Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can God Handle my Little World?

Hebrews 11-Part 2
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.   Hebrews 11:3


Can God handle my little world? My little world consists of ten mile radius. It includes our home, son's family, business, and church. (Of course, I have to trust him with my daughter's family, they're in Rhode Island.) I'm talking about, do I think God is big enough to solve my problems of finances, health, relationships, physical needs? Do I trust Him with my life, family, church, future and present? How big is my faith? I still have the mustard seeds in a jar on my kitchen window sill as a reminder that my faith can be small and can still please God.
My conclusion is that God can handle my little world; after all, He created this vast world, universe, galaxy, and beyond. What's a little thing like that to Him? In Genesis 18:14, the Lord asked Abraham the question, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" I conclude-Nothing is too difficult for Him. So why is my faith so small?
I need to trust  God with my little world more and more. How about you? The God who made the earth, sun, moon, and stars just by speaking them into being, can surely handle our little worlds, can't He? I want to zoom in on this verse.
The word translated worlds (aionas in Greek) refers to "the vast eons of time and all that fills them." Though the word has mainly a temporal idea, it involves the physical world that is united with time. God is the framer of time and space. His word (rhema in Greek) was the creative fiat; He spoke, and it came into being. He created ex nihilo, "out of nothing." (Liberty Bible Commentary)

David Wilkerson, in his book, Knowing God By Name, says:
El Elyon means God Most High, creator and possessor of all things. Are you persuaded that God is in absolute control over all things in your own life? Are we convinced that He holds our entire lives and well-being in His hands? Are you able to face the storms, test and trial in your life, calmly testifying, "My God, El Elyon, has everything under control"?  God is boss of everything. That means there are no accidents in my life-no such things as fate, happen-stance or luck, either good or bad. Every step I take is ordered by the Lord. Everything in my life-in fact, everthing in this universe-is under His control.

According to Thayer's Lexicon, faith used in this verse is of means or mode by faith or by believing, prompted, actuated, by faith; worlds refers to universe; things contained in time; framed means to fit, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust: the worlds.

Were framed is a verb phrase involved in equipping so that something might be made ready to fulfill its purpose. Word of God refers to God's utterance. (Mac Arthur Bible Commentary)

The Amplified Bible says By faith we understand that the worlds[during the succcessive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

Do we believe, by faith, that God made, equipt, arranged everything in the universe and beyond just by His speaking it to be, and it happened? He made it ready to fulfill its purpose. No man was there to see things created, so we have to take God at His Word, believe that it is true. What a powerful and awesome God we serve!
I applying the verse to me, can I say that "by faith I understand that Linda's little world was fashioned, put in order, and equipped for its purpose by God speaking it to be so"? Do I believe that God has prearranged my world, life, to be as such for His purpose? Do I have trouble believing that He can handle my little world on this country road. Hummmm


The rest of the verse says, in NLT: that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
NIV says so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

The book of Genesis explains for us the events of creation, but it must be accepted through faith. God created the universe out of something which can't be seen.
MacArthur says "There is the possibility that the invisible something was God's own energy or power."
It is hard for my mind to understand this since I live in the physical. There once was a time when there was nothing physical-only God the Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit existed. The Word says how it happened, and I believe it. That's faith.

A verse came to me in other reading-Romans 1:20-21NLT says For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.

Matthew Henry says the "they" mentioned above were Gentiles. They didn't recognize nor worship God, but made idols, images, and other dieties to worship. They didn't give thanks to the Creator for all He created and provided for them. Has mankind changed? Don't we set up idols of our our making, not visible ones, but ones that take our time, allegiance, worship, and thankfulness away from God?
Ouch! Does our straying begin with neglecting to give thanks to God for everything, thus pride sets in.We may subconsciously think we provided something.


Daily let go of the control of my little world and give God control it all. (easier said than done)

Trust my creator, El Elyon, with everything. Believe that He doesn't make mistakes, so all He does is for my good and His glory.

Continue to give thanks to God throughout the day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is Faith?

Hebrews 11-Part 1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Hebrews 11:1-2 KJV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.  NAS

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it give us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.  NLT
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  NIV

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors were approved.  CSB

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things[we] hope for, being the proof of things[we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed in the senses]. For by [faith-trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.  Amplified

Faith in What We Don't See
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  The Message (MSG)


In chapter 11, we move from doctrinal themes-Jesus is better than the prophets, angels, Moses and Joshua, the Levitical priests; the New Covenant is better than the old (salvation by faith), His heavenly tabernacle is better than the tent,  and once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus is better than the animal sacrifices which had to be repeated; Jesus interceeds for us as our High Priest at the right hand of God. We move to practical examples, faith practiced by others.

This chapter has several names: "The Roll Call of Faith,"  "The Hall of Faith," "Heroes of Faith," "The Saints' Hall of Fame," "The Honor Roll of Old Testament Saints." These are the "cloud of witnesses" mentioned in 12:1 who attest to the value of living by faith, testify that all should come to faith in God's truth in Christ.

What is faith? How do I describe or explain what faith is? How do you know that I have faith?
An example just happened to me this morning as I sit at my computer reading and typing:
I have faith, confidence, assurance, and believe that a skunk is walking around my house right now. Oh, I am not going to open the door, look outside, or even step out on the porch to see if I my statement is true.  Why do I say that? The evidence, proof, conviction, is the stinky ordor it leaves behind. I can't see the skunk or it's odor, but my nose detects the evidence.  Nothing compares to the unique scent of a skunk! Besides, my past experiences tell me that my nose is right this time. So I don't need to see the skunk to believe it is real and here.

All right, my word search in Thayer's Lexicon defines substance as confidence, firm trust, assurance and evidence as proof, conviction.

Liberty Bible Commentary says this about the first two verses:
Verse 1 is not so  much a definition of what faith is as it is a descriiption of what faith does.Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. First faith provides substance, which is hypostasis in the Greek. It occurs 20 times in the Septuagint and translates 12 different Hebrew words. It is used 5 times in the New Testament. (Falwell gives 4 if you want to read about them.) His conclusion is that substance used here means assurance. Second, faith provides evidence, which is the Greek word elegchos.It is evidence in the sense of proof which results in conviction. Of things hoped involves future hopes-the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints.  Of things not seen involves present realities, unseen realitites, such as the forgiveness of sin through Christ's sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present. Faith is the affirmative response to God's will and Word. Man possesses faith when he takes God at His Word. One does not need to see something to believe it.

In John 20:29b, Jesus told Thomas Blessed are they that have not seen, yet have believed. 
Hebrews 12:2a describes Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.

Is faith the foundation of my life? Do I depend on Jesus to provide my faith, hope for my future?

Here are some quotes from others that I felt were important to mention:
"True Bible faith is confident obedience to God's Word in spite of circumstances and consequences. The circumsstances may abe impossible, and the consequences frightening and unknown; but we obey God's Word just the same and believe Him to do what is right and what is best." (Waren Wiersbe)

"Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen." (J.Oswald Sanders)

"Faith is a sort of substitute for sight and possession. Faith gives to invisible things a substance. spiritual concepts that previously had no form, suddenly become embodied through faith. That which was once invisible becomes concrete and tangible." (Joni Eareckson Tada)

"Faith transcends the time-space framework in which we live this present life. It reaches to the high places where eternity can be seen beyond all present boundaries and barriers. Faith is the gift of seeing through all haze of doubt and the pollution of sin to the distant city of God set on the mountain of eternity. (Shepherd's Notes)


Men of old refers to all saints, both men and women, under the older covenant, a select few of whom are described in verses 4-40. They obtained a good testimony, report, which literally says "were testified to" or "had witness given about them." God bears witness on the behalf of these saints that they lived by faith and divine approval is granted to them. (MacArthur)

God has taken care that a record shall be kept and report made of the excellent things they did in the sstrength of this grace. the genuine actings of faith will bear to be reported, deserve to be reported, and will, when reported, redound to the honor of true believers.  (Matthew Henry)

How does faith grow? First, we come to God. Second, we believe He's there. Third, we count on Him to keep His word. (Swindoll)

Faith is like a muscle. As we exercise it, it grows and develops. God wants us to check out His Word. He wants us to commit ourselves to HIm and see if He will not do what He has pormised. (Shepherd's Notes)

If I were to go on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?


