Wednesday 28 February, 2018

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

This morning I took 15 minutes to really reflect and meditate on this collection of verses. This is something that I am aware that I don’t do often enough- I have a great habit of reading three to five chapters of the bible each day every day, but there is something different about spending the same time on a shorter section of scripture and I am realising I need to work out how I can do both!

As I pondered on the significance of these verses, I realised how poorly equipped I am to truly understand the gravity of what is written!

Firstly, it says that Jesus is a high priest in service to God. I am so far removed from first century Hebrew culture that, even if I understand the role of the high priest as it is written in the Torah, I still can’t really fathom the spiritual and emotional significance that the high priest had in Israel.

Next, it says that he made atonement/sacrifice/propitiation (depending on which translation you read) for our sins. In my comfortable 21st century Australian existence, I don’t really have any true experiences to understand what this kind of sacrifice is. I have read the bible dictionary on these words and my head can explain them to my heart, but we just don’t really do atoning sacrifice in our society all that much.

And finally it echoes Hebrews 4:15 and suggests that Jesus can really identify with every single one of us because he has suffered in the same way and been tempted in the same way. My tendency though is to assume nobody can really understand me, because i am unique and nobody has the same set of experiences as me. I think this is a common feeling amongst people today.

But the weight of this passage is huge! The only way I have even begun to appreciate it, is because I had the privilege of being able to get up early, watch the sunrise and spend a longer moment reflecting on God’s word.

Lord help me to make your word a priority, not just digesting it in large amounts, but also appreciating it in smaller nights for longer.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Tuesday 27 February, 2018

Hebrews 2:10-13

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

My humanity is not something dirty in God’s eyes. On the contrary, in Jesus becoming fully human, our humanity is affirmed in the most profound of ways – God has embraced humanity in making us his children.

Jesus connects me with the Father who is in heaven, the Creator of all things. Jesus calls me a brother and makes me a son of God. God loves this human and has adopted me into his family.

My God, my Father, how rich is your love for me. I am no dirty human. I am a redeemed human, made fully human, like my brother Jesus. I am loved by my eternal Father and declared forgiven of all guilt. I am a son and I carry on my Father’s business.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Monday 26 February, 2018

Hebrews 2:5-9

5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? 7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor 8 and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

This is quite a powerful statement – “You crowned them (humans) with glory and honour and put everything under their feet.”. This flies in the face of current popular thinking that we are a product of evolutionary chance, with no Creator to bestow on us power, purpose and meaning.

This passage tells us that we are created with Position and with Purpose.

Our Position is one of honour amongst God’s creation. We are crowned (like royalty) with glory and honour! Of course, we don’t always live up to our honourable potential, but it’s comforting and encouraging to remember that God views us like this. We are very special to Him, unlike any other part of His creation.

Our Purpose is that God has called us to rule over this world.  Although we don’t yet see everything under human jurisdiction, we have been given a very special job to do as His chosen ones to partner with Him to look after this world.

I am very grateful for God’s gift of Position and Purpose in a world that is trying to take God completely out of the picture.

Father God, we desperately need to hold on to these truths. Help us, especially to teach this to our young people, because these are the only things that can give us true meaning in this world.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Sunday 25 February, 2018

Hebrews 2:1-4

2 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

There is an emphasis in verse1 (NIV) as to the importance of the statement. The use of the word “therefore” draws a stronger attention to the statement. It highlights the importance of the need to act and be aware that the reader needs to pay more careful attention to what has been heard, so that one does not drift away.

More careful attention to whom? To Christ, for how much more important are His words to obey, than even those of angels (V2)

Remember, these words are written to warn Christians, and not the unsaved, so that the Christians do not drift away. This is a strong message from the writer.

I ponder the phrase “drift away”. A boat will drift away should it not be anchored or moored to a strong and stable holding point. Without Christ as our anchor, we too are vulnerable to drifting away into a turbulent sea, being tossed around, and possibly swamped, thus sinking to the bottom. Not a pleasant thought!

And like any good sailor, an important task is that the mooring needs to be checked regularly, to ensure the vessel is well connected, and has not shifted or dislodged. We too, need to continually check and build on our connection with the true foundation and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I am therefore challenged .

Am I in daily connection with Him?

When the wind blows hard, do I check the ropes of life connected to Him ?

When the sea is calm and the breeze is soft and refreshing, do I neglect Him because all seems well?

Therefore, pay careful attention to His words, that one does not drift away.

Thank you Lord that you are the great Anchor of my life and salvation. I so desire to be firmly tied to You every day, for You are my every need. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

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Saturday 24 February, 2018

Hebrews 1:5-14

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.” 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. 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. 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?

The most revered things in the Jewish faith had been the prophets, Moses, the priesthood and angels. The author of Hebrews is seeking to establish Jesus’ supremacy over all these things. In this passage he is comparing Jesus to angels.

