Hope and Rest – Grow in the Word

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“Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Hebrews 5:14 As we grow in the Word, we learn to use the Word in our daily life. It is a characteristic of little children that they lack discernment. A baby will put anything into its mouth. An immature believer will listen to any preacher on the radio or television and not be able to identify whether or not he is true to the scripture. The ability to discern good and evil is a vital part of Christian maturity. The nation of Israel in Moses’ day lacked this discernment and failed to claim its promised inheritance. The readers of the Book of Hebrews were in danger of making the same mistake. It is impossible to stand still in the Christian life. We move forward and claim God’s blessing, or we go backward and wander about aimlessly. Today our problem is that we don’t know God’s Word and we listen to preacher that are false prophets. We allow them to lead us away from God and His Word. We do not have the spiritual discernment that we should have. The only way to build your discernment is to stay in the Word of God. “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” (Philippians 1:9-10)

Hope and Rest – Jesus was Obedient

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“While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-8 On this side of the cross, we are used to hearing about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins so we forget this important truth, Jesus had a choice. The choice to redeem mankind or let mankind pay the price for Adam’s choice in the Garden. Mankind needed someone to intercede which is why Jesus volunteered for the role of Savior of the world. “He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” (1 John 2:2) Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus prayed this pray twice. He was man and He knew that there would be great suffering. The suffering was going to be bad but the worst was that He was going to be separate from God because with our sins on Jesus, God could not look at Jesus. The worst thing about hell is that we will be separate from God for all eternity. Jesus did have a choice in going to the cross. Just as we have a choice of following Jesus or not. In walking with God, obedience is greater than sacrifice. Just like all of us, Jesus had a free will to make the right choice. I have found that the greatest place to be is in the will of God. Are you walking […]

Hope and Rest – Jesus was Tempted

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“And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses.” Hebrews 5:2 To me it is an amazing thing that the God that created everything in the universe would come to earth and live as a human being. He did this just so He could take on our sins and save us from death. This is love that I just don’t understand. Jesus came so that He would know what it felt like to be human. He wanted to feel everything that we felt and He wanted to be tempted just as we are tempted. In the wilderness after Jesus had fasted forty days and nights, Satan tempted Jesus in all ways that we are tempted. He offered Him all the things of the world and Jesus was able to say no to Satan in every temptation that Satan gave Him. In all of the temptations, Jesus used the Word of God as His defense. Jesus’ response was, “It is written.” When we are tempted, we need to do as Jesus did and use the Word of God against Satan. Jesus had all the feelings that we have so He knows what we are going through. Jesus Christ is our High Priest because He knows all about us and He knows what we need in our times of weakness. “For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” (2 Corinthians 13:4)

Hope and Rest – High Priest

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“Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins.” Hebrews 5:1 No man can appoint himself as a priest; let alone a high priest. King Saul invaded the priesthood and lost his kingdom. (1 Samael 13) Korah and his fellow rebels tried to make themselves priest, and God judged them. (Numbers 16) When King Uzziah tried to enter the temple and burn incense, God smote him with leprosy. (2 Chronicles 26:16-21) Aaron was chosen by God to be the high priest, and he was duly ordained and installed in office. (Exodus 28) He was chosen from men to minister for men. His main task was at the altar: to offer the sacrifices God had appointed. Unless the sacrifices were offered in the right place by the right person, they were not accepted by God. Due to Adam and Eve in the garden, man is estranged from God. There needed to be a way to lead us back to God. By God’s grace, He instituted the whole Levitical system. Today that system is fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus Christ. He is both the sacrifice and the High Priest who ministers to God’s people on the basis of His once-and-for-all offering on the cross. Jesus ascended to heaven in a glorified body to become our High Priest at the throne of grace. When Aaron was ordained to the priesthood, he offered the sacrifices of animals. But Jesus Christ, to become our High Priest, offered the sacrifice of Himself and then arose from the dead.

