The Joy Set Before Him

Joy?

How could there be joy set before Him, as Jesus faced His own crucifixion? Today, we are going to be talking about just that! We will be in Hebrews 12:1-3, but we will really concentrate on verse 2. We will be using the NIV and the Amplified Version to give a more thorough picture of this verse.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, 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 that is marked out for us. Let 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. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

On Sunday we talked about it being Palm Sunday, the day we commemorate Jesus entering Jerusalem which is where He would be crucified. Today is Good Friday. On this day, we commemorate the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ our Lord. What He did for us is very much on my mind.

I wanted to keep verse 2 in its context so I hope you have taken a couple of minutes to read all three verses carefully. Next week we will revisit this passage and talk about verses 1 and 3 as well.

But now, let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

Let’s go to the Verse: 

NIV – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus… “

AMP – “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus… “

Just like I said a couple of lines up, the writer is saying, “Let’s… ”

I love the word “fix” as it is used here. I’m sure you are familiar with the word “fixative” – it is glue, right? To fix one thing to another is to put it together in a permanent way. This world can be so distracting so we must lock our gaze in on our loving Lord and stay on the path He has put us on.

NIV – “…the author and perfecter of our faith… “

AMP – “…Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher, [bringing it to maturity and perfection]… “

As you see in the Amplified, “author”  – Leader and Source – our faith comes from Him. And as “perfecter” – He is the Finisher, so He makes our faith complete. Faith is a gift from God and not only did He gave it to us, He develops it. And He does not stop developing it until it is done. (Philippians 1:3-6)

NIV – “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross… “

AMP – “…He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross… “

Jesus looked past the agony and humiliation of the cross. He looked past taking all our sin on Himself. He could even look past the fact that because of our sin, He would be separated from the Father, which He had never endured. That separation from the Father would be the worst part of all. What He could see was the joy of pleasing His Father by following His will and redeeming us back from sin and back into fellowship with God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He took great joy this!

NIV – “…scorning its shame… “

AMP – “…despising and ignoring its shame… “

What did Jesus have to ignore?

Basically, Jesus just did not let the shame involved in His crucifixion get to Him. It was not that He was above the shame but He was able to look past it. When shame is just a word on a page it is easy to look past but we need to think about it a little:

Execution by crucifixion was not only horribly torturous, it was extremely humiliating and shameful. There was no dignity or honor or respect – they were beaten and hung in agony to suffocate (the position of the arms prevented drawing in breath) – naked, in the sun. In the paintings, they usually have loin clothes on, but they were naked. It generally took hours for them to die because they could push up to get a breath until they were too exhausted or the soldiers broke their legs. The birds would come and take what they wanted of their bodies. The Romans would not allow Roman citizens to be crucified because it was such a horrible degrading process. The Jews believed that one who was “hung on a tree” was cursed by God.

So this Perfect, Sinless Savior went through that and more (crown of thorns, nails instead of ropes, etc.) for us and had the joy of knowing what He was accomplishing. I really do not think that any description we can attempt paints an accurate picture of the agony or the shame of His particular crucifixion, especially considering that He was Perfect Sinless God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.

But now… He is Back Where He Belongs!

NIV – “…and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

AMP – “…and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I am so thankful that our Lord was willing to go through all that for me and you! Because Adam and Eve sinned, we are born into sin. We are born sinners. We cannot keep God’s law. It is impossible for us as limited humans. According to Romans 6:23, we owe our lives for our sin – not only were we born into sin, but we live actively sinning. No one can say that they have kept God’s law perfectly. Go back to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Even if I have only told one “white” lie, I have missed the mark of a sinless life. Only One ever lived a sinless life – that is why He was able to take my place and pay for my sin on that Roman cross.

And after this work on the cross was done, He was resurrected and after some days on earth, He ascended back into Heaven where He once more took His rightful place at the Right Hand of His Father.

