2966.) Hebrews 10:19-38

August 31, 2020

Hebrews 10:19-38   (NIV)

A Call to Persevere

19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (Amplified Bible)

For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.


by David Wilkerson

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil…. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”  –(Hebrews 10:19-20, 22).

There are two sides to Christ’s work at Calvary. One side is to the benefit of man, and the other side is to the benefit of God. One benefits the sinner, while the other benefits the Father.

We are well acquainted with the benefit on the human side. The cross of Christ has provided us with forgiveness of our sins. We are given the power of victory over all bondages and dominion over sin. We are supplied with mercy and grace. And, of course, we are given the promise of eternal life. The cross has given us the means of escape from the terrors of sin and hell.

I thank God for this benefit of the cross to mankind, and for the wonderful relief it brings. I rejoice that it is preached week after week in churches all over the world.

Yet there is another benefit of the cross, one that we know very little about. And this one is to the benefit of the Father. You see, we understand very little about the delight of the Father that was made possible by the cross. It’s a delight that comes to him whenever he receives a prodigal child into his house.

If all we focus on about the cross is forgiveness—if that is the end-all of our preaching—then we miss an important truth that God has meant for us about the cross. There is a fuller understanding to be had here, and it has to do with his delight. This truth provides God’s people with much more than just relief. It brings liberty, rest, peace and joy.

In my opinion, most Christians have learned to come boldly before God for forgiveness, for supply of needs, for answers to prayer. But they lack boldness in this aspect of faith—an aspect that is just as crucial in their walk with the Lord.

The Lord has great joy that the cross has provided us with open access to himself. Indeed, the most glorious moment in history was when the temple veil was rent in two, on the day that Christ died. It was at this very moment that the benefit to God burst forth. In the instant that the temple veil—separating man from God’s holy presence—was torn asunder, something incredible happened. From that point on, not only was man able to enter into the Lord’s presence, but God could come out to man.

24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let 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.

Heb10 Viceroy-Butterfly

Reflections on encouragement:

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
~Richard Bach

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.
~Ivy Baker Priest

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.
~Henry David Thoreau

Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.
~Claude Bissell

When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.
~Acts 11:22-23  (NLT)

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had BETTER and lasting possessions.

35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Cast not away therefore this your confidence – Your faith and hope; which none can deprive you of but yourselves.

–John Wesley

36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

37For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.
But my righteous one will live by faith.

Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV)

But the just shall live by his faith.

As a monk, Luther had become deeply aware of his sin and knew that he fell short of the standards set by God’s law. The words of Habakkuk 2:4 struck Luther as the key to his problem, but it was some time before he grasped that his sins were forgiven by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, apart from any works of his own. Luther’s son wrote:

“As he repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, the words of the prophet Habakkuk came suddenly to his mind: ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Thereupon he ceased his prayers, returned to Wittenberg, and took this as the chief foundation of all his doctrine… Luther himself said of this text, ‘Before those words broke upon my mind I hated God and was angry with him because not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words – “The just shall live by faith!” “The just shall live by faith!” – then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God.'”



Rich Mullins (he of “Awesome God” fame) wrote and sings “The Just Shall Live.” I love this song.  HERE.

I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
By faith

‘Cause You won’t let Your Holy One
No, You won’t let Your Holy One
You won’t let Your Holy One
See corruption in the grave

Because He put His trust in You
Because He put His trust in You
Because He put His trust in You
Many shall be saved

And I know that You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
On the last day

For the Lord looks down on the sons of men
To hear the cries of the innocent
And the guilty will not stand
For the day of reckoning soon will come
And the whole world will see justice done
By the Lord’s almighty hand

So I’m telling you the just shall live
I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
By faith

And You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
That You will raise them up
On the last day

And the prayers stand where the fighters fell
And time testifies with the tale that it tells
That the meek shall inherit the earth
And the Church advances on the gates of hell
And she clings to a light that will not be quelled
By the kingdoms of this world

I’m telling you the just shall live
I know the just shall live
I know the just shall live
By faith

And You will raise them up
I know that You will raise them up
You will raise them up
On the last day


And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him.”

