November 30 – Hebrews 13:20-25. Equipped to Do His Work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


November 30 – Hebrews 13:20-25. Equipped to Do His Work.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. Grace be with you all.

I only have a couple of weeks left in my fall semester.  Soon, Hebrews Exegesis will be behind me.  But, I have learned a lot about an amazing book in the New Testament (and it has only taken me 3 ½ months!).

It is a difficult book to plow through without some assistance.  The author and audience continue to be a mystery to us, but we know that the readers of this letter were in danger of crossing a line that would move them far from God.  Faith is difficult sometimes, but the author of Hebrews offers many reasons why we should hold on to our faith, not the least of which is what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.

Not only did He offer himself as the ultimate sacrifice, but he did so as the Son of God, superior to all of creation.

Just like so many in history, we face trouble and persecution from within and without – but faith is what helped them take each step and faith will help us as we continue our journey.

The covenant that God made with the Israelites in the Old Testament was transformed into the covenant He made with us through Jesus Christ.  The author pleads with His readers to follow after God, so that he can ‘equip us with everything good for doing his work and work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.’

November 29 – Hebrews 13:7-19. Pray for Leaders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


November 29 – Hebrews 13:7-19. Pray for Leaders.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. 
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. 

Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

Remember your leaders and pray for them.

While this letter is asking for prayers for the author himself and those that work with him, it is not something we should take lightly.

When scandals hit – and they do all too often, we seem to take a certain amount of pleasure in a leader being brought down.  We might try to hide it and speak with pitying words, but we quickly justify our words with the behavior that brought them to this point, whether or not it has been proven.  We are absolutely certain that they deserve what has happened to them.

It happens with pastors, priests, political leaders, coaches, teachers … everyone.  It happens to us.

In high school, someone’s downfall might mean that we become more popular.  We might be proven right on an issue, but generally our stock goes up when someone else is destroyed.

In church or in the workplace, it is hideous to see, but the same type of thing happens.  We respond when someone’s awful stuff is exposed – they are destroyed and we quietly hide in the corner grinning because they will no longer be able to hold the power or prestige that had followed them.

We don’t often identify with the one whom God calls to be a servant.  We preach those words, but we want to ensure that everyone else is ready to be a servant so that we can be in power.

In God’s kingdom, though … we are each called to support and pray for those who are in leadership.  Now that doesn’t mean we only support and pray for those who are in leadership in our small group – it does mean that we do so for everyone, no matter who they are.  We are to care for, pray for, support and extend our confidence to those in authority – rather than wait for them to be exposed for a mistake or a sin.

Pray now.

November 28 – Hebrews 13:1-6. Love One Another.


November 28 – Hebrews 13:1-6. Love One Another.

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 
         “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  

So we say with confidence, 
         “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” 

The last chapter of Hebrews is filled with the author’s closing words.  It seems he has a lot to say before he goes.  Those for whom the letter was intended are in danger of turning away from a relationship with God found in Jesus Christ and moving back to something that they can control – a sacrificial system whereby they simply take an animal to the temple and call it good.  They don’t want to work on their relationship, it might just be too much trouble.

He has moved back and forth from encouragement to harsh words. In the end, he just wants them to remember what God has called them to do.

Love each other. Take care of each other. Take care of those who need you.  Be content. Trust God.

These are things we still need to do today for the world to see that Christianity is a good thing.  They don’t need to hear us delivering morality lectures and see us living lives with hidden ugliness.  They see through all of that.  The look to find chinks in our armor when we set ourselves up as the holder of all morality.  We’re human. They will find it every single time.

What the world needs to see is that we love … unconditionally.  No matter who a person is, what they look like, how they live, who they love, who they vote for or whether they hold down a job.  We are called to love them with no strings attached.

Those who need us to care for them need that and that alone.  They don’t need lectures about how they should live or reminders of the things they screwed up that got them to this place.  They need us to care for them.

Keep on loving one another.

November 27 – Hebrews 12:22-29. Unshakeable Kingdom.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


November 27 – Hebrews 12:22-29. Unshakeable Kingdom.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” 

God calls us no longer to the foot of Mt. Sinai, where we stand trembling in fear before Him, but we are called to Mount Zion – the city of the living God – the heavenly Jerusalem.  There we will join the angels in joyful worship.

The day is coming when God will judge the earth.  There is not a single book in Scripture that denies that.  The earth will shake and all will be judged.  The author of Hebrews begs his readers to never turn from Jesus.

