Blood shed

The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were shrinking back into Judaism due to the double persecution they faced. Jews were hated by the Romans and were mistreated but then if a Jew became a follower of Jesus then they were also hated and ostracized and even persecuted by their fellow Jews. It was tempting to give it up and just go back to Judaism so some of the persecution would stop. Hebrews was written to explain how Christianity was the new better thing. How the rituals and practices of temple worship had all been foreshadowing Jesus.

In chapter 9 the writer compares the temple sacrifices to the ministry of Jesus.

“And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

Hebrews 9:22-28 – NASB

There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. For the Old Testament believers it was the blood of animals, but it all pointed to the one perfect sacrifice, God who became a man, Jesus who then gave his own life to pay for my sin, for our sin. One sacrifice for all time, for all sin.

Thank you Jesus. You paid the price for my sin, for our sin.

Jesus, Priest and King

Genesis 14 tells the story of an ancient war. In the battles and raids Abrams nephew Lot and his family are taken captive. Abram mobilizes his strike force of 318 men, and along with some local allies defeated the invaders and recovers all the loot they stole along with Lot and his family.

 

As he is returning he is met by Melchizedek who is both high priest of the most high God and he is king of Salem (which means peace). Melchizedek greets him with wine and bread and blesses him. Abram gives him a tenth of the spoils of war.

 

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.”

Genesis 14:18-20 – NASB

 

It’s like they had church. They had the elements of communion, they took an offering and there was a blessing of Abram and a blessing of God.

 

We read about Jesus and wine and bread in 1 Corinthians 11, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – NASB

 

Abram celebrates victory over enemies and release for captives with bread and wine and a tithe, a tenth of all he collected. We celebrate our victory and our freedom over sin and death with bread and wine which are symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood. And we tithe, we give of all we have received.

 

Abram died looking forward to the hope of a messiah. Today we know and have seen and believe in God’s promised one, our hope, our priest of the most high God and our king of Peace.

 

Personally I need Jesus to be my king of peace right now. Unsettling, disruptive chaotic change has come into our life and I need Jesus to be my rock, my stability, my peace.

 

Lord Jesus you are my hope of forgiveness and freedom, be my rock of stability, may I also see you as my king of peace.

He is watching….

He is watching.

Not Santa, Jesus, Jesus is watching. Not to see if i do wrong but to see if I do right.

Matthew 25s third story is about Jesus weeding us out, separating genuine believers from false believers.

“Matthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ‘

My behavior counts but not in a points score. My behavior shows the condition and attitude of my heart.

If I want to change my behavior step one is a heart transplant.

Ezekiel says about God’s intent for us, “Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”

What are the statutes and ordinances?

“Matthew 22:37-40 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ‘

I have accepted Jesus as my savior, his death and resurrection cover my sin and make it possible for me to be counted as a sheep. The way I treat others will show Jesus my sheepness.

(Originally posted 9-15-17)

Jesus our high priest

In my suggested bible reading the group of scriptures for September are showing who Jesus is. Today I read Hebrews 7. In the chapter the writer compares the priesthood of Melchizedek and Jesus. The writer also compares The priesthood of the descendants of Aaron to that of Jesus.

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:23-25 – NASB

Jesus is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him. He is fully engaged in my salvation and is interceding for me even now.

Sons of Aaron are also sons of Adam and have inherited our sin nature. As priests, The sin offerings they offered had to cover their own sins as well as the people they were serving but not so with Jesus.

“For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

Hebrews 7:26-28 – NASB

Jesus is sinless. He offered himself once and for all for all of our sins. He is my high priest and he is Himself the sacrifice for my sin, for our sin.

Thank you Jesus.

Still fogging the mirror

While we were in the hospital the question came up, “why can’t I just go home to Jesus?”

Who wants to suffer? Who wants to keep slugging it out? Why keep working and fighting? Paul wrestled with the same question in 2 Corinthians.

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

If we wake up in the morning and are still able to fog a mirror, There still must be a purpose on this earth for us.

Then again in his letter to the Philipians he says, “eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”

Keep on. Who needs to hear the good news? Everyone! Who will accept it? Some. I say this to myself, keep on going, Keep on sharing, keep on serving…He could come back today…or more likely, I could go to Him.

(Originally posted 9-13-16)

Who is my neighbor?

Luke 10. An expert in the law was close but not there yet. He summed up the entire Old Testament in two sentences.

Luke 10. An expert in the law was close but not there yet. He summed up the entire Old Testament in two sentences.

27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

He understood it all intellectually and could sum it up better than anyone But with his next question he showed that the message hadn’t taken his knowledge the 12″ south to his heart.

Who is my neighbor?

I have talked about the list of people that I pray for. Sometimes I don’t get a chance to pray through my list so while I’m on my way, I will ask the question “who should I pray for?” Who should I pray for? Come on Peter! Let’s make it quicker, Who should you not pray for? No one. Everyone, every person I know that’s who I should pray for. And every person I don’t know.

The answer to the mans question, who is my neighbor is “yes”. Yes, they are your neighbor. The person in trouble, they are your neighbor, the ethnic group the has historically been outcast, they are my neighbor, the downtrodden, those in power, those in prison, those that are sick, those that are well, the young the old. If they are breathing, they are my neighbor.

Who is my neighbor? Yes. Who should I pray for? Who should I be actively involved in sharing Jesus with? Yes. Who should I be servant to? Yes.

How am I doing? Not so good all the time.

Personal Soil Analysis

Luke chapter 8. It starts out with the parable of the sower and the seed.

“While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ” ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

There are hard hearts that will not receive the seed of good news that Jesus loves them and died for them. There are other hearts that will hear, accept it, flourish for a short time and then die away because their hearts are like rocky soil and the good news can’t take root. Then there are some hearts that will hear, will accept the word of God, will grow for awhile but will eventually be choked out by the cares of this world, money gathering, feeling good.

These three situations make me so sad. Thinking there are those who won’t make it. But I recognize myself and my life before I got saved in all of these situations. So it’s like the Christmas carol when Ebenezer is faced with his eminent death and he says “why show me this if I am beyond all hope?” Why would Jesus point out these heart conditions if there wasn’t a chance for us to recognize ourselves and ask God to change our hearts so that we can receive the word and become the soil that produces a hundred fold? Where am I today? Where are you? If we are bad soil will we pray for God to loosen up our hearts , to remove the rocks and weeds? If we are the good soil are we producing? Are we multiplying the seed that was planted in our hearts?

I have been the hard soil, I have been the rocky soil, and even now without diligence and Gods help and mercy I can easily be overrun with the cares of this world.

Jesus keep my heart clean and receptive to your word. Make me fruitful.

(Originally posted 9-11-15)