Let’s go to the Lord in Prayer:

Thank You, Lord, for doing the hard work of the cross so that we can be saved from our sin, walk with You, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in this life, and spend eternity with You when this earthly life is done. I cannot adequately express my gratitude and my gratitude is inadequate! Help us, Lord, to never forget what You have done for us! Thank You, Lord! In the beautiful name of our wonderful Savior, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Ephesians 2:1-10

The Way – The Only Way

The Way – The Only Way

At the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples, in that upper room that they were meeting in, Jesus talked of many things preparing them for what was about to happen to Him and to them. One part of the conversation was about the fact that Jesus was going to His Father and that He would prepare a place for them.

John 14:4-7

“‘You know the way to the place where I am going.’ 

Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’

Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”

The Day Before the Crucifixion

As we approach Good Friday tomorrow then Easter Sunday in a few days, I am thinking about where in the account we would be today. Today would be the day of the Last Supper and then after that, they would be going to the garden to pray, and subsequently, the actual arrest of Jesus.

I was looking over the account in John. One of my favorite parts of the conversation is the exchange between Jesus and Thomas. Probably one of my favorite parts because that would be me, having a meltdown instead of quietly listening as He unfolded the plan to us. Yes, I would be panicking as my Lord told us that He would be leaving us and that we could not go with Him.

Let’s Go To the Verses:

“‘You know the way to the place where I am going.’ … “

Jesus is telling them that they know how to follow Him there. I doubt any of them understood what He meant. It is easy for us to get to the right conclusion because we know how the rest of it plays out, right? They did not know though and that would be tough.

“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’… “

Seems like a reasonable question to me. But the beautiful patience and caring with which Jesus answers this question just makes me fall in love with Him all over again.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’ … “

He is the Way

So when we are looking for the way – Jesus is the Way.

This life that you and I live here on earth in human flesh gets messy and confusing. Sometimes we need answers – directions. If you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you know the Way that you should go. We can rejoice in the fact that we belong to Him and He is the Way – He drew us a map to the Father – by way of the Cross. That is the path He took and we are to follow. (Matthew 10:37-39)

Our life here is so temporary and we have a hard time seeing that. What we do in the name of Christ and for His sake – according to His will and His Word – is so much more important than something we would do for ourselves.

 He is the Truth

When we are looking for the truth – Jesus is the Truth.

How is He the Truth? Earlier this week we talked about the fact that Jesus Christ is the Living Word. He is the Living Word and God’s Word is Truth. It is this Truth that overrides everything else. It is God’s Truth. So, that being said, we can conclude that Jesus is Truth. I often hear this misquoted and it saddens me: “The truth will set you free.”

However, the original quote is John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the (T)truth and the (T)truth will set you free.” He is the Truth and He has set us free!

 He is the Life

And when we are looking for the life – Jesus is the Life.

When I think about someone saying, “This is the life!” I imagine them sitting in a beach chair sipping a cool drink soaking up the sun and listening to the waves crashing on themselves. But, in reality, “the life” is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is easy to say because “the life” is like… perfect, right? But what are you escaping from when you go sit on the beach or go on vacation? Regular life with its stress, hassles, bills…  looking, at least for a little while, for a life of abundance. We want our vacations to be better than life, right? Eating cheese crackers for weeks so we can eat lobster every night on vacation.

When we realize that the life that Christ Jesus gives us is that abundant life – with peace, being so loved, and having unspeakable joy. I could go on and on. Life in Christ, focusing on Him day by day, fellowshipping with Him step by step is better than the most over the top vacation you can imagine!

The Way to the Father

“No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus has been telling His disciples that He is going back to His Father in heaven. So, because they knew Jesus, they knew the Way to the Father. If you know Jesus you also know the way to the Father.

So we get all these abundant blessings in this life then we get to go be with God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and spend eternity with Him. What a beautiful life we have in Christ. I am so thankful for what Jesus did for me so that I could have this amazing life with Him.

Let’s Go to the Lord in Prayer:

Thank You so much, Lord, for all You are and all You did to make us Yours. Help me, help us to be what You want us to be. Help us to glorify You in all we do! In Jesus wonderful name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

John 13 and 14

 

Thoughts – Beginning to End

Thoughts – Beginning to End

Do you ever want to give God your thoughts on a particular situation? Do you let Him know how you think He should work things out in a particular situation? I know I do.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

It is comical really. God sees time from beginning to end, all at once. He knows exactly how to execute His plan down to the finest detail. He has all knowledge of what needs to be done in a situation and He has all power to do it. Yet, we try to tell Him what needs to be done. What it is, is foolishness on my part to think He would need my help.

