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Showing posts from November 8, 2015

Big Faith

How large is your faith and how far do you extend it? At what point in your life does faith fade away and you become subservient to disbelief? Abraham is a great example of one who continued to enlarge his faith. God tells him to leave family and birthplace and travel west and south to Canaan. He goes without pushback. Then he cannot have children with Sarah but struggles with the alternatives of his nephew Lot becoming his heir (Genesis 14:16), his servant Eliezer becoming his heir (Genesis 15:3), or Ishmael becoming his heir (Genesis 16:2). But there is no interpretation necessary for the promise of a son birthed by Sarah. He has Isaac as heir from her as God had said. (Genesis 17:19; 21:2) Is it any wonder that the writer of Hebrews says of Abraham when he is confronted with his own sacrifice of that very son, "Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead." (Hebrews 11:19) This is what is coursing through his mind at the moment he stands over Isaac laid out on top of …

Pleasing God

As a father there have been times when my young children have come to me and said, "Dad, look at what I did! Look at what I made! Look at what I found!" There has been a desire upon their part to please me. We do this with God our Father, also, in fact, He is always looking for those who will please Him. The hall of fame of the righteous in Hebrews 11 reveals many who were "commended" as those who "pleased God." We have spoken in January of 2013 and June of 2014 in the Today's Word about Noah, listed in Hebrews 11 as one of the righteous. We talked about the fact that he walked with God, then obeyed God, and then worshiped God. In Hebrews 11, it says, "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear he built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." (11:7) Four things are evident from this verse. One, Noah was "warned about things not yet…

Daily Direction

There are some things we do every day, like taking a shower, brushing our teeth, eating meals, and many more actives of routine which make our physical life better. The same should be true of our spiritual life. The writer of Hebrews suggested the following activities as regular for our spiritual life all on the basis of forgiveness, for when it comes through the body of the risen Savior, and we accept it, then we have responsibilities to ourselves and to the church, the spiritual body of believers. We are to "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith." (Hebrews 10:22) Not because of our work but because of Christ's work, we have entered the new and living way, a way based on faith. We are to "hold unswervingly to the hope we profess" (10:23) This "hold" is a hold fast; a firm hold which masters that which is held. And, it is to be held "unswervingly" which means to not lean back, or incline to the past. Hope looks fo…

Wiser and Smarter

How can you become a person that is wiser and smarter? Is it a matter of training or instinct? Solomon was the ultimate Sherlock Holmes, investigating all that happened in his world. He sought to draw from the actions of people, lessons in life. At one point he said, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12) This is like saying, there are some people who stop at a red light, but others that drive right through it and receive the consequences. There are two ways to address danger in your life: one, is wisely, and the other is ignorantly. The wise person sees danger, he is alerted to it as it begins, he analyses a situation, anticipates danger and takes refuge. He protects himself from the effects of danger by removing himself from the situation. On the other hand, the simple person just keeps on driving ahead; they miss the road signs for danger ahead and end up suffering greatly. That suffering may be physical, as in a car…

Holiness

In His discussions with the Israelites through the prophet Ezekiel, God says, "I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them holy." (Ezekiel 20:12) It can't be any clearer than that for Israel. "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!" (Hebrews 9:14) Whether in times past or today we understand that any attempts on our part to make ourselves holy are futile. Good works, worship of surrogate gods (idols), gifts, religion, living away from the masses, does no good at helping us to be holy in God's eyes. God makes us holy in and of Himself and through the death and resurrection of His Son. In light of this FACT, we must understand that it is by grace (unmerited favor) we are saved to eternal life and it is a gift of God. Getting an absolute hold on this tru…

Personal Responsibility

Are you a blamer or do you take responsibility for your actions? It seems that sometimes we are both. Think about your credit cards, a ticket for speeding, your house payment to a loan company, water bill, electric bill, gas bill. Who is responsible to pay your bills? Is it someone else or is it you? The obvious answer is, YOU. Ezekiel 18 emphasizes personal responsibility. It supposes three different scenarios: a righteous father, an unrighteous son, and a righteous grandson. It challenges the often quoted proverb in Israel: "The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." (18:2) Or translating, there is guilt passed on to the next generation and others become responsible for your personal sin(s). If a righteous man does what is just and fair, following God's decrees and faithfully keeping His laws, then he is righteous and will live. However, if his son, who is a violent man, does the opposite of his father, he "will surely be put to deat…