dailybiblereader2012

Putting God's Word into Practice…

More Precious Than Jewels: Proverbs for Women

Thought I would just update anyone who may happen to read this blog that I have not quit reading the Bible ūüėČ ¬†God has led me to write our church’s women’s Bible study curriculum through the book of Proverbs. ¬†It is a big commitment and leaving little time for my journey through the New Testament. ¬†

If you read this, please say a prayer for me that God will keep me faithful and give me the grace to do His will and the time to write an impacting curriculum that leads our ladies to treasure the Word of God and grow in godly wisdom.  Thank you!

Leave a comment »

Hebrews 11:5-6 By Faith…

By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.  Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.  And without faith it is him possible to please him. Hebrews 11:5-6a

Could you imagine having faith so great that you could escape death? ¬†That’s what happened to Enoch. ¬†I wanted to find out more about Enoch, so I went all the way back to the beginning in Genesis 4 and 5. ¬†It was a little confusing because there were two Enoch’s–of all names. ¬†Cain–the brother slayer, who left the Lord’s presence to live in the land of wandering–had a son named Enoch. ¬†They built their own lives apart from God, living to honor themselves. ¬†But there was another Enoch! ¬†

Adam and Eve had a son after Abel’s death named Seth and several generations and hundreds of years later Enoch was born into this lineage of people who called upon the name of the Lord. ¬†We are only told a few things about Enoch in Genesis 5:21-24:

  1. At 65 years of age he fathered Methuselah
  2. For the next 300 years, he fathered other sons and daughters
  3. Twice we are told that Enoch walked with God.
  4. At 365 years of age, God took Enoch off the earth, never to be seen again.

The main thing we know is that Enoch walked with God, which can also be translated, Enoch pleased God.  And since we know that without faith it is impossible to please God, we can deduct that Enoch was a man of great faith.  To walk with someone, we have to be near them.  To draw near to someone, we have to believe that they exist.  Faith is the foundation of a life devoted to being near to God.

Those who walk with God are taken from life to eternal life! ¬†And only God has the authority to give and take life. ¬† He can do it whenever He pleases. ¬†Interestingly, Enoch was fairly young by cultural standards when God took him. ¬†He was only 365, while others listed in this genealogy¬†lived an average of 920 years. ¬†Just because someone’s life on earth ends early, does not mean that God was displeased with them–it may mean just the opposite!

One thing is certain, Enoch was known for walking with God. ¬†At the end of this life, by God’s grace, may this one thing be said of me, “She walked with God.”

2 Comments »

Hebrews 11:4 ~ By Faith, Abel

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.  And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.  Hebrews 11:4

The story of Cain and Abel’s sacrifices can be found in Genesis 4:1-16 in greater detail. ¬†Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. ¬†He was a worker of the land, a farmer. ¬†Abel was younger, and he was a keeper of sheep (a shepherd). ¬†Both men offered a sacrifice to God. Cain gave of the bounty of his land–I’m sure it was a plentiful and beautiful gift! ¬†Unfortunately vegetables don’t bleed! ¬†And God’s requirement for a sacrifice involves the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins. ¬†(They would have known this because God Himself instated the plan when He shed the blood of an innocent animal to provide a suitable covering for their parents in the Garden of Eden after they ate the forbidden fruit!)¬†Only the sacrificial death of a perfect lamb has the power to forgive sins, therefore God accepted Abel’s offering, and Abel was commended by God as righteous! ¬†

Abel’s faith, sacrifice and righteousness are a foreshadowing of the coming Christ.¬†John the Baptist proclaimed of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” ¬†When we are covered by Christ’s sacrifice, we are acceptable to God. ¬†There is no other way! No other hope! No other faith!

Cain became bitter and jealous of Abel for receiving God’s favor, so he killed him! ¬†He shed the blood of an innocent man and tried to hide from God. ¬†Abel’s faith saved him from eternal separation from God, but it did not save him out of his earthly circumstances. ¬†Faith offers eternal protection, life and joy; but it does not always equal earthly protection and healing. ¬†(As a side note: people who teach that God is withholding healing or good because of a lack of faith are mistaken! The physical death of a saved person IS eternal healing!)

Isn’t it cool that one of the first human beings to exist on planet Earth still speaks to us today through the commending of his faith in God and his willingness to believe that righteousness could only come through sacrifice?

Cain’s life still speaks to us too. ¬†Cain believed God existed–he even talked with Him. ¬†But Cain did not seek God. ¬†He refused to do things God’s way, rebuffed opportunities to repent, and rejected God’s presence. ¬†In fact Genesis 4:16 says, “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and SETTLED IN THE LAND OF WANDERING, east of Eden.” ¬†Cain settled for far less–settled for wandering. ¬†Isn’t that a good picture of our culture today? ¬†Maybe that’s how you feel about life sometimes–just wandering through, day in and day out. ¬†

Faith in Jesus Christ is the only answer.  He saves us out of wandering and wondering; gives us confidence, freedom, joy and hope.  Through faith in His sacrifice on the cross we are made acceptable to God!

