Archive for the ‘Hebrews’ Category

Equip – a benediction

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” – Hebrews 13:20-21

Equip

a:  to furnish for service or action by appropriate provisioning.

b:  to make ready :  prepare.

c:  to furnish with intellectual or emotional resources.

 

God is a God of peace.  He did not strong arm us to salvation, but wooed us with His love and great mercy.  He desires peace amongst His children, so they may in turn bring peace into the world.

It is the Father who returned His Son to life; to be our shepherd.  We, like sheep, will go astray, will wander into danger, will ingest poison if not fiercely protected by our shepherd.  We are sheep who have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus, entering us into an eternal covenant with God.

Yet, we still cannot equip ourselves with everything we will need for this life.  We do not come by good in our natural state.  It is Jesus who empowers us, who equips us with the desire and the fortitude to do good in this life.

It is because Jesus is good in His very nature that He infuses us with a desire to do things to please our Father.  We are like children who want to bring our Father delight.  While we do this holding a tattered bunch of dying dandelions, with Jesus provision we come instead bearing an overflowing armful of daisies.

It is nothing that we alone accomplish.  We gladly and gratefully adorn Jesus with the glory He so righteously deserves.  We hear our shepherd’s voice and we turn with instinctive delight and joy.

Father, we bring you nothing on our own.  Yet we offer ourselves as your flock.  May we bring you pleasure with our meager offerings.

Division

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

Division

a:  the condition or an instance of being divided in opinion or interest

b:  the act, process, or an instance of separating or keeping apart

In the beginning was the Word.  And the Word was with God and the Word was God.  We read the Word.  Analyze it, study it, but can we as humans even grasp the true, unmitigated power of the Word of God?

The Word of God can seize a person and change their whole lives.  The Word is living; it is capable of cutting to the quick of a person’s soul and convicting, comforting and speaking truth into their very being.

This isn’t just rhetoric.  We find example again and again of the power contained in our bibles.  God promises that His word does not return void; it will accomplish His goals.

In His word, we find the sword that can slice between the world’s truth and God’s truth.  He penetrates deep into our joints and marrow to see the darkest parts of our souls.  He knows our thoughts before we do.  It can pull down our strongholds and break the enemy’s strongest grasp.

God’s word will penetrate us to the extent that the double-mindedness of our hearts is spilled out for us to examine and repair together.  It can separate us from our sinful nature and help us walk toward the Lord.

Always remember that the Word will come forth from Jesus on the last days like a sword.  It is the only weapon we need to wield in battle.

Father, help us to store your word in our hearts, to meditate on it and use it to show others the truth as well.

Endurance

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

Endurance

 

a:  the ability to do something difficult for a long time

b: the ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a long time

c: the quality of continuing for a long time

 

There can be so many impediments while we run this Christian race.  It is in our sin nature to question our calling, to speculate during trials that we have been abandoned, to retreat back to a place of perceived safety when we are ridiculed.  Sin does and will continue to cling closely to us, until the day we find ourselves in the presence of our Father.  Sin will do its best to trip us up, so that we hang back and tend to our wounds; while we should be up and running the race set before us.

We also have to set aside the weight we carry.  All of the care and concern we place on temporary things of this world that mean nothing:  our earthy possessions, our status, our fondness for nothings.  These are all burdens that we unnecessarily give more weight then they deserve.

So we are called to endure.  That is a good indication that our race should not be comfortable to the point of being complacent.  The word endurance suggests that we will have to deal with something difficult for a long time.

But!  We have not been left alone to endure without hope or promise.  We have as our Savior one who has endured the cross to redeem the world.  He did it for the joy that was set before Him.  He had joy because He knew that He was bringing a way for us to come to the Father.  He saw something far beyond the suffering and humiliation that He had to endure for a while.  He saw eternity.

So.  Now we have Someone to look to for our strength; to be our endurance.  In Christ we find that the things of this earth that give us slight, momentary pleasures pale in comparison to the eternal joy we will find with Him.

We are exhorted to Look to Jesus!  Just as a child looks to a parent for guidance and love, we look to Him when the world around us tries to pry our eyes from the prize of eternal joy.  We endure whatever the Lord allows us to come upon, knowing that we are living for the joy of Jesus, standing at the finish line, cheering us on.

Father, help us have the endurance to run the race You have placed before us.  Remind our hearts Who we are racing toward.

Exhort

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. – Hebrews 3:13-14

Exhort

a:  admonition or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing

b. to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.

 

There are many things we know to be true in the life of a believer.  Here are two of them:  Sin will sneak up to us in a myriad of forms and We were never meant to live this life apart from other believers.  These two truths are symbiotic; we need one to combat the other.

We have to take seriously the deceitfulness of sin.  It is such a trick thing, this sin is.  It’s easy for us to avoid the ones that seem extreme; murder, theft, even lying.  But what about the sins that we try to justify?  Things that God’s children shouldn’t look upon, or listen to, or read.  We rationalize that we are mature enough in our faith that we can withstand the allure put before us.

How about the internal tracks that our minds try to make us believe?  Lies like we’re not saved, that we’re not good enough, that God can’t possibly use us for anything.  What happens to our hearts, our testimony, when we believe these things about ourselves?

