Hebrews 3

Are you a fan? A fan of a team or a movie star or an athlete or anything? I am a Chevrolet fan. I own 2. When I talk about one of the two, my 57, my eyes glass over, my lips curl into a smile, my speech speeds up and even gets a little louder. I am a fan of Rusty and I love to talk about him.

The writer of Hebrews is a fan of Jesus. One of the biggest fans. Rightly so. Who else is worthy of our attention and affection? Who else has saved us and who else intercedes for us? There have been great men, great servant leaders, Moses was one. But as great as Moses was as a leader, Jesus is better.

“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”[a] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”

We have only one day to do what we have to do. That day is today. All we can do is work in the moment that we are in. If we knew we were dying what would do? Put our affairs in order. What day do we put our affairs in order? Today.

““Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.””

We get right now. What will we do with it?

Jesus loves us and died to

Prove it. He lives now to intercede for us. Have you accepted his gift yet?

I think I slipped into rabid used car salesman mode. “What’s it going to take to get you into this…?.” Im not selling anything. Jesus is giving us freedom, forgiveness, family and salvation.

““Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.””

It’s today. Now what?

Our humble master

Hebrews 2

The writer compels us to remember Jesus message and ministry. A ministry that was affirmed by miracles. Blind men seeing, lame men walking, the dead being brought back to life.

Jesus is Lord of all creation, and Lord over all creation. The title Lord means he is the boss. He is the boss of me.

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

Jesus, the only Son of God took on human form so that he might experience life like we live it. He suffered, he was tempted and yet he didn’t sin.

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] 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. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

We have a savior who can sympathize with us. He is God and yet he became a man. He suffered through temptation, he suffered death all to give us a way out of our slavery to sin and death.

Jesus loves us. He loves me. He loves you. He loves us. How will we respond to this great love?

Boundless

It’s a brand new year. 2019.

Want to try something new this year? How about being bathed in love and forgiveness? To be submerged in mercy? Graced with a love we cannot fathom or find the ends of?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

This is what Gods love is like.

The love God has for us is an endless fountain. Giving, giving and giving still more. Someone once said that God’s Love is an ocean, without bottom and without shores. Boundless. The picture of it is the picture of Jesus, who is God in flesh, living a perfect life and the being tortured and crucified for us, that is, in our place.

Who knows what a day holds? Will you receive Jesus gift for us today? Will we begin this year different than any other year? Clean, forgiven and loved….welcomed into an eternal family.

Please consider this gift – Jesus is waiting to welcome us. Yes I will be there too because I have accepted this gift and am now experiencing Gods love, his forgiveness and mercy and am part of this eternal family.

Join us. Join us Today.

I am in process

My personal restoration process.

I work at a chemical plant. My job is in process controls. I create the computer graphics and logic so that an operator can click a button on a screen and a valve will open somewhere in the plant. I always hope it’s the correct valve.

Occasionally There are conditions that I have to insert in the logic. Like don’t open valve X if tank Y is above level Z. It’s called interlock logic.

I have talked and talked about Gods unconditional love for us. He has shown us how much he loves us by giving up his only son Jesus. Jesus died to pay for our sin. He rose again to show that he has defeated death and to give us hope of eternal life.

God has given us his Unconditional love, but there is one small tiny catch. Gods love for us is unconditional as long as it is flowing. His love must flow into us to wash us and forgive us, and flow out of us, for us to forgive others. As soon as his love begins to pool in us, as soon as we stop forgiving others, it stops flowing to us. There is an interlock on God’s forgiveness.

We see Jesus teach this principle at the end of the Lord’s prayer.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]

but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Jesus shared a story to illustrate this point. It’s found in Matthew 18

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

I think Gods #1 priority is restoration. Our restoration. In my world it’s my restoration. The fuel of Gods restoration process is forgiveness. When a project runs out of fuel it stops. When forgiveness stops flowing in my life my restoration stops. I cannot have enemies. Not from my point of view anyway. Others can hate me but I cannot hate them back. It goes deeper than that. I cannot hold unmet expectations over someone’s head. I must forgive them, let go of the expectations and love them at ground zero, that place at the foot of the cross where I get my forgiveness. It’s level there. No steps to climb. No podiums to stand on. No hoops to jump through. No bars to leap over or to break through. Free access to Jesus and his forgiveness. As long as I give it away in the same way I receive it.