We know what the earth looks like when it is shaken.  We know the damage that can occur.  We’ve seen the countless lives that are lost and property that is destroyed.  We understand the long-term effects of this kind of terrible destruction.  The early readers of this letter understood those things as well.

After all of the natural catastrophes that have occurred throughout our lifetimes, can you imagine living in a place that will never be shaken?  Nothing will disturb the peace that comes from living within God’s kingdom.

I worship God now with reverence and awe for the things He has done and the unshakeable kingdom that will be.

November 26 – Hebrews 12:18-21. Terror at a Mountain.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


November 26 – Hebrews 12:18-21. Terror at a Mountain.

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 

Throughout Hebrews, the author has reminded his readers of the experiences of the early Israelites of the first covenant … in the desert, building the Tabernacle.  He has called his readers to be smarter than the Israelites and to live as Christians because of the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

These verses remind them once again of the experience of those Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  They were frightened, knowing that the power of God was so great it even had Moses trembling with fear.

The Israelites were terrified of what the Lord might say to them from Mt. Sinai.  They were fully aware of what He could do with His voice.

I am thankful that we no longer have to be afraid of that mountain burning with fire.

November 25 – Hebrews 12:14-17. Make Peace.


November 25 – Hebrews 12:14-17. Make Peace.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

At least the author of Hebrews knew that it would be difficult for us to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.  He didn’t tell us that it was do so or die, he simply said, “Make every effort …” and so we must.

What are some ways that you make every effort to live in peace?

My mother abhorred outward violence.  I suspect that part of her reason for hating it so much was her realization that it rarely brought about anything but more violence and destruction.  She’d grown up as an only child and hadn’t experienced anything like a normal family.  Her children were NOT going to ever strike each other.  She and Dad did spank us from time to time, but we weren’t allowed to react in violence to each other.

I think one of her defining moments was early in her marriage.  None of us were old enough to have witnessed it, but I have the rocking chair she threw across the room at Dad when she was furious with him.  The only thing that happened was she broke the chair.  I suspect Dad laughed at her ineffective attempt at hurting him.  She had also tried to throw a toaster at him, but it was plugged in and dangled in the air harmlessly as she realized what foolish decisions she was making.  She had to fix the chair and apologize to Dad for her anger.  She had to clean the toast crumbs up off the floor and apologize to him again.  That was the last of her violence.  Dad just wasn’t going to put up with it.

Living in peace isn’t easy.  Surprisingly enough, as much as we want to live in peace with each other, we tend to make things difficult ourselves.  I’ve been known to provoke an argument or two in my life just for the heck of it.

As much as God wants us to be in relationship with Him, He wants us to be in relationship with each other.  We should treat each other with grace, we should live in peace.  It’s not an easy task, but sometimes God calls us to do difficult things.

November 24 – Hebrews 12:4-13. Discipline.

Friday, November 25, 2011


November 24 – Hebrews 12:4-13. Discipline.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, 

         “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

When I was a kid, there were a few words I really despised.  Discipline was one of those words.  When Dad spanked me because I had been bad, he told me that when I was older, I would love him for disciplining me.  When he forced me to stay on the piano bench until I could play a piece 5 times in a row perfectly, he told me that I was learning discipline.  In both of those cases, I would have much rather been off doing something else rather than submitting to discipline of any sort.

Dad always told me that it was for my own good and though I knew he was rarely wrong, I didn’t want to have that thrust onto my young life.  Fortunately, he was the dad and I was the kid.

God works the same way with us.  He brings things into our lives that make us grow – even when they’re painful.  He disciplines us when we move too far from His will for our lives.

Discipline is never an easy word to have to live with, but fortunately … He is God and we are not.  He sees the big picture for our lives and for the universe and works to bring us all in line with it.

Dad saw a bigger picture for my life than I did when I was young and knew what would be important as I grew older.

God sees the bigger picture for me as well.  I still don’t much like the word, but I’m old enough to understand its importance.

November 23 – Hebrews 12:1-3. A Great Race.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


November 23 – Hebrews 12:1-3. A Great Race.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  Chapter 11 lists many who lived their lives by faith. They are among that cloud of witnesses.  They persevered through many things.

I am surrounded by a great number of people that have gone before me.  They persevered through many things and are among that cloud of witnesses.

We are called to run with perseverance a race marked out for us.

