Soul in Distress

Psalm 42:6 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and 6 my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you—even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.

The seasons of the soul: And sometimes it is winter: discontent, disappointment, despair. And the psalmist responds, by identifying the season, and asking why the pain. Hope needs to be stirred up, and then praise. But the battle is no easy one as discouragement battles against hope. If only one can remember the Lord; who He is; what He has done; what He will do. If only one can remember God in that difficult place of discouragement!

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We Win By Focusing on Jesus

Hebrews 12 (NLT)
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Paul exhorts us to run with endurance. It is a long run and we should have the expectation of lasting long. We must seek to grow in patience for ourselves, patience for others in this lifelong marathon of faith. The only way we can run to the end is by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Jesus has to be in our sights everyday. We need to start each day with Him, and check in with Him often through out the day. We need to end our waking hours with Him and trust in Him for the night hours. The song says: I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR! Jesus initiates our faith from the day we are born again. He initiates our faith every morning when we spend time with Him in word and prayer. He strengthens our faith throughout each day and each circumstance. He perfects our faith through events and circumstances until the very end of our lives. We can only win this marathon if we keep our eyes on Him.

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Life is also a Struggle against Sin

Hebrews 12 (NLT)
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Verse 4 tells as that living our lives also means living in a struggle against sin. It means we have obstacles and opposition to living righteously in the will of God. God’s will is scripted in the word of God. Sometimes it is a conviction in the heart, the whisper of the Holy Spirit to choose a certain path and the Lord would want us to choose right and choose life. Yet the opposition also shouts, commands or distracts. Still God would want us to choose His will always. Jesus is that example who obeyed unto His death. We have a high standard to attain to in our walk of obedience.

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RUN WITHOUT WEIGHTS

Hebrews 12 (NLT)
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

We are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses: Faithful people dead and gone through out the ages and Believers who are watching us to take inspiration and encouragement for their own race. We have to bring to bear the mind of a champion to finish well and win. So the instruction is to present ourselves in the best form each day for the race. Strip off the weight that slows us down. Cast off burdens of the soul. Cast them on to Christ. Guilt for past deeds– Christ has forgiven. Offences/offenders against us we need to release. Burdens of a dishonorable past, disappointments for losses accrued in life, unfair treatment, and unfair punishment. STRIP THEM OFF. Your soul gets lighter. You can run, even soar like an eagle, the joy of the lord being your strength. And make a decision and even a plan for a righteous defense against that recurring sin. Plan against the trigger. Plan against the sinful reaction. God will show us how to win over recurring sin.

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ABIDE SQUARED

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

This is one of the verses that have reverberated in me ever since I first read them as a young believer. Such a VAST promise and yet its boundaries are found in the premise which begins with the conditional word: IF.
There are two separate conditions that have to be fulfilled. First the believer has to ABIDE in Christ. Second, the Words of Christ must be made to ABIDE in the believer. There is much ABIDING required. In math, we might say ABIDE x ABIDE and if you have a desire and ask the Lord for it, it shall be done for you.

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The Spoils of War

1 Samuel 17:53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

The plunder only became possible when the strong man was neutralized. David took his head and his armor and the rest of Israel were free to take the spoil.

Mark 3:27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Matthew 12:29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Isaiah 49:24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?

Isaiah 49:25 For thus says the LORD: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.

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Identified

1 Samuel 17:58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

And in that moment David became known at the highest levels of authority. In that moment he was revealed by an act of faith, courage and covenant. And the prophetic call that was upon him by the anointing was activated. He became known to the one he would replace. Saul was likely happy that the threat of Goliath had been disposed off but I’m sure he wondered about the unusual young man who stood unflinching, courageous and victorious before him. Did he suddenly recognize Jesse’s son, David, as the boy who had played the harp for him when he was disturbed? He would be amazed that harpist was this outstanding warrior standing before him?

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