Let’s go to the verses:

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts… ‘”

To understand the thoughts of God is definitely beyond us. His thoughts are beautiful and perfect beyond anything we can imagine. In reality, through time spent with Him in His Word and in prayer, we can know Him better and better. However, we will never be able to completely grasp how He thinks.

“‘…neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD.”

Things to Consider

  • We can never be completely like God in holiness and love (until He makes us perfect in heaven), no matter how hard we try. His ways are higher because He is God – Creator of everything; the all-powerful lover of our souls.
  • He is not human; He is not finite. (not limited)
  • We are not God; We are not infinite. (not unlimited)
  • God is infinite – His power, love, grace, beauty… go on for infinity! Infinity is forever – as far as you can see and way beyond – endlessly.

“‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.'”

When I think about how big the earth is – huge, massive… it is almost inconceivable. Now though, consider the entire universe in comparison to the earth.

Here in verse 9, God gives us a picture of the difference between us and Him, then He repeats what He said to us in verse 8. If you read on into the verses that follow, He continues to paint a beautiful picture of Himself for us. He is truly awesome and amazing.

Ludicrous Suggestions

It occurs to me now that anytime I try to give God solutions or suggestions on how to fix things, I am

  1. Suggesting that I might think of something that He has not thought of
  2. Suggesting that He should go about my way of resolving a situation
  3. Ultimately, I am daring to attempt to put myself on His throne by trying to do His job.

As I think about this scripture on those terms, I am very humbled and convicted. How full of pride I am! To think that He might need my answers is to lose sight of who He is. He is God – all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God. This amazing God is never without the answers to questions or the solutions to problems. He is never surprised or stressed out. He is always in complete control with complete power to maintain that control. What a mighty God we serve!!!

Let’s Go to the Lord in Prayer:

Lord, thank You so much for Your Word! Thank You for speaking to our hearts today and helping us see You more clearly. Help us to trust You as we do see You more clearly. Help us to love You more deeply. In the lovely name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Psalm 51:1-11

Real Peace

Is Real Peace Illusive?

Are you struggling today to hold on to real peace or do you know someone else who is?

My interpretation of peace has changed over the years. I use to think of it as a lack of war. When I think of peace now, I think of it as me being in a state where my sanity is not being threatened because I have something that I can hold onto and count on. Actually, it is Someone.

Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.”

A God who can bring real peace to the human heart and mind… what an awesome God He must be!!

The Amplified Bible says it this way:

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because He commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.”

That is quite a  large statement. How awesome it is to know that we can have, not illusive peace, but real and consistent peace! In the midst of my breast cancer experience, God brought me to this verse and basically told me to hold onto it for peace and, therefore, sanity.

Peace in Trouble

How do you have peace in the midst of dreadful circumstances? I became very familiar with the word ‘dreadful’ during my breast cancer journey back in 2003. I was filled with dread as I moved involuntarily from one new doctor appointment or one more procedure to another.

Many people have a worse prognosis than I had and my heart really goes out to them because my relatively simple experience that lasted a few months was just overwhelming. I was never really terrified or afraid of dying, but I was full of dread. With so many doctor appointments and procedures, I always had something looming in front of me. However, God gave me this Isaiah 26:3 to hold onto and hold on I did. When I would start to lose my grip on it He would tighten His grip on me. He carried me day by day down the path He had laid out for me. He kept me sane because He infused real peace into me with this verse and some others.

Are you fighting for your sanity right now? Do you need God to infuse you with His amazing peace, even more than usual?

Let’s go to the verse:

NIV “You will keep in perfect peace… “

AMP “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace… “

God, Himself, is doing the ‘keeping’ here. Perfect peace is a real peace without gaps – it is constant. Wow!