Put my faith and hope in Jesus.

Live like I am one of those on the Roll Call of Faith.

Keep my faith growing.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Gettin' Together

465.  "Gettin' Together"              Feb. 27, 2012
Hebrews 10-Part 8
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.   Hebrews 10:25 KJV

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  NIV

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another; especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.  NLT

When I was in elementary school, we would have assemblies every so often.  We would say our pledge to the flag, sing patriotic songs, have a speaker or a program by one of the classes. Anyway, all of the classes were together in one place, doing the same thing, with a purpose. Now that was forty-something years ago and they may not even do that nowadays. We are told in scripture to not forsake the assembing of ourselves. Shall we look deeper into this matter?
First, the author warns his readers to not forsake, give up, neglect assembling together, meeting together.

Assembling  means a gathering together in one place; the religious assembly of Christians. (Thayer's Lexicon)
Collective and corporate worship is a vital part of spiritual life. The warning here is against apostasy in an eschatological context (1 Thess. 5:4). (MacArthur Bible Commentary)
Wiersbe says, in his book, Be Confident:
Fellowship with God must never become selfish. We must also fellowship with other Christians in the local assembly. Apparently, some of the wavering believers had been absenting themselves from the church fellowship. It is interesting to note that the emphasis heer is not on what a believer  gets from the assembly, but rather what he can contribute  to the assembly. Faithfulness in church attendance encourages others and provokes them to love and good works. One of the strong motives for faithfulness is the soon coming of Jesus Christ. The only other place the word translated "assembling" is used in the New Testament is in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, where it's translated "gathering" and deals with the coming of Christ.

The assembling of the believers is often an outward indication of the inner condition. If a man's faith will not get him to church, it is doubtful if it will get him to heaven. ( Liberty Bible Commentary)
Why do I miss worship services? It is either due to illness or serving in children's church. It leaves a void in my life and seems to mess up my week so I don't do it intentionally.

"Forsaking fellowshlp is a sure way to give place to discouragement. Discouragement makes us avoid the community of God's people at the very time we need it most. Many people go to church if they feel they "need it" at the time. But our motivation for felowship must be to obey God and to give to others." states David Guzik.

Where do I go when I get discouraged?


Second, he says to exhort one another. Exhort means to urge to a course of action; admonish. (Webster's Dictionary)
MacArthur states, "Exhortation takes the form of encouragement, comfort, warning, or strengthening."
John Gill says we should exhort one another to:
  • prayer,
  • public worship,
  • regard all duties of religion,
  • adhere to Christ, profession in Him,
  • walk in Christ,
  • comforting of others,
  • the promises of God, doctrines of grace,
  • sharing experiences.
Am I encouraging other believers in those things? Do I share my experiences of God's working in my life with others?
Third, the writer is reminding his readers that the Second Coming of Christ, His return, is drawing near, approaching. Why wouldn't anyone want to be their best spiritually, strongest in faith, and  found faithful in worship and serving the Lord upon His return?


Stay faithful to worship services, Bible studies, and fellowships of my church.

Look for ways to share the faithfulness of Christ in my life.

Encourage others to love and good works.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Living Just by Faith

Hebrews 10-Part 7
Now the just shall live by faith:But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.    Hebrews 10:38-39 KJV

But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.


Looking back over the last 32 years of ministry, I can see where we lived "by faith" more often than not. Our journey of faith began when we left our families, packed up everything, and moved six hours away to attend college, preparing for the ministry. We only knew one couple, who were from our home church, that lived in the same town, attending the same college. That helped to have special friends. Those were precious years as our faith in God grew, watching Him provide daily for our little family's needs. (We had 2 children.)  Another big move of faith occurred when we moved to another part of the state so my husband could atttend siminary. That time we knew no one before moving. God provided jobs and a church, friends for a lifetime. A giant move happened when we moved to West Virginia, 12 hours from home. We had to die to our wants and follow the Lord, but He blessed in so many ways. Lastly, our final move was back to our hometown area, to a church with people we had attended high school together, and older folks that were aquaintances. God is still blessing and providing for us as we walk by faith, living on this country road.
Isn't it faith that pleases God? Hebrews 11:6 says so. Isn't that what our life is about- pleasing, serving, and glorifying God? Let's did a little deeper into the key verses, shall we?

Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Confident, says: 
The just shall live by faith is a quote from Habakkuk 2:4, and is used in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. Romans emphasizes "the just," Galatians deals with "shall live," and Hebrews centers on "by faith." We are not just saved from our sin by faith; we also must live by faith. This is the theme of Hebrews 11-13. To walk by faith means to obey God's Word and live for Jesus Christ. We lose our lives for His sake-but we save them (Matt.16:25-27). But we can be confident! As we walk by faith, our Great High Priest will guide us and perfect us!

Who are the just? Thayer's Lexicon defines just in this verse as the approved of God, what's acceptable to God by faith.

So living as a just person refers to my life pleasing God, right? If I have trusted Jesus as my Savior, which I have done, then live obediently to His Spirit's leading, am I living as a just person? It isn't the keeping of the law and rituals that if to be a priority

Faith is confidence in God, the firm conviction that He is at work and will come through on our behalf. (Swindoll)

After I wrote the above on my laptop, it didn't look like it was saved, because it notified me of such. I expected to have to retype the whole thing when I got on my home computer, but didn't. To my surprise, it was all saved. So I wonder, can't people look like, act, as though they aren't saved, but really are saved? I think that is a lesson I learned today.
Back to the Word...

It was this verse that got Martin Luther to thinking about salvation being "by faith" instead of the works. Thus the Reformation began.
How am I living? Am I living just by faith? Or do I get caught up in traditions, rules, preferences, works, trying to keep the letter of the law? Is my salvation based on works I do or faith in Jesus and the works He did, dying on the cross in my place, rising from the dead?

Matthew Henry's Commentary says:
It is the honorable character of just men that in times of the greatest affliction they can live by faith; they can live upon the assured persuasion they have of the truth of God's promises.
-puts life and vigor into believers,
-results in trusting God,
-waits for His time,
-maintains their spiritual life now,
-shall crown believers  with eternal life hereafter.

Am I just living by faith and not by sight, what I can see?


And if he shrinks back, I will have not be pleased with him, says verse 38b.

What does it take for me to loose my faith in Jesus? That's a question I would often ask teens and adults as I taught the Word. Is there anything that can happen to me, that would result in my faith shrinking? How do I handle my stress tests?

Charles Swindoll wrote in a study guide for Hebrews:
Shrinking is contagious. It begins to happen when we get around people who are easily discouraged, or when we face situations that seemingly have no solution. Shrinking is the antithesis of standing firm, of enduring. It is marked by doubt, panic, pessimism, and great insecurity. If we believe that Hebrews 10:38 means what it says-namely, that God "has no pleasure" in the one who "shrinks back"-then we need to know how to cure this problem. No help will assist us until we put it (the Word) to use. Biblical instruction must be transferred from the printed page to flesh-and-blood daily living or it will merely be knowledge riveted to the sterile world of theory.
Nobody wants to shrink in their spiritual life, but sometimes we do just that. Shrinking is a biblical term synonymous with "retreating." Can we measure our spiritual lives? Yes! How? By watching our response to testing. Spiritually speaking, every time a test comes into our lives we step onto the scales and God's measuring rod is placed alongside our lives. We are able to see whether or not we are maturing, whether we are expanding or shrinking. It boils down to how well we respond to testing. James counsels us to allow the process or test to go on so that we may grow up and not shrink. In every Christian there is a muscle called "faith" that has great potential. It can easily become soft and flabby unless it is put under the stress test, which James calls "various trials" and "testing."

