Tuesday, March 31: Luke 8- Fear can be so debilitating.

The reaction of the people of the Gerasenes to the man’s miraculous healing puzzles me. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left (37).

I get it, that the whole demons into the pigs thing could have been a bit troubling, but to see a man in his right mind, dressed and acting normal. Wow ! I would think that would be great! As I re-read the verse I guess fear took over them.

That last line hit me as I typed it. Fear took over them and they missed the miracle and missed a perfect opportunity to meet Jesus. Was it fear of His power display? Fear of the unknown? Fear of having their own issues coming to light? We are not told. God apparently didn’t think it was important for us to know the specific fear. BUT God is quite clear that fear is at the root.

And this connects with me… I am wondering how often I allow fear to stop me from experiencing something new or great from Jesus. A healing, maybe? A new adventure God wants me to take? A new area of growth?

Fear can be so debilitating.

I am reminded of 1John 4:18, perfect love drives out fear…. I guess the antidote to fear is to drawer near to Jesus –perfect love –and allow Him to drive out any fear I may have.

Lord, help me to draw closer to You and to draw strength from You. I pray in Your name. Amen.


Monday, March 30: Luke 7- Same message; different response .

I was attracted to verses 29-30 as I read this chapter. I thought, some people are too smart for their own good. All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.

The regular folk were drawing to Jesus. As they listened to Him they were attracted to Him and they acknowledged that God’s way was right. These are the same folk who had previously come to John and been baptized. That tells me something… they were humble enough to admit they needed help; they needed God! They faced their lives and then leaned into God.

Luke goes on to mention that Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s way presented through John. Same message; different response. And these ‘learned-folk’ refused to be baptized by John and likewise rejected Jesus’ message.

I spent my morning pondering the difference between these two groups. Did it come down to humility, one group willing to face their failings and accept God’s grace and the other not willing?!

Was it that the ‘learned-people’ were too smart for their own good?  Could they not hear the simplicity of God’s message through John and Jesus because it wasn’t highbrow enough for them?

We will never really know the why.  What we do know is that some believed and others didn’t. And that is the same to this day. Some believe Jesus and others do not.

To which group do you belong?

I believe, and I am not afraid to admit it and to adjust my life to follow Jesus as He would have me follow Him. Will you join me in following Jesus?

Lord, as the songwriter prayed: I have decided to follow Jesus…

I have decided to follow Jesus…

I have decided to follow Jesus…

No turning back. No turning back.

Amen and Alleluia.


Saturday, March 28: Luke 6- Using God's gift for bad.

I found myself mulling over the Luke’s opening about Jesus and the Sabbath. Yes, the Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandment Law, but like all of the Ten Commandments, they are God’s gift to us. Think about the Sabbath for a moment. What are people to do/not do?

No work… rest. Labor unions, since they came into existence, have worked for shorter work weeks and more time off. Humm, isn’t that what the Sabbath did? It said no more than a 6 day work week. Everyone in Israel should get at least the Sabbath off from work. Think about that. What is bad about that????

Connection with God. Again, is this a bad thing? Israel was a nation founded on God. They believed God called them into existence and that God sustained them. Is it really horrible to take some time on your day of rest to thank and praise your provider, God?

Connection with others. If you are not going to work, what would be the natural thing to do? Don’t think too hard…connect with family, friends and those close to you. That sounds like a good thing, too.

And yet, people focus on the rules. They add human rules to God’s simple outline and turn something good into something restricting and bad. Somehow religious people perverted God’s intention to the point that a healer who only has to speak a word was chastised for healing a person on the Sabbath… really?

And what happened back then still happens. We pervert God’s good gifts and misuse them for bad.

The wonder of marital sex morphs into “50 Shades of Grey”

Music, which stirs the soul, encourages and remembers… becomes a platform to laud drugs, violence and sex.

Medical advancements –a gift from God –is perverted into poison gas and other WMD’s

God forgive us… forgive us for perverting the things You gave for good.

