Removing Me

 

Hebrews 12 is one of those chapters in God’s Word where you can start highlighting from verse 1 and end up highlighting all of them down to verse 29.  I read this chapter recently and just yesterday I was reminded again of the last 5 verses of Hebrews 12:

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Check out how The Message says it:

25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.  28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

One of the things that really stands out to me is verse 25.  “See to it that you don’t refuse Him who is speaking.”  Do we really believe that the Lord our God is speaking to us today?  I  most certainly do!  What on earth would we do if He wasn’t speaking?  What a hopeless existence we would have…and boring!  My two closest friends and prayer partners often just laugh at what a total blast it is to know the Lord Jesus and experience His power in our lives.  Oh yes, Sisters, He is speaking!

BUT…honestly and truly and openly, we need to consider this.

Are we refusing Him in any way?

How often to do we just plain ignore Him?

Are we turning a deaf ear to our Savior with all the distractions and busyness in our lives?

If He ever lives to intercede for us, shouldn’t we ever live to listen for His voice & worship Him?

Recently I’ve been attending an intercessory prayer class a different church in my town.  Something suggested to us in the first class was to begin praying Psalm 139:23-24:

When I invite Him to come in and to search me and try me and to know my anxious thoughts and to shine His light on the darkness of my offensive ways, THAT is me receiving Him!  When you get the spiritual guts up to actually ask Him to invade your inner-most motives, it is such a picture of us receiving Him.  We then receive Him in His fullness.  We come ready to respond; our hearts set to do His will and actually follow the way everlasting.

When I tune my ear to hear His voice, I’m receiving His Kingdom which cannot be shaken.

Inviting Him in, I’m agreeing with Him, and my heart is joining with His and becoming one.

I really believe that this is when our worship becomes acceptable, filled with reverence and awe, like Hebrews 12:28 says.  Then we can worship in spirit and in truth, because the lies we’ve been believing and living are then exposed in the brilliant light of His glory and holiness.

Isn’t that what we want, y’all?  We want the Lord Jesus to search & shake & cut & remove every dead branch in us that is not bearing MUCH fruit.  We want to be pruned because we KNOW that He is a God of His Word. We KNOW that it is for our own good when He cuts us back.  We KNOW that we can trust Him.

But, isn’t it so incredibly difficult not to resist His sheers when we see them coming?! These sinful and selfish wills of ours refuse death at all costs it seems. Self is laden with this ‘never say die’ insolence; it’s born within our flesh from the beginning. But, what rescues us from this plague of human nature bent on self-preservation?  I think I have a good idea, and it’s found in Isaiah chapter 6.

This account has long captured my imagination.  It’s Isaiah’s testimony of having encountered our Living God in all His holiness.

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Have you ever encountered God like that?

Some of you may remember me giving my testimony in a post I shared a couple years ago: “How God Broke Me Out of My Striving.”  That was the encounter with the Lord that literally redirected the entire trajectory of my life.  Until we see Him for Who He really is, we can’t get a clear look at ourselves.  And we cannot rely on a 1-time repentance to keep us going God’s direction.  Sin is ever before us.  Our enemy seeks to destroy us.  Our flesh rises up within us against the knowledge of our Living God.  This examination and repentance has to be daily, lest our enemy get a foothold!

Even recently when I started praying Psalm 139:23-24, I was not aware of any overt or unconfessed sin in my life.  I feel like I’m hearing the Holy Spirit speak to my heart quite regularly.  My desire for Him is increasing, and along with that I understand that the enemy of our souls seeks to destroy each of those things by whatever means he can.  The enemy will take whatever foothold we give him, so we must be on guard.  We want to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves, as Jesus said.

ps-139

So, what happens when you start asking the Lord to test you and try you and see if there are offensive ways in your heart?  He starts revealing stuff we’d rather not believe about ourselves.  Things that don’t make it onto Facebook and Instagram feeds.  It’s ugly.  And vile.  Our offensive ways do not define who we are anymore, praise Jesus, we really are NEW creations!  But, offensive ways in us must be dealt with and slain ASAP!  How can we have clean hands and pure hearts if we don’t ever invite the Lord God to examine us inside and out?

Our hearts collectively as His Bride are what our Bridegroom is after.  The Father is after my whole heart and your whole heart.  And He wants us to be Holy as He is Holy.

Recently, I began reading a book called, “The Days of His Presence” by Francis Frangipane. There is a quote I want to share with you where he refers to an experience he had with God Almighty, much like the Isaiah 6 encounter.  I read this just days ago and I cannot get over it.

With my inner eyes I discovered the truth about my righteousness.  Remember, I felt close to the Lord.  As a man who was seeking God with fasting, I considered my spiritual condition to be good.  Yet I suddenly became aware of my true human condition.  The flaws in my life became unbearably vivid and utterly sinful.  I saw my iniquity not as something I occasionally committed but something I perpetually was.

I became instantly aware of the many times I could have been more loving or kind or sensitive, but I hardened my heart instead.  I also saw how instinctively selfish nearly all of my thoughts and actions were.  Yet for all that was resident within me of unrighteousness, I felt no rebuke from the Lord, nor did I feel condemnation.  No voice came from Heaven to convict me of my wrongs.  The only voice condemning me was my own; in the light of His presence I abhorred myself (see Job 42:6 KJV)

Without any buffer of self-justification or deceit, with no other person but God to whom to compare myself, I saw how far short of His glory I truly was.  I knew why mankind needed the atoning blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  And I knew that no amount of personal attainment in and of itself could ever make me like Jesus.  In the most profound way, I understood that only Christ could live like Christ.  God’s plan was not to improve me but to remove me so that the Lord Jesus Himself could actually live His life through me (Galatians 2:20).  In His indwelling would rest my hope of becoming like Him.

That last three sentences are the ones I can’t get over.  Only Jesus can live like Jesus.  God’s plan is not to improve me but to remove me so that that Lord Jesus Himself can actually life His life through me.  Him indwelling me is my hope of becoming like Him.

Galatians 2:20 (Amplified Bible)

I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Colossians 3:3 in the NLT says, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Amen, Lord Jesus!  I surrender!  Come and take over!

So, let’s be brave.  Let’s not refuse Him in any way.  Let’s get the spiritual guts to fall face-down in front of Him and ask Him to show us what needs to be confessed and forsaken and slain.  He’s gentle and humble in Spirit, He is kind, and He is good. He has great plans for us, there are good works He’s prepared in advance for us, and He loves moldable clay vessels in His hands.  And let’s worship Him like we never have before.

It occurs to me that we are living in days where luke-warmth will not stand.  We are in critical hours, Girls, and we have the distinct privilege of calling Him our King.  Oh, that our lives would be a sweet smelling incense to Him.  That our communication with Him would be open and honest and fully-committed to do His will.

Lord Jesus, make us about Your business and whatever it takes to serve You, give us hearts willing to obey.  You are so worthy of our entire lives poured out for You, and You are so worth it!

 

 

 

 

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