How's my walk of faith during the stress test? Is faith a constant struggle for me? Do I have some unresolved conflicts? Does bitterness linger instead of releasing it to the Lord?


Live by faith, not by sight.

Make sure my faith is growing and not shrinking.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Throw Aways

Hebrews 10-Part 6
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Hebrews 10:35-36 KJV

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.  Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT


I look in the trash and what do I see? Throw away paper plates, styrofoam cups, empty milk jugs, an old box for pancake mix. Are there other things I'm throwing away? Invisible things like good health, precious time, creativity, talents, friendships, faith, trust. Do I let them slip away through my fingers? I wouldn't intentionally  throw those things away.

In the latter part of chapter 10, the author exhorts the readers twice:
First, he encourages them to remember the sufferings they endured shortly after they were saved (verse 32) ; they had endured with joy and knowledge that they possessed something far greater than that which they had lost.
Second, he encouraages them to hang on to the boldness they had known (verse 35).
(Liberty Bible Commentary)

Confidence, parrhesia in the Greek, means outspokenness, frankness, bluntness, publicity, assurance: bold, freely, openly, plainly. (Thayer's Lexicon)

Recompense refers to a giving away or giving back of a reward. (Young's Concordance)

Matthew Henry tells us:
The readers are encouraged to not cast away, throw away, their confidence, holy courage and boldness, but to hold fast that profession for which they had suffered so much before. The writer assures them that the reward of their holy confidence would be great.They would have:
  • a holy peace,
  • joy,
  • much of God's presence,
  • God's power resting upon them.
Wiersbe said,"The secret of victory was in their faith and patience. At that great time (imprisonment), they had great confidence and hope, but now they were in danger of casting away that confidence and going back into their old religion.

Do I keep daily trusting in the Lord of my salvation? Am I putting my trust exclusively in Christ? Or do I allow circumstances to discourage me that I throw away my confidence, assurance, bold witnessing. Do I allow criticism or being made fun of cause me to shrink into a lack of confidence? Is my confidence in Jesus and His abilities, not in mine? Do I keep quiet when I should speak up? Things to ponder. I want boldness to proclaim His truth and Word.


Patience means steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT it is the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

Sounds like it isn't enough to only have faith. I need patience. Boy, do I ever! (I can see a finger pointing at me.) Waiting is not my better quality, I'll admit.

The author is telling us to first do the will of God, then have patience to wait for the time when the promise will be fulfilled. Eventually, we will have our just reward. Meanwhile, I am to be God's waiting servant. (Easier said than done.)
What is to be our distinguishing character and happiness as a Christian? Perseverance, patience is. And don't we all need an extra cup full of that?
Wait, patience is a fruit of the Spirit isn't it? So God has it available to pour out on me all the patience I need.
I'm expecting an opportunity today for me to do God's will and then have to patiently wait for Him to accomplish His purpose through it and me. Look out friends, a trial is coming!

Acts 17:28 says For in Him we live and move and exist.

Philippians 4:5 says Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

1 Corinthians 14:1 says Let love be your highest goal.


Have confidence and trust in the Lord.

Do His will, then wait patiently for His purpose to be done.

Know that a reward is waiting for me later.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pay Backs are Tough

Hebrews 10-Part 5
For we know the one who said, "I will take revenge. I will pay them back." He also said, "The Lord will judge his own people." It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:30-31 NLT
For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  (King James Version)


How many times have I asked "Why does God allow these terrible things to happen in the world?"
Why are Christians murdered, get cancer,are abused, die in accidents (the list is endless)?

I have no answer. We trust that God makes no mistakes in allowing things. We trust that God will use situations for His glory.

An excert from Charles R. Swindoll's Great Days with the Great Lives states:
*Whatever God plans, He pursues. It's His plans, not ours.
*Whomever God chooses, He uses. We prove more useful to the Lord when we accept the reality that
   the people God chooses are never perfect and trust Him with our imperfections.
*Wherever God selects, He sends. He sends. His places are not the places we would choose to go on
   our own. God sends people of His choosing to places of His choosing.
It's about walking with God through the surprising events He has designed. It's about embracing change. It's about maintaining flexibility.
I've  said many times that life is a challenge, an adventure. It's how we handle it that counts. Is my faith growing stronger or weaker because of the challenges I meet?
I must keep in mind that people like to take matters into their own hands and make their own choices, instead of following God's will. Therefore, situations happen that are difficult to handle and understand. Trusting God is the only way. His way is best.

In his devotional book, Five Meaningful Minutes a Day, Swindoll states:
There may be dozens of reasons for suffering, but 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 gives us three:
1. that we might have the capacity to enter into others' sorrow and affliction;
2. that we might learn what it means to depend on Him;
3. that we might learn to give thanks in everything.

At any rate, my God is Sovereign, in control of all things. He has a plan and He's working it. I am trusting Him to do all things perfectly. Whatever challenges today holds, I know who holds my hand and is walking beside me on this country road of faith.
I have learned to back off and let God take care of people whenever they treat me badly instead of me taking revenge. I have seen His judgment and it is far worse than what I would have imagined. Are you in a tough situation right now? What does the Word say?

Vengance means a revenging, punishment; recompense means to repay, in a bad sense: of penalty and vengance. (Thayer's Lexicon)

In the key scripture, the author is quoting Deuteronomy 32:35-36. Moses was giving a final warning to the Israelites before he died and they entered the Promised Land. When I looked up vengance in a concordance, I saw it used several times by Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Now those men were prophets who suffered for their God's will to be accomplished. Do I deserve anything better?

God is still living and active; His judgment is certain and severe. For believers, our God is a God of love and mercy; for the defiant, He is a God to be dreaded and feared. (Falwell)

Do I lash out with hurtful words to take revenge or do I allow God to take care of the situation? Pay backs are tough. I've had people do mean things to me when I didn't deserve it. Where is the love?
1 Corinthians 14:1a (NIV) tells us to Follow the way of love.
Sometimes in the Word, God killed people because of their rebellion. However, God does not always take the life of a rebellious believer, but He always deals with him. God forgave David's sins, but David suffered the sad consequences for years afterward (2 Sam. 12).
David said, in 1 Chronicles 21:13 Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies. 
It can be a fearful thing to fall into God's hands (chastening) or it can be a wonderful thing to fall into His hands (cleansing and forgiveness).

Which do we want?


Go to the Lord and let go of my plans, my ways, exchanging them for His plans and His ways.

Let Him use me for His choosing.

Let Him take care of the revenge, not me.

Trust and obey; love my enemies.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Suffering on a Silver Platter

Hebrews 10-Part 4
You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.  Hebrews 10:34 NLT


When we got married, my aunt gave us a beautiful silver platter for a wedding gift. Ihave  kept it shined up real pretty for these 40 years, but never used it. In fact, it's packed away somewhere right now. I never have served anything on it to guests. As I read this chapter, I got to thinking.
In all of my 40 years of being a Christian, I really haven't suffered. Oh, I've lost a few jobs because of the stands I took, been made fun of for my conservative appearance and beliefs, but I haven't really suffered as the New Testament believers did. The old saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me isn't true.  Words do hurt. They can cut into the very depth of the soul and take a very long time to heal. In looking at the various ways the readers have suffered for their Savior, I am quite blessed. Compared to them, I'm only an ant. Guess I'm not very mature yet since I don't joyfully accept any sufferings handed to me.
So if I were handed a silver platter on which to present my sufferings to Jesus, it would probably only hold a few crumbs. There would not be anything significant. How about you? Can you present any sufferings on a silver platter to Jesus? Well, I think we will only lay them at His feet when we come into His presence. They won't matter at all then.