39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.


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

Images courtesy of:
clouds and verse 23.    http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Free-Wallpaper-Christian-Chirstmas-Hebrews-10-23.jpg
yes.     http://think.faesthetic.com/wp-content/uploads/yes2.jpg
the veil is torn.    https://scripture-for-today.blogspot.com/2013/05/psalm-181-20-i-call-to-lord-who-is.html?m=1
butterfly.  https://www.desicomments.com/butterfly/brilliant-pic-of-butterfly/
fog and verses 35-36.    http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Hebrews10_35-35.jpg
Martin Luther.    http://godwordistruth.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/martin_luther.jpg

2965.) Hebrews 10:1-18

August 28, 2020

“The Sacrifice of Isaac” by Caravaggio, 1602  (Uffizi, Florence) points to the required daily sacrifices in the Tabernacle and Temple, and to the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.

Hebrews 10 (NIV)

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All


To sacrifice something is to make it holy by giving it away for love.

–Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking

1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

It is IMPOSSIBLE that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin.

5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.’ ”

Instead of sacrifice, God. Can you give that?

Instead of sacrifice, God desires an obedient heart.  Can you give God that?

1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)

And Samuel said,
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.”

8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.

Instead of sacrifice, God desires a contrite heart. Can you give God that?

Psalm 51:16-17 (KJV)

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.



HERE  is “Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs”  from Handel’s Messiah, performed by the Royal Choral Society.

Isaiah 53:4-5  (King James Version)

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.


13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Instead of sacrifice, God desires a humble and merciful heart. Can you give God that?

Micah 6:6-8 (NLT)

What can we bring to the Lord?
What kind of offerings should we give him?
Should we bow before God
with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams
and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16“This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”

17Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”

18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

Heb10 the_real_thing

from Everyone’s Guide to Hebrews,
by Neil R. Lightfoot

The author has placed before us, with consummate skill, Jesus as our eternal high priest. As priest, especially when compared with the candidates from Levi, he has no rival. He exemplifies the perfect type of priesthood, what God had in mind from the beginning. He is the real thing!

1.  His incarnation was real. He descended to earth and fully shared in flesh and blood. He was not ashamed of his “brothers.” In every respect he had to be made like them (2:11-17).

2.  His suffering was real. As the author will go on to say, he “suffered outside the gate” (13:12). He “endured the cross” (12:2). He was made “perfect through suffering” (2:10). Son though he was, he “learned” obedience through his suffering (5:8).

3.  His offering was made in the real place—heaven itself. The difference between an “earthly sanctuary” (9:1), the tabernacle, where the Jewish high priest officiated, and the sanctuary “not made with hands (9:11), where Christ ministers, is infinite. As high priest for us, Christ gloriously entered heaven. What could he offer? Certainly not the blood of bulls and goats! Through his own eternal spirit and through his own blood, he went before God. There he sprinkled his blood on the mercy seat in heaven.

4.  His forgiveness is real. This, of course, follows, if Christ’s offering of his blood before the Father has secured “eternal redemption” (9:12). An ancient king customarily had a special attendant to remind him of this or that which had occurred in the past. The attendant kept notes and chronicles in case something had to be recalled. He was a “remembrancer.” But because of Christ, we do not have a “remembrancer” to bring up our offenses. God said, “I will remember their sins no more.”

So it is Christ who turns shadows into reality. His blood can wash away our sins. Instead of “woe is me, woe is me, woe is me,” with confidence and great joy we can say, “thank God, thank God, thank God!” for Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! What a Savior!


