Can You Feel the Heat?

We’re going to get into our lesson for today. And what have we been studying for a long time now? Hebrews. Hebrews. But as you can see, the title of today’s lesson is can you Feel the Heat? Because we’re going to talk about the discipline of God. Now, last time we kind of jumped ahead of this section and we talked about the two mountains, mount Zion and Mount Sinai. That was purposeful. We had Tyler, who talked us about twelve one through four, we jumped to 18 to 29.

Now we’re coming back to do chapter twelve, verses five through 17, talking about God’s discipline. Now, when you mention God’s discipline, when you think about it, what do you think about? We think about, Oh, God is mad at me, what have I done? God is upset. In other words, we look at discipline and it’s a negative thing. But guys, I’m hoping that by the end of this service you’ll see that God’s discipline is a discipline of a loving father. Discipline is a good thing. Correction and training and direction from God is a very good thing. And so I’m looking forward to talking about this today. So let’s say a prayer and we’ll dive in. Dear God, thank you so much for the opportunity to be together today. Thank you for Your word. Thank you for the direction that it gives us, for the hope that it gives us. Thank you so much that we can know what your will is as we ponder Your law. Bless us as we get into it today, as we talk about Your discipline and the kind of love that you have for us, help this to be meaningful to us, to make a difference to all of us who are here in person and for those who are listening online, father, we love you. We praise you in Jesus name, amen.

And as we’ve been going through this, we’ve talked a lot. We know the theme and say it with me. Jesus is better. He’s better than Moses. He has a better priesthood and he has a better sacrifice, and he’s a mediator of a better covenant. You can just go down the line. He’s better than the angels. He’s better than everything. And so we’ve been summarizing that Jesus is better. So if you’ve got a relationship with God, you already win. You’re ahead of the game. All right? So I’ll encourage you with that. We’re going to be going through this, but we’re going to go ahead and start at the beginning of chapter twelve, because I want you to catch the flow of this section as we get into verse five. So let’s go at the very beginning of Hebrews twelve, verse one. 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 marked out for us.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endures such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 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 or corrected by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastises every son whom he receives. 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? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 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? For they discipline us for a short time, as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness.

For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields a peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. May God bless the reading of His Word. At the beginning here of Hebrews twelve, he talks about how Jesus for the joy set before Him in bringing many sons and daughters into God’s glory. He endured the cross. Jesus endured incredible suffering so that we could have a relationship with God. He had the faith. The Bible calls Him the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Jesus had the faith that if he endured what he was going through, that it was going to lead to a good end. And certainly it has. That’s why we are here today. And so the first thing I want to put before you is that I want you to encourage your own heart to have the kind of faith to endure what God brings your way. We’ve got to have that kind of faith or else we’ll get this discouraged. There are two reasons he gives for having that kind of faith. One, because Jesus has that kind of faith, he considered what he was going through worth the suffering.

He had the faith to keep on going. And if Jesus felt that way and his faith led to his death, no one here has shed your blood for the cause of Christ. If he could go through it and lose his life, then certainly we can go through it for the pains that come our way as well. But the second reason here that we got embraced times of testing is God uses those times of testing as discipline to make us more like Jesus. We need to learn to embrace suffering, correction, challenge, difficulties. We’ve got to learn to embrace that. It saddens my heart, and I’ll say more about this in a moment, but it saddens my heart that sometimes I see people that are going through a difficult time and they get angry with God and they’re mad with God, and they forget that this simply shows that God loves you. He is treating you as a son. The great saints of the Old Testament went through a ton. By faith, Abraham left and went to a place that he didn’t know if. By faith, Abraham sacrificed Isaac. By faith, Noah built an ark. By faith, and you can just go on and on and on about these great men of God who had the faith to endure some challenging things, but now they’re part of that great heroes of the faith that we read about in Hebrews eleven. God wants us to embrace suffering. One, because they did. But two, here it says in the beginning of chapter twelve, we haven’t resisted to the point that Jesus has. We haven’t had to go through anything quite like what he’s gone through. So any suffering we go through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. But in this section and our focus today, he talks about how we’ve got to learn to bear hardship and affliction and suffering and correction, because this comes from the hands of a loving and gracious father. God loves you, and any good dad disciplines his child. Let’s just face it. I went on Facebook and it was just kind of cool to look at different Facebook pages and see dads with kids. I think I saw one with Tristan with little Arya, his little two year old. I saw another one with Drew Deering and his son Benjamin on his shoulders. I see these pictures and these little cute cuddly bundles of joy. They grow up, yes, they do. But before they grow up, they hit the twos.

