THE AUTHOR AND THE FINISHER

Heb.12:2 – fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is this, what exactly are we looking at? What we focus on will determine what fills our being, that is why our “eye” is so important. If we look at our problems and obstacles (and we all have our share of those) our inner man will be clouded with darkness. Looking at sickness, poverty, and lack will cause sadness and depression to settle in our hearts. When we turn our eyes upon Jesus in the midst of our trials our being will be filled with light and joy will fill our hearts. Look at His promises, look at today’s promise, what He has authored He will complete. Fill your heart with this word and you will stand strong in adversity and you will see Him who has promised to finish the work. Here are some amazing thoughts from John Gill on today’s verse.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,…. Not with bodily eyes, for at present he is not to be looked upon in this manner, but with the eye of the understanding, or with the eye of faith; for faith is a seeing of the Son; it is a spiritual sight of Christ, which is at first but glimmering, afterwards it increases, and is of a soul humbling nature; it is marvelous and surprising; it transforms into the image of Christ, and fills with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: a believer should be always looking to Christ, and off of every object, as the word here used signifies. Christ is to be looked unto as “Jesus”, a Saviour, who being appointed and sent by God to be a Saviour, came, and is become the author of eternal salvation; and to him only should we look for it: he is able and willing to save; he is a suitable, complete, and only Saviour; and whoever look to him by faith shall be saved; and he is to be considered, and looked unto, as “the author and finisher of faith”.

So I ask you again, what are you looking at? Look at Jesus and you will find yourself in the middle of His completed plan.

LOOSE ENDS

Heb. 12:2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I was recently thinking about a lot of loose ends I see in this tapestry of life I have experienced in Christ. I have been privileged to see some amazing things in my 42 year long journey in Christ (since my conversion). I have seen two major waves of revival and their ramifications first hand all over the world. I have been part of an amazing church in New Orleans for the last 36 years. I have seen thousands of souls come to Christ, baptized in the Spirit and go on to become productive members of the body of Christ. I have also seen some unpleasant train wrecks. The Christian life can be amazing and quite disappointing at the same time. Recently I felt the Lord impress on my heart that I would begin to see some loose ends come together in the near future. I felt strongly the word completion or fulfillment. Here is the definition of finisher from today’s verse in Louw and Nida’s word book.
“one who makes possible the successful completion of something — ‘one who completes, perfecter.’‘looking to Jesus, the one who initiates and completes faith’ or ‘looking to Jesus on whom (our) faith depends from beginning to end’.”
The Lord began and continues a supernatural work in all of our lives. Staying with Him to the end is a tricky business. Here are some thoughts from the UBS Bible Commentary on today’s verse.

“As perfecter of faith, he brings it to its intended goal. Thus, whether one talks about faith as a possibility or as the experience of fulfillment, all depends upon Jesus. For this reason, Christians must keep looking away from this world to him. He is not only the basis, means, and fulfillment of faith, but in his life he also exemplifies the same principle of faith that we saw in the paragons of chapter 11. Thus, by faith he counted upon the reality of future joy and, assessing present circumstances in light of the glorious future, he endured the cross, scorning its shame. He died as a despised criminal. And that future joy is already his in a preliminary way, for he sat down at God’s right hand.”
So I have my eyes on the Lord and His work. He is the Finisher, Completer, and Perfecter. If He has saved the best for last in all of His works, some amazing days are just on the horizon.

NUMBERING OUR DAYS

Psa. 90:12 ¶  So teach us to number our days

that we may get a heart of wisdom.

You ever think what your last day on earth will be like? I wonder if I will live to be an old, old man and die peacefully in my sleep, or will I live to see the return of Christ. Or maybe things will change and possibly I could experience martyrdom (that brings up another boatload of questions). I wonder if I could go by way of accident or unexpected illness? Nevertheless, no man knows the day or the hour of his death. Every day we have been given by the grace of God is precious. As Moses said in today’s verse, “teach us to number our days’. I wonder if we knew when our last day on earth would be would that effect the way we live our lives? These are questions most of us never ask ourselves but I think they are important. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards about today’s verse.

“How much more would many men prize their time, if they knew that they had but a few months, or a few days more in the world; and certainly a wise man would prize his time the more, because he does not know but that it is so. This is the case with multitudes now in the world that now are in health, and so see no signs of approaching death. Many without doubt are to die the next month, and many are to die the next week; many are to die tomorrow that now know nothing of it, and think nothing about it. And neither they nor their neighbors can say they are any more likely soon to be taken out of the world than others. How many have died out of this town at one time and another, when neither they nor their neighbors saw any signs of death a week beforehand. And probably there are various persons now here present, hearing what I now say, that are to die in a very little time, that have no apprehension of it.”

Some may thinks Edwards a little morbid but I don’t think so. As a teenager he made a commitment to the Lord to think about the day of his death daily. I think it greatly effected the way he lived his life. Paul told us the same thing. He said “redeem the time for the days are evil”. Thinking about the way our life will end can prepare us for what really matters, the life that begins the moment this one ends.