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

Images courtesy of:
sacrifice.   http://digitalrightsmanifesto.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/the_sacrifice_of_isaac.jpg
multi-colored heart.    http://pictures.4ever.eu/love/hearts/heart-166811
real thing.   http://rlv.zcache.com/jesus_is_the_real_thing_t_shirt_tshirt-re5831315f1cb4a6392022fdf8f00e6bf_va6px_324.jpg

2964.) Hebrews 9

August 27, 2020

Jesus as our “mercy seat” mediates between God and all humanity. He paid the awful price of sin and fulfilled all the law’s demands, was raised from the dead to be our great eternal High Priest, and now offers us the true bread (manna) of everlasting life.

Hebrews 9 (NIV)

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

1Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

Furniture of the tabernacle: inside — the ark of the covenant, the lampstand, the altar for incense, the table for bread; outside — the laver of washing, the altar of sacrifice.

6When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ

11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

The work of redemption being the work of the whole Trinity. Neither is the Second Person alone concerned even in the amazing condescension that was needful to complete it. The Father delivers up the kingdom to the Son; and the Holy Ghost becomes the gift of the Messiah, being, as it were, sent according to his good pleasure.

–John Wesley

Not All the Blood of Beasts
by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

My faith would lay its hand
On that dear head divine
As penitently here I stand,
Confessing guilt is mine.

My soul looks back to see
The burden you did bear
When hanging on the cursed tree;
I know my guilt was there.

Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
And sing his bleeding love.

15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Certainly, Christ made God’s many promises come true. For that reason, because of our message, people also honor God by saying, “Amen!”

16In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.



“The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” is a wonderful old Andre Crouch song, sung  HERE  by Chrystal Washington at a Gaither gathering. “The blood that Jesus shed for me / Way back on Calvary / The blood that gives me strength /  From day to day / It will never lose its power.”


23It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with BETTER sacrifices than these. 24For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.


Here is the eternal principle—Forgiveness is a costly thingHuman forgiveness is costly.  A son or a daughter may go wrong; a father or a mother may forgive; but that forgiveness has brought tears; it has brought whiteness to the hair, lines to the faces, a cutting anguish and then a long dull ache to the heart.  It did not cost nothing.  There was the price of a broken heart to pay. 

Divine forgiveness is costly.  God is love, but God is holiness.  God, least of all, can break the great moral laws on which the universe is built.  Sin must have its punishment or the very structure of life disintegrates.  And God alone can pay the terrible price that is necessary before men can be forgiven.  Forgiveness is never a matter of saying:  “It’s all right; it doesn’t matter.”  Forgiveness is the most costly thing in the world.  Without the shedding of heart’s blood there can be no remission and forgiveness of sins.  There is nothing which brings the effect of his sin on someone with such arresting violence as to see the effect of his sin on someone who loves him in this world, or on the God who loves him forever, and to say to himself:  “It cost that to forgive my sin.”  Where there is forgiveness, someone must be crucified on a cross.

–William Barclay


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

Images courtesy of:
ark in the heavens.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/6a010536b482b6970c0120a599ad74970b-320wi.jpg
tabernacle furniture.     https://www.thinking7.org/resources/the-tabernacle/
Jesus carrying a lamb, “The Lamb and the Lion,” by Glenda Green.   http://www.jarheadsforjesusoorah.com/663cscd.jpg
Yes.    https://isaiah43site.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/a-yes-1.jpg
Jesus on the cross, painting by Simon Bisley.    http://simonbisleygallery.com/art/2525.jpg

2963.) Hebrews 8

August 26, 2020

Heb8 v12
Hebrews 8 (NIV)

The High Priest of a New Covenant

1The point of what we are saying is this:  We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

It is essential for us to understand the role of the priests in the Old Testament because it will enable us to understand Christ’s role in our redemption. The priests were the mediators between God in his holiness and human beings in their unholiness. Has God’s holiness changed? Has the sinfulness of people decreased? Hardly! The same need for mediation exists today, but it is met in a different way. It is no longer met through the ministry of earthly priests. We have a great High Priest who does not need to make atonement for himself as the priests of Israel did. Our High Priest is the sinless Christ Jesus.