And they call it the Terrible twos for a reason. But then they hit age nine and they go through stuff, and then they hit age 13 and they go through stuff. I’m telling you right now, it’s not loving to let these little bundles of joy do whatever they want to do. It’s not loving to do that. It is loving to set directions, to give them some boundaries, to give them some correction when they need it from time to time. And it was really cool. One brother came to me after the early service and he said, Eddie, what you said today was so on point, because we have been trying to work on that with our kids. Because, you see, if you’re an illegitimate father, if a child is not your child, then you don’t care. I mean, I go out on the street, I see some little kid out of line. Now, I care in a general sense of humanity. That okay, I’m not going to let him go do something stupid that’s going to be hurtful for somebody else. But at the end of the day, I’m not there to train him because he’s not my child.

And that’s what the Hebrew writer says here. He said, look, guys, if you don’t accept this as God’s discipline, then really you’re saying you’re an illegitimate child, that God doesn’t care. But God does care, and that’s why he disciplines us for our good. But one of the things I wanted to share with you is this concept patria potestas. Back in the first century, and this has to do with the Romans, let me tell you what this is all about, because he’s talking about God as a father and the discipline he brings. Well, this is something that would have had kind of a double impact for them, because this idea of patria potestas, a Roman father, by law, had absolute authority over his family. Absolute authority. If a son gets married and he starts to have grandkids and all that good stuff, guess what? The father still has absolute authority over him. A Roman dad could keep or discard his newborn child. Yeah, that’s what I think. What? Praise God we don’t live in that time anymore. But he could sell them into slavery, and ultimately he even had a right to execute his kid. Now, praise God, over time, society and all that kind of changed that a little bit.

But the main thing I want you to understand about this, patria potestas is that a Roman son never outgrew that influence. He could grow up, he could become President of the United States, he could be some world famous figure, but he was still under the thumb of his dad. Now, why is that important? These guys were here. The Hebrew writer talking about God is our father and him being a loving father and it had to be an encouraging thing when you consider, well, praise God, I’m not under some arbitrary, sinful person who has that kind of authority over me. He is saying the cool thing about God is that he’s not an illegitimate father. He is a good dad. He loves you, and the things he brings your way are for your benefit. They are to help you help us and enable you to be more like Christ. So to prove his point, he refers back to proverbs three quoted in the Old Testament. It says, my son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. Again, his correction. For the Lord reproves him whom he loves as a father, the Son, and whom he delights.

God loves you. And I know for a lot of us, because I don’t think I’m atypical when you’re going through something tough and you don’t quite understand it and it doesn’t make sense to you, typically where I can first go is, okay, God, what’s wrong? I don’t get it. I don’t like this. This isn’t right. And we’re going to say more about this in a moment. You can approach the discipline in a weird sort of way if you don’t really look at it the way God intends. So let’s talk about this. How should we look at discipline? Got five different ways I want to put before you. You can look at this one and just accept it, and your mindset is more que sera sera what will be, will be. I have no control. Anything that happens in this world happens because it’s God’s will. So I just saw it accepted. In other words, you accept it, but it’s kind of a defeated acceptance. I don’t have a choice. I’m stuck. A second way you can look at it. You can have this grim sense of determination that let’s just get it over with as soon as possible.

