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Conquest of Self: The Real Enemy Is Defeated

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LessOfMe

The journey is not complete, but the ending is known.

As we wrap up our Hebrews study, I pray you were challenged and encouraged as you allowed God to stretch you and face the things in your life that seemed impossible to overcome at the beginning. There is so much more to learn in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews, but I am going to let you explore the rest with God.

There are three last points that I want to make before we move on. With each point I have included some scriptures to support the points. I have changed the words to make them a personal statement you can declare.

First, the victor has already been declared. There are many more battles and situations to be fought and won, but it is so important for us to remember the real enemy in our life is Satan and He has already been defeated. It is our job to remember that each and every time we have a new situation arise and then remind Satan of it, over and over again.

Satan has already lost! Continue reading

Hebrews: Holy Spirit

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LessOfMe

Closeness unlike what our ancestors experienced.

Next up in Hebrews is a history lesson. Hebrews 12:18-27 reminds us of how God used to talk to His people before Jesus came on the scene. This part of the passage I skimmed over the last time I went through this chapter because it seemed random to me and not related to the rest. This time however, I am drawn into the contrast between the Israelites living in Old Testament times and today living in a world that has been visited by Jesus. Continue reading

Conquest of Self: Bitterness

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LessOfMe

Personal Note: I would like to apologize for my break in the study of Hebrews. I pray you continued on your journey and are learning a lot as you spend time with God. This study is one that God took me through last year and I have grown tremendously through it. But just because I have grown in it, doesn’t mean it is now easy. This month I have had to revisit some of the lessons that I had learned and walk myself through them again. I have also learned some new ones and have gotten to greater depths on others. It is difficult to write about something so personal and hard for me to walk out completely myself. At times I want to be like Jonah. I want justice served and “Nineveh” to get what they deserved. I do not want to walk in lovingkindness but want to stand up for what is “right.” Or at least what I feel is right. As I journey through these lessons again and again I remove one more layer of myself. I hope you will continue with me because I know God has great things for us!

Lately I have had my eyes reopened to another tactic that Satan uses to stop us in our tracks. It tries to get us to turn against each other. Christians fighting with Christians. Parents against children and children against parents. Friends against friends. Disagreement, strife and bitterness slowly works its way into the seen and little by little we each take a pit stop on our journey. Some even set up camp, never to return to the road God had intended.

Our next step in our travels through Hebrews is found in the second half of Hebrews 12:15 (NLT). “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Continue reading

Grace for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

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LessOfMe

Hebrews 12:15

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.

By grace we are saved and it is by grace that we continue to live and enjoy all the benefits that we have available to us through a relationship with Christ. The New International Commentary on Hebrews by F.F. Bruce stated it well: “If it is the grace of God that sets people’s feet at the entrance of the pathway of faith, it is equally the grace of God that enables them to continue and complete that pathway.”

It is so important that we keep the grace that God has extended us at the forefront of our minds. Daily you have the opportunity to get offended. In those moments we have a choice, we can either add the event to their tab of wrongs against you or we can give them the benefit of doubt that they didn’t mean it or forgive them if they did.

I learned this quote a long time ago and it has stuck with me:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Continue reading

Live A Holy Life

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LessOfMe

Hebrews 12:14

“….work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”

As we continue on in our journey through Hebrews 12 we come to the next command. We are to live a holy life, which means we are to separate ourselves from the world and become one with God.

Other translations state we are to be sanctified.  I love this definition of sanctification: “To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. “ God’s original design is for us to be holy, just like He is holy. He wanted to be with us always, but Adam’s sin separated all people from God’s presence until Jesus came along. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He made a way for us to be with God again. This single act of love made a way for us to be sanctified, to be made holy. Now we just have to learn to walk in this holiness.

At times this can seem overwhelming. How in the world can we do everything right all of the time? What about all the mistakes that I have made in the past? What about the ones that I will make in the future, because I know I will make mistakes again? Continue reading

Conquering Self: Walking in Peace

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LessOfMe

Last week we discussed the idea of pursuing peace with all people. Today we are going to break down two different passages that I feel give us guidance on how to actually put this into practice.