A second thing to be learned about the priestly role is that God is not to be approached lightly. In Old Testament times God placed barriers between the people and himself in order to protect the people. Only members of a special tribe could minister in the house of worship, and only members of one family from that tribe could offer sacrifices. Further, only a single member of that family could  come into the presence of God behind the veil in the Holy of Holies, and he could go there only once a year. The priest had to make atonement for his own sins before he made atonement for the people. If he did not, the penalty was death.

The holiness of our God remains pure and powerful, but we no longer approach him through an earthly and sinful priest. We have access to the Father through Jesus, who in his death rent the veil of the temple and made access for all persons to come boldly to God. But we do not come alone. We come through Jesus, so our boldness is not presumption. It is based on the atoning work of Christ. In the institution of the priesthood we see a picture of what Christ came to do. He did away with the Old Testament priesthood, but the ministry and reality of that priesthood he took upon himself and performs for us even today.

So “approach the throne of grace with confidence” through Christ (Hebrews 4:16).



HERE  is Charles Wesley’s wonderful hymn  “And Can It Be,” — first published in 1738 — sung by the Altar of Praise Chorale. I especially like the last verse, which begins with these words:  “No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine.”


3Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

6But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on BETTER promises.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8But God found fault with the people and said:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.

Psalm 119:2 (NLT)

Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts.

I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.

from the least to the greatest — In this order the saving knowledge of God ever did and ever will proceed; not first to the greatest, and then to the least. But “the Lord shall save the tents,” the poorest, “of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David,” the royal seed, “and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” the nobles and the rich citizens, “do not magnify themselves,” (Zechariah 12:7).

–John Wesley

12 For I will forgive their wickedness
and I will remember their sins no more.”

Romans 8:1-4 (NLT)

So now there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

We are told that God remembers our sins no more.  But we remember our sins! — either because of our good memory or some other person’s good memory. So we cannot help but believe that God still remembers our sins. This is a lie. God has chosen not to remember our sins, so that He will not hold us guilty for our sins. God has chosen to forgive all of our sins. This is the only reason for Jesus to be on the Cross. Therefore:  we have a choice. We can choose to keep track of our sins, strain under their oppression, and (in effect) live as though God lies . . . or we can take God at his everlasting word and say, “Thank you for forgiving my sins. Thank you that I am no longer condemned. Help me today to live lovingly, mercifully, honorably, justly, kindly — for you.”

13By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!


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

Images courtesy of:
Hebrews 8:12.    http://www.believetrust.com/bible/tag/who-sat-down-at-the-right-hand-of-the-throne-of-the-majesty-in-heaven/
High Priest.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/8-high_priest.gif
Yes!    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/d1d7f-screenshot2014-01-28at1.42.30pm.png
laws in mind and heart.    http://donstephens.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/self-government.jpg
white cross.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/8-black-and-white-cross.jpg
new and improved.    http://weelicious.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/weelicious-new-improved.jpg


2962.) Hebrews 7

August 25, 2020

Byzantine icon of Melchizedek

Hebrews 7 (NIV)

Melchizedek the Priest

1This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High.

Melchizedek prefigures Christ, who also is a king and a priest.

He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. (See the full story in Genesis 14.) First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

4Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, their brothers—even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. 6This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. 8In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

Jesus Like Melchizedek

“Jesus Christ, The Great High Priest” — digital art by Mark Lawrence.

11If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come—one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?

What farther need was there, that another priest — Of a new order, should be set up? From this single consideration it is plain, that both the priesthood and the law, which were inseparably connected, were now to give way to a better priesthood and more excellent dispensation.

–John Wesley

12For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a BETTER hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

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

The declaration “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” thus announces the abrogation of the earlier law which instituted the Aaronic order. It was inevitable that the earlier law should be abrogated sooner or later; for all the impressive solemnity of the sacrificial ritual and the priestly ministry, no real peace of conscience was procured thereby, no immediate access to God.

