Posts from the ‘Hebrews’ Category

Hebrews 13

Hebrews 13

Concluding Exhortations

1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a]

6 So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]

7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.

11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

Benediction and Final Greetings

20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

22 Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly.

23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.

24 Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings.

25 Grace be with you all.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews13&version=NIV

…It’s funny, I was listening to the radio today and the talk show hosts were talking about hospitality and letting people into our houses when they’re messy and the like.  Hebrews says we should show hospitality to strangers. I realized that we often don’t want people in our home when it’s messy because we feel vulnerable and like people will judge us. However, the truest hospitality involves being vulnerable and open and honest–when we are genuine others feel safe and comfortable being themselves as well. If we put on a show of being the perfect happy couple with no problems and a perfectly clean house and perfect food–those who visit may enjoy the food and have some laughs here and there, but, they won’t feel as safe or as able to be open with us. I love to make food and have people over, but I usually keep myself walled up because I’m scared of people not liking me… To be truly hospitable we need simply allow God’s love to shine through us and just be genuine. 🙂 That’s my opinion at any rate :P.

I feel like the rest of the chapter mentions things we should work on… but for specific reasons that relate to God’s character:
Honor marriage/don’t love money/be content–because God will satisfy our needs and will always be with us.
Follow spiritual leaders and don’t be confused by strange teachings–Jesus, our greatest spiritual leader/helper is always the same
Jesus is our high priest–share that grace and goodness and sacrifice with others
Trust your leaders and submit to them–not only will this be a joy and not a burden to your normal leaders, but it will reflect on your relationship to Jesus and it will help you to follow Him and trust Him more and that will make following Him more of a joy to you as well.

 

…Dear Father… I have so many things to thank you for today: the happy beautiful sunshine, the birds singing, the warm air, my wonderful husband, spending time with my aunt and all the good wholesome conversation we had, my sister getting to communicate with a potential guy, my brother being happy and getting to spend time with the girl he likes and her seeming to be interested in maybe giving him a chance… I thank you for routine and motivation. I thank you for music and encouragement. I thank you for the lives of those around me that are testifying to your glory. I pray for my friend–that coming back to school would be not be a discouragement to her, but that she would see your goodness more clearly and walk in your truth and peace and presence. I ask that you would still show her times she can spend with you and you would surround her with your angels and protect her from the lies of your enemies. Father please encourage her, lift her up, and continue to inspire her to see you through art and songs and beauty and other friends. Father, teach her to pray and give her the words to do so. I pray my beautiful sister with her weary heart. There is so much going on in her life–struggling with you, with her husband, with her work, stressed about school and life… Father I just pray that you would bring peace to her life. Surround her with your grace and fill her heart with joy. I pray that when she spends time in your presence that you would just put her soul and spirit at rest. I implore you to ease things between her and her husband, that they would learn to stand together against the world and that they would support and encourage one another. Father teach them to love one another as you would have them. I also pray for my aunt, that you would just be with her. Father surround her with your strength. Hold her hand and support her as she walks through life. God, will you work in and through her relationship with her son–guide her words and change his heart towards her.  I pray for my friend at home, that you would work in her heart to see your plans for her. Whoever that might include I pray that you would open her heart and eyes to that possibility. I pray for my sister that you would be with her and that you would draw her closer to you and that you would bring a godly man into her life that will treat her like the jewel she is and sweep her off her feet. I pray that you would help her to pass her license test and that you would guide her into the purposes you have created her for. I pray for my brother that you would continue to draw him closer to you, that you would just bless him, surround him with your people who will support and encourage and be true friends to him. I beg you to fill him with your life and joy. Grant him reasons to smile. Heal his relationships with those who it’s not so easy to get along with. I pray that you would guide him and show him your purposes for his many talents and gifts. I ask that you would protect him and use him for your purposes. I pray for my other brother that you be with him and draw him to you. I pray that you would soften his heart and show him how to be gentle and selfless and considerate to those around him. I ask that you would surround him with strong Christians to guide him and challenge him to grow…and I pray that you would give him opporunities to move into where you want him to be. Father please continue to push me and draw me closer to you. Please do not let me become lazy in my walk with you. Teach me to be your friend and your follower and your servant and your sheep. Lead me and guide me. Soften my heart. Open my eyes and ears to see you and my mind to understand your ways and words. Be with me. Use me to encourage those you have placed in my life. Let your love overflow through me to those I see today. May I be a blessing to my husband and a good friend to the woman I’m visiting today–please  help me to encourage her and support her. Father please give her an answer to her suffering, show her what she needs to do or what could heal her. Father… I know you have the ability to heal her… if it is your will, I pray that you would just touch her and remove her pain. Father, remove her headaches and all the other symptoms that are showing up. Grant her peace that you will provide and care for her. I pray that you would protect her and her daughter from any harm. Be with their family God, strengthen their ability to trust you.

