Whether you have read the Bible or not, you have probably heard the saying “We have this hope as an anchor for our souls…”-Hebrews 6:19. This is a staple verse, if you will. It’s often written on beautiful decor for your home, fresh brewed mugs of coffee and I’ve even seen jewelry connected with it. Often, when we see a phrase on a regular basis it can loose the magnitude of meaning it was intended to have.
Today we are going to dive into this verse, and surrounding verses in Hebrews to take a closer look at how this set of verses can radically alter our perceptions, give us peace in the storms of life and the strength to move forward after devastating circumstances. Whether you are a survivor of a traumatic event, an abusive relationship or challenging circumstances, I’m right there with you. As a survivor, in my earlier seasons of healing, I always asked myself if the trauma defined me. In fact, when I hit the bottom of the barrel and walk through a powerful storm in life, I still revisit that question. The difference between my earlier years and now is the truth I have readily embraced that nothing defines me but God.
The scripture we are looking at today is Hebrews 6:18-20. Verse 18 often gets skipped over but it adds distinctive meaning to those seeking refuge, aren’t we all at some point or another? “We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”- Hebrews 6:18. The stage is being set here. God is calling out a specific audience, those that have sought refuge in Him. Are you seeking refuge now? Maybe you have walked through losing a job, a loved one or are fighting addiction, seek refuge in Him today! Be encouraged, God is with you, you are not facing your circumstances on your own. Maybe the trauma you experienced was years ago but the aftermath still occasionally rears its head. Your trauma does not define you. However, it will always be part of you, it has helped shape who you are and the way you choose to face (or run from) those circumstances will continually shape you. Some of you were discouraged by that previous statement. I know this because at one point and time I was discouraged to hear I would never just get past or get over my challenging experiences.
Focus on your relationship with God through it all. Even when you are angry with Him, it’s okay to be honest about that in prayer. God knows what you’re thinking, let Him in. For “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”-M.L.K. Jr. Take refuge, be encouraged, hold fast! It’s also important to note that the hope is set before you...then begs the question, what is my hope? “Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…”-Hebrews 6:20. Jesus has gone before you. Not only is He your savior but He gets what it’s like to walk this earth. He knows the challenges we face on a daily basis. Jesus can completely empathize with your situation. Hold fast to that hope.
No matter what this life has to offer, if you have a relationship with God through the sacrifice Jesus made, you have hope. You are not bound by your past experiences. No trauma will define you, unless you give it that power. Learn from it, grow from it and give it to God through prayer. Rise up and walk in the freedom you have because Jesus has gone before you. The shackles that once held you captive are removed, the prison cell door is unlocked and open, now it’s up to you. Will you cast your pain, your despair and your fear to God and walk out of the cell you have been bound by? Things will not instantly be perfect and that’s okay. Often times it’s a daily choice to let go of the hurt. Make that choice daily and walk in freedom.
Today, especially today, I am reminded of the brokenness that exists in humanity. The events that have taken place and continue to take place, the hurt that has followed. However, I am more so reminded that there is good in our world. Each of us can make a difference. That in our humanity we were designed to love, as we were made by God and created to bare His image. His goodness is the love and grace we witness in our world every day.
In todays day in age, we often sprint through life going from one day to the next, hoping that we are the person we want to be. That the sum of our lives is well spent. Maybe even desiring to leave a legacy that continues well beyond our time on this earth. An impact that outlives us. These are beautiful sentiments, but how do we ensure they are carried out in our own lives? With the minute by minute distractions we face, there's a wonder we accomplish anything. This is where priorities and intentionality come into play.
Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. didn't just sprint through life, hoping that he would make a difference. He humbly rose to action. Again, he HUMBLY rose to action. The famous speech "I have a dream…" is a great reminder of this. Martin Luther King Jr. didn't hold onto his dreams secretly hoping they would come about, he pressed into God and openly followed God's guidance. Not only did Martin Luther King Jr. do beautiful, powerful, awe-inspiring things; he did God things. God's word tells us that "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) Not only where we created in His image, God prepared works for us!
Each of us has been designed with unique talents, gifting and passions. As these three collide in our daily walk with God this is when we naturally live out the works laid before us. Don't get me wrong, it isn't all about our works, salvation comes only through Jesus. However, there is nothing more satisfying than bringing Glory to God by living out your purpose. Many of you are probably thinking "I don't even know where to start".
Often when we look at our global, or even societal concerns, it can be quite overwhelming. Compared to the darkness in our world it can seem like we won't make much of an impact. However, we can make a difference by humbly moving to action. Share a kind word with a co-worker, a classmate or a friend. Stand in the gap for someone that can't stand for themselves. Not everyone is called to be the face of a national movement and that's okay. Many of us are called to be unsung heroes.
As Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently spoke, when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize: "You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who’s Who." -Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize December 10, 1964
You see, many of us are the "ground crew", the unsung heroes. We must be a people who decide to make a difference in our daily lives. It isn't about one or two people rising up but a multitude of unsung heroes willing to say YES to God and follow Him in their daily lives. People choosing to love others well. The athletic coach who works 115 hours a week to make a difference in the lives of students that desperately need a positive influence. The customer service representative that faithfully shows up to work, day in and day out, going out of their way to help anyone that comes through their doors. The fast food worker that greets you with a smile every time you see them. We may not all be called to be the face of a movement but we are called to "love God & love our neighbors as ourselves"(Mark 12:30-31). Often times, as unsung heroes.
This time of year is filled with an array of emotions. Some of us have triumphantly walked into the new year with excitement and vigor. While others barely survived the holidays and are eagerly walking into a new season, hoping it will be better than the last. Whether you are the former or the latter I pray that God would move in and through you this year!
Everywhere we look, social media, adds, commercials, etc. We see promotions challenging us to make changes as we kick off the new year, often with specific S.M.A.R.T goals in mind. These goals might sound something like “I plan to lose 20 lbs before the summer begins” or “In this new year I am limiting my time on Netflix to two hrs a day”. Setting goals is a proven way to achieve growth in our lives. However, what if you chose to do something different this year?
My encouragement to you in 2019 is to put your “YES” on the table. Say YES to God, trusting in whatever direction He takes you. Putting your YES on the table means you are releasing control over every area of your life by trusting in God’s sovereignty and His provision. This act of obedience is paramount to living in freedom. It’s biblical, but often we get so caught up in what we think we should be doing or what we think God's plan is, that we miss out.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” - 1 Chronicles 16:11
By saying YES, you are choosing to seek Him first in your life. Say YES to God by giving Him your relationships, finances, work and talents. Freely move as He calls you for His Glory. Letting go of control won’t be easy but you can rest in knowing that God is directing your path. Will you join me in faithfully putting your YES on the table this year? I can’t wait to see what God does through our obedience!
God has been moving in my heart since I was a child to help others through a ministry of sharing life and hope. My journey has been one of many valleys and a few mountain tops. God has literally saved my life on more than one occasion. My experiences have included abuse, failed relationships, low self-esteem, strongholds, and more, you name it I've been there. My mentor often relates my life story to that of Job's. Learning to laugh at myself and the crazy experiences I've walked through has been pertinent to keeping a positive outlook. I'm quite confident sarcasm is a 6th Love Language! Most importantly I've learned how to press into God on a daily basis. No matter where you come from or what you're facing you are not alone. Jesus is standing in the gap for you!
As God has commanded us, let's be strong and courageous. Facing this world is no easy task. You may be thinking you are not strong enough. Remember “God's grace is sufficient for you, for God's power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore boast all the more gladly of your weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon you."(2 Corinthians 12:9). Press into God and He will draw near to you.
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