Monday, March 22, 2010

It starts with getting out of bed ...

Good morning my friends. I have to admit, there are some mornings I would rather sleep for another hour than to get up to write this blog. It takes an effort to remember that this is MY morning devotions, when the Spirit speaks to ME and gets My heart oriented for the day. It's hard when I am tired but if I do not maintain this discipline then much of my preaching is useless as I fail to demonstrate that what I preach is truth. Of course then it is no surprise that as these thoughts bounce around in my head  I should open the Word and read:

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 on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 11:1-3)

Some people read this blog and have this mistaken notion that I have a plan for the teaching or instruction that is given here. I am sorry to disappoint you but I am only a man trying to work out my salvation daily and letting you in on God's conversation with me. This is the Spirit's Word to my unfaithful heart this morning:

     Since we are ...
     Let us ...
     Let us ...
     Let us ...
     Consider ... so that ...

That is the action plan for today, handed to me by the Holy Spirit so that this weak soldier can be of some use. Regardless of how I FEEL I have been told to consider how others pushed through because they trusted God's faithfulness. I am sure there were some mornings Abraham did not want to face his day. What about poor Noah? How long exactly did he have to face building that boat while others laughed at him? I wonder how many mornings the Spirit had to prod him in the morning. We know for certain that Moses had his rough mornings. Yet, they are examples to us of God doing great things through such weak people and it started with them getting up every morning. They put their confidence in God and trusted him for strength and hope. As I consider them I also realize they did not have the advantage I have this morning, of having such an awesome relationship with Jesus.

Now, since I have all this encouragement from these past witnesses there are a few "let us" that fall into place. First of all, let us take their example and cut loose anything that has us all tangled up, including sin so that we can be freed to run this course that God has given to us. It is a bit easier to run with perseverance when we cut loose anything that does not help us. If it does not help it becomes a hindrance, a distraction, a nuisance, a weight. We are also aware of the sin that is a weakness to us, that won't let us be the great runners we were called to be. Confess, it, share it with someone, become accountable, let the Spirit deal with it in you, cut it loose. If it is not helping it is hindering.

I already mentioned the next "let us" but it bears mentioning again. Get it fixed in your head that this course is not always going to be easily. It is going to take perseverance beyond your ability. You are going to hit walls, have great days of frustration and doubt will often come knocking. There will be days when you would rather stay in bed and there will be weeks of failures. There is a reason why we are constantly told to push through, to persevere in it; because it is hard. Do not be surprised by it. Some of you may be going back to jogging as the weather turns nice. You know what you are up against. It will not be easy as you push yourself. If you can understand this then spiritually you should not be surprised when you meet with resistance each day as you do what does not come natural in this world.

Of course there is only one way to do this: we have to get our eyes fixed on Jesus. This does not mean the occasional glance. It means absolutely focused on Jesus as our goal. Again back to the joggers. You have a goal in mind. You want to achieve something. If you don't then you won't be running for long. Without a goal we are unable to persevere, to push through to make it to the end because we do not know what  the end is. In this "daily working out" of our salvation we know that Jesus is our goal, so we have to get our eyes fixed on that goal or none of this makes any sense and we will not push on.

Now with Jesus fixed in our sight as our goal we need to consider him. Do not simply have this image of Jesus in your head; actually study him, get to know him and realize the example he has given us. Consider him, understanding that he told us that we would do even greater things than he did, realizing he has made it possible for us to live such a worthwhile life. As we do this our weariness will fall away and new strength will come in. The idea of rolling over and going back to sleep will disappear. If we were losing heart we will find new strength to excel despite the circumstances and hardships. With Jesus fixed before us, with the realization of everything he faced and overcame, with the realization he made it possible to do the same, we will press on.

As you face your day please keep in mind that you play a vital part in the mission. You have much to contribute to the Body even if you do not realize your place in it. What you do today and how you face it could be the deciding factor in someone making the decision for Jesus. The fact that you do not quit today will change someone's life; that life may be your own. Stop and think of everything the heroes of faith accomplished and then realize it happened because they made the decision to get out of bed and serve. It starts with getting out of bed today.

5 comments:

PJ said...

Good Morning! I totally agree! Fist let me say that while I Totally agree and enjoy your post, I was glad to see that there is someone else out here with 0 comments! LOL!
I'm going through a wilderness right now. I don't know how to cut down my posts so that people will read and enjoy it. I keep rambling, sort of like I'm doing here. God Bless you.

PJ

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement, Pastor Paul. I think we'd often be amazed at how some of our more mundane, dull, or even unpleasant moments provide opportunities to bless and encourage others. Just by clinging to Jesus, even if it is by our finger nails, people can see how faithful He is.

I remember one incident at my daughter's school when I was volunteering for hotdog day, and God used my bumbling, awkward, clumsy efforts...okay, failures...to help others feel comfortable around me, to break down the walls ~ "Yeah, she's a church lady, but she squirted mustard on 3 kids and made little Jimmy cry...how hoity-toity can she be?!" LOL!!

Thanks for sharing your devotion time with us...

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PJ said...

Hi Pastor Paul, I just wanted to let you know that I forgot to let you know about my Book Give-Away for a book titled "Should We Fire God- Find Hope in God When You Don't Understand." It's a really good book. To enter, just leave a comment referencing the Give-Away, and or Follow on Google, Facebook, or Twitter. You receive one entry for each action (1-4 entries). Be sure and let me know how you are following me if you do. Here is my link. http://pjsprayerline.blogspot.com/2010/03/book-review-should-we-fire-god.html

God Bless!

PJ

Pastor Paul said...

Too funny. I have been doing this for years as devotions for my church and students. I am not use to anyone leaving comments and rarely notice. But thank you both for your fine words of encouragement. May the Lord bless you immensely as you serve him today.