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A Vision of Weight-loss for the New Year By: Marva Johnson One  of  my  favorite  songs  is  Shackles,  by  Mary  Mary.    The   words  go  like  this,  take  the  shackles  off  my  feet  so  I  can   dance,  I  just  want  to  praise  You,  I  just  want  to  praise,  You.   You  broke  the  chains  now  I  can  lift  my  hands,  so  I’m  gonna   praise  You,  I’  m  gonna  praise,  You.    I  appreciate  this  songs   message,  and  the  beat  is  sweet,  but  more  than  the  beat   I’m  reminded  that  even  as  Christians  we  can  become   shackled.    Although  Jesus  has  freed  us  from  all  shackles   and  sin,  we  often  encounter  things  daily  that  if  not  handled   quickly  and  properly  through  the  Word,  and  prayer,  will   weigh  us  down  and  slow  our  flow.    Let’s  look  to  the  Word   for  further  clarity  and  instruction.     Hebrews  12:  1-­‐3   1  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,  2  looking  unto  Jesus,  the  author  and  finisher  of  our  faith,  who  for  the  joy  that  was  set   before  Him  endured  the  cross,  despising  the  shame,  and  has  sat  down  at  the  right  hand  of  the  throne   of  God  3  For  consider  Him  who  endured  such  hostility  from  sinners  against  Himself,  lest  you  become   weary  and  discouraged  in  your  souls!     Hebrews  12  1-­‐3  (Message  Bible)   Do  you  see  what  this  means—all  these  pioneers  who  blazed  the  way,  all  these  veterans  cheering  us   on?  It  means  we’d  better  get  on  with  it.  Strip  down,  start  running—and  never  quit!  No  extra  spiritual   fat,  no  parasitic  sins.  Keep  your  eyes  on  Jesus,  who  both  began  and  finished  this  race  we’re  in.  Study   how  he  did  it.  Because  He  never  lost  sight  of  where  He  was  headed—that  exhilarating  finish  in  and   with  God—He  could  put  up  with  anything  along  the  way:  Cross,  shame,  whatever.  And  now  He’s   there,  in  the  place  of  honor,  right  alongside  God.  When  you  find  yourselves  flagging  in  your  faith,  go   over  that  story  again,  item  by  item,  that  long  litany  of  hostility  He  plowed  through.  That  will  shoot   adrenaline  into  your  souls!   What  is  God  requiring  from  us  here—A  LOT!  Yet  it  is  no  more  or  less  than  He  required  of  Jesus...  

I put  both  versions  because  I  want  to  just  go  in  a  little  deeper  into  what  Paul  was  telling  us.  First  we   have  a  plethora  of  examples  in  the  Word  and  in  the  Kingdom  of  witnesses  (Greek  for  martyrs)  that  we   can  choose  from.  We  have  both  great  examples  of  faithfulness  to  God  and  death  to  self,  and  terrible   examples  of  faithfulness  to  SELF  but  none  to  God.  We  also  are  aware  of  the  great  blessings  and/or   punishments  that  followed.    Here  and  now,  we  have  all  kinds  of  witnesses/martyrs.  We  can  look  around   us,  or  on  our  social  media’s  and  gain  strength  from  Godly  witnesses.  Personally,  I  like  to  learn  from   “dead  people”—martyrs.    I  don’t  just  mean  the  ones  dead  that  represented  well  and  died  for  it,  no  I   mean  those  who  are  walking  around  now,  dying  moment  by  moment  to  the  darkness  of  the  culture   around  them.  These  are  my  favorite  people  to  be  surrounded  by.  They  cheer  you  on  in  their  crucified   flesh  and  they  are  very  encouraging!!!  !  Now  onto  the  RACE!         The  Message  Bible  says,  strip  down  and  start  running-­‐and  never  quit.  No  extra  spiritual  fat,  no  parasitic   sins.  WHEW!!!  THAT’S  STRONG  RIGHT  THERE  AND  I’M  GLAD  ABOUT  IT!  I  don’t  know  about  you  but  one   of  the  things  I  love  about  God  is  that  He  is  a  Father!  He  looks  out  for  His  kids,  and  He  instructs  and   corrects  us  as  well  as  promotes  and  blesses  us.  Ok,  so  here  we  go.  In  the  races  back  in  Rome  the  racers   trained  with  weights,  to  build  muscle  and  help  them  win  the  race.  Once  it  was  time  to  run  they  not  only   took  the  weights  off  and  their  clothes.  Then  they  ran  with  all  their  might  to  get  the  prize.  I  don’t  know,   but  I’m  thinking  if  I  was  naked  I’m  gonna  win  this  thing  quickly,  so  I  can  get  out  view  of  all  these  people   watching  me,  and  put  some  clothes  on!!!  Well,  running  totally  unhindered  helped  the  racers,  and  that  is   why  heeding  this  advice  will  also  help  us.    Paul  is  saying  take  these  filthy  weights  off  (burdens)  and  the   sin  that  easily  hinder  us.  Notice  he  didn’t  say  these  things  that  vex  your  righteous  soul,  no  he  said  these   hindrances  easily  thwart  us.  These  burdens  and  sins  are  like  a  dirty  competitor,  trying  to  make  us  lose   the  race,  and  we  like  and  let  them!  If  we  didn’t,  that  wouldn’t  hinder  us  so  easily.         So,  just  stop  and  think  about  where  you  are  continually  missing  it.  I  will  use  myself  as  an  example.  While   I  do  not  possess  a  “  damsel  in  distress”  mentality,  I  do  not  enjoy  mistreatment  or  injustice  towards  me   or  anyone  else  in  any  way,  shape,  or  form.    So  when  things  are  said  or  take  place,  I  run  hard  spiritually,   to  keep  the  weight  of  offence  and  sin  off  of  me!!!    I  mean  I  run  like  Joseph  ran  from  Potiphar’s  wife!   Why?  Because  I  have  a  race  to  win!!!!  Guess  what  you  have  a  race  to  WIN  daily  too!  Who  in  the  world   can  run  a  good  CLEAN  race  with  a  bunch  of  junk  weighing  their  spirit  man  down?  NOBODY.    As  soon  as   we  start  taking  on  these  weights,  we  get  into  the  flesh,  then  we  start  thinking  and  acting  dirty.  Ain’t   nobody  got  time  for  that!!!  Let  me  add  this  also.  We  are  not  running  for  sport,  we  are  running  for  our   lives  and  the  lives  of  others.    Also,  the  climate  in  which  we  are  running  in,  is  not  70  degrees  and  sunny!   No,  it’s  more  like  40  degrees  and  daylight  is  quickly  fading.  These  are  perilous  times,  difficult,  and   dangerous  times.  The  love  of  many  is  waxing  so  cold  that  some  people  are  opening  themselves  up  to  all   kinds  of  wickedness.  Some  are  stealing  people’s  pensions,  while  they  live  off  of  millions  of  dollars.   Others  traffic  humans,  and  violate  and  shoot  teenagers,  and  little  kids.  These  are  dark  times,  but  WE   are  the  light!!!  And  we  will  only  remain  the  light,  by  running  unencumbered,  looking  to  Jesus  as  our   ultimate  prize,  and  learning  from  the  example  of  suffering  and  shame  that  he  left  us.    