This is not to say that faithful men and women in Old Testament times did not enjoy peace of conscience and a sense of nearness to God; the Psalter provides evidence enough that they did. The psalmist who cried “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity” (Ps. 32:1f.) knew the blessedness of a peaceful conscience; and his colleague who said “it is good for me to draw near unto God” (Ps. 73:28) knew that access to the divine presence was always available to the man of faith.

But these experiences had nothing to do with the Levitical ritual or the Aaronic priesthood. The whole apparatus of worship associated with that ritual and priesthood was calculated rather to keep men at a distance from God than to bring them near. But the “hope set before us” in the gospel is better because it accomplishes this very thing which was impossible under the old ceremonial; it enables Christians to “draw nigh unto God.” How it enables them to do so is explained in later chapters, but the fact that the gospel, unlike the law, has opened up a way of free access to God is our author’s ground for claiming that the gospel has achieved that perfection which the law could never bring about.

20And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’ ”

22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a BETTER covenant.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (GNT)

For it is he who is the “Yes” to all of God’s promises.  This is why through Jesus Christ our “Amen” is said to the glory of God.

23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

That is, he ever lives and intercedes. He died once; he intercedes perpetually.

–John Wesley

Jesus is praying for you!

26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.



A blessed truth:  “What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  HERE  it is sung by Leah Mari. The hymn was written in 1876 by Robert Lowry, a Baptist preacher who served churches in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Other hymns of his include “Shall We Gather at the River?” and “How Can I Keep from Singing?” Lowry was a friend of another famous hymn-writer, Fanny Crosby.


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

Images courtesy of:
Byzantine icon of Melchizedek.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/7-byzantinelmelchizedek.jpg
“Jesus Christ, the  great High Priest” — Verse Visions by Mark Lawrence.    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61c%2Bxt4%2Bm-L._SY300_.jpg
Draw near to God, by Mary Engelbreit.   http://annkroeker.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/drawneartogod.jpg
yes.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/7-yes-jpg.jpg

2961.) Hebrews 5:11 – 6:20

August 24, 2020

It is IMPOSSIBLE to build a crate like this, keeping all the angles at 90 degrees. In the book of Hebrews, we are told that four things are impossible, and two of them are found in this chapter.

Hebrews 5:11-6:20 (NIV)

Warning Against Falling Away

When I was a child . . . but when I became an adult . . .

11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.



HERE  is Paul Simon (in 2006) and “Slip Slidin’ Away” — a song full of short stories about people who are burdened by the things they never did, or the things they wish they could take back . . . and life is short. Maturity seems far away, while the destination is getting nearer . . .


Hebrews 6

1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.

from Echoings:  From the Bible in Literature,
by J. Ruth Stenerson

“Let us go forward then, to mature teaching . . .”
— Hebrews 6:2

One can hear a note of impatience behind the writer’s words as he tells these Hebrew Christians how difficult it is to explain spiritual truths to them because they are so slow to understand. If they had responded to his teaching as he had expected, they should have been teachers by now, not still busy with their spiritual ABC’s. Paul had the same experience with the Corinthian Christians—“I had to feed you milk, not solid food, because you were not ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:2).

Parents are soon alarmed, as are doctors, by a growing child’s inability to take solid food. Teachers find it easy to sympathize with Paul and the author of Hebrews because they are so often frustrated by what seems to be total indifference on the part of some students to basic skills needed for further learning.

Analysts ponder what keeps the church from the kind of effectiveness it might have. Is it lack of leadership? lack of money? lack of facilities? Is it not rather, in part at least, that too few in the church have any deep concern about spiritual growth? that so many who have lived all their lives in the church are almost totally inarticulate about their faith? that they have little ability to apply what they have heard in hundreds of sermons to distinguish between good and evil—or little desire to? Many congregations operate at starvation level as far as their adult education programs go.