I’m not a runner. I tried several times in my life to enjoy running.  It didn’t happen.  But, I do know that race courses are marked and laid out to challenge runners.  No one offers a marathoner and easy run – if there were no challenge, the run wouldn’t be worth it.  When coming to the end of a race, a marathoner hopes to find those he or she loves cheering and encouraging. It’s always better to end a challenging race surrounded by people who think you are the best runner out there.

The race we are running, though, has been marked out by Jesus Christ.  He is always before us, encouraging us.  He’s already run the race.  He’s made sure that the course is perfect for us.  It isn’t necessarily going to be easy.  It will be a challenge.  Our lives are worth it.

At the end, when we have persevered through it and we are panting from a race well-run, Jesus will be at the right hand of the throne of God.  It is there that we will finally see Him face to face and He will say, “Well done.”

November 22 – Hebrews 11:32-40. Sacrificial Faith.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


November 22 – Hebrews 11:32-40. Sacrificial Faith.

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

When I used to teach sixth grade Sunday School class, I was fond of telling the kids that they would never read a story so wild as the things they would discover in the Old Testament.  I still stand by that and I’m a huge science fiction fan.

These people lived through incredible events and faced them with courage because of their faith in God.

The funny thing is – sometimes we think our lives are difficult.  Then, we look at those around us who live in more difficult situations than we face and think that it isn’t all that bad.  But, there were those in the OT who lived through unimaginable times and they did it without the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  They did it simply because God called them to their faith and they believed in the relationship with Him so much they could do nothing else.

It occurs to me, though, that when we think our lives are difficult, things are only difficult because of our expectations of life, not because we are sacrificing something for our faith.

When someone cuts you off in traffic and you end up with a fender bender – it’s a trying situation, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with sacrificial faith.  When you stress about paying bills, putting a kid through college or worry about whether to purchase a new washing machine because the old one has died; it’s not about sacrificial faith.

When you are upset because someone has gossiped about you – it’s because your name was besmirched … not God’s.

When was the last time you had to sacrifice for your faith?

November 21 – Hebrews 11:17-31. Faith = Action.

Monday, November 21, 2011


November 21 – Hebrews 11:17-31. Faith = Action.

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. 

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. 

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 

By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones. 

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. 

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. 

Have you noticed yet that each of these events is an active event?

By faith, someone did something.

They didn’t sit still; they offered, blessed, worshiped, spoke, hid, chose, left, persevered, passed through, marched, welcomed … action.

Faith takes us beyond what we are comfortable with and calls us to action.

What is God calling you to do by faith?

November 20 – Hebrews 11:13-16. Faith in Change.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


November 20 – Hebrews 11:13-16. Faith in Change.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

One thing you learn when growing up in a pastor’s family is how to move.  I learned how to pack a house, how to say goodbye and how to walk into a new situation and meet new people.

Moving away from friends was never easy, but one thing I learned was that you can’t go back – it’s never the same.  If you end up back in the same place, it had better be because you continue to move forward in your life, not because you are running backwards.

I always thought moving was exciting … there were new things to learn, new places to see, new friends to meet, new chances at life.  The thing I began learning as I grew older was that God was there before we arrived.

God prepared us and prepared a place for us within the community.

He goes ahead of us no matter what He calls us to do – to prepare a place for us.  Living by faith means that we count on this and can look forward to the transitions and changes in our life rather than fearing those things.

What is God calling you to do next?

November 19 – Hebrews 11:4-12. Heritage of Faith


November 19 – Hebrews 11:4-12. Heritage of Faith

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. 

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”  For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. 

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

The author of Hebrews takes us into the great Hall of Faith.

Even though these first men have died, notice how their faith continues.

Abel died, but he still speaks to us.

Enoch was taken away, but he believes that God exists and will reward those who earnestly seek him.

Noah became heir of the righteousness.

Abraham produced descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

How will your faith continue?

I look back through my father’s genealogy and find a heritage of faith.  His father was a pastor his mother was an incredible Christian woman.  There was no one more loving and forgiving than that woman and she had a lot of children to love and a lot of hurt in her life that she quietly forgave.

She was so forgiving that it drove her children crazy, but she refused to live with anger in her life.  Her faith in God’s hand on her life was greater than anything else in this world and that faith was what supported her in everything she did.

Her parents were strong people of faith and that faith went back through the generations.

