1585.) Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10

May 29, 2015

“So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God.  There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.”  –Hebrews 4:16 (CEV)

Hebrews 4:14-5:10   (NIV)

Jesus the Great High Priest

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (New King James Version)

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”  sung by Chris McDaniel.  To think that Jesus lives forever and prays for us!  As the Word of God says in Romans 8:33-34 — “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

_________________________

I first heard this story when my husband and I were stationed in Korea in the mid-80’s.  As I was preparing this portion of Scripture for the blog, imagine my surprise to read that very story in the book The Better Covenant by Milton Agnew.  “Grace to help us in our time of need,” indeed!

Dr. Ted Gabrielsen was appointed to the small Salvation Army Hospital in Yong Dong, Korea. Only of shell of the building had survived the North Korean occupation. While various nurses and interns had tried to keep some medical work going, it had been without a Salvationist doctor for nine years. Everything steal-able had been stolen, and the rest had rusted through.

Ted had great difficulty in impressing upon the Korean nurses the danger of handling penicillin carelessly. The drug had never been used here before. It is a very effective germicide, but if the common staphylococcus germ is exposed to it in less than lethal doses, the germ becomes increasingly resistant to the drug at every doubling of its numbers, which takes place every few minutes by cell division. Thus, within a few hours, it becomes a veritable dinosaur, which cannot be killed by thousands of units. It is vital, therefore, not only that penicillin be used in adequate amounts to kill infection, but just as vital that every trace of it be cleaned up afterwards.

A New York State hospital had to be closed down because the “golden bug” had gotten loose, and had killed every baby in the nursery.  The germs looks golden in color under the microscope.

This scanning electron micrograph of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria shows them at about 9,500 times their normal size.

Little wonder that a terrible staph infection broke out in the Yong Dong hospital. Before it could be identified, everyone in the hospital—patients and nurses—had it, including the doctor.

Ted frantically called his brother-in-law, Major Paul Rader, in Seoul, 130 miles to the north.  “We’ve got the golden bug down here, Paul! Penicillin is totally ineffective at this point. Unless I can get some hexachlorophene within the next few hours, we’ll at worst have some deaths, and at best I’ll have to have one of my most important fingers amputated to save my own life, and that will be the end of my surgical career. Please hit every drug outlet in Seoul.  If you can’t get the pure drug, get Dial soap; it’s loaded with it.”

A few hours later, Paul had to phone the heart-breaking news that no one had hexachlorophene, and they hadn’t even heard of Dial soap. The bottom seemed to fall out of Ted’s heart as he listened. But before he hung up, Paul said, “By the way, Ted, there’s a box here with your name on it which came today.”

Ted didn’t have much interest in any big box, but he said, “OK, pry it open and see what’s in it.”

Paul fairly screamed into the phone when he saw the contents. “Ted,” he yelled, “it’s Dial soap—a whole case of it!”

Ted shouted back, “Get it down here as fast as you can! We’ll give this place the greatest scrub dubbery it ever had in its life!”

They lathered up the whole case and made poultices for the infections and scrubbed down everything that could have been contaminated. There were no deaths, and Ted did not lose his finger. They had prayed as they scrubbed, and wondered all the while where the soap had come from.

Months later, the story became known. The inventor of Dial soap had made an appointment to see the president of a chemical house. He arrived a little early, so he started to chat with the receptionist, and before long he brought up the virtues of his brainchild, this Dial soap. Just as the buzzer signaled to show him in, the receptionist said, “Say, if this stuff is so all-fired good, why not send a case of it to my cousin Ted? He’s a Salvation Army surgeon in Yong Dong, Korea.”

He took time to note the name and address. That’s all there was to it. Months later the case arrived at the very moment of need. Had it come a few weeks earlier, it would have been dissipated on ordinary chores. Had it been 24 hours hours later, it would have been too late.

God’s timing is always perfect.  There is thrilling comfort to Hebrews 4:16: Let us then fearlessly … Draw near to the throne of grace … That we may receive mercy /for our failures/ and find grace to help in good time for every need — appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it (Amplified).

Hebrews 5

1Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.

 

Aaron
by George Herbert
(1593-1633, Welsh poet and Anglican priest)

Holiness on the head,
Light and perfection on the breast,
Harmonious bells below raising the dead
To lead them unto life and rest :
Thus are true Aarons drest.

