Tag Archive: hebrews 12

DAYS 36-38

i know, i know, you got me on this one – definitely bitten off more than i can chew… so another weekend Lent Observance to give me a chance to breathe in deeply and spend some more time reflecting than simply writing about reflecting – also i have two preaches on Sunday so it’s a bit of a crazy busy weekend…

and we’re about to run out of 40ish days of Lent but Easter is still a whole week away so we might have gained some days in here somewhere… feels like a different time zones thing… oh well, i hope that for any of you who have been following along with this that there have been some helpful days and times in here…

i think for these three days i will focus on a verse/passage for each day and link it to a post i have already made on those passages and so the opportunity to really dig a little bit deeper maybe than normal and see what God might be wanting to say to you through a scripture you probably have already heard many times before:

DAY 36

 ‘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. Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.’ 

TaskClick on this link and read through the meditation on Hebrews 12.1-12

DAY 37

Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. 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.”

Task: Click on this link and read through the meditation on Romans 12.1-2

DAY 38

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

28 Do you not know?Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Task: Click on this link and read through the meditation on Isaiah 40.27-31

[For the next part of our Lent Observance, click here]

I learned the first three verses of Hebrew 12 at Christmas time in the city of Amsterdam in Holland in 2000.

it remains one of my favorite go to verses and is both highly challenging and encouraging. it is also an excellent verse to consider as we had towards the new year, time of new beginnings and so on…

i was doing a discipleship training school (DTS) with youth with a mission (YWAM) and before we hit the streets, we were all given a scripture to learn and then pass on to someone we met.

i feel like so much of the gospel message is contained in this passage:


‘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. Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.’

As you look ahead to the beginning of a new year, why not give this first part some significant time and attention:

# Throw off everything that hinders:

what is there in your life that is hindering you in your walk with God? besides obvious sin which we will get to in a moment, could it be that your current lifestyle is so busy, that you don’t make regular space or time for God? time to read the bible… time to talk to God or simply be still and listen to what He might be wanting to say? time to honestly wrestle with the ideas of scripture and what that means in terms of how you live your life… What can you put into place as you head into the new year that will remove that hindrance and help strengthen your walk with God? Regular time in your schedule, someone to meet with, perhaps a new book or journal to help you be intentional about this?

is there maybe anger or disappointment or confusion that you are feeling towards God for something you feel He has or hasn’t done? Maybe removing the hindrance is as simply as speaking or writing it out. Addressing your feelings with the confidence that God is secure enough on His throne to be able to take whatever you have to share with Him. And deeply desiring the interaction with you.

is there a distraction in your life, a time waster or procrastination activity that is stopping you from living a fuller more effective life? is it a computer game that is draining hours of your time or perhaps a facebook application or a site like Instagram or Pinterest [or even Facebook itself?] that turns minutes into hours without you realising, day after day? perhaps it is sport or tv watching or music? a lot of these things aren’t bad things in and of themselves… but when they start to rob you of a couple of hours per day then perhaps there are more useful things you could be doing with a lot more of your time. Is there something you need to reduce or cut out of your life as you head into 2014? 

maybe it’s a relationship? It could be a dating one or else just a friendship which is proving detrimental to your life and well-being. It could be a toxic relationship that is influencing you in a negative way and every time you spend with that person you end up doing stuff you don’t want to do or becoming the kind of person you don’t really want to be. It might be a bad habit in your life that is affecting your marriage or a family relationship… or even something that you have done that you need to apologise for or repent of. it could also be the lack of a relationship that is hindering you in your walk with God? someone to mentor or encourage you or even just to be able to listen to your struggles or pain. If there is someone who needs to be added or possibly stepped away from, maybe even just for a season of time, then make a plan to initiate that.

So whatever it is, and it could be a number of different things, and might even be more than one, if there is anything that is hindering you, distracting you, preventing you from living the fullest life you could be, then make a plan to throw off everything that hinders so that you can start the new year well.