Hope and Rest – Jesus Calms our Storms

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“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 “But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40) Here is a story of the disciples that had seen Jesus do miracle after miracle. He had healed a man with a withered hand. They had seen a paralytic man healed and walking. They had seen Jesus cast out demons with just His word. After seeing all of that, they still did not have faith in Jesus Christ that He would always be with them taking care of them. The disciples were just like us; they did not believe unless they could see it with their eyes or understand it with reason. We are all people of reason and logic and sometimes what Jesus does is not logical. We are too much a part of the world to have the faith that we should have. I have faith that no matter what, Jesus will be with me. I know that He holds the present and the future. I know that I can trust Him with my life. His grace is there to help me in any storm that occurs in my life. Jesus can […]

Hope and Rest – Jesus Understands

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This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15 When someone asks me if I have done something; I sometimes say, “Yes I have and I have the t-shirt to prove it.” Jesus can say the same thing. Jesus experienced the same things on earth as we have experienced in our life. Jesus had pain in His life. Jesus knew rejection. Jesus knew the temptations of sin just as we have experienced. Yet, He never sinned. This is one of the things that helps us relate to Jesus as our personal savior; He has been there and can relate to us on the basis of humanity. “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) During His time on earth, Jesus underwent temptation and trials so He would be fully equipped to serve as our High Priest. He dealt with difficult people and faced situations that were common in humanity and yet He was without sin. If He was to be our High Priest and defeat death, we needed the perfect sin substitute. By being the perfect sin substitute, Jesus gave us the freedom that we can enjoy today. Paul tells us, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way […]

Hope and Rest – Jesus our High Priest

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“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.” Hebrews 4:14 This week is Holy week leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the pinnacle of history. It was an event that changed the world forever. Satan just knew that when Jesus died on the cross that he had won the victory. Then Satan had a surprise, Jesus rose from the dead. Death could not hold Jesus Christ. Then Jesus entered heaven to be our High Priest. In the Old Testament the High Priest was the one that communicated with God; taking their burdens and their sin to God. Now we have a High Priest that is closer and a better High Priest than any priest in history. This High Priest is the Son of God and is in the place of honor beside God making intercessions for us. The blood of Jesus Christ washed away all of our sins and healed us from all of our hurts. The blood of Jesus Christ is what gives us a reason to live and the rest that we need as we walk with Jesus. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Jesus was asking this question to Martha. Today my question to you is, do you believe this? This Easter why don’t you answer that question? Let Jesus Christ be your High Priest.

Hope and Rest – God’s Word

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“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 How we think is dependent on how we were raised. It was dependent on our parents, on what part of the country we were raised in, if we were raised in the city or a rural area. Paul tell us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) How does God change us? He changes us by His Word. When we let the truth of the scripture rewrite our thoughts and attitudes, we can find the rest that God has for us. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) God has given us His Word so that with the Holy Spirit we can find all that God has for us. God’s Word is so powerful that with the Holy Spirit it can expose our innermost thoughts and desires. Do you want to know God? Do you want to have the rest that God has promised us? Then we must be in His Word transforming our minds […]

Hope and Rest – Know Jesus

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“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 If we are going to enter the rest that God has for us, we must know Jesus. We need to know Jesus, not just know about Jesus. “A man who was merely a man and said the things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.” (C.S. Lewis) There is no middle ground with Jesus; either we choose to follow Him or not. Jesus is the only one who can pardon us from our sins. Jesus gives purpose for living to men and women who know and obey Him. Jesus is the only one who can give you peace. Jesus is the only one who can give you the power to live a new life. Jesus’ birth, life, and death were foretold, predicted and recorded hundreds of years before the historic night in Bethlehem. Jesus is the bread of life. (John 6:35) Jesus is the light. (John 8:12) Jesus is […]

Hope and Rest – Build Your Life around Christ

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“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:31-33 The scripture that we have been writing about in Hebrews tells us that God has a rest provided for us. We have seen the Israelites were not able to enter their Canaan rest because they did not believe that God was able to take care of them. These scriptures in Matthew, Jesus tells us not to worry about anything. He tells us that God knows what we need before we even ask. This is what the rest of God is all about. It is about trusting God for everything in our lives. How do we enter this rest that God has for us? We enter it by building our lives around Jesus Christ. We may attend church on Sunday morning and maybe sometimes on Wednesday night, it just depends on what else we have on our schedule. Attending church is not even close to what we need to do in order to have the rest of God in our lives. Attending church is good, but it is only the beginning. We need to ask the Lord to be the Lord of our life. This mean our entire life. It means He is Lord at home, at work, at play and even at church. Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life. It has not always been that way. I found that I made a mess out of everything I did. I no longer wanted the job of controlling my life. So, I gave Him […]