Lord, forgive us, forgive us for perverting Your wonderful world and Your many wonderful gifts. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us. Amen.


Friday, March 27: Luke 5- Gripped by the word of God.

I was struck by the wording of verse 1, particularly what I have underlined. One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.

Was Jesus reciting Scripture? I doubt that. At least we have no record of Him simply reciting Scripture. What we do have is many examples of Jesus using Scripture and explaining it or using parables to teach about God.

What caught me was Luke’s simple notation that Jesus speaking and teaching is the Word of God.

I am not really sure why this thought pushed so deep into my soul… it seems so simple and basic. But to hear and read Jesus’ Words called the Word of God gripped me.

It is good to be gripped by the Word of God…

Lord, may Your Word change me as it grips me. Amen.


Thursday, March 26: Luke 4- Even Jesus was tempted to sin.

The first story of Jesus after His baptism reveals that He was tempted in 3 major ways during His time of solitude in the desert.

We are all tempted many times a day… I know I am. All too often I stumble and fall into the tempter’s trap. Not Jesus.

First, Jesus was tempted to use personal power, fame and name for His own personal good. God’s call to Abraham and every follower since then is to be a blessing for others, a blessing to the world. When we misuse God’s blessings for personal gain, we fall right into the tempter’s trap. Jesus saw and avoided the first temptation.

Second, Jesus was offered all manner of worldly authority and wealth if He would only worship the tempter. What’s my number, what’s your number? Do we have a number for which we would sell our soul? Jesus said ‘no’ to the ultimate offer…  no fame or wealth was worth putting someone, anyone (thing) on the worship pedestal which is reserved for God alone.

Third, Jesus was tempted by a twisting of God’s Word. Do I know the word of God well enough to know when the tempter or the world is twisting it “just a little” to pull it off center with God?

The tempter is a wily adversary….but Jesus was ready.

Am I?  Are you?

I noticed one more piece of the account. When Jesus was victorious these three times, it wasn’t over. It is not as if the tempter folded up shop and left Jesus alone. Luke tells us, When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time (13). This side of eternity, we never defeat the tempter for good. Like Jesus, we have to be constantly on the look out and be ready to battle whenever the tempter rears his ugly head. Don’t ever forget this.

Lord, thank You for this warning. Jesus, thank You for being tempted –You know what it is like. And thank You for defeating. I know I can defeat him, too, and that You will defeat him for good in Your perfect time. Thank You and bless You, Jesus. Through You, I pray. Amen.



Wednesday, March 25: Luke 3- Beginning well.

I love to do projects around my house and in my shop. Whether it is building birdfeeders or turning bowls from logs, every project takes planning during the initial steps for a quality outcome.

God, too, did some very important preparation work before Jesus, the Messiah, came on to the scene. God’s prep work was the sending of John with His message of repentance.

The account here shows two reactions to John’s message. Luke gives us examples of many people who were stirred and believed John’s message, regular folk, tax collectors and even soldiers. Be honest, don’t cheat, give when you have the means.  All was part of John’s message application.

And then there was Herod. Judged like the others for sins he had committed, Herod rejected John’s message and attacked. Herod had John put in prison. Herod treated John like he treated all the others in his life. If the person was perceived to be a threat, eliminate him or her. The list of Herod’s assassinated family members alone is telling.

 John was only God’s opening act. The main show was about to come, Jesus, and people had the same reaction to Jesus they did John. Some believed and followed, others ignored, rejected or ridiculed.

The same is true today.

What do you believe about John and Jesus’ message? Think about it.

Lord, lead me today to do things in keeping with Your will and way. May my life TODAY show that I am a follower of You, Jesus. In Your name, I pray. Amen.



Tuesday, March 24: Luke 2- God dwells in normalcy.

There are very few stories of Jesus’ childhood and today’s chapter carries most of them. Not much. We could call Jesus’ childhood years His silent years. Another way to look at it is that Gospel writers were mainly interested in writing about His ministry years.

