Let me Always, Let me Never


Praying through Hebrews 11

In my chair time this morning, I was inspired to write a short one-liner for several of the stories Hebrews 11 walks us through – stories of the faithful in God’s family. I’ve shared them here.

 

Hebrews 11:4 –  By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
Let me always offer all I have to you.

Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Let me never fail to seek you!

Hebrews 11:8 – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Let me always follow you, even into the unknown.

Hebrews 11:11 – And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Let me never forget your faithfulness to me!

Hebrews 11:19 – Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:30 – By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
Let me always trust & obey you, even when it makes no sense to my worldly senses.

Hebrews 11:21 – By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 
Let me always be found worshiping you, even and especially when I have no strength left of my own. 

Hebrews 11:23 – By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
Let my faith in you always drive out my fears in this world.

Hebrews 11:25 – He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Let me always choose you over worldly pleasures. Let me always place you first.

Hebrews 11:31 – By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
Let me always be bold enough to ask for grace.

Hebrews 11:40 – since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Let my story always bring you glory; let me forever remember that my story is only a small part of your Grand Plan for all your people, til the ends of the earth.

Let me always delight in you first, trusting that you know and will fulfill the deepest desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). All this I pray in your mighty Son Jesus’ name, knowing you are able to do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond what I can even think to ask you for. All the glory belongs to you! (Ephesians 3:20)

Let me Always, Let me Never

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The God I Wish you Knew

This weekend we are finishing up a series in church called “The God I wish you Knew”. Here is a little about the God I wish you knew.

He sent His one and only Son into this world which the enemy took dominion over with Adam & Eve’s sin in the Garden:
John 3:16-17 –  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

That Son, Jesus, was perfect in that He did not sin. He walked with sinners, though, and kept company with cheaters, thieves, prostitutes, and people so sick no one else would go near them:
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.

Then that Son took up a cross and paid the price for OUR sins, to satisfy the debt we accrued with the devil by our sin. Yes, no matter what you have done in your life, God loves you right now, right where you are:
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He took lashings for our spiritual and physical diseases:
1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

He made a way for us to be in personal relationship with His Father:
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Matthew 27:51 – And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

He left us with the Holy Spirit to direct us, guide us, teach and instruct us:
John 14:16-17 – And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.

The God I wish you knew is truthful with us; He did not sugar coat anything. He never promised us an easy, perfect life. But He did promise He would help us:
John 16:33 (AMP) – I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

He sees your trials, and promises to restore what is broken in your life:
Joel 2:25 – And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten—the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

He says He will bless you double for what you’ve lost:
Zechariah 9:12 – Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. 
Isaiah 61:7 – Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

The God I wish everyone knew is one who cares about whatever YOU care about – however big or little it may be, He will walk with you through it:
Psalm 139:5-6– You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

And when it’s a big thing, the God I wish you knew reaches down into the depths and pits of destruction and pulls you out:
Psalm 103:4 – …who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…

He promises you a future filled with hope:
Jeremiah 29:11 –  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

He reminds us that His joy is our strength, in difficult seasons and in the daily little things:
Nehemiah 8:10 – This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

He wants a personal relationship with you in which you are not afraid of retribution from Him, but ask for what you need:
Hebrews 4:16 (AMP) – Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

The God I wish you knew gave us access to His power and authority:
John 14:13 – You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.
Luke 10:19 (AMP) – Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

He has given us an inheritance:
Romans 8:17 – And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.
Ephesians 2:5-6 – even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

The God I wish you knew does not want you to be paralyzed by fear, but wants you to rest in His love:
Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

He promises that His faithfulness is not limited, but it will continue from now until forever:
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Isaiah 40:28 – Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

He is truthful:
Numbers 23:19 – God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

The God I wish you knew does not want you to be sick. He wants us to be well:
James 5:14-15 – Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
3 John 1:2 – Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

And if you doubt the power of any of these living Words, God tells us that these Words have a purpose, and they will accomplish that purpose!
Isaiah 55:11 (MSG) – So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

THE GOD I WISH YOU KNEW is one who takes brokenness and turns it into blessing. He created us to be in community with one another, lifting one another up, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and mourning with those who mourn.

The God I wish you knew… is GREAT.

If you have never received Jesus as your Savior – or if this is not the God you’ve known, but you’d like to – click here for a simple prayer to invite Him into your heart.

This post is dedicated to a dear sweet mommy friend of mine who is going through something that pierces the very heart and soul of us as women. You are loved my friend. ❤

STAND Through the Storms

I am posting this mostly for myself because I want to be able to refer back to it. If you are going through a storm, and you feel like you’ve done all you can do physically, relationally, spiritually, every way, rest assured that the Lord is fighting your battle for you, and all that’s required of you now is to STAND in His presence and faithfulness, waiting and watching for the victory.

So, following is a list of scripture that assure me that God is fighting for me. I just have to remember to use my spiritual eyes instead of my physical ones. *See notes on Ephesians 6 and Romans 8:37.

The first in this list, Ephesians 6 tells you what exactly the armor of God is. If I’ve done this, I know I’m standing in a strong position.

Ephesians 6 – Put on the full armor of God… and, having done all, STAND. *Read the entire chapter*
Eph 6:13 – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
AMPLIFIED – Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.
AMPLIFIED – The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.

Deuteronomy 31:8 –  The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
AMPLIFIED –  It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].

Deut 3:22 – You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.

Deut 20:4 – for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.

