23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
Hold fast. Do not lose hope. Do not waver. Jesus is faithful. He said that one day He would return and establish His Kingdom. He is coming. If He said it, it will happen. When you are full of despair, hold on to this hope. Keep trusting in God.
He return in full power and full glory. The first time He came in humility. He humbled Himself, and was born in a lowly manger. When He returns, He will ride a white horse, armed for battle. He is the mighty, conquering King. No one will be able to stand in His way. He will destroy His enemies. Hold fast, He is coming soon!
Dear Jesus, I so long for Your return. I so long for You to receive Your Kingdom. Help me to cling this hope. Help me to keep looking for You and be prepared for Your return. Amen.
Hebrews 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
As we enter the Christmas season, our thoughts turn to a cute baby lying in an animal trough. We celebrate His cuteness and the cuteness of the story, but we must remember that He was born to bleed. Jesus came for one reason. That reason was not to say wise things. That reason was not to share a new philosophy. That reason was not to be a great teacher. The one reason He was born, was to shed His blood. He was born in order to die.
This verse tells us that in order for us to be forgiven, blood must be shed. Before Jesus was born, the blood of animals was shed. That blood could not forgive all of our sins. Only the blood of a perfect man could do that. That is why Jesus was born. That is what we celebrate on Christmas, that He came to shed His blood for us. He came to pay the penalty for our sins. He came that we might be forgiven, for every sin we might ever commit.
We are cleansed by His blood. Nothing can remove the dirt of sin in our lives, but the blood of the Lamb of God. His blood, when applied to our lives makes us clean and spotless. After applying His blood, God the Father looks at us as if we had never sinned. We are just as pure as Jesus (not that we behave this way), that is the power of His blood.
Have you applied His blood to your life? If not, do so today. Call out to Him and ask Him to cleanse you. Ask Him to save you. Ask Him to forgive you. Believe that only Jesus can do this and you will be saved.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being born in order so shed Your precious blood. Thank you for the forgiveness which You offer. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for cleansing me. Thank you for redeeming me. You are my only hope! Amen.
Hebrews 6:15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
God’s timing is not our timing. We would have all of our problems solved in an instance. God, however makes us wait and be patient. He made a promise to Abraham, that Abraham and Sarah would one day have a son. This promise took decades to come true. God told Noah he was going to send a flood. The flood came over a hundred years after. God works on His own timetable. And that timetable is the best timetable for us.
Even though we have not received the payoff the promise, that does not mean God is not at work. He is at work preparing us for the payoff. Abraham learned so much in those decades while he waited. Noah built a really big boat in those hundred years. God knows what He is doing and what time is best for the fulfillment of His promises. We must learn to trust Him and wait patiently for Him. When we do, we will be better off.
Dear God, help me to wait patiently for You. And while I am waiting help me to be growing and maturing. Thank you that Your promises always come true. You are faithful and dependable. If you say it, it will happen. Teach me Lord and grow me as I learn to wait on You. Amen.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
A good swordsman knows how to use his weapon. He practices using it and gets really familiar with it. He learns how to use it in different ways, in different situations. He is comfortable around it. He respects the power and the danger of it. He treats it with reverence. The Word of God is our weapon and we need to know how to use it.
When the Word gets in us, it roots out the bad things in our lives. It convicts of the wrong that we do, calling us to repent from it. It slashes the evil in our lives. The sword divides our old self from our new self. He helps us to put to the death the deeds or our old selves. It teaches us how to live rightly.
We are a fool if we ignore this weapon. A sword does no good in its sheath. It needs to be pulled out, to be used correctly and efficiently. A powerful sword is useless if it is not put to use. We need to pull the Bible off our shelves and open it and read it. Daily we need to practice it, learning new things from it. If we do not actively fight, we will be overwhelmed by the evil one.
Dear God, help me to know how to use the Sword. Help me to be in Your Word, allowing it daily to get inside of me. Help me to respond to any conviction it might bring and repent and turn away from any evil act I might be doing. Help me to put the old self to death and grow in the new self. Amen.
Hebrews 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
The more we hear or read something, the easier it is to skim past it. There is a danger in that. We need to pay close attention to God’s Word. We need to allow it to teach each time we read it. For there a times God reveals a different message to us as we read it than we had never seen before. His Word is like a diamond. The more you study it the more you see in it. Keep looking at it and you will find something even better in it.
God’s Word does not grow stale, nor are we capable to glean all of the fruit out of it. On this side of Heaven we will never know everything there is to know about God. If we think we know everything about Him, we grow lazy and arrogant. That causes us to drift away from Him and to try to live on our own. We lose the fact that we need Him for everything and we will fall if we try to do it on our own. It is impossible to be like Christ, without getting help from Him. We must be in His Word and studying everything closely.
Lord, help me not to be arrogant. Help me to study Your Word closely and to not drift away from it. Help me to continue learning about You and trusting You more for everything. Forgive for the times I have been arrogant and lazy. I cannot overcome that without You. I need You, O Jesus. I need You! Amen.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
As we enter the Christmas season, we need to make sure we are dressing properly. They say that clothes make the person and in this case it really is true. We need to take fashion sense from the Apostle Paul and put these things on and do them. This list of items are how Jesus wants us to act and the attitude he wants us to have. If we wear these items, we will distinguish ourselves from the rest of the world.
