I can remember a gospel meeting from many many years ago. I was probably about 14. A minister from all the way in California came to lead it. To this day I can't quite remember his name, but what I do remember was electrifying! He recounted for us in grave, scientific and specific detail just what was physiologically going on with Christ during the last days of His life. He talked about how Christ suffered and what specifically He would have been feeling during the torture that led to His death. This one sermon has left an indelible mark upon me ever since. I suggest that all followers of Christ take some time to read or learn about the specifics of what this was.
Because I heard that sermon, there are times that I read through scripture and have to stop a moment. One of those times, happened when I read through Hebrews 12; especially verse 2. Here's what it says in the NIV,
"1 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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Yup you read that right. Jesus considered the end result of your salvation to be worth His endurance of the cross to the extent that the Hebrew writer calls it joy! This is huge on its own. To think that He thought so much of my salvation that He'd be willing to endure such shame and agony moves my heart and strengthens my faith.
But as we studied this a thought came to mind. There are days for me (I'm sure for you as well), that I endure frustration and agony over my children. There are days that are pure drudgery. While definitely not anywhere near the same level of shame and agony that Christ endured, this passage is an encouragement to me. You see I think so highly of what Christ did for me, that I want His kingdom to continue growing exponentially. I know that one of the ways that I can do that is to encourage and equip my children to spend their lives in service to Him and the other image bearers that they meet.
"2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.", Psalms 8:2, NIV
As I teach my children to praise the Lord, He establishes strongholds against the enemy! I want to be a part of that stronghold being built. I want my grandchildren's grandchildren to be still establishing that stronghold through praise of our great Creator! I want to encourage you to join me! Let's teach our children to praise like no one's watching! Let's teach our babies to praise His name at every turn!! And let's start by being the example of that praise!