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Hebrews 12

Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Warning and Encouragement

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”[e] 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”[f]

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews%2012&version=NIV

… Much of the first part of this chapter talks about perseverance and discipline and fighting sin. The author reminds us to throw down the things in life that distract and hurt our relationship with Christ and cause us to sin. Sometimes it’s obvious things–movies or books or music or certain websites…. Sometimes those things are not so obvious and easy to get rid of–friends, thought patterns, lies we have accepted, attitudes, mindsets, good things we have set above God, and the like. Whenever God brings those things to our minds as something we need to get rid of, we need to do everything we can to throw them down and continue running towards God. Sometimes we need simply to pray or ask others to pray, other times we need years of accountability and prayer and solid dedication. The main thing, is to not give up or lose focus on what really matters–Jesus. Sometimes when we keep falling into sin, God will discipline us–even if we were trying to do the right thing and we fell. It hurts and sometimes we feel that it’s unfair and we want to get angry at God, but, it’s in those times we need to remember who God is. He is perfect and He has our best interests at heart because He loves us deeply. He would never give us any discipline that we did not need in order to make us into the people He wants us to be.

The writer of Hebrews also reminds us that our God is not distant, untouchable, and terrifying…but a God of joy and love and peace. A God who takes personal interest in our well-being. A God who speaks to us. A God who is steadfast.

Hey God….I don’t really have any words to say today… My heart is full of gratitude for my husband and friends, and full of thoughts and worries and fear for the future. Father please calm my restless heart and mind and help me to focus on you and to be all that you want me to be, even through my many weaknesses. Please be with those I love. Draw them to your heart and guide them through their trials and tears. The marriages that are under fire may you hold them together and may they come through these times stronger and closer together. God please give me strength today.

God, this is my third time starting this chapter… and I feel like I’m going no where…. I haven’t been able to concentrate or focus all weekend… I’ve been tired and drained and distractable. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… and I need your help father. I have so many things I want and need to accomplish, I want to spend this time with you and I need to get a lot done around the house today and on M-V…. Father God, I just beg for your help today. Please grant me strength and energy and focus. Please be with my family and friends as they start a new week as well. I ask for your strength to surround them and lift them up and your joyful spirit to overflow in their hearts. May your love reign in their thoughts and actions and your Truth be present in every aspect of their lives. God I pray that you would heal the many broken and hurting relationships, that you would calm the anxious hearts, that anger and bitterness and the need to control would be removed and peace, humility, and submissiveness would replace them. I pray that you would draw each one of us closer to you and that you would give us an eagerness and excitement for this week and for you. May we know you more and more with each passing day. Please grant me some encouragement or joy or peace from you to pass on and share with those I encounter today.  Please especially be with my brother… he is lonely and hurting and struggling… please draw him close to you–give him encouragement when he seeks your face, hold him closely in your arms. Father, please  guide him into where you want him to be in life. I pray that you would change her mind and open her eyes to the man he is becoming and draw them together…. I know he would be good to her and love her deeply… I pray that you would open her eyes to that and I pray that he would mature and blossom into the man of God she desires and that you want Father… And please give my sister the man you have created for her…

Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11

Faith in Action

1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2011&version=NIV

…This is such a powerful and encouraging chapter… it reminds us a little of what we want to strive for, a little of what God has promised, and a lot of what God enables us to do through our trust in Him. This chapter as a whole reminds us that faith is trusting that God is who He says He is, and that He will keep his promises–even when we don’t see it coming true in our time. Verse 6 also says that if we don’t trust God–we will not please Him.