Even if you can’t look back through generations of faith in your family – what are you teaching your children and grandchildren?  Will they be able to look at you and mark events that changed your lives due to your faith?  

November 18 – Hebrews 11:1-3. Confidence. Assurance.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


November 18 – Hebrews 11:1-3. Confidence. Assurance.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. 

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

It really is fun to dig into the minutiae of scripture sometimes.  In the case of Hebrews, the author was quite bright and had an amazing grasp of vocabulary and language.  He used words that we don’t see in any other book of the New Testament.

But, in these two verses we see him do something a bit subtle.

In the first verse he describes faith as having assurance in what we do not see.  This is a commendable thing.

He continues the concept of seeing and not seeing throughout the third verse.  God made something visible out of the invisible.  There was absolutely nothing to see when God was ready to create the universe because nothing existed.

God couldn’t see anything … yet He created the universe.  We can’t see God … yet we must have faith in Him and have assurance that He exists.

This concept is important.

The Greek word for ‘world’ or ‘universe’ is generally ‘kosmos.’  Of course you recognize that word.  But, in Hebrews, the author uses a different word (aeon) – or one that we would recognize as ‘eon.’  It means ‘through the ages.’

The author used it both in this instance and at the beginning of Hebrews (Hebrews 1:2), in writing of the entirety of the universe – in both space and time.  Interestingly enough, He considers God to be continuing His creation … it encompasses all of space and time.

This author loves language, the study of using language, rhetoric and has an amazing vocabulary.  It would have been fun to get to know him personally … he challenged his readers to step outside their regular world and understand God in a big way.

November 17 – Hebrews 10:35-39. Live by Faith.


November 17 – Hebrews 10:35-39. Live by Faith.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, 
         “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”  
         “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”  

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Stepping out in faith or not ‘shrinking back’ doesn’t necessarily mean walking up to the biggest bully on the playground and challenging him/her to a fight.  We don’t have to wear our Christianity as a challenge to the world.

Living in faith… living by faith is a much more intimate thing and something that we do daily when we choose to walk in a relationship with God.

Living by faith means that when we are faced with more month than salary, we trust that God will give us a way to get through it rather than spending nights poring over our budget and panicking.

Living by faith means that when our children don’t act correctly or get poor grades or are just in the middle of adolescence, we pray constantly for them, do our best to understand them and continue to discipline and hold high expectations for them with consistency, knowing that God called us to do this.

Living by faith means that when it seems as if the world is tearing us apart, we refuse to believe that we will fall apart – God’s got it even when we don’t. The sun will rise every day and God will love us and support us and help us make the best decision regarding our situation.

We don’t shrink back from this relationship with God because it seems too difficult or alien according to the ways of the world.  We choose to walk with God.

November 16 – Hebrews 10:32-34. Me? Suffer?

Friday, November 18, 2011


November 16 – Hebrews 10:32-34.  Me? Suffer?

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

When I first became a Christian, it seemed as if everyone around me was also a Christian.  I’m pretty sure that I was blind to the fact that many of my friends weren’t.  In fact, I know that I missed a lot of that.  However, the world was pretty tolerant of all us crazy people carrying our Bibles and being ready at a moment’s notice to tell people how we met Jesus and how He was changing our life.

There wasn’t a great deal of insult and persecution. In fact, people seemed to be a lot more polite in those days about nearly everything.  They didn’t feel as if they had the right to step into another person’s life and inform them of all the things they were doing wrong.

Then came the day when I told my husband that I no longer felt as if I was accepted as a Christian because I didn’t have the same political beliefs as those who stood up and proclaimed their faith loudly to gain support from others of faith.  I didn’t agree with them and in essence, I was told that my faith didn’t count for much.

I was persecuted by those who proclaimed their Christianity loudly and with much banging of Bibles against podiums.

We claim persecution comes from all around us – it’s especially growing in the media and on television shows.  No longer is the bad guy a cult member or a mentally unstable psychopath – no we find that He (or she) bases his terrible behavior on Christian beliefs. Christians are ridiculed on sitcoms as well.

In the first century, Christians faced persecution because they believed in Jesus Christ and that went against everything the Roman government stood for.  Today … I’m afraid we have brought a great deal of this persecution on ourselves. As Christians, we are more apt to throw the first stone and publicly denounce sins of everyone around us; we call ourselves Christians on Sunday and act like demons in our workplace, at the ballparks, with our neighbors, in our children’s lives (school, ballgames, activities, etc.,).  There’s a whole lot of moralistic righteousness and not a lot of Jesus’ love in us.  We don’t suffer much because we just plain won’t allow that kind of behavior.

