Hope, Joy and Crown

November 24, 2014

Hope, Joy and Crown

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

When we selflessly plant ourselves into other people’s lives what is our gain if they can’t reward us and we see no earthly or monetary benefit? What do we hope to see in our children through the years of raising them, nurturing, teaching and mentoring them? It is not for what they can pay us back in material gain that we do it. It is a labor of love and the harvest we long to see, that we continue to pray for, hope for and believe for are lives that are healthy, productive and that produce a legacy. A parent’s greatest reward is to have children that love and respect them, but also that hold to the values of faith that were instilled in them and that they in turn instill those same values in their children. We long to see a perpetual legacy of generations that follow on to know and obey the Lord.
The churches that the apostle Paul established were his children. He taught them, mentored them and raised them up in the faith and knowledge of Christ. It wasn’t a job for him; it was his life, his purpose and his joy. When he stood before the Lord there was no greater testimony to his faithfulness and his greatness as a servant of God than those that he had raised up in Christ. He was able to stand with the Lord and look through the generations at the harvest he had been instrumental in producing in the earth. This stood as Paul’s greatest, hope, joy and crown. This was his greatest reward.
Our greatest reward in heaven won’t be about our businesses, our finances or our status in the community; it will be about what we planted in others. It will be about what we sowed into their lives through our faithful commitment and walk with Christ. We want to see it in our children and our grandchildren. We want to see it in the ones that we helped disciple and bring to Christ. Nothing breaks our heart more than to see what we have treasured and nurtured stolen and destroyed by sin. It is for this reason that our Lord Jesus ever stands as our high priest making intercession on our behalf. He too, longs after us to be His hope, joy and crown.
Let us not grow weary or complacent concerning the awesome responsibility that we have toward those who under our spiritual authority or influence. We must remember that we are the priests of our home and have the responsibility to pray, intercede, teach and persuade our families in the ways of righteousness and salvation. Be faithful to the gift, the calling and instrument that God has created you to be. How we respond and use what He has created us to be and how that translates into the lives of others will be our hope, our joy and crown. Our legacy is our glory and our joy.

Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

I remember when I was a young boy I spent a great deal of time on my grandparent’s farm. When I was probably a young teen my grandpa had taught me how to drive. It had first started with learning to drive a tractor and then he taught me how to drive “Little Red”. It was an old, red, 1949 step side Chevy pickup. Being out in the country we could get away with driving before we had a driver’s license. I remember one day I happened to be by myself driving down the country road and my attention was diverted onto some pheasants that were feeding out in the field. As I was watching those pheasants my attention suddenly came back to my driving. I looked up and found myself driving in the ditch instead of the road. Fortunately was able to steer back up on the road and get back on course.
I was thinking how typical this is of our walk with the Lord. We can be going along pretty good, but then something else catches our attention and pulls us off of our walk and relationship with the Lord. It may not have even been anything bad or sinful, but it was a distraction. Suddenly one day we come to our senses, look up and find that we are driving in the ditch. While we were looking away we got off course and we got off the road that we were on.
We have all learned through our experience as drivers how important it is to keep our focus when we are driving. Even a few moments of distraction or inattention could result in an accident. Hebrews 12:1-3 is our exhortation to keep our eyes on the road, fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. The journey that we are on is not for just a day or even a week; it is a lifetime of commitment and walking with Jesus. There are plenty of things out there that want grab our attention and cause us to get off course from the road we are traveling. I am sure it has happened to most of us and you may find that you are driving in the ditch at this time in your life.
The Lord is graciously calling for us to get back on course with Him today. We can not expect to win the prize and finish the race if we quit or stay off course. There are many reasons that we get off course in our spiritual walk, but if we will fix our eyes on Jesus He will help to us to complete the race that we have begun. It is not about our ability or our goodness; it is about our commitment and obedience to His faithfulness. It says that He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is writing the book on your life. I don’t know about you, but I would like every page of that book to be about Him.
Is it always easy to walk this walk and hold fast our faith? No, sometimes we get discouraged, tired or distracted and we want to give up or let it go. Then we have to ask ourselves what did Jesus have to give up so that I could run this race and be found complete in Him. He despised the shame and endured the cross. He endured the opposition of sinful men. If He was willing to do that for me then can I do less when I meet with adversity, hardship, weariness or the distractions of this life? We have to fix our eyes back on Jesus and stay in the race and yes, the Lord does need you. He didn’t give His life to lose you; He gave it to save you. He didn’t ask us to do it alone or even in our own strength. He has promised to be here with us, even when we feel the burn in our legs from the race. It is easier to win a race when you have something to focus on. Look down at the end of the course. There are all of those that have gone before us cheering us on and saying, “Come on, keep running, you can do it.” There we also see Jesus with His open arms of love and assurance waiting to embrace us.
Today let us get our focus back on the race. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith. Keep your eyes on the road.

Blessings,
#kent

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