A little tidbit emerged in verses 22-24 that I never noticed before. Luke writes, When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” According to Leviticus 12:7-8, These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering.… Simply put, if you were poor and couldn’t afford a lamb you could offer a pair of doves or pigeons.

Jesus grew up in a poorer family.

This was not new information for me, but it stuck. His family was faithful, but poor or at least on the low end of the financial spectrum.

I began to wonder what lessons this might have taught Jesus. Faithfulness does not necessarily equate to worldly success. Faithfulness involves sacrifice. Doves to a poorer family may feel more significant than a lamb to a rich one. Jesus was part of a regular family, nothing particularly special about it.

I thought God dwells in normalcy. His light shines in the everyday situations of the everyday people seeking to be faithful to the Lord.

Lord, thank You for normal and that You are present in normal everyday life. Thank You that faithfulness is not contingent on income, status, education, profession or any other subdivision of life.  Lord, I pray that today during the normal activities of life I might live faithfully to and for You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



Monday, March 23: Luke 1- God is on the move.

It was refreshing to sit and slowly take in the account as Luke tells it. This truly is an epic story filled by angelic encounters, miraculous births and faith-filled God-followers.

It was the big picture that spoke to me today. God was on the move, orchestrating events so the Son would be born.

So often we see only a small glimpse of what God is doing. But God has been acting and working to bring that event about. A friend called me last evening, asking me to pray. He is a retired pastor who has an interview with a church in 2 weeks. He is very excited about this. He was not seeking a call. A couple of years ago when he retired he told his District Superintendent that if there was ever a church that fit his gifts, he was open. His DS called…  This isn’t a done deal, which is why he asked for prayer, but think about all the God-connections necessary: an open pulpit, people who need his gifts, his willingness to return to the work-world, a DS to put things together… and so on.

God was on the move orchestrating events…

At church the other weekend two women chatted during coffee hour. One woman shared a need and the other women said, “Could I pray for you?”

“Yes, of course,” came the reply. Then Tuesday the church office receive a call, the woman’s  leg that was prayed for was healed. Praise God.

Again, I thought of the events leading to the prayer and healing: a woman in need, a ‘chance’ meeting during coffee hour, an offer to pray and a prayer offered in faith. God’s miraculous touch.

God was on the move orchestrating events…

I don’t know what will happen today. I do not know what God will do with me, through me, for me, around me.  However, this I know, God is on the move orchestrating events for His glory and I want to be in the center of His will, obediently following as He leads.

Lord, I avail myself to You… use me as You see fit to move Your will and way along. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.



Saturday, March 21: Psalm 36- To know God.

My heart feasted on verses 5-9…

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

I read it once, twice, three times…

I love the movement back and forth from “your” statements to “you” statements. David was not only singing of the wonder and greatness of the Lord, he was speaking directly to the Lord. The personal nature of the “yous” particularly grabbed me. You, Lord, preserve (6)… You give them [people who know you] drink (8)… with you is the fountain of life (9). It’s the connection of these statements, coupled with the wonderful descriptions of the Lord that drew me in.

To know of and to know God is a wonderful thing. David lived both and that is what I seek. I seek to know about God in His fullness and to know the Lord in His fullness. To know, not only know the text, but to know the God of the text.   To know the Scriptures, which tell me about God, and to know God who wrote the Scriptures.  To read, study and know the wonders of God’s self-revealing Word and to experience the realties of the Lord in my life that I read about in His Scripture.

Lord God, I think I have just written my prayer to know of You, to know about You and to know and experience You in all Your fullness. This is my prayer… prayed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Friday, March 20: Psalm 35- Calling out to the Lord.

Where do you turn in times of trouble?

David turned to the Lord. Contend, Lord, with those who contend against me (1)…

Like the older phrase “Dems fightin’ words,” David is crying out to the Lord, “FIGHT for me!”

