Hebrews 10

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” (v.14 The Message)

By that single offering, Lord, You did “everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process—[including me] … Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.”

So now I can– “without hesitation—walk right up to You, into ‘the Holy Place.’  Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of His sacrifice, acting as [my] priest before You.  The ‘curtain’ into Your presence is His body.”

So, may I step forward– “full of belief, confident that [I’m] presentable inside an out.  Help [me] to keep a firm grip on the promises that keep [me] going. You always keep Your Word.  Guide [me] in seeing how inventive [I] can be in encouraging, loving and helping out others, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring others on, especially as [I see] the big Day approaching” when I get to see You face-to-face!

Oh! on that day, may I be found crawling up into Your lap … or perhaps, You’ll pick me up and hold me near to Your heart!  Keep me faithful to You here in this life, Father … so that I’ll get to hear You say, “Well done!” on that Day.  Help me to stick it out, staying with Your plan so I’ll see the ‘completion’ You’ve promised.  By Your strength, I’m no quitter who loses out.  Oh, no!  I can be determined to stay with it and survive, trusting You all the way.

You have made me. . .
… someone who knows the One who said, “Blessed are the children …” and through whom those who meet me can encounter this One who came to love them and save them.
… someone who can direct others to You for all that they need.
… someone to whom You’ve entrusted a portion of Your riches so that my life can function, can be equipped and can make an impact on lives here that need You, that need to be reminded that they need You or that they belong to You and You love them.
… someone who is truly able, because of You, to set an example of a woman who first belongs to You–heart, body, mind and soul– someone You can use to move another heart closer to Your own, simply by the choices she makes … even the tough ones of setting aside her own will for the higher purpose of pointing another life to You–a purpose that has an impact on eternity –way beyond the moment (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

Only YOU, Lord, can fine-tune my heart to want what You want and not what I want or what others or the world tells me I should seek …  Go at it, Lord!  just like You’re already at work doing in me …and keep making me a little more like Jesus each step of Our journey together.  Amen

Hebrews 9

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Oh, Daddy! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! that “through the Spirit, Jesus offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing [me] from all those dead-end efforts to make [myself] respectable,” so that I can live all out for You!

Jesus, thanks for entering–not simply “the earthly version of the Holy Place, but–the Place Itself,” and You offered Yourself to our Father as the sacrifice for my sins forever!

You alone, O Lord, have made me clean… You declare me to be righteous, in right standing with You.  You have set me apart, made me holy.  You have freed me from the grip of sin.  You have called me Your very own daughter.   Thank You for Your mercy–for not giving me what I deserve.  Thanks for Your grace–for giving me far more than I deserve.  Keep on shaping my heart to resemble Your very own.  oh, yes! (amen)

Hebrews 8

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, You awakened me this morning and greeted me with Your new mercy.  You are with me throughout the day as I walk in Your grace and as You guide me by Your Spirit.

This portion of the book of Hebrews is a reminder of how You chose to put away the old regulations and ceremonies under the old covenant that You made with Abraham and Moses.  You chose to create something wonderfully new in and through Jesus, just so that I could personally and intimately know You!

You said, “This new plan I’m making with My people isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled on stone; This time I’m writing out the plan IN them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.  I’ll be their God, they’ll be My people.  They won’t go to school to learn about Me, or buy a book called ‘God in Five Easy Lessons.’  They’ll all get to know Me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great.  They’ll get to know Me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.”

Thank You for the freedom to know You personally!  May the warmth of Your presence surround me this day! Draw me near to Your heart and into Your Word for some refreshment and just a chance to enjoy Your presence, when We get to be alone together.  Keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Hebrews 7 (The Message); Psalm 18 & 32:7-8 (NIV)

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, thanks for Jesus!  This passage points out how the “former way of doing things, a system of commandments that never worked out the way it was supposed to, was set aside.”  (You knew that would happen; that the law wouldn’t bring anything to maturity.)  Then, You put in its place “another way– Jesus! — a way that DOES work, that brings [me] right into Your presence.”  You gave Your word; You won’t take it back.  You said to Jesus, “You’re the permanent priest.”  This “makes Jesus the guarantee of a far better way between You and [me]–one that really works!”

Jesus, thank You for being “there from now to eternity to save everyone who comes to the Father through You.  You’re always on the job to speak up for me, for all of us.”  You are a high priest who perfectly fits my needs:  completely holy, uncompromised by sin, and with authority extending as high as our Father’s presence in heaven itself.  Unlike other high priests, You don’t have to offer sacrifices for Your own sins every day before You can get around to me and my sins.  You’ve done it once and for all: offered up YOURSELF as the sacrifice.  Thanks so MUCH Jesus!