Obsessed

NIV “…him whose mind is steadfast… “

AMP “…whose [both in inclination and character]is stayed on You… “

This is more than just thinking about God. This is being focused to the point of obsession with God in inclination[what we normally tend to do] and character[who we are at our core] – deeply focused. I want this kind of focus. How about you?

Why do people get obsessed with other people? Because somehow, the focus of their obsession seems like it will satisfy some need in them. So, it actually makes complete sense for us to be obsessed with God because He actually does satisfy us!

No Trust Issues

NIV “…because he trusts in You.”

AMP “…because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.”

Have you ever really thought about the word ‘trust’? It means to commit to; to lean on; to hope confidently in. Such a small, seemingly common word but a huge word in reality.

The most beautiful part of this picture is that God is completely trustworthy. We can confidently commit ourselves to Him, lean on Him, and hope confidently in HIm.

Our verse today has the same basic message as Romans 15:13 which we talked about a couple of weeks ago. They both say in different ways: Trust God, really trust Him, and He will give you real and lasting peace. I don’t know about you, but I really needed to be reminded of this today.

May the Lord fill you with His peace as you focus your life on Him and really trust Him today!

Let’s go to the Lord in Prayer:

Lord, I thank You so much for Your amazing peace. I thank You that we can trust You with anything and everything we are concerned about. You are able to take care of us according to Your perfect will. Help us to trust You that Your will is the absolute best thing for us! Help us glorify You in all we do, please. In Jesus beautiful name I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Psalm 13:1-6

Tapestry of Truth

A Tapestry of Truth

At first glance, the Bible appears to be a collection of books bound together and put into a Book 1 and Book 2 kind of situation. However, in reality, the Bible is a tapestry of Truth. It is many threads woven together to make the most beautiful tapestry ever designed.

In the USA these days, there are Bibles everywhere. It is so easy to take God’s Word for granted. You can buy them in many places, from bookstores to dollar stores, oh, and of course you can order them online and have them delivered right to your door. We forget how blessed we are to have this freedom.

There are people in other countries where they do not have the freedom to have a Bible. They will get their hands on one page. With only that one page, and they will carefully read it over and over again and then lovingly give it to another person so that they can read it over and over. God’s Word is an incomparable treasure and we have so many here that they gather dust. A lot of us have several different translations – NIV, NASB, ESV, KJV, NKJV… – as study tools but there is always that one that we carry to church and read most of the time. What a huge blessing!

I hope that today we see what a huge gift God’s Word is. We have a book that we can hold in our hands. Inside this book, woven into its delicate pages, is a beautiful picture of God and His great mercy. His loves for us is so clear and so plainly stated time after time in the Bible.

A Tapestry of Love

We are going to spend our time in the New Testament today, which may seem backward, but next week I think it will make better sense to you.

The New Testament was written by several different writers who wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

 

A Picture of Authority

Because God has all authority on this earth that He created, as well as in the heavens, His Word also has that same authority. As a result, we need to apply it to our lives as if God Himself is standing in the room in physical form, teaching us. As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit is our teacher and He is with us always, because as believers, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We talked about this last week – He lives in our hearts. He teaches us. By His power, we are able to read and understand God’s Word. So much of God’s Word would remain a puzzle to us if He did not help us.

John 14:26

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Matthew 13:13

“This is why I speak to them in parables:  Though seeing they do not see; though hearing they do not hear or understand.”

We need God’s help to understand and apply His Word to our lives. He sent us that help in the Holy Spirit. In the knowledge and authority of God’s Word, there is sweet safety. For this reason, living under His authority is for His glory and our good.

The Gospel Tapestry

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – the first four books of the New Testament were written by four different men. Two of them, Matthew and John, were counted among the Twelve Disciples. Two of them, Mark and Luke, were not even eyewitnesses to Jesus earthly ministry. We will go more deeply into this later on.

The reason I am touching on this now is that these four men each wrote accounts of parts of Jesus life on earth. They all had different lots in life and different backgrounds. But when you put all four accounts together you get a very good picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can see Him as He lived and died in human flesh. We can be here living, loving and growing in His Word, day by day, because of Him. And, we can spend eternity with Him in heaven! I am so very thankful!

