I recently had the privilege of teaching a children’s Sunday School class. At least I thought it was a privilege…maybe the kids know me too well because as soon as they saw me bring out a gallon baggie stretched tight full of water and about 6 sharpened pencils they say, “Oh boy here we go again!”, and automatically all moved two rows back! I was like, “WHAT?!” To which they responded, “Teacher we are wearing Sunday clothes!!!” As if to infer, I’m an adult… this is church… on Sunday morning… actually Easter morning… and not a summer playground… so what was I thinking?! I should know better!! (Don’t worry, no one got wet (this time), but that’s the whole point…) #isanyplacemorefunthansundayschool
The sounds of awestruck wonder coming from the children as I continued to puncture the bag with multiple sharp pencils WITHOUT the bag busting was priceless. They slowly began moving back to their original seats. We talked about how Jesus took the nails in our place, how He endured His friends deserting, betraying and denying even knowing Him while being falsely accused, resulting in His crucifixion! He took the hardest stuff, dying in our place, so that when we come up against hard stuff in our own lives we are not destroyed. Kinda like this gallon bag of water still in tact despite the many pencils through it!
2 Cor. 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Is. 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Sometimes the battle field of life can feel pretty crushing and that’s when I imagine Jesus coming up to me and lifting the face guard on my helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17) so that He can look directly into my eyes. With strong, gentle, nail scared hands on my shoulders He reminds me He understands because in Heb. 10:5-7…Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said; “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll-I have come to do your will, my God.'”
“I will” vs. “Thy will” is the key to victory and it’s in His Word we can find the Truth to guide us and the promises that give us the strength to persevere.
Think of Isaiah 14 which depicts the fall of Satan. Verses 13-14 are covered with “I will” statements from the enemy! But Jesus leads by example in Luke 22:42 saying, yet not my will, but yours be done.
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. (Sin is found in “I will” rather than “Thy will” statements isn’t it.) 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, scoring it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Consider Him! Remember Who’s you are! Go back to what you know; I imagine Jesus saying to me on the battlefield with dirt streaks on my brow. Isaiah 51:1 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn- Then He would remind me of Heb. 10:35-39 and say, So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he promised. For, In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay. And, But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Child, you are in My army; NOT of those that shrink back for I have overcome this world!! The enemy only gets ground you give him!! With that I imagine He lets my helmet of salvation’s face guard fall shut as He mounts His white stead once more taking the lead out front but He looks back one more time and with a twinkle in His eye He says, Cowboy / Cowgirl up! I’ve risen, conquering the grave, you’re on the winning team! My banner over you is love My child. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what I have prepared for those who love me. (Song of Songs 2:4, 1 Cor. 2:9) I command you to be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For I the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) You got this cuz I got you, so Cowgirl /Cowboy up and follow Me, follow Me all the way Home dear one!
Independent Read: Phil. 2:5-11, Is. 41:13