Lord, You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my rock in whom I take refuge.  You are my shield and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold.  When I call to You, the One worthy of praise, I am saved from the enemy of my faith.  You are my support.  You rescue me because You delight in me!Ps1829

“To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless, to the pure You show Yourself pure.”  You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning, turning the darkness that worry can bring into light in Your presence.

With Your help I can run through any barricade of distractions, procrastination, busy-ness, daydreams, unimportant time-wasters, etc.  It is YOU who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  You give me Your shield of victory, and Your right hand (Jesus! 😉 sustains me.  You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.  You will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go; You will counsel me and watch over me.  You promise that Your unfailing love surrounds me because I trust in You!  oh, yes!

Hebrews 6

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, You have been continually at work in me since I first surrendered my heart to You.  You have nudged me, moved me, dragged me, so that I might “leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art.”  You are growing me up in Him.

Thank You for giving me a taste of heaven and for making me part of the work of Your Holy Spirit.  Thank You for letting me experience the sheer goodness of Your Word and Your power within me.

Strengthen me to not drag my feet on this journey of faith with You, but rather, to “extend the same intensity toward a full-bodied hope (assurance) in You, and to keep at it ’til the finish.  Make [me] like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.” (MSG)

Your Word says, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.  It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up His permanent post as high priest for us.” (MSG)

Thank You for giving Your word in Your Word, and for standing by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises.  Keep my faith firmly planted in Your Word.  Make my heart like the kind of soil that produces an abundance of crops so that many, many others can feast on the overflow of my heart, as they see You in me.  Make me just like Jesus.  Oh yes! (amen)

Hebrews 5

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Once a barrier separated me from You, Father.  For many centuries a human representative whom You’d chosen could annually pierce that dividing wall on behalf of humanity, to seek Your mercy for sin.  And You “rolled back” the sin, choosing not to count it against mankind.

And THEN, in Your perfect timing and flawless design, Another was chosen by You to do what none of the other human representatives could do for us.  Your Son took on our form–fully human, fully divine–and walked among us.  “While He lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as He offered up priestly prayers to You.  Because He honored You, You answered Him.  Though He was Your Son, He learned TRUSTING-OBEDIENCE by what He suffered, just as we do.  Then, having arrived at the full stature of His maturity and having been announced by You as high priest in the order of Melchizedek. He became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey Him.” (Hebrews 7:1-17)

Once a barrier separated me from You, Father.  But once for all time, for all people–including me–Your Son died to tear down that barrier and provide me free access to You!  What a blessed gift!

May this day hold moments when trusting-obedience shows itself in my heart and life.  Bless me with a peaceful heart that rests in Your mercy, grace and forgiveness, as You keep working to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Hebrews 4

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, here in this passage You’ve mentioned Your rest, Your Word, and Your Son.  You hold out to me the promise of resting in You, pulling me on toward Your goal for me.  Help me not to be disqualified through disbelief.  Rather, strengthen my faith in You as I hold to Your promises, anticipating the experience of Your rest.  At the end of this journey, I’ll surely rest with You.  Along the way, bring me refreshment and peace in Your presence, in moments alone with You.

In Your Word, You mean what You say.  What You say goes.  Your “powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying me open to listen and obey.  Nothing and no one is impervious to Your Word.”  How good to know too that Your Word not only makes an incision where needed; it also stitches up the wound, applies a healing ointment and restores wholeness to the tissues.

Your Son has served as my great High Priest, who opened the way to provide me ready access to You.  His death destroyed the dividing wall of sin between You and me, so that now You and I can freely and constantly commune.  As my high priest, Jesus, it’s wonderful to know that You are fully in touch with my reality.  You’ve been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin.  So, You’ve made it possible for me to walk right up to You to get what You are so ready to give.  May I receive Your mercy and accept Your grace, allowing You to embrace me with Your all-consuming, perfect love. Amen.

Hebrews 3

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jesus, You are “the centerpiece of everything [I believe], faithful in everything Your Father gave You to do.”  Help me to fix my thoughts on You, so that I’ll not forget Your constant presence and involvement in everything I do.

You, Father, are the Master Builder of this house called by my name.  You have taken up residence in my heart and You have set Your Son in charge of this house.  Help me to keep a firm grip on the bold confidence I have in You as my heart serves as the place where You dwell.

