Hebrews 1:1-4 – Encounter Jesus

Read Hebrews 1:1-4

If you’ve spent any time at all reading prophecies in the Old Testament, you are very familiar with the salutation to the book of Hebrews which talks about how God speaks to us through the prophets. It’s true that God’s prophetic messages are still relevant and applicable to us today. Many of those prophecies point directly to Jesus.

The book of Hebrews is like an eloquent sermon burning with passion. The author is unknown but appears to draw from eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life of ministry. Several main themes dominate. One is that Jesus Christ is superior to everyone and everything. We will see descriptions showing how Jesus fulfills prophecy and the promises of God. The other focus is simply to give encouragement to the Jewish Christians, likely 2nd or 3rd generation. Not all Jews had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, so the Jewish Christians needed this encouragement, so they didn’t fall back into their old ways.

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – What Happens After We Die?

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Blue sky, clouds, sun illuminating the cross in the sky

We die. Then what? For those who believe God’s Word, we have an assurance of something much greater than we can even comprehend. I’m not so sure we’ll meet St. Peter at the pearly gates and be asked questions for admittance as we often see depicted in cartoons. Our text today gives us a glimpse of what will happen to those who have died when Jesus returns.

I listened to a wonderful interview of Joni Eareckson Tada about heaven. In case you’re not familiar with Joni, she’s been a paraplegic for over fifty years following a spinal cord injury as a young girl. I have always admired her and hope to meet her one day. Her faith is so inspiring. I put a link to that interview in my Facebook group, Reflections-Devos on the Go.

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1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 – Staying Strong

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

girl lifting weights

How many times have you gone to help someone in need only to be blessed yourself beyond measure? I feel like this is a bit of what Timothy experienced when he visited Thessalonica as is referenced in our reading. Timothy went with the expectation he’d find trouble. “We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles.”

Instead, Timothy arrived to find their friends doing quite well. Such a report was a blessing indeed! “So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith.” So in Paul’s own time of adversity, he was blessed by those he was seeking to serve.

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Mark 4:26-34 – Kingdom of God

Read Mark 4:26-34

The Kingdom of God. It’s something we’ve heard about, but do we understand it? If we apply what we know about kingdoms on earth, we aren’t going to begin to fathom the immensity. It’s a good start. Royalty. Crowns. Pomp and circumstance.

To help us understand, Jesus has given us a couple parables here. I’ve read them through several times, and I’m still a little fuzzy on what Jesus is telling us. Based on a previous reading in Mark, maybe I just need to listen more so that understanding will come.

What we should take away is that the Kingdom of God is a mystery. It grows independent of any human effort. We can’t be part of the kingdom by our actions. At harvest time, the farmer (God) will come and make his judgment over his crops (us). The harvest is a result of both gift and miracle, God’s work in us, not our work.

Do you feel God reigning in your heart? Are you growing in your relationship with God? It may be hard for us to see the growth, but God does. As we grow, we look around to help see that others are growing. We preach, teach, serve, and support each other. We should never stop growing or think we can’t grow any more.

We need to place our hope in the kingdom of God. The things of earth will pass away. What started from something small become something mighty. Three of the four gospels share the mustard seed parable. It is that important. Whether it becomes a shrub or a tree is irrelevant.

The kingdom of God is there to give us hope and encouragement. It is a refuge, a place for us all. While we may feel like our faith is small today, with nourishment and growth, we will grow into strong, fearless leaders and servants.

Let’s pray. Lord we thank you for these words that teach of your Kingdom. I thank you for the hope you promise. There is nothing I can do to earn the keys to your kingdom. I pray that you are preparing a place for me even now to be party of this sanctuary. Open the doors for me to teach and serve others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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