Monday, April 19, 2021

Shed Everything that Weighs You Down - A Vision of Jesus

We Christians often talk about our "Walk" of faith, our "Walk" with the Lord, but recently, and perhaps because we are so close to the end, the Lord reminded me that we are in a race.  Our Christian journey might well be compared to a marathon, where you start off slow, pace yourself, then as you approach the finish line, you give it all you got!
 
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

This past week, I wasn't even reading these verses about the race, but in all honesty, the Lord has been dealing with me for awhile now about casting off anything that is slowing me down, putting aside all encumbrances. I've been struggling so much lately, and as I talk with the Lord, I have come to realize that He is slowly stripping away from me any and all things that take my attention off of Him and off of finishing this race. In my own life, it has been attachments to kids and grandkids, a need to remain relevant in my writing career, and other more personal things.  These encumbrances that weigh us down don't have to be bad things in and of themselves, but they are anything and anyone upon which we place the majority of our time and focus.  
 
As I was pondering a particular thing in my life I was having a hard time letting go, the Lord put one word in my mind. Addiction. It struck me like a hammer. Addictions don't have to be to alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.. They can be any attachment we have toward a person or thing. Anything that if we think of getting rid of it, just the thought causes great pain. Wow. Like I said, it could be something good in and of itself, but if it takes our focus off the Lord in the last minute of this race, then it must go. 
 
Such encumbrances could be things like
Chocolate (sorry, one of mine!)
A TV show we can't live without
A spouse or love interest
Children or grandchildren
A career and/or the accolades and success that comes with it
Vacations
Possessions
Food (an unhealthy obsession with it)
Worry (Yes you can be addicted to worrying)
Fear
Exercise/Fitness
Shopping
Social Media
The Approval of others
 
Then, there's the bad ones: Sex, drugs, porn, an immoral relationship, etc. 
 
Lately, I have sensed the Lord stripping things away from me, and to be honest, it's been painful, but I now realize that He's doing exactly what I asked Him to do! I have been asking Him to make me more like Him and to help me do only His will before He comes.  
 
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:37-38
 
Those are harsh words, but I doubt Jesus was kidding. Does that mean we are to hate our family and friends, stop eating chocolate, quit the job we love? NO. It's all about your heart. It has to start there. You have to be willing to give up your addictions for Jesus if called to do so. He must come first always.
 
 Just think of that one thing in your life which is the most important thing or that one person you love more than anything, and then ask yourself this question. If a group of armed men stormed into your house and told you to deny Jesus or they would take that thing you love from you forever or kill that person you love in front of you, what would you say? 

As I was pondering all of this, the Lord gave me a flash vision. I was running along a road, emerging from a band of trees and in the distance I saw Jesus standing there with His arms wide open to receive me! It only lasted a second, but it blessed me so much. He's waiting for us to finish the race He has given each of us. He's pulling for us! Shouting encouragements! He knows we can do it if we keep our eyes on Him.

Don't be dragging yourself to the finish line carrying tons of packages along with you, burdened down by the things of this world. You might end up not finishing the race at all, but dropping to your knees halfway there, completely exhausted! 

 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1 Corinthians 9:24

You wouldn't see a Marathon racer heading to the finish line with a backpack oh his back and carrying two suitcases. 

So, if you're feeling like the Lord is yanking away from you some things you've always treasured, rejoice and keep running. In fact, pick up the pace, and keep your eyes on Him. He's waiting with open arms to reward those who run to win!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, 
Hebrews 12:1-2




11 comments:

  1. Great article! Loved this!
    I would probably add 1 more thing to the list, social media, at least for myself. Last summer I felt the Lord wanting me to get off FB. I did and never went back to it. It was really freeing. I had been on it for about 11 years. I was on it to keep up with family and friends, but it ended up being a burden for me and I knew the Lord knew that so I got off. My daughter and her husband did as well about the same time.
    I'm on more conservative friendly platforms now, but even then I feel I may need to take a break from them time to time to get my focus back with the Lord.
    I hope you have a great day! ❤

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    1. Excellent point, Barbara. I'm going to add Social Media and something else the Lord put on my mind last night. Blessings!

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  2. Great insights and confirmation. Keep the faith and run strong, my friend. I'm right there with you! ❤

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    1. Yup.. I see you there beside me, Chappy! It's nice to have company! Hugs

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  3. Perfect timing for this post. I so agree. I have been on a mission trip and away from my home since January. I've lived out of a suitcase and haven't missed a thing. God really is removing things from my life, and I've never been closer to Him. I would be fine selling my house and never going back. It's so freeing.

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    1. Amen to all you said! Nothing in this world holds any value for me. Except my family.. but Jesus has them in the palm of His hand

