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 9:14 A Greater Cleansing

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Hebrews 9:14

Throughout the Old Testament high priests had to offer goats and other animals as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. It was looked upon as a great thing. Yet, all it did was cover up the sins of the people. Those sacrifices were unable to remove the sins.

When Jesus came, He came as the High Priest. He had to offer a sacrifice, not for His owns sins, but for the sins of all the people of the world. The sacrifice He chose was the perfect one–Himself.

He went into God’s presence as the High Priest to offer His sacrifice. He laid Himself upon the altar of God–the cross. There He shed His blood for every sin of every person throughout all time.

The author of Hebrews now is saying think about this. If the blood of those animals was great, even though they really did not do anything of eternal value, how much more valuable is the blood of Jesus?

His blood does not just cover up your sins, it removes your sins. It not only removes the sins, it clears your guilty conscience so that you may serve God.

Many believers condemn themselves because of past sins. They feel guilty about committing some sins over and over. Jesus shed His blood to remove the guilt and to cleanse your past. You may now stand holy and righteous before God.

Since you are now holy and righteous, you may also stand before God to serve Him. What does God want you to do for Him?

Kings have servants who clean floors, provide food, provide entertainment, and many other things. God wants you to reach His lost children, be the witness of Jesus, and be His hands, feet and voice in this lost world.

You may be small in the world’s and your own eyes, but to God you are a great servant if you are doing what He wants you to do.

How are you serving God today?

I pray today that God will reveal ways He wants you to serve Him; that God will provide the strength to do His work; that you will be willing to do what God wants; and that you will be holy and righteous in Jesus.

Hebrews 6:1-2 Moving Beyond The Beginning

“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2

After pointing out that Jesus is the high priest, and a warning to not fall away, the author of Hebrews now says it is time to move on. This moving on is to move beyond the basics of what it means to be a Christian. These things are repentance, faith, praying, resurrection and eternal judgment.

The game of chess is somewhat complicated to learn to play. It is even more complicated to get good at. Beginning to play is learning how all of the pieces can move and what they can and cannot do. Often a player learns a few basic moves and stays with those. Someone more advanced learns to expect those moves and can defeat the player. To get very good at playing one must get beyond the basics and learned the advanced skills of playing.

In the same way many people become believers in Jesus. But they never get beyond the basics of having to be told to repent of their sins and about their future hope in Jesus.

The author is telling you to move beyond those basic beginning moves of being a Christian. Learn what it means to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus in this world. Learn what it means to be a light in this dark world. Learn how you can be His witness.

Along with those things, also learn to become more mature in Jesus. Your faith should be growing constantly. Just as a human child changes as he grows, so you must change as you grow in Jesus.

Are you the same person you was two years ago? Or even three months ago?

What do you strive to know? The basics of being a Christian? Or the advanced teachings of Jesus and the Bible?

Move on with your life. Do not stay young in Jesus. Grow in maturity in your walk with God.

I pray today that God will reveal ways you need to change in your life; that God will guide you by His Holy Spirit to become more mature in Jesus; that you will not need the basic teachings of Jesus; and that God will be able to use you to build His kingdom more.

Hebrews 5:11 Refusing To Understand

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.” Hebrews 5:11

After talking about Jesus being submissive and praying a lot, the author has a sharp rebuke for the people. He states that he wants to say a lot more, but they refuse to try and understand what is being taught.

Teaching children can be a fun and rewarding experience. This is especially true when you teach children who are wanting to learn. When they want to learn, they strive to understand and remember what is being taught. It is much easier to teach them.

However, there are some children out there who refuse to learn or understand something. Often, it is “I don’t understand, and I don’t care,” attitude that happens with a child.

Most adults will look down upon a child acting like this. They will rebuke a child and tell him he needs to learn. Yet, many adults are acting the same way. Adults love to hear that God loves them and forgives them, but do not want to understand the fact that they must trust God with all that is in them. They do not want to accept the fact that they must submit their whole lives to His desires. They do not want to understand that they must spend meaningful time in prayer to God.

They will read the Bible, (maybe), but focus only on the great stories. They do not want to try and understand the prophets or the hard sayings of Jesus and Paul. Everything they hear is excused away but some excuse in their life.

The first step to understanding is wanting to understand. You must choose to want to know something in order for you to begin to understand it.

Do you just fly over something? Or do you take the time to stop and study and understand it?

As a believer you are to take time to study God’s Word and learn how to apply it to your life. Do not just read it like a novel. It has great truths for your life. Strive to understand God. He is above you, but He will come to you and make Himself known to you.

I pray today that God will place a desire in your heart to know His Word and Himself more; that you will strive to understand God’s Word; that you will not settle for where you are with God; and that God will make you more like Jesus everyday.

Hebrews 4:1 Don’t Fall Short

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” Hebrews 4:1

In the Old Testament God had planned for the Israelites to enter rest in the land He was giving them. Since many did not follow His commands and trust Him, they were not allowed to enter that rest. The author of Hebrews points out that God is at rest, looking back in Genesis right after creation, God rested. That rest that God is in, is still available to believers now.

The ultimate rest comes when a person steps into heaven. Then he will have peace and rest for all of eternity with God.

The problem many people have is that they have not entered into heaven yet. During this time on earth, there is no complete perfect rest yet. Since there is no perfect rest on this earth, every believer must continue to move forward towards that rest.

People often choose to give up on God because of a bad situation in their life. When they do not see a way out, they run. This is just like the Israelites in the wilderness. When they did not see food or water, they complained. When they saw giants in the new land, they complained and ran. Since they complained and ran, they were not allowed to enter that rest.

Today, as a believer, you must trust God in every situation. Do not give into the fear that many have. The mountain or enemy in front of you may seem large and impossible to overcome, but God is greater and stronger. God can help bring you through whatever is in your way, if you allow Him to do so.

The world will offer you temporary rest, or temporary protection. The world will seem to offer you a lot, but if you give in to what the world is offering you, then you will fall short of His rest. You will lose in the end.

Watch yourself and do not allow yourself to fall short of His promise. Run the race and finish it. Aim for His rest and His rest alone. Trust God and follow Him.

I pray today that you will trust God in the situations in your life; that you will not complain or run away from what God has for you; that you will aim for entering His rest; and that you will not fall short of what God has for you.