Hebrews 12 Throw Aside Every Weight and Sin

Throw Off Every Weight

There is a responsibility that accompanies the privilege of following Christ. To make the greatest impact, we must throw aside every weight and sin!

“…let us strip off and throw aside
every encumbrance (unnecessary weight)
and the sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings
to and entangles us…”
Hebrews 12: 1

Encumbrance

Encumbrance is not a word I normally use in everyday vocabulary. It means “a burden or impediment”. It has the idea of any kind of weight, bulk or burden being carried.

I know several people who are avid marathon runners. Every one of them keeps track of their diet, has a strict exercise routine, and plans carefully what they will wear or carry during a race. They know that any excess weight will hinder their ability to finish well.

Marathon

This is exactly the analogy used in Hebrews!

Defining the unnecessary weight in my life isn’t as easy as looking in the mirror! As matter of fact, some of the things I may have to examine closely may seem quite good.

Cloud of Witnesses

Some hints can be gained from looking at the preceding chapter in Hebrews from those who have run this race of faith ahead of us.

“Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”
Hebrews 12:1

Close your eyes for a moment and image being completely surrounded by faith giants cheering you on in your life and walk with Christ.

Witnessed

For me that thought is more intimidating than encouraging!

  • Abel threw off Cain’s weight of indifference in creating his own rules of worship or worshipping God “just enough” to be accepted.
  • Enoch chose solitude with God above continually hanging out with friends.
  • Noah rejected wickedness that had become the cultural norm, choosing righteousness instead.
  • Abraham’s encumbrance was everything familiar, including family, religion of his father, and a secure home.
  • Sarah’s greatest hold back was getting past her physical limitations.
  • Moses had to give up on privilege, position, wealth and power to break free.
  • Joshua broke through natural intellect.

Similarly, the writer of Hebrews call us to “throw aside” whatever it is that would potentially hold us back from fully and effectively following Christ. Only you will know what God is calling you to leave behind!

And the Sin


Sin is termed εὐπερίστατος  meaning to place oneself round, or encompass.
The sense is therefore: sin, which easily surrounds us and takes us captive.”

In a literal sense, it is like a runner in a loose fitting garment that could easily get wrapped around his legs to trip him up. Whereas, the sense of encumbrance is general, sin is more specific.

Sin

Every one of us has at least one area we keep “tripping over”. The enemy is clever! He knows our weakness even better than we do. Constantly staying accountable to those who will honestly and bluntly speak into my life is one way to help me avoid unnecessary falls.  Still they come!

“so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings”

Pride and independence are perhaps two of my biggest areas; they show up in subtle and not so subtle ways. These may be the two biggies, but they aren’t the only ones I’m constantly throwing off!

The Cross is Enough

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross,
scorning its shame, and sat down
at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12: 2

So what then? We’ve tripped in an all too familiar way again. What do we do when the shame of past or guilt recent failures is pulling us ever downward?

The cross is enough! Jesus paid the price for it all – past, present and future. He knew how much we were going to fail. Yet, He loves us still. I reality,  the only thing He fully expected we would do is fail, only to fall again. The provision of His sacrifice on the cross is complete in every way.

Joy

Don’t let shame and guilt hold you back! Place whatever entangles at the foot of the cross and step back into your place. A crowd of others who have tasted the bitterness of failure and defeat is cheering you on to complete your course.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to
salvation without regret,
whereas worldly grief produces death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10

When you run, run without regret in the full freedom of the cross!

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Want to read more on grace?

Grace Notes – The Extras that Matter! A Support to the Melody!

 

Intercession – Releasing The Power of The Cross Through Prayer

Intercessory Prayer

Prayer plays a strategic role in the life of every believer; intercession is only one dimension of that prayer. It is a critical tool in the spiritual arsenal available for us. Yet, it is perhaps the least understood!

“I urge, then, first of all,
that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people…”

I Timothy 2:1

Paul urges Timothy to utilize four distinct types of prayer because

“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,
who wants all people to be saved
and to come to an knowledge of the truth.”
I Timothy 2:4

Intercession

Perhaps one of the best books written on the subject is “Intercessory Prayer” by Dutch Sheets. It is worth both a read and a study. I’ll just scratch the surface and leave the deep theological stuff to the pros.