David hasn’t rolled over and given up. David is not on his last breath, finally turning to the Lord in desperation. NO. David cultivated a life of turning to the Lord with songs of joy in good times and cries for help in bad.

I have the joy of a wife with whom I can and do talk about anything… good, bad, ugly. You name it, we can share it. That’s what best friends can do.

David, without loosing sight that the Lord is the LORD God Almighty, also understands that the Lord is someone with whom we can share anything and everything. In times of trouble He is there. In times of joy He is there.

One great difference is that the Lord is God so He can do things my wife and friends cannot. He CAN save me. David knew that and so he called out…

Question is, Do I, do you, do the same?... think about it. I know I am.

Lord, I am learning to throw myself on You for mercy and for help. I’m learning, Lord. I’m learning.

And just because I want to say it, I love You, Lord and I lay my life before You. Use me to further Your will, Your way, Your glory, however You choose. Amen.


Thursday, March 19: Psalm 34- Savor the Lord, taste and see that He is good.

Like today I often have my devotions and Bible reading while I eat breakfast. I eat simply in the morning, generally fruit. But after a night of sleep and brushed teeth, flavors explode in my mouth. Orange slices gush with goodness, the sweetened citrus wakes up my day. Then there was the wonderfully ripe pear, subtle and silky-smooth, as its clean taste slide down. I also enjoyed some berries. Raspberries are a favorite; little red-nuggets of delight; sweet, vibrant, they seem to melt in my mouth. Finally, I enjoyed some blackberries, a bigger nugget, a little less sweet with more substance, with those pesky seeds too. I actually have to chew blackberries to release the flavor.

All these sensations in my breakfast meal… background to verse 8: Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

The Lord is good and He brings so much richness into my life.  Goodness in the morning gush into my life when I pause to acknowledge Him. The smoothness of His love. The Lord brings life to me each and every day. He sustains me. He surprises me. He encourages me. He challenges and confronts me.

I have been savoring the Lord all morning… David is so very right… Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Lord, You are good. You are good.  You are good all the time. Lord, You are soooo good. Thank You for opening my eyes to you. I love You, Lord, and I am glad and blessed to find my refuge in You. Praise be to You, Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Wednesday, March 18: Psalm 33- What would you naturally do?

Let’s play pretend… it’s that great kids game where you pretend things and then act them out.

So let’s pretend that you absolutely believe that the Lord’s Words are right and true and that the Lord is faithful in all He does (4).

Let’s pretend that He loves righteousness and justice and that you can find His love throughout the earth (5).

Let’s pretend that everything in the world, the land, animals, seas and mountains He spoke into being. That’s right, the Lord spoke and everything we see and know in this world was created (6-7).

Let’s pretend that the eyes of the Lord watch out for those who fear Him and hope in His unfailing love. And let’s pretend you have experienced this and He has delivered you from famine and death (16-19).

What would you do if all this were true?

David burst into song and praise and shouts of joy (1-3).  He lived in a posture of joy-filled waiting on God to come through (20-22).

A pretty wonderful way to live, if you ask me… and it is not pretend. It is true.

Lord, with You I don’t have to pretend… You are faithful and righteous and just and loving. I bow to You, Lord God, and I love You. Amen


Tuesday, March 17: Psalm 32- The gift of forgiveness.

Oh my, is David right! Hiding my sins and my wrongs from God can be so painful. I ache. I hurt. My conscience wracks me with pain and guilt. Why do I do this? Why, oh why, do I do this? Am I embarrassed of my failure? Am I afraid of my consequences?

When I finally come to my senses, like the prodigal son, God is there to love me back into relationship.

That’s just what David sang about… Verses 1-5:

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

The Lord is a God of forgiveness and love. He longs to live in relationship with us through faith in Jesus Christ. He wants us to be restored to right connection with Him. But for that to happen, our sins need to be wiped clean. This is precisely what God will do if we come to Him and confess our sins…

Don’t wait. Trust me.  The Lord will welcome you with open arms…

O, Lord, I confess that I have sinned before You in thought, word and deed, by what I have done and what I have left undone.