Profaneness in my head,
Defects and darkness in my breast,
A noise of passions ringing me for dead
Unto a place where is no rest :
Poor priest ! thus am I drest.

Only another head
I have, another heart and breast,
Another music, making live, not dead,
Without whom I could have no rest :
In Him I am well drest.

Christ is my only head,
My alone only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me e’en dead ;
That to the old man I may rest,
And be in Him new drest.

So holy in my head,
Perfect and light in my dear breast,
My doctrine tuned by Christ (who is not dead,
But lives in me while I do rest),
Come, people ; Aaron’s drest.

5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.”

6And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

“Head of Christ Crowned with Thorns” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, c. 1510.

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Spurgeon

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”
–Hebrews v.8.

We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might.

But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering” — it is, that He can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He suffers in me how; He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings who God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
throne of grace.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/4-5-throne.jpg
Yes.    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m81eim0sWa1qeplt9.jpg
flag of South Korea.    http://www.jmu.edu/international/images/SouthKoreaFlag.png
staphylococcus.    http://biology-forums.com/gallery/28719_23_09_12_10_25_43.jpeg
Dial soap.    http://www.twinsupply.com/janitorial/images/100/DIA00098.JPG
Aaron dressed in high priestly garb.    http://www.guidedbiblestudies.com/topics/priest7.jpg
Cranach.   http://uploads6.wikiart.org/images/lucas-cranach-the-elder/head-of-christ-crowned-with-thorns-1510.jpg

 

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1584.) Hebrews 4:1-13

May 28, 2015

Hebrews 4:1-13   (NIV)

A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God

1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands,

2 Corinthians 1:20 (English Standard Version)

For all the promises of God find their Yes in Christ. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Matthew 11:28 — Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Hebrews 4:10-11 — For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works . . . . Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest.

Labor in Hebrews 4:11 means “make haste.”  Is the word used to remind us that we shall not drift into rest?  There must be the will to enter in.  Perhaps what demands most will power is the resolution to cease from our own works, our own busyness, and to stay our minds upon our God.

We pray, and the answer is not what we expect.  It seems an answer of loss, and sometimes loss upon loss.  We must cease from our own thoughts about it and believe that what He has allowed is the perfect answer for the moment.  As we believe, and accept, we enter into rest and the sense of strain passes into peace.

This covers all life:  the illness of those we love, mental or spiritual suffering, the unexplained, everything.  Let us not lose one hour in needless ineffective distress.  Let us hasten by an act of the will to come to Him for rest.

_________________________

Music:

I remember my mother as a hard worker, but I also remember that this was one of her favorite hymns — HERE  is “There Is a Place of Quiet Rest.”

_________________________

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

from Jesus, Our Man in Glory,
by A. W. Tozer

Christian believers make a great mistake when they refer only to the Bible as the Word of God.  True, the inspired Bible is the Word of God speaking to our hearts and to our souls.  But in referring to the Word of God, we do not mean just the book—printed pages sewn together with nylon thread.  Rather, we mean the eternal expression of the mind of God.  We mean the world-filling breath of God!

God’s Word and God’s revelation are much more than just the Old and New Testament books.  Nevertheless I invariably rejoice as I discover deep in the urgent appeal of one of the Old Testament prophets a sudden recognition of God’s speaking Word.  For example, notice this message from the prophet Jeremiah:  “O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord!” (Jeremiah 22:29).

Think what a change it would make in the world if men and women suddenly paused to hear the Word of the Lord!  The Word of God being what it is, and God being who He is, and we humans being who we are, I am sure that the most rewarding thing we could do would be to stop and listen to the Word of God.  Whether a man or a woman believes it or not, the Word of God is one of the greatest realities he or she will face in a life-time.  He or she may deny the Word and the presence of God, dismissing them both as unreal.  But the living, speaking Word of God cannot be escaped.  Neither is it negotiable.

The true Christian church has always held that position.  There is not a man or woman on the face of the earth but will have to reckon with the authority of the Word of God, either now or later.  How surprised some of them will be on that coming day of judgment when God’s eternal Word must be answered to!

