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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
The beginning part of this verse, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;” has always been one of my favorites, even to the point of using it as the theme of two of our websites: Looking Unto Jesus Backgrounds and Prints and this blog.
However, for some reason, the meaning of rest of the verse didn’t take root until our pastor recently mentioned it again, and I knew I needed to really dig into it.
“…who for the joy that was set before Him…”
What could have been so wonderful, so joyful, that the Lord was willing to “endure the cross” for? I mean really? He endured what has been considered the most barbaric form of death devised:asphyxiation. Besides all the agony He went through because of the scourging; the beating of the crown of thorns on his head; the nailing of his hands and feet. Our Lord endured all that….for what?
“… who for the joy that was set before Him…”
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10
God Almighty endured all the rejection, humiliation, betrayal, agony and distress for the joy of seeing one soul saved! A sinner finding his way home.
I began to think about how easy it is for me to get down in the dumps about how “hard a time I’m having.” Whatever I have been through, or will go through, is nothing compared to what my Lord went through, yet He could say, “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”
Did you catch that last part? “…despising the shame…” The Lord didn’t care about the shame He endured. He even despised it. It was nothing compared to the joy of seeing a sinner saved!
What can I set before myself as a joy while I endure the cross that the Lord has given me? Here’s just a few that are on my heart right now:
* My sins are forgiven and I’m a child of the King of kings
* I have a home in Heaven where there is only joy, no crosses to bear
* I will spend eternity with my Saviour, the one who could endure all He did for the joy of seeing me saved
What “cross” are you bearing right now? Wouldn’t it be easier to bear it if your heart and mind were focused on the joy ahead?
Now, make you own list.
January 13th, 2009
To be firm stand in some areas of life can be so simple, yet so difficult in other areas. I had been thinking on this when a friend posted one day on Facebook.
Here is an excerpt from a work of Baptist history, “Spurgeon’s early complaints centered upon three problems; the decline of prayer meetings among the Baptist churches, the worldliness of ministers relating to entertainment, and doctrinal problems which stemmed from the inroads of the higher criticism? of that day. This controversy isolated Spurgeon from many who refused to stand with him for the defense of biblical truth. Many believe that the grief and conflict of this battle hastened his death after a period of illness at Mentone in Southern France. He died on Jan. 31, 1892 at 57 years of age. In our day when apostasy abounds, God grant us men of God like him.”
Spurgeon lived a short life, and died young, yet even now his testimony lives on. Things haven’t changed much. Today we still must stand against those same issues. I agree with the author, God grant us men (and women) of God like him. – Abby Louise Allison.
There are individuals, like those who are not part of traditional “Bible believing” circles, for which it is easy to mark the false doctrines and to stay well away from, but what of those who are brethren, yet have departed from sound doctrine in few or many areas? This is what Spurgeon dealt with. He had to separate from his peers and friends on the basis of false doctrine; something which I am seeing more and more for in this day and age. We love these brethren, yet to love the Lord, we are commanded to separate – but of course not treat as enemies.
There seems to be a general hesitancy among Independant Baptist churches to label “our kind” as heretical, cultish, etc. If you doubt this, research how long it took for some so called IFB preachers to be labeled as abusive cult leaders by the majority of IFB churches. However, in order to stand before the Lord in good conscience and not to be respecters of persons, this is what must be done. To stand with those who abuse God’s people, are lords over God’s heritage, and preach their own philosophies as doctrines, is to stand in opposition to the Lord.
In the last few years, I actually removed posts on modesty from my blog which, although they declared a sound doctrinal position on women’s attire and modesty, emphasized man’s philosophies and IFB cult leaders’ quotes, versus the Word of God. Verses had also been pulled out of context to prove their point. For this, I truly apologize. We are to be students of the Word of God, not blindly follow men simply because they have a title. Also, if a position is Biblical, there is no need to twist verses to bolster a sound position. God’s Word stands alone.
May the Lord give each one of us the grace and strength to stand against error and apostasy, regardless of who is the source.
Originally published Sept. 10, 2011.
Always a good reminder!
Feeling the need to strenghten my faith by reading God`s working in other Christians` lives, I decided to re-read the biography of George Mueller (1805-1898). This man`s life of faith as he began orphanages in England is truly amazing. He never asked for any money, but simply told people what he knew God was leading him to do. As he did so, God always blessed with what was needed. Many times, God sent money from individuals who said it was to be used for a specific purpose that Mueller had told no one about yet.
On one occasion, he prayed for the blessing on the food that he, and around 300 orphans would eat, despite the fact there was no food in the orphanage or on their plates. As prayer finished and they all sat down, the local baker arrive with bread to spare as the Lord laid on his heart the night before to bake it for them. Within a few more minutes, the local milkman arrived on the doorstep asking them to take many bottles of milk off his truck. They needed to be offloaded – to be donated to the orphanage of course – as his truck wheel had broken down right in front of the orphanage, and could not be repaired with all the weight on it. Again, milk for the meal and to spare.
