Here I've just copied and pasted my devotions from this morning... they seemed like something I'd write on here anyway - just thought this passage was especially timely. Also, The verses are just my paraphrasing of the actual scripture (in case someone wanted to call me on that...)
Hebrews 12 : 1-17
1-3) Now, as we stand back and see the many who have gone before us – they cheer and encourage us on. We've got to move forward – leaving the "stuff" behind. Don't just walk, gain speed and don't give up! Rid yourself of the garbage you've been carrying. Focus your eyes on Jesus, He's the one who blazed this trail and has arrived at His destination. Look at the way He moved and the way He's moving. Knowing the beauty and reward of your goal, eternity with your Father, don't you see that it is worth whatever you endure here on earth? Now, Christ sits at the right hand of God, and offers you that same glory. When you lose heart, return again to the basics... the message... the gospel – and you can't help but regain momentum, energy and strength!
4-11) We are in a violent war with sin. There are others who have suffered far worse than you, think of the punishment that Jesus endured – the blood shed, the torture... and PLEASE put your "trials" in perspective! Have you forgotten how good parents love and discipline their children? - or that God is YOUR FATHER?
Do not avoid the discipline of Father God, but do not let it destroy you either.
The children He loves, he disciplines – the one He hugs, He also makes right.
God disciplines you; which is why we must not abandon the way. He's teaching us how He wants us to be. It's the natural way of a family, so stop fighting it! You know there are parents who don't understand that discipline is love – and that is irresponsible. You wouldn't wish that YOUR Heavenly Father was irresponsible, would you? Don't get me wrong, discipline is NOT easy, fun, or even easily understood – it feels unnatural, but in the end, you will be rewarded for your conforming to His way. Those who learn the lessons, find themselves in maturity with Christ.
12-13) Stop sitting around, twiddling your thumbs. Stop trying to make it your own way. Move the obstacles out of the way, look out for things that could trip others up. Look out for each other – be helpful. And ready, set.. GO! RUN!!
14-17) Work hard at making peace with each other and with God. Without it, you will not get a peek at God. Ensure that everyone receives the free blessings of God. Tune your vision to see the goat-heads of bitterness. You know how those weeds take over the yard in no time... deflating tires, ruining shoes, causing bloody injury. Be alert for those who follow in the steps of Esau – those who are willing to give up eternity for a moment of satisfaction. You remember that Esau was later sorry for his decision, but by then it was too late. (no matter how "sorry" he was).
I think this passage is very relevant to the climate we've been in recently. The BS of church-family-life, has GOT to get back on track. And I don't believe that the answer is digging through the junk... who hurt who... what hurt what... why we think we're right or why we think others are wrong... that's not the point at ALL. The point is making peace. Moving forward, running the race. We need to love each other in a way that disregards the stuff. I don't think for a moment that there haven't been real trials... I do think we've responded incorrectly. We're laying on the floor kicking and screaming... while God in his patience and wisdom stands by ... "are you done?". I am done. I am ready to move forward. I am ready to leave all of that stuff behind – the "right to be right", the thinking it's ok to "treat others like I have been treated"... or the inability to have compassion for things I don't understand. It's not about any of that. It's about Christ – our eternal life, only available through him... the punishment he took on, that I more than deserve myself. The miracle of my salvation, and the life I am entitled to through Christ alone. So, I choose life – and I choose to move forward. Not even a word about all the stuff... just moving forward. No analyzing, no digging it up, no "i need to say this one more thing..." nothing.
Who's with me??