Lay Aside Every Hindrance

Lay Aside Every Hindrance

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, 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.  (Heb 12:1-2)

A hindrance is something that holds us up or slows us down.  In this verse, we’re told to lay aside every “weight.”  This passage reminds us to put aside every hindrance, weakness or barrier that would attempt to slow us down in our race to eternal salvation.

We must run our race with patience.  How do we run with patience?  We run resolutely, persistently, and uncomplainingly. 

The Lord Jesus gives us stamina, purpose and fortitude as we trust Him to strengthen us, and to pour out His grace upon our lives.  Jesus is called the “author and finisher” of our faith.  We must cling to Him and to our faith in His finished work.

Jesus is our example, and He didn’t weaken, yield or hesitate in His destined path to the cross on Calvary.  Jesus knew Who He placed His trust and hope in; Jesus placed it in His loving, heavenly Father who would never fail.  We need the same life mindset that is expressed in the following Bible verse:

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.  (2 Tim 1:12)

Commit your faith, your life, and your path to the Lord Jesus, the faithful One. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  (Heb 12:14 ESV)

. . . let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11 NKJV)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
  (Mt 5:8-9)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  (1 Tim 6:11)

STRIVE means to struggle, do your utmost, and to make every effort.  So the Bible is instructing us to pull out all the stops to be at peace with everyone and to live holy lives so that we will see the Lord. 

We want to turn away from evil, and live moral, virtuous and upright lives.  A certain path towards good is to look for peace and to take every opportunity to promote and to practice peace.  Jesus said that peacemakers would be called sons of God.  (Mt 5:9)

The Holy Spirit leads us to flee evil, vice and iniquity.  The Holy Spirit will inspire us to chase after and to exercise righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  The Lord also gives us His empowering grace in order to live each day victoriously and with joy.

The Bible reminds us in several passages that the Holy Spirit is our teacher.  (Lk 12:12; Joh 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13)  We need to allow Him to teach us and to lead us in the paths where He wants us to walk.  Submit to the Lord’s wisdom and guidance joyfully.

God Has Chosen the Weak

God Has Chosen the Weak

In this article, we’re going to think about how inadequate many of us may feel to serve the Lord.  Especially when the Lord has called us to a specific task or calling in life.

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.”   (Jer 1:7 ESV)  Man’s excuse:  I’m too young, Lord!

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  (Exod 3:11)  Translation:  But Lord, I’m a nobody—I’m insignificant!

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  (Exod 4:10)  Paraphrase:  Oh, Lord, I’m just not gifted or talented enough to do this.

But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”  (Exod 4:13)  Translation:  Please don’t ask me to do this!  Won’t you please send someone else?

Face your fears and resist them!  When God calls you, He equips you and gives you the grace that you need in order to empower and to enable you to fulfill His call.  (See Heb 13:21)

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  (2 Cor 9:8)  God gives us more than we need in order to lavishly perform good works in His name.  Not only that, He will give us mentors and teachers to train us.

God has a strategy in choosing ordinary, sometimes under-educated human beings to do His work in the earth!  He chooses people who may even be despised in order to frustrate and to thwart evil powers and principalities.  God’s ways are higher than ours–better than ours.  (1 Cor 1:25)

He causes His own glory to be seen in us!  What an honor.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  (Isa 60:1 ESV)

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.  (1 Cor 1:26-29)

Revel in your weaknesses and recognize that living in and through Christ is your true strength and your hope.  (2 Cor 12:9)   God bless you.

Be Watchful

Be Watchful

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (2 Tim 4:5)

. . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—  (Eph 6:18)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  (1 Pet 4:7)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  (1 Cor 16:13)

Often the Bible urges us to watch as well as to pray.  (Mk 13:33; 14:38; Lk 21:36; Eph 6:18)  It’s important that these two actions go hand in hand. 

Watch means to stay awake; to be sleepless.  We need to take this command literally as well as spiritually.  We are meant to be vigilant, on guard, alert, and intently aware.  Spiritual watching combined with prayer will give us the strength we need to resist temptation and to overcome difficult situations in life.

Staying awake is connected with righteousness.  (1 Cor 15:34)  If ever there has been a time to stay alert and focused, it is NOW.  Many scholars believe that we are living in what is called the “end times.”  We must focus on strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ and living a holy life, by the grace which He imparts to us.

Believers must be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ; we must guard against temptation; and we should pray without ceasing.  We should prepare for the completion (conclusion) of our salvation!