Shortly after they were saved, the readers of Hebrews suffered for being a believer in Christ. The author wants them to carefully think back to what happened. He mentions such things as:
  • made a spectacle of-disgraced and ridiculed in public, as an actor on stage thaat's observed by everyone (gazestock)
  • suffered because they identified with believers (verse 33),
  • sympathized and associated with others who had experienced even greater trials,
  • beaten
  • had their property seized (verse 34); perhaps they lost people, reputation, health, security, and freedom as well,
  • imprisoned (indicating the author is Paul) (verse 35).
All of these hardships were endured and accepted joyfully. How could they? Because they possessed something greater than that which they had lost (verse 34). Heaven and everthing there.
They knew better things were waiting for them, things that would last forever. (verse 34b)
Do I allow sufferings to help me grow in faith?

James 1:2-4 NLT says When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

How do I handle my stressful tests? Do I allow the test of others' tongue and actions get me down? Do I allow the test of indirect suffering with loved one ruffle my feathers? Do I loose things gracefully? Am I keeping Jesus as number 1 in my life?


The exhortations given in Hebrews comes in the form of six warnings against:
1. drifing from "the things we have heard" (2:1-4),
2. disbelieving the "voice" of God (3:7-14),
3. degenerating from "the elementary principles of Christ " (5:11-6:20),
4. despising "the knowledge of the truth" (10:26-39). (MacArthur)

The fourth warning deals with the sin of apostasy, an intentional falling away, or defection. Apostates are those who move toward Christ, hear and understand His gospel, and are on the verge of saving belief, but then rebel and turn away. (MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Despising is willful sin, as in verse 26.

 According to Wiersbe, in his book, Be Confident,  it should read, "For if we willfully go on sinning." This exhortation is no dealing with one particular act of sin, but with an attitude that leads to repeated disobedience. Instead of having a bold profession of faith, hope, and love, a backslidden believer so lives that his actions and attitudes abring disgrace to the name of Christ and the church.
What should a believer do who has drifted away into spiritual doubt and dullness and is deliberately despising God's Word? He should turn to God for mercy and forgiveness. Fall into His hands for cleansing and restoration.

David, in Psalm 51, could only offer a broken heart unto God after sinning with Bathsheba. he begged for mercy. Isn't that all we can do when we recognize our sin, beg for God's mercy and forgiveness?
Verse 17 says that God will not despise a broken and contrite, repentant heart.


Accept suffering with joy, keeping my focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

Allow trials to grow my faith, not shrink it.

Stop this deliberate sinning, repent, and turn away from it.

Keep seeking mercy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pushing Back the Curtain

Hebrews 10-Part 3
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Hebrews 10:17


Look at our key verse. It's not that God forgets anything, for He remains omniscient, but because He no longer remembers our sins against us. As a Christian, Christ has taken our sin upon Himself, so the Father will not hold it against us who have turned to Christ's redemption (1Peter 2:24).
(Liberty Bible Commentary)

Now is that a promise? Thank the Lord my sins are under the blood! How about yours?
Thank You Lord that You choose to forgive and forget my sins. Shouldn't I do the same for others?


Verse 19 says in NLT, And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.

Verse 22 says in NLT, Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

I couldn't skim over these verses. They have some important things to say to us. Actually, it  reminds me of my childhood. My sister, who is 10 years older than I am, and I shared a bedroom in the back of the house before she left for college. Between our bedroom and our brother's bedroom hung a thick curtain for many years. (Later a folding door replaced the curtain.) It provided privacy for us to change clothes. It  seperated our rooms. It was the same as a closed door. We pushed back the curtain when we entered our bedroom. That makes me wonder if there is a curtain covering  my heart that needs pushing back so Jesus can enter into it.

Verse 19 tells us that we can enter the Holy of Holies, behind the veil, the place where only the High Priest could enter only once a year on the Day of Atonement, with blood offered for his sins and those of the people. We can actually enter there? How can we can enter? With boldness, the King James Version says.

Boldness means free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, assurance.
 Is this how I enter into God's presence? If not, then why? Probably because sin is present.

A.W.Tozer, in his book, The Pursuit of God, said:
Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held; it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.
The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that Jehovah was there; a Presence was waiting within the veil. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence. 
Behind the veil is God. We are in God and God is in us. This God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal, immutable, omniscient, love and mercy, righteousness, and holiness. No comparisons or figures will avail to express it. Only fire can give even a remote conception of it. In fire He appeared at the burning bush; a pillar of fire through the long wilderness journey. The fire that glowed between the wings of the cherubim in the Holy Place was called the Sihekinah glory. He came at Pentecost as a fiery flame and rested upon each disciple. In the deep spirit of a man the fire must glow or his love is not the true love of God. 
With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus' flesh, with nothing on God's side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? We grow old and tired in the outer  courts of the tabernacle. What hinders us? Coldness? This veil remains there shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It's a close-woven veil of self-life; the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us; the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, but something we are.
To be sepecific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-admiration, self-love, and a host of others like them. (God has done it all for us.) Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified.
On which self-altar do I need to die? On which altar do you need to die? Will we push back the curtain, remove the veil of our heart and allow Jesus access to all rooms? I know He needs to do some house cleaning right now in my heart after reading what Tozer said back in 1948.
Am I aware of God's presence in my life? Do I let the true love of God glow in me? Will I open up the access to all of my heart to Jesus? I want to be selfless, having more of Jesus in me.


Let go of self.

Push back the curtain of my heart, opening it up to Jesus.

Surrender all.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Fresh Lettuce

Hebrews 10-Part 2
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  hebrews 10:24-25


Behind the well house, in the warm, morning, summer sun, a small patch of lettuce would grow. That is where our fresh garden salad came from that was on the table. Along with the fresh lettuce was red and white radishes and smal,l green tops of garden onions. A bright red, juicy tomato topped it off.  Mom liked her fresh salad and so did I. Now Dad, on the other hand, preferred wilted lettuce, bacon grease poured over the lettuce with watercress straight from the creek, along with onions. It was ok, but not my preference. Well, enough of the eating kind of lettuce. Our scripture mentions four times, "let us"...
So, let us see what it says. (smile)

1.  Let us draw near to God. How are we to draw near, since we have a High Priest, a new and living
     way (Jesus)? See verse 22:
  • with a sincere heart,
  • fulling trusting Him,
  • having a sprinkled guilty conscious,
  • cleaned with Christ's blood,
  • washed body with pure water.
2. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith (verse 23). How?
  • tightly to the hope we affirm,
  • without wavering,
  • trusting God to keep His promise.
3. Let us consider one another (verse 24). How?
  • think of ways to motivate,
  • motivate one another to acts of love,
  • motivate one another to good works. 
4. Let us not neglect our meeting together (verse 25 NLT). How?
  • assembling together for worship,
  • don't stop like some are doing.
5. Let us encourage one another (verse 25b, NIV). How?
  • remember Jesus' return is coming soon. 
That sounds like a fresh Word to me. I'm ready to take in some more, how about you?


exhorting-encouragement, comfort, warning, or strengthening. (MacArthur)

It was encouraging to me when I listened three messages on "Encouragement Served Family Style."
They were given by Charles Swindoll and you can find them on
Here are a few encouraging words he said:

encourage-inspire with courage, hope, give help.

Our family encourages us the most, but are usually the last to receive it from us.
Encouraging words give us strength by transfussion. When we are encouraged, we transfer it to others.
Encouragement is not the respoonsibility of a few, but for all in the family.
Encouragement is not something needed less in the body, but is needed more.
We stumble into church (or home) battered and bruised by the world. That's when we need encouraging words, not critical comments.

1Samuel 23:16 says And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

We all know what good friends David and Jonathan were. Am I an encouraging friend when one is in need? Do I go to them? Will I encourage my husband and children when they need it?