A Picture of Christ

Now, as we go to John 1, If you read between the verses we are discussing, just know that the man named John that John, the disciple, and writer, is talking about is John the Baptist.

John 1:1-2

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

Who was with God in the beginning? Who is this Word who was with God and this Word who is God?

John 1:14

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and peace.”

The Word is Jesus. He is Living Word! He was with the Father in heaven at the Beginning. He did not come into existence when He was conceived in Mary’s virgin womb. He has always been.

Here is the clincher:  He is God. He is one of the Trinity – Three in One – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This probably is not news to you, but just think about it and let it affect your day. Let it affect your week.

Palm Sunday

Today, we observe Palm Sunday and remember Jesus entering into Jerusalem. He knew that He had come to pay the price for us, to redeem us back to Himself. He left the glory of heaven, put on flesh, got hungry and tired, walked in our dirt and worse than that, in our filthy sin, and put Himself in the place where they would crucify Him. Jesus did this because He was following the grand plan of reconciling us back to God. We should never get over that!!

Lord, thank You so very much for Your Word. It is life and breath to us. Help us to never forget what You have done for us. Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to suffer greatly and died for us. Help us to feel that in our hearts anew today. Help us to desire You as You pull us closer to You. Be glorified in us, Lord! In Jesus holy name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

John 12:12-18

 

 

What Are You Afraid Of?

What are you afraid of?

Rejection? Injury? Death? Being alone? Losing someone you love? We are afraid of so many different things. Avoiding dangerous situations like not standing on the beach in a hurricane or riding with someone who drives like a maniac is just reasonable and not what we are talking about here.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Timothy had some fear to deal with as he led the church at Ephesus because he was encountering false teachers in the church. He was young but he knew that God had called him to do this. The false teachers were trying to divide this young body of believers and it was Timothy’s responsibility to adhere to the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like Timothy, we have things we are called to do and fear can stop us in our tracks.

Our fears may or may not be reasonable. I spent much of my life as a young mom terrified of losing one or both of my children. As parents, we do see so many young families touched by tragedy and some of you have experienced this unthinkable loss first hand.(I am praying for you as I write this.)

One of My Fearful Times

My son, Joseph – the adrenaline junkie – forced me to leave my children at the Foot of the Cross of Christ when he was 17 years old. He prefers the term, “dedicated civil servant” which he is but he is also an adrenaline junkie!! He began running fire and other 911 calls with our tiny town volunteer department in northern Vermont. This volunteer department was all we had and they were a dynamite group of people. The first frosty night he rolled out of our driveway in his own vehicle at 1 am, I realized that if I was ever going to sleep again, I was going to have to release my children to God in a very real way. He helped me to release them and entrust them to HIm. More on this particular subject another day. I will say that old fear will still rise up every so often and I have to keep releasing them to Him. God is so good and I rarely lose sleep over them these days. They are in His hands. His will for them and my will for them may not line up, but that is His call. They are His.

Let’s Look at the Verses now:

“For this reason I remind you… “

Of course, Paul is referring to the previous verses here. Please read verses 1-5 to see the context. This letter is to the young Timothy, with whom Paul had a father/son type relationship. He referred to him as his spiritual son. Paul had put Timothy in the position as the leader in the church in Ephesus. Paul was giving Timothy encouragement at this time as the end of his(Paul’s) life approached.

“…to fan into flame the gift of God… “

We see in the previous verses that Timothy had faith in God and was a Christian believer. In 1 Timothy, Paul speaks of God gifting Timothy to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ. This is what Paul was directing him to “fan into flame.”

“…which is in you through the laying on of my hands… “

Paul had put his hands on Timothy and prayed for him when he left him to lead in Ephesus. God had definitely used Paul mightily in Timothy’s life, and Timothy in Paul’s. There is a lot of historical information on the letters to Timothy but now we need to focus the next verse, so we are going to keep moving.

Most Fear is Not From God

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but… “

There is only One we should fear and that is God Himself. Everything else is under His dominion so – subject to Him. According to Psalm 111:10, we are to fear Him and that fear is the beginning of wisdom. We will talk about that tomorrow.