The word Paul uses here for intercession is (1783 Strongs) énteuksis. It means intervention or more literally “to strike, hit the mark or the bulls-eye“.

Intercession - Strike The Mark

1783 /énteuksis (“Spirit-directed intervention“) refers to the petitions (intercessions)
of believers as they “fall in line with” God’s will –
revealing how the one intervening should get involved after drawing near to God
and agreeing with His revealed will. True intercession
(1783 /énteuksis) seeks to act only as the Lord directs,
i.e. following His will to act as His hand extended (cf. 1 Jn 4:17).

(  copyright © 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc.
For complete text and additional resources visit: TheDiscoveryBible.com)

Intercession is the faith prayer joining God’s will in heaven and His perfect desire on earth. The mystery is He chooses to use His people as the conduit through which His power flows.

The Waiter

Therefore, the first posture of the intercessor is on our knees waiting to hear and to know what God’s perfect will is in a situation.

Waiting

In the midst of a fast paced culture where identity often rests on results, this can be a difficult position to assume. First, it requires the laying down of our own desires and longings. Then it demands perfect trust in knowing we can hear the voice of the Shepherd clearly.

My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10: 27

God’s voice will always line up perfectly with His Word. His word reflects His heart and character. Just as in any relationship, the only way to truly know His heart is by spending copious amounts of time with Him.

The Warrior

Jesus led by example when confronted by the chief of adversaries. To every attack He used the word of God as His only weapon! It is obvious that the devil also knows the word of God and from the beginning has used it in a variety of twisted and distorted forms.

¹²For we have the living Word of God which is full of energy,
and it pierces more sharply than a soldier’s sword…”
Hebrews 4:12 (Passion Translation)

Warrior

Paul commands,

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

The sword is part of the armour to be employed daily. It is interesting to note the word of God is our only offensive weapon. Intercession, more than any other type of prayer, is a precise instrument for offensive attack on the enemy’s onslaughts.

To know the word, here meaning the written word (logos), of God is imperative to our ability to wield the sword hitting the mark.

The Worshipper

Sometimes impossibilities become possible simply through spoken praise, adoration and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of my absolute favourite passages of scripture is 2 Chronicles 20. The enemy was fierce! King Jehoshaphat goes to the temple, the place of divine strategy, and lays out the situation before God. At the Lord’s command they

Take up your positions;
stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 
Go out to face them tomorrow.” (vs 17)

That sounds familiar! But what is surprising is that he appoints singers to lead!

“to praise him for the splendor of his holiness
as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever.’
As they began to sing and praise,
the LORD set ambushes against the men of Moab and
they were defeated.” (vs 21, 22)

Worshipper

How many volunteers would we get for that choir today? The strong guys with weapons were in the rear! Now that is faith in motion!

Under the Cross

As an intercessor, one simultaneously and interchangeably assumes all three roles: waiting on the Lord, warring on His behalf, and worshipping and adoring Him alone. Positioned under the finished work of the cross of Christ, the intercessor stands in the chasm between heaven and earth releasing the will of the Father towards the children of man.

Though God can work independently of humans, He has chosen to limit Himself to work through us by Holy Spirit. We have no ability to set captives free, but we call upon the One who has paid the ransom for freedom for all. We have no power to heal, but we seek the Healer to move bringing alignment of afflicted bodies into heaven’s order. We stand on Christ the Rock and in the authority of His Name expect

the release of the demoniac,
soundness of mind to the tormented,
restoration to the oppressed,
chains of bondage broken over captives,
eyes once spiritual blind to see the Light of Life.

Soldiers take your positions! Strike the mark!

 

Under the Cross by MaryAnn Ward
Under the Cross by MaryAnn Ward

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Satan – A Roaring Lion, A Barking Dog, A Buzzing Bee

Satan

I would prefer to chat about Jesus, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, than about the defeated one. There was a little incident this week that made me chuckle, reminding me Satan is nothing more than a roaring lion, a barking dog or a buzzing bee.

A Barking Dog

As a child I would veer off the road to uncharted paths; now I often walk the back allies of the place I call home. At one particular spot, a high chain link fence confines two dogs. Inevitably with jaws flapping, they bolt full tilt at every passer-by, dashing back and forth within their confinement. Their predictable path behind the fence trampled.

