Grace race or rat race?

CCB Cross - 1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

What if we were to approach our Christian walk as an athlete? Would we lose some weight, get some lighter running shoes, schedule hours each day to work on our technique and form? Christians are athletes to a certain extent. Some of us are balance beam experts. We have one foot on the world’s beam and one in the air towards heaven.

I don’t know about you, but my technique needs some work. I’m running the race, but sometimes, it’s the rat-race instead of the grace race.

Keith and I are going through the Your Sacred Yes Workbook and DVD by Susie Larson, and I’m learning to get rid of the weights that aren’t on God’s plan for me. It’s difficult, but as an athlete adjusts her diet, focuses upon the end result, the medal or prize, I am trying to look towards Jesus and the prize, eternal life with Him, the joy set before me.

Jesus focused on the joy that was set before Him, looking at the cross and shame to His place seated at the right hand of the throne of God. That joy was χαρά, gladness, calm delight, blessedness.

Matthew Henry writes of the joy of Jesus:

He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.

Suffering was part of the race of Jesus. Although He prayed that there was another way to accomplish the joy that was set before Him, there was no other way, and he accepted the pain of the cross, the shame, the isolation for an eternal moment. He knew what was waiting for Him, and it was worth it. It was joy unspeakable.

Imagine, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Creator, our Comforter, our Savior, loved us so much that He set aside His glory, and suffered pain, shame and His Father turning away from Him for an eternal moment, all for us!

Let’s rid ourselves of anything that holds us back from the race that God has planned for us, and let’s train like we’ve never trained before. We have the joy of the Lord set before us.

My prayer

Jesus, thank You for Your great love, for Your endurance, for Your focus upon the joy that was set before You. Teach us how to be so focused that we will run the race You have given us with endurance, looking to You and the joy set before us. We love You, Jesus.

Tell us about your grace race

Thanksgiving … Remembering God at work

GethsemaneAn olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane old enough to have given shade to Jesus

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
    make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
    tell of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
    seek His presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that He has done,
    His miracles and the judgments He uttered, 1 Chronicles 16:8-12

This Thanksgiving, as I give thanks for my beautiful family, the abundant food on the table, and the past year, I’ll also be thanking God for His great works in my life, in the lives of my family and friends, and America the Beautiful.

David and the nation of Israel praised the Lord after they brought the ark of the covenant to the City of David. They remembered how God brought them out of Egypt, the promise that He had given them, and how He had fulfilled it.

Harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets led Asaph and his brothers as they called upon all creation to praise the Lord.

God’s presence in the City of David.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34

Jesus rehearsed His love in action in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night Judas betrayed Him. He cried to God:

Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36

Jesus knew the cost of the promise of salvation: my sins and the sins of the world seared onto His body as He hung on the cursed cross. He felt the spittle, the punches, the lashing, the pieces of flesh tearing away from His back, and the nails piercing His hands and feet on the cross.

As He rehearsed the future, Jesus heard the cry of His greatest sacrifice:

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

The ultimate sacrifice to fulfill a promise to you and me … a way to the throne room of God … a way into the presence of God.

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD. 1 Chronicles 16:36

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for?

My prayer

Father, thank You for the abundant blessings You have poured out upon Your people. Let all creation sing its praise to You. Let Your people from every nation rise up and sing Your praises at the top of their lungs, for You are greatly to be praised. Blessed be Your name from everlasting to everlasting! You are our Thanksgiving! Amen

 

Are you looking into the Gospel like the angels, or are you all in?

Parakeet Peering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. 1 Peter 1:10-12

I’ve always wondered why the angels long to look into the Gospel. This implies that they don’t comprehend the Gospel.  I’m sure that they can recite the Gospel message. The angels who serve God are holy. They have never broken the Law of God.

I have broken the Law of God. I am a sinner. I have stood ashamed before God. I understand my helpless state. Like Paul, I do what I don’t want to do and neglect acting the way I want to act.

The price for sin is death. Separation from God. Hell.

I deserve eternity in hell.

knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:18-21

From the foundation of the world, Jesus knew that I could not keep the Law. He knew that I could not earn my way to eternity with Him.

From before the creation of the world, Jesus decided that he would pay the price for my sins. For your sins.

That price cost Jesus everything. He shed His glory and entered the world as a baby of poor parents. Forever, Jesus became a man. Jesus roamed this earth for a short season teaching, preaching, healing, and serving.

In darkness He was seized. By firelight, He was denied. In courts, He was illegally tried. In silence, He bore the spittle, beatings, the cursings. In judgment, He was nailed to the cross, pierced through.  In agony, He took on my sins, your sins, my sicknesses, your sicknesses. In relief, He declared “It is finished!”

In hopelessness, His followers buried Jesus.

In victory, Jesus rose from the dead.

In Jesus, the price is paid for my sin, your sin.

In Jesus, I choose to live.

Parakeet in

Are you safe in Him?

My prayer for you:

Father, thank You that we can look into the meaning of the Gospel and understand to a small extent the price You paid to give Your Son to the world, so that we might live eternally with You. Thank You, Jesus, for becoming a man forever and then taking on the world’s sin. You who never knew sin, became sin. Oh, what an eternal price You paid! Thank You. Praise God, Wonderous LOVE!

Jesus is Risen!

Garden Tomb

 

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:1-12

Passover, a celebration of God’s deliverance from the bondage of Pharoah in Egypt, twisted into the horror of trials, beatings, floggings, and the cross.

The death of Hope.

First day of the week, a tear-filled walk to the tomb.

“Who will roll away the stone?”

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen.”

The hope of Life.

Peter ran.

Peter saw.

Peter  marveled.

Jesus is Risen!

My prayer for you

Father in Heaven, thank You for Your great love. May we truly comprehend the height, the depth, the width and the breadth of our Risen Savior. How marvelous are Your ways!

For the joy set before Him … The cross, path to joy

Cross

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; 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

May the Lord bless you with a growing knowledge
of His great love for you.

Healing from scourging.
Forgiveness from shame of world’s sins placed on Him.
Redemption from the blood.
Eternity from the empty tomb.
Joy from the Risen Savior!

May your Good Friday be filled with the great joy of the Lord.