Monthly Archives: March 2014

Be Faithful

I love this time of reading through the Scriptures and just allowing God to freely speak to me. It is a rewarding and growing experience. Over the last week and a bit I have been reading through the rest of Hebrews (ch.7-13). God has some powerful reminders for me and others as we walk this journey called life.

Chapters 7-9:

I found these chapters to be about COVENANTS. Have you ever made a covenant with God? In The Salvation Army, to become a soldier a person signs a Soldiers Covenant and also as an Officer in the Army one signs a covenant. I am blessed to have signed both of these. I often look at both of these signed documents that hang in my office. These are promises and commitments that I have made to God. Yes, they are being carried out through the work of The Salvation Army, but covenants are between you and God.

One of the things that jumped out at me in Chapter 7, was that a covenant is for life, not just a period of time. At this point in my life, I am okay with that. However, I do know of friends who signed an Officer’s Covenant who are no longer officers. I struggle with the changing or ending of a covenant, but like I have said a covenant that I sign is between me and God. What does covenant mean to you?

In chapter 8, I am reminded that once I have entered into this covenant it has erased everything that was before it. I am relieved! This means all the mistakes and wrong turns I took in my younger days have been erased. Yes, I have confessed years ago, but part of me still carried some guilt of these bad choices. God has erased them. It would be great if when God erases our past mistakes that they could be erased from others’ memories as well!

This chapter also challenges me to stay true to my covenant and not be trying to cut corners or take short cuts. Staying true to God only draws me closer to him. It is definitely a better decision for me to make. I think this is why I am often looking and re-reading my covenants to make sure that I am still upholding them.

But what happens when I fail? Chapter 9 reassures me that I need to continue in my covenant with God, daily seeking forgiveness, guidance, strength and comfort. It is a daily recommitment to him of the promises I have made. It is a daily fight to stay true to them and some days are better than others. God is there giving me the forgiveness and guidance I need.

Chapters 10-13:

The last several chapters of Hebrews is all about being faithful to the one true God. Persevere through the difficulties and hard times. Keep strong during the attacks. Standing firm in my faith in all times.

In Chapter 10, verse 22 really stuck out to me:
“let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (NLT)

Going into God’s presence with a true, clean heart is such a wonderful experience. Reminding myself that Christ’s blood has made me clean. There is a song we sing that has the line, ‘Nothing but thy blood can cleanse me.’ What assurance we have that a sprinkle of Christ’s blood can cleanse us.

The history of the faithful noted in chapter 11 is always encouraging to me. No matter what I face, as long as I remain faithful to God everything will work out in the end. While the reward may not come while I am on this earth, I may receive it in heaven. But I am assured in these verses that God remains faithful on his promises when we remain faithful to him.

Encouragement and discipline. I like the first, but not too eager to receive the second! In chapter 12 we are reminded that God disciplines those he loves, those he considers his children. I am a child of God and will be disciplined by my Heavenly Father, just as I was disciplined by my earthly father in my youth.

However, we receive some encouragement in verses 5&6
“My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” (NLT)

Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are loved so much that God will take the time (and patience) to correct us when we make mistakes.

The final chapter in Hebrews reminds us to love each other and to help those in need. It also provides us with a warning. Don’t let new, strange ideas take us away from God. The world will tempt us in many ways and many new way of thinking that will draw us away from God. Stay close to God. Know when it is God speaking to you and when it is not. Verse 8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If we believe this is true, then why is there a need to change what we believe.

Lately I have been challenged by this. There has been so many different opinions about different issues and when trying to stay firm to what the Bible tells us, I have been met with criticism and doubt. There is not doubt that the world has changed in the years since the Bible was written. But the truths of the Bible remain the same. I firmly believe that they are still relevant today as they were in the early days. I am standing firm on these beliefs and know that when I remain faithful to God, he will be there to give me the strength and guidance I need.

Keep strong, my friends!

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Growth Needed

As I have read through the first six chapters of the book of Hebrews I was reminded of the importance of continual growth during my spiritual journey.

Chapter 1:
In this chapter we are reminded that God puts his son first. This made me think of what do I put first in my life. I think that most days God is a priority in my life, but honestly, He is one of a few. Trusting in God at all times and turning to him first in all circumstances is an on-going battle with my independent spirit. I am getting there, but still have a ways to go.

