I do admit to getting weak in my knees and my hands hang down and it is the greatest form of worship when in those times, we choose to lift our hands. We can lift them toward our God and we can beg for mercy because he alone understands our pain.
“And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:13
This is the true test for us. We need to keep living. We can’t give up. We are on a race. We need to hold up our hands and set our feet to those straight paths that lead to righteousness in Christ. If we do not we will never heal. We will become crippled with our anxieties, pain, bitterness, and disappointments. Do you ever dwell on things? I have a lot of times in my lifetime. I choose to just sit there and cry, feel every ounce of the pain, hash it over, and over and over. I actually become crippled. I can’t do anything when I get like that. I can’t serve my family, I just sit there feeling sorry for myself. I start leaning on my own mind, on my own understanding. I disables me. It is so selfish and it prevents the process of healing. God is so wise for laying this out for us to understand. I love truth!
Oh, this is good! Here is a marvelous solution…
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” Hebrews 12:14
Following peace with ALL men. There is that word again—ALL!!!! All men. Not just the ones that are peaceful and kind. Even more so those that are hard to deal with. How do we follow peace when it is so hard and you know these people would rather not deal with you at all. ALL! And Holiness???? What is holiness? The definition of Holy is • morally and spiritually excellent. How do we act HOLY with ALL men? But without these two virtues we will NOT see God. Did you read that with me???? Without which (peace and holiness) NO MAN will see the Lord. That is pretty heavy. I am not sure about you, but I want to see the Lord!!! I want to do it his way not mine! So my view of excellence and of all that Jesus represents in His Holiness is divine Love. Love is the answer, folks!
Love is ALWAYS the answer! If you so love your neighbor and they still hate you, what does it profit you? It profits you because you receive MERCY and GRACE from GOD. In the natural it may never heal a relationship even when you humble yourself and act in peace and Love with all your heart. Only God can reward this one!
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” Hebrews 12:15
Oh here it is…the consequence of not doing it God’s way. If we are not looking diligently to His ways of walking in peace and love toward ALL men, we can fail in obtaining the grace of God. The reason is that we can get BITTER. It will spring up and it will trouble us more and more as the days go by. More days of pain.
Bitterness is sour and full of pain. There is nothing good in it. It is rottenness to our bones. It is like picking a scab off a wound. You never heal and the open wound lays bare for the infection and the pain to set in all over again. I have to be diligent with this because of all the disappointments and hurt I have had in my life. I can’t seem to forget when someone hurts me deeply. I rest on my own understanding. I strive to forget. I strive to forgive. I strive in vain. Love is the only cure. I have to pull from every corner of my heart the fullness of the grace, mercy, and love that God has given me so that I can exercise my faith when all I see is darkness. It is a choice every time and it takes so much effort to love those that hurt you without thought. Such a cleansing power we have in the Blood of Christ, because it can wash away bitterness and make us so humble by the cost of what Christ did on our behalf even when we were yet sinners. There was a time when we forsook our God and did not thank him.
There is so much to pull from these precious words of Life.
The bottom line is LOVE. Love is the cure! To love our neighbors as ourselves. Living peaceable with ALL men no matter what the offense. I know that there are some people that I have learned to be kind at a distance. You can’t always be close to ALL men, you don’t have to. You just have to act peaceful. So if you see a person that has hurt you, you can smile and say hello just to be peaceful and loving, yet you do not have to be their best friend. Only God can bring people together and heal the relationship to a point of full restoration. It is okay if we have to walk alone sometimes, it is in those times that we draw our energy and love from above. We must be diligent to always look around and thank God for everything He has given us. I know I am so blessed. Blessed beyond what I could ever deserve. I may not have done all things right, but I want to be right with God. I want to seek His face daily and be thankful in ALL THINGS! We just need to focus on all the right things. JOY IS A CHOICE. Don't forget that!
I love this verse… “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8