Guide me down YOUR road.  Help me to watch my step.  Protect me from any “evil unbelief lying around that could trip [me] up and throw [me] off course, diverting [me] from You, the living God.  As long as it is still Your Today, help us to keep each other on our toes so sin doesn’t slow down our reflexes.  If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with You, Jesus, for the long haul.”

You have said, “You keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast, because she trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3).  Draw me to an even deeper trust in You as the things that would steal my peace increase.  Help my mind to be steadfast in its focus on YOU.  Keep me in Your Word and in Your will.  Amen.

Hebrews 2

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, by Your all-surpassing wisdom, You laid out and carried out a plan which takes in all of heaven and earth in order to personally affect my one simple life!  Thank You for choosing to send Jesus to earth to “fix things” that we, Your children, have damaged, destroyed or set aside (2:5-18)

You came in the flesh in order that YOU might:

RESTORE CREATION, with us as caretakers of all that is yours

BE MY PERSONAL PIONEER OF HUMAN SALVATION — You have delivered personally to me the gift of salvation. In Your death, by our Father’s grace, You, Jesus, fully experienced death in every person’s place, including mine.

MAKE ME “FAMILY”– Since I, being one You’ve saved, and You, the One who saves, have a common origin, You don’t hesitate to treat me as family.

UNDERSTAND HOW I FEEL — Since I am made of flesh and blood, it was logical that You, my Savior, took on flesh and blood in order to share in my humanity.  You had to enter into every detail of human life, so that You “might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” By doing so, You were able to have “experienced it all Yourself–all the pain, all the testing–and are able to help where help is needed” in my life.

PROVIDE VICTORY OVER SIN — By Your death, Jesus, You destroyed the devil, who holds the power of death no longer.  And You have freed me and all who have been held in slavery to the fear of death, or separation from You.  You are my high priest who takes away my sins and makes me acceptable to God, my Father.

You, Jesus, are my Restorer, my Savior, my Brother, my High Priest, and my Mighty Warrior!  All praise and glory and honor belong to YOU!!!  Amen.

Hebrews 1 and Psalm 23

Lord, You stand by Your promises so that I might stand ON those promises.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus!  Through Him You created ALL things at the start. And in the end, it will ALL belong to Him.  Because everything is Yours, all things in Your hands, You have me in Your hands and You have all that I need in Your hands too.  Skillfully and in Your perfect timing, You put the pieces together so that I’m taken care of.

Jesus, because You are “stamped with God’s nature” and You “perfectly mirror Him,” You allow me to see the Father.  You have opened the doorway for me to experience His awesome might and His wondrous love!

You hold everything together by what You say–Your very words sustain all things…even me!

“Lord, it was You who created the heavens.
Lord, it was Your hand that put the stars in their place.
Lord, it is Your voice that commands the morning.
Even oceans and their waves bow at Your feet!”*

Thank You, Jesus, for providing “purification for sins,” for finishing once and for all the sacrifice necessary for sins, so that I might be free from its chains.  Thanks for the pure heart You can and do bring.  I’m at Your mercy, Lord.  Thank You for Your grace!

Jesus, You have taken your “honored place high in the heavens alongside God, the Father.”  Thank You for being my high priest who always lives to intercede for me.  (Heb 7:25)

Now, Lord, I’m seeing why David, a shepherd himself and knowing You as he did, could so confidently, gratefully and expectantly proclaim, “The LORD is my shepherd…”  He knew that the nature of the one who tends a flock makes all the difference in how the sheep are cared for.

You, my Maker, my Sustainer, my Redeemer, my Mediator… YOU, the Lord of all the universe, are MY Shepherd!!  You have chosen to set me as the object of Your affection and care.  Because of who YOU are, there is NOTHING I could want or need that You have not already supplied.  I lack nothing…what I have, You’ve given me.  What I need, You will provide.

*Lyrics from “Your Beloved” by Brent Helming ©1996 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing. http://youtu.be/oZf7kwZaTjs

2 Timothy 4

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge:” (v 1 NIV)

“PREACH THE WORD” (v 2 NIV)

“Proclaim the Message with integrity” (MSG).

Thank You for training me in understanding and teaching Your Word.  Keep me grounded in it, regularly, daily in it’s pages, so that it dwells in me richly (Colossians 3:16).  You be the one to formulate the words that proceed from my mouth when I open it in the midst of the opportunities You give to touch lives.

BE PREPARED in season and out of season” (v 2 NIV)

“Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable.  [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome,]…” (v 2 AMP). Cause me to be looking for the opportunities You supply.  Help me not to be so focused on my tasks connected to this world that I miss the tasks You have for me which are linked to eternity.  (“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.  But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, … in Christ all will be made alive … thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 15:19-20, 33, 58 NIV]).

