Monday, November 23, 2020

November 23 – Most Gracious Throne

“ Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) 

Coupled with words of warning, the promises in the fourth chapter of Hebrews offer comfort and encouragement. We all need help because of weaknesses and confusion from the limitations of understanding God’s wisdom. In our natural state, our sins keep us from deserving the help we need. Those who deny their need and try to be their own superman or superwoman who do not need help end up with paralyses of despair. Jesus Christ became a High Priest to shatter the despair with hope and to humble our proud hearts when we believe that we can get through it on our own. The overarching need that we have is the grace that God provides for us. Without that grace given and the faith God provides for us to believe, our situation is hopeless. But we have hope in Jesus Christ. Who or which of us do not find that need in our own life? Our promise from God today and every day is that we may come at any time to God’s throne of grace. It is from there that He dispenses mercy and grace in our time of need if we believe.

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

November 22 – Perfect and Satisfactory

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."   Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)

We believe Christ’s ministry as our eternal high priest is worth understanding. The first time in the Bible that we read about the function of a priest is Genesis 14.  He was a priest of God Most High and he went out to meet Abraham. This was the priest Melchizedek, King of Salem. His name means “king of righteousness” which suggest that he was a righteous ruler who was God’s representative. Melchizedek was the only one of two kings meeting Abraham that Abraham accepted as his spiritual superior and he was a prototypical for Christ Himself, Melchizedek was both a king and a priest blessing and receiving tithes from Abraham. His priesthood, like Christ’s is uninterrupted by succession. There are no successors to Christ to be our high priest. Knowing this, we can trust His ministry to be genuine and eternal. As our High Priest, Jesus was His own perfect sinless sacrifice to God the Father on our behalf and His sacrifice made propitiation for our sins and satisfied the debt. Jesus knows what temptation is by His own experience because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

November 21 – A Gift All Around

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”  Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)

How are we no longer strangers and aliens? This verse indicates that once we were strangers and alien to the household or family of God. What has changed? What happened? We can look back in this letter Paul sent to the believers in Ephesians and learn the answer to these questions. Paul, writing under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit tells us that by the grace of God we have been saved through faith believing in Jesus Christ. And here is yet another promise, the faith that we have was given to us as a gift from God. So God gave us the faith we needed to believe and receive eternal life. No one is saved and goes to heaven as a result of what they do. Good works are the product of being saved, not the means of being saved. The means is the gift of faith and God’s grace. We didn’t deserve it and it's ours only because God made it available to us through his work on the Cross of Calvary. We are in the household of God as family members because of this new birth in Christ. Now, isn’t that something to be thankful for? 

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Friday, November 20, 2020

November 20 – “It’s A Wrap!”

“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”  1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 (ESV)

In these verses from Paul's letter to the believers in Thessalonica, he gives a direct warning. We might say stern warning as he does not want us to be unaware. “Let us keep awake and be sober.” Yes, sober as opposed to drunk. Also sober as in having control of our thoughts and mind. Being alert and not dull and unaware that The Day is coming. Paul compares those of us who believe as being ‘of the light’ and those who do not as being ‘of darkness’. So our promise is that because we are not of the night or the darkness, we are to not fall asleep on the watch but be awake and of sound mind. One day, God will call out to this world “It’s a wrap,” the call a crew heard when we were done with a production. But when God chooses to “wrap it up” that will be the day of fulfillment. For all who have believed in Jesus Christ and persevere in faith are saved. We will be spared the wrath coming to the unbelievers.  Just as it says in verse 11, “We encourage one another and build one another up.”

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

November 19 – Precious In His Sight

“Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones. … To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord.”  Psalm 116:15 & 17  (NASB)

The psalmist recalls how he faced certain death and God acted to save him. God extended his life of service. He vowed to acknowledge the Lord and to pay his vows in the temple. Psalm 116 is a personal song of thanksgiving for deliverance from impending death. While physical death is imminent in respect to the span of all time, we do not dwell on the thought so much. Until we become aware that it is looming. If we have not yet been in that situation we all likely know someone who has or is. The psalmist wrote this song because when he experienced the nearness of death, he cried for help, God pulled him out of danger of death. So, he promises to let all people know how thankful he is. His words of praise to God and the giving of a proper thanksgiving sacrifice are done publicly. Like he stood on the steps leading into the Temple and affirmed his thanks to God to all. We know God cares about each of us, even when physical death comes our way. Our promise is that our life, the life of every believer, is precious to God

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

November 18 – Giving Thanks Is A Gift

“ You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”   2 Corinthians 9:11–12. (ESV)

Do you ever consider how our thankfulness to God is a sacrifice pleasing to Him. Context is important in our selected verses. The Apostle Paul in this second letter to the believers in Corinth is encouraging them to be generous with what God has given them to live on. Paul was collecting offerings to help the saints in Jerusalem who were facing a pressing need under persecution. Paul teaches us two reasons for giving generously. First: A principle holds true in both the natural and the spiritual spheres: the size of a harvest corresponds to the range of the sowing. One can enjoy all their grain by consuming it, or they may reduce their store of it by sowing it and later reaping a bountiful harvest. Another reason for giving generously is that God loves us generosity. God esteems not the size of the gift but the giver’s attitude, sincerity (not reluctantly), choice (not under compulsion), and joyful willingness of a cheerful giver. The more one gives to others, the more they are enriched, and thus they can be generous in giving. Such a generous spirit toward others results in more and more people giving God the gift of thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

November 17 – Profound and Great

“For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!” Psalm 92:4-5 (NIV)

We have chosen these verses especially because of the words where the psalmist is worshipping God for His thoughts. We don’t know God’s thoughts as a mind-reader because no one can know God that way. But the psalmist still knows that God’s thoughts are marvelous. He says, “how profound your thoughts?” What was it that made him marvel at the depth of God’s thoughts? In his first words he was happy about what God was doing. He found God’s works to be great and wonderful and it gave him joy. Sometimes we are tempted to ask why God should allow something difficult to happen in our lives. We struggle with the consequences of attacks that come at us from our enemy. “Why us O Lord? Why did this happen now?” We do not understand and we question His goodness. But God is good all the time and even though he allows some things which test our faith to happen, He never deserts us. He thinks about us and he keeps track. How much better to trust His goodness and know the His thoughts, though deep are wonderful. We trust Him.