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Luke 4:16-30 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

After Jesus began his public ministry in the region called Galilee he went to his hometown of Nazareth where the people had already heard rumors of the wonderful things he had been doing in the other towns.

Jesus first went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, the same as he had done in the other towns. When he stood up to read he was given the scroll that contained the book of Isaiah. He unrolled it to the prophecy that was written about himself and read it to the people. Then he put the scroll down and told the people that today the scripture had been fulfilled in their hearing.

Because the people had already known Jesus they could not believe this message. His purity up to this point had been taken for granted, and they were unwilling to give him credibility as the Messiah or as a miracle worker or healer. Instead they ran him out of town and attempted to throw him over a cliff. Because of the disbelief of the people of Nazareth, Jesus was unable to bless them with his miracles.

How often do we deny God the opportunity to do miracles in our lives because we take him for granted or because we think the miracle we hope for is too big for God to handle? Are we sometimes afraid to risk our own credibility by publicly asking for prayer because we are afraid God won’t answer our prayer and we will be seen as foolish? I have known people whose liberal “Christian” theology and sceptical faith in miracles have prevented them from asking for blessings they could have received.

Let us not be guilty of having the hometown mentality that the people of Nazareth had on that Sabbath day. We need to be careful that we don’t let our familiarity with rituals and the Christian language become a form of vaccination that prevents us from understanding the Christian message in its fullness, and keeps us from digging deeper for a closer and more genuine walk with Jesus.

Father God, walk with us daily. Help us to see the good news of Jesus as fresh and new every morning so that we don’t lose its meaning in its familiarity. Help us to keep our faith alive and well so we never lose the blessings that are ours through faith in 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 9:16-24  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.       

    Why did Jesus have to die? In his death he became our perfet sacrifice for our sins. As in a will, his death also made our inheritance available to us.

    In the Old Testament, the blood was sprinkled in the tabernacle and on everything used in its ceremonies. The shedding of blood was a requirement for forgiveness.

    The tabernacle and everything associated with it is only a copy or representation of the greater and more glorious sanctuary in the heavenlies.

    The new covenant has been established in the heavenly tabernacle with Jesus’ own blood. Jesus is our high priest and he is interceding for us in the true tabernacle in heaven.

    Take time now to thank him for the sacrifice he made so he could be there to intercede on your behalf. Share your heart with him with the confidence that he understands your needs and cares for you.

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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Today’s passage is taken out of the account of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well.

John 4:21-26 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.  The entire passage of the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well is found in John 4:1-42

Jesus had been talking with the Samaritan woman long enough for her to realize that he was more than a mere man. She had called him a prophet and had begun asking questions. Jesus called her “woman.” In our culture this is not generally a respectful way to address a woman; however, this was not a derogatory remark in the Jewish culture. Perhaps our expression “M’am” is a similar expression in our culture today.

The woman had raised questions about where God should be worshiped. Jesus’ response made it clear that it wasn’t important where people worshiped God. The important thing was that the worship be genuine, that true worshipers would worship “in spirit and truth.”

This tells me that God doesn’t care about denominations as much as hearts. There was a time when my faith first began to deepen and become real to me. During that time I thought the women in my Bible study group were possibly the only Christians in my town. But as time passed and as my faith continued to grow, I began to discover that there were many committed Christians in several churches and denominations. Sadly, many Christians continue to cling to the notion that they are the only ones who are among the saved, and miss out on the fellowship with other devoted Christians.

Do we worship in spirit and truth? Only God can understand the motives of our hearts. Are we truly worshiping God when we attend worship services, or do we attend church because we want to be seen as a good or upstanding person? What are we thinking about when we are in a worship service? Are we truly worshiping the awesome God who created the universe, who then gave his only Son to suffer and die on a cross to take the punishment for our sins? Or do we take all this for granted?

The Samaritan woman shared with Jesus what she understood about the Messiah, saying that when the Messiah came he would explain all of these things. Jesus then answered that he was the Messiah. She then ran to tell the people in her community about Jesus and to bring them to hear him.

Father God, penetrate our hearts when we make the effort to worship you. Enable our spirits to draw near to you in spirit and truth. Help us to focus on you alone when we worship you, whether we are worshiping you in our private worship of you, or in our churches and other Christian worship gatherings.

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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