Leave a comment »

Hebrews 11:3 ~ Faith Hall of Fame Induction

Yesterday, Coach Rick Pitino was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame and finished up the day with a NCAA Championship trophy in his hands. ¬†I also read an article yesterday about my friend from college, being inducted into the Bluffton College Hall of Fame. ¬†Although those are commendable accolades, there is a greater hall of fame into which anyone can be instated–no skills required–only great faith! ¬†

Hebrews 11 is a chapter that lists many people of great faith–names most recognize like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Samson, and David. ¬†But do you know who is at the head of the list? ¬†Verse 3 starts the list this way, “By faith ‘WE’.” ¬†Those who believe the following words, are in God’s Hall of Fame for faith:

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3

What we believe about the creation of the world is foundational to faith!

In creation God–by His Word–took what was invisible and made it visible. ¬†In Christ, the Word of God (John 1:1-3, 14), the invisible attributes of God became visible (Colossians 1:15-17).

Starting at creation, the hope of mankind rested on God’s promise of sending a Savior. ¬†Those who believed by faith, fixed their eyes on the promise. ¬†Since Jesus came into the world, our hope rests on Jesus’ return or our going to Him. ¬†Our eyes are fixed on the promise, and we walk by faith! ¬†Everything, including the creation of the world, points to Jesus Christ as Savior of all mankind.

What we believe about creation is imperative to faith. ¬†If we don’t believe God is mighty enough to create everything we see from nothing, how can He be powerful enough to save by taking our visible sins and making them invisible?

I don’t want to believe in a god who does not have the authority to speak a world into existence! ¬†He would be less than all-powerful. ¬†The God I believe in is worthy of hope and confidence, and He alone is still able to create new life in our hearts!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. Romans 1:20a

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ¬†He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3, 14

Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn of ALL creation. ¬†For by him ALL THINGS were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible–ALL THINGS were created through him and for him. ¬†And he is before ALL THINGS and in him ALL THINGS hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

1 Comment »

Hebrews 10:35-11:2, 11:6 ~ The Overwhelming Value of Faith

I started reading Hebrews 11 last Wednesday and haven’t gotten past verse 2 and 6. ¬†For nearly six days I have been meditating on the word, “FAITH!”–specifically saving faith, unwavering faith, persevering faith, commendable faith and rewarded faith. ¬†Circumstances have arisen over the past week that have made me feel hopeless and in effect lessened my faith in God’s power to save. ¬†That backed me up into Hebrews 10 where two phrases caught my attention, “Do not throw away your confidence,” and “For you have need of endurance.” ¬†God reminded me that faith does not build endurance, but the testing of our faith builds endurance (James 1:3). ¬†He also reminded me of Hebrews 7:25 that says, “Jesus is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him.” ¬†Faith enables ALL to draw near to God. ¬†In seemingly hopeless circumstances, faith is the key that unlocks the rewards and promises of God. ¬†I need to pray for more faith for myself, and more faith for others–unshakeable, unwavering, persevering faith!

Hebrews 10:38-11:2. ¬†“But my righteous ones shall LIVE BY FAITH, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” ¬†But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who HAVE FAITH and preserve their souls. ¬†Now FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, For by FAITH, the people of old received their commendation.”

Faith is necessary for salvation (For by grace you have been saved through faith…Ephesians 2:8), but it is also the foundation for our daily actions as believers in Jesus Christ. ¬†Faith-based living proves that Jesus has changed our lives! ¬†Lord, I know that You gave me the gift of faith to believe in Jesus as my Savior. ¬†Am I daily walking in that faith? ¬†What things other than faith do I use to make decisions? ¬†Give me pure faith, great faith in Your character, Your promises and Your abilities.

Faith is defined in 11:1 as unwavering confidence that Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf is our only hope for salvation and that those who believe inherit heaven and the presence of God as their eternal reward. ¬†It is a steadfast conviction and assurance even though–especially because–it cannot be seen!

Faith is rewarded with God’s pleasure and His commendation (admiration, recognition, appreciation). ¬†Lord, does my faith bring you pleasure? ¬†Is my faith commendable in your sight? ¬†I want to be someone who does not shrink back, but presses on!

Hebrews 11:6.  And WITHOUT FAITH it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.

