TIME TO GET OUR EYES FIXED!

“For it is time to seek the Lord” Hosea 10:12

The Body of Christ is suffering greatly in every way, from violent onslaughts to emotional trauma, grief and anguish.   Some cry out to be rescued, others must pray for ways to reach them.  Many brethren suffer silently in personal turmoil and grief.  The spiritual darkness upon the world is alive, strategic, and bearing fruit.  Within our cultures and in our personal lives, we are suffering the wages of sin.  Endurance, healing, renewal and hope are the rare treasures of our day.  The world conjures up programs, pharmaceuticals, therapies and mantras, yet can find no remedy for the sick and damaged soul.  Government, Education, Health and Welfare are futile venues for change – they are often the birthplace of ungodliness.  For believers to fight in worldly arenas is like attacking a fire-breathing dragon with a toothpick.  Nothing less than the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can enable us to “shine like stars” in this “depraved generation” and enlarge God’s Kingdom in this world.  “Apart from Me”, Jesus said, “you can do nothing”.       

To ‘take a stand’ we must decidedly face one direction, one centered focus aligning our feet, our mind and heart.  With our “hand to the plow” we cannot look back (Luke 9:62) whether it is to the world, to our losses, to deep and bitter wounds, or even joyous days past.  The runner looking back will stumble and fall, forfeiting his prize.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

Our clarity, discernment, and wisdom are found in this singular focus and commitment.  Supernatural healing, renewal, and hope are found within the pages of the Bible – the living book that reveals the power of God and imparts it within us.  This is not unreachable.  The presence of God becomes more evident as we shut down every distraction and humbly offer Him due honor and worship.  He is faithful, worthy to seek with all our heart and wait upon with expectation, “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   What an encouragement to know that the Holy Spirit- Who spoke the world into creation – continues to speak through the living and unchanging Word of God, through the authority of godly leadership and personally into our hearts as we cry out to Him in our own ‘prayer closet’.

‘Looking unto Jesus’ is not a call to gaze at portraits, crucifixes, or spiritual images that yield little outside of emotional comfort.  It is an active search to find and grasp ahold of the revelations of Jesus Christ in the Bible and let Him speak these truths into our lives.  As believers in Christ we are His Body, the vessels He calls into obedience, to indwell and glorify Him on earth.

We can find Jesus from Genesis to Revelation, He is revealed to us in every Book of the Bible.  Online searches of the revelations of Christ, Old Testament to New Testament may provide some insight for Bible study.  The circumstances of our life, often painful and bewildering, are often ordained to open doors of faith within us and reveal to us the power of Christ in our needs.  Within our trials and grief we find Him, “a hiding place” of fellowship and intimacy with God Himself.  Our faith in the fire testifies of Christ as the Good Shepherd, Defender, Healer, Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor as we cry out to Him from our wilderness, in our afflictions, and during turmoil and onslaughts.

For the Body of Christ, knowing Him is central – all else is peripheral.

‘The author and finisher of our faith…”  The literal translation of this verse (Hebrews 12:2) from original transcripts does not include the word ‘our’ but does include a definite article before ‘faith’: ‘the faith’.  From the original Greek wordage, ‘author’ might translate as:  creator/trailblazer/leader.  While modern translations insert ‘our’ into the text to personalize this faith, Bible studies such as the Bible Hub Commentaries offer notes on a more literal translation:  Jesus, the ‘first’ (Captain/Leader) and the Last (Completer/Victor) of the faith.   Jesus leads an army of faith.  Fix our eyes on Jesus, He is the Creator, Leader and Commander of the faith and as He accomplished triumphant victory so shall He lead us.  

Our greatest challenge - taking our eyes off the world and our circumstances to look upon Him with faith

Our greatest challenge – taking our eyes off the world and our circumstances to look upon Him with faith (Amedee Varint painting)

As the dividing line between believers and unbelievers widens, carnal Christians will be forced to take sides, either validating compromise or choosing to stand upon the unchanging Word of God.  As this world spins quickly toward Judgment, a fire-tested remnant will persevere and stand to testify of God’s faithfulness.  Let us be counted among them, strengthening and encouraging one another as we fix our eyes on Him.