Let’s just get it over with. I’m in it. You struggle, you’re defiant, but again, there’s no gratitude for what’s going on. There’s just defiance about it. A third way. And in some respects, this is the saddest one that I’m presenting to you, is that you can accept it, but with self pity. There are people in our world who look at what they’re going through and they feel like they are the only person in the entire known world going through what they’ve been through. And it’s, oh, woe is me. My life is just horrible. My life is ruined. God, why me? I mean, you can have a person like this. There can be a death in the family, someone who’s just passed away, or you can have someone with a debilitating illness or sickness, maybe a roommate or a friend, and all they can think about is themselves. It’s all about self pity and it’s really sad. This will destroy. But there are people that feel that way. Unfortunately, I think you have people out there who look at discipline and say, it’s punishment I deserve from a vindictive God. God hates me. I have literally heard people say that that with what I’m going through, it just shows that God doesn’t love me at all.

And they just look at it as a form of punishment. Well, obviously the best way to look at discipline is that it comes from the hand of a loving father. You look at it, you recognize, I don’t quite understand it, God. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know how to deal with this. I’m not sure what to make of this. I don’t quite understand. But you know what? I love you, God. I know you love me. I know you’re a gracious father because you’re remaining involved with me. You haven’t kicked me to the curb. So I know somehow, some way, it’s going to work out. Somehow your will will become known to me. What I’m saying to you today is I know that even today some of you are going through stuff and you can have one of these views of it. You can get mad at God, you can get caught up in self pity. You can have this force resignation that I just got to put up with it. Or you can decide, okay, like Jesus, I’m going to have the faith that for the joy set before me, I’ll keep on going.

I’m going to keep on trusting God. That’s what I’m encouraging you to do today. Once you make the decision that you’re going to trust God no matter what, that’s what Jesus did. I mean, when Jesus went to the garden and he is praying, he’s trying to get himself ready to go through the most horrific event in human history. He had to go to God once and pray, and he had to go again and pray and go again a third time. And he’d go back to his friends and they’re falling asleep. He said, I’m about to go through something that’s going to be incredible and all you guys can do is sleep. But Jesus got his heart in mind. He said, God, I will have faith. And God, I know I for one and my character and I share this, I’m an adult child of an alcoholic. All right, if you look up that terminology, some of the counseling people know there are certain tendencies that we have. I can easily get down on myself. I can easily feel like, yeah, God doesn’t love me. So I have to tell myself, I have to train myself to know God does love me.

The fact that I’m going through this shows that he cares, and that’s what I’m trying to encourage you to do. So once you get your faith where it needs to be, you say to yourself, okay, the patriarchs have faith. When they went through tough times. Jesus wasn’t mentioned in Hebrews eleven, but he’s mentioned in Hebrews twelve. Jesus had faith with what he went through and for the joy set before him he kept going. God wants me to now have faith and to believe regardless of what’s going on. Now, God, what do you want me to do? And that’s kind of what he gets into in the next section of Hebrews. The last section will hear today in Hebrews twelve, verse twelve, let’s read this together. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms he’s getting into some practicals. He’s giving them some direction. Okay, now that you’re thinking is right, now that you’re looking at things in a Godly way, here’s what you need to do. He says, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that the lane may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.

Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral or is Godless like Esau, who for a single meal, sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son? Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. Okay, like I said, the Hebrew writer is now turning his thoughts towards some practical things that we can think about. He knows that there are going to be times in the Christian life where you’re flying like an eagle. Life is good, you’re happy, you’re excited, you’re loving life. Things are going great. There going to be those times when you run and not grow weary. You’re walking, not faint. But then there are other times when it’s going to be a struggle just to go one day at a time. And I think that’s why in Luke we’re told if any man will come after Christ, he must take up his cross daily because there are times when we have to do it that way.

Now, the two extremes you got to avoid. First, you got to avoid the extreme where you ignore or you minimize God’s discipline. Okay, what am I talking about? I’m talking about how sometimes God is trying to get you to see something, and so he does this. And you don’t listen and so God says, and you’re still not listening. And finally God says, Oh, you’re talking to me? Sometimes I think God does that with us as husbands. I’ve been married a long time. I know I have my time when I’ve been pretty stubborn and my wife has had to put up with me. And I tell her, I said, babe, I’m sorry you’re stuck. And she would come back and she said, No, I’m glued. So we know who’s the spiritual one in my house. She’d have the right kind of thinking. What I’m saying to you is that if God’s trying to get your attention, you better listen, because he loves you. You are his child. If you are a child of God, he loves you. He’s trying to get something over to you. You got to listen or else the banging will get harder. But the other thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to go to the other extreme where you’re too hard on yourself.

