Note: I have not accomplished my goal of doing a blog every day, so I will take this last day of 2022 to finish Hebrews in One post. Chapters 11-13 are rich with familiar scripture and passages., so I will take those that are familiar and give exhortation. I pray this post, the last of the Hebrew series, is a blessing to you
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen
How powerful is my faith? Is it really more powerful than the reality this world seems to give us? I believe it is! There are so many great verses on faith in the Bible that we must take this thing called faith very seriously. Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Matthew 21:22, Romans 10:17, Luke 1:37, Isaiah 40:31, Jeremiah 3329:11 all are verses that can boost our faith and they all teach us that God is with us, by faith. It is one of the most significant traits we can have as Christians. Faith can help us endure any battle we are facing.
When I was facing cancer, Proverbs 3:5-6 kept me through the whole trial. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” I could choose to either trust God that He would see me through this battle, or I could wallow on dismay. I chose to trust Him. “Lean not to your own understanding.” I did not even attempt to understand why God would allow this into my life – I simply trusted it was for a reason, and it would be for my good. “In all your ways acknowledge Him.” So I acknowledged that God had a plan in the middle of this trial and knew He would work that plan to my benefit. “and he will direct your path.” He did direct me in so many ways. This blog became more intense, I heard Him daily in the words of my poetry, a book was written, a testimony for the glory of God was brought forth, and all things came out wonderful! What a mighty God we serve. If you would like to view this testimony, click HERE.
Faith is the cornerstone of our salvation. Deliverance, healing, guidance, peace, joy, hope, answers to prayer – they are all the products of faith. If we pray without faith, what good is our prayer? Everyone has the same amount of faith! Romans 12:3 says we are all given “the measure of faith,” not a measure of faith. Here I one measure of faith for all. The difference between a Christian and any other person (even the atheist) is where we place that measure of faith. The Muslim places it in Mohammed, the Buddhist in Buddha, the Mormon in Joseph Smith and so on. Even the atheist places their faith somewhere, whether it is in climatology, or astronomy, or astrology, or science. Everyone ha that measure of faith that God gives. Where does your faith lie? Our goal is to have our faith 100% in Him and His word. And that faith comes by hearing the word of God.
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.
Don’t you just love the fact that God will reward us just for believing in Him and seeking Him? Nothing more than that. What are the rewards he is talking about. In Psalm 103 you can find a list of benefits. He forgives our sins, He heals all my diseases, He redeems our lives, He crowns me with loving-kindness (grace) and mercy, He satisfies my mouth with good things, He executes righteousness and judgment in our favor. Diligently seeking God has a better benefit package than any employer I know! Add to this the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cpr 12:8-10), and you have life that is truly blessed! Without that faith, none of these things will be yours.
Hebrews 12:1-2 has so much to say to us that I wish I had 10 posts to extrapolate it all. But I do not and I must be brief. So, I will paraphrase the verse in my own guided words. The bible is full of testimonies about people who trusted God and were victorious in their lives. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Ruth, Ezra, David, Hezekiah; the list goes on and on. But the greatest witness to our lives is Jesus. We must lay aside everything that hinders us from following and seeking Him, and repenting of our sin, we must run this race of our human existence. We must run that race with patience, because he has patience with us we must have that same patience with ourselves.
Then we must look to Jesus – set our eyes upon Him and wait for Him. We must seek Him with everything we have. Matthew 6:33, Luke 7:7, Jeremiah 29:13 all speak of the necessity of seeking the Lord. He gave us this faith, and he will bring that faith to a conclusion. He paid the price for us, He is always going to be with us, and He will make sure our faith is rewarded. There is no greater joy or peace than what we find when we seek Jesus!
Hebrews 12:15b “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and therby many be defiled.”
How does bitterness spring up in a persons’ heart? Here are many ways, but the most common is unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive someone, that hurt or wrong just festers in us like a canker sore, and the longer we go with it, the more bitter we become towards them. It gets harder and harder to forgive the person and therefore our heart gets more and more bitter. His is simply the enemy of our souls taking a stronghold in our hearts. Why would Jesus put such strong emphasis on forgiveness, and on making things right with our brother? Matthew 6:14-15 tells us that if we do not forgive our brother. God will not forgive us! Matthew 5:23-24 says forgiving someone who has hurt us is more important than bringing our gift to the altar! Matthew 5:25 says we should agree with our adversary quickly. Why such emphasis and importance on forgiveness? It’s really simple. God forgave you – you should forgive others. If you don’t, bitterness will coke in and can destroy your walk with God. Is there someone you need to forgive? Do it today!
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Aren’t you thrilled to hear this verse. He; the same now as He has always been! He same God who delivered and blessed Job. The same God who blessed Abraham with an unexpected child. He same God who parted the Red Sea, who dropped manna from heaven, who brought quail in the desert, the same God who led by a cloud during the day and a fire by night. He is the same God who brought down the walls of Jericho, who equipped David to defeat Goliath, who gave Solomon wisdom and who helped Gideon defeat the Philistines with only 300 men. Jesus is the same now as when He rose Lazarus from the dead, and when He fed the 5,000 and when He healed the leper and brought sight to the blind. He never changes. He will still do these things today and tomorrow!
Hebrews 13:15 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name”
His is a kind of conclusion to the letter. Offer the sacrifice of praise. So many times, in Psalm, David says “I will praise the Lord.” In the middle of a lament over His troubles, we see David say this often. He makes up his mind to praise the Lord, no matter what the circumstances are. We should do the same. His is the fruit of our lips, not just in our heart. IU heard someone say recently that our verbal praise is just giving back to God the breath that He gives to us. I love that analogy! We hold always have that attitude of gratitude, and should continually give praise to God, with thanksgiving in our hearts. It is the very least we should do.
I wrote a song that was of great comfort to me when I was lying in that hospital bed during my cancer treatments. I would sing it in the middle of the night when I could not sleep and was weary from the Chemo treatments. I had written it several years earlier and always wondered why God would give m such a simple and powerful tune. A friend of mine once said that perhaps God gave me this song so that it would comfort me at some future point. He was right! The words are:
I want to thank you, Lord, for your mercies in my life
I want to thank you, Lord, for your great sacrifice
You have given me your all
Help me give my all to you
I want to thank you Lord.
You deserve the highest praise
You deserve the highest praise
You deserve the highest praise I can give (REPEAT)
HERE is a link to my very simple rendition, I close with this, and pray you will learn to have faith, seek Christ, forgive all, and remember He is still working in your life, and in this world Happy New Year!