I love what was written about Abraham. He obeyed God and went–even though he did not know where he was going. Do any of us ever really know where we are going in life? I can think of several friends right now who know they are on the brink of the great unknown, in relationships, in jobs, even in where they are going to live a few months from now… God will guide each one of them in time… and as they trust Him and follow wherever He directs, even if they don’t understand or don’t realize where they will eventually end up, He will honor their faithfulness….

Sarah was allowed to have Isaac because she believed God was faithful–and He had promised them a child. Are there things in our lives that God has promised to us? Maybe something as general as–He will provide for our needs, He loves us no matter what we do…or maybe there is a specific promise He has given to you specifically–do you consider God to be faithful? to be capable of fulfilling those promises?

I love this paragraph” 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Maybe we won’t see the good God accomplishes through our lives, maybe we won’t see the reason He allowed us to suffer loss or hurt, maybe we won’t see why we had to move somewhere, maybe God promised something to us that we never saw Him fulfill–but remember–He is faithful to keep His promises and we need to continue to live by faith and to continue to trust that God will keep His promises. We need to trust–that is our end of the deal. God will work everything out in His time–that is His end of the deal.

Moses persevered because he saw Him who is invisible… When we are weak and struggling and doubting God’s goodness and faithfulness–Go find Him! spend time with Him, seek His face, He is no longer hidden from us behind a curtain. That curtain has been rent in two! Our great High Priest is here walking among us, He understands our sufferings and our impatience and our longing to have things resolved. Look into His face, He is the uncovered God, look at His hands, feet, and sides, remember the sacrifice He gave to you–remember His faithfulness in the past. See Him who is invisible–and hold on.

 

And there are so many other times and places God has proved and reminded us of His faithfulness and provision “ I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.” Our lives will not be easy. There WILL be suffering and pain and we will be tempted and taunted at every turn. We will doubt where we are at. We will wonder over and over when God will come through for us. But, let us cling closely to Christ, let us not lose sight of His face or let go of His hand, and like Moses and all these others–we will be able to persevere. God will provide for our needs–He promised–and He is faithful. Let us trust in Him and be counted among these others. 🙂

 

 

Father God… I just thank and praise you so much for the light and life you have rained down on myself and those around me. I pray that you would continue to open our eyes and hearts and minds to your glory and Truth and that we would trust more deeply in your power and love. I thank you for my friends that are getting the opportunity to find community and rest in your Spirit, I pray that the rest of my family and friends would find the same refuge and rest in you…that we would all seek to see your face more clearly and that you would reveal yourself to us and draw us closer into fellowship with you. Father I ask that your will would be accomplished in each one of our lives. I pray specifically for my brother, that you would grant him joy in his lonely world… and that he would find comfort and love in you. That you would encourage him and build him up. I pray that you would mend the broken relationships in his life and that you would fill his hurts with your love and healing. I pray that you would deepen his hunger for you and guide him onto your path and fulfill your purpose in his life. Teach him to be more responsible with the resources you have blessed him with, and reveal your plan for him–guide his ambition and passions into a tool for your great trade. Father please be with him. I pray for another friend, who is seeking your face. Father I pray that you would encourage her and grant her guidance. Father, please open doors before her and husband, allow them to reach out to those around them and to serve your Church as you created them to. Fill the desires of their heart and show them your great plans for them. I pray that you would heal their marriage as well, draw them into deeper communion with you and with each other. Ease the burden of life and it’s trials and disappointments right now. Father God, I pray for another friend who is lonely and purposeless right now… I ask that you would lift her up and fill her with purpose and passion and commitment and God that you would work in her life to produce and beautiful testament to your Truths and Love. May her work draw others into deeper understanding of your heart and I pray that you would draw her back to your heart and into fellowship with you. Father I just pray for all of us and for everyone I know, that you would be with us, and that you would live through us. May we reach out to one another with your hands and heart, may our words reflect your encouragement and mercies and wisdom, may our thoughts be pure and our motives consistent with your will, and our hearts be filled with passion for your honor and glory. God, I just ask that you would tear down my pride and self-seeking tendencies, purify my motives. I ask that in everything I do that my desire would be to show others your sanctifying power and life-changing grace, and I pray that when I am alone that my desire would be to honor you to reveal more of your faithfulness to my own heart and mind… God, I just want to be closer to you… Hold me in your arms. Fill us all with your strength and passion. Open our eyes to your truth today, may our minds be open to understand and our hearts seeking you. Forever and always may you be glorified.

