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Hebrews 11:5-7 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Verse 6 tells us that we cannot please God without faith. We must believe that God exists. If this verse were a stand-alone verse many pseudo Christians could claim they have faith because they believe there is some kind of god out there who does good things for people. But this is not the measure of faith this verse is talking about. This verse is refering to the kind of faith that changes our lives. Let us consider the verses that come before and after this verse.

Verse 7 tells of Noah’s faith. Noah believed God when He told him He was going to flood the entire earth. It would be hard enough for us today to believe and trust God enough to start building an ark. But we must consider that the people in Noah’s day had never seen rain. Up to this time, God had used streams of water coming out of the earth to water the land. (Genesis 2:4-6) The first rain recorded in the Bible is the onset of the great flood, a rain that lasted 40 days. Noah’s ark-building project was no simple task either. It consumed his life for possibly 100 years while the corrupt people of his day taunted him.

Verse 5 refers to the faith of Enoch. This man is not as well known as Noah, but he was definitely well known to God. There are four verses that cover Enoch’s life in Genesis 5:21-24 that tell us he was the father of Methuselah, and that he walked with God for 300 years and then was no more. Hebrews 11:5 enlightens us on exactly what that meant – Enoch did not die, but went with God directly to heaven. I imagine it would be like going for a walk with God and deciding not to go home but to stay with him.

Returning to verse 6, I would like to revisit the last part of the verse. God desires to bless those who earnestly seek after him. How richly blessed was Enoch who walked with him until he was no more.

Read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 to learn of more giants of faith from the Bible, and consider how you might allow God to stretch your own faith.

Father God, help us to grow daily in our faith. Give us courage to accept the situations when our faith will be tested and help us to grow through them. Help us to sincerely and earnestly seek after you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 13:10-16  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Verse 10 opens the door to a question. Why did those who ministered at the tabernacle have no right to eat at Jesus’ altar? Verses 11 and 12 explain that Jesus’ blood was shed outside the tabernacle and not in the Most Holy Place. The high priests rejected Christ, and caused the shedding of his blood outside the city.

So if we are to come to Christ’s altar we must look outside the tabernacle of the Old Testament. We must meet Christ at the foot of the cross accepting his atoning blood sacrifice for our sins. We also look forward to the promised city that is to come, not to Jerusalem.

The writer of Hebrews urges us to continually offer our praises to God though Jesus by confessing his holy name, by doing good and by sharing with others. This is the kind of sacrifice that pleases God.

This passage was initially written to the early Christians, many of whom were converts from Judaism. So the concept of going outside the camp to worship Jesus meant that they were to leave their old forms of worship before they could worship the Living Christ. It may not be all that different for us. Once we gain a Biblical understanding of who Jesus is, we need to stand out from the crowd to begin a new life in him. We may also need to leave one church and find another if we have been worshiping with a group of people who don’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Father, work in our hearts so that we will seek Jesus alone to cleanse us from our sins. Thank you for your unthinkable gift of your Son, that we might have a share in your inheritance.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 13:7-9  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Who led you to faith in Jesus? What was it about him or her that made you want to know more? Verse 7 encourages us to imitate the faith of those who led us to faith.

Verse 8 reminds us that Jesus doesn’t change. We need to remember that when we are presented with some of the off-the-wall theology that we get thrown at us from every direction today. We have people in high places (on popular TV programs, running for office as President, the list goes on) who are coming up with some very creative ways to validate themselves as Christians, but their claims don’t hold up to the teachings in the Bible. Jesus isn’t changing to fit the needs of people today, we are simply getting bombarded with today’s people trying to justify themselves and the changes they want to bring about in our country. The sad part is that so few people know what the Bible says that they will swallow any theology thrown at them, unable to discern fact from fiction.

Verse 9 aptly follows verse 8. Don’t be so gullible as to buy into the most popular theology of the day. Satan is out to deceive all who will listen. The day of the Antichrist can’t be too far away.

Don’t be deceived. Take Bible study seriously. Read it for yourself. Don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s until you are willing to dig in and start reading it for yourself and applying what it says to your own life.

Dear Jesus, please shake us and wake us from our sleep. Stir our hearts to want to know you more, to hunger and thirst for your Holy Word, as it truly contains the wisdom that we need for our day. You haven’t changed. Wisdom isn’t new, nor has it changed. People have simply allowed their own lusts and desires to lead themselves down reckless paths that will lead them and all who follow them into destruction. Forgive us Lord, and restore our nation to the glory it once knew when it declared itself to be “one nation under God.”

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 13:1-6  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Verses 1-3 remind us to look to the needs of others including strangers, people in prison, and people who are being mistreated. I am often intregued by verse 2 where it says to entertain strangers because in so doing we might be entertaining angels. I wonder how many times people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Verse 3 instructs us to remember those in prison as if we were in prison with them. I’ve heard people speak of this verse who add that there are many kinds of prisons – depression, despair, and abusive relationships are a few examples. These are good examples, but I wonder if they are sometimes used to ease our consciences for not doing anything for the prisoners in the more traditional sense of the word. We mustn’t neglect either.

The next time you or I are inconvenienced by a stranger or someone who doesn’t exactly measure up to our standards of who we would choose for a close friend, remember these verses and consider that this inconvenience just might be an appointment that was created especially for you by God in heaven.