Hear my confession.  Lord, I have…

Now send Your forgiveness, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, March 16: Hebrews 13- Medications for the itch for more & better.

Hebrews closes with a rapid-fire series of exhortations and commands that are highly practical and touch many areas of everyday life. It is as if I could stop at any verse and ponder deeply on a fresh word from the Lord.

Reviewing the chapter again I chose verse 5 for my meditation. 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.”

The love of money… the love of things, the love of more, better, newer stuff. Oh, the enticement to love money and the stuff it can buy floods into my life every time I turn on a TV, radio,Internet or open a paper or magazine. Advertisers spend billions to entice you and me to want more, better, newer, bigger. But I cannot blame advertising, all they are doing is scratching an itch I already have. The more I scratch, the more I itch… and the cycle escalates.

Pondering this verse, I find 3 medications for my itch for more… contentment, thankfulness and trust.

Be content, the writer writes. Admittedly this is easier to write than to do. I don’t know that I can will contentment anymore than I can will happiness. But I can cultivate habits that foster the growth of contentment.

I can enjoy what I have and be thankful for what I have. I can purge excess and give it away. By doing so, I exercise my generosity muscles. I can educate myself on the plight of people poorer than myself, as such add doses of reality into my worldview. I can intentionally say ‘no’ to buying some new, better and bigger because I have the means. In so doing, I am exercising my willpower and choosing to be content with what I have. I am sure there are many more things I can do but these are a start.

Be thankful. Oh, the text doesn’t include these words but that’s the underlying word to the reminder that God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” I can be thankful for what God has given and I can trust that God will watch over me in the future as He has in the past.

I don’t have any allusion that ridding my life of the ‘love of money and the things it can buy’ itch will be easy. But I can be sure, as I work on it, I will be pleasing God.

Lord, I hear Your Word, and I desperately need You help. I know me and I know I struggle here. Send Your help please, I pray. Amen


Saturday, March 14: Hebrews 12- Living a peace-giving life.

I opted to focus on the practical words of verses 14-16: Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 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. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless… It is helpful for me to recognize the practical living that our faith should produce.

Make every effort to live at peace with everyone… I cannot control other people or their response to me or the world.  However,  I can control myself and God says I should do everything I can to live peaceably with others. This impacts how I speak to others and how I act toward them.

Live in such a way that the ‘wake’ of my life is peace-giving rather than turbulent. That’s a great image for me. Does my life create problems for others?

Even though there were other practical words in the verses I chose, I find myself sticking with the idea of living a ‘peace-giving’ life. Too many people leave a wake of destruction in their paths. Chaos and hurt seem to be a by-product of their lives. God is saying to me, ‘Don’t be like them’. Be the kind of person whom others want to have enter the room or the meeting because calm, control and peace enter with them. This is the goal. Easier to put on paper than to do…

As I ponder this… it starts with me being a person filled with peace, being a person who is calm in all manner of situations, and being a person who by the presence of the HS is attune with the movement of the HS in all situations. Well, there are 3 things I can be working on today.

Lord, help me to be a man of peace who brings peace wherever I go. I can only do this by Your grace. And believe me, Lord, I need a LOT of help in this matter. To Your glory, I live and pray. Amen.


Friday, March 13: Hebrews 11- I believe God created the world and everything in it.

After reading the honor roll I found myself returning to verse 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.

I earned a master’s degree in engineering from a prestigious engineering college before heading off to seminary. This means I have almost as many college years studying science and engineering as I do divinity. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to say I understand the various arguments for and against the Bible’s view that God created the universe out of nothing.

Truthfully one cannot absolutely prove the evolutionist view anymore than one can prove the creationists’ view. Both sides can line up PhDs to argue their case. Ultimately, it comes down to faith.  Did God create or did our universe and world ‘just happen’?  Your faith, your beliefs, your presuppositions will determine where you land on the issue.