Hebrews 10

Hebrews 10

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]

8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b]

17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c]

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”[f]

38 And,

“But my righteous[g] one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”[h]

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews%2010&version=NIV

…Even though Jesus is God, He still set an example for us when he submitted and became human like us… and His response to God after He got here was “Here am I. I have come to do Your will.”  wow… How often do we say that? Usually we ask, why are we here? What do you want from us? Why are you putting me through this? Instead of–God, I am here. I am here to do your will. They seem similar but usually our response comes from a defensive mindset, God is forcing us into something that we aren’t necessarily sure we will like. The other is, us presenting ourselves to God saying, hey, we’re here and we want to serve You. Let us know what you want from us. This is something I need to work on. Where are you now? Have you presented yourself to God in this place and asked for instructions and opportunities? Someone once said that God honors availability over capability.  We might not be the most skillful person ever, but if we are available to be used by God–He will use us and supply whatever we are missing.

Since we are God’s and He has forgiven and cleansed us, we are to come to Him with a sincere, trusting heart and to encourage other believers, spur them on to love and good deeds, and to not stop meeting with them. Why is it so important to do these things? With God, if we don’t trust Him or His goodness, why are we even following Him? If he isn’t trustworthy in our minds we should follow something else that we do trust, no? But, since He is trustworthy and has proven it over and over in our own lives and in the lives of others we should trust Him and come to Him with a sincere heart–He is true to us, and we should be true to Him and to ourselves in return. Lies are of the devil…and only slow us down and entangle us and separate us from His Truth. By meeting with other believers we can be reminded of this Truth and be encouraged when we are doubting and struggling with things. We are encourage one another, support one another, and see Christ alive in those around us. If we are starting to fall into lies, others can show this to us and remind us of the truth, keep us accountable. Community is impossible to do without.
….
Dearest Father, I thank you so much for today… for the joy and motivation you’ve given me today. I ask that you would continue to help me accomplish things for your glory and honor. I thank you for my wonderful husband and our breakfast together. I thank you for bringing us together and giving us a life to share together. I pray that you would help me to fulfill my position as his wife to the best of my ability and to encourage him and to support him. I thank you so much for all of the friends and family you have blessed me with. I thank you for the encouragement you have brought to my heart through their kindnesses and steadfastness and vulnerability and through them sharing their lives with me. I thank you for allowing me to witness you growing in and through them… it’s so encouraging to see your people grow into more of the people you created them to be, and to see their eyes slowly opened to your words and mercies. I ask that this would continue, that you would just reach into their lives and touch them. I pray for peace and wisdom for those you’ve surrounded me with. Everyone of them is struggling with something right now, whether it is loneliness, life purpose, direction, relationships, hearing/seeing you, or something else, I just ask that you would work with them through these things, and begin to reveal your great Purpose in and to them. I pray that you would place your holy hands upon them and breathe your life and strength into them. Fill them with a sense of purpose and your power. Open their eyes to your light guiding them, may they have direction and peace in their hearts. May you open their ears to your Truth that you’re speaking into their hearts. I pray that you would reveal the meaning of your words to them, and draw them ever closer and into deeper understanding. I ask that you would fulfill the longings of their hearts to be close to you, that you would satisfy that hunger and continue to deepen and satisfy that hunger every day. Father God, I know that some of them desire you more than anything, and it tears them apart when they cannot feel you in their lives… I just beg you to open their minds and hearts to you, allow them to feel your Presence surrounding, the holiness of your heart, the warmth of your touch, the richness of your love, the peace of your presence, the purity of your purpose for them. Father, you are their beloved Groom, you are the one their hearts truly long for, the one they desire to be with… I pray that you would come to them, tear down any walls of bitterness or anger or hurt or lonliness or frustration at not being good enough for you or pride, take those things away and wrap them up in your truth and love and acceptance. Refill them with the knowledge that you want them as they are, you have forgiven them for their failures and you just want to walk with them through this life, even when they stumble–you’re there to hold their hand and lift them up again–not to judge and condemn them. Remind them of the purity of your unconditional love. Father God, be with all of us today. Please let me know you better and honor you with what I do today. Walk with me. Give me opportunities to reach out and encourage those you have put into my life. Give me your words and thoughts to share with them and encourage them to look at you more. I love you.