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  4. Here we go again Sister, you are such affirmation to where I am and several others that I am close too. Yesterday my Berean study was on this scripture: Luke 14:26-27
    (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. I have been thrashing this in my head and in prayer since it popped up. The word hate just so hard for me to go there! Except for the devil, he really makes me MAD.. and all those who willingly follow him... I have always remembered when His mother Mary and family were knocking on the door and Jesus said something to this affect, "Who is my family? It is those who follow me" And at the time they were trying to get him to come home and not do the work the Father had sent Him to do.. It helped me follow Jesus and not those living in the world. So many friends and family I love have been turning away from me and belong to this World Church, luke warm at the most... All getting the V and saying they believe in Jesus, but that is as far as I can see them growing. Then seeing so many of our Churches keeping their doors shut for so long, but opening up to give everyone the V, This world Church really is forming and persecuting those of us that hold the entire WORD as God's inspired truth. We have friends and family that talk about their next vacation. or new house they are buying and new cars. The grand kids, what college they'll be going too, like everything is getting better and never will end. My Mom calling me yesterday she is almost 90 and should be looking UP for Jesus. Instead she tells me what a great job Biden is doing and the Dems... I inform her that we are about to go to war, she's like where in the world do you get your news?? She asks if I got my jab and I said, "No someone needs to be around to bury the dead, just in case." She snorted... and let it go. I couldn't resist, as politics are her God. The delusion and hypocrisy of our conversation was insane. It left me so unsettled and contemplating back to the above scripture. I believe the Lord wanted me to see first hand what it costs to take up the Cross. My hardest thing to give up is all my family and loved ones that aren't committed to serving CHRIST. I feel one of the nuggets that the Lord recently gave me in all that is happening around me, is to evaluate everyone that is trying to push anything on me, HOW CLOSE ARE THEY TO JESUS. And so far, NONE of them are close to Jesus! Otherwise they wouldn't be forcing things on me, we'd be in the same CAMP!! Anyhow, I had this feeling this was what you were going through too and so thankful for the raw honesty here. As it REALLY hurts, but we know we have not choice, but to run the full race. This is the hardest part, but we are almost there. Thank you so much MaryLu, I can't wait to hug you on the other side. love eternally through Jesus a Sister forever Cillie

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    1. Cillie, When you post here, I feel like its me posting! It's so true about the lukewarm church... or even in my case, some ladies who appear to love the Lord and want to follow Him. Then why are they saying the Lord told them to get the V? Why are they planning for years and years in advance and talking about things getting better across the globe? I wonder what god they are talking to? Jesus warned us about this last days church. He said He would vomit it out of His mouth. By the way, I loved your comment to your mom after she asked you if you were going to get the jab! Ha. I'm so sorry she's so deceived. Many of my family are too, so I can relate. It's hard. There are many nights with many tears.. as I cry out for my loved ones. But, like you, it has helped me to keep my eyes on Jesus and Him alone. Right now, it seems a lonely path we are on.. but soon we will be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb surrounded by fellow brothers and sisters!! I owe you a big hug, Cillie!

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    2. MaryLu It is amazing how the Lord brought us together through your great Pirate novels, but I see His hand in it all. These are the miracles of God I know that build my faith stronger each day. I do feel like we are "twins" in so much that we see and feel. Even reading your novels, the expressions and love for Jesus in them. And our sense of humor, OH MY!!
      Your comment is so right on, "I wonder what God they are talking too... the God I talk too lines up with HIS WORD, not mans or satan's lies and deception. Jesus warned us of these times, yet so many find it easier to follow the path of less resistance.
      The path HOME as we can see is getting narrower by the minute. And the race analogy here is right on. We are almost there, how could we not be??
      I am so excited to be sitting at the table with Jesus at the head and all of us that have fought the good race to be there. The FAMILY OF GOD... where we will never be a part from Jesus and death will hold no power over us again. I can hardly breath in anticipation to be with our King!

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  5. Kathy Pitts SmithApril 21, 2021 at 9:34 AM

    I can so emulate with the words you have written about being stripped of things that meant the most to us, bordering on obsession. He took away my precious kitty cat a mere four weeks ago! She was my everything and I was not sure if I even wanted to leave in the Rapture if she could not go with me. So he took her. TV was also an important part of my life, not being to do anything but watch certain TV shows, even if they were reruns. Now the TV rarely comes on during the day at all, and the local news channels irritate me more now than ever, reporting lies and untruths. I do not really even like watching some movies anymore because of their content...the swearing, the sex, the killing... it upsets me now and I know it is not what the Lord wants me filling my head with. I have always been lax in reading the Bible, but I am doing it more now and reading other books like The Non-Prophets Guide to Spiritual Warfare. It enlightened me and led me to some scriptures in the Bible that hit home with me. I am also alienating family members, as well. My sister recently had a mastectomy, having been told she had a cancerous tumor in her left breast. She jumped into surgery within a week, never seeking a second opinion or having other options. I warned her to seek other treatments besides a radical surgery. Now she has water in her abdomen and needs special massage techniques to remove it, which causes her great pain. I told her to seek the Lord and give her health and problems over to Him. She stopped talking to me. When you try to spread the message of the Lord, people back away and follow the crowd. I will walk my own path. I want to be with the Lord and not let Satan take my soul! How can people be so blind? I thank you MaryLu, for your books started me on the path of Believing and seeking the Lord. It has been a journey to say the least, but I am thankful that I am on that road. I want to win that race, as well!

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    1. Kathy, rest assured you will see your kitty again. And soon. Perhaps because you put so much value on her, the Lord brought her home early, so nothing would stand in the way of you being taken in the Rapture! He is so merciful to us! We are also very cautious in what we watch on TV and like you said even the news is all lies. I'm glad to hear you are diving more into the Bible. I've come to know that it is our only truth and we must know it well in order to not be deceived by this world! Read it, study it, memorize it, even when you don't feel like it! You'll be glad you did. I'm also sorry about your sister. You aren't alone. I hear from many believers whose family have stopped speaking to them. Hang in there and keep praying for her and others. Keep running, dear sweet Kathy! I'll see you at the finish line!

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