Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 6: Strength & Hope for the Journey

He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals His thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the height of the earth - the LORD God Almighty is His name. Amos 4:13

God Himself has said, 
" I will never fail you or abandon you. Therefore say with confidence, "ADONAI (the LORD) is my helper;   I will not fear; what can man do to me?"  Hebrews 13:5-6  

 - Followers of CHRIST in the 21st Century - 
... since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Keep pursuing
shalom (PEACE) with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for
our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:1-3;12-14;28-29
Thoughts to Ponder...

Read the above passage (& others) meditating on ways to find strength & hope this day. 

What joy was set before CHRIST as He endured the cross? 

What can strengthen my journey?  Gratitude, surrendered life, wisdom in daily choices, healing, family oneness, right relationships, walking in awe/fear of God, making disciples, Peace, Joy, Truth...(continue the list)

The joy of the LORD is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Action Steps...
Read Hebrews 11 and learn from "the great cloud of witnesses" that surround us. Be encouraged by their faithfulness. They are those who "this world is not worthy of". Who are some modern day hero's of the faith that inspire you on your faith journey? 

Read Hebrews 12:1-3. What extra "weights" in your schedule or life may be holding you back from following more closely? Write them down and share with someone who can pray with you.

Family Fun! Pile up weights for a family member to carry. Examples are loaded back pack, hats, coat, gloves, boots, arm weights....) Then either race around your house/down the street OR time one person running twice (once with the load & once without). Discuss Hebrews 12:1-2 and share how we as followers of CHRIST need to "throw off" sins and even "good" activities sometimes to have strength for the plans God has for us.  Share examples of what that may be examining the family together and pray for each other.

~For God's joy to be your strength. That our hearts, minds, & eyes would be fixed on Christ & the promises of God.
~For HOPE to shine & overpower where any depression, discouragement, deception,  or destruction has taken place in our lives, in our communities, and in our world.
~For the CHURCH - the people of God-  to be strengthened and filled with HOPE to endure & Shine Victoriously.

Father, You are the One True Almighty God! There is none like you. I praise your name & thank you for the mercy, grace, & Victory you give. Though the journey is often difficult, I surrender to your will. Restore the joy of my salvation to me! Give me the wisdom & strength needed to follow your ways with an undivided heart. Open my eyes to the high calling you have on my life, empower me to walk in Your Spirit, and keep my eyes fixed on the HOPE found in You. Make me - my family & the the church - steadfast, faithful, and true. To God be all the glory in CHRIST JESUS my LORD. Amen

Habakuk 3:18-19
"yet, I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. For, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on my high places.