CORRECT, REBUKE, & ENCOURAGE — with GREAT PATIENCE and CAREFUL INSTRUCTION (v 2 NIV)

“Challenge, warn, and urge your people.  Don’t ever quit.  Just keep it simple” (v 2 MSG).

When a blacksmith is altering the shape of a piece of metal to make it more useful or for a particular use, he takes it through a process.  The metal is thrust into intense heat in order to soften it, so that the following step is most effective.  Next the smith pounds the heated metal into the shape it’s going to become, changing its appearance and resourcefulness.  Then, it’s doused into water to cool it down again, the forging complete.  Oh, often this process is repeated many times, with perhaps different tools used for the pounding and great care and patience are employed.  All work together to bring the metal into the shape needed to carry out the work for which it’s destined.

Many times, Lord, You’ve held me in Your hands as the blacksmith holds that metal.  Through the correction, rebuke and encouragement You’ve given through Your people, Your Word, and Your Spirit, You’ve been shaping me with Your “great patience and careful instruction.”  You’re forging me so that I can be an effective tool in doing the same in the lives of others.  Keep on with the process, Lord.

“KEEP YOUR HEAD IN ALL SITUATIONS” (v 5 NIV

Father, continue to help me not to react quickly to jarring circumstances.  Bring Your peace upon my heart and mind as You supply understanding, discernment and wisdom in the process of my choosing my actions instead of reacting.  Hold a stalwart guard over my mouth, not letting me flippantly speak, until You’ve had the chance to speak to me first.  You’ve guided me in this direction for quite a while; keep on doing it.  Thank You for the advantages of “keeping my head” when it comes to being alert to temptation, “resistant to pressure, and ever vigilant when facing heavy responsibility” (from the NIV Life Application Study Bible, p. 2204).

“ENDURE HARDSHIP” (v 5 NIV)

“Accept the hard times along with the good” (v 5 MSG).

Here’s Paul at the end of his life — one that had been flooded with MANY “hard times” — encouraging a young servant.  This same Paul is the one who wrote to the Corinthians about the “thorn” You’d given him (2 Cor 12:7-10).  You taught him to be thankful for that “gift,” because through this weakness, Your grace radiated.

DO THE WORK of an evangelist, DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES of your ministry” (v 5 NIV)

“Keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant” (v 5 MSG).

When I became Your child, Father God, You commissioned and ordained me for Your ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21).  You have sent me forth with Your (1) Great Commandment and (2) Your Great Commission:

1) “LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND” (Matt 22:37 NIV) – Great Commandment

2) “…GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…” (Matt 28:19-20) – Great Commission

“The Great Commission encapsulates what we DO while the Great Commandment embodies who we ARE.”  (David Ferguson, The Great Commandment Principle, p. 9)

Help me to love YOU with all of me, so that it’s You loving and serving through me as I engage my energy, gifts, and resources in the ministry You’ve designed for me.  Keep forging me into the likeness of Jesus.  Amen.

2 Timothy 3

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble … Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers — why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk!  There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another — showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.  Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (v 12, 14-17 MSG)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (v 16-17 NIV)

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Father, may I never stray into the practice of simply reading Your Word just for the knowledge to be gained.  Nor let me study just so I can prove a point in a discussion.  You have intended that Your Word be more than known, but that it would be lived.

You have said (Eph 2:10) that You’ve created me FOR good works.  You’ve given me a purpose here.  With that purpose, You’ve provided a source of training.  The main reason You’ve given me Your Word is to prepare me, to equip me “thoroughly for every good work” that You’ve “prepared in advance” (Eph 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:17) for me to do.

Thanks for using Your Word too in “showing me truth,” “exposing my rebellion,” “correcting my mistakes,” and “training me to love Your way” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).  Continue to equip me daily as You transform me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

2 Timothy 2

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (v 1 NIV)

Father, cause my life to be characterized by Your grace.  How grateful I am that You’ve extended this gift to me.  Now, strengthen, equip and guide me in passing it on to others.

“Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.” (v 15 MSG)

Set my sites on excellence for You, knowing that the only way to achieve it, even in the small things, is through Your strength.  In the opportunities You open up for sharing Your Word, guide me in doing so.  Help me to be on-target with what You intended to say and to convey it so simply that even a young child can understand and be changed by it.