PLENTY GRACE

I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

Ezekiel 34:26

 

There is a huge difference between self help messages and gospel messages. Self help teaching motivates the human to trust in his or her ability to tap into their resources to excel in life. Of course they say that these are God given talents and resources. This really takes the Lord out of the equation. We know that everything that is, comes from God but that is not the point. He wants to be involved in our lives daily and intimately. He is not a far off God that got everything started and then sits back to watch us perform. No, He wants our eyes and dependency to be directed toward Him. I needed Him to start my Christian walk, I need Him to sustain and equip me everyday, and I especially need Him to finish my race with strength and joy. Here are some thoughts about the grace of God and His involvement in our lives from Charles Spurgeon.

 

“Here is sovereign mercy-I will give them the shower in its season. Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?-for who can say, I will give them showers, except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down. Then, it is plenteous grace. I will send them showers. It does not say, I will send them drops, but showers. So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, he usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace!”

 

Yep, He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. I need Him ever moment of every day. He is our breath, our food, and our drink. It is in feeding on Him that we are strengthened and equipped by His grace for whatever comes down the road toward us.

FROM THE FIRST DAY UNTIL THE LAST

FROM THE FIRST DAY UNTIL THE LAST

Heb. 12:2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Moses had seen the hand of God upon his life even before he began to follow Him. When Moses faced death as a child, on the order of Pharaoh, The Lord delivered him supernaturally through unusual circumstances. He was hidden away in a small ark only to be discovered and raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. The Lord prepared Moses, protected him, and directed him all throughout his life.
The unseen Friend was with Moses when the Israelites wanted to stone him, and also when he came down from the mountain and saw the people’s idolatry. He was with Moses when the people began to die because they were being bitten by snakes. The holy, invisible God was with him when armies from all the surrounding nations came against Israel, and He smote the enemies of His people. The Lord was with him every step of the way. In the end, Moses walked up the mountain, looked into the Promised Land, and died. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 34:6 that his secret friend buried him. His Friend who sticks closer than a brother was with him to the end. This same Friend will take care of you from your first breath to your dying day. He knows where you are, and He is very near to you.

Today is the day that you can begin to depend upon Him who is invisible. This invisible Friend, once a stranger, has become my very best Friend and I know He will never leave me nor forsake me (see Deut. 31:6). He is always there for me. God knows what you are facing today in your family, in your body, in your finances, and in your past. He is closer than you think. If you will open your heart to Him, Jesus will give you everything you need on this journey through the wilderness that we call life.

Put the blood on your doorposts, feast on the Lamb, and get strength for the journey. He will strengthen you deep down on the inside. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. He will guide and direct you by His Holy Spirit. He will heal you. He will feed you daily with spiritual food that you gather every day as you search His Word. And He will satisfy your thirsty soul with living water. This invisible friend is all that you need and more, He longs to come near to you. He has been with you, watching over you all of your life. Just as he watched and cared for Moses, He has His eye on you. He has been with you from your very first day and will stay with you to the very last day of your life. His plans are sure, His care is perfect.

INCOMPREHENSIBLE

INCOMPREHENSIBLE

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
Galatians 2:20

The message of the gospel can’t be understood with our minds alone, there has to be spiritual revelation. The Bible is closed, incomprehensible to the natural mind. At the same time, the Word of God is so simple that a child can grasp it; that is with the help of the grace of God. For example, righteousness is not what we do but ultimately it results in what we do. That sounds like foolishness but is actually the wisdom of God. We are righteous by faith in Christ alone. Good works and a holy life are the fruit of the righteousness that comes by faith. This message was at the heart of the protestant reformation. Martin Luther had a relentless grasp on this message of righteousness that comes by faith. Here is something Luther taught about this precious truth.

“The righteousness Paul is speaking about here is external and comes from Christ living in us. It’s not internal, and it doesn’t come from ourselves. So if we are concerned about Christian righteousness, we must completely set aside the self. If I focus on myself, then I become concerned about works and become subject to the law—whether I intend to or not. Instead, Christ and my conscience must become one so that I see nothing else except the crucified and risen Christ. If I ignore Christ and look only at myself, then I am ruined. Soon I begin thinking, “Christ is in heaven; I am on earth. How can I come to him? I will try to live a holy life and do what the law requires so that I will find eternal life.” If I consider myself—my condition and what I should be doing—then I will always lose sight of Christ. He alone is my righteousness and my life. If I lose him, no one else will be able to help me. Despair and condemnation will certainly follow. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. When facing temptation or death, it’s natural for us to ignore Christ and look at our own lives. So during these struggles of conscience, we must learn to let go of ourselves. We must forget about the law and works. They only drive us to look at ourselves. Instead, we must turn our eyes directly towards Christ, the one nailed to the cross.”

Fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Looking upon the work of Christ on the cross brings us into this new powerful life. Instead of trying to please God by our works or our knowledge, we accept His gift of righteousness as a gift. Once the righteousness of Christ begins to have its way in us, we begin to actually display the works of God in our lives. Its really quite simple, apart from Him we are nothing and can do nothing. With Him we are accepted in the Beloved and begin to see the works of Christ in and through our lives.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDE

Beautiful Bride!

