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 Pastor Madle 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
What a blessing to read during devotion time this morning. It amazes me to think that God wants me to boldly come to Him for all the help I will need to accomplish His will for my life.
Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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.
In light of the recent US elections with Obama winning another 4 year term, the following was posted on my Facebook.
Tonight, after the election is over, we can predict (and guarantee) the following results:
1. God will still be on His throne
2. Jesus will still be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
3. The Bible will still have all the answers to every problem.
4. The tomb will still be empty.
5. Jesus will still be the only way to heaven.
6. Prayer will still work – it will still make a difference and God will still answer prayer.
7. The cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
8. There will still be room at the cross.
9. Jesus will still save anyone who places their faith and trust in Him.
10. God will still be with us always – He will never leave us or forsake us.
What precious reminders! This easily applies to all events in our lives. I sure needed these reminders!