There is absolutely nothing we can do to please God except have faith! ¬†As written above, only faith allows us to draw near to God. ¬† Faith that says, “You are real God and I want to know you!” ¬†That faith will always be rewarded because anyone who seeks God is rewarded! ¬†Some rewards of seeking God by faith are:

  • Those who seek Him, find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13)
  • Those who seek Him have the sins that separate them from Him forgiven (2 Chronicles 7:14)
  • Those who seek Him, find everlasting joy (Psalm 22:26)
  • Those who seek Him are made righteous and clean (Hosea 10:12)

That is good news! ¬†God allows us to draw near to Him. ¬†He wants us to seek Him. ¬†He wants us to put our faith in Him. ¬†He wants to reward us. ¬†What a mighty, good God! ¬†However, sometimes we put up road blocks to faith and seeking: ¬†pride, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-righteousness, fear, near-sighted focus, and unbelief. ¬†Lord, what is standing in the way of great faith in You? ¬†Am I relying on myself instead of putting full confidence in You? ¬†Am I afraid of the changes that come to my life if I live by faith? ¬†Is my vision too short-sighted–my eyes not fixed on the reward? ¬†Lord, I want my life to be characterized by great faith. ¬†I want to draw near to You. ¬†I want the hope that I have in you to be a conviction so strong that it brings great boldness to my spirit. ¬†I want to amaze You with my faith. ¬†Lord, give me more faith!

Leave a comment »

Hebrews 10:23 ~ No Wavering Part 2

After typing the blog yesterday, I headed off to the YMCA. ¬†I felt like I understood the passage, but didn’t know how to apply it to my heart. ¬†On the drive, God brought this verse back to my mind and got me thinking about how being unwavering can only be tied to His faithfulness. ¬†Here’s the verse with my commentary in the parenthesis.

Let us (believers in Jesus Christ our Savior) hold fast (cling to, clasp, grab tightly) the confession (what we say we believe) of our hope (confident assurance in Jesus Christ as Savior) without wavering (faithful, no doubting, no shifting) for He (God Almighty) who promised (that Jesus’ blood washing away our sins is the only way we can be clean before Him) is faithful (trustworthy, reliable, constant)!

Because God is faithful to all His promises, we can be confident, assured, unwavering and faithful to Him!  We can be sure that the truth we profess about Jesus is reliable and valid.  He is the only hope we have for salvation!  God Almighty is worthy of our unwavering faith! He is worthy!

http://youtu.be/YPmxI8XRTkI

I hope you enjoy this song by Rend Collective Experiment called Faithful!

 

Leave a comment »

Hebrews 10:19-39 ~ No Wavering

With Good Friday and Easter behind us, it could be easy to lose sight of what we just celebrated. ¬†We rejoiced in Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, His victory over sin and death, but Monday we return to “normal” life. I’m thankful that I find myself in Hebrews this morning reading anew these truths.

There is only one way into the presence of God, one way to experience His glory and that is through the torn flesh and shed blood of Jesus Christ–He alone opens the way and gives us confidence before the Father. ¬†We must be unwavering in this belief and also strengthening each other in regard to the faithfulness of God and the purpose He set for us of loving and doing good to others through unity and community.

Many people may have gone to church yesterday and heard the truth of Jesus Christ, and sadly many may have walked away deliberately continuing in the sin of unbelief! ¬†Anyone who daily rejects the truth of Jesus Christ as the only Savior forfeits the mercy of God. ¬†They die to experience His judgment, fury and vengeance. ¬†This is truth! ¬†God in His mercy gives us day after day to chose to believe; but our lives will end, we will face God, and give an account for how we handled the truth. ¬†There is only One way to the Father (belief) and there is only one way away from the Father (rejection). Rejection in essence is trampling the truth of Jesus, treating the shedding of His blood with contempt, and insulting/outraging the Holy Spirit. ¬†Verse 31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of THE LIVING GOD!” ¬†Oh how my heart breaks over those who refuse to believe the truth. ¬†

Even on Good Friday as I was driving around, I was moved to tears by the sheer volume of people who were out and about and how few were probably considering the truth that Jesus shed His holy blood, taking the punishment for our sins–substituting His life for ours on that cross.

If I stopped reading this chapter at verse 31, it would leave my spirit crushed, but thankfully the next paragraph starts with the word, “BUT!” ¬†Those who hear the truth and believe in Jesus are changed! ¬†They are given endurance in suffering, compassion towards others and joy in unfair circumstances. ¬†They have a great hope and confidence in God’s mercy and His abiding promise to live with Him forever in fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). ¬†They are not “repaid” (30) with judgment, fury, and vengeance, BUT are”rewarded” (35) with salvation and eternal life! ¬†All this is possible through unwavering faith! ¬†Faith makes all the difference–it is the bedrock of endurance and perseverance. ¬†It is the one thing that pleases the Lord. While unbelief leads to destruction, the path of faith leads to life.

Leave a comment »