I know God speaks, but do I want to listen? I am doing just fine on my own.
I know God speaks, but do I want to listen? I am doing just fine on my own.
Come with joyful songs! For the Lord is good and his love endures forever!
Come, enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!
Come as God’s precious child and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ, for God’s faithfulness continues through all generations!
Come to Christ when your work burdens you down and find rest for your soul!
Come, when the process is long and your losing your song in the night, and hear the cloud of faithful witness cheering you on!
Come, when your spirit has been drained by your cares for the people around you, and let your soul be refreshed in God’s Kingdom!
Come with your broken heart or your pillows soaked in tears, and allow God to comfort you!
Come from the turmoil of your work and experience God’s peace that passes all understanding!
Come in humility and trust out of the midst of the noise of bullies and self-proclaimed heroes to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Come when you are hungering and thirsting for righteousness in your workplace, and allow God to fill your soul to overflowing with love, joy, peace and the deepest longings of your heart!
Come in purity of heart and see God in all his glory, majesty, splendor and holiness!
Come as a child and crawl confidently into God’s lap, or leap into God’s arms and soak in God’s love as he hugs you tightly!
Come when you are persecuted for righteousness – for you do not belong to this world, but to the kingdom of heaven!
Come when you have sinned and allow the blood of Christ to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and wash your sins away never to be remembered again. Then bow down at the feet of the Living God, the Holy and Righteous Judge – you won’t be condemned!
Come, you won’t be chased away! You will be welcomed! This is where you belong!
Come joyfully to worship and celebrate with the assembly of angels in God’s presence!
Come proclaiming “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Heb 12:22-24)
What thoughts go through your mind, when you read the phrase “The Lord disciplines the one he loves”?
God’s discipline is not an isolated character trait. God’s discipline is intricately and intimately woven into his character and love for you. God’s discipline is not meant to discourage you, or impede you from running the race God laid out for you before you were born. It’s the complete opposite!
God’s discipline is a demonstration of the depths of God’s love for you. Those times when God out of his infinite wisdom and mercy chooses to discipline you is your assurance that you are God’s precious son or daughter. God’s discipline is not the natural consequences of your choices. God’s discipline is absolutely not punishment for your sins, because Christ has already paid the price for your sins. God’s discipline is not the effects of living in a fallen world. God disciplines you because he loves you.
God’s discipline and God’s provision of our daily bread enable us to persevere, to keep our eyes focused on Christ and to experience the joy of running the race. God’s discipline comes from the same right hand that delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and the same loving hand that raised Jesus from the dead. God our Heavenly Father disciplines us so that we can enjoy the depths of intimate fellowship with him.
God’s discipline is not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of those around you. God’s discipline is training you to live at peace with everyone, including those you really wish you didn’t have to live at peace with. By discipline, training, perseverance, and obedience in the ordinary everyday things of life, your right relationship with God brings peace and joy to those around you. Through God’s discipline you are able to make level paths for the feet for the physically, emotionally, or spiritually wounded so that they can come to Christ for healing and strength. Because of God’s discipline you are an example of a life of holiness to those around you.
God loves you so much that he will discipline you how and when he deems best. Don’t resent God’s rebuke, don’t become hardened or discouraged or anxious under God’s discipline. Instead pour out your soul to God and plead with God to show you his grace and love so that you can humbly submit to his discipline. Because Christ died for you, because God loves you, because of God’s discipline you are being transformed into his likeness and sharing in his holiness so that you will be present with Christ in glory!
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.(Hebrews 12:1-2)
Persevere in your faith. The multitudes of Christians who have gone before you, living lives grounded in God’s grace, are cheering you on to continue to be faithful. They have proven that God is faithful. Their lives are a testimony of God’s unseen power to deliver. They assure you that God’s promises are real, reliable and trustworthy.
The life of faith that you are called to live was chosen for you by God before you were born. God is too wise to have made a mistake about the unique path of faith you are called to follow. Endure to the end on the path God laid out for you with patient obedience and reliance on God’s promises and power.
Be careful! There are many things along this path that will tempt you, burden you and drag you down, or tangle up your feet so that you can’t move forward.
Don’t fall in the trap of comparing yourself or your path to other people. Your journey of faith is unique. Jesus reminded Peter, that Peter must follow Jesus and not worry about God’s plans other disciples.
Don’t be tempted by the god’s of this world. Heed the warning given by the lives of the Israelites who didn’t remove all the idols from the land of Caanan. Those idols ensnared them and they ended up forsaking God for idols.
Guard your tongue. “For the mouths of fools are their undoing and their lips are a snare to their very lives” (Prov 18:7). “A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare” (Prov 21:6).
Perhaps you are like Jonah, or David and Bathsheba and find yourself caught in sin. Sin which has entangled you keeps you from moving forward in your life. Sin clouds your vision so you can’t see God’s light along your path. The same peace that David testified to in the Psalms when he confessed his sin, is available to you. When you confess your sin and admit your mistakes Jesus will freely forgive you, and once again you will be able to relax and rest as you enjoy the grace, joy and peace of our loving Savior.
As you are faithfully doing your job day in and day out, as a parent or an employee be assured that there are no little people and no little places in God’s Kingdom. You have the same infinite value as every person of faith. Ruth and Naomi bear witness to the possibilities of an unassuming life of faith.
Maybe some of you are looking at all you have accomplished like the man in Jesus’ parable who had just reaped an abundant harvest and was looking to build bigger barns. Others of you know that what you have built is holding together precariously like a house of cards and you are afraid that it will all fall apart if you move on. Just as Joseph faithfully believed that God would deliver his descendants back to the Promised Land, you can release what you have built (your church, your company, your department, your program, your ministry) into God hands and trust God to redeem, restore and deliver.
Maybe you feel like you aren’t qualified or capable, like Moses when God called him from a burning bush. Moses life demonstrates that God equips those he calls with the right stuff at the right time. Moses is cheering you on as you obediently take each step in faith, trusting in God to equip you.
Persevere with your eyes fixed on Jesus so you don’t have to worry about being snared by sin. Jesus sees the temptations and snares around you, and will safely guide you past them. If you have taken your eyes off Jesus, look again at Jesus and see the compassion and love in his eyes for you. He understands your struggles and doubts for he has experienced these himself. He is your High Priest who offers you the cleansing and forgiveness you need so that it is possible for you to enter God’s presence right now.
Your faith depends on Jesus alone from start to finish. Jesus has blazed the trail of faith to its triumphant finish at throne room of heaven, and now walks beside you. Jesus is the fully sufficient Savior who alone is enabling you to persevere and attain the goal of your faith.
As you look at Jesus, see the joy that awaits you in God’s Kingdom. Persevere in your faith with your eyes fixed on Jesus who is waiting for you at the finish line. Jesus is fully sufficient! You don’t need anything else or anyone else. Your destiny is not in the hands of other people, managers, rulers or the government. Your life is safe in the strong hands of Jesus, the King of Kings, who is sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven.
Persevere to the end! Finish the race! Keep the faith! There is in store for you the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to you on that day. (Heb 4:7-8)