Sunday, January 29, 2017

Run the Race

One of my favorite passages in the Bible has to be in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:1-3
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. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Isn't it interesting how the author writes, "let us run?"

I love the way The Message puts it:
"Strip down, start running—and never quit!"
Stay focused. As simple as that sounds, it truly is difficult. Distractions, worldly things and materialistic possessions get in our way and slow us down. The enemy will do anything possible to throw us off course, to mislead us. Try to figure out what is causing you to stumble and what is preventing you from running?

Galatians 5:7-10
You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant.
Remember the main goal: finishing the race and completing the task.

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
When it comes to this crucial race, we must always keep in mind the ultimate goal, and that all the hard work and suffering will be entirely worth it.

2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Call for Help

I think this world thinks we have it all under control. We've been taught to hide weaknesses and we've also been told to hide our suffering, our emotions, hurt and pain. We must stop pretending we have it all together.

I love how Hillsong United puts it:
I found my life when I laid it down
When you surrender everything, every feeling and emotion you have, to Jesus, you find life and peace. It's out of your control now and in His hands. There's freedom in simply letting go.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus calls Peter to walk on water, and as soon as Peter was beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Peter had confidence in Jesus that he would save him in that instant and not let him fall.

And then this happened next:
"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him."
When you call out for Jesus' help, He's got you.

Psalm 18:6
"In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears."
Psalm 120:1
"I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me."
Psalm 54:4
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me."
Hebrews 2:18
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." 
And I love how Psalm 46:1 beautifully states how God is an "ever-present" help.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
I think we forget that we have an ultimate helper who we can call on at any moment. And we forget that He wants to help us. He desires us to have "great faith" when calling upon His name, knowing He is our true source of help.

Take a look at a passage in the book of Matthew, about a Canaanite woman's faith. She cried out to Jesus, and she knew He was the one, the only one, who could help and heal her.
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs." "Yes it is, Lord," she said. "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table." Then Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed at that moment.
He understands exactly what you're going through. In fact, He's in the storm with you.

Meditate on Chris Tomlin's lyrics in "Jesus"
Who walks on the waters 
Who speaks to the sea 
Who stands in the fire beside me 
He roars like a lion 
He bled as the lamb 
He carries my healing in his hands 
We can't do this on our own. Over the course of this year, I've learned how much Jesus truly gets each and every one of our situations. I would distance myself from God sometimes and tell Him that He just doesn't understand what I'm going through, that what I'm battling is too different for Him. He knows exactly how you feel in this moment. The temptation or struggle that you're battling right now isn't unfamiliar to Jesus. Talk to Him about it.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.