Hebrews 13:15 Continue To Offer Praise

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15

As the author of Hebrews closes out this letter, he gives some final advice. One of these is to continue to offer praise to God. The entire book looks at who Jesus is and what He has done for everyone. Through Jesus believers are able to praise God for what He has done.

Part of this offering of praise is that it is to be a sacrifice. This means that it is done even when one does not feel like doing it.

Giving God praise can only be done when one feels that He is deserving it. This is very easy when everything is going right and smooth. No one has a problem giving God praise when everything is going just like it is supposed to be.

When things start going bad and everything breaks down and goes the wrong way, that is when it becomes a sacrifice to still praise God. It is laying down your desires at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to be in control of your life.

Everyone believes they know what is best for their own lives, but only God really knows what is best. Giving God praise when everything is going against your desires is telling Him that you know He is in control. It tells God that you believe He knows what is best for your life.

Allow the words that you speak throughout your days profess the name of Jesus and how great He is. Speak words that point out how close He is to you while going through a hard time. Tell others how you know that God is in control of your bad situation. Talk about how you know that somehow God will bring about good in everything bad happening. These are ways to give God praise.

What do your words say about God today?

I pray today that you will give God praise in all situations; that you will trust God with your entire life; that you will know that God is in control of everything; and that your whole life will be one of praise to God.

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.

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.