Are ther things I need to let go of so God can use me as an encourager?

Watch the words I say.

Let us encourage one another.

We may be the only Jesus some will ever see.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Shadow

Hebrews 10-Part 1
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-not the realities themselves.
Hebrews 10:1


I recall one evening when I was staying by myself for a few hours while my parents were gone. (I was a preteen.) I had never been afraid to do that, living out in the country, until this one specific time. As I was in the living room watching television, a shadow appeared in front of the picture window. Now that shadow scared me. I quickly locked all of the doors and crouched down in the corner. As it turned out, it was my collie dog. He started making a whining noise, so I knew it was him. What a relief! For the rest of the eveningt I felt safe with him guarding the front door.

The first verse of this chapter says the law is a shadow of the good things that are coming. 
The sacrificial system, the Mosaic system, was planned and ordained of God; it was only a temporary, yet imperfect; it was a picture and prophecy of Christ's complete, and eternal sacrifice. It was a once-for-all sacrifice that He made.

A shadow refers to a pale reflectioon, as contrasted with a sharp, distinct one. The very image indicates an exact and distinct replica. (MacArthur)

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is superior to the Old Covenant sacrifices:
1. Christ's sacrifice takes away sin. (verses 1-10)
    The sacrificial system was a atype or picture of the work our Lord would accomplish on the cross.
    Animal sacrifices could never completely deal with human guilt. Even though their sins were
    covered with the blood of animals, it did not cleanse the heart of guilt, as Jesus' blood, which
    forgives and removes sin.
2. Christ's sacrifice need not be repeated. (verses 11-18)
    The Old Covenant high priest daily offered sacrifices and offerings. Our Great  High Priest, Jesus
    Christ, sat down after He ascended to the Father as proof that His work is completed (1:3, 13; 8:1).
    In the tabernacle, the ministry of the priests was never done. Believers are complete in Christ
    (Col.2:10). Our sins are all forgiven, the guilt is gone, and the matter is completely settled forever.
    This takes place when was accept Jesus as our Savior.


3. Christ's sacrifice opens the way to God (verses 19-39).
    Once we have this cleansing, we have an open invitation to enter the presence of God. This new
    way into God's presence is new according to 8:13. It is living because Christ ever liveth to make
    intercession for us (7:25). What a privilege!
    Our invitation is to:
     (1) draw near to God with a pure heart and a clean conscience (1John 1:5-2; verse 22).
     (2) hold fast with our hope in Christ (9:28).
     (3) consider one another in fellowship, assembling, gathering (10:24-25).
[Resource: Be Confident by Warren Wiersbe]


Trust Jesus, let go of the world.

Accept His invitation  to draw near to God.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eagerly Awaiting

Hebrews 9-Part 3
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment; so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, not to bear sin, to those who eagerly await Him, for salvation.     Hebrews 9:27-28  NAS


I am looking forward to this weekend, eargerly awaiting the return of our granddaughter. She and her parents are spending a week's vacation in  Florida and a trip to Disney World and the beach. She will have so many new experiences to share and new words to use. I anticipate her bubbling over with excitement. Am I just as eargerly awaiting the return of Christ?

In this chapter, there are three "appearings" of Christ mentioned. Verse 24 says He now appears in heaven on our behalf. Verse 26 speaks of His former appearance on earth to bear sin. Then, in verse 28, His next appearing is in the future when our salvation is brought to its complete realization. (The Greek word used for the "appearings" are, however, three different words.) The last appearing is without sin in the same sense that He will not need to deal with sin again. (Liberty Bible Commentary, Hughes)

That time will be an exciting time when He appears in the clouds, hearing the trumpet sound. Am I ready?


Looing at verse 27, we see that we will all eventually die. This day is coming, it's inevitable. All men have died before us. Exceptions were Enoch and Eiljah of the Old Testament, New Testament saints who will be alive at Christ's return will never die, and Lazarus and others who have been raised from the dead and died twice. Every person gets one chance to prepare for God's judgment.
The author is showing a comparison with both verses. Just as it is with man, so it was with Christ. As man can only die once, so the man Christ could only die once as a sacrifice. His relation to humanity would be marred if He would have to die more than once. Beyond death there exists another reality. For man it is the reality of appearing for judgment; for Christ, it is the certainty of appearing with deliverance from condemnation unto them that look for Him. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

2 Corinthians 5:10 says For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Revelation 20 talks about the great white throne, the book of life, ...and they were judged every man according to their works. And whosever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Do we have loved ones that are not ready for this judgment, not knowing Christ as Savior yet? Can I help them get prepared for that day? The believer's will be judged, not our soul for salvation. That decision has been settled before our death.


Eagerly await Jesus' appearing the second time.

Make it a reality that we will all apear before a holy God.

Help others prepare to meet the Lord.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What is Love?

Valentine's Day is a day we set aside to show people that we love them. But does it really mean anthing special when it is expected? What about a surprising gift or act of love throughout the year? Doesn't that mean more than the expected one?

I was wondering what the Bible says about love. Here's what I found.


1. First, there is agape love, which is the highest form of love, God's love.

As the Father hath loved me,  so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (Jesus spoke in John 15:9)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
(Rom. 5:8)

I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Rom. 8:38-39)

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  (1John 3:2)

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  (1John 4:16)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)


2.  Second, there is phileo love, which is brotherly love. These verses are listed under agape love, which we are to show to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.  (Ephesians 4:2)

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  (Ephesians 5:2)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.  (Matthew 5:44)

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:12-13)

3.  Third, there is phileo love, which is brotherly love shown to each other.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing: knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  (1Peter 3:8-9)

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another. 
(Romans 12:10)

Let brotherly love continue.  (Hebrews 13:1)

By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.  (1 Peter 1:22 CSB)

1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love has no limits. All things means everything is included; it forgives unconditionally, by bearing all things; when provoked, love endures all things; it never looses hope in the one you love. When God loves people through you, this is the only kind of love He has!  (Blackaby)

Am I loving others in all circumstances, unconditionally, inspite of them?


Walk with God's love in my heart this week.

Let it go out to others, loving them unconditionally.

Lots of love is sent your way today, sweet friends. May God bless you with an over flow of His love.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Hebrews 9-Part 2
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:11-12


"In every way, the present sanctuary is superior," says Warren Wiersbe in his book, Be Confident:
The five deficiencies of the Old Covenant sanctuary are matched with the five superiorities of the New Covenant sanctuary.
  • It is heavenly (verse 11). It's not made with hands of men; not made out of the same materials as the tabernacle of Moses, which was patterned after the heavenly sanctuary. 
  • Its ministry is effective to deal with sin (verses 12-15). Jesus' blood sacrifice for sins was final and complete, while the animals' was repeated; His blood "taketh away sin" (John 1:29), but animals' blood only covered sin; His changed the person's heart (Heb.8:10), while the animals' was a ceremonial cleansing.
  • Its ministry is based on a costly sacrifice (verses 16-23). Jesus' blood shed for us was the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). Obviously it was a more costly sacrifice, the life of a human compared to the life of an animal. The tabernacle was purified through the sprinkling of blood once a year (Lev. 16:12-19). Our heavenly sanctuary is purified with the blood of the Son of God.
  • Its ministry represents fulfillment (verse 24). The high priest' offerings was only temporary and a symbol of what Jesus did-He entered the Holy of Holies in heaven with His blood sacrifice, once and for all. The tabernacle was replaced by Solomon's temple, destroyed by the Babylonians, rebuilt by the Jews, embellished by King Herod, the destroyed by the Romans. The heavenly sanctuary will not perish because it isn't made with hands, but is eternal.
  • Its ministry is final and complete (verses 25-28). This describes Christ's work. He is now ministering in heaven on our behalf.
As a believer in Christ, my citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20); my treasure is in heaven (Matt. 6:19); my Savior and hope are in heaven. I walk by faith, not by sight. My eternal destiny is sealed, no matter what happens to me on earth. How about you dear friend?