And some of you I know, I like that you so beat yourself up. I mean, God is trying to get you to see something. You feel like you’re the worst thing on earth and how can God love me? How can I even be a Christian? I must be going to hell because this wouldn’t be, no, he said, don’t do that. I don’t think you need to go to that extreme. He’s trying to help us with some responsibilities that we need to have towards each other. Okay. I think there’s a two fold responsibility we all have. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God and to love others. In the church, we’re always going to have people who are weak and struggling and not doing as well. And one of the best things you can do is to come alongside them. For me to say to Malik Bro, I know you’re going through some stuff right now, but we’re friends and you know I love you and I am here for you and let me encourage, let me put courage into you. That’s one of the most gratifying things you can do. Some of you do that routinely for others and there’s nothing said from the pulpit because you wouldn’t want that.

You don’t do it for the fanfare and for the adoration and for the accolades. You do it simply because you care. We’ve got to be that way with each other. We will have people who are faltering in their faith and we’ve got to be there for them. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to walk worthy of our calling. How does that relate to this? He talks to you about making sure the pathway is level and your feet aren’t lame and that you’re able to go. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to set a good example. And some of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you know my story. I share with you sometimes for the sake of dealing with my purity. And I’m driving down the road and I see something that maybe I know I don’t need to take a second look at. I’ll imagine, what if Jake Jensen was sitting beside me in the car? Would I want him to see me take this second look? And that is biblical, guys, I really think. And I’ll give you a couple of reference you can study out.

We are our brothers keeper. Romans 14 says I shouldn’t do anything that’s going to cause a brother to stumble. Even a freedom you have in Christ. He says you shouldn’t do that if it’s going to cause your brother to stumble. One Corinthians Twelve talks about how we’re all members of one another. When one part suffers, we all suffer. When one part rejoices, we all rejoice. I don’t have a right to isolate myself and be a Lone Ranger disciple. There’s no such thing. Matthew 18 Jesus said if you cause a brother to stumble, then you need to have a millstone neck tie wrapped around your neck and thrown into the sea. That’s how serious God is about us caring for each other. So he’s reminded us we have a Christian duty. We have a duty to each other. We have a duty to God. We offer God our heart. We offered each other a great example and a walk with Him. Let’s go and look at another thought here, and this is very important. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. I don’t know where your mind goes.

Like he says, make every effort. Every already messes with me. And he says to live at peace with everybody. Not with some, not with just the people you like. In other words, you are after the highest good for the whole body. You’re doing all that you can to deal with things. Now I think the real key to that is your own personal obedience. And let me just share a verse here from Proverbs three, verse one and two. It says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years. And do what? And bring you peace and prosperity. God says through our obedience to his word, it will lead to peace and prosperity. When you’re aiming at peace, you’re after the highest good for everyone. You’re after what leads to their welfare. Question I will put before all of us here this morning is there anyone that you can think of right now that you are not at peace with? Is there anyone? That’s a rhetorical question I definitely don’t want you to answer. But if there is anyone, then you need to have the motivation to go.

He says make every effort. You go to them. Now what does the Bible say? And as much as it depends on you, you live at peace with all men. All you can do is your part. You know what I’m saying? If a person rejects you and they don’t want to listen, then at least you’ve done what you can. Okay? But there should be a mindset that I’ll take the initiative, I will make whatever effort I can to resolve this. Very important stuff. Key here, he says, is complete obedience. Now once we start doing that, we’re going to have forgiveness flowing. We’re going to have forbearance going on. We’ll have each other going the extra mile to care for each other. You’ll not be as easily bothered and not nearly as touchy about things. But the main thing I want you to understand about this is that this takes effort. He said make every effort. This kind of thing just won’t happen in the church. It will not happen. It’s a lot easier to just pretend I’m okay. And some of you I know I like me, rather than embrace that conflict, ah, it’s not really bothering me that much.