Father God thank you for beginning my restoration. Thank you for giving your son to die in my place. Forgive me when I fail to forgive others. Help me to keep the flow of your love and forgiveness moving in my life by giving it away in the same manner in which it was given, freely and lavishly.

New Year’s Eve

It is New Year’s Eve. 2018 is almost in the books. Some of this year has been very good. Some of it not so much. We did some amazing things. But some of my bad habits followed me. I tend to focus on my failures because I want to not repeat them. I opened my bible ap and this is what I read:

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

I believe in and worship and follow and am lead by an invisible God. I believe he created and sustains everything that exists. The earth will revolve on its axis and the sun will appear on the eastern horizon because a God who can create everything from nothing has said it should be so. God has revealed himself in a couple of ways, through his word, the Bible and through his son, Jesus. This Jesus lived a perfect life, and yet was brutally killed. We sing about his death. I was struck with how odd that must sound to people who don’t know the story. Why do we sing about his death? We believe that his death paid for our sins and we believe that death could not hold this Jesus, that he physically rose from the dead three days later. We believe that since death cannot hold Jesus, that it also has no power over those who believe in him.

This is the eve of a an old year being changed into a new year. Will you give some serious thought tonight about asking God to make changes in your life? I am. I am asking God to help me in how I spend my time and how I spend my money. I have already given him my heart and life and he has forgiven me all of my sin and welcomed me into his family. He will do the same to anyone who will confess with their mouth that he is their Lord, and believe in their heart that he rose from the dead.

Will you let God do a new thing in your life in 2019?

Angels

Hebrews 1

Do you believe in Angels?

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 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. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”

At the perfect time God sent his son to provide purification for our sins.

Our sins are paid for. Nothing else need be done. Jesus did it all and he he did it for all of us.

Angels exist. Jesus is their superior.

“5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father”[a]?

Or again,

“I will be his Father,

and he will be my Son”[b]?

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”’

The Angels have work to do among us. Maybe not so much like the Hallmark Channel portrays but they do serve us Christians.

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

They are not genies. They work on our behalf, not for us. We don’t control them, Jesus does, but they are there.

Do I believe in Angels? Yes. I also believe in their master and my savior, Jesus.

Sin…?

I’m shopping. It’s the season right? I’m shopping for which book of the bible to read next. I’ve read the first chapter of Titus, Hebrews and 1 Thessalonians. I’m hoping for a spiritual nudge but so far none has come.

I’m leaning towards 1 Thessalonians but I wonder if a day or two on vocabulary would be helpful?

The bible and those who live by its texts use words that are unfamiliar to our culture. The most basic Christian principle and word that is misunderstood and misused and maligned is sin.

I am not a theologian so check what I say out. Don’t take my word for it. Investigate.

This is what I’ve been taught and how I understand it. Sin is anything less than perfection. The word means Missing the mark. In other words, Not a bullseye. If we shoot a million arrows at a target and miss one, it doesn’t matter if we shoot another million arrows and hit bullseyes every time. We missed one. We are not perfect. We sinned. We can’t erase our bad shot with more good shots. Like that, Our spiritual record is based on our lifetime encompassing all our actions and thoughts over our entire life.

Sin is anything less than a perfect score. A sinner is one with a score anything less than perfect. Perfect in thought word and deed. Things we have done- and things we have left undone.

I’m out. Out of perfection. I’m in the group called sinners. We are all in the same boat, sinners separated from our father God.

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:10-18

In contrast:

God is absolutely perfect. We have trouble conceiving that. Nothing around us is perfect or pure. I think about it this way; God is like a diamond. He has many facets but no matter how I turn and twist Him it’s still him, solid, pure, transparent, dazzling.

God cannot associate with sin but he loves us sinners. What to do?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:16-18

He sacrificed his only son, whose perfect life and undeserved death covered over, paid for, redeemed, forgave our sin. God sees us now through the lens of Jesus substitutionary death. He sees us as perfect. All we have to do is accept Gods gift of Jesus and we are made clean.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Romans 5:6-11

Sin: it’s ugly. It’s pervasive, everybody has it and does it. Jesus death, his blood that he shed washes us, all of of us who have accepted it, clean.