“In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets — some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage.  BECOME THE KIND OF CONTAINER GOD CAN USE TO PRESENT ANY AND EVERY KIND OF GIFT TO HIS GUESTS FOR THEIR BLESSING.” (v 21 MSG)

May I be a bowl of fine china at Your table of grace, serving up a delicacy for the souls of each guest who dines.  Purify my heart; make clean my mind; and fashion a genuine and deep love in me for Your people, both the fallen and the forgiven.  As I continue to learn to walk in Your mercy, grace and forgiveness, keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

2 Timothy 1

May each life I touch grow to love Jesus more.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“…I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you…” (v 6 AMP)

“…I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…” (v 6 NIV)

Father, You have gifted me by Your Spirit for a variety of things.  You’ve worked through many influences to develop skills in me.  You’ve been at work to fashion me into a tool You can use for building up Your kingdom.  Early on, the desire to serve others through these gifts was strong, alive, and active.  The embers are still there, though sometimes in need of stoking, so that there’s a blaze instead of merely a warm glow.  Stir me up, Lord.

“God doesn’t want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.”  (v 7 MSG)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (v 7 NIV)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (v 7 AMP)

Gather up all these descriptions of what You’ve given to me and shape my understanding and application of Your Word.  Yes, You’ve gifted me.  And yes, in the past We’ve done some exciting things together through those gifts put to use in Your kingdom.  Now, Lord, strip away the “cringing” and “timidity” that can hinder me these days from diving in and letting You fully use me wherever You desire.  Only in You can I be free from fear; so I look to You to cut those chains and free me to more fully serve You.

“We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work … I couldn’t be more sure of my ground — the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what He’s trusted me to do right to the end.” (v 12 MSG)

“…Still I am not ashamed, for I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day.” (v 12 AMP)

Thank You, Father, for the confidence that knowing You can bring.  Continue to deepen my relationship with You as I fall more in love with Jesus each day.  Work in me the way You long to work.  Shape me into the likeness of Your Son.  Amen.

1 Timothy 6

Father, fill me up with Your truth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks for the admonition You convey in this letter written to a young Christian leader by a seasoned follower and disciple-maker.  Help me to apply Your exhortations regarding what to flee and what to pursue as I live out my life in You.

“But you, man of God, FLEE from all this [see vs. 3-10], and PURSUE righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (v 11 NIV)

FLEE

In the verses prior to this one, You led Paul through a discussion of at least three “things.”  Noted initially are those who teach false doctrines which do not agree with Your Word (v 3).  These same false teachers also carried out lifestyles contrary to the godliness You desire.  Secondly, You use Paul’s words to expose the self-serving motive of seeking godliness as “a means to financial gain” (v 5), or to get rich.  Thirdly, You spell out the dangers of allowing the gathering of wealth to drive oneself in this life.  You led Paul to highlight all these aspects and then said, “flee from all this” (v 11).

PURSUE

Now, since fleeing means to run away from something, there naturally must be something else to run toward.  In this case, You give me an entire list of traits to keep on chasing after, a lifelong pursuit or quest:

(1) RIGHTEOUSNESS — The Amplified Bible states this as “…righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness),…” (v 11 AMP). In his letter to the Romans, You use Paul’s words to help clarify this: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22 NIV).  Under the Old Testament law, Your followers were declared righteous, like gaining Your stamp of approval, by their obedience.  Yet, because You knew that I’d never be able to be fully obedient to You, out of Your mercy and grace, You sent Your Son to redeem me from my “missing the mark” or sin.  “…where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:20-21 NIV).  YOU declare me righteous by my faith in Your Son.

(2) GODLINESS “…godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike),… “ (v 11 AMP).  Here’s how Chuck Swindoll put this in one of his study guides: “…an authentic, abiding desire to glorify God through self-sacrificing service and humble obedience.”**  Form that in me, Lord.

(3) FAITH — Father, help me to take my hands off the steering wheel and allow You to drive, to allow You to be the door opener, without my trying to pry the doors open or manipulate them to fit my design.  Help me to trust You.

(4) ENDURANCE — This is like perseverance and both mean “to abide under.”  Guide me in moving through life, handling what comes my way with the strength You provide and looking to You to supply stability and balance.

(5) GENTLENESS — Guide me in allowing Your Spirit to keep my strength under control, utilizing my strength as You reveal it’s appropriate to do so.

Run with me, Lord, as I flee what is not of You and pursue all that You lay before me, as You’re at work to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

** from Excellence in Ministry by Charles Swindoll, Insight for Living, 1985.

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Draw my heart toward Yours, Jesus, so that I fall deeper in love with You every moment.