I'm reminded of a song that goes: Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true; with thanksgiving, I'll be a living sanctuary for You.

Romans 12:1 begs me to present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God , which is my reasonable service. (Linda's paraphrase)

1 Corinthians 6:19 asks me if I know that my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Shouldn't I daily offer myself to God for His use, for His glory?


Coin collecting was Mom's hobby. She would spend hours in the evenings looking through rolls of coins, which brought her pleasure. She even bought special ones. There were a couple of coins that were special, not in value, but different. They were made of gold, five dollar gold pieces. I had never seen any gold coins before finding these in her collection after her death. These are quite pretty to look at. Even though they aren't of high monetary value, they are special to me. And to think, this gold that is rare and valuable on earth will be plenteous in heaven, so common that I will walk on it. Wow! I did some checking on gold and found some interesting things that I wanted to share with you.

Gold is used to symbolize earthly riches. Finer than gold, which, physically speaking, is considered non-perishable, typifies incorruptibility. Refining of gold is a figure for great purity or a test of. Gold was the most valuable of metals. It stood for anything of great value, hence was most worthy for use in worshipping Yahweh, and the adornment of angels or saints. A crown of gold was synonymous with royal honor. Wearing of gold typified lavish adornment and worldly luxury. Comparing men to gold suggested their nobility. [Resource: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, by James A. Patch]

I found some new interesting facts about gold.
The children of Israel had to take gold with them, from the Egyptians, into the Promise Land, because it is not a product of mines in the region. It was also brought in from India. Gold coinage was unknown in the early Old Testament times.
In modern times, gold is a standard for our monetary system. Also, it is put through a long process when mined; smelting is a way used to get the impurities out. It doesn't boil until it reaches 2, 800 degrees.
Maybe we are put into the fire of testing so the impurities can come out of our life.
It is no coincidence that my Bible study group on the internet with Wendy Pope is studying Exodus right now. Beginning with chapter 25 of Exodus, we find the details of the tabernacle given to Moses.

What things were pure gold in the tabernacle?
1. Within the Holy of Holies, the inner room, the Ark of the Covenant was a sacred chest, 45" x 27"
     x  27" inside and outside made of pure gold; 4 gold rings were attached for carrying with wood
     poles  were overlay with gold; its cover, the Mercy Seat and the place of  atonement, was from
     pure gold; 2 cheribim from hammered gold were placed at the ends of the atonement cover, facing
     each other, with wings spread above it. Inside the Ark was the stone tables the golden pot of
     manna, and Aaron's rod.
2.  Within the Holy Place, the first room, was a Table of Showbread, 36"x 18" x 27", overlay with
      pure gold; a 3" gold border with gold molding; 4 gold rings were attached at the 4 corners, for
      carrying with the wood polse overlay with gold. Special containers of pure gold for the table-
      bowls, pans, pitchers, and jars, used to hold the drink offerings. (The show bread was to be on the
      table at all times.)
3.   Another item in the Holy Place was the lampstand, made of pure, hammered gold, with six
      branches, each branch had three cups. Seven lamps for the lampstand, lamp snuffers, and tray were
      made of pure gold.
4.  The Altar of Incense was for burning incense; made of wood, 18" square x 36" with horns of the
      altar of pure gold; top and sides were pure gold; two gold rings were attached for carrying with
      wood poles overlay with gold; it was placed outside the inner curtain. A golden censer, shovel,
      was used for carrying the coals or the altar upon which the coals were placed.
      (The burnt offering altar and washbasin or laver where the priests washed, were made of bronze.)
5.  The enterance to the tabernacle had the first curtain hung from gold hooks and five posts were
      made of wood overlay with gold.
[Resources: New Living Translation, Liberty Bible Commentary]

Are my works going to burn up as hay, wood, stuble, or be lasting as pure gold and silver? (1 Cor. 3:12)

We are told that the streets of the new Jerusalem will be made of pure gold. (Rev.21:21)

But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. (Jer. 17:10)

What a day that will be, seeing Jesus and walking on streets of gold, not dirt and rocks!


Surrender myself to be God's sanctuary.

Strive to have faith and works as pure as gold.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Significant Curtain

Hebrews 9-Part 1
For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all.     Hebrews 9:2-3

When I was a teenager, I wanted to redo my small bedroom.You see, the walls had been a green all my life and I was sick of it. My sister and I shared the room until she went to college, then got married. I was ready for a change. It was my own room and I wanted it to say so. So I chose a soft pink as the color and Mom hired someone to paint the walls. I had saved up my allowance and bought pink drapes. I loved the difference everything made, but the curtains were especially significant. After all, it was my sanctuary.
In the tabernacle, there was a significant curtain in His sanctuary. Behind it, was God's room. Let's pull back the curtain and see inside.

Moses spent 40 days at Mt. Sinai getting the exact details of how to make the tabernacle and what to place where inside it. Details can be found starting with Exodus 25. Even though this was a tent to be taken down whenever the Hebrews moved, it was also the details of the temple later built in Jerusalem. It was God's room and He wanted it just right, by His design.

There was an outer court and inner court established within the tabernacle. Only priests and Aaron could go into the inner court. Other tribes were not allowed. Within the inner court were two rooms. The first room of the sanctuary, was also called the Holy Place. The second room, called the Holy of Holies, was the place into which only the high priest could enter once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Now there was a curtain which seperated the two rooms of the sanctuary.
This curtain was made of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman (Exodus 26:31). It was to be hung with gold hooks on 4 posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on 4 silver bases. This curtain seperated the two rooms of the sanctuary, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.
This vail, in Hebrew is the word  paroketh, means separation, curtain. (Young's Concordance) 
(We spell the word in our English language veil. )
What is so significant about the veil?
The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom when Jesus died.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary  says this about Mark 27:51:
Th tearing of the veil signifies that the way into God's presence is now open to all through a new and living way (Heb. 10:19-22). The fact that it tear "from top to bottom" shows that no person split the veil. God did it.
"That declaration, 'It is finished,' by Jesus on the cross, explains why the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. Jesus had paid the penalty of sin, and thus there was no longer a barrier between God and man. He Himself had said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life' (John 14:6). This veil was a heavy curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, which the book of Hebrews relates typologically to Christ (Heb. 10:19-20), according to Liberty Bible Commentary.

Verse 3 talks about the second veil, so this vel between the Holy of Holies is the second veil. then where was the first veil? After much searching, I found the answer in the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary: The first veil or curtain was before the tabernacle door. The Hebrew word is calumma.
(This is where the people would enter the tabernacle.)
Because of Jesus Christ, we Gentiles have direct access to Jehovah our God. Jesus is my High Priest, who made the blood sacrifice of Himself, which met the requirements for my sins. He is my Intercessor. There is nothing blocking my enterance into the throne room.


Verses 1 and 2 use the word sanctuary. It is a house consecrated to the worship of God; a place where divine service is performed (Ps.73); separateness, holiness of God, of places, of things; innermost room.
Beth Moore, in her study "A Woman's Heart" defines sanctuary as a consecrated or holy thing or place; a hallowed part, like a chapel; an asylum; an area devoted to the sphere of the sacred.

It was the place where God chose to dwell with His people. (Beth Moore)

It was the Holy Place, the first room of the tabernacle. (Ex. 26:33). (MacArthur)

What was inside the Holy Place, sanctuary? There were three pieces of furniture:
1. The candlestick, which was a lampstand holding 7 lamps, with wicks that were trimmed daily, was
    not a candle. It gave light to the priests, since there were no windows.
    Jesus is the light of the world, in John 8:12.
    Believers are to shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:14-15).
2. The table of showbread, which contained 12 loaves or cakes of bread that were replaced each
    Sabbaht. Priests were allowed to eat the bread, but only there. These loaves were called "the bread
    of presence," since it reminded the 12 tribes of God's presence that sustained them.
    Jesus is the bread of life to the whole world (John 6).
3. The incense altar-on the Day of Atonement, the high priest used coals from this altar to
    burn incense before the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. Each morning and evening fresh coals
    were placed on the altar so its fragrance would continue to enter the Holy of Holies.
    I reminds us that Jesus intercedes for us (Rom. 833-34).