“Vigilant watchfulness is a manifestation of genuine spiritual life.” ~ Billy Graham

How to Deal With Offenses

How to Deal With Offenses

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  (Ps 32:1)

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.  (Pro 19:11)

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Mat 6:15)

Some synonyms for the word OFFENSE are:  crime; wrongdoing; transgression; insult; affront; barb; attack; sin; or assault.

When we offend someone, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it is crucial for us to seek to understand how it happened, and to try to soothe and calm the situation.  This can only happen through the grace and wisdom of God.  The Lord will help us and support us with His guidance so that we may work through these situations.

Seek the Lord and pray for His wisdom and guidance in dealing with any offense that you have committed.  Ask the Lord to forgive you, and ask Him to give you wisdom, and also ask Him for divine favor with the person whom you have offended. 

Go to the person that you’ve offended and ask them to forgive you.  Be sincere in your apology, and remain contrite during any discussion so that the person may see that you are truly seeking reconciliation.  Try, as discreetly as possible, to understand what exactly gave offense because you seriously don’t want to repeat it.

If you are the person who is offended, think about what happened and determine what specifically made the exchange offensive or hurtful to you.  Take it to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to heal the wound and to give you His grace to forgive the person who offended you.  He is the Prince of Peace and will bring His peace to your situation and to the relationship if you will put it in His hands.

If the person asks to meet with you, agree to it.  When they ask you to forgive them, do it as unto the Lord.  If the person isn’t a Christian or doesn’t seek reconciliation, then it’s a matter best handled between you and the Lord.  You can forgive and release that person from their offense, and the Lord will see your heart and your sincerity.  He will bless you for your obedience to His Word.  (Ps 32:1; Pro 19:11; Mat 6:15)

We keep short accounts by reviewing the day’s events in the evening.  In a quiet time with the Lord, determine if there are any offenses that you committed and if any were committed against you.  Try to deal with them as quickly, Biblically, and wisely as possible. 

It’s vital that we live in such a way that we don’t give offense to others because in 1 Corinthians 10:32 and 2 Corinthians 6:3 we’re instructed to be inoffensive to all

Banner of Love

Banner of Love

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.  (SOS 2:4 NKJV)

In the Bible, many times when the word banner is used, it is referring to a flag.  Armies carry flags and kingdoms display flags to identify and declare several things: 

  • The identity of the King who rules in a certain country and in whose name a particular army fights;
  • The identity of the kingdom to whom an army has pledged its loyalty and steadfastness;
  • The identity of the kingdom that has supplied (and will continue to supply) an army;
  • The identity of the King and the kingdom which will protect an army or a country.

In the instance of the verse shown at the top of this article, the word banner has additional implications to those mentioned above:

  1. The King signified by this banner is King Jesus (the King of Kings and Lord of Lords), who has established His banner, authority, and might in LOVE;
  2. The Kingdom that displays this banner of love not only supplies food, armaments, and other supplies but it also supplies grace to its army and to its people;
  3. This banner represents a Kingdom of loveliness, security, unity, and loyalty;
  4. One of the seven names of God, Jehovah Nissi, means “The Lord our Banner.” (Exodus 17:14-15) The Bible reminds us that God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8, 16b)  Praise the Lord that His banner over us is love!

In John Gill’s Exposition on Song of Solomon 2:4, he says:  “ . . . the covenant of grace and the Scriptures of truth may be thought of as a banqueting house, well stored with blessings, and promises, and rich provisions; which, to be led and let into, is a singular kindness . . .”

As the children of God, we are a blessed people and I recommend thinking about this at length. 

Approaching the Throne

Approaching the Throne

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb 4:16)

In this wonderful passage from the Bible, the Lord is telling us that in Jesus, our Savior, we may approach the throne of grace [the heavenly throne that dispenses unearned favor or gifts to the undeserving] with confidence and boldness.  What a gift this is to the redeemed!

.  . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus . . .  (Rom 3:24)  Jesus has justified us—WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS, liberally, and unreservedly—in Christ Jesus.  All of our sins have been forgiven:  past, present, and future.  Of course, we need to review our daily lives and to repent for any sin we may have committed before we retire each evening.  This exercise helps to us to remain humble and tender-hearted before the Lord, and to recognize our ongoing need for Him and His perfect salvation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Rom 5:8)  We receive such blessings from God because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us motivated by pure love!   

So, let us continually approach the Lord in prayer, praise, repentance, and thanksgiving.  It pleases the Lord very much when we take advantage of the many blessings, provisions, promises, and benefits that Jesus has already purchased for each one of us.  Approaching the throne of the living God is one of our many blessings!  This is reason for us to be filled with profound joy.