Don’t Let the Passion Burn Out

IMG_20130128_142018

We are Christians, called by His name. He has saved us from a horrible fate and given us, not just life, but abundant life.

But do you ever find yourself growing hard? It becomes a burden to go to the extra prayer service. You don’t want to go to church today. It becomes more of a duty than a joy. You forget to pray more than you remember to. The Bible doesn’t hold the same charm that it used to.

I was reading in Hebrews this morning and it brought some light:

“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:12-13

I see a progression in this passage. It starts with unbelief and goes to a hard heart. The very next passage talks about rebellion toward God which is the next step. You don’t start out with a hard or rebellious heart toward God, but maybe you don’t believe Him like you used to. Maybe you’ve had things that you have held onto for so long without seeing results that you have finally let go. This can cause a hard heart.

It also talks about being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Sin is deceptive. Why? Because the enemy of your soul would have you believe that it is never really as bad as it seems. It wants to hold on and not be dealt with, just shoved under the rug. Sin always wants to lessen the consequences. That is where it is deceptive. “It’s not that bad. Don’t worry about it.” But sin will separate you from God and it will never tell you that. Deal with sin and don’t let it deceive you.

Then there is unbelief. What are the things that are hard to believe God for? Where is it hard to give Him reign in your life? Build your faith in those areas. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17) Find scriptures on those areas. Read them over and over. Post them on your bathroom mirror. Say them out loud.

Don’t let sin or unbelief dampen your passion for God. Take God at His word. Find Scriptures for your life and pray them over your life. Let nothing separate you from God. Don’t let your heart grow hard in unbelief, but keep your faith alive through the Word of God.

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Remember…

I’ve been reading in Genesis this week. And I have been so encouraged by the stories of great men and women of God. Abel’s faith in God, Abraham and Isaac, Joseph; the list goes on, but there is so much courage and faith to be taken from these stories.

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Take Noah: he was an old man. He gets a word from God to build a boat. This could quite possibly be the first boat in history, and it’s a big one. He tells everyone that it is going to rain. Rain? What is rain? The earth had been watered by a mist up to this point (Gen. 2:5-6). It is debatable whether there had ever been any water to fall from the sky.

People thought he was crazy. But Noah was a righteous man in his generation (Gen. 7:1, 2 Peter 2:5). He kept his heart in line with the Word of God and didn’t allow popular opinion to make him question it.

Abraham was the father of faith and yet he laughed at the promise of God (Gen. 17:17). God called him blameless and he is remembered as the father of faith. Far from perfect, he had his fare share of mistakes. But he kept his eyes on the Lord.

There are so many stories like these of fallible man that an infallible God used to achieve His purposes. Be encouraged that you are not alone. It’s not the doubt and discouragement that takes you out, it’s what you do with it.

Let the Word of God build faith in you. Go and read the stories of the great men and women of faith. They are there for us to remember (Deut. 32:7). They are there for our encouragement. The people in these stories were normal people that faced incredible odds. Some of us will not face odds so large. Some of us will, but that is why we remember the stories and take courage in faith and the incredible awesomeness of our God.

Remember…

What Does He Want of Me?

Do you ever have friends that share verses with you? I do, and I love it when they do! A friend shared this yesterday and I haven’t been able to get away from it:

Psalm 40:6-8 “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.’”

Wait. So God doesn’t want sacrifice or offering? He doesn’t require the burnt offerings and sin offerings that the Old Testament is full of? The Law of Moses was full of details of such offerings and sacrifices. It had every detail, how often they were required, how they were to be divided. It was very thorough.

So if God doesn’t desire or require these anymore what does He desire? I believe that God doesn’t want things that are ‘required’, what He really desires is our decision to follow Him. Our obedience out of love and not duty is what He is really looking for.

Psalm 51:16-17 “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart–these, O God, You will not despise.”

What He really wants is a broken and a contrite heart. It doesn’t seem very fun at first, but think of a stallion. A wild stallion isn’t good for anyone until it has been broken. Once he has been broken and submits willingly to the handler’s prompting, he is one of the most useful and beautiful animals. Who wants a horse that pulls at every turn and will buck you off if you give him half of a chance?

He wants us to come to that place of brokenness where we look to Him for where to go and what to do next. A well trained horse will not move until prompted. He wants a people that will do His will, who will move at His prompting and not without.

Going back to Psalm 40, verse eight says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” He wants a people that delight in His will. How? by putting His Word in our hearts. When we love His Word and let it live within our hearts, we will know and love His will. We will get used to hearing His voice because it will have the same tone as the Word.

Let’s love His Word and give Him the sacrifice He desires. Let’s delight in His will and learn to hear His voice. And lastly, let’s obey willingly when we feel the gentle nudge of the Spirit.

Temporal Vs. The Eternal

Pastor spoke this morning and used this verse in reference and it got me to thinking…

Hebrews 12:27-29 “Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

The things that can be shaken will not last. The temporal things that the world loves, they will not last. Education will not last. Clothes will not last. Beauty will not last. The pleasures that this life affords will not last.

What are we building our lives on? Are we merely living for the moment? What takes our time? What gives us pleasure? I like to ask questions.

The things that cannot be shaken, the things that are eternal, those are what we are to build on. Our God is a consuming fire. The closer that you get to Him, the more things that are temporal are burned away.

The Word will not be shaken. To know Him, you must know the Word. To build on the unshakeable things, we must stay close to the Lord. Like that old song:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

It’s true. The fire of God consumes everything in our life that is not of His kingdom. We either draw nearer and let Him burn away those things, or we pull away and hide those areas from His fire.

Draw nearer. Let Him burn those things off until He burns through you. Build on the Rock that is Christ Jesus.

Brain-Washed

ImageRomans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.“

Just a quick thought for today. Don’t be conformed. The world tries to tell us how to think. The Bible says to wash our minds with the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

It is so easy to pick up concepts from the world. “It’s Monday.” “It’s raining, so I’m depressed.” “I’m just having a bad day.” The world has its own way of thinking on marriage: if it doesn’t work out, find someone else. On friends: you’re my very best friend until you cross me, and then I won’t speak to you again. It’s all about the temporary, the here and now. Do what feels good right now. If it doesn’t feel good, it must not be right.

Think about it. It is so easy to pick up these ways of thinking that are contrary to the way of Christ. How do we counter them? How can we “be transformed by the renewing of our minds”?  Let the Word of God wash over your mind.

Sometimes it is best to just read a couple of chapters and let it change our minds. I always try to pray before I read, “Lord, change my mind today. Adjust my thinking to line up with your Word and not the other way around.” It helps me to focus as I read.

That is one of the main reasons why we as Christians need the Word, why we need to feed on it every day. Sometimes one verse to chew on is just what we need. But sometimes just reading, and a lot, to let it wash over our minds is the best thing we can do. The world will try to brain wash you. It will try to get you to agree with its concepts. But instead, let the Word of God change the way you think.