PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION.
While you still can, strive by faith to understand and follow God’s mission for you (Heb 6:7-8). #WindowOfOpportunity #FulfillGodsPlan #StandingStrongInFaith
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The writer is speaking to believers here (vv1-6 describes it beautifully clear). Verses 7 and 8 illustrate a principal of discipline in the believer’s life. When rain falls on a field, it bears fruit. If that same field bears only thorns, thistles and weeds, the farmer burns the worthless brush away. I don’t conclude this to mean that believers will lose their salvation or maybe they weren’t believers to begin with (read vv1-6 again).
My understanding and life experience of this leads me to conclude that believers who are rebellious, unwilling to listen to God and grow to maturity (5:11) are in danger. They have “fallen aside from,” “side-stepped,” their responsibility, their opportunities to be productive for God. They bring harm to the work of the Kingdom. God WILL bring correction and judgment on his children for their own good. Heb 3:12-19 is evidence of that. (Also note 1Co 3:12,13; 2Co 5:9-11)
Lord, may I never miss a window of opportunity to grow in my faith and obedience to you.
THIS SENTRY’S TESTIMONY:
God is serious about his children’s growth and obedience.
As an eight year old boy I gave my heart to Jesus. That’s when I met the Lamb of God. I had some growth in my early years. But later, in spite of my faith and upbringing, I became rebellious.
In college my life went completely off the rails. God often spoke to my heart, but I would not listen. I’ll spare you the details, but I wanted God to butt out of my life. I spurned my faith. Yet, in the deepest recesses of my heart, I knew that Jesus was tenaciously and compassionately striving with me.
Fast forward: through my rebellion I squandered my college opportunity. I was failing after three years of mischief. I was asked not to return to campus. As a result, I was drafted into the military. I soon found myself thousands of miles away from home in the war torn land of Vietnam.
God was bringing severe judgment and discipline into my life to get my attention. After many previous calls for me to return to him, to mature in my faith, to be used of him, he was about to issue the “Last Call.”
As a believer I was doing more harm to the faith than good. I was “falling aside from,” “side-stepping,” my responsibility, my opportunity to be productive for God. My lifestyle as a “believer” had brought me dangerously close to holding Jesus up to open shame. God was ready to set me aside, leaving the likelihood of my repentance for renewal as a remote and unlikely possibility (Heb 6:6).
On December 28, 1968, I was standing watch in a guard tower. It was in the early morning hours. I was lonely and I was scarred. I had a small New Testament in the pocket of my flak jacket (my church gave it to me before I left – it felt more like a good luck charm to me; maybe it would stop a bullet).
I pulled that New Testament from my pocket. I opened it up to the Gospel of John and began to read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (Jhn 1:1, 4-5, 10-12)
When I read the words, “He came to his own and his own did not receive him”, my heart was deeply convicted. I heard God distinctly speak into my heart. He said to me, “I have come to to you over and over again. You have not received what I have for you.”
In my heart I knew that I was living dangerously close to even more severe judgment than being in a hostile far away country (maybe committing a sin unto death – 1Jn 5:16,17. That’s when God issued what I knew then was my “Last Call.” He said to me, “Tonight you have a choice. You can go home in a body bag or you can go home serving me. The choice is yours and the time is now.”
The next thing I remember, I was on my hands and knees in that guard tower over the Saigon River. I was weeping and asking God to forgive my rebelliousness. I was broken, weeping and confessing sin.
[1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”]
On my knees in that guard tower before God I felt his cleansing touch. It washed me clean from the top of my combat helmet to the bottom of my combat boots. My heart and life was revived in joy and total surrender to God.
[When I was an eight year old boy I met the Lamb of God. At age twenty-one, I met the Lion of Judah. Jesus became the Undisputed Lord of my life.
I never looked back. Life changed for me in that solitary moment of surrender to God. For fifty-five years now God has continuously done gracious undeserved works in my life.
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb 3:15).