“…of power and love and self-control.”

As believers in Christ, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to trust God and be obedient to Him. We are to be filled with His love so that it spills out on those around us but primarily to be filled with love for our Savior. In John 14:15, Jesus tells us that if we love Him we will do what He has told us to do.

Stop Fear Instead of Fear Stopping You

The enemy of our souls will do everything he can to keep us from fulfilling God’s will for our lives. Fear is one of his favorite tools. Fear is distracting and debilitating. It can freeze us in our very steps if we let it. It can keep us out of God’s will. In my fear as a mom, I could have kept Joseph from doing what he was called to do – I could have pulled the “No! Because I’m the MOM!” card. By the way, he has been in emergency services almost all of his adult life. Now he is a fulltime EMT and firefighter. He has impacted many, many lives since that frosty night in Vermont. I am so thankful that God helped me not to keep him from his calling.

Stay Focused

Our love for God and focus on Him is absolutely necessary to live a life free from fear of all but Him. We will see His huge blessing if we trust Him with the things that we ultimately have no control over anyway, and that are not ours to control. They are His. More on this tomorrow.

I pray that you and I will be obedient above all and not allow ourselves to be distracted or debilitated by fear. May we focus on Him who is able to keep us and carry us.

Go Deeper Today:

Isaiah 41:8-10

Interwoven Tapestries

Interwoven Tapestries

I was texting with a new but great friend of mine this past week. In the conversation, we happened upon yet another thing we have in common. I commented on it because it has really been uncanny. She said, “I love it!!! God is SO cool! Part of our tapestry is interweaving…” She has been reading the Tapestry blogs – or that reference would just be crazy weird! I will just say that it is very obvious that He has brought us together. God has blessed me with so many wonderful Christian friends here in Maine!

Old Testament Threads

God did that for a lady named Naomi in the Old Testament. I’m sure you remember her. It is a lengthy passage so I am only going to include Ruth 1:16-18 here. I encourage you to go back and read this short book again soon. It’s just more evidence that God weaves things together in history for His glory over and over!

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates me from you.”

This is such a lovely and amazing story depicting the love and dedication of a daughter-in-law to her late husband’s mother, but it is more than that. Ruth, who is from another country actually becomes part of the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ because of her determination to stay with Naomi. It is all part of God’s big plan.

New Testament Threads

As Jesus chose His twelve disciples, He put together a very diverse lot. He even chose one who would betray HIm. This betrayal, as scathing and horrible as it was, was part of God’s plan to accomplish our salvation. Along with a betrayer, He also called fishermen, a tax collector, and more. Not only did they have different backgrounds and occupations, they had very different personalities. Jesus carefully assembled the twelve men who would walk most closely with Him in His earthly ministry.

He brought a group together that would be woven together in a way that would glorify Him. As they walked together He also weaved their tapestries together. They stayed together after He was crucified, they were together after He rose on the third day, and after He ascended into heaven they were together to start the first Christian church! There were other people nearby, but none were as close to Him as these twelve. They added a new member from the other followers after Judas killed himself and Jesus had ascended. Jesus had put them together and they had a purpose to fulfill. They were to build His church!

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

A Huge Tapestry

Have you had a time when you needed a godly friend, and suddenly you had a new Christian friend come into your life. This friend encouraged you, supported you and lifted you up in prayer. God does this. He puts us together to glorify Him. He is weaving us together in our local Bible-believing churches and in the world-wide Bible-believing church-we are all the Body of Christ. We are not small bodies of Christ but one body on a mission. Our mission: to glorify Him as we encourage and support each other in doing the work that He is calling us to do. We have the same calling that Jesus gave the disciples in Matthew 28:18-20(quoted above).

A Tapestry of Fellowship

Do you need encouragement today? (If so please comment below.) Is there someone you need to be encouraging today? Is there someone with whom you know you need to be building an encouraging and supportive relationship? As God uses you and me as part of His beautiful tapestry, we can be thankful and know that He has a purpose for us. I encourage you to prayerfully move forward and build these true Christian relationships that He calls you to. This is true Christian fellowship – believers encouraging each other, growing together, lifting each other up in prayer, and serving side by side in this world so that He brings others to Himself through us. Christians, we are the beautiful tapestry that is the Body of Christ.