Hebrews 9

Hebrews 9

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

1 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c]so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

16 In the case of a will,[d] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e] 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%209&version=NIV

… I feel that this chapter gives us a mental/visual picture of what Christ did for us… There is this temple  hiding the secret things of God and housing His Presence that no one can enter without blood and only at certain times of the year… but now, God’s price for justice has been paid, the doors are open, God and all his glory and secrets are available to the common man.. to you and I. Jesus rent the curtain in two to restore our relationship with the father, so we can now sit at his feet or be held in his lap…

…Father God, I pray your mercies upon today. I ask for your will to be done in my life and the lives of my friends an family. I pray that you would draw us all closer to you trough your goodness and truth. Bring us through your trials more holy and more honoring to you. I pray that you would make your voice clear to us, may we listen and obey. God please fill our minds and hearts with thought of you and the desire to glorify you and know you. Father God would you open the our eyes to see your face more clearly every day… be with those I know, may they feel your hands guiding their lives, may they feel your purpose and direction, help them to understand your ways and may we all trust your sovereignty and goodness and love.

Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8

The High Priest of a New Covenant

1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[a] 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said[b]:

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”[c]

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

…There has been a lot going on in my life lately… and a lot of thoughts being passed around, and a lot of things that I think God is trying to teach me… but verses 10-11 here bring it all back up again.” This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” God wants us to know Him. He has made a way for us to walk with Him, to KNOW Him… to be a part of His plan. He has already written his laws on our hearts, and He has already given us a way to be His people… it doesn’t matter who we are or what we’ve done… We are welcome in His house.  The greatest thing to me is that this isn’t a WISH of God… this isn’t something He is planning in the future… this is a promise that that faithful God of the universe has already put into motion. We WILL know God. We ARE His people. He has already written his laws on our hearts and placed them in our minds–it is something we can know and do something about. This is something God has done for us already. And so many people around me and in my dream there is this resurgence of the idea that we need to focus on knowing God. It’s important to Him here in Hebrews, He WANTS us to know Him. I feel that I need to do more to get to know God for who He is and maybe just not focus on smaller things. If I focus on getting to know Jesus, I will love Him more, and through loving Him more I feel that I will automatically start trying more to honor Him in my life through the things I already know to do (and have been struggling doing…). But knowing the one who loves me enough to die for me, and knowing the one who created the earth and everything in it cannot help but change my life… can it?