God’s Word is the revelation of divine truth that God Himself has given to us.  It has come in the message and appeal of the sacred Scriptures.  It comes in the conviction visited on us by the Holy Spirit.  It comes in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the living Word of God.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
flower and verse 12.    http://www.photosbyjanine.com/uploads/processed/0729/0707160035351hebrews_4_12.jpg
Yes.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/55bdc-yes_logo.png
hammock on the beach.    http://ooza.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/relax.jpg
sword and verse 12.   http://img.heartlight.org/cards/g/hebrews4_12.jpg

1583.) Hebrews 3

May 27, 2015

Hebrews 3 (New International Version)

Jesus Greater Than Moses

1Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Brian Moss singing a familiar hymn (although the tune is new to my ears) about “God’s house” — the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. “The Church’s One Foundation” was written by Samuel John Stone (the clergyman son of a clergyman in England) in 1866. He wrote it to illustrate the ninth article of the Apostles’ Creed: The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints.

_________________________

Warning Against Unbelief

7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
9 where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’

11So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “

12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Heb3 yes-you-can

Reflections on encouragement:

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
~Japanese proverb

One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better.
~Col. Harland Sanders (founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain)

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
~Proverbs 18:10

14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”

16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (NLT)

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground.  In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.  All of them ate the same spiritual food,  and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did,  or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”  And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites.  And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.  These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

_________________________

from Encountering the Book of Hebrews,
by Donald A. Hagner

It is sobering to think that those who were so highly privileged to be the recipients of God’s grace and power of deliverance could fall so easily into unbelief and disobedience.  This is precisely the point the author of Hebrews  wants his readers to see.  What happened then can happen again; indeed, the original readers apparently were in very real danger of falling away from their Christian commitment.  But this danger is one that every generation of Christians needs to ponder. Though our salvation derives from grace and is therefore free and unmerited, we dare not take it lightly.  We are called to perseverance and faithfulness.

_________________________

Here is another way to say the same message!

HERE  is Tamara Lowe at Christ Fellowship.   Listen fast!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
house and verse 4.    http://www.christianmingler.com/wp-content/uploads/Heb34a.jpg
Jesus and Moses.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/jesus_moses.jpg
warning tape.     http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Third_Party_Photo/2009/02/09/iStock_warning_tape_CROPPED__1234281031_9929.jpg
Yes you can.    http://dailyps.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/yes-you-can.jpg
The rock was Christ.    http://hopedaniel.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/flowingwater.jpg
danger.    http://www.justindeeter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Danger.jpg

 


1582.) Hebrews 2

May 26, 2015

Hebrews 2 (New International Version)

Warning to Pay Attention

1We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

We do not drift towards God, but away from Him. We do not drift towards holiness, but selfishness. We do not drift towards passion, but apathy. We not drift towards humility, but pride. We do not drift towards righteousness, but sinfulness.

This is why we are warned, pay MORE attention to what you have heard or you WILL drift away. Take notice of the word, “more.”  Sometimes this closeness to Christ comes easily,  but sometimes we must direct ourselves to pay more attention to it.

How do we practically pay more attention to what we have heard?  Look at it,  study it,  read it,  listen to it,  memorize it,  apply it,  obey it,  teach it,  write it,  hold it,  speak it,  more often and longer!

–Nathan Kollar

2For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Jesus Made Like His Brothers

5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

7You made him a little lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor

8 and put everything under his feet.”

“everything under his feet!”

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

from The Daily Study Bible,
by William Barclay

In verses 5-9, the writer to the Hebrews shows us three things.  (i) He shows us the ideal of what man should be—kin to God and master of the universe.  (ii) He shows us the actual state of man—the frustration instead of the mastery, the failure instead of the glory.  Man who was made for kingship has become a slave.  (iii) And then he shows us how the actual can be changed into the ideal. That change is wrought by Christ.  The writer to the Hebrews sees in Jesus Christ the One, who, by His sufferings and His glory, can make man what man was meant to be, and, without Him, could never be.

10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”

13And again,
“I will put my trust in him.” And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Heb2 yes
2 Corinthians 1:20 (CEV)

Christ says “Yes” to all of God’s promises. That’s why we have Christ to say “Amen”  for us to the glory of God.

18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Heb2 cast

from Experiencing God Day-to-Day
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
–Hebrews 2:18

You will never face a temptation so strong that God has not made complete provision for you to overcome it.  God, out of His love, has done everything necessary for you to be victorious whenever you face temptation.  He has clearly revealed His will to you in Scripture so that you will not be confused about the right thing to do.  He has placed the Holy Spirit within you to guide you in your decisions and to convict you when you make harmful choices.  With every temptation God also provides a way of escape so that you never have to yield to it (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Everything is in place for you to experience victory over every temptation.

