What Stands Out?–Hebrews Chapter 4

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“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”  Hebrews 4: 12-13

My daughter has a timid cat–if he hears a noise while he is out on the balcony of her apartment, he will run behind the wheel of her bike, thinking (mistakenly) that nobody can see him there.  These verses remind me of how often we act just like that cat.

We may try to avoid God by staying home from church, or by letting the Bible we own gather dust.  It doesn’t work.  We can’t hide from God.  He knows not only what we do, but what motivates our actions  He hears the things we say out loud and every thought that crosses our minds.

As for God’s word, we can’t ignore it, it isn’t passive, it’s ACTIVE, and it will change us.  Here’s another quote from Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;  it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

This is what stands out for me in chapter 4 (maybe because we’re thinking about study)– the power of God and His word.  It reminds me to stop hiding from Him.

Have you read Chapter 4?  What stands out to you?

 

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 4

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Here we go folks – Chapter 4 – Thank you for taking this walk with me. I look forward to your comments below.

This chapter opens with God’s promise of rest, but the rest referred to is not a rest from our physical labors, but rest of our soul through His salvation. The writer is telling us that there is still time for us to receive His grace of salvation. We go on to learn that God knows all, sees all and hears all – So, that means when we do things we think we are hiding from everyone – guess what – GOD KNOWS. If, at any time, we think we are pulling the wool over His eyes, we are only fooling ourselves. We may be able to hide things from our fellow humans, but we cannot hide anything from our Father. We are also reminded that Jesus was appointed the Great High Priest and is uniquely qualified to be in this position because He was able to resist temptation and show obedience to His Father. Jesus can provide us with not only immediate spiritual help but can be sympathetic to our problems. Now just to make this statement understood better – Just because Jesus can be sympathetic DOES NOT mean He likes it – Big Difference.

I feel that this chapter shows God’s amazing and gracious love for us.

Thank you God for all your amazing gifts, but especially for the gift of salvation through your Son, Jesus Christ.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

More Disturbing Words

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“Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

We think of God’s words in many ways:  comforting, encouraging, inspiring.  It is those things.  However, this verse from Isaiah tells us something very different, and a little scary.  God’s word can be destructive.

Most of us have a lot of preconceived ideas.  We think certain things because a parent, teacher or other authority taught them.  We think other things because it’s convenient:  thinking in a certain way justifies our actions, helps us to fit in, or advances our position in the world.

When we compare some of these ideas to God’s word, what happens?  They are destroyed, blown away.  We find we can’t hold onto them.  It’s painful and unsettling.  Sometimes we’re tempted to accept the parts we like, and ignore the ones we don’t.

A devotion I was reading this morning compared the process of sanctification to having braces put on our teeth.  The dentist shows us a picture of how our teeth look before braces –crooked, crowded, etc.. Then the perfect smile he wants us to attain.  The process is not without pain … at first the braces hurt, and we are self conscious because we don’t look like everyone around us. There are things we can’t do anymore –like chewing gum.  Gradually, however, we see the positive changes and the braces don’t bother us as much.

If we take God’s word seriously, it will sometimes sting and hurt.  It may destroy some cherished ideas.  It may force us to give up some things we like doing.  However, if we follow through faithfully, the end results will be worth it.

Solo Scriptura –What Does It Mean?

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Sola scriptura (Latin: by Scripture alone) is a Christian theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. Sola scriptura does not deny that other authorities govern Christian life and devotion, but sees them all as subordinate to and corrected by the written word of God.

Sola scriptura is a formal principle of many Protestant Christian denominations, and one of the five solas. It was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers, who taught that authentication of Scripture is governed by the discernible excellence of the text as well as the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to the heart of each man. Some Evangelical and Baptist denominations state the doctrine of sola scriptura more strongly: Scripture is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine

What Stands Out? — Hebrews Chapter 3

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“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son.  And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.” Hebrews 3:5-6

Remember that Sunday School song, “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together”?  The writer of Hebrews is affirming the truth we learned as children –we are God’s house, we are the church.  Doesn’t that inspire awe in your heart?

What should we do if we are God’s house?  We should welcome others in;  we should worship Him rightly;  we should encourage one another to “hold fast our confidence” and have “pride in our hope”;  we should remain faithful.

The author of Hebrews wrote to encourage Jewish Christians to remain steadfast in their new faith in Jesus.  It would probably be easier to fall back into the Jewish ways they knew so well.  I need encouragement too, encouragement to refrain from falling back into worldly ways.  Going along with what’s around us is always easy;  when I’m tempted to follow the crowd, I want to bring this verse to mind, and remember that I am a part of “God’s house.”