This was an inferior Old Covenant sanctuary. Warren Wiersbe tells us why:
  • It was an earthly sanctuary (verse 1). It was made and pitched by man.
  • It was a type of something greater (verses 2-5). The parts and furnishings each had a spiritual meaning.
  • It was inaccessible to the people. Only priests and Levites were permitted in the tabernacle to worship. No one from the other tribes were allowed in.
  • It was temporary. God's work of salvationn for man had not yet been completed.
  • It's ministry was external, not internal. The heart or conscience of a worshipper could never be changed with the sacrifice offered and the blood applied.

In our next lesson, we will look at the heavenly sanctuary, which is sufficient through the New Covenant sanctuary and the Holy of Holies with items of gold.


Lord prepare me, to be Your sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true;
With thanksgiving, I'll be Your living sanctuary, for You.

Bring the Light to the darkness and Bread to the spiritualy hungry.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good, Better, Best

Hebrews 8-Part 1
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the meadiator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.  Hebrews 8:6


Toast for breakfast is okay if I put jelly on it, but canned biscuits are better .But then, hot, homemade biscuits are the best, especially with sausage gravy. (Now you know I live in the south, don't you?)Mmmmm I may have to make some for supper tonight. When I read the eighth chapter, better kept being used in the commentaries. So I wondered what better things do we have?
  1. a better hope (7:19) It is found in John 1;17, which says For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Christians are under grace instead of trying to keep the law for our salvation.
  2. a better testament/covenant (7:22, 8:6) The Old Covenant was under Moses, which couldn't change hearts, but Jesus has provided a New Covenant, which is salvation.
  3. a better sanctuary (8:2) Jesus is ministering in His heavenly sanctuary, whereas the earthly priests ministered in the tabernacle, a pitched tent.
  4. better promises (8:6) In Jeremiah 31:31-34, God tells what the new covenant will do. 
We started out with a good thing-the law under Moses.  Then we received a better thing, salvation through grace by Jesus. (Although we have freedom under grace, we don't have freedom to disobey God and to sin.)

Does God keep His promises?
2 Corinthians 1:20 says For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
"God keeps every promise He makes. When we walk in intimate fellowship with Christ, we have the assurance that every promise God has made in Scripture is available to us. Jesus promised that when you ask something in His will, He will give you what you ask (John 16:23b). This promise is available to every Christian.

Am I walking closely to the Lord so that in time I will see Him bring His promises to fruition in my life? Do I get discouraged or impatient when don't experience to the fullest all His promises? Am I prepared to receive His great truths?

 Now let's look for the best.


 Warren Wiersbe, in his book, Be Confident, says there are four better promises that belong to the New Covenant:
  1. The promise of God's grace (verses 7-9). Nine times God said, "I will" in verses 8-12. Those Israelites said they would, too, but they didn't do it. Only God's grace can change the human heart.
  2. The promise of internal change (verse 10). A new heart and disposition is given in salvation, along with the power needed for obedience, the Holy Spirit.
  3. The promise of forgiveness for all (verses 11-12). The law reminds us of our sins, but Jesus forgives us of our sins. He forgets them, remembers no ore, which means "hold against us no more."It's settled for all time, eternity. It's as though we never did them.
  4. The promise of eternal blessing (verse 13). The New Covenant brings eternal blessing. Jesus Christ is the Author of "eternal salvation" and "eternal redemption." It can't ever get old and disappear. The Greek word translated new means "new in quality," not "new in time."This New Covenant is of such quality that it will never need to be replaced!
Those are some promises, aren't they friends? Under the grace of Jesus, we get a new heart, forgiveness of sins, and eternity. That is the best in my books, gravy on a biscuit.


Dig into the Word for those better promises. They sure are gold nuggets.

I'm standing on the promises of God. Are you standing with me?

Share the grace, forgiveness, and eternal life with others so they can have them too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Hebrews 8-Part 3
But this man, (Jesus) because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Hebrews 7:24


Things have changed a lot in my short lifetime of half a century-party lines and dial telephones to cell phones with computers, black and white tv to high definition television, a hook on a screen door for a lock to a security system with instant notification of an intruder, a wringer washing machine to a push button computerized washer, a stamped letter taking 2 weeks for contact to instant email and facebook, all kinds of appliances that do all kinds of work for you, and controlled from another place.

Some changes in our society are good, but some are not. At any rate, there is one thing that does not nor will it ever change-the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The word of the day is unchangeable. Unchangeable means not liable to pass to a successor. (Thayer's Lexicon)
Unchangeable means not capable of change; immutable; not subject to variation. (King James Dictionary)

Verse 24 in The New Century Version says But because Jesus lives forever, He will never stop serving as priest.   

It is claimed that there were 84 high priests who served from Aaron until the destruction of the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70. The lesser priests' numbers were much larger. (MacArthur Bible Commentary).

Since the Jewish high priests  eventually died, due to their mortality, being a man, they had to be replaced. It is not so with Jesus. (Although He died, Jesus continued to live and resurrected.)  As Matthew Henry said, "There is no vacancy in this priesthood."

"This new priesthood needs no successor," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

What a wonderful promise! This is one thing that will not change-Jesus serves as my High Priest forever.


Verse 25 says Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Here are some things Jesus is able to do:
He is able to save us completely and forever, to the uttermost. Our salvation is complete in respect to time, so it's secure to the end of time. It's complete in that it can perfect regeneration in any life. christ is a better high priest because His intercession is unending and complete, providing access into God's presence.  (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Does Jesus' character qualify Him to be a High Priest?

Verse 26 in the NIV states Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

NEB says Such a high priest does indeed fit our condition.  

He meets our needs so well because of His qualities:
  • holy in His personal piety;
  • harmless, guileless morally, blameless;
  • undefiled, similar to the cleanness required of levitical priests in physical contacts, pure in every way;
  • separated from sinners and totally sinless;
  • made higher than the heavens since He interceeds daily to the God in heaven, but He is the God in heaven;
  • offered Himself for the sin of man as a sacrifice once and for all; (verse 27)
  • has been perfect forever (consecrated).
[Resource: Liberty Bible Commentary]

The unchanging nature of Jesus' priesthood means that the salvation He gives is also unchanging, permanent, and secure. He can save to the uttermost. He can save forever. (David Guzik)

Jesus in the only way to God because it is what the inerrant, unchangeable, eternal Word of God says.
(Wendy Blight of Proverbs 31 Women)

God is committed to His covenant with us. Am I striving to keep my agreement on the human side?


Completely trust my heart and soul to my High Priest, Jesus Christ.

Confess my sins to my High Priest and turn away from my sins.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It Gets Better

Hebrews 7-Part 2
But we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
 Hebrews 7:19b NLT 
Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
 Hebrews 7:22 NLT


"It can't get any better than this," used on an advertisement of which I don't approve. There were times in this past year that I could have said such a thing. Such as when I was sitting in a cool creek during 90-100 degrees on a summer day, a time I ate Butterfinger in ice cream, watching my 5 grandchildren splashing in a pool of water, hugging my sister I hadn't seen in over 5 years, watching a baby calf running and jumping, seeing 2 bald eagles in a tree fly, red dirt on the new sanctuary lot, helping a child get saved, children singing about Jesus, a sick husband getting better.
For the unbeliever, it doesn't get any better, only worse. For the Christian, better things are yet to come. Verses 19 and 22 tell us there's a better hope and a better testament.