I do not know if you noticed, but the whole Christmas season it quite the opposite of this list. People are not patient, always in a hurry to do more shopping. People are everywhere and that causes us to be to kind or compassionate at times. At Christmas many families are divided, because they refuse to forgive another for an ancient sin. Christmas in a lot of way has become a season of selfishness over selflessness.
So let us focus on being more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient this year. Let us bear with one another and be forgiving. Most importantly let us love other people, as Jesus has loved us. The best gift we can give another believer is to act like Jesus wants us to act toward them. The best gift we can give an unbeliever to lead them into saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Let us dress right for the season and be who God wants us to be!
Dear Lord, forgive us for not acting toward others the way You want us to act. Help us to wearing the clothes You want us to wear. Help us to be the people You want us to be. Help us to treat people the way You want them treated. Help us to share the hope of Jesus with a hopeless world. Jesus, You are the only true hope. Thank you for saving me and forgiving me. Thank you for loving me. Amen.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Human beings like to divide ourselves up and distinguish ourselves from others. We seem to like to point out what makes us different from other people. Whether it is our gender, our race, our ethnicity, our religion, our politics, our age, our sexual preference, our cultural backgrounds, our……the list keeps on going. Even though we are different in some ways, in a lot of ways we are the same. We are all beings with a soul, which is sinful and rebellious. And because of the sin we have life, we all start life belong to the domain of darkness. We all deserve to go to Hell.
But God loved us so much, that He sent His Son, Jesus, to come to earth on a rescue mission. Jesus left all of His riches and glory in Heaven to come live on earth and to ultimately die. By dying, He shed His blood, paying the great and overwhelming sin debt we all owe. He now offers us a free gift of redemption, a gift of rescue from the punishment we all deserve. He has thrown us a life line, we need to accept it and accept His as our rescuer. When we do so, He pulls out of the kingdom of darkness and into His glorious Kingdom.
Have you been rescued by Jesus yet? If not, you need to accept the life line He has thrown to you, otherwise you will not be saved. Jesus wants you to grab it, but He will not force you to be rescued. The choice is ours to make. If you keep not grabbing it one day, when you die, that chance of rescue will be gone. We do not know when we will die, it could even be today. Make it a priority to accept this gift Jesus is offering and allow Him to rescue you and to bring you into His Kingdom. Do it today!
Dear Jesus, thank you for rescuing me. Thank you for saving me. I deserve eternal torment in Hell, because of my sin. But You, Oh Lord, intervened and save me. Thank you so much. Amen.
Acts 28:15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Paul’s long journey to Rome is finally at an end. It had been a long, tiring trip and he was exhausted As he entered the city, the Christians living in Rome heard about it and came and met him. This was the medicine the doctor had ordered and Paul needed it. The doctor is of course the Great Physician, who is God Himself. Paul knew that and he took time to thank God for these fellow believers, who had given him some encouragement.
We need other people, especially believers in our lives. We need to be connected with one another and plugged in together in order to help each other in life. We need to make sure we encourage one another and build the other up. In order for this to happen, we all need to be humble and honest about struggles we have. That we might be able to pray for one another and build fellow believers up.
Make sure on this day of Thanksgiving, that you take time to thank God for other believers in our lives. We need to thank Him for the encouragement and joy that they bring us. Thank Him for having others to walk through life with. Thank Him for new believers that we meet. Thank Him for the ones who have walked the road we are walking many times before us. Thank God you are not alone and there are others.
Dear God, thank you for the fellow believers in my life. Thank you for those who bring encouragement and work to build others up. Help me be one of those people for others. Thank you for all that You provide. Thank you for watching over us and never leaving us. Thank you for being who You are. Thank you for Your amazing love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Thank you for Your hope. Thank you for coming back one day to bring us home with You. Amen.
Acts 27:35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.
Paul, was a ship heading to Rome. A storm came up and tossed the ship for days. The people on board, minus Paul, were not sure that they were going to make it. As the tattered ship approached land, Paul encourage everyone to stop and eat. As they did, he took time to thank God for the food before them.
There is no reason for us not to pause before we eat and thank God for His provision. God has provided enough for us to eat. We need to thank God for what He has provided to us. Jesus did the same. He always paused and thank God for the food before Him. If it was good enough for Jesus to do, it is good for us to do. Make sure you take time to thank God for the food you are about to eat.
Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I forget to say thank you. Help me to say thanks for all that You have given to me. Your supply is ample. Amen.
Acts 26:32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Paul has imprisoned for over two years. This great missionary, could have been travelling to more place, to tell more people about Jesus, but instead he finds himself confined. We never read that Paul complained about this. We never see him griping about his circumstances. We never hear him say, “If only I was not here, I could…”. Paul accepted where God had him and he took advantage of it to tell those there about Jesus.
We find him in this chapter in front some Roman leaders. He is giving his defense, by telling them about Jesus. He does not waste this chance to not tell them. He is thankful and grateful for where ever God has him. He is just glad to be used by Him.
How about you? Are you thankful for where God has you? I know that I am not always glad to be going through difficult times. But God has me where He wants me right now. And God has you right where He wants you right now. We, like Paul, need to accept our circumstances and do His work. Take advantage of your circumstances and serve God!
Dear Jesus, thank you for where You have me. Help me to serve You right where I am. Forgive me for the times I grumble about it. Help me to be thankful for where ever You have me. Amen.