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 3

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Well here is my interpretation of this chapter – Please comment or guide me if you have additional insights.

With this chapter, we find the writer letting us know that Jesus is more supreme than Moses, this leads me to believe that the words were originally delivered to persons of the Jewish religion to let them know that Jesus is the Savior referred to in the Old Testament.

When it tells us not to harden our hearts, I firmly believe that we can apply that to ourselves in today’s time. How often do we, even though WE have the word of God to go by, do things our way and not His way? If we read His word, pray for His guidance and live by His word we could not possibly harden our hearts to all the gifts He bestows on us.

Thanks for reading.
Always remember —

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

What Stands Out?–Hebrews Chapter 2

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“Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control.” Hebrews 2:8b

After reading Hebrews Chapter 2 a number of times, I decided this is the verse that stands out for me, that I want to spend some time meditating about.  Jesus is in control–EVERYTHING is subject to His will.  I should know this, after all He is God:  but do I act like this?  Not really.

In daily life, I act as if I am in control.  There are many things I want to change, and I work very hard to do that.  Wouldn’t my life be much more peaceful, if I accepted my circumstances as God’s will for me right now and asked Him what He was trying to teach me?

If Jesus is in control of EVERYTHING that means he is my master.  But do I live as if He is?  No, most of the time I do what I want or what I think is best without praying or consulting the Bible.  Wouldn’t I make better decisions if I spent more time with Him?

Chapter 2 helps me see myself as the SINNER I am and see Jesus as the PERFECTION that He is.  And yet He came to save me.

Now, what stands out in this Chapter for you?  Send us your posts and comments.

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 2

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Well, this will be the second in a series of 13 blogs – one for each chapter of Hebrews; and already I can see a common thread in all the chapters. The Old Testament tells us repeatedly about Jesus coming as our salvation and chapter 2 brings it home. God confirmed throughout the scriptures that Jesus is the only way to salvation, it took His sacrifice to bring us right with God. This chapter also tells us how Jesus is the future of our world and that is something, I believe, that we can look forward to. Jesus is our salvation and understands the lure of temptation because, he himself, was presented with and resisted the lure. We cannot seem to garner the same amount of strength as He did and resist that lure. I guess it is a good thing we have Him to rely on.

I know that these blogs are not real long, but I feel that the chapters do not require a long dissertation. These blog are only short recap and I want everyone to read the chapter on their own and post comments, this is the best way for us to delve into the chapter more deeply by responding to others perceptions.

I am looking forward to the responses on this. Let me know what you got out of the chapter.

Be ready Chapter 3 will follow shortly.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

Why We Sing

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This article was originally published in The Lutheran Ambassador

Lutherans are known as “the singing church” and Martin Luther has been called “the father of congregational singing.” But why do we sing? Is it simply our tradition? Is it an appropriate way to express our emotions of gratitude and love toward God? Is it a biblically sanctioned part of worship (Psalm 66:1-2)? Does it help bind us together as a community? The answer is yes to all these questions about communal Christian singing in the Church. However, there is another excellent reason Lutherans sing: hymn singing is an important part of our Christian education.

Maybe you thought the children were just having fun singing all those Sunday School songs. They are having fun, but they are also learning about important people in the Bible (Father Abraham), the essentials of the faith (Jesus Loves Me), the proper response to God’s love (Praise Him, Praise Him, All You Little Children) and what it means to be part of the church (We Are the Church).

Setting words to music is an aid to memorization. Young people often learn the books of the Bible (in order no less) by singing a song. Adults who participate in a Lutheran liturgy discover they’ve memorized many Psalms and other portions of scripture by taking part in the worship service. Well chosen hymns also serve to reinforce the theme of the sermon and the readings of the day. And in times of crisis in our lives the comforting words of hymns bring the reminder of God’s eternal concern for His people to our minds and hearts.

Good hymns teach. They help us understand the different church seasons (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel). They prepare us for communion (Let Us Break Bread Together). They tell us about the attributes of God (A Mighty Fortress). They convict us of our sin (Amazing Grace). They explain theological concepts (The Church’s One Foundation) and give lessons in how to serve (Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling) and be more generous (We Give Thee But Thine Own). Some hymns are almost a sermon in themselves (Salvation Unto Us Has Come)!

Church music can touch our hearts and sink into our souls in a way that is hard to explain or understand. Church music can lift us up into the very realm of God’s presence. No wonder Luther called it “a fair and glorious gift of God.”