Like I said in my previous post, I am going to be sharing some thoughts that blessed me from the hillsong conference that we just came back from. I am not trying to take any credit for this content. I know that as pastors, we were sent to this conference to be poured into and inspired and blessed. We totally and absolutely were. I want to pass the thoughts and concepts on….to bless and inspire and encourage you.
Our very first night, the message was given by Brian Houston and it was a great word! His message focused on Hebrews 11:33-34. We all know that Hebrews 11 is known as the “Faith Chapter”.
The Verses read-
“who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
Of course, in his message he used each of these parts as a point. Two of them really stuck out to me, and I want to share those with you. It can change the way you think about things. A change in perspective can really change your entire life!
The part of the scripture that says “and escaped the edge of the sword” was my first perspective changing thought. How many of us would just read right over these verses and not even take time to really think about the meaning? I mean, I am guilty. You read your Bible and at times it can seem familiar and so you kind of zoom through it and don’t think about the weight of the words you are reading. Anyone can open the Bible and turn to example after example of God’s people winning battles and overcoming their enemies. This verse just words it a little different. it doesn’t say that they won the battle or even escaped the sword…it says they escaped the edge of the sword. To escape the edge of the sword means that you have barely made it out alive. The thought that this was the end had to have crossed your mind. Escaping the edge of the sword means that defying all odds, you made it out. I have never personally been in a ‘dangerous’ situation per say. We have been in a couple of car accidents over the years (not our fault…just to clarify), and you tend to have that thought that ‘things could’ve been so much worse’. My husband was held at gunpoint in a robbery once. The affects of a situation like that go far beyond physical safety and overcoming that can be a process. I have, however, made poor financial decisions before that left me feeling like I was at the end- like my life would never be the same and that the ripple of my choices would haunt me for years to come. There is a sense of desperation and hopelessness in any of those situations. But once you are on the other side, once you are living life after…. you tend to have a different point of view. The walls may have been closing in on you then, but God can and will walk with you through anything and everything if you put your faith in Him. You might find yourself in a situation where you feel like you are facing the edge of the sword, but there is hope and life after. Don’t give up.
The second life changing point for me was the “shut the mouths of lions” line, and this was my favorite. This stuck out to me so much, because I have read this next verse and heard it quoted in sermons probably thousands of times. I have NEVER looked at it like this. What a difference one word can make! We have to give the Word of God the respect that it deserves and give each word the weight and recognition necessary. Shame on me for skimming through! These are precious words from God Himself that we are supposed to use and apply to our lives on earth. This is not just something to mark off our daily to-do list.
Anyway…back to the lions…
1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
The Bible does not teach us how or tell us to flee from the devil. Some people spend way too much time running from the devil. The Bible clearly tells us to draw near to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). The verse above from 1 Peter tells us that the devil is seeking whom he may devour — we need to be bold in our walk with Christ and tell the devil that HE MAY NOT devour me and HE MAY NOT have my family. HE MAY NOT define how my story plays out. Attacks will come, but draw near to God and resist the devil. No need to play those games. People spend too much time playing games. I don’t have time for that- I have a calling, a job to do, children to raise- I will choose to walk in God’s will for my life instead of getting all of course because I’m too busy fleeing the one that should be fleeing from me.
Be confident in who you are in Christ. That will get you through anything!