God in His infinite love, however, has done even more to safeguard you from temptation.  He has allowed Himself to suffer the full brunt of temptation.  The very Son of God humbled Himself, taking on all the limitations of frail human flesh, and was tempted in every way that we are.  Jesus knew what it was like to grow tired, to be hungry, to experience the same limitations we have; yet He was without sin.  It is to this One that we turn when we are facing temptation.  Ours is not an unsympathetic God who is unconcerned with our struggle to live righteously, but rather we follow a God who knows how difficult it is to resist sin and withstand temptation.  We can approach Christ with confidence, knowing that He understands our plight.  He knows how to aid us when we are tempted.

_________________________

Music:

The old hymn, the encouraging hymn,  “Lead Me to Calvary”  — sung  HERE  by Andrew and Saskia Smith.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
tree and v 10.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/2-tree-and-v-10.jpg
drifting down the river.    http://images.veer.com/IMG/PILL/CHI/CHI0000928_P.JPG
astronaut in outer space.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/2-man-in-space3.jpg?w=450
Christ enthroned.    http://frted.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/xcenthroned.jpg
yes.    http://thecrazyiscatching.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/33-yesclassicblue_jpg.jpg
He cares for you.    http://www.americanchurch.com/Portals/0/SmithCart/Images/9309-L.jpg

1581.) Hebrews 1

May 25, 2015

Hebrews 1   (NIV)

Hebrews is basically a book that exhorts discouraged Christians to continue on strong with Jesus in light of the complete superiority of who He is and what He has done for us.

–David Guzik

The Son Superior to Angels

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,

The revelation given through the prophets was brought in various ways — sometimes through parables, historical narrative, prophetic confrontation, dramatic presentation, psalms, proverbs, and the like.

2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Heb1 yes

2 Corinthians 1:20 (New Living Translation)

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”
?

Or again,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”
?

6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

7In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
his servants flames of fire.”

8But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

10He also says,
“In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
11
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
12
You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”

13To which of the angels did God ever say,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet”
?

14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

from The Epistle to the Hebrews,
by F. F. Bruce:

The Son of God’s ascendancy over angels has thus been asserted and confirmed by the testimony of Old Testament scriptures.  In them Jesus was addressed by God in terms that surpassed the honors enjoyed by the mightiest of archangels, who indeed are called upon to pay Him homage in recognition of His sovereignty over them.  And the authority of the gospel which the readers of this epistle had embraced was the authority of Jesus, the Son of God, supremely exalted by His Father.  As God had no greater messenger than his Son, He had no further message beyond the gospel.

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Music:

HERE  Michael W. Smith sings  “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”   I like the line — “To see you high and lifted up!”  Jesus, as we begin reading Hebrews today, I pray that you will open our eyes to see you.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
star and vs. 1-2.    http://iccnewyork.net/user/icc_imail/hebrews1_1_2.jpg
Yes.    http://sandradodd.com/art/title/yes
angels.    http://www.gbcdecatur.org/files/DescriptionOfAngels.jpg
angel guarding children.    http://www.beyondborders.com/images/guardian-angel.jpg

1580.) Proverbs 4

May 22, 2015

Proverbs 4 (New Living Translation)

A Father’s Wise Advice

1 My children, listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father, Jasper Riskedahl, was a wonderful teacher of biblical truth and a gracious model of the godly life to me.

4 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is The Mormon Tabernacle choir sings “Faith of Our Fathers.”

  1. Faith of our fathers, living still,
    In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
    Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
    Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!
    Refrain:
    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death.
  2. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
    To win all nations unto thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God,
    We all shall then be truly free.
  3. Faith of our fathers, we will love
    Both friend and foe in all our strife;
    And preach thee, too, as love knows how
    By kindly words and virtuous life.

–Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863

_________________________

10 My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.

12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.

14 Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17 They eat the food of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence!

18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Philippians 2:15-16 (NIV)

You shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.

19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

Mount St. Helens

Proverbs 4:25-27 —

Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

Prospects for climbing Mount St. Helens were not encouraging.  Rain was falling in torrents and the mountain we had come so far to climb couldn’t even be seen.  Hoping that the weather would improve by morning, we pitched our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags.