This scripture warns us that we may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We can become indifferent to what we perceive as sin’s casual nature.

It is for this reason that we are told to exhort one another every day.  We need each other every day to remind us of the truth.  We need one another to build us up, strengthen our hearts with the truth and advise us when we are veering off the track.

It is when believers speak the truth of scripture in our lives that we are reminded whose we are and what we are called to do.  Share in Christ.  Believers help us hold onto the confidence that we need to have in Christ.  They remind us of His promises, of our hearts’ desire to share Jesus with others.

It would do us well to both exhort and be exhorted every day.

Father, remind us that we need the body of believers to walk in this life.  Help us to build one another up, while reminding each other of the truth.

 

Come

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” – Hebrews 13:13-14

Come

a:  to move toward something.

b:  to move or journey to a vicinity with a specified purpose.

c:  to reach a particular station in a series

d:  to approach in kind or quality

e:  to advance toward accomplishment

 

We were never called to sit on our laurels and wait for Jesus’ return.  We are called to go out into the world and impact something.  It may be a small something, it may be a great something, but we are called to do something.

The world can be a wicked place.  It gets wearisome to just be in it.  It also becomes wearisome to be constantly vigilant against becoming of it.  But in Jesus we find the perfect example of reaching the world around us.

Our goal is to resist the allure of the world and all of its temptations.  Again, we have our example in Christ.

As best we can, we go into the world; bearing reproach as Jesus did:  patiently, willingly, with endurance and even a heavenly joy about Him.

We remember as we are in the world that we are merely travelers here; sojourners on a journey that Christ’s love has placed us on.  He knows what trials and temptations will be hurled our way, and He has given us all the tools we need to be Holy conquerors.

We keep our eyes fixed on the prize; eternity with Jesus Christ.  We find ourselves unimpressed with what the world can offer us, but enchanted with what Jesus has promised for those who persevere.  We see the way the world tries to ensnare us with its constantly changing temptations, and we long for the One who is unchangeable.

So we continue on our journey of coming to Jesus.  We continue to advance with the specified purpose of a magnificent eternity.

Father, just as a child needs when he begins to walk, encourage us to keep our eyes on You as we come along on this journey you have designed for us.

Promise

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:23-25

Promise

a:  a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one.

b:  an express assurance on which expectation is to be based.

c:  something that has the effect of an express assurance; indication of what may be expected.

d:   indication of future excellence or achievement.

e:  something that is promised.

 

We are born with an innate sense of promise.  When we are children we promise to be good.  We promise that we didn’t do whatever we are in trouble for.  We complain when a promise is broken, no matter the cause.  Sometimes we learn that promises can be broken.

Not so with the Lord!  His promises are eternal; His word is faithful.  His promises are bursting forth with truth and preciousness.  Promises that are tangible; He will support us in our trials, He will not abandon us, all things will work together for good.

He offers us promises of a nature that we can hardly believe to be true.  He promises to be our God.  He promises to be ever with us; ever present, ever active, ever merciful to us.

He promises us joy beyond measure.  One day we will be with Him; in the place He has prepared for us, forever without tears, forever with an inexplicably beautiful God.

We are to remind each other of this truth.  When we see the light go dim in our sister’s eye, we remind her of His Love.  We remind each other to do good works; not for our salvation, but for the Lord’s joy and glory.

We remember God’s promises when we meet together.  We remind one another, we encourage one another, and we love one another.  We meet to build each other up, strengthen one another, and praise and thank God. We also meet so that others can see us united and loving; wanting a fellowship like that for themselves.

What day is drawing near?   Live each day like we’ll see Jesus tomorrow.  He has assured us He will return.  We hold fast until that day.

Father, we remind ourselves of Your many promises.  We rejoice that you are a man of Your word.

Confidence

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Hebrews

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Confidence

a: full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.

b: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something.

c: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true.

d:  the quality or state of being certain

 

How beautiful!  We don’t approach a throne of a despot; of a power-wielding King.  Christ is the King, but not in a worldly sense.  His throne is one of grace.  His authority demands reverence and great holiness, but one that His children approach confidently, knowing that they approach the seat of mercy.

Mercy is found at the throne of grace.  Mercy that is new every morning.  How well the Father knows that we are frail, prone to sin, weak.  He lavishes His children with mercy when we come repentant to His feet.  Note that we receive His mercy freely.

We find grace at the throne; it is a throne of grace.  It is there, in our times of need, where we rediscover God’s amazing love for us.  At the throne is where we find forgiveness, healing, strength, and courage.  Our Father knows how much grace we need.  It is at His throne where we find it.

Our goal is to dig deep and access our confidence to believe that Christ is who He says He is.  That can be hardest in moments of need.  It is then when we can crawl to the throne, hearing Jesus whisper, ‘Come.’ He wants us to reach out to Him when we are faced with trials or temptations of any sort.  His throne is not one of condemnation, but of grace.  Pure grace.

Father, help us fight the instinct to run away when we have a need, and strengthen our confidence that Your throne is one full of grace and mercy.