Merry Tuesday by Parris Bailey

Song of Solomon 1:9-11 “I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots. Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.”

God is the master builder, and what He starts He finishes. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts.” He is the author and the finisher of this good work, so it cannot miscarry. Whatever is wanting in the church, whatever is lacking, He will perfect it in beauty and holiness for He adds to it grace upon grace! Now that is some good preaching!
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people, He will beautify the humble with salvation.” Ps.149:4 John Gill says- “The church has her golden chain, or pearl necklace; which are either the graces of the Spirit, so linked together, that where there is one there are all; and which consists of those ten links, or pearls, faith, hope, love, repentance, humility, patience, self-denial, contentment in every state, spiritual knowledge, long-suffering, or forbearance; sincerity goes through them all. Or else the spiritual blessings of the covenant of grace, with which the church and all the saints are blessed in Christ at once, and with one and all; and which golden chain of salvation, one link of which cannot be broken.”
You are the Bride of Christ, He gives us beauty where there was ashes. I pray that you can put on Christ, seek Him in your chamber, shut the door and our precious Father will reward you.
“We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” Spurgeon goes onto to say, “Christ here promises to the church a greater glory than as yet she had enjoyed; and seems to have respect to the Gospel dispensation; for by “golden borders” studded with “silver” may be meant the ordinances of the Gospel, preferable to those under the law; and therefore said to be of “gold [and] silver”, for their glory, splendor, and durableness: and the doctrines of the Gospel, being of more worth than thousands of gold and silver; are full of silver “specks” or “studs” of exceeding great and precious promises; a variety of them useful and pleasant; a greater measure of the grace of the Spirit may be here promised.”
The church’s beauty is not natural, but from the jewels where Christ adorns her. Now it is up to us to receive this beauty, to put on these precious ornaments or in other words to put on Christ. Your not the same, we have been given a divine nature. It is only by the revelation of the Holy Spirit that this precious truth can be revealed to you.
Father touch us in such a way that we can see the beauty of your Bride is my prayer.
Rev.21: 9-11 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.”

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

2Chr. 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

A number of years ago I became fixated on the Great Awakening. I had obviously known about it for years but had never really connected the dots between the birth of our nation and the revival that swept the colonies from 1734 – 1775. In 1734 revival fire fell at the church in Northampton, Massachusetts pastored by Jonathan Edwards. It spread throughout the Connecticut Valley and gained momentum through the likes of George Whitefield. Thousands of colonists were born again and thirteen rebellious colonies literally became “One Nation Under God”. Three hundred years have come and gone and the spiritual foundations of America are in disrepair. We are in desperate need for another Great Awakening least we lose our spiritual heritage.
About ten years ago I was able to visit Mount Vernon, the home of our first President, George Washington. I will never forget my feelings of profound humility and the sense of destiny when I looked at his tomb. Over his body are the words of Jesus from scripture, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believe to on Me shall live even if he dies”. I was face to face with what my heart always knew, The Lord was responsible for the founding of this nation. Here is a simple prayer written by George Washington.

“O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks…
Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.”

Wow! How long has it been since we have heard these kinds of words from our political leaders? Our country stands in need of another visitation of the same magnitude that birthed America in the 1700’s. I believe it will happen, I believe it has to happen. Jesus is called the Author and the Finisher, the first and the last, and in Revelation, the Alpha and the Omega. He has surely saved His best for last. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER

AUTHOR AND FINISHER

Heb. 12:2 KJV 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.

Heb.12:2 J.B. our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne.

Heb. 12:2 ESV 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.

God’s word is powerful, actually it is infinitely powerful containing and releasing all of the power of God. The Lord uses His word to correct, instruct, guide and confirm us in our spiritual journey. As we are finishing one year and beginning another, I want to encourage you to put yourself in a position to hear from the Lord. You may be surprised at the power and the specific nature of His word to you.

The Lord has often used His word to minister to me in critical times in my life. One of those times was about 1990. I was discouraged by the difficult financial times I was going through in my ministry. It seemed to me that I was finished. Actually I was, but that is another story altogether. In the midst of that time, we had Dick Mills as a guest minister in our church. He called me out during one of the services and gave me a word of prophesy. He actually quoted Hebrews 12:2 as a word from the Lord for me. It is amazing how a simple scripture that you have read hundreds of times can take on new meaning in your life. That is exactly what happened to me. I began to see Jesus as the AUTHOR and FINISHER of my spiritual life. I knew He had begun my life supernaturally at my conversion, but now, in a flash of revelation I saw Him as the FINISHER of my faith. He would surely finish what He started in my ministry. Nothing changed in my circumstances that day, but on the inside, everything changed. I had a confidence that the Lord would surely finish what He started.

Maybe you are going through an unusually difficult time. It may seem that you are finished, actually that is a good thing. Many times, when we come to the end of human ability, somehow the Lord shows up. When we can’t and know we can’t, God clearly gets the glory for everything that happens. As we come to the end of this year, put yourself in a position to hear from God. Soak yourself in His word, turn up the worship music. Before you realize it, you will be hearing from the Lord. He will give you His word in season for your circumstances.