Lay Aside Every Hindrance

Lay Aside Every Hindrance

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.  (Heb 12:1-2)

A hindrance is something that holds us up or slows us down.  In this verse, we’re told to lay aside every “weight.”  This passage reminds us to put aside every hindrance, weakness or barrier that would attempt to slow us down in our race to eternal salvation.

We must run our race with patience.  How do we run with patience?  We run resolutely, persistently, and uncomplainingly. 

The Lord Jesus gives us stamina, purpose and fortitude as we trust Him to strengthen us, and to pour out His grace upon our lives.  Jesus is called the “author and finisher” of our faith.  We must cling to Him and to our faith in His finished work.

Jesus is our example, and He didn’t weaken, yield or hesitate in His destined path to the cross on Calvary.  Jesus knew Who He placed His trust and hope in; Jesus placed it in His loving, heavenly Father who would never fail.  We need the same life mindset that is expressed in the following Bible verse:

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.  (2 Tim 1:12)

Commit your faith, your life, and your path to the Lord Jesus, the faithful One. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

Preparation for Glory

Preparation for Glory

One of the purposes of our lives here on earth, aside from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is to prepare us believers for future glory.  At times, our preparation will seem very difficult to bear up under.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. . . (2 Cor 4:17)

The apostle and his fellow sufferers compared their current light suffering with the reward that, by faith, they knew awaited them in heaven.  They considered the heavenly crown awaiting them to be far more significant than their current afflictions. 

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  (Rom 8:18)

According to the verse above, our earthly problems will seem mild and temporary when we view them from the safe haven of eternity with Jesus.  At times, it will help us to endure when we focus upon unseen realities that exist in the spiritual realm.

. . . knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  (Jas 1:3-4)

When our faith is put to the test, the Word reminds us to patiently endure—or to cling to the truth of God’s Word.  Remaining steadfast in faith through a time of suffering will result in our faith becoming more mature, deep and strong.  When we live in this way, we are following Christ’s example.

. . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  (Heb 5:8) 

This verse is referring to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  This passage reminds us that our Savior learned, through suffering, all about the unique obedience needed to qualify Him as our High Priest.  (See Commentary on Hebrews 5 by A. R. Fausset, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

The point of this article is to meditate upon the fact that Jesus—the Savior of mankind—endured great suffering for our sake.  He didn’t grumble about it but focused upon His love for His Father and the end result of His obedience which was the reconciliation of mankind to God the Father.  At the cross, Jesus could say, “It is finished.”

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials . . . (Jas 1:2)

God Comforts the Disheartened

God Comforts the Disheartened

Our God cares deeply about each and every one of His children.  He cares about every facet of our health, and He ministers His love to us.  But how can we grab hold of His love?  How can we receive His help?

One way is to meditate upon His wonderful promises to us, so that we may come to know Him fully.  Here are a number of Bible passages that speak about how God demonstrates His love to us, especially when we’re downhearted or depressed. 

We need to use our faith in order to rest upon these promises.  Ask God to help you and to infuse you with fresh faith for the battle.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.  (Deut 31:8 NLT)  The Lord never leaves us—nor will He fail us.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.  (Ps 34:17 NKJV)  We need to KNOW that God not only hears our prayers, but responds to them.

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God;
many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.
  (Ps 40:1-3 NKJV)  We do need, sometimes, to wait for the Lord’s solutions to materialize in the natural realm.  But this verse assures us that our deliverance shall come, and that it will motivate us to sing a new song!  And our deliverance shall be so mighty that everyone will notice it, and rejoice with us in the Lord!  Some people will even be fearful of the Lord, when they see what He has done.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?  Why have you become restless and disquieted within me?  Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.  (Ps 42:11 AMP)  This passage reminds us that we need patience, and that as we wait for God’s solution, we should praise the Him.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.  (1 Pet 5:6-7 RSV)  Throw all of your worries down at the feet of Jesus, and acknowledge that He loves you and is working on your behalf.  As we respectfully wait for God to lift us out of trouble (which is called humility), He loves the fact that we put our trust in Him at all times—despite what things may look like in the natural realm. 

 It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.  (Heb 11:6 CEB)

Our faith tells God that we believe in Him, in His existence, in His promises, and His reliability.  Our faith pleases God, and He deeply rewards ALL those who find Him in the midst of life’s difficulties!

The Christmas Gift

The Christmas Gift

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.  (Mt 1:18)

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  (Lk 2:4-7 NKJV)

Jesus was born as a helpless infant, as every human being since Adam and Eve have been.  He submitted to His Father’s will to become our Messiah, and He grew in size and strength as all babies must. (Lk 2:40)

It’s good for us to recognize that God, the Son—who is Jesus—submitted and yielded to His Father’s plan in all of this.  It required submission and humility on His part because Jesus had to have patience.  He had to wait for 30 years to be acknowledged as an adult before He could even begin His work and ministry! 

Jesus was not only God’s gift to us, but since Jesus is a member of the Godhead, He was also a partner in the giving process!  We might say that He is the Christmas Gift as well as the Giver! 

One of the traits of Jesus is that He gives good things to men.  He was an unexpected gift that mankind wasn’t looking for, and one which we shall never deserve.  Nevertheless, He was integral to God’s plan of salvation, and so He came according to the Scriptures.

His gifts to us are so copious, according to the Bible, that we can’t list them all!  A good beginning is to state the two most obvious gifts of:  salvation and freedom.  We’ve received freedom from:  A) sin; B) guilt; C) the fear of death (1 Cor 15:56); and D) the fear of punishment. 

An additional gift that Jesus gave to us is the expectation of the many blessings of our salvation, among which are:

1) Love (Rom 8:39; 1 Jn 4:8);

2) Joy (Lk 2:10; Gal 5:22);

3) Peace (Isa 9:6; Jn 14:27); and

4) Truth (Jn 14:6; Jn 18:37).

This holiday season, let’s take time to meditate upon the many gifts of our salvation that we have already received thanks to the perfect love and obedience of Jesus, God’s precious Gift!