"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;" Hebrews 12:12
Even in the suffering of Christ on the cross, the Scriptures say there was a ‘joy’ that was set before Him because He was obeying God (Hebrews 12:2). In Hebrews 12, we are told that God may chastise us because of our sins. However, being disciplined by God is a proof that God loves us and wants to develop the character of godliness inside of us; therefore, the writer of Hebrews encourages us to “lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (verse 12) which, in our modern day English, means – stop being downtrodden and find the joy that comes about from God’s faithful discipline in our life.
"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Hebrews 10:4
Hebrews is a wonderful book of the Bible that teaches Jewish Christians as well as Gentile believers today that we do not want to go back to the old way. Before Christ came to earth, the Jews had focused their attention on works, performing sacrifices, and conducting celebrations in hopes of going to heaven. While some Jews realized they could only live by faith, others were trusting in their works to obtain God. When Christ walked among the Jews, He eliminated the sacrifices and celebrations the Jews had so long after sought. He became the final sacrifice when He died for our sins and, in fact, “resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4) After all, the blood of bulls and goats (or any other man made way) can not take away sin.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:40-43
The thief on the cross was saved the same way as Paul or Peter. Paul murdered Christians; Peter denied Christ; both Paul and Peter needed to come to the realization of their own sinfulness, repent, and believe on Him. Just like the thief on the cross, God is willing to save any sinner that comes to Him!
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 2:7
God’s Word tells us that we will suffer for our relationship with Christ; this is true especially when we share His gospel to the world. Sometimes when we witness for Him, we will look into people’s eyes before opening our mouths and we give up because we think we are going to be rejected anyway.
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:2
Part of living as Christians is to teach and show to others what we have been taught by God, specifically the good news that Christ saves to the uttermost those that put their trust in Him. It may be discouraging because we have told everyone we know; then let's tell others we haven't met. It may be discouraging because we've run out of people to witness to; then let's tell the same people the same message, but in a different way. Or maybe we are discouraged because we simply don’t know what to say. Remember what we were told when we got saved, and let's keep repeating the same message! You have to admit, the gospel is always the same: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:1
Soldiers: here are our marching orders as end time saints! Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; He is our life and source of strength. God not only gives strength, but he enables us to perform what He has called us to do. Paul praised the Lord that he “hath enabled” him, and put him in the ministry (1 Timothy 1:12). Then he used the same greek work for “enabled” when he asked us to be strong in Christ.
"1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:1-2
A little boy told the local grocer that his cat ultimately had died; “It must have been that laundry detergent you used to clean him that I told you not to buy” the grocer said. The boy looked up and quipped, “Nah, the laundry detergent didn’t kill him. It was the spin cycle!”
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:10
No man or woman is born great; we were all, at one time, babies. So too, if you are longing for strong faith that grabs hold of the hem of Jesus – It will take time. Suffering is not meant to make us feel like martyrs; nor is it meant to give us something to complain to others about. Instead, suffering is given to us so we can grow in the faith of Christ. For a little while, we will suffer.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Have you ever felt like the prophet Elijah who believed everyone was against him and that no one was suffering for God like he was? (1 Kings 18:22) It is tempting to feel, in the midst of terrible suffering and persecution, that we are the only ones that know and understand what we are going through. But today’s scriptures says there is no “temptation” (or testing, or trial) that is not common to man; while we may honestly believe we are alone in our woes – a quick survey of support groups in our local area might show that others deal with the common struggles of life. (As an aside, these support groups need many more Christians to gently share a Christ centered way of recovery.)