–Dear God… I’ve been struggling with something all day today. My friend is hurting, because she loves you. She wants to honor you and serve you well, she wants so badly to hear you say, well done, my good and faithful servant. But she can’t hear you, and she feels like everything she does isn’t enough. She doesn’t feel good enough, and she constantly feels like a failure. Father, I know that this isn’t how you designed the relationship between us and you to be. I know that your heart is to be close to her, to love her and be loved in return. To shower blessings on her and have her praise your name from the joy in her heart. To hold her when she’s hurting, to whisper words of comfort in her ear and have her trust you completely that you will take care of her and provide for her every need. I know that you designed this relationship to be beautiful, and not something that tears her down and wears her down and makes her so frustrated she just wants to give up… But God… I don’t know how to help her. But you do. And I beg you to reach out to her and show her that following you and loving you and obeying you isn’t about the rules. It’s not about what you want us to DO. Everything Christianity is based on and everything you did wasn’t so we could follow the 10 commandments… it was so that we would be able to be together, to have a relationship, to love you and have you talk to us… to be able to walk in the garden together in the cool of the day, as friends, as lovers. God, I pray that you would break this notion and need to have to do everything right, that you would just open her heart to your love, show her that you have accepted her as she is, good and bad, strengths and weaknesses, assets and faults. She is the beautiful creation of your hands and heart, and you just want her–as she is–to know you for who you are, and to love you like you love her. Not based on rules, not based on commands, not based on everything you’ve commanded, but based on who you are. I was reminded today God that when we read the Bible to get facts out of it, or to simply learn what you want us to work on today, that in our minds it becomes like a class with homework that we are forced to do, and since it’s not graded we often focus very half-heartedly on it and we don’t focus at all on what we should be…. Father God, I pray that this is not the case in my friend’s life… or if it is, that you would refresh her mind and heart, renew a spirit of love and longing in her. Remind her that you are her lover, and she is your beloved. This is a great romance, and you are wooing her heart. You want to lavish your love upon her, to rescue her, to protect her, to provide for her, to persue her…and she is to experience you, to be vulnerable to you, to let her heart be won over by you, to persue you in return, to open herself completely to you, to trust you and respect you, to learn who you are in your fullness… and to enjoy the journey. Father, please, show her over and over again that her perfection is a process… not something you expect from her right now. Yes you want her growing and learning, but you understand that it’s a long process and you are a very patient lover, more then willing to pick her up and accept her faults over and over again… God, I just don’t know how to explain what is on my heart, and I know I don’t understand even a tiny amount of your purpose and plan and the process of loving you and being loved by you… but I pray that you would bring understanding to my friend–your beloved and your daughter–and that you would open her heart and mind to this part of your plan and just bring peace and joy to her heart. Ease those frustrations and the need to be perfect and to control her life. Father I pray that you would help her to surrender to you  her need to be in control. Teach her to trust you and accept that you know what is best… and that it’s okay to take things slowly. I pray for another friend, that you would give her a purpose right now… that you would fill her heart with desire to accomplish your plan and help her to feel useful and wanted and needed and loved. Father please give her someone in her life to reach out to her and befriend her where she is at who can help her to feel needed. Father please bring her back to you, give her a reason to love you and serve you and reach out to need you. I pray also for the friend I am meeting with tomorrow, that you would bless our time with you, that you would open our hearts and eyes to what you want from us… that you would push us and care for us and challenge us. Father that you would bring peace and understanding to our hearts. May we minister to each other….may our hearts and minds be filled with your truth. Protect us from the evil one–especially while we are together. May your will be clear in our midst.