November 15 – Hebrews 10:26-31. Living God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


November 15 – Hebrews 10:26-31. Living God.

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

Do you believe in God? Do you believe that He is the Creator of the Universe?

Religions all over the earth believe in Supreme Beings … Christians believe in a living God.  He is alive and active in our lives, in the lives of our friends and families, in the lives of those we don’t care for so much, in the entirety of the world.

In 1966, TIME magazine published an issue with a very bold cover that asked, “Is God Dead?” Nietzsche’s philosophy was behind the God is Dead movement.  He said that the self-centeredness of humanity had killed God.

If you look around, it might actually seem as if we are fighting a losing battle.  Some of my favorite television shows seem to have a recurring theme – all of the evil in the world right now is perpetrated by those who call themselves Christians.  How can God live when the world perceives Christians as liars and horrendous people?

The thing Nietzsche didn’t understand was that God’s life isn’t like Tinkerbell … He doesn’t require the participation of humanity to be alive.  We don’t have to clap for Him to give Him life.  He simply is.

God is alive.  It would be terrifying to come before a living God were it not for the fact that we have a mediator – a Savior – one who stands before God in our favor.

God is alive. We have a Savior.

November 14 – Hebrews 10:25. Encourage One Another.

Monday, November 14, 2011


November 14 – Hebrews 10:25. Encourage One Another.

Let us not giving 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.

I have a couple of friends who are glad to tell me that they missed me in church on Sunday.  It never sounds like they really missed me – it actually sounds like they are chiding me for not being there.  I don’t actually feel encouraged, I feel like I’m in trouble. Is that how you approach people?

The author of Hebrews calls on us to be practical in our love for the Christian community in which we participate – whether it is local, regional or worldwide.

Several weeks ago, I was appalled at the lack of Christian response to a true call for help.  I was far enough away from the situation, there was nothing I could do practically, I could only watch in shock.

A young mom was completely at her wits’ end.  Two small children had been sick, she didn’t feel well, her husband wasn’t well.  She hadn’t been able to get groceries, she had a first birthday party to plan for and she felt like her house was a mess.  She posted this all on Facebook and it didn’t fail.  Every single person responded that they would pray for her.

What?  That wasn’t nearly enough.  Who was going to step out of their own world to offer to pick up groceries, help her clean for the party, watch a sick child while she worked?  Finally one woman my age told her she was bringing a meal the next night.  Whew!

What has happened to us that we offer to pray, but offer no practical help?  That’s like walking past a starving man, patting him on the head and offering to pray.  I understand that one or two people may not be able to do anything, due to other things going on … but the list of prayer offerings was enormous, with only one offering of help.

As part of a community, we have to do more than just pray for each other, if there is something more that is needed.  We have to actively participate in the community and build it up … encourage each other.  We have to!

November 13 – Hebrews 10:19-24. Hold Unswervingly to Hope.


November 13 – Hebrews 10:19-24. Hold Unswervingly to Hope.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Now that’s a statement.  One can really mess with us if we think about it.

We profess a lot of hope, don’t we!  But, we don’t always act as if we believed that Jesus really is faithful.

We say that we trust Him, but work ourselves into insanity trying to make sure that there will be plenty of money for generations to come.  We say that He is Lord, but forget about communicating with Him the minute we get to work (unless we in desperate need of a quick fix for something stupid we’ve done).  We say that we believe He saved us, but we don’t actually share our faith with people – either friends or strangers – because everyone gets to believe whatever makes them happy, right?

We hope that we will make it to heaven when we die, but we are absolutely terrified of dying and go through all sorts of machinations to hold it off as long as possible.

We profess hope, but we don’t hold to it unswervingly.  We swerve a lot.  That says quite a bit about our trust in a faithful Lord.  It’s much easier to trust in our own competence and our own strong, right arm.

What ways can you choose to hold unswervingly to hope offered to you by the One who is faithful this week?

November 12 – Hebrews 10:15-18. No More Sacrifice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


November 12 – Hebrews 10:15-18. No More Sacrifice.

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 
     “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.”  