Go Deeper Today:

Ruth 1-4

About Tapestry

Intricate Design of the Tapestry                                                      

Years ago the word Tapestry became very significant to me. I grew up in church and was baptized at six years old. In the limited understanding of a six-year-old, I knew I wanted this salvation that Jesus Christ had made a way for me to have. However, I surrendered my life to Christ and began really growing in my knowledge of God and in my relationship with Him at age 21. I began going to a Bible study. Along the way, I realized that God has so intricately designed EVERYTHING – His Word, His World, and our lives. The new understanding of this amazing design brought the word, Tapestry, to my mind. God is this marvelous Tapestry Maker.

Life is a Tapestry

In a tapestry that is under construction, first, the base threads would be stretched from the front of a loom to the back. Then according to the design, the tapestry maker would choose the thread colors. Then, he will begin weaving side to side involving the threads that already in place to begin the first steps of the design. The parts that are being worked may not give any indication of what the finish work will look like. Similarly, in life, there is so much going on that we cannot see or understand while we are in it

The Project of a Lifetime

I am talking about the things we cannot see or make sense of until the project is complete.

Isaiah 55:8&9 NIV

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The project of your life and the project of my life will take a lifetime to complete so parts may not make sense right now. They may not make sense until our earthly lives are over and we are in heaven with God HImself.

1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

“Now we see but a poor reflections as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

If we do not understand what God is doing now, for believers, we will understand when we are in heaven. It will all make sense.

But Can We Trust this Tapestry Maker?

Now, your job and my job is to get to know Him, because, He is our Tapestry Maker. We are His Tapestry. The point of this life is to know the God of the Universe and the Bible. He made each one of us and He loves us so very intensely. As He weaves this Tapestry of our lives together He wants us to get to know Him. This will happen as we study the Bible. His holy word is where He reveals Himself and His character to us. The better we know Him the easier it is to trust Him. As we get to know HIm better we will understand a lot more of the things that happen in life, not all but more. We will begin to see this tapestry coming together and we will see at least the framework of what He is doing. He completes His good work in His time and on His terms.

Philippians 1:6 NIV

“…being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Yes! We Can Trust the Tapestry Maker!

Ultimately, the Tapestry Maker works for His glory first and for our good second. The interesting thing about that is that in His great love and wisdom, what glorifies Him is good for us!! To glorify is to give an accurate representation. So for us to glorify Him is for others to see Him in our lives as He is. This means that we cannot make Him who we want Him to be. He makes us who He wants us to be and as He does this, others will see Him in us. It really is something He does. We simply cooperate as we study the Bible and get to know Him.

Romans 8:28 NIV

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Are You Ready??

God is our Tapestry Maker! I am so excited to start this journey toward God with you! We are going to get to know God and His wonderful Word better. We are also going to get to know ourselves better. Please invite your friends to join us as we embark on this wonderful journey of knowing the Tapestry Maker. On this journey, as we get to know Him, He will change us and make us more like Him.

Things to Think About

  • I hope you will spend some time thinking about your relationship with God, through Jesus Christ.
  • What do you see happening in your life right now that just makes no sense?
  • When you look at this blog do you think maybe things make a little more sense – that maybe there is a bigger thing going on than what is on the surface?
  • Are you ready and willing to move forward toward the design God has in mind for your life? It is so easy to forget in the day to day that all our days are going to weave together and make up our lives.

Know that I am praying for you as you ask yourself these questions. I may not know you yet, but God has laid you on my heart and I really am praying for you! If you know anyone else who might be able to benefit from this, please share it with them.

Click here to know more about me.

My plan for Tapestry:

  • Woven Threads – Tapestry Series to post on Sunday mornings – discontinued for the time being
  • Daily Threads – Life Verses Devotional to post on Monday – Friday mornings
  • Beautiful Threads – My breast cancer story “Evidence of His Goodness” posting on Saturday mornings soon hopefully