#Cast off the sin that so easily entangles:

– is there any sin in your life that needs dealing with? Decide now to get intentional with repenting and walking differently from now.

– is there perhaps some sin that you have minimalised by calling it something else? a bad habit or “just who i am”

– is there sin you’ve given up on because ‘i cant help it’ has become your go to defence?

Know that God is bigGER. Know that He is able to do more than you have experienced up to this point. Know that He desires to help you to cast off any sin that causes you to be less than who you were designed to be. Take it to Him, confess what has been dragging you down and resolve in His strength to walk away from it.

One of the greatest pieces of mentoring advice i ever got was to “Keep a short account with God” – much like a bar tab that you keep adding to, the less frequently you deal with your sin, the more it builds up and often shames you into not even wanting to approach God at all. So make regular times of confession, even if it is something you have struggled with for a long time, just keep going back and restoring relationship and inviting Him to empower you to take it down completely.

Cast off the sin that so easily entangles.

The rest of it is the how. And it is quite simple [in one sense] The best way to run the race we have been called to [which is always a kingdom of God building race] with perseverance is to throw off the things that have hindered and cast off the sin that has entangled your legs and to “Fix your eyes upon Jesus” – so we need to regularly make sure that our gaze is firmly on Him and be reminded that He is cheering us on loudly [He is in heaven interceding on our behalf] and it is in Jesus Christ that we can “do all things” [Philippians 4.13] What makes is a little easier is knowing that Jesus [A] is the author of our faith – He created us and knows how this thing works well and so it makes sense that we look to Him for guidance and strength, and [B] endured the cross – He has experienced life and death on earth and so He knows the struggles of temptation and physical duress. He is not commentating as one removed, but He speaks to as as one who gets it.

Powerful, powerful stuff and a scripture worth committing to memory and living out well.

[For my next favourite verse – Romans 12.1-2 – click here]

[For the growing list of all my favourite verses, click here]

what an incredible psalm.

we know it was ‘To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks” which makes me wonder what type of genre song that was? is this David at his hip hop best? the title does have more of a country feel to it, or maybe a rock ballad? who knows, but it makes for interesting speculation.

we also know this psalm is from ‘when the Philistines seized him in Gath’ so i’m picturing David sitting with his journal and pencil in a Philistine prison, okay probably not but then how did they write stuff in those days?

but two powerful concepts are waiting for you here:

By this I will know that God is for me. [vs. 9b]

i wonder how many christians believe that.

and maybe if more unbelievers could wrap their faith around that idea they would be more quick to follow.

do you actually really believe God is for you? or is your picture of Him closer to a ‘traditional old testament’ view of God – the angry headmaster just waiting for you to step out of line so he can march you to his office and exact the worst kind of humiliating punishment on you?

but David seems confident – by this i will KNOW that God is for me.

one picture i have of God which i find particularly helpful is the idea of a father standing at the finish line of a 100m race screaming his lungs out in cheering me on. He is not running the race for me, but he is giving me complete support and encouragement and motivation.

the passage that first brought this to mind was Hebrews 12, the first three verses:

‘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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ 

Know that your God is for you!

 the second Truth to hold on to or invite is this one:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. 

What can mere mortals do to me? [v. 3-4]

trusting God is obviously an important one and knowing He is the one we should run towards when tragedy strikes [and not away from, or towards in blame] but i am more looking at that last line – What can mere mortals do to me?

this week has been a bit of a tough one for me personally in terms of understanding just how easy it is to let mere mortals affect me, but it’s all about knowing that my core foundation stands firm on God. no matter how irritated people get with me or upset with what i say or how i come across, it really doesn’t matter. i know who i am in God and my identity stands firm in Him. when that really kicks in then it becomes so true that what can mere mortals do to me? nothing.

the two go hand in hand – i know my God is for me, and because of that, what can man do to me?’

do you know these two?

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

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