Hebrews 12:7 Hardship Is God’s Discipline

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7

When going through a hard time, most people do not like to see that as something for their benefit. There never seems to be a good reason for the hardship. Hardship is painful and very difficult, yet is necessary. God uses hardship to discipline His children.

Then comes the next challenge–accepting discipline as a good thing.

In this world, discipline is often looked at as a negative thing. Too often that is true about discipline being a negative thing.

Most parents discipline their children to some degree or more. The problem many parents have is that their discipline is done out of anger and to punish the child.

God does not discipline to punish, but to turn the hearts of His children back to Him. All punishment is being reserved for when Jesus returns. Those who have accepted and followed Jesus will not be punished, since their sins have been removed. Those who have rejected Jesus will be punished since their sins have not been removed.

God allows hardship into the lives of all believers to correct them and bring them closer to Him and make them into the image of Jesus more and more.

In sports, the athlete disciplines himself to be the best he can be. He goes through the hardship and pain of hard practice daily. He pushes himself to do better and better, so that he can be the best.

God is doing that in your life. He is pushing you to be perfect as Jesus is perfect. When you are going through a hard time, turn your eyes on Jesus. Learn His patience and perseverance. Learn to trust God more. Know that God is right there with you.

Do not look at hardship as punishment for past sins or God hating you. God loves you with an undying love and Jesus has forgiven you.

Allow God to use those hardships as training ground to become more like Jesus.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in all hardships; that you will turn your eyes and life towards God during hard times; that you will trust God knows what He is doing and that He is doing the best for you; and that God will make you more like Jesus everyday.

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Hebrews 12:3 Don’t Grow Weary

“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3

Every believer has times of challenges. Many of those challenges cannot be linked to a single person, but are just the challenges of life. Some of these challenges are vehicle break-downs, bills due, sickness and injuries. These are difficulties that cannot be blamed on a single person.

The other types of challenges that believers will face is opposition of non-believers. These can come in a very wide variety of ways. Although not common in America, it can come in direct violence to a person. A non-believer physically harms a believer for what they believe in.

The more common way is in words and side actions. It is very common to hear someone make derogatory remarks about someone who believes in Jesus. Watch television or movies and see how often Christians are made fun of and cut down for what they believe.

Another way that can happen but is hard to directly see or prove is overlooking a promotion at a work place. There are non-believing bosses who take actions against a believer because of his belief.

This can also happen in other areas where the believer is over-looked for something or dismissed because of his beliefs. In public meetings, there have been times where a believer is totally dismissed just because of their belief.

Regardless of how the attacks come it can hurt a person. You will feel the pain. At times these attacks will be one right after the other, wearing you down. The author of Hebrews states that you must think about Jesus and what He went through.

Jesus was accused of following the devil, breaking the Sabbath, and even blasphemy. None of these things were true. In the end, He had to suffer the pain of being crucified for something He did not do. Yet, through it all Jesus remained faithful to God and trusted in Him.

Keep Jesus in mind while you are going through attacks. If He can hang in there through what He went through and did not give up. Do not grow weary or lose heart. God can and will give you the strength to keep going if you keep your eyes and faith on Him.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in all challenges you face; that you will not grow weary of following Jesus; that you will not lose heart in the promises God has made; and that you will be a witness for Jesus in everything.

Hebrews 11:39-40 Waiting In Faith

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40

After going through a long list of a hall of fame of people of faith, the author of Hebrews gives some disturbing information. That disturbing news was that none of them had received what was promised. Every one of them had died without getting the promise.

When a person is promised something, he expects the promised to be delivered and in a timely manner. No one likes to wait for a promise to be fulfilled. Often, after waiting a while, they give up on the person who made the promise. They do not expect it to be fulfilled any longer.

God had promised every person in the Old Testament His great kingdom someday. Each one of those people of faith lived their lives with that expectation, even though they never saw it.

They had to wait until Jesus came, because of their sins, they were still not made perfect. Only perfect people can get into God’s kingdom in heaven. When Jesus came He was able to remove their sins and make them perfect.

Jesus made them perfect, and will make you perfect also. Yet, His kingdom is still unseen. There is coming a day when He will return and take you into His kingdom for all eternity.

There are many things that God has promised you. You must wait for God’s timing for those promises to be fulfilled. You must wait in faith, knowing God will do what He promised.

Some of those promises will be fulfilled in this life, others will be when you step through death’s door into heaven. Either way, you must trust God will fulfill His Words to you.

When things look rough, and like God has deserted you, don’t give up your faith. God is still there, just as He was with all the men and women of faith in the Old Testament. Some of those just died of old age, others were killed. Wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled in His way and His time. He will come through for you in the end.

I pray today that you will know the promises of God for your life; that you will trust God will fulfill them; that you will not give up your faith; and that your faith in God will grow more each day.

Hebrews 11:1 Another Word For Faith

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

After calling everyone to have faith and to hang in there with faith, the author of Hebrews describes what faith is. It is not some long elaborate description with fancy ten-dollar words. It is very short: it is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Confidence is something that many people lack. Although the confidence they lack is one in themselves. People do not feel like they can really make a difference or accomplish some great task. They may have many hopes and dreams, but do not see it actually possible.