Yeah, it bothered me at the time, but I’m okay. And everybody around you is like, liar. You know, you’re not okay. You got to make it right. God says, do the best you can. Now, the other thing he talks about here is holiness. He said, we have got to aim at holiness. He said, aim at peace with everybody, do all that you can, make every effort, but aim at holiness, too. And holiness comes from this word is hagiosimos. But the adjective form is hagios, which means different, it means other, it means sacred, it means holy. So the man or the woman whose hagios must in one sense always be different from the world. You’re always set apart from the world. Your standards are different, your conduct is different, your ideals are different. And your goal is to stand well with God, even if you don’t stand well with men. That’s what it means to be holy. So he calls for that. He says, Aim for peace, aim for holiness, be separate, be apart, be what God wants you to be. And then in verse 15 of Hebrews Twelve, he says, and see to it that no one falls short of the grace of God, and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

And again he says, Okay, make every effort to live at peace with everyone. Now, he’s saying, make sure no one falls short of the grace of God. You kind of get the impression that God wants everybody at his party. You don’t want anybody to be left out. He says, I don’t want anyone to miss the grace of God. And one commentator said that he really believes that it would be similar to a well, the idea is that we don’t want anyone to fail to keep up with God’s grace. And it will be similar to travelers on the road back then that you have a bunch of people, they’re all traveling, they’re going in one direction, and every now and then they would just stop to make sure everyone was there. Did anyone get left behind? Did we leave anyone back in the wayside? Who knows? That maybe why they noticed that Jesus was not there. You remember they had gone to Jerusalem to worship and all of a sudden they realized, Where’s Jesus? And they checked one little van and they checked the Mercedes after that, and he’s not there. And they said, well, where’s Jesus?

And then they realized he was missing. God goes after the straggler. He wants everybody to make it and be right with Him. I believe God appoints the times and places so that we’ll seek Him Acts 17. But I believe God also appoints just the right people around us to help keep us faithful and we need to be aware of that. So we don’t want anyone to miss the grace of God. He also doesn’t want anyone doesn’t want a bitter root to come up in his church. Okay, what are we talking about with a bitter root? Deuteronomy 29 gives us an explanation, I believe, of that. It says, make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of these nations. Make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. And a definition of this idea of that root and I wrote this down a root of bitterness is any false and corrupting influence that damages relationships with God and others. It begins with just wrong thinking. You can have this view, okay, I don’t like that.

I don’t go along with that. And then you start going to other people. This wasn’t just an Old Testament problem. Paul refers to this in Acts 20, and look at what he says. I know that after I leave now, Paul is talking to the elders from Ephesus. He says, I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock even from your own number. Men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw the disciples after them. Now, I want you to think about this, and I hope I can bring this home to you. Paul is talking to elders. He’s talking to a group of men who have been vetted. The church is taking the time to consider them to look at the outcome of their life. God gives four or five places in the New Testament where he says, here are the qualifications for anyone who serves in this role. He must be above reproach. He must be blameless husband of one wife, not giving them much wine. You can just go through the list. Here are the defining characteristics of an elder. We have several men in our church that we have been talking to and working with to try to train for eldership.

So you have people like that who have now been put in this role to help shepherd and oversee the church. And Paul looks at them and he says, even from your number, a bitter roots is going to grow up. There are going to be people, even from among you, that are trying to draw away his own following. And he says, it’s not to happen in God’s church. God does not want a bitter root to grow up at all. One of the ways this bitter root manifests itself, sometimes we can have people in the body who they look at the church, maybe the church feels too strict to them, and they think back to their old life and they say, okay, it wasn’t so bad, and why can’t we allow immorality in the church? And why can’t we do this or that? And I think that’s why he puts this last section in here that I’ll read for you again. He says see to it that no one is sexually immoral or is Godless like Esau who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing he was rejected.