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

And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

When God made the first covenant with Abraham, he promised to make Abraham’s descendants as many as stars that fill the sky.  When He renewed the covenant under Moses, He set the Law down for the entirety of the people of Israel.  The priests who came from the tribe of Levi were responsible for helping the people to remember the Law, for accepting the sacrifices and for bringing the atonement sacrifice before God once a year.  For the most part, the people of Israel were part of the community and had little personal responsibility to God.  They had a responsibility to the community, but not a relationship with God Himself.

As you read the history of Israel, you find that the kings had a lot to do with the fortunes or misfortunes of the people.  The king was the one who led the people – whether it was worshiping other idols or living righteous lives.  Individuals stepped out, but it seems as if Israel was a single entity.

The new covenant, spoken of in Jeremiah, would change all that.  God intended to write His laws on the minds of the individual and place it in a person’s heart.  No longer could a person claim that they were part of a singular entity such as the people of Israel, a person was responsible for his or her own relationship with God.

But with this new covenant, the sacrificial system needed to be radically transformed.  Each individual couldn’t approach the Holy of Holies.  Too many people, too little space and besides, the Law required there be specific purification rituals so as to not offend God.

We needed Jesus.  With one sacrifice, He set the old system aside.  We no longer need to offer sacrifices for our sins.  We simply need to accept Him as our Lord and Savior … the perfect sacrifice.

November 11 – Hebrews 10:11-14. Are You Perfect?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


November 11 – Hebrews 10:11-14. Are You Perfect?

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

What is your image of perfection? Is it a glorious mountain view, or an undisturbed beach? Do you need to have a perfectly groomed lawn or insist on your children looking like your standards of perfection? Do you find perfection in mathematics or the written word?

How do you handle imperfections?  Do they drive you crazy and you feel as if you need to comment on them to show that you’ve got it right?

Do imperfect people infuriate you?

What does the word perfect mean to you?

Our lives have gotten so out of control – we are busy with everything and never have time to relax or slow down.  We run from one thing to another and sometimes the only way to manage ourselves is to insist that there is a level of perfection in the people and things surrounding us – we gain some sense of control over life that way.

What would you do if all that imperfection was gone?  Even those things within ourselves that are so error-filled, or messed up we can hardly function if we think about them for too long.

I think we just need to relax.  Jesus has got it.  While we work toward perfection, He’s absolutely certain we will never attain it in this life.  If we could, we wouldn’t need Him.

But, He does promise us that someday His perfection will be ours.

Relax.  Release.  Jesus has got it.

November 10 – Hebrews 10:8-10. How to be Holy.


November 10 – Hebrews 10:8-10. How to be Holy.

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

How hard do you work at being holy?

Sometimes I think we get it all twisted up – that it is our job to be holy, that we have to work at it and that we have to prove to God that we’ve done everything in our power to be holy.

Peter says “Be holy in all you do.” (1 Peter 1:15), but he goes on to explain that our purification comes from obeying the truth.  We are purified because we obey Jesus Christ, not because we do anything by ourselves.

He made us holy by His sacrifice.  We don’t make ourselves holy by our actions.

November 9 – Hebrews 10:5-7. Jesus Pleased God.

Friday, November 11, 2011


November 9 – Hebrews 10:5-7. Jesus Pleased God.

Therefore, 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, my God.’ ” 

God was tired of the manner in which the people of Israel offered sacrifices.  They did it out of a sense of duty, not because they desired to please God or simply be in relationship with Him.  Sacrifices were only offered to stave off punishment – it was all about maintaining the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law.

We know exactly what that looks like.

How many Sundays have you dragged yourself and your family out of bed, argued the entire morning and then show up to church because you know if you aren’t there, someone will notice and might make a comment.  If there are more of these Sunday mornings than you care to acknowledge, you are offering sacrifices God is not pleased with.

How many times have you let the offering plate go past you, hoping no one notices that you don’t much anything in – or maybe you put a pittance in – because you are trying to pay off bills for things you didn’t really need.  You are offering sacrifices God is not pleased with.

There are so many more examples of this in our lives today, but fortunately we have a Savior who stepped into the middle of all of this and said, “Here I am … I have come to do your will, my God.”

This is finally the offering that God was pleased with and we are the recipients of the grace that comes with that sacrifice.

Our sins are just as great as the Israelites when it comes to true worship of God. We can’t set that aside, but Jesus can and He did.

November 8 – Hebrews 10:1-4. Good Things are Coming.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


November 8 – Hebrews 10:1-4. Good Things are Coming.