  “But my eyes are fixed on You, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge”                                     

(Psalm 141:8)   

CALLED TO STAND BY HIS SIDE

As the world spins faster and closer to Christ’s return, there is an ever increasing dividing line between Believers in Jesus Christ and the world.   Darkness seems to prevail as God’s people suffer near annihilation and the truths of God’s Word trampled upon.  As followers, not wanderers, we must stand in the only place of security and strength.  We must stand by Christ’s side.  There is no gray area, we are either yoked to this world or to Christ….free to live and move through darkness or walk toward eternity in the light of our Maker.  “Come to me” Christ calls, “all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28-30) The world and its false religions cannot give you this rest.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

Carnal Christianity builds a gospel around ‘easy’ and ‘light’.  Yet, without the Lord’s yoke and  burden, it is a useless gospel.  His yoke binds us to His side; His burden opens His heart into ours.

One's mobility, speed and direction are determined by Another.

Here, one’s mobility, speed and direction are determined by Another.

A yoke is forward focused, causing great discomfort when the bearer veers to the left, to the right, or turns to look behind. Under His yoke, through obedience and submission, we share in His burden to reflect the glory of God in this dark world. Here, at the Lord’s side, we will stand with Him and He will stand with us.  Before His arrest on the Mount of Olives, even knowing their weakness, the Lord said to His disciples,

“You are those who have stood by me in my trials.”  (Luke 22:28)

High accolades from God to mortal man!  What are the Lord’s trials – and how can we stand with Him?

The disciples stood with Jesus, God incarnate.  After the Lord’s ascension, the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell believers, giving us new birth, new life, and joining us together as the Body of Christ on earth.  If we would really stand with Christ in His trials, we must likewise stand with His Body in this world.   As Saul persecuted the brethren, Christ challenged him, “Why are you persecuting ME?” (Acts 9:4)

We must be challenged to stand with Christ as His Body is despised and rejected by men, suffers need, languishes in prison, tortured, widowed – humiliated and dishonored in every way.

Jesus proclaimed that eternal life awaited those who served His Body in this world – and damnation for those who neglected the same.  (Matthew 25:31-46)  Our world is exploding into an arena for the mocking and torture of Christ.  If we are not standing at His side, we are amongst the spectators, the condemned.  

There may be brethren in our midst who are suffering and discouraged, in grief and even despair. We must be available in Christ to minister to them. For certain though, a collective lament cries out from those who are persecuted and in the clutches of cruel and merciless hands.  We are accountable to hear those cries, to open our hearts, to “mourn with those who mourn”, and stand with them in their trials as with Christ….but how?

The devil wants to keep us as spectators, pitying the ‘foreigners’ who are suffering so much… out of reach, impossible to help.  Our unseen brethren are as foreign as the unseen Christ.  They are as unreachable as Peter in Acts 12, held captive by the most powerful world government.  No carnal plan or coup can subdue the powerful darkness consuming the world.  As with Peter, only that which is launched supernaturally through prayer can rescue, deliver and strengthen.  Esteem prayer as the Lord Himself did – reserving time and place as a supernatural encounter.  As “co-workers in God’s service”, our work in prayer yields rewards as the Lord answers. Believe that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”,  whether or not we see physical evidence.    Lacking fervency and passion?  When yoked to the Master and into His Word, His heart will rekindle our passion and zeal.

To stand by the Lord in His trials is to take His yoke and follow His lead.  It does not guarantee detour from pain, anguish, or even martyrdom but will assure this:  He will never leave or forsake us, He will stand by our side and indwell our hearts to overflowing that we may endure whatever He sets before us for the glory of His coming Kingdom.

We can only imagine hearing Him say,

“You are those who have stood by me in my trials”

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”