Barking Dog

Usually I ignore them. Today I did not! I stood still maintaining absolute eye contact with the lead dog. He continued his aggressive barking, pacing his restricted ground. I stayed quietly staring him down. He stopped directly in front of me barking intensely, then continued his back-forth run. Finally he slinked behind the hedging. Peering through the leaves, he was waiting for me to blink.

Blink? Not a chance! Again he picked up his pattern of intimidation. Again he stopped, this time directly in front of me. He flinched looking away – to the side, to the sky, behind him, above me… Feebly he barked; quickly he stopped. Then with head hung low slowly he headed back to the place he came from, almost looking over his shoulder, but not quite….

Inwardly I chuckled! One more dog stared down!

In Freedom

You see I know where I stand! I am standing and walking in the free zone. The dog is bound by a fence! I have liberty. He does not!

 

Freedom

As a Christian does this make sense? Through the cross of Christ the enemy was debilitated and publicly humiliated.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities,
he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

One more note! When Christ was raised from the dead, we were raised victorious IN HIM!

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ,
set your sights on the realities of heaven,
where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
Colossians 3:1

This is our reality! We are the ones who walk in freedom, power and authority!

A Roaring  Lion

Yes, scripture says Satan is like a roaring lion looking for someone to “devour”. We don’t need to cower (crouch down in fear). The same passage in I Peter 5 gives instruction.

Stay alert…
resist him…
standing firm...”

Eyeball him down, friends! Eyeball him down!

A Buzzing Bee

Buzzing Bees

One of the biggest challenges I face is the one between my ears. The subtle ungodly thoughts that buzz around like bees, distracting me from the reality of

who I am
the authority I walk in
and my true position in Christ.

Next time you hear the lion roar, a dog barking or a bee buzzing around your head, I hope you stop in your tracks. Then take a look around at the true freedom you have in Christ. Stare that noisy intruder down moving forward rejoicing in the power of the cross and resurrection over you. Don’t forget to grin a little as you do it!

Freedom

Thank You, Lord
for the unbelievable freedom
You have given through
the cross and the resurrection.
When I hear the growls, barks or buzzes
of life,
grant me the wisdom to stand
in the fullness of all
you did.

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Feel free to comment on this or any other post. Blessings!

 

Good Friday – Two Beams Intersected – The Arm of Love Reaching Down – The Arm of Grace Reaching All

Good Friday - Where Love and Grace Meet

I have always struggled with the title “Good Friday.” As I look with human eyes on the twisted tragedy of that day, nothing seems good. Greed, slander, jealousy, and compromise brought death to the Giver of Life. But on that Friday two beams intersected: the arm of love reaching down connecting heaven and earth while the other, the arm of grace, embraced all humanity.  That is very good!

Others can explain the implications of that day far better than I. But I have this confession,

“…One thing I do know,
I was blind but now I see!”
John 9:25

Although my “blindness” wasn’t physical, it was debilitating!

Blindness

Church going wasn’t a regular feature of my childhood. I did attend enough for me to get the gist of a baby born in a manger and a man on the cross. However, I had no idea how that connected to my life.

It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I was told the full message of the cross.

All have sinned and are separated from God.
God is holy and just.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
God is merciful and gracious.
Jesus’ death on the cross
paid the price for my sin.
By believing and confessing Jesus,
God accepts His blood as payment for my sin.

I still cannot get my head around the profound simplicity of this truth. But at that moment, my heart embraced fully the reality of such a gift of love.

Without support of other Christians and facing opposition, it didn’t take me long to choose the love and acceptance of others over the love of my Saviour. This wave of darkness swept in like tsunami, pulling me ever downward…

depression and suicidal intentions
alcoholism
twisted self-image and no self-esteem
self-harm….

It would take over a decade to surface from the whirlpool of death thoughts and actions. As a young mom, failing in every capacity of life, I left my home and little family with one intention – to end the onslaught of internal pain.

Walking Away

As I walked away that cold February night, God walked with me! No, not in a way I could physically see Him, but with me nonetheless. Though I had denied Jesus, He had not deserted me

not even in the darkest of moments
on psychiatric wards
in seasons of abuse
or violation.

Though I had been unfaithful, He remained faithful! Though I had tried to run from Him, His love sought me out!

There in the middle of snow bank, I laid down every broken piece of a life twisted and torn. I had nothing good to offer Him – nothing of value to give.