The 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. Otherwise, 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. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Do you really believe that it is going to get better than this?  Do you truly believe that there is a heaven and that it is going to be greater than anything you know on earth?  Some of you will say, “I definitely hope so!”  But, I want to know if you believe that YES it really is!

When Mom was dying, I remember curling up on her hospital bed beside her and holding on one evening. We were all alone in the room and I asked her if she believed she was going to heaven.  Without hesitation, she said yes. Then, she said with a chuckle, “But if there is no heaven, I’ll never know, so it’s better for me to believe.”

I think that we all have that hesitating question in the back of our minds.  Will we end up where there is no more sorrow or pain, where death no longer exists and we can be in the presence of God?

This is one of the promises that the Bible never stops repeating. This is the reason that Jesus Christ came to earth and offered His life.  He wants us to know for certain that there is a place for us in the temple of God. He told us that He was preparing that place as a groom prepares a home for his bride.

This life is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – this is not the good stuff.

November 7 – Hebrews 9:25-28. One Death.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7 – Hebrews 9:25-28. One Death.

Nor 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. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Christ died, once for all.  With the population crossing the seven billion mark, it is a good thing he doesn’t have to suffer every time one of us screws up – that wouldn’t be sacrifice, that would simply be torture.

When Jesus became like us – human, he took on flesh and chose to exist as a human being.  Since we only die once, it would only be right that Jesus would die just one time.  He was given one opportunity to offer his life for the sins of every person who ever lived.  That was all it took. He needed no more than that to deal with sin and death.

The next time he returns it will be to bring salvation.  

November 6 – Hebrews 9:23-24. Jesus Offered.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


November 6 – Hebrews 9:23-24. Jesus Offered.

It 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. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.

The tabernacle and the temple were purified by sacrifices made with animal blood … the animal’s life was poured out over the items that God had asked Moses to create as representative of what could be found in heaven.

Isn’t it interesting that God had given humanity dominion over the earth and everything that existed within it at the time of creation and then, when sin had transformed God’s creation, rather than asking the sinners to sacrifice their own lives to atone for sin, He ensured there would be something else that was acceptable.

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, testing Abraham’s commitment to the relationship, God provided a ram instead.  He would never take the life of one of His own children as a sacrifice, would he!

No, He never would.

Jesus offered His life in sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.  This was no testing of Jesus’ commitment, this was no command from God.  God didn’t take Jesus’ life, Jesus offered it. A willing sacrifice for the sins of anyone who would ever live.

Because of this, no one else would be asked to sacrifice for sin.  We don’t have to sacrifice any part of God’s creation, we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves.

Jesus did it all.

November 5 – Hebrews 9:19-22. Blood of the Covenant.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


November 5 – Hebrews 9:19-22. Blood of the Covenant.

When Moses had proclaimed every command 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. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”  In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

When I was in high school, my grandfather and I went out to eat together a lot.  He was an interesting old guy, absolutely brilliant with a crazy sense of humor and more than willing to flirt with a pretty waitress, so time spent with him was never dull.  One night, he ordered steak and I was surprised to hear him tell the waitress, when she asked how he wanted his steak prepared, that he wanted it rare … bloody rare.  Then he simply told her to ask the chef to wave the meat at the flame and bring it to him.  My mother preferred her steak rare and taught me to like it the same way.

Orthodox Jews will not eat bloody meat because of their strong belief that blood and life are so intertwined.

Genesis 9:3–6 (NIV)
“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.  “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”

Leviticus 17:13–14 (NIV)
 “‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”

Deuteronomy 12:23 (NIV)
But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.

Life was meant to be offered back to God.  The blood of the sacrifice was not something to be wasted or cast aside, it was life and all life was sacred.  The sacrifice made on the Day of Atonement (we know this as Yom Kippur today) was for the forgiveness of sins for the people of Israel.

Exodus 24:8 says, “Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

But, Jesus says in Matthew 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

The sacrifice made on the day Jesus died on the Christ is and will always be for everyone.

November 4 – Hebrews 9:16-18. The Will is In Force.

Friday, November 4, 2011


November 4 – Hebrews 9:16-18. The Will is In Force.

In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.

For there to be an inheritance, there must be a will.  The author of Hebrews now begins to discuss the fact that death is required for a will to be in force and for the inheritance to be distributed.