(a couple days later) Hey God… I’m back again. I’m sorry I haven’t found the time to read more from Hebrews and spend time with you, but thank you sooooo much for the wonderful friends you have given me and the time I’ve gotten to spend with them :D. Thank you for my breakfast with — and for the great conversations that we had. I thank you for bringing her into my life and for the experiences we have shared. Father I pray that You would really help her out right now. She’s feeling pressure from a lot of different places and she’s struggling with all of the friendships she feels she has to avoid or give up now. With all the relationship drama, so unasked for and all the school and  judgement from so many people, telling her to just get over things, it all just seems so unnecessary and unfair and destructive. Father… I pray that you would open her eyes to whatever your will is in the midst of this. She doesn’t want to come back from break and back to all this drama, but I ask that you would reveal to her something constructive and productive and meaningful to her that you can only teach her through everything you are allowing her to go through here. And I pray that she would be more willing to return and to draw closer to you through these struggles. Father, I pray that you would give her wisdom about all of this drama. For our friend that we feel is making an unwise decision and jumping into things, I pray that you would protect her and that if there is anything either of us can say to her that would help to encourage her in wisdom or that would give her clarity or protect her heart in anyway–something that would help her to honor you in this relationship, please give us the courage and words to speak into her life. I pray for the other drama going on in her life that is making it impossible for her to stay in touch with a good friend and causing divisions between other friends… and with the friend back home… Father there is just so much stuff here going on–I beg you to give her wisdom and insight and strength. Shower her with your love and blessings. Hold her hand as she walks through this. Teach her your heart and purpose in all of this. I pray that you would open the eyes of her heart to see your Truth and Love through all these struggles. I pray God that you would protect her heart from anger and bitterness and frustration and hurt–God do not allow these things to cloud her vision or her heart for you. I pray that they would not divide her from you. Father please help her surrender her desire for revenge, as sweet and as “harmless” as it may be… it is still impure motives that are not pleasing to you…and I pray that she would give that desire to you. I pray that you would teach her to be kind and loving and forgiving towards those who have hurt and are still hurting her… I ask that you would teach her to pray ernestly for those she is angry with and to desire Your best for them. God… I just ask that in the midst of this whirlwind that you would draw her closer and closer to you…that she would feel your loving arms around her and your Presence with her every step of the way. May she know you more every day and give her wisdom and understanding into your heart and soul. May she desire your perfect will, and may you strengthen her to complete it in your holy name. I pray for my friend who longs to hear you. Father I ask that you would teach her to hear your voice… that you would shine your brilliant and holy light into her cloudy mind, and that you would bring understanding and peace to her heart. Father I beg you to show her your will and your ways. Father may you calm her soul… bring her peace… bring her joy… bring her into your rest. Father may you teach her patience and stillness  and the joy of knowing you for you…not for what you expect of her. I pray that you would help her to accept herself as you do–a forgiven and beloved daughter. Help her to know that you are not angry or disappointed with her… that you love helping to pick her back up after she makes a mistake. You love HER, and you desire HER… It’s not about how much she gets done, it’s not about doing everything right… it’s about you, and the two of you together. God, I plead with you to show her how to focus on you and not on the things that make up your relationship. Father I am available and willing if you want to use me. Father if you choose to use me to encourage or explain anything to her, I pray that you would give me your wisdom and words. God, I just don’t know what to say or how to say it to any of these precious people… I want to help so badly, but I don’t want it to come from myself, I want everything to come from you, God. I also pray for my friend who was just here… I thank you for our time together… and I pray that you would have used this time to encourage her and I pray that she would work on the project… and perhaps maybe we can read books together or something, but I pray that you would encourage her and give her something to do at home that makes her feel useful and accomplished. I pray that she would renew her time with you, and that you would rebuild her emotionally and spiritually into who you created her to be. Renew her joy in you and please walk with her in light and truth and cast out the darkness clouding her heart right now. Father there are so many things I still have yet to ask for and so much to be grateful for… God you know my heart and the desires therein, and you know your will and I pray that you would cast out anything in me that does not line up with your desires for me and your will…and I pray that you will fill my heart with your joy and my mind with your thoughts and my heart with your love, my eyes with your vision and my mouth with your words and encouragement. Please teach me to be a good, uplifting, encouraging wife, and a good friend to those you place in my life, and yeah… just be with me and help me to know you more every day. I love you God…

Hebrews 7

Hebrews 7

Melchizedek the Priest

1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

Jesus Like Melchizedek

11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”[a]

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”[b]

22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+7&version=NIV

…I think the entire  first half of the chapter is summarised in verse 16: “one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.” Throughout the first 15 verses the writer of Hebrews contrasts Melchizedek and Jesus with the normal Levitical priesthood. He tries to explain why Priest M is so much more powerful and important and his line is much longer lasting than the line of Aaron… and at the very end, he explains that the way Priest M lived his life and the legacy he left behind was not a blood legacy, but a legacy of a life devoted to service to God–and THAT is why Jesus comes from his line of priesthood.