Even though he sought the blessing with tears he could not change what he had done. He refers back to Esau. He says see to it that no one’s sexually immoral. He refers back to Esau. He uses Genesis 25. I’ll give you these references. Genesis 25 28 to 34. That’s the place where Esau is out in the field. He comes in, he’s famished. He’s really hungry. He goes to his brother Jacob and he says hey give me some of that stew that you have. And Jacob said well sell me your birthright and then I’ll give you some stew. I mean you got a guy who is so central, he’s so driven by his feelings, by what’s going on that he’s willing to sell what he has as the birthright of the oldest son just to have some food. Now unless you think, okay, it can’t be that bad. Well we have people who sell their souls for drugs. We have people who sell their souls for alcohol. We have people willing to sell their souls for sexual morality. And I think that’s why he puts that in here. There are people who are willing to do that and we need to understand that it’s not just the thing where we need to put down Esau.

We are Esau sometimes. And he said but that’s not to be the case in the church. So the bottom line guys, of a lot of this stuff and I want to summarize just a couple of thoughts before we take communion. Esau wanted to change what he had done but he could not. There is a certain finality to life. There are certain things that once done can’t be undone. A young man who gives up his purity can’t recapture that. A young woman who gives up her virginity can’t recapture that. It can never be done. God will forgive. I believe God will forgive. That’s the gracious loving God we have, he will forgive. But even God won’t turn back the clock to undo what you’ve done. And that’s what happened with Esau. He saw it with tears but it was too late. But praise God he will still forgive us. To summarize just a couple of thoughts from today. You got to live a life of faith if you’re going to understand the discipline of God. You got to live a life of faith or else you’ll be despondent, you’ll be sad. You just feel like I can’t do life.

You got to live a life of faith to understand his discipline. You also need to walk worthy of his calling, not only for your sake, but for your brothers and sisters. That’s God’s expectation. We are to aim for peace and holiness. That needs to be your every effort. I’m going to make things right. I will do what I can to make things right. I’m going to strive for holiness. He also says, I don’t want you to miss the grace of God. I don’t want you to get left behind. I don’t want you to get left behind. Then he says, and you don’t need to make any allowance for bitter roots in the Church. Got to deal with that. The right of Hebrews, the sermon preacher of Hebrews, brings us to a choice, and that is, will we go back to always a life and reject Jesus? Or who is a mediator of a new and better covenant? Or will we walk forward in faith towards Christ, towards Mount Zion? We can do that today. We can do that today. You can make that decision. Our God is still a consuming fire. Now, as a disciple, we are blessed to have the heat of God refining us, correcting us, molding us, making us more like Jesus.

But one day he’s going to be a consuming fire to those who have not submitted to his discipline. Praise God if you’re a part of that, and I hope you are. And that’s why when it comes to taking the communion, it’s really a great time to be reminded that, wow, Jesus suffered for me. He went through a lot. He showed me what real faith is all about, despite difficulties. Jesus did this for me and God. I am so thankful. And so when you get ready, take the emblems. And if you need those Ray is in the back, Ray if you head up this towards the front. If you don’t have a communion cup and you want to take that Ray King and Gil will get that to you. But we’re going to go ahead and say a prayer because for the joy set before Him. And I’ll read a portion to the verse. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning his shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endures such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Let’s pray together.

Almighty God, Father, we thank you. We thank you so very much that we have times like this where we can think about and meditate on Jesus, where we can think about Your incredible love. I pray, Father, that we will walk with you closely, that we’ll have the kind of faith that says, you know what? God loves me. He’s my father. I’m struggling with what I’m going through right now. I’m being tempted to think about it in wrong ways. I’m tempted to have resentment and self pity and all of that. But God help me to see what’s going on as Your loving discipline and help us, God, to embrace that every single day. Help us for the joy set before us. And maybe that joy won’t even completely surface in this life. It may be when we get to face you for eternity and you take us to our well prepared room by Jesus. Father, help us to humble ourselves before you now and to really trust you to lead us and guide us and give us what we need. Father, thank you for the emblems that we take, the bread and the wine, the body and blood of Jesus. Help us to be grateful as we do that now we pray in Jesus name. Amen.