But first remember these promises:

1 John 5:2-4 (ESV)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Mark 10:27 (NLT)

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

 

Go to your journal page seven and look at the name of the person or the situation that you wrote down. Keep these in mind as we go through these next two passages. Continue reading

Pursue Peace With All!

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LessOfMe

Pursue peace with all men…(Hebrews 12:14a)

I don’t think there have been any other five words in my life that have challenged me more than these. If God had left out the word “all” it would have had a whole different meaning in my life, but because of that one little word I have been challenged, stretched and changed in more ways than I could have ever imagine. And I am grateful. No, I would not want to relive these previous trials, but I am thankful for the change in my heart and I am thankful for the deeper relationship I now have with my Maker.

We all have been through times in our lives when we just butt heads with another person. It could be a family member, spouse, friend or just an acquaintance. This person could either just rub you wrong or just really irritate you. Maybe it goes a little deeper. I am sure we have all experienced that one person that each time you talk to them it brings out this hidden person inside you that normally you don’t even know exists. Words start flying out of your mouth, emotions go nuts and each interaction you have with them turns into a tornado ever increasing with strength the more and more you interact. It could be someone who has wounded you deeply, one who has broken your trust. Maybe it is someone who challenges you in ways that makes you feel defenseless or worthless. I don’t know what you have been through, but I am sure we have all been here before. Continue reading

Conquest of Myself: Discipline

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Hebrews 12:5-13

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.  Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong

Discipline. Agh! It seems like this should be a four letter word! But in all reality it is one of the keys to receiving all that God has for us. Let’s think a little bit deeper about discipline. When you discipline your child for running after a ball that has rolled into the street, you do it because you love them and want them alive, not because you want to ruin their fun. You have rules about not snacking right before supper because you want them to be hungry enough to eat a nutritious well balanced meal. You discipline your child when they hit their sibling because you want them to learn to control their anger so that they can have healthy adult interactions. (I’m pretty sure you could get fired from your job for hitting your boss!)  You allow your child to feel the consequences of procrastinating their homework when they have to sit inside and work while their siblings and friends play a game of baseball in the back yard so that they can learn time management and responsibility. These examples plus hundreds of others could be shared to remind us of the intent of discipline in the life of your children. Continue reading

A Promise That Stands the Test of Time

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GodWithMe

I went to a conference this past weekend and was reminded of many promises that God has given to each one of us. One especially stuck out to me that I would love to share with you today.

I listened to Norm Wakefield speak about the book of Hebrews. Since I have been studying Hebrews 11 and 12, of course I was eating up any new insight I could gain! He started off with Hebrews 1:1-2.

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. Hebrews 1:1-2

After reading this passage, Norm asked a really good question. “Well, what did God speak to our ancestors and to us?” After many long hours studying trying to figure out what was it that God spoke to the prophets of old and to us, he finally found his answer at the end of Hebrews.

For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

It goes on to remind us in Hebrews 13:8 that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Continue reading

Conquest of Myself: Empathy

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LessOfMe

Good Morning Friends,

I pray that your time with Jesus this week was intimate. I hope you found little bits of time here and there to spend with your Maker. Did He show you different weights that He would love to take off your shoulders? Were you reminded of different character traits of God that deepened your love for Him? Remember, we can tackle anything in our life as long as we stay focused on Jesus!

This week we are going to talk about empathy. Specifically, God’s empathy for our struggles.  I love the quote by Sally Clarkson. “A mom alone in her home becomes a target.” When we feel alone we can start to believe the lies of…

  • “’I’m the only one I know who is not doing well.”
  • “No one understands me.”
  • “No one has gone through what I have been through.”
  • “I’m going through things that are so much harder than anyone else.

In Hebrews 12:3-4 it says, “Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people, then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not given your lives in your struggle against sin.” Continue reading