In his life, George Muell helped over 2000 orphans by taking them from the streets and the destitute poor houses. Then caring for their bodies and nurturing their souls with the Word of God. Most went on to lead productive lives and in turn, either continued to help the orphanage in person or by gifts.
The following quote – written in relation to a very large sum required to build another orphanage buildin in 1851 – is what started me wanting to write this note:
“The greatness of the sum required affords me a kind of secret joy; for the greater the difficulty to be overcome, the more will it be seen to the glory of God how much can be done by prayer and faith.”
And it brings to mind this Scripture:
(KJV) Luke 17:6 `And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”
I encourage everyone to read his biography! I have yet to find a better modern day example of what real faith can do, and I need all the help I can get too.
On January 6th, 2013, our church had the annual “Vision Night Service” where our pastor explains the events, conferences, etc. for the church’s coming year, and the direction he feels the Lord is directing the church. A month or so before, Pastor Hutchens challenged us to write short testimonies of what the Lord had done for us this past year, and he put them in the booklet for this year’s events. They were written on small “tag” cards, so not much room, and this is what I wrote:
It has been a harsh year of trials for our family, but God has proven Himself more faithful and gracious than all the trials. He continues Phillipians 1:6 -
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Those who are close to our family know some of what we have gone through, and it is indeed heart wrenching, yet there is so much more that only God knows. This devotional isn’t about all that though. It’s about my best friend, my Jesus, who is always faithful to do exactly what He promised He would do – make me more like Him – whatever it takes!
Updated from 2006:
As I have battled the last few days with sin the that is not visible to others (you know, the typical of going over something in your mind that someone did wrong to YOU!) these verses have really been running through my mind. I am writing this as a saved woman but one who gets the occasional glance of how truly wicked her heart is. Oh that all of us might see that glimpse more often!
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:1-8
1. We must see the Lord “high and lifted up”: Too often, I am guilty of not seeing the Lord high and lifted up and to see Him "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts." Why else would I choose to sin as I do? Any of us can be so good at cleaning up the outside cup, but what of the cup of our hearts? Is it filled with abominable thoughts? Too often, yes.
2. We must see our sin: This cry has been in my heart:
“Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a "woman" of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
It is only when we "see" the King, the LORD of hosts, that we truly see our sinful condition, and the need for daily, yay hourly, renewal. This is not being resaved, of course, but the keeping of short accounts with God on our sin by daily confessing them and a daily dying to self. (1 Corinthians 15:31) So when we see the LORD high and lifted up, we will acknowledge our sin and its need to be purged. How willing our Lord is to do that!
"And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." Isaiah 6:7
Have you ever realized that our sin is the only thing God forgets?
"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 10:17
How loving and gracious He is to us!
3. We must see the need of the lost world: It is only when we "see" the King, the LORD of hosts, that we truly see the sinful condition of the lost world and how they need the Saviour.
4. We must submit to the need. Finally, when we've seen Him high and lifted up, have seen our sin and the sins of this world, have had ours purged and are now a vessel fit for the Master's use, He calls for a servant to use:
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah 6:8a
and we can with eternal gratitude answer:
"Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8b
Angela Trenholm June 20th, 2006
Around 6 years ago, we found reindeer antler headbands at the dollar store, and out came the camera. Much to the dismay of our precious children, pictures were taken of each of them. I was fair though, and Lowell and I each had our turn too.
I think this is the one time the children were not rebuked for rolling their eyes!
My Pastor’s wife challenged he blog readers to think on past Christmas memories. I have two that come to mind.
The first one is of my husband and I’s first Christmas as a married couple. I don’t remember what we bought each other, but what I remember is us having ginger ale marinated BBQ deer steak at our first home (a mobile home) just outside of Moncton, NB, with my brother – Gilles Leger – on December 23rd while it was -30C. It was pretty special!
Next was our second married Christmas, and our first Yeast living in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Lowell went tree hunting and found the very best he could in that barren land. We laughed at our 3′ ‘Charlie Brown’
tree. It was originally 6 feet or so, but when it fell to the ground after being cut, it broke in 3 places, and the top was reduce to a cute 3′. We put it on a coffee table, added the really cute poinsettia string lights he bought me, some miniature old style glass bell ornaments, and I seem to recall a light weight brass ornament from an aircraft company. Charlie Brown would have been proud! :) We felt so sorry for those poor dilapidated trees up there that we bought an artificial one the next year. We just threw those pretty poinsettia lights out a couple years ago, and I really miss them.