Then on a more introspective level verses 4 and 5 command us to maintain sexual purity, reserving ourselves for our marriage partners alone. We are also instructed to free ourselves from the love of money and to be content with what we have, for God has promised never to leave us or to forsake us. We should never fear what man can do to us when we have the Almighty God as our helper.

Lord, work in our hearts freeing them to love as you love, and to serve others as you served. Help us to recognize those divinely appointed situations that come into our lives, and help us to be sensitive to their needs. Help us be your light to the world.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 12:12-13   Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens. 

This chapter in Hebrews is definitely a model for growth in our Christian walk. If you are going to stay with this writer, you have to move on and up.

These verses challenge us to get our act together, to strengthen our arms and knees, straighten our paths, so that we can be of service to others in Jesus’ name. We can’t serve God if we are determined to sit around in self pity. Wow! This has been a week of preaching to myself!

Father God, clear my foggy mind and lift me up. I know you are there for me, waiting for me to look up into your eyes so I can draw strength from them. But let me not draw strength for myself only, let me draw strength to serve you in whatever way you lead.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 12:8-11 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Are you hurting? Pour your heart out to God. He may be molding you into the person he wants you to be. Consider these verses before you shake your fist at God and blame him for your pain and suffering.

Perhaps you can remember a time when you were given a spanking or other punishment for something you had done. There was pain at the time, but there was healing and you learned something from the discipline that had been applied. Perhaps you will enjoy reading this little incident I wrote about once on another blog of mine. Click here.

The important thing to remember is that God disciplines those he loves. If you are hurting, thank him that he trusts you with the pain. Let this pain help you to grow. Fight to keep from letting your pain cause you to turn inward and putting all your focus on yourself. As I write this I realize I am writing to myself as I continue to wrestle with some struggles of my own.

Father God, thank you for loving me. Help me to give thanks in everything, and help me to grow and bloom in a way that brings glory to only you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 12:4-7 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

I am struggling with a major disappointment in my life at the time I am writing this. It is in a situation where I feel very betrayed by an agency that was supposed to bring an improvement into my life with a whopping price tag. But the improvement is not an improvement at all, it has become a hindrance.

I have the faith to believe that God disciplines those he loves. If this is his discipline then I am willing to adjust my paths accordingly. But I can’t help but question that this is one of those situations. I hope my readers will pray with me on this as it really has me depressed.

I feel the need to return to the prayer I mentioned in a very recent post: Lord, don’t let this hardship go to waste. Let me learn what you would have me learn through it.

Many of the comments I made in that earlier post are appropriate for today’s scripture as well, so I encourage my readers to read it by clicking here. The last section of that post especially focuses on how God disciplines us as his children because he loves us.

A part of me feels guilty about not writing a more upbeat post today. But my heart says, not. It is time for Christians to admit when it is hard. Being a Christian doesn’t turn us into sugar coated cookies. It is for real with daily situations that are sometimes very hard to deal with. But God loves us and knows what we can endure. He knows how much pain he can trust us with. So as I sniffle like a child, yet I will trust him with all my tomorrows, and I will wait to see what tomorrow will bring and how he will bless it in the end.

AMEN

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 12:1-3  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

This passage is such a wonderful challenge. How many of us truly recognize the baggage we carry around with us? What are the things that pull us away from a relationship with Christ? What is it that keeps us from extending Christ’s love to the sick, lonely and/or hurting people around us? Busy-ness? Business profits? Poorly utilized idle time? Self-centeredness? Pride? Worry?

Hebrews 12:1 commands us to cast off those things that hinder us. I have a lot of cluter in my life – both physical and personal demands I allow to be made on my time. How freeing it would be to cast it all off and to run the race with total abandon. May God help me through this process.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by our circumstances and to allow them to pull us down. Verse two tells us how to rise above them – to fix our eyes on Jesus keeping in mind how he endured even death on the cross to obtain his goal. Whatever our burdens are, they can’t begin to compare with what Christ endured, yet he not only endured it, he did it for the “joy set before him.” He set the example for us by looking above and beyond the current circumstances to the joy of heaven that awaited him. We can have that same joy. Let us not lose heart.

Father God, help us to recognize and cast off those idols and distractions that keep us from fellowshiping with you and from serving you. Help us to run the race with joy and abandon.

 

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 10:15-18 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

    How beautiful the new covenant is to our spirits. With the new covenant God puts the laws in our hearts – he gives us the desire to honor him by obeying his commands. He also agrees to remember our sins and lawless acts no more. It is Jesus’ sacrifice that brings us this forgiveness – no other sacifice will be needed – ever!

    Praise God for his marvelous provision for us – given at his own expense!

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Hebrews 10:11-14 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens. 

    These verses again contrst the sacrifices of the Old Testament with Jesus’ most glorious sarifice. The high priest of the old covenant had to continually make sacrifices for the people These sacrifices served more to make the people aware of their sins than to bring lasting forgiveness.

    In contrast, Jesus is both our sacrifice and our high priest. Only Jesus could have suffered death on the cross, risen from the tomb, and seated himself at the right hand of God Almighty. All of this, he did so that we could be made clean, so we could share in his glory for eternity.

    Jesus is waiting for us. He is also in the process of turning his enemies into his footstool. What a glorious day when we will see these events through the eyes of eternity.

    Lord we thank you for your eternal plan. We thank you for giving us a glimpse into the future through your Word so that we can face trials and hardships with confidence as we trust in your love and provision for us.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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