Tag: Hebrews

Who for the Joy That Was Set Before Him

This is a sermon that my husband, Bob Rasmussen, wrote and shared with us at Janesville Apostolic Ministries a few weeks back. It was an awesome message and I wanted to share it with you.

“Who for the joy that was set before Him” 

(click the title to watch the sermon at Christian World Media)

We worshipped with a lot of songs this morning with the word Joy in them. The Bible tells us to be joyful:

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. – Philippians 4:4

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. – Romans 15:13

The joy of the Lord, having him in our lives something to absolutely be joyful about, amen? During one of our services, a scripture was brought to my mind:

 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 morning, I would like to discuss specifically “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”.  If you read the commentaries on this scripture, there are 2 schools of thought of the meaning – there might be more but in my study it was predominantly 2. And the word that drives that train of thought is the word “for”.
The first interpretation is that “for” means instead. That is, that Jesus, instead of maintaining His preincarnate heavenly state, chose to come down to earth and fulfill the path of securing salvation for mankind, bearing sin and shame on the cross.
The second interpretation is that “for” means “in exchange for” or to “obtain” salvation for those he loved. I think both are correct, but I would like to focus on the second. That basically, you, you, and I are the joy of the Lord – the fulfillment of his accomplished work.

hebrews 12

We are the joy of the Lord!

But what does that even mean to us?
He says we are the light!

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light
unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16

He says that we are the salt!

Ye are the salt of the earth – Matthew 5:13

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:
5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace.
God sings over us:

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice
over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Wow – we are the joy of the Lord!

Part of our identity, of who we are, is how we think about ourselves. And no, I am not a
psychologist, some might think I need to see one – But there is a battle in this world. The war has been won, Jesus has defeated death, but the bible tells us there will be battles.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12

I love that Paul, markedly one of the greatest apostles, includes himself. He doesn’t say you, he says we. That tells me that no matter your position, situation, no matter what, we all will have battles – that we are in this together.
So today, I do have a question, do you feel like you are the joy of the Lord?
Sometimes, I have disqualified myself from being the joy of the Lord. I remember when I first came to Jesus and gave my life and felt the overwhelming cleansing power of his blood. I gave it all to Jesus – (sins on board)It was so, so joyful. After some time though, I would go back to the altar, and I reminded God why I was such a bad person. And I’d go back again, and again. Have you ever done that?
The Word says that when we confess our sin:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. – Isaiah 44:22

I had to learn, and I am still learning that I do not need to remind God about my sin – he has already blotted it out. He’s already forgiven me.

I had to learn to stop trying to disqualify myself from the joy of the Lord.

His grace is more than sufficient for me.

One day as Diana and I were talking about being the joy of the Lord, and I already asked is I could share this, she said – I don’t feel like I am the Joy of the Lord because I still do (insert whatever here) – it wasn’t a sin, it was just something she felt that the Lord had put on her heart to change. That ever happen to you?

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, he lives in us. He is so many things to us – comforter, counselor, healer – but He is also our Shepperd. I think that as we grow with Jesus, He only wants for the best, He wants us to grow with him and there may be things or patterns in our life that He wants to change – that’s maturity. But it should not make you feel disqualified or less than, if anything, it just shows how much more He loves and cares for you.

joy.jpg

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2

Let’s go back to Paul in Ephesians 6:

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:14-17

This body has been through some things. We have lost loved ones, we have family fighting disease, we have relationships that need healing, and the list goes on. I am faithful for Jesus to help all of us. But in this battle, the enemy will try to steal your Joy of the Lord, he’ll try to challenge your thoughts about your salvation or your worth to him.
I try to see things in the physical that show me what God does in the spirit, As I was preparing this message, I was reminded of my beautiful wonderful grand daughter Devin, or DJ as we call her and how Diana (and my) reactions ( and for our other children, it was the same, this is just he most recent).
We were made aware of her coming, there was expectation!
She was born, there was rejoicing!
There was unadulterated love in cuddling and holding her tiny fingers and toes.
There is joy in who she is and who she is becoming.
And then we just had joy, music courtesy of brother Doug.

It so reminds me of Jesus, who with the Joy that was set before him.
Aware what was coming, the salvation of mankind
Rejoicing we were born again,
Unrelenting love,

And joy in who we are!

Sister Laura spoke a word a few weeks ago and I asked if could share. If you will humor me, close your eyes for a second and focus on these words, let them remind you of the Joy that you are to Him and He is to you:

Run to Him full of joy
So much freedom, so much uninhibited love, both given and received
Hold nothing back, he has got you.
Let him lift you up and swing you around – tossing everything else aside. It’s just you and him,laughing, care free.
As a child, we trust completely that daddy won’t drop me – find that child like, pure, unrestrained comfort in Him again.

