Friday, September 27, 2013

Flames of fire (Hebrews 2) (Hebrews 1:7, Hebrews 2:1-8)

"Nothing like clouds to illustrate drifting : )"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Hebrews 1:7 

In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels spirits,
and his servants flames of fire.”
We are compared to the angels.  We are a little lower than them.  His angels are spirits and his servants are flames of fire.  This reminds me why people get so annoyed when they see a Bible.  A spark pops out; they aren't comfortable.  Can't you see people opening Bibles and little sparks shooting out?  When God's spirit is in us, other people feel uncomfortable.  Sometimes we make them realize changes need to be made without saying anything. When I heard my Pastor speak in the beginning, I always felt guilty.  Because the truth hurts.  In the beginning I was a big mess : )  Trust me, if God has time for me, He'll take anyone.

Hebrews 2

1 It's crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we've heard so that we don't drift off. 2 If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, 3 do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. 4 All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit.
(Hebrews 2:1-4 Message)

To me, this means sliding back into the old ways and forgetting the Lord.  When I drift off I don't feel as joyful.  Especially in times like this, where we are facing so many troubles in the world.  Our strongest tool is prayer to God.

5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?

7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands."

This is a great mystery.  God created man in His image.  We were never intended to be greater than the angels.  Yet in His great love for us, God actually took on the form of a man, "Jesus."   And then allowed man to do the unthinkable- to use His body as the sacrifice for our sin.  I don't even want to get shots at the doctor, but God's love is so divine and pure for us, He endured the painful execution of a cross.  Our salvation was finalized, sealed in God's blood.  It's up to us to accept His gift, it's free to anyone who will.

8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

We're still learning about all of Jesus' authority.  I doubt we can grasp all that is in the Heavens.  In the end, we will see it all.
(Hebrews 2:5-8 NKJV)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The radiance of God's glory (Hebrews 1) (Hebrews 1:1-14, John 3:16-18, John 1:1-5)

The words in Hebrews are beautiful.

Hi everyone-

New Jersey is finally cooling off.  Most of the homes that were destroyed by the hurricane have been rebuilt.  The weather has been hot, rainy and humid most of this year.  So now it's time for me to get back indoors (I have a tan yay!).  My husband and I started watching Duck Dynasty on TV, it's great.  They are a Christian family of woodsmen/hunters with bushy beards and a great sense of humor.  Their wives are beautiful ladies.  At the end of each show they say a prayer together.  This week they prayed to know God's love even more.

We had a sad situation in New Jersey though.  After the boardwalk and buildings in Seaside, by Toms River were restored a fire broke out and burned it all up.  Hard to believe it could happen, but it did.  Evidentally some wiring was damaged by the hurricane and caught fire.  Our governor, Chris Christie, is relentlessly telling us we'll be ok, we are resilient (stubborn).  I sure appreciate him.  He's right, I should've given up years ago but just couldn't.  The Lord keeps showing me something more to get excited about. 

Colorado has been having a rough time too.  They had some serious fires then flooding.  Feel free to pray with me if you like.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise You and thank You for bringing us through the storms.  I pray for mercy for the people in Colorado and Toms River, NJ.  Please heal these people from the terrible things they've experienced.  I pray You will help inspire people with new ideas on how to move forward.  Please comfort all Your people as I know You have comforted me.  Help us to see Your goodness and not just the bad stuff.  Your love never ends.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

No one is exactly sure who wrote the book of Hebrews in the Bible but it sure is beautiful.

Hebrews 1

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

These verses describe Jesus.  It sounds like the verses in the Book of John:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 NIV)
When I read these verses I wonder why I'd ever worry.  God has been busy since before creation.  Surely He can handle the stuff going on today.  These verses talk more about Jesus.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son
today I have become your Father”?
Or again,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him

These verses remind me of the Book of John too.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son
(John 3:16-18 NIV)

7 In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels spirits,
and his servants flames of fire.”
8 But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
10 He also says,
“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
This verse reminds me of astronomy.  If you get a chance look at a book or website with photos from space (link) it's amazing out there.  The photos in the link were taken from the Hubble Spacecraft.

11 They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
12 You will roll them up like a robe;like a garment they will be changed.
This world will pass away at some point in time.

But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”
13 To which of the angels did God ever say,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet”?
14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
(Hebrews 1:1-14 NIV)
God sent angels to watch out for us : )  With all the changes in the world today, it's great to know God will aways be the same today, tomorrow and yesterday.

This song by Michael W. Smith seems to fit this chapter Glorious Grace (link).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wars and rumors of wars (John 14:25-28, Matt 24:3-14, Matt. 6:9)

We're having kind of a bad world-leader week.  I was trying to think of the good side of all this and realized we're closer to Jesus' return : )  Also, thought if all the world-leader's Mothers came back and gave them the LOOK it might help.  But I can't guarantee it...  So... here we are war, almost war, and more war. During times like this I like to read these verses:

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you. ’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I."
John 14:25-28

I'm sure Jesus' disciples were nervous.  They would've noticed how the leaders of their time wanted to silence Jesus, and they didn't quite understand His power and purpose at this point.  So when the time came, the disciples asked Him about things.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
 And Jesus answered and said to them:“ Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

Matthew 24:3-14

We need to continue to pray for peace in Jerusalem- it's actually where many of the Biblical prophecies will take place.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up the world leaders to You.  I honestly don't know what to ask for specifically.  You are God You see all and know all.  I pray You will bring peace.  I lift up all those around the world who are being held against their will, please set them free.  I pray You will speak to the hearts of all of our leaders, especially ours, about the cost of war in people's lives at home and abroad.  Help us to tend to the needs of our own nations.  I thank You and praise You for Israel's safety in the midst of so many conflicts and different beliefs.  Forgive us all where we've failed in word or actions.  

Here's the prayer Jesus taught us:
'Our Father who art in a heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.' And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen'  Matt. 6:9
In Jesus Name, Amen.