When morning arrived, the weather, although somewhat improved, was far from ideal.  Clouds still hid the mountain and a fine drizzle of rain was falling.  We showed little enthusiasm as we strapped on our crampons and roped up for the climb.

Five hours later, our previous lack of enthusiasm had turned to gloom.  The rain was still falling, visibility was poor, and the snow slope was becoming increasingly steep.

Another hour of dogged perseverance, however, brought us above the clouds and into dazzling sunshine.  Wave upon wave of fleece appeared to cover the universe, with the summits of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier the only visible land masses.  The discomfort which we had suffered seemed a small price to pay for the magnificent sight spread before us.

How often in the spiritual realm are mountaintop experiences preceded by periods of discouragement?  Indeed, the spiritual mountaintop experiences are often the direct result of persevering in the face of discouraging circumstances—of taking one’s stand in the face of ridicule; of staying unruffled when unfairly criticized; or of remaining steadfast in prayer for a loved one who does not recognize God’s claim upon his life.  Only those who toil to the summit will see the view!  Only those who bear the cross will receive the blessing!

–Dr. Onas Cudley Scandrette, in Stones of Remembrance

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New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 4:18-19.    http://k53.pbase.com/v3/89/415789/2/51688760.favproverbs41819.jpg
boy running.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1bc4c-jackson_running.jpg
shining stars.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/4-shining-stars.jpg
heart and tree.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/hearttree.jpg
Mount St. Helens.    http://images.reserve123.com/product/8708-2.jpg

1579.) Psalm 35

May 21, 2015

Psalm 35 (NASB)

1Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
3Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (ESV)

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.

4Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
5Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the LORD driving them on.
6Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7For without cause they hid their net for me;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.
8Let destruction come upon him unawares,
And let the net which he hid catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

9And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD;
It shall exult in His salvation.

Ps35 v910All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You,
Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him,
And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?”

11Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.

13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.

enemies_love_

Here’s a great verse to help you pray for your enemies.

Psalm 35:13 says:  “But as for me when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth.  I humbled my soul with fasting and my prayer returned into my own bosom.”

Praying for people you do not like, or people who hate you, is not the most inspirational thing to do—I must admit. But there is great benefit in doing so.

David is saying here that his prayers did not benefit his enemies due to their sin and rebelliousness toward God. Yet God rewarded him for his prayers and for showing mercy and grace toward them in their time of trouble (“my prayer returned into my own bosom”).

David fasted and prayed for his enemies. He showed compassion toward them.  He treated his enemy as a friend. He returned good for evil, as he would to his own brother or mother. What a great heart!

Jesus told us to turn the other cheek.In Matthew 5:44 he said: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He not only taught it, he lived it.

On the cross he prayed “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Do you need to pray a prayer like this?

–Lui Ponifazio

14I went about as though it were my friend or brother;
I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.
15But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together;
The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me,
They slandered me without ceasing.
16Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth.
17Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions.
18I will give You thanks in the great congregation;
I will praise You among a mighty throng.

19Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me;
Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.
20
For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.
21
They opened their mouth wide against me;
They said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!”
22You have seen it, O LORD, do not keep silent;
O Lord, do not be far from me.

Genesis 16:13 (NLT)

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”

23Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right
And to my cause, my God and my Lord.
24Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness,
And do not let them rejoice over me.
25Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!”
Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!”

26Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress;
Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.

27Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”
28And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.

My lips will praise you, for you are holy.
My voice will ever rise before your throne.
My heart will love you, for you are lovely,
and you have called me to become your own.

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Music:

All together, now!  HERE  is “O for a thousand tongues to sing,” written by Charles Wesley (who visited the island where I live, St. Simons Island, GA, in 1736). The hymn was placed first in John Wesley’s A Collection of Hymns for the People Called Methodists published in 1780. It appeared first in every (Wesleyan) Methodist hymnal for the next 200 years!

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New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Images courtesy of:
flower and 35:23.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/35-flower-and-v27.jpg
Jesus died for me.    http://www.gospelgifs.com/art_pages_12/images/jdfm01.gif
35:9.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4c/97/db/4c97db607b20b3e666c595093e3a1f40.jpg
Love your enemies.     http://luiponifasio.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/enemies_love_.jpg
Hagar and the God who sees her.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/hagar2bund2bel2broi.jpg
heart and notes.    http://www.stevesternberg.com/images/heart_q5ct.gif