As the worship team comes forward, I have asked they do a new song, it is called “To The Table”.
One of my favorite verses is:
He can see the weight you carry
The fears that hold your heart
But through the cross you’ve been forgiven
You’re accepted as you are
And then it goes to the chorus
So bring it all to the table
The altar is open, we have a baptismal if you have not been and want to become part of the kingdom. Pastor Mike and Jeff are here to pray with you, as are anyone else here to stand with you in prayer.
So , won’t you come to the Table?

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Frame My World with Your Word

Here is a Bible Study I wrote for our weekly gathering. We are taking turns sharing what God is showing us in our lives and I was up. I did grab a few props – gotta have an application lesson in Ms. D’s class. That’s how we remember. I went to Hobby Lobby and went to the wood department. I found them, two 8 x 10 wood frames and a box of sharpies. That’s all I needed. More to be revealed… Teaching notes in ( ).

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23;7 NKJV

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.“ – Romans 12:2 NKJV

romans 12_2.jpg

Think of your home and your pictures. Do you have a wall you keep them on? Or do you put them in scrapbooks? Are they in frames on tables here and there? Are they on your phone? Think of the events and how each one brings to mind a special day. A day to remember. Are they of your friends? Your family? Your children? Your parents?

In each picture you are the same person, right? Only the time and circumstances have changed. Now take a step back, and look at the frame that it is in. Not the actual frame, but the frame of reference it was taken in. Were you younger, older? Who was with you? Why was this day important?

world.jpg

Let’s face it, times change. People change, we change. The frames in our lives change. We see ourselves differently depending on what we are looking at. Think of a old movie, frame by frame. Each frame tells a part of the whole story. Individually it may not look like much, but put them all together and it is a beautiful story.

What happens when we frame our world by our circumstances?

What happens when we frame ourselves by who is with us at the time?

What happens when we frame our worth with what others think?

What happens when we frame ourselves by what we do or don’t do?

We often frame our world with other things:

(Take frame number 1 and write all these words down in black sharpie on the frame itself)

  • School – What happens when school is over and all of a sudden you are not the popular kid anymore? Some people get stuck there, forever living in what they call the “glory days”. They close their life off to new opportunities because they are not the popular kid anymore.

 

  • Sports – What happens if you fumble the ball or lose the big game? We can’t all be the sports Heroes our whole lives. Many people just quit. Quit the game and quit trying at life.

 

  • Hobbies – What happens if you never finish that project? Many people get lost in their love of this, that, and the other thing. Living a life doing stuff, not really touching others or opening themselves up to give or receive love. Just lost in hobby land.

 

  • Work/Job/Title– What happens if you get laid off, to the company closes, or the job ends? Many people live their whole life saying I’m an XYZ. They define themselves by what they do for a living or by what Title they have. Jobs and Titles are temporary. Positions come and go.

 

  • Money – What happens if you get wiped out, of have a financial emergency? Even the best money managers run into problems. If your frame your world with money, it will crash. The love of money a root of all kinds of evil.

 

  • Appearance – What happens if you worship your body and your body doesn’t cooperate? Let’s face it, we all age here on planet Earth. Stuff happens. If we frame our world with what we look like, it will be disappointing. Aging is a part of life.

 

  • Relationships – What happens if the relationship/marriage ends? If we frame our world with our relationships it will be a bumpy ride. Relationships change, people change. We change.

 

  • Children – What happens when they grow up and move out? That empty nest syndrome is real. Many parents don’t know what to do with themselves after their kids leave the nest.

 

  • Houses, cars, stuff – What happens when catastrophe comes and you lose it? Are we really defined by what we accumulate? What the world defines as rich in this world is often poverty in the Kingdom of God. Idolatry is the worship of stuff, God doesn’t like that one bit.

 

  • Addiction – What happens if you see yourself as an XYZ forever? Didn’t God promise to deliver us and set us free? It may be hard to see yourself beyond an addiction. It may be difficult to see yourself as free. Renew our minds Lord Jesus.

 

  • Words of others – What happens when you get rejected, betrayed, or hurt? When we let others tell us who we are we give them our power. We let them play God. They are not our God. Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true.

 

  • Sickness – What happens if you frame your world with sickness? When Jesus met the man at the pool He had one question, “Do you want to be well.?” There are people that like the attention that comes with illness. There are some that want a Dr. to tell them about their health and what to do next.

 

  • Past – What happens if you frame your world with your past? Can we ever move on to a new thing and let God move in our lives if we are living in yesterday? Many have become bitter instead of better. They have refused to forgive those who offended them and stay trapped living in the past. The root of bitterness grows and they wither in the Kingdom.