I looked up some words in Thayer's Lexicon:
Better means more excellent;
hope means an expectation of good/in the Christian sense, it's a joyful and confident expectiation of eternal salvation;
 surety means He (Jesus) by whom we get full assurance of the more excellent covenant made by God with us, and of the truth and stability of the promises connected with it.

Believers have a better hope. Because the old requirement about the priesthood was weak and useless, it was set aside. The law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (verse 19 NLT) This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron's descendants became priest without such an oath. There is an oath regarding Jesus. Verse 21 is a quote of Psalm 110:4, which says The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Christ wasn't appointed our High Priest because of His physical descent (not of Aaron's family-Levi's either). It was because of His spiritual fitness. He possesses endless life; divine qualities that no Levitical priest ever possessed. (Their priest eventually died.) Their priesthood was weak and ineffective, but ours is not. Christ is able to present people before God forever. He is always going to be available to interceed for me when I am in need. That is my better hope.
(Liberty Bible Commentary)

What is our better testament? Jesus Christ is our better covenant.
The New Living Translation says in verse 22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
The KJV uses the word surety in place of guarantee found in NLT. Surety means this: He (Jesus) by whom we get full assurance of the more excellent coveanant made by God with us, and of the truth and stability of the promises connected with it. A testament is a compact, a covenant. (Thayer's Lexicon)
Wiersbe said, "The word surety means 'one who guarantees that the terms of an agreement will be carried out.' "

There were some other places where people were a surety for another: Abraham when he was going to offer Isaac as a burnt offering; Judah for Benjamin when they were buying food from Joseph (Gen. 43); Paul for the slave Onesimus (Philemon 18-19); although Sarah laughed at the news of a baby at age 90, it was a surety because Issac was born.

"Jesus Himself guarantees the success of His New Covenant of salvation, a better covenant," states MacArthur Bible Commentary.
Our Mediator, our representative, Jesus Christ meets perfectly the terms of the agreement on our behalf. We can't, but He does.
What wonderful promises we have in Jesus!


Warren Wiersbe, in his book, Be Confident, sums it up this way:
The writer has given four reasons why God changed the order of the priesthood from Aaron to that of Melchizedek:
1. The priesthood and the law were imperfect;
2. being imperfect, they could not continue forever;
3. God had sworn by His oath that the new order would be established.
4. Not only was the priesthood imperfect, but it was also interrupted by death.

Do I live like I have a better hope and a better covenant in Jesus, my High Priest?

Our writer is confident in this new covenant. He uses the word testament 22 times in this letter to the Hebrews.

Jesus is better than angels (chapters 1-2), Moses (ch. 3), Joshua (ch. 4), and Aaron (ch. 4-7). The cross of Christ is a better hope, covenant, promises, sacrifice, possession, country, resurrection, and provision. (MacArthur lists them as being found in Hebrews.)

That Jesus is "guarantee of a better covenant" means that God's Son is the certain guarantee of God's agreement to save and to bless The covenant is still God's covenant with faithful people like Abraham. (Shepherd's Notes)

I ask you, "Can it get any better than this?"  Well, it can get better because we have heaven waiting for us, and a Savior to see and worship for all of eternity. Is the bus ready? Are you ready, friend?


I thank my Savior for being a better hope, Priest, Mediator, Intercessor than men.

I priaise God that He has given me a guarantee of eternal life through Jesus Christ, my Savior.

Glory and honor goes to our perfect High Priest forever!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Mysterious Man

Hebrews 7-Part 1
For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever ater the order of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 7:17


I like a good mystery, whether it's one to solve from a book or a movie. Most of the time in books or movies, we know about the characters, especially the  one "who done it," whatever "it" is. Well, today our main character is a mysterious man found in chapter 7. There is no record of his descendants, nor record of his birth or death. However, there are a few things we do know about this mysterious man named Melchizedek. He has appeared only briefly in two other places in the Old Testament-Genesis 14:18-20 and Psalm 110:4.

Here's some background I read by Falwell in Liberty Bible Commentary:
the capture of Lot during the battle at sodom between 4 northern kings and 5 southern kings caused Abraham, with 318 men, to pursue them. After defeating tahem near Damascus, he turned south with the people and goods which had been plundered. Melchizedek, King of Salem (later called Jerusalem) and priest of the most high God, brought out food to feed them and blessed Abraham. Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek's priestly status by giving him a tenth of all spoils.

Our writer sees this Melchizedek as a type or figure of Christ and begins to express the parallels which he sees between the two. So here are some comparisons as to how Christ and Melchizedek are alike:
  • He was a king. His name, Melchizedek, means "King of righteousness." As the king of Salem, he was the "King of peace" since the ancient city-state Salem means peace. So, by name and location, he is king of both righteousness and peace, two attributes that link him in type to Christ.
  • He is priest of the Most High God. Verse 4 says that he continually serves as priest; not "was" a priest, but "is" a  priest. His priesthood continues, just as Christ's priesthood continues. Melchizedek received Abraham's tithes and symbolically through Abraham, the tithes of all Levitical priesthood. (This was something new for me to realize-Abraham practised tithing before Moses was given any laws.)
  • He is without father, mother, or descent. There is no genealogy or historical record in regard to his parents, or his human descendants, so they are unknown. This was essential for priests under theLevitical system because one could only serve as a priest if he could prove his pedigree. Melchizedek had no papers. Even though Christ's human family is listed in the Bible, He is a divine person, essentially without an earthly father or mother, without genealogy.
  • He is without beginning nor end. Jesus Christ  has an eternal nature. He always was, is, and will be. The writer notes that Melchizedek resembles the Son of God, not the otherway around. Also, the author proves that the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus is over that of the Aaronic priest. Chirst became a high priest by a divine oath which established Him in a new priestly order, the order of Melchizedek. (Shepherd's Notes)  
There are different opinions concerning the topic of Melchizedek. Some picture him as a real man, while some picture him as the incarnate Jesus Christ. I suppose we have to make up our own mind on the matter.


It failed. There was no perfection within the Mosiac law, under the Levitical system of sacrifices, in the order of Aaron. Something had to change.

Perfection means "reaching the goal; denotes fulfillment, completion, an end accomplished as the effect of a process," according to Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

"The Old Testament Law and the Levitical system could not produce forgiveness or the holiness of heart demanded by God. It failed to provide an adequate relation to God," stated Fritz Rienecker, in Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament.

The animal sacrifices could not give any worshipper a perfect standing before God (Heb.10:1-3). The Mosiac system of divine law was not a permanent system. It was "added" to serve as a "schoolmaster" to prepare the way for the coming of Christ (Gal. 3:19-4:7). (Wiersbe)

The law gives us standards to live by; it teaches us that we have sinned, fallen short of the requirements God has established. The animals' blood only covered up sin; it didn't remove sin as does the blood of Jesus Christ. So, something had to change, which was in God's plan all along.

According to verse 12, For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. (NIV)

I knew, but didn't realize until studying chapter 7, that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, not Levi, which were the priesthood tribe. He wasn't of the tribe of priests.

No one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. (verse 13b, NIV)

Jesus isn't a priest according to their regulation as to his ancestory, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. (verse 16 NIV)

God's Son, Jesus, knew no limitation; He has life indestructible and eternal. In Him Christians have life, abundant and everlasting. It was necessary for God to raise up the truly ultimate High Priest. We don't need a human mediator to approach God on our behalf. By this "better hope" every believer, through Christ, personally draws near to God. (Shepherd's Notes)

Jesus is the Superior Priest. He is sitting at the right hand of God, interceeding for each of us as we pray. It can't get any better than that, sisters. 


Jesus is my King and High Priest.

It is through Him that my sins are forgiven.

It is through Jesus that I can approach the throne of God anytime.

Jesus interceeds for me to a holy God.

Praise You, King Jesus!