Jesus wasn’t  a  robot,  He  had  feelings,  but  His  feelings  didn’t  have  Him.  He  was  so  focused  on  finishing   well,  that  He  could  look  past  all  the  pain,  betrayal,  and  nonsense  and  finish  well.  Since  He  ran  well,  and   defeated  every  weight  and  sin,  He  is  more  than  worthy  to  be  the  Author  and  Finisher  of  our  race!!!    I   rejoice  because  He  has  given  us  EVERYTHING  we  need  to  finish,  as  well  just  as  He  did—we  just  have  to   do  our  part  and  let  the  weights  and  sin  go.  We  here  at  Vision  Keepers  encourage  you  to  get  into  the   WORD  and  use  it  like  a  microscope  and  soap!  Sometimes  the  way  we  have  been  brought  up  is  a  magnet   pulling  those  weights  towards  us.  We  have  to  renew  our  thought  processes  with  God’s  Word  daily  and   diligently,  so  we  can  approve  and  respond  in  a  good  and  acceptable  way  to  any  person  or  situation.       As  we  seek  the  wisdom  of  the  Word,  we  will  run  better  and  better!!!  We  will  get  stronger,  advance  the   Kingdom  of  God  faster,  and  KEEP  it  advancing.  When  we  are  burdened  down  and  in  sin  we  LOSE  ground,   we  don’t  want  that  do  we?      As  the  New  Year  begins,  I  know  plenty  of  people  who  want  to  take  body   weight  off,  it’s  a  great  goal  and  I’m  all  for  it  but  spiritually  weight  loss  will  benefit  us  eternally  as  well  as   the  here  and  now!!!!  Start  today  by  asking  God  what  things  or  people  are  competing  against  your   purpose,  hindering  you  spiritually,  and  causing  you  to  run  a  raggedy  and  restricted  race.  Be  ready   because  He  will  show  you!!!  As  you  remove  those  weights  and  pleasurable  sins  from  your  life,  you  will   immediately  sense  a  greater  degree  of  His  power  and  presence!!!!  THIS  race  is  challenging,  and  we  get   tired  sometimes.  You  might  have  to  take  a  Holy  Ghost  water  break  to  catch  your  breath  to  keep  going,   but  just  don’t  quit!    See  yourself  running  swiftly,  growing,  advancing,  jumping  over  every  obstacle  that   comes  your  way,  and  becoming  more  Christ  like  every  day!!!  Keep  that  vision  before  you,  of  not  just   winning  but  FINISHING  every  daily  race  well.  Jesus  went  all  the  way  in  His  race  for  us,  and  we  can  and   should  do  the  same  for  Him!  =)    

A Vision of Weight-loss for the New Year  

As Christians we can become shackled. Although Jesus has freed us from all shackles and sin, we often encounter things daily that if not ha...

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