(Stop here, pass the frame around the room. Starting with yourself first, share with the group what you are struggling with. For me it was my past. It’s hard for me to see myself as free and strong instead of a victim.)

 What if we took those same pictures, those same circumstances, our same life and framed it with the Word of God?

(Turn frame number 1 over so it is blank again)

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”- Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV

 i am his

 

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV

 

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” – Colossians 1:15-20 NKJV

 

“For as the heavens are high above the earth,

So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

 As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father pities his children,

So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.

 As for man, his days are like grass;

As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

And its place remembers it no more.

 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

On those who fear Him,

And His righteousness to children’s children,

 To such as keep His covenant,

And to those who remember His commandments to do them.” – Psalm 103:11-18 NKJV

 

psalm 103

 

“For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

 My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.

 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!

 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

When I awake, I am still with You.” – Psalm 139:13-8 NKJV

 Let us frame our world with the Word of God.

identity

(Take the first frame, turn it over. Take the second frame. Let each person pick a colored sharpie. Pass the 2nd frame around the room and ask each person to pick a word from below that will help them overcome issue they are struggling with on the first frame. Ask them to get out their phones or Bibles and share a Bible verse that goes with that word. This is the verse they will hold on to this week)

The Word of God says we are:

  • Saved
  • Forgiven
  • Free
  • Redeemed
  • Blessed
  • Accepted
  • Born again
  • New
  • Citizen of Heaven
  • Royal Priesthood
  • Anointed
  • Sealed with the Spirit
  • Co-heirs with Christ
  • Appointed
  • Christ’s Ambassadors
  • Loved
  • Called
  • Chosen
  • Holy
  • Righteous
  • Secure
  • Friend
  • Beautiful
  • Justified
  • Sanctified
  • Reconciled
  • Righteous
  • Covered in Grace
  • Protected
  • Strong
  • Unique
  • Virtuous
  • Created for purpose
  • Victorious
  • Favored
  • A Masterpiece
  • Set apart
  • More than a Conqueror
  • Delivered

 Let us renew our minds and live from this place, in Jesus Name!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Out of the Bag and into the Bowl

Here is a picture of what I saw this morning in early morning prayer.  A bowl of flour. Ok Lord, what does that mean? I didn’t even know how flour was made so I looked it up.  Did you know you can make your own flour? I had no idea.  You can take the wheat berries (that’s what they call them), put them in a coffee grinder, and viola – presto, chango – you get your own flour.  Who knew? That’s alot of wheat berries ground up in that bowl. And then we mix it up with whatever stuff we want and together we make something. Bread, cake, cookies, whatever.

So, what if each of those wheat berries were a person?

And we are all in the bowl of God’s Creation?

What if God is making something with all of us together in that bowl?

But first we have to get out of the bag and into the bowl.

Then I started reading in Hebrews. I found out that God’s promises need some faith to make them come to pass.  God gives us all promises. But the invisible still needs to become visible. And we want to see it happen in our lives right?

God gave the Israelites promises in the Wilderness, but they forgot one ingredient in their bowl – FAITH. Most of them never made it to the Promised Land – because they  would not look beyond what they see in the natural – and see the invisible. God’s promises are greater than anything we see or know. And we get to choose to believe the promises and exercise our faith or not. And we get to choose to mix our faith with the faith of those who do believe or not. No lone ranger wheat berries. Our faith needs to be united with those who believe.

 For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe). (Hebrews 4:2 AMP)

What if we could combine our faiths – like the wheat berries turned into flour – and see God’s promises activated in our lives and our sisters and brothers lives?  How about if we added some Moses Faith, and some Aaron Faith, and some Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob faith to the mix?  And how about we add the best one – some Jesus Faith to the mix?  Yeah, get me some of that Jesus Faith – He said He was the Author and Finisher of my faith. So whatever we have, we throw it in the bowl, and He finishes it.

 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. (Hebrews 11:39-40 MSG)

Yep, there is going to be some mixing and crunching going on first.  Nobody really likes that part. Refining, shaking, purifying – call it what you will – it still hurts.  But it is necessary. I get that. But we can’t be mixed together without it.  It’s not always pretty. Sometimes things splatter out of the bowl and all over the counter. And we have to scrape it back down, to keep mixing.

I guess what God showed me this morning is that it is not just my faith.  It’s the faith of all of his kids together that activates His Promises – for all His kids.  We really are better together!  And when my faith is weak, I know I have a brother or sister who will pray for me and reignite the fire  in my heart.  And guess what – even the Fathers of Faith are in the bowl right next to us! Now that is exciting!

Don’t give up yet my friends. God isn’t finished creating yet.  And come on in, the water is fine!