Romans 12:9-13 – Love is…

Read Romans 12:9-13

Remember the “Love Is..” comics? I wanted to use one for the graphic today but I couldn’t find one that was available for reuse. You’ll have to google that if you don’t remember. Paul continues to lay out some directions for how we should live and what love should look like.

After all, Jesus told us to love one another. That can be a new concept for many. Sometimes it’s hard to even love ourselves. But let’s take a look at what Paul is telling us here.

Continue reading “Romans 12:9-13 – Love is…”
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Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover

Read Hebrews 13:1-5

I hope we all know the most important thing is to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Beyond that, this passage reminds us of others who should receive our affection as well. As our author closes this letter, he wants to remind us all of what should be obvious but often forgotten.

Love one another. That can sometimes be hard. Especially loving those who are hard to love. We all had someone come to mind just now. Maybe it’s the crotchety neighbor or the busybody at church or the obnoxious, loud-mouth co-worker. We are brothers and sisters after all, and we should love each other as family. Love as Jesus loves. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover”

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Hebrews 12:1-13 – Why is Being a Christian So Hard?

Read Hebrews 12:1-13

Take a step back in time and think about how your parents disciplined you while growing up. Maybe you were the perfect child and never riled anger or correction from your parents. I was not, and I spent many nights “grounded.” Perhaps you have been a parent yourself and had the distinct pleasure of correcting your own children, “for their own good.”

I was not a good disciplinarian, or rather I didn’t like being one. I loved my children and corrected them as a good parent does. Sometimes I would catch myself saying “No” more than saying “Yes. Seeing the big picture and knowing how those corrections would shape their lives was hard. I was always hopeful I’d done the right thing. Today’s reading affirmed me a bit because I was doing the best I knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.” Continue reading “Hebrews 12:1-13 – Why is Being a Christian So Hard?”

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Hebrews 10:1-18 – Sins Forgotten

Read Hebrews 10:1-18

We’re moving through the book of Hebrews and there is a lot of emphasis on Jesus being our high priest. His sacrifice was once and done. He will not have to die again. Remember, some of the young Christians had been Jews just moments before. Their heritage had been a yearly sacrifice. Each year you’d be reminded of your sins as the sacrifices were made and the high priest entered the Most Holy Place.

You can’t just change a person’s experience or understanding of forgiveness overnight. This is a process. It may be hard for us, too, to imagine how the shedding of Jesus’ blood could be the perfect sacrifice. There are a lot of us sinners in the world now and across the span of time. There will be many more in the days ahead. We, too, need to wrap our head around the fact that God came to live and die. His death redeemed us.  Continue reading “Hebrews 10:1-18 – Sins Forgotten”

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Hebrews 9:11-28 – The Perfect Sacrifice

Read Hebrews 9:11-28

There is a lot of talk about blood in this reading. Personally, I’m not a fan of blood. I’ve never actually passed out, but I do get queasy. I would not make a very good nurse. But the focus here is not on injury or gore, but on purification and sacrifice. For us to be worthy of God’s presence, we need to be pure and holy. How do we get that way? It’s nothing we can accomplish on our own. We need Jesus, our perfect sacrifice.

As I’ve said before, the book of Hebrews was originally written to help the new Jewish Christians understand the immensity of what had happened thanks to the blood of Jesus. He writes, “For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Wait a minute, can’t there be forgiveness between humans without bloodshed? I think the statement is a bit over the top. Suffice it to say, however, that our forgiveness from God is dependent on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The new covenant came with a price. Jesus paid that price.

Jesus has gone on ahead to the Father. He only had to die once, just as we only die once. What happens after we die? Many fear death because of the uncertainty. It probably comes down to a lack of trust. It may be due to fear. We know we are sinners, and what will happen when we “meet our Maker?” That can certainly elicit fear in the hearts of those who are not totally devoted to Jesus.

When we walk closely with our Savior, spending time in the Word and in prayer, we can have the assurance of what happens next. What eternity looks like in detail, we don’t need to know. We simply put our trust in Jesus to lead us home. Our destiny is to stand before God. His judgment will come.

Have we prepared well? Have we lived our lives pleasing him? Because of what Jesus has done for me, I want only to live a life that pleases God, striving to be more and more like Jesus every day, living with a servant’s heart, knowing without a doubt that Jesus is my truth and way. On that day when I stand boldly before God, I will have Jesus by my side and be overflowing with the gratefulness. He will welcome me home.

When will Jesus come again to take us home? I don’t know. But I know he will. He said so.

Let’s pray. Lord thank you for the blood you shed for me. May I never take for granted the great sacrifice you made. It is because of you that I will be able to live forever with you in your kingdom. What a glorious day that will be when I am reunited with you. You have placed me here to serve you, to love, to be like you, and to tell others about you. Continue your work in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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