Hebrews 12: 2.
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12: 1, 2.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down. Especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding it’s shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne….
Jesus is our supreme example of faithful endurance and all the brutal, lonely way to the cross He proved it. Not that He had to prove it, but rather it gave Him joy to die for the sinner’s hope of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
What kind of love is that? What kind of love endures the hard, lonely, struggle and scorns the shame of it? Only one who has his eyes fixed on His heavenly Father and His will. Christ did it for us, let’s run our own personal race for Him. Let’s face our brutal, lonely challenges for His glory. Life gets tough and quickly weighs us down. If we focus on the problem, we’ll quickly lose heart, fall from the race and succumb to the struggle, but if we focus on the Lord, we’ll find renewed strength. He blesses the life of faith in the believer, so let faith arise! Throw off the doubt, fear, worry, failures, discouragement and strongholds so that you can run freely and smoothly, without entanglement, with your eyes focused clearly on Christ, who runs beside you or carries you but also sits today at the right hand of the throne of God, interceding for you and praying for your endurance to make it to the finish line. You can do it with Him! Focus, focus, focus!
Luke 9: 23, 24.
“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
Christ carried His humiliating and agonizing cross because of an amazing love that He had for His people. In order to bring salvation to a lost and dying world He had to be obedient to His Father’s will. He fulfilled God’s purpose in His life and in His death, when He denied Himself of all rights and gave of Himself, freely and obediently, in His sacrificial death on the cross.
As His followers and as His disciples we have been commissioned to Go and make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:18 -20. We have been called to represent Christ in this same world lost in hopelessness and despair and for the job, God has equipped His people with spiritual gifts, talents and skills to use in His work of building others up in the faith. Taking up our cross daily, is to be “obedient” to Christ in the work He has called us to. It may take us into frightening unknown places and places that aren’t pleasant. It may take us to beds of illness, heights of financial despair, rejections and disappointments, but through it all, ‘Self’ must take a back seat to allow us to get out there and be efficient in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel of Christ to our circles of influence in a world filled with the hopelessness of a lost eternity.
Is it easy? No, it’s not easy! Discouragement sets in time and time again. We become tired, fearful, dissatisfied and discontent. Hurt and broken we can fall away becoming like strangers to our faith on the skid row of our circumstances. Our desires get out of whack and our priorities get all mixed up. No, it’s not easy to be obedient to our Savior and our cross, so our cross for Christ must be a daily evaluation supported and bathed in prayer, for there is no room for ‘me’ on my cross as I carry it for Him. The irony of it is that our cross of obedience is the only way to fulfill His plan for our lives and the only thing that will bring abundant life to our living. We can’t explain it, it’s just His way! To try to hang on to selfish pleasures will only take us into the pit of sin and bring ruin, desolation and hardship and that’s where we don’t want to find ourselves.
Let’s remember, If the Lord calls us to it, He will take us through it, no matter how difficult the calling, if we keep our eyes on Him and off of self. The bonus? He will bring the blessing along the way.
♫❤♫❤♫❤B L E S S I N G S♫❤♫❤♫
So as we move closer to the cross this week, in anticipation and celebration of that scandalous event in history where sinless, blood-shed mixed with love and mercy, met head-on with mobs of anger, hatred and ridicule, let’s be thankful!! Thankful for the cross that says it all. Let’s be thankful to our one True God, who gave His Son to be our Saviour! Who gave all that He had to save a world that He cared for with a love so pure and so unconditional that it makes us blush with guilt over our failures. Oh, that He should care so much to give so much just to secure us an eternal position with Him in glory and to grace us with abundant life while living in this wretched, sin soiled world. Yeah, in our sin, we were a part of the hatred and ridicule unleashed on Christ that day, long ago! Yet He cared enough to forgive the mobs that tortured, whipped and ridiculed and crucified that day and you know beautiful soul, He cares enough to forgive our trespasses against Him! Yeah, it’s beautiful isn’t it? That cross? That old, rugged cross, bearing the burden of guiltless death and a broken and beaten body of our sinless Saviour? Yeah, it’s beautiful for sure ~ for that cross of Christ made a way for us poor, weary wanderers to find grace in the eyes of a just God and find redemption through His shed blood.
Oh what wonder, what magnificent wonder meets us at that sad but beautiful cross, where justice and mercy meet and all are welcomed equally, in spite of…. and where the ground is level in spite of… and the forgiveness is real in spite of….and where mercy awaits in spite of….
Today the Saviour’s call is for each one of us to bend our hearts in awe before the wonder of it all and only believe. The thief did, and there in that final moment before succumbing to death, he found eternal life with his Lord. The other thief, hung still in his pride and ridicule and entered into a Christless eternity. Which side of Christ are you on today, as we move closer to the celebration of His cross? He is true, He is righteous, and He has everything to offer. Forgiveness is our biggest need and we are soooo blessed when we receive it freely.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89: 14, 15
So today ~ for all the anxiety pulling at your heart and nipping at your heels, shake it off! Rise above it! Float over it! It’s a weight that you can not carry and a burden that you can not bear! These hard place are not yours to think about for their only pot holes that trip you up and block you in your journey on life’s way. Anxieties steal your hope, rob your joy and take your peace. So beautiful soul, Shake them off!
Look today to the gift of the cross! That horrendous place of agonizing death and blood shed on that Calvary hill where our Lord took our place and freed us from the oppression of sin and all that goes with it in this life. Look to the cross and celebrate that scandalous event of blood shed, and know that it was all for us, for our forgiveness and for our freedom from the bondage that has us so anchored down. Go on ~ celebrate the cross of Christ for what it is and what it means to our wretched, beautiful souls, but then look beyond its agony to see its beauty and the hope of heaven that it brings to those of us who believe. Ah yes, beautiful one, those anxieties, those hard places, those difficult steps of the day, are all part of this sinful life but not to be handled by us. So give them to the one who did the difficult for us and carried the cross! To the One who handled the cross and managed the rejection, the pain, and the ultimate death at the hands of human brutality. Jesus is He who died selflessly and conquered death and sin and shame and ~ beyond death, rose to victor over it! It’s glorious isn’t it? So you see, we win! We do, you and I! We’re the winners over the rough spots, over the sin, over the snares, over the pot holes, over the hopelessness. The anxieties? God holds them in safe keeping for you. He’ll lock them up and work them out. He offers a scenic detour around all of that stuff and beautiful soul, it’s a beautiful view. One that you don’t want to miss. So today, Look to the cross, but then beyond it, look to its beauty; that of the hope of eternity and press on keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus the author of our faith!
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12: 1, 2, 3
G░O░D░ ░L░O░V░E░S░ ░Y░O░U ░A░N░D░ SO ░D░O░ ░I░