For us it is a no brainer that Jesus surpasses angels. But sometimes we don’t put him first either. We get distracted by the things of this world. Sometimes we make finances or work or even leisure activities more important than Jesus. None of these things are wrong in themselves, but they should not take the place of Jesus as our first priority. Look at the wonderful things this passage says about Jesus.

  1. He is God’s precious Son 2. He is worshipped by angels 3. His throne will continue forever 4. He rules with justice 5. He loves righteousness and hates wickedness 6. He is anointed by the Father with the oil of joy 7. He laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens 8. He will remain always – even after the heavens and the earth perish 9. He sits at God’s right hand 10. His enemies will be a footstool under his feet.

Our response to this has to be bifold. We need to make sure he is number one in our lives, and we need to praise him! Jesus is abundantly worthy of our praise!

Lord, You are worthy to receive glory, honour and praise. You are great and just and you will live forever. May I never forget how great you are, but always exalt you. Amen.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Friday 23 February, 2018

Hebrews 1:1-4

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.

I see that our God is committed to working with humanity to reveal truth to the world at large. I see that He uses mere mortals to convey divine messages. However the human whom he appointed his greatest messenger is himself divine! This human messenger also hung the stars in space, he keeps the world turning!

God came to earth to speak his greatest revelation to the world, yet he still spoke it through humanity. The Son of God reveals God perfectly in a completely human way! This blows me away!

I can know God now, I can understand what I need to understand and I can draw near to the infinite because the infinite became finite and drew near to us. Not only this but the Son completed the redemption that could only be completed by a man. He is both the greatest prophet and our great saviour.

Jesus I love you, I cherish the day you were born on the earth. You open my eyes to see God, you cleanse my heart to draw near!

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Thursday 22 February, 2018

2 Timothy 4:16-22

16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.

This passage is written by Paul near the end of his life. He knows that he will probably be killed soon, but he is facing his end with great faith and courage.  Deserted by others, he writes here that he does want it to be held against them. He knows that the Lord will rescue him, and by ‘rescue him’, he is meaning that his future is secure in heaven (typically not most people’s definition of ‘rescue’!).

How often do we limit God’s rescue to our earthly way of thinking? Sometimes the way God rescues people is by taking them to heaven. Death in Christ is not failure, it is the greatest victory. Death is not the end, it is only the beginning.

May we grow in the ability to look at things from an eternal perspective. May we speak and act like people who are sure of our future in God’s heavenly kingdom, not full of fear but full of faith.

Written by Shelley Witt

2 replies
  1. Shelley Witt says:

    “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” – Billy Graham

  2. Andrew says:

    A lovely epilogue to your message, which I assume was written days ago – the note from Billy Graham.

    A truly remarkable man, used by God to influence the lives of 1,000s of people. My mum worked for him in the 1950s and I now have some memorabilia from that time.
    Lord please help us to understand the importance of winning souls into your kingdom. Help us to learn from the example of this great man. Amen

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Wednesday 21 February, 2018

2 Timothy 4:9-15

9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy is essentially a personal letter, but this section of scripture gives an intriguing and rare insight into the personal relationships that Paul was maintaining at the time of writing. History suggests that he was likely under house arrest in Rome at the time he wrote it.

For me, this passage fits beautifully with the vision for C3 Church Carlingford “In your going, make disciples” as it gives insight into some of the ways that the great leader Paul related to those that he was discipling.

Interestingly, Paul says of Mark in verse 11 “he is very useful to me for ministry.” shows that the conflict that Paul had involving Mark in Acts 15:36 was able to be resolved to the point where Mark was clearly a trusted disciple by the time that Paul wrote to Timothy. This is such a great example to us on the importance of maintaining hope that even the most damaged relationships are able to be restored when Christ is at the centre!

Lord, I pray that I will be able to disciple others well, that I will be able to have friends that I can trust in times of need and that you will help me to see people with Your eyes, especially when I am in conflict with them!

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Tuesday 20 February, 2018

2 Timothy 4:6-8

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

What an amazing testimony – what unwavering faith!

I love that Paul could say with confidence I have done what Christ asked of me.  I want the same testimony over my life where I can say with confidence I have fought the good fight and finished the race.  That takes confidence, faith, perseverance, purity…

Lord, help me to fulfil the destiny on my life like Paul did – full of faith, right to the end!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Monday 19 February, 2018

2 Timothy 4:1-5

4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Paul in this passage is giving Timothy his last ever command that we have recorded – Preach the word – proclaim the message. Proclaim the message – none of us really can escape that one.

Even more of a challenge to me has been the last phrase in verse 5. It’s been sitting with me for days as I have read & re-read this passage – “carry out your ministry fully” or in another version “Do everything God has given you to do”. Am I doing this? Have I let things slip through my hands that have been given me to do because I didn’t want to or not convenient or because I didn’t think I was up to it? I know I have.

Father, forgive me for all the times I have not done the things you have given me to do. I know you’re faithful even when I am not and ask that you would again bring opportunities along so that I can grow and do all that you have in store for my life. Amen.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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