My simple confession, “Lord, I have nothing but broken pieces, but if You want me I’m yours….”

And He did! The Saviour of all wanted relationship with me! Tears still flow freely down aged cheeks as I come face to face with the awesomeness of such love. Who can explain it? Who can comprehend it? Can it be defined or measured? Yet, one thing is for sure; it cannot be denied.

Night Sky

My one request at the moment was, “Lord, teach me to love!”

Through the decades it continues to be my soul desire… to love each day a little more as He loves… with one arm reaching down to the broken pointing them up to Jesus… with the other reaching out to gather “whosoever will” on this journey of faith.

Nothing has been the same since that day! The process has been long – painfully long! Transformation takes time. But truly I am not the woman I used to be. “Once thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

It is all because of Good Friday when two beams intersected: the arm of love reaching down connecting heaven and earth while the other, the arm of grace, reaching me. Even me! That is very good!

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A Simple Prayer

Lord, I thank You for the cross
for the price You paid
for all of us
The Worthy for the unworthy
the Holy for the defiled
the Just of the unjust.

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Cross

More to read:

Jesus Christ The Sure Foundation – Building to Last

Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt!

Give Me Chocolate

One recent morning my daughter-in-love called and innocently asked, “How are you doing?” Though it was early morning, I confessed I was eating chocolate. She completely understood! It was one of those “give me chocolate and nobody gets hurt” days!

What does your “one of those days” look like? You know what I’m talking about! The kind of day when one thing quickly piles atop another, over another, yet amass another. Maybe for you it isn’t a single day, but a string of unbroken difficult days that have marked an entire season.

crown-741478_640 - Pixabay - CCO Public Domain -cderosia - Crown Thorns Jesus Christian Christ

Then I noticed this image. It caused me to re-evaluate my heap-upon-heap day. All perspective changed in the light of THAT day over two thousand years ago!

On this day of His
family left Him for crazy
friends ran for their lives
one sold Him as a slave
another cursed the mention of His Name
religious leaders slandered Him
political powers washed their hands of Him
the populace shook their fists and turned their backs.

Yet He did not complain! Quite the contrary,

“For the joy set before Him He endured the cross.”
 Hebrews 12:2

Wait! Back this train up! “For the joy”…. How is that anywhere near possible?

Endurance

For the Joy…

With joy Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden. Thus He made possible for our wills someday, in every way, to be surrendered to His.

In surrendered joy His beard pulled from a jaw, set firmly to the holy task, acquired grace for us to walk humbly with each other.

For you and me, through joy whips separated flesh from flesh; healing from all sickness and disease is now ours.

With joy Christ was wounded for our transgressions (sinful acts) and bruised for our iniquities (faulty attitudes). Now we, through Christ, are forever set free from the guilt and shame of our acts and attitudes.

With joy thorns pressed deep a head deserving a crown for our proud and evil thoughts to be brought into captivity.

For the joy set before Him nails pierced hands that reached the least of these, so we too may touch the lives of unreached ones.

With incomprehensible joy blood dripped from the nail locking feet to wood, that those who followed could journey with fearless faith the straight road.

With joy the spear thrust deep emptying heart and lung. Sanctified and purified we may now live through His shed blood.

Childbirth

Joy Wrapped in Love

With joy? Yes, with joy wrapped in love! With joy He looked beyond his darkest day

when the Father turned His head
the sun refused to shine
the earth tremored in disbelief
and the veil of separation torn for all time.

He looked beyond “this day” to the horizon of endless time. Here perhaps is the key to both overcoming and rising above “one of those days”.

This day of ours is but a single word
against an eternal scroll…
a golden thread among the weave and warp
of all time and place.
This day neither defines nor determines
God’s good purpose
and beautiful design for our lives.

God's Plans

…”No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him.”
I Corinthians 2:9 

With joy, great joy, Jesus gave his life so all who believed in Him would live!

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I Choose Joy!

Lord grant me the grace to see beyond “today”.
Give me courage and faith
to face each day with the joy set before me.
Forgive me Lord for grumbling about my little day –
I reach for joy!
For the joy set before me, I will move forward.
You, Lord, are with me always!

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Another article you might enjoy –

Great Trials Matched by Great Joy – James 1 Perspective