Hebrews 13

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

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Father, You have promised me, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.”  Help me to always boldly say, “God is here, ready to help me; I’m fearless no matter what.  Who or what can get to me?”  Make this confidence run in me consistently.  For You, Jesus, do not change–yesterday, today, tomorrow.  You’re always totally Yourself.  Your grace is the only good ground for my life.

You are the God of peace.  You “put all things together, make all things whole.”  You made a “lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus.”  You “led Jesus, our Great Shepherd up and alive from the dead.”  Now, Father, You equip me with everything I need to do Your will, to please You.  Make me into what gives You the most pleasure, through Jesus–to whom belongs all glory and praise forever.  Oh, yes, yes, yes!

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Hebrews 12

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

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Father, many, many faithful lives have gone before me–they were “pioneers who blazed the way, veterans cheering [me] on.”  Because of their faithfulness, generation after generation has been blessed.

Now, it’s my turn.  You have pointed out to Your people, including me, in Exodus 20:1-6, that nobody, nothing is to be God besides You; and that when I choose to obey You in this way, when I choose to love You more than absolutely ANYthing else, I have the power to influence “a thousand generations!” (20:6).  My obedience to You, my seeking You first, my fear and awe of You, my delight in You can all come together by Your hand. By this promise (and if You don’t send Jesus back for a while), a thousand generations from now, someone could be thanking You that I loved You and lived my life for You every step of the way.

So, Lord, as I run this race, help me to never quit seeking YOU first–“no extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins—[Keeping my] eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race I’m in.  Prompt and help [me] to study how He did it.  Because He never lost sight of where He was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with You! –He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever.  And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside You.”

When I choose to follow You, Lord, I have everything I need.  I get my needs taken care of by seeking Your kingdom before seeking anything else.  (Matthew 6:33)

When my walk is in obedience to Your will, there is no good thing that You withhold from me. (Ps 84:11)

When I delight in You, when I find my joy, my fun, my excitement in YOU, You give me the desires of my heart—sometimes even replacing mine with Your own. (Psalm 37:4)

When I fear You with an awe and respect for Who You are, there is nothing I lack.  (Ps 34:9-10)

When I am serious about and focused on following You, Lord, I can go through anything!  YOU are my Shepherd and may I not want anymore, and may I never want any other Shepherd or god.  I have everything I need. Thank you for Your goodness and mercy!  Amen.

Hebrews 11

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

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This thing called “faith”–the basic part of my existence–trusting in You, Lord, is the “firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s [my] handle on what [I] can’t see.”

Life after life is paraded before me when I read the verses of this chapter.  The lives of people who held onto Your promises and believed You would do what You said.  Each one died without the end result of the promise in their hand, yet they still believed.  “They saw it was off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world.  It was obvious they were looking for their true home.  Your plan, Lord, brings their faith [and my faith (every believer’s)] together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”

Father, may my faith be spoken of with honor just as these people back then.

May my faith:
• stand firm even when I can’t see what I believe in.
• make the offering of myself, laid before You as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2), a gift that’s pleasing to You.
• “draw a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world” as Noah’s did.
• bring me into a more intimate relationship with You.
• hold onto the far-off vision You give and move me to simply follow You toward what You promise or show me… working out or walking through the little details to get there (even the ones that make no sense or seem like “have-tos” with no visible purpose….right now.
• help me to trust You to do what seems impossible to me.
• reach into the future as I touch other lives.
• strengthen me to let go of the pleasures of this world, to not worry about making sure I have fun here; but may I find my joy in You instead–consumed by You, used by You, led by You, fed by You …It’s ALL about YOU!
• look for the phenomenal in the ordinary, the dry ground where there’s usually sea.
• trust You and obey You even in the face of imposing “walls.”

You, Jesus, are the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  You have written it on my heart and You continue to edit and add chapter after chapter.  How wonderful it will be when the chapters here on earth are brought to a close and that “last” page reads “The Beginning.”  Then!  You’ll write the sequel!

Keep strengthening and growing my faith and making me just like Jesus!  Amen.

Hebrews 10

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

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“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

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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)

Romans 7

Eyes speak so easily, Lord.  Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, “Jesus loves you.”

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“…The law [of God] started out as an excellent piece of work.  What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of ‘forbidden fruit’ out of it.  The law…instead of being used to guide me, was used [by my enemy] to seduce me… the very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong… Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: Using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me.” (v 9-13 MSG)

How true, Father!  When I know what I’m not supposed to do, it’s then that that activity becomes more appealing.  I may have been totally oblivious to it before, but when You say, “No, don’t do that,” I get to thinking I WANT to do that.

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.  So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary… I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” (v 19-24 MSG)

Sometimes, Lord, no matter how deeply I love You and desire to do Your will, there seem to be moments when my old nature of sin rears its head and strikes.  It’s more like a small prick that releases a tendency toward rebellion within me.  As the toxin works its way through me, what I don’t want to do, becomes what I just did.  How desperately I need You and Your antidote for this poison in my being!

“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Is there no one who can do anything for me?  Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.  He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (v 24-25 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for Your antidote of grace through Jesus!  Thank You for the victory over sin that can be mine through my faith in Him and my acceptance of His sacrifice from my sin.

Thank You for Your Spirit that convicts me of sin and strengthens me to avoid it and to remain faithful to You instead (1 Cor 10:13)

Thank You for Your Word that tells me how to obey Your will.

Thank You for Your work in my life as You fashion me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Romans 6:1-14

Eyes speak so easily, Lord.  Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, “Jesus loves you.”

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“Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call!” (v 6 MSG)

“…that means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives.  Don’t give it the time of day.  Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life.” (v 11-13 MSG)

Walking down a timber path through a luscious park, You stroll with me as we head for Your Home and what You have prepared for me, Lord.  We visit, we play.  We laugh; we discuss.  We cry; we sing.  We whisper; we shout.

Along the way, voices and beings around us call out to distract me from our fellowship.  One wants me to pause along the path’s edge to listen to a tale.  Another begs me to see his stuff on display.  Further along, one wants to share a piece of her mind about my stride.  Still another holds out a big glass of lemonade and motions to a comfy lounge in the sun.  One even hands me some cash and asks me to pick up something for her on the path ahead and bring it back later.

Only by maintaining my focus solely on You and our fellowship can I avoid those distractions and enticements.  How much this scene is like the way sin tries to get me to move back into its neighborhood and stay.  But in You and by Your sacrifice for me, I’ve “left the country where sin is sovereign, how can [I] still live in [my] old house there? … [I] still live in [my] old house there? … [I] packed up and left there for good … in baptism.  When [I] went under the water, [I] left the old country of sin behind; when [I] came up out of the water, [I] entered into the new country of grace–a new life in a new land! … a grace–sovereign country.” (adapted from v 24 MSG)

Thanks for my new citizenship, Lord.  Thanks for the freedom from sin’s tyranny and the freedom You bring.  Help me to throw myself wholeheartedly and full-time into Your way of doing things.  You’ve raised me from the dead!  Your resurrection power is at work in me to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.