Since Jesus will never die, and since his life of honoring God is never-ending, His priesthood will continue forever. And that is good news for us. His one sacrifice was more powerful than any other sacrifice ever made–and that sacrifice (Himself) covered over every sin ever made or that will be made. Now those sins cannot separate us from communing with God. And even our human weaknesses cannot stop us from communicating with Jesus–who was once man and understands our weakness–and who will intercede for us to God the Father.

I don’t know about you… but I can’t really wrap my head around all of this… Basically all I can say is that I’m really really God understands how this all works, and that He was willing to reach out to us even though we don’t understand what we need or why and He went ahead and filled our need and opened our eyes and said, hey, you need this, here it is, take it. And slowly over time He grants us a little bit of understanding so we remain grateful. Crazy huh?

 

…Dear Father, thank you for friends and surrounding me with people who love me and encourage me. Forgive me for wasting precious time on not-so-important things. I thank you for my cousin who randomly called me out of the blue to catch up and for friends to make dinner with and who pray for me and who confide in me what you’re doing in their lives and what they are struggling with. God I really appreciate everything you’re doing in my life and how you’ve been slowly surrounding me with good friends. Community means the world to me, and I thank you for granting such a precious gift to me. Father I pray that through these friendships you would draw me closer to you and draw all of them closer to you as well. May we encourage one another and challenge each other and I pray that you would give us wisdom and insight and kind words of encouragement as we speak to each other, and may each word be spoken in love and selflessness and not out of selfish ambition. I pray that you would keep my heart and motives pure. I pray that you would grant wisdom and insight to –, that you would hold her and uplift her. That you would free her heart from anger and bitterness and that you would replace those with love and gentleness and forgiveness and kindness. I pray that you would lay your hand upon her and bring her peace. I thank you for clearing up things with her parents and i pray that you would continue to mend that relationship. I also pray that you would clear away the confusion and the mistrust that has been building in her heart–I ask that you would continue to work in her and keep her heart soft and tender towards you, that you would gently remove the bricks she tries to put up and remind her over and over that you love her and you are faithful and that your sovereign will will be accomplished in spite of our mistakes and those made by people around us. I pray for –, that you would touch her heart. Father she wants so desperately to hear your voice and just know who you are and what you want for her… Father I ask that you would just whisper in her ears…. that you would caress her hurting soul with your love… that you would bring her peace in the midst of this whirlwind her life is in, and that you would remind her that you love her…and that you care about her… and that you love where her heart for you is… and that you are still working in and through her right now. I pray that you would comfort her grieving spirit… that you would remind her that you have already forgiven her. Please pick her up and brush her off and give her a hug… she is your beautiful little daughter, and she’s really upset about how often she has disappointed you. But God, I know you still love her and you just want her to keep running to you, even when she trips and falls… I pray that you would remind her of that… and just give her your love and peace and look into her eyes with tenderness and remind her of what your voice sounds like… Remind her that you are guiding her, even when you choose not to speak to do it. I pray for all of my friends and family, that you would draw us closer to you… that you would speak your Truth into our lives and break down our pride and lies and disobedience. Father forgive us where we have sinned and cleanse us. Father purify our hearts, teach us to love and honor you. Teach us who you are. Show us every day who you are and how awesome you are and how mighty and powerful and wonderful you are. Father help me to believe, forgive my unbelief. Restore my soul. Make me your servant. Teach me today. Open my eyes and heart and mind to you and your Word.