Isaiah 45:2 – I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.

Romans 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37 – Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
*Once, when I was studying this verse, I asked, what does it mean to be MORE than a conqueror? Since a conqueror is one who has fought and won the battle, how can I be MORE than a winner? And God impressed upon me that I am more than a conqueror because HE fights the battle, yet I get the victory. Did you get that? HE does the fighting… WE get the reward!

Psalm 145:14 – The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.

2 Chronicles 20:17 – You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.

Psalm 41:12 – But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.

John 16:33 (AMP)-  I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Isaiah 30:18 – Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
(AMP) – And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you andshow loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Keeping God First, pt 1

Mark 12:28-31 says God’s first commandment is to love HIM, with everything we are. 

Read Matthew 14:22-33. It is our CHOICE to activate the authority God has given us. When we keep our eyes and our focus on Jesus, the storms and distractions of life remain UNDER OUR FEET. But as soon as we start focusing on the waves (our problems, worries, etc.), we transfer our power to our problems, thereby letting them control US. We begin to sink as if into quicksand.

Here are excerpts from the song “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns:
The waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed…
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says do not be afraid…
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus singing over me…
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

When Jesus says, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” I detect some loving disappointment… He is promising us that if we only keep our eyes on HIM, He will not allow us to drown in the problems of this world. Taking our eyes off of Jesus temporarily will not prevent Him from reaching out and saving us from the storm if we ask. But if we never waver from our focus on him, we will have so much more peace and power in our lives.

How can we do this, though, amidst our busy lives?

Here are a few areas on which we can focus: In the morning, In eliminating other gods, In knowing God’s Word, In controlling our thoughts, In prayer, In deed, and In Submission. We will just discuss a few today.

In the morning. Read Psalm 5:3, 59:16, 88:13. Remember the lyrics to this well-known hymn: “In the morning when I rise… give me Jesus.” Ask God to help you remember HIM first every morning – to greet him with praise and thanksgiving for the gift of another day. These verses in Psalms remind us that when we cry out to God in the morning, He hears us. It doesn’t have to be very long or detailed at first. It takes 21 days to make a habit – if we start today that means in 3 weeks this will become a natural part of our waking. What simpler way is there to show God that He is first in our life than to speak to Him first every day? (My legalistic past self has to include that some days we may speak to our children first, if they wake us up. I don’t suggest ignoring them until you’ve prayed for half an hour. But in these instances remember to pray as you get them what they need.)

Practical ideas: KLove Radio has an app you can download for free on your phone. It has an alarm feature. Or, if you have an iPod or CD player for an alarm, you can have Christian songs wake you up as a reminder to praise God first. Keep a study book, a daily verse calendar, or your bible by your bed. Take 5 minutes every morning to meditate on a verse or passage. Write a ‘life verse’ on your bathroom mirror in dry erase marker. Or pin up a 3×5 card with a favorite bible verse somewhere you’ll see it when you first wake up.

Eliminate other gods. First, see Exodus 20:3. What are the gods in your life? TV? Video Games? Magazines? Celebrity news? Fiction stories? These days we don’t construct statues of idols or gods out of copper or gold. But identify places you spend your time which are yielding no fruit for you or your family, and you will find the gods that need to be eliminated from your life.

Practical ideas: Each time you find yourself wanting to do something that you know is keeping you from God’s best, refocus your attention by praying, praising, reciting a verse, or singing Christian songs. James 4:7 says if we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee. Remember our verses from last week and know that you are stronger than the temptations you’re experiencing. Create a plan of action for every time you are tempted. For example, if you are sitting in front of the TV, stand up and go to a different room. Remove yourself from the temptation. Pray or praise God for His goodness, and ask Him for help. Then repeat a verse to yourself that empowers you to do the right thing. (A few good ones are: 1 Cor 10:13, Matt 26:41, Hebrews 2:18, Gal 6:9, Eph 6:11)

Know God’s Word. Now read Proverbs 7:2-3. If we don’t know what God’s word says, we cannot make wise decisions. We need to dive into our bibles and find as many verses as we can that allow us to make those wise decisions. Do you have a list of verses that come to mind in different situations? What verses do you refer back to when you are in times of trouble?

See Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 8:10. When we keep God’s Word in our hearts God says that HE WILL BE OUR GOD and WE WILL BE HIS PEOPLE. If we want to keep God first we have to know his Word; and if we know his Word, God claims us as his own. God’s Word connects us to him in a very real way. He takes a fatherly ownership of us when we know His Word; it causes Him to reign over our life.

Practical Ideas: Get a topical index companion book, which allows you to find verses that pertain to your situation quickly and easily. Joyce Meyer’s The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word is a great one. Many bibles also have a topical index in the back. You can also use this website: http://www.openbible.info/topics/

Key Points

  • God’s first commandment is to Love HIM with everything we are
  • Keeping our eyes on Jesus allows us to live with peace and victory
  • Eliminate distractions/ other gods
  • Learn God’s Word and memorize verses which bring life to you so you can repeat them in times of trouble

Supporting Verses

Mark 12:28-31: One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Psalm 5:3 (Amp): In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].

Psalm 59:16 (Amp): But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning; for You have been to me a defense (a fortress and a high tower) and a refuge in the day of my distress.

Psalm 88:13: But to You I cry, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer come to meet You.

Exodus 20:3: You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.

Proverbs 7:2-3: Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Jeremiah 31:33/ Hebrews 8:10: “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”