Chapter 2:
This chapter is all about comfort and safety for me. It tells how we are placed under the angels. The visual I got while reading it was one of the multitude of angels spreading their wings protecting me, keeping me safe. It is very reassuring that God values us so much that he places us this close to his angels. The other key message for me was found in verse 18. No matter what I am going through, he understands as he has experienced it. There is no need for me to worry about the situation or even worry about telling him about it as he understands. Nothing is too small for God to care about.

Chapter 3:
I found this chapter to be on the similar path as chapter one. It is all about my focus. My focus needs to be on Jesus all the time. This chapter reminds us what happened to the people that Moses lead to the Promise Land who never got to entered it as they took their eyes off The Lord. I feel that over the last several years this is an area that I have grown in. I am feeling more connected when making decisions and in most situations that my eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus.

Chapter 4:
This chapter is always a challenge for me. It is about the importance of Sabbath rest. I get very frustrated with myself as I don’t think that I ever take a full day to just rest in his presence. I have been told by others that even a half day rest is better than none. But God really stresses the importance of a Sabbath rest. I am learning to take longer periods of time, but I always seem to come up with excuses for not doing it. It was interesting with this chapter as it was about rest and also about the Word of God being active. His Word is alive and active, but in order to truly discover these truths, I need to be resting in his presence. It all makes sense, just difficult to put into practice.

Chapter 5:
I like the truth in this chapter about people being chosen among the people for certain tasks/jobs, in this case the role of the high priest, but that they are appointed by God. In thinking my ministry, I believe that this is true. While the leaders of The Salvation Army may have chosen my husband and I to be in Chatham-Kent, I truly feel that God was the one who appointed us here. It is through this appointment of God that I gather my strength and purpose. In the last six years as I have grown closer to him, I have felt his presence in all of my movements.

Chapter 6:
It is important to be continually growing in my spiritual walk. While in chapter 5 it mentions the need to be on solid food instead of milk, chapter 6 really stresses this point. It has really encouraged me to stop wasting time and really focus on things. This was great reminder as I have spend most of the day doing not much of anything. While I am not sure this will change too fast, I am challenged by this chapter to continue to grow and mature. It also challenges me to challenge those in my flock to grow and move onto solid food.

God is good. All the time. I have found as I am reading through the New Testament that God is providing me with a fresh look on his living Word and challenging me anew every day.

God Bless!

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The Call to Action

As I have spent some time in quietness before God today, I realized how far behind I have let myself become in my readings. I have finished reading the book of Acts and know that I am a couple weeks behind in blogging what God is saying to me.

As I read each chapter I have been journaling what happened in the chapter, but have also asked the question ‘What is God saying to me?’ It is an important time of reflection and listening as I await God’s message. Eventhough I am behind the schedule, I do not intend to rush through the chapter. But instead take my time and concentrate on God’s message.

Today, I am going to summarize what God has been saying to me over the last several chapters of Acts (Ch.20-28).

Looking back over my notes I see words like: ENCOURAGE, FAITHFUL, KEEP MOVING, COURAGE, PERSEVERE, STRONG, OBEY, and FOCUS.

I think this is the first time I have read the book of Acts with such intention to listening to God. I am encouraged by Paul. He faced a lot of conflict and people doubting his message, but through it all he remained focused on God’s message and God’s plan. Never once in all these chapters did Paul focus on the negative things that were happening around him. How I wish I could be that focused. It is so easy to get trapped into the negative words and actions of others, of focusing on all that is wrong, instead of praising God for all that he is doing. Turning to God for strength and wisdom. My prayer is that as I will continue to listen to God’s voice and turn a deaf ear to those negative influences around me.

Paul was arrested, beaten and put in jail. He did not have a ‘pity’ party, but continued to witness and teach others about God. His location may have changed, but his purpose and mission remained the same. As he travelled to Rome, he did not waiver on his mission. He is a great example of a strong, dedicated soldier of Christ. He learned the importance of staying close to God in all circumstances.

Throughout these chapters, Paul takes every opportunity that is placed before him to tell his story, to witness about God and to provide a role model for us all to follow as we journey through life on earth.

As I read these chapters, I imagine Paul to be a quiet, simple man would not get stressed out or thrown off by the events that were happening around him. He did not scream or pout or blame others for his situation. He just kept focus on the task at hand.

I have been really challenged by Paul’s journey to keep my focus on the task that God places before me. To not get involved in the petty things in life, to avoid involvement in negative talk. It is not easy, but I am determined to be stronger in my commitment to God and focused on Him than on the things that are distracting me from his plan.

Prayers for me on this journey would be appreciated.

God Bless!

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