Which are we—the adult Christians who know their need of spiritual growth, or the “babes of Christ” who “still need someone to teach [us] the first lessons”? “Let us go forward!” pleads the author of Hebrews.

We find food in the bread and wine of the communion table. We find the divine Word opened to us in the Sunday sermon. But we also need to come to that Word in individual study, with the Holy Spirit as our teacher, and to study it with other believers, sharing our insights with each other.

“There has been time enough for you to be teachers.” Is that what we are?

4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to return to God if one continually goes on sinning and refuses to repent.

7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

9Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of BETTER things in your case—things that accompany salvation. 10God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

from Whispers of His Powers,
by Amy Carmichael

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
–Hebrews 6:10

This is the special word for all who do the business of a household:  housekeepers, cooks, room-cleaners, and others. It is a word also for those who plan pleasure for others, givers of flowers, writers of letters, all unseen unsung office workers, and all who serve in any way. The only thing that matters is that our service should not just be something done because it has to be done, but what the Spirit of God calls a labor of love.

Among the myriad of things held in the memory of our Heavenly Father are those little inconspicuous things, your work and labor of love.

11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

The Certainty of God’s Promise

“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”

13When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NCV)

The yes to all of God’s promises is in Christ, and through Christ we say yes to the glory of God.

16Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.   18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,

It is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie.

That by two unchangeable things — His promise and his oath, in either, much more in both of which, it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation – Swallowing up all doubt and fear.

–John Wesley

we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.


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

Images courtesy of:
impossible crate.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/6-impossible-object.jpg
baby drinking milk from a bottle.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/5-baby-drinking-milk.jpg
ABC blocks.    https://patch.com/connecticut/westhartford/an–bloomfield-discovery-program-awarded-grant-by-wil3c9ad8151a
giving a flower.      https://www.chitalnya.ru/work/447634/
anchor.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/6-anchor.jpg
Yes.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/6-yes.jpg

2960.) Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10

August 21, 2020

“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,

Great indeed, being the eternal Son of God, that is passed through the heavens — As the Jewish high priest passed through the veil into the holy of holies, carrying with him the blood of the sacrifices, on the yearly day of atonement; so our great high priest went once for all through the visible heavens, with the virtue of his own blood, into the immediate presence God.

–John Wesley

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 (NKJV)

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



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, 1963-1967. 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).

(Note: The formula for Dial soap was modified to remove hexachlorophene after the FDA put an end to over-the-counter availability in 1972.)

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.


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

The word learned, premised to the word suffered, elegantly shows how willingly he learned. He learned obedience, when be began to suffer; when he applied himself to drink that cup: obedience in suffering and dying.

–John Wesley

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 now; 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.    https://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/womens-health/first-probiotic-health-claim-approved-korea
staphylococcus.    http://biology-forums.com/gallery/28719_23_09_12_10_25_43.jpeg
Dial soap.    https://doublejgulf.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1095
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


2959.) Hebrews 4:1-13

August 20, 2020

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 (ESV)

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.’ “

What does it take to enter the rest of God? Faith, which will of course be followed by obedience.

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.



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,” sung beautifully by Tiffany Coburn.


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.    https://www.flickr.com/photos/janinerussell/1748359994/
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

2958.) Hebrews 3

August 19, 2020

Hebrews 3 (NIV)

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.



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.

An awful consideration! The whole elect people of God (a very few excepted) provoked God presently after their great deliverance, continued to grieve his Spirit for forty years, and perished in their sin!

–John Wesley

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.    https://atozmomm.com/tag/bsf-lesson-13-day-4/
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://justpraisin.blogspot.com/2013/03/danger.html

2957.) Hebrews 2

August 18, 2020

Hebrews 2 (NIV)

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.

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.

–William Barclay

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.

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.

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.



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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/2-drifting.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.    https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-illustration-yes-red-stamp-text-white-image42268579
He cares for you.    https://bythisallwillknow.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/i-cast-all-my-cares-on-jesus/