And this is why I find the writer of Hebrews comment so refreshing. He says, By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command…

And because of my faith, because I believe the Bible is God’s Word written to humanity and is therefore true, I believe God created the world and everything in it.

Do you have the faith to believe?...

Lord God, it is my joy and honor to put my faith in You… God of the universe, God of creation, God of redemption and salvation. Lord God Almighty, the Most High God.

In You I put my trust. Alleluia. Amen.


Thursday, March 12: Hebrews 10- The progression of faith.

I sat wowed by verse Hebrews 14. It grabbed me and taught me. Speaking of Jesus’ ‘once for all’ sacrifice on the cross the writer pens: For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Notice the completed nature of the verb, the sacrifice of Jesus has made perfect forever… Christ’s work completes the salvation of all who believe. What a gift! But the sentence doesn’t end there. It goes on to say has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. We have a role in our ongoing life of faith… who are being made perfect.  Perfection doesn’t come instantly or easily. It is a joint work where we cooperate with God Who is working in us. Working toward our perfection takes a lifetime, and the reality is that we will never fully reach it until we are made completely new in eternity.

I am thankful for what Jesus has done for me. And I show my thankfulness by working on the aspects of life that God reveals to me so that I can follow Jesus more and more closely every day, month and year of my life!

Jesus does the saving… we cooperate in the growing in holiness!

May Jesus Christ be praised… Amen.


Wednesday, March 11: Hebrews 9- Our gift from Jesus.

 [Christ] 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 eternal redemption. … How much more, then, will the blood of Christ … cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (12,14)

Some phrases from the verses above sparked my meditations this morning.

Obtaining eternal redemption… The writer is going to extreme lengths to let us know that Jesus’ work is a finished, completed, never-needs-to-be-improved-upon, eternal, forever work. In chapter 7 he used the unnecessary word COMPLETELY to define saved. Now today he underscores the redemption of Jesus with the word ‘eternal’. My heart sings, Jesus has done it all. Jesus had provided EVERYTHING I need for salvation. Hooray, Jesus!

Cleanse our consciences… What a wonderful gift, cleansed consciences. Paul speaks a similar truth when he writes; Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). We are free from the guilt that our sins deserve! We are free before God. He will not hold us accountable, because He held Christ accountable.  Jesus Christ paid the full righteous penalty for our sins! Sleep well, sisters and brothers, our consciences have been cleansed!

So that we may serve the living God! Jesus did all of this, not so we can live on easy street or so we can kick back and relax. No, He did all of this so that we can lean into the work of serving the living God!

We are no longer burdened by wondering about our future… we have obtained our eternal redemption!

We no longer have to worry and be conscience stricken by our past deeds and our sin-failures… our consciences have been cleansed.

Therefore, we have nothing holding us back form serving the living God. Halleluiah! Let us serve then with hearts full of gratitude and backs full of energy. Thanks be to Jesus!!!

Lord, may my prayer today be my service of You throughout the day. Hallelujah. Amen.


Monday, March 9: Hebrews 7- Saved completely.

I found my meditation spot in verses 22, 24-25: Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. … but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

What the original covenant couldn’t do, Jesus can do. He can save COMPLETELY those who come to God through Him. Grammatically the word ‘completely’ doesn’t seem to fit the sentence. You can either save someone or you can’t. Right?!

But the word ‘completely’ does add an important element to the thought. ‘Completely’ means there are no holes, no problems, and no issues. Those who come to God through Jesus have everything taken care of…

‘Completely’ is a word of assurance… assurance for those who believe in Him. There will never be a need for another covenant because the covenant of Jesus can and will save perfectly, fully, completely.  Believe it because God will never lie.

Lord, thank You for the assurance that these words bring.  Praise to You, Lord Jesus. Bless You for the perfect, complete salvation that You provide. Halleluiah. Amen.


Tuesday, March 10: Hebrews 8- Jesus my all in all.

I guess when I hear “Now the main point is”, I listen up.  That is precisely how this chapter starts. 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, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being (1-2).

