Jesus … 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 12:2, R.S.V.
“These things have I spoken unto you,” said Christ, “that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11.
Ever before Him, Christ saw the result of His mission. His earthly life, so full of toil and self-sacrifice, was cheered by the thought that He would not have all this travail for nought. By giving His life for the life of men, He would restore in humanity the image of God. He would lift us up from the dust, reshape the character after the pattern of His own character, and make it beautiful with His own glory.
Christ saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He viewed the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. He heard the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the sins of the world were to weigh upon His innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was upon Him; yet for the joy that was set before Him He chose to endure the cross and despised the shame.
This joy all His followers are to share. However great and glorious hereafter, our reward is not all to be reserved for the time of final deliverance. Even here we are by faith to enter into the Saviour’s joy.
To those who receive Him, He gives power to become the sons of God, that at last God may receive them as His, to dwell with Him throughout eternity. If, during this life, they are loyal to God, they will at last “see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22:4. And what is the happiness of heaven but to see God? What greater joy could come to the sinner saved by the grace of Christ than to look upon the face of God and know Him as Father?
Maranatha p. 316
—–Please pray that plans for the youth of our church to attend GYC Louisville will materialize and that we will be able to get the funds we need, when we need them. Wanangwa
—–Please pray for S, a single mother who is struggling to make ends meet. Please pray for her estranged husband J that he will come back to Jesus. L
——Please pray for Esther and Ronnie Jay as they move him into his new apartment. Pray that Esther, who is driving the truck that she will be able to back it up ok. Rose
Over the years, my mother pursued many different hobbies to satisfy her artistic talent. I remember as a child, being fascinated at the beauty she could create. For a short time, she etched beautiful pictures in Plexiglas. One that I remember was a winter scene: another was a canary. We had a real canary then and as I compared the two, the etching was perfect.
She soon tired of etching, so she began to make Indian jewelry with tiny, colorful beads. She made intricate decorations on her cowgirl outfit that she used when she sang with a country-western band. She had a tiny loom on which she formed rings and bracelets with Indian designs. I would watch her for hours. After that it was embroidery. She made many beautiful items. First, she tried the usual pillow cases, but that did not fill her need of artistic expression. She drew a horse running with mane and tail flowing in the wind. She gave it to her sister on one of those occasions when they were friendly to each other. Joyce cherished that gift for the rest of her life. My mother sometimes started her project with a transfer that she had bought at the store, but when she began sewing, she was never satisfied. Then she would draw her own pattern which was always far superior to the store-bought one. Outline embroidery was too easy for her. She did solid embroidery which made any thing that she did look like a photograph. No matter what it was, she put her whole heart into whatever she made. If it was an animal, she was able to make the thread look like the animal’s fur. If it was a bird, she made the thread look like feathers.
Her largest project was a full-sized quilt with all the state birds of the 48 states. (There were only 48 when she made it.) She bought transfers for these, but, as normally happened, as she worked, she did not like them, so she re-drew them to make them look more realistic. She spent many hours in the library researching each state bird. I quietly watched, as she looked at picture after picture of a particular bird and then would duplicate it in embroidery. Many times she would be nearly finished, but as she looked at it, she would not be satisfied so would rip out all of the threads and start over.
Finally it was finished. She entered it into the fair and won the golden state award. She was very proud and happy. She felt rewarded for all those many hours of research and sewing. After the fair, she folded the quilt up, put it in a plastic bag, and put it in her closet. Now it is in my closet safely tucked away and rarely thought about.
How vital it is to our present and future happiness, that we put as much energy into our Christianity as my mother did into that quilt. How important that we keep focused on Jesus so thoroughly, that He controls all of our thoughts, all of our energies, all of our desires? In order to have that vital connection, we must search the Scriptures with as much interest as my mother had when she was researching for her project.
Our Great Creator assures us, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer 29:11-13 To truly follow Jesus, we must put Him first in our lives. We must earnestly seek Him. We must remove from our life all that would hinder us from having that close connection that He yearns for us to have with Him.
Let us be as diligent in our Christian walk as was my mother with her art projects. (2 Peter 1:10) “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.” Heb 12:1, 2 Let us determine so to live, that as we look back upon our life, we can declare, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 tim 4:7, 8