My usually decorating-reluctant husband surprised me this year by spearheading the decorating in mid-November. Love it! I could have Christmas decorations up all year round, but I won’t push that. LOL
I started working on this devotional over a year ago, but found myself unable to complete it. I really didn't know how to proceed as our family has been through so much betrayal over the last few years, and I was still grappling with dealing with it. I knew the Lord wanted me to get the victory over it, so I was hoping that by studying the issue, the healing that only the Lord can bring would finally bring peace. Yet, as it often is with the Lord, the answer was very simple. Most of the peace I so desperately needed was found in a wrestling match as described in a recently finished devotional: Wresting With God.
To summarize and word a bit different, I had to face the question: Who am I serving and why?
If I'm serving myself, then there is no way to conquer the issue because it's all about me, our family, what was done to "us", "me". There's no way out and no way to let go.
- It is my choice to allow the enemy – this betrayal – to be exalted (to have control) over me or not.
"How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?" Psalm 13:2
- It is my choice to have a merry heart or a broken spirit:
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Proverbs 15:13
Serving the Lord?
If the answer is God, then I have different, healing choices that must be made:
- I must choose to let it all go and let God take care of the situation and of me because:
"… we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
- I must choose to stop trying to figure it all out by leaning on my own limited knowledge base, but rather let my all-knowing God take care of it!
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Pro 3:5-6
- It must choose to live my life verses and focus on my Jesus:
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
- This day, I chose the good part: to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His words:
"And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:39, 41-42
I’ve heard and often said that the greatest battles we will face are against our own selves. As I was driving, I was having my own wrestling match with God. It only lasted about 2 minutes, but it really was the final conflict of an issue I’d been wrestling with myself for just over 2 years on one issue, and it seems all my life in others. It amazed me how draining these two minutes turned out to be, especially when the added element of wrestling with myself was added in.
To be blunt, I was being foolish. I was fretting over a situation that I had no control over. My thoughts were along these lines:
“I wonder if this would work? Maybe not…. Oh this would be better… No, not that either…”
On and on it went. I was on a merry-go-round!
Then words from a recent sermon struck me: I was being prideful! I thought I could handle the situation better than God! I lacked faith. I felt that my life could not be fulfilling as a Christian until a situation was dealt with, or rather, that I had a part in resolving it.
Someone who claimed to be a Christian had hurt many families, including ours, and I was convinced that this person had to be stopped. God’s name was being brought down among believers and blasphemed by the lost after all!
As I began to surrender this over to the Lord, I knew I had to let God be God. This was not easy to accept. Not being able to take care of something on our own is a struggle for many, including me. It seemed like God was telling me: What if God's will could be accomplished better with this person continuing their hurtful behavior? What if more souls ended up being reached because of it? I couldn’t see how, but I finally accepted that God knows best and that He would deal with this person in His timing and His way. He does not let sin go unpunished, so what about me? It was way past time for me to deal with me or God would have to.
When I realized that my lack of faith was rooted in self-pride, I was truly hearetbroken and repentent. I was prideful – an abomination before God.
"Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." Pro 16:5
No, I could not take care of this better than God, so I needed to give it over to Him, stop fretting about it, and let God be God. I was mentally exhausted at that point. This wrestling match might have only last two minutes or so, but it broke a thought process of sin that had grpipped me for over two years.
“What a wrestling match!” I thought.
Then the paralells with the Biblical account of Jacob’s wrestling match began to dawn on me. In Genesis 32:24-32, Jacob is wrestling with whom he first thinks is an angel, but realizes at the end that it is God in the form of man, or the theological term – a ‘pre-incarnate Christ’. Think on this! The passage says that “when He (God) saw that He prevailed not against him…” (vs.25) In order for God’s physical form to not be able to prevail against a human being, God chose to lower himself, or drop his physical abilities in order to accomplish what was necessary in Jacob’s life.
What a picture of our Jesus! It’s as described in Hebrews 2:7a,9b:
“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels…” (vs 7) and “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels….” (vs 9)
In order for God not to be able to prevail against Jacob, He had to have the identical physical abilities – like a physical clone or Jacob himself, as Jacob had to be weakened for the Lord to prevail. Isn’t that how God works with our will and sin nature? The sin nature is so strong because of our pride and stubborness that God has to weaken it, so the Lord can finally have impact to change us.
The Bible doesn’t say, but I can’t help think Jacob was happy at times about this new weakness. It meant so much! A tremendous battle against Jacob’s sin nature had been won, and God was on his side!
Through this, I also realized that the two forms of a wrestling match are very different. One holds little to no profit, yet the other great profit. My wresting match with myself, apart from God and His Word, had very little profit since it exalted myself and left God out of the solution. Bringing the matter to God, and searching out the Scriptures produced a peace in my soul that could only be achieved through allowing myself to give a matter over to the Lord.
Fretting and worrying are sins of pride and lack of faith. At least sometimes now, when I start to fret about anything, my wrestling match with God comes back to mind, and I repent. I cannot take care of situations better than God, and He knows best.