Jesus is our High Priest. He stands before the eternal throne of God in heaven’s majesty and He “priests” for us.

A priest represents people to God and God to the people. Priests offer sacrifices for the people to atone for their sins. A priest offers the peoples’ thank you and love offerings to God for them, too. So the picture painted for us in this passage is of Jesus standing before God, the Father, as our priest! He is representing us to God, the Father. He is offering a sacrifice for our sins, which is His life offered on the cross. Jesus is doing for us what we could never have done for ourselves, nor could any mere human being.

Jesus, God Himself, is our perfect priest and our atoning sacrifice.

If the writer of Hebrews is striking one chord, it is Jesus is our priest, our answer, our hope, our all-in-all.

Today I sit and ponder Jesus, my Lord!

Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me… and for serving as my priest before the Father in heaven. I am so blessed that You are my Lord and Savior. And I surrender all to You. Halleluiah. Amen!


Saturday, March 7: Hebrews 6- Hard questions... Real questions... Faith questions.


When I sit with the Word, I listen for God’s primary message. I am always trying to learn from the Lord. Sometimes in my devotional time God speaks to me through His primary message in the text. Other times it is a word, phrase or sentence that the Spirit uses to take me to my time with the Lord. Devotions are a blessed time with God.

Today God’s primary teaching also became my ‘devotional nugget’ that plugged me into the Spirit of God.

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised (11-12). 

Diligence, don’t become lazy, imitate those with patience… These are strong words about burrowing into God, His teachings and His way of living.  And living to please the Lord, not worrying about how people outside of the faith might perceive you.

I started reflecting on my life…where am I different than ‘plain old anybody’ and where am I the same? This opened the door for me to see myself in a less varnished and more ‘real’ way.

There are many places where I am like everybody else. Some are no big deal. I eat, sleep, bathe, etc., like everybody else. But then there are the ways of everybody else that suck my time and finances and thoughts that could be used to pursue God or do works for God rather than self. It is very easy for me to become selfish.

Verse 10 immediately before the words I began with reads: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. I began to probe myself again. What works and love have I shown the Lord by helping His people? Am I continuing to help them or am I all about myself?

Hard questions. Real questions. Faith questions.

Lord, help me to stay with these thoughts as I enter today… in Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Friday, March 6: Hebrews 5- Obedience.

My heart didn’t connect with the ‘Jesus becoming priest’ theme, but Jesus learning obedience struck a chord with me.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered… (7-8)

At first these verses struck a dissonant chord. Why did Jesus have to learn obedience? Wasn’t He God and Lord? I struggled with this at first. But as I kept reading and thinking and pondering, it hit me.   It seems that part of ‘why?’ is because He was a living example to us. Verse 8 flows directly into verses 9 with no sentence break.

and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (9, 11-14)

Jesus was an example to us. He is salvation for all who obey! In fact, as the writer continues, he chides his listeners as people who no longer try to understand. They have stopped thinking and wrestling with the truths of faith. They are opting for the easy way out, wanting to glide in their faith rather than work on it.

Then he says they are not training themselves in the faith.

As I made these observations, the voice of the Spirit began to burrow into me, asking about my effort… “have I stopped trying to understand and training myself to know good from evil?” Have you?

These are questions that I must wrestle with from time to time or I do become complacent and live off the learning of others rather than the hard work of study and training myself….

Lord, thank You for the wake up call today to put my shoulder to the grinding wheel and work at my faith! Praise be to You, Jesus, because You trod this way when you walked the earth. I only have to follow Your example, hard though that may be. Hard is no excuse. I pledge my life to You, the Father and the Spirit. Amen.


Thursday, March 5: Hebrews 4- Why I read God's word regularly.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (12-13).

These words are absolutely true. The Word penetrates and shows me where my thoughts, actions and attitudes are off. It gives me God’s perspective on life, which in turn shows me where I am wrong.  The Word corrects my