When I look at our society, either through news or social media outlets, I allow my mind to wander away from TRULY important issues. I start to get troubled that the country I see now is not the one I grew up in, and as both a Christian and a minister, my rights are beginning to erode away. I begin to get worried about the future my kids may have. I think these are reasonable worries, at times, until I look at the histories in the Bible. The Three men in the Furnace, Daniel at the Lion's Den, the prophets who refused to back down, Jesus, Stephen, James, Peter, Paul. and so many other examples of enduring in the face of persecution. Jesus said that we WILL have trouble in this world, so the more I look to the world and get worried, the more I am placing my hope in the world to save me. Jesus didn't say "Be of good cheer, the world will save you," or "Be of good cheer, The world can't hurt you," no, He said "I have overcome the world." We will have trouble. We will have trials and tribulations, but looking at the world and getting angry, sad, or depressed will not fix anything. Instead, I want to be like the men being thrown in the furnace "Our God will rescue us, but if not, we still will not bow." When it came down to it, The three men facing their king did not trust in their king to change. They did not trust in their situation to change. They trusted in their God to get them through it, one way or another. I want my children to see this attitude reflected in me, so that they will see how I face trials and tribulations of all kinds, and how God was my hope and deliverer. I'm going to stop looking at the world to give me hope. I'm going to stop looking for external changes. I'm going to fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfecter of my faith. The world cannot change without its creator, so why should I feel my heart would be any different? Will you join me in trusting Jesus today?
Hebrews 12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who 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.
Do Not Grow Weary
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly[a] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
a. Hebrews 12:23 Or church