Let’s go back really quickly to the second verse of Hebrews.

“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:2)

The Son is the heir of all things.  Do you notice, though, the next part of that sentence?  God created all things through the Son. The Son was made the heir of everything that he, acting as God’s agent – the Word of God, created.

Now, back to chapter 2 for one more point.

“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human 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.” (Hebrews 2:17)

As high priest and the one who atoned for our sins, and because He became like us to set aside death for us, Jesus made it possible for us to become co-heirs with Him to the kingdom of God.

It was His death that set the will into force, so that we can receive the inheritance that was promised.

November 3 – Hebrews 9:15. Our Inheritance.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


November 3 – Hebrews 9:15. Our Inheritance.

For 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.

You are one of the called.  I am one of the called.  In fact, there is no one that hasn’t been called by Christ.

The new covenant has been set in place so that we can receive the promised eternal inheritance.

If you think about the word inheritance, what comes to mind?  Money? Furniture? Jewelry? Homes?  What are some of the things that you might expect from an inheritance.

We all know full well that Jesus isn’t going to give us any of those things.  All of our needs will be met, we will even receive a place in His home.  The things that come as part of this inheritance are not things at all.

The promise that there will be no more mourning or pain, there will be no more death.  God himself will wipe our tears.  He will be with us, He will live with us.  This is our inheritance.  It is worth more than any amount of money, it is more beautiful than any piece of jewelry.  It is a love like we yearn for every moment of our lives.

November 2 – Hebrews 9:11-14. Jesus Makes it Possible.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


November 2 – Hebrews 9:11-14. Jesus Makes it Possible.

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He 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, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The 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. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Under the old covenant, a high priest could enter God’s presence in the Most Holy Place once a year. He was chosen from all the other priests, spent an inordinate amount of time preparing himself for entry and then presented sacrifices to atone for the sin of himself and the people.  Year after year this happened, to ensure the relationship between God and His people.

But that cleansing through the blood sacrifice was never enough – it only cleansed the people outwardly … their hearts were still a mess – especially when you consider how truly far away from the heart of God they were.

I think about my computer keyboard.  I dust if off and rid it of the dirt that is on the surface so that it looks good, but gunk gets under the keys and gums up the workings.  My keyboard ends up with problems and I have to replace it. The surface cleaning didn’t do much good in the long run.  A pretty keyboard that doesn’t work is as useless as a filthy keyboard with the same issues.

We can pretty up our Christianity by attending church, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, giving to the poor when the offering plate goes around, maybe attend a mission trip or two; but as long as our hearts aren’t purified, we really aren’t in a relationship with the living God.

However, knowing Jesus, accepting Him as our Savior, recognizing the great sacrifice that He made for us and living lives that reflect those things does take us deeper into that relationship with God.

He made it possible.  All we have to do is accept that and live like we accept it.

November 1 – Hebrews 9:6-10. The Tabernacle – Our Heart.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


November 1 – Hebrews 9:6-10. The Tabernacle – Our Heart.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But 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. The 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 functioning. This 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. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

Do you have friends that seem to spend an inordinate amount of time rearranging things around them until they can be satisfied with their space?  Or maybe you are one of those people who isn’t comfortable until everything around you is set up in a certain manner.  It’s actually embarrassing when you do it in someone else’s home, isn’t it!

Precise arrangement in God’s house was imperative.  God wanted things to be placed and handled, designed and created in a specific manner to represent His home on earth.  It was this precise handling of God’s plan that helped His people become aware of the care that He had put into the covenant relationship.  In responding to it with such care, the people honored God’s plan and that which He asked them to do.

Are you more careful of the things you say and do when you are in a church than when you are anywhere else?  While I laughingly tell my friends that we should act the same way we do in a church as we do in the rest of our lives, the reality is that when the curtain in the temple was ripped apart at Christ’s crucifixion, God was no longer to be found only in the temple … or any of our churches.  He is found in our hearts.  If we go to church … offering our sacrifices … and then live like heathens the rest of the time with no thought given to God being present within us … these are the offerings that God rejects.  They are only external offerings and can do nothing to transform us or enhance our relationship with Him.

Going into a church building and acting like we believe a Christian should act will not clear our conscience, will not change our hearts, will not allow us to draw closer to God. Living as if God’s presence is alive and active within us, through us and out from us is possible because the Great High Priest gave us entrance into the most personal, holy place that God resides … our hearts.