There are many people who have great confidence in mankind. They believe that man can do anything and that man is really good. Their hope is in man. Yet, how many times does mankind let a person down? If mankind is so good, why do things keep getting worse.

The believer in Jesus has faith in something else. His faith is put in God and what He has said and promised. As a believer you have confidence that Jesus does and did take away your sins. You have confidence that some day Jesus will return. You have confidence that God will use everything, both good and bad, to help you grow more like Jesus.

These and many other things are things you hope for. These are things that you desire. At the same time, none of these things, and many other things, can you see. You have to know that you know what you know. You have to know that what Jesus said is true and will happen.

You have faith that the light will turn on every time you hit the switch, yet you cannot see the electricity. This is faith, confidence in something you hope for and cannot see.

Are you living with faith today?

Are you confident in what you hope for in Jesus?

Do you have assurance in what you cannot see that God has promised you?

Trust God. Have faith. He will not let you down. He will not disappoint you. Have confidence in God.

I pray today that you will know what God has promised you; that you will have confidence in all of God’s promises; that you will exercise your faith in God; and that you will have God’s peace in His Word.

Hebrews 10:35 Hang In There

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35

The author of Hebrews just pointed out to the people to remember how they had endured a lot in the early days of their belief in Jesus. They had to go through much persecution, loss of property and prison, yet they had kept the faith. Now some of those people may have been starting to second guess themselves and question their belief. Jesus had still not returned, so maybe what they were believing was wrong.

Although it has been nearly 2,000 years later, people have still not changed. People turn to Jesus and live whole-heartedly for Him for a while. Then challenges start coming. At first they go through them with great faith and no problems.

But the trials keep on coming. After a time they start to question what they believe. They start to question the promises of God. Why are all the trials happening if God is such a loving God?

You may be in this boat right now. If not, there is a great chance it will come at some point.

The writer says that you are to continue on doing what God wants you to do. Don’t stop. You are to hang in there through the tough times. No matter what the problem, trial or challenge you are facing, there will come a day when it will end. It may be in this life or in heaven, but it will end.

In the end, if you hang in there doing God’s will, you will receive all the promises of God. The greatest promise is life for eternity with no sorrow, pain or suffering with Jesus and the Father in heaven! What could be greater than that?

Keep your eyes on the end prize in Jesus. Do not give up. Do not get discouraged. Keep going forward step by step.

An old saying says that a journey of a thousand miles takes place one step at a time. Keep stepping forward doing what God wants you to do and you will finish the journey some day in heaven.

I pray today that God will reveal to you what He wants you to do; that God will give you the strength to do His will; that you will know what God has promised you; and that you will be His witness in this world.

Hebrews 10:22 Get Near To God

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Having just pointed out that Jesus has removed the sins of the people and made a way for them to enter into the Holy of Holies to be with God, they are encouraged to go in. The curtain was the dividing line between the Holy and the Most Holy. On the other side was where God would dwell. The author of Hebrews wants people now to move into the inner place to be near God, but he says it must be done with sincere hearts.

One has a sincere heart who is dedicated, not false in any way, no false motives, loyal, and loving. Not every person has a sincere heart.

Everyday many people go to a workplace to do some work, but their hearts are not in it. They only do the job for the paycheck, not to do the boss a service, or to do the people they are working for a service. Often they don’t even really like their job, but it pays, so they do it. Their hearts are not in it.

Other ways people’s hearts are not in something is in giving. They give gifts or money because that is the thing to do, not because they want to do it.

There are people in the church who believe in God because it is the thing to do or just to escape punishment of hell. They do not serve God because of a love for God and for what He has done for them. They are not approaching God with a sincere heart.

If you have a sincere heart for God, you will approach Him with a great love for Him. You will have a great respect for who He is. You will not just be seeking to get something from Him, but to offer yourself to Him.

You will also know that Jesus has made the way for you to go to God. It was not something you did or earned.

How are you going before God today? Do you have a sincere heart?

I pray today that you will know the cleansing Jesus has given you; that you will know you can approach God; that you will have a sincere heart before God; and that you will know God in a new, better way.

Merry Christmas 2015

“But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

After all of the hustle and bustle, the day has finally arrived. The day that many people look forward to. The day children live for. It is Christmas morning.

Many people are getting up to go open some gifts under the tree. Some will have many gifts, some will only have a few. Some people will be alone, while others are with large families. It is a time of fun and laughter.

It is a great joy to see the excitement in a person when he opens the gift you gave and loves it. To watch the children tear into a gift to see what is inside brings great joy. It is fun to see children jump for joy at the gift they just opened. Then the fun of playing with all the new “toys” that everyone received.

Yet, in all of the excitement and joy, that I pray you have, remember why you celebrate Christmas. The angels had brought news of great joy to the shepherds. This news was that a Savior was born to save them. This was Jesus.

That message is still the same today. Christmas is remembering the time God sent His One and Only Son to this world to save you. It is easy to think about Him saving the world, but remember it was to save you. You are a part of this world that He came to save.

As you give and receive gifts this morning, remember the greatest gift that God has already given you. Remember who Jesus is.

Have you opened the gift God has given you? Do you use the gift God has given you?

Worship the Lord your God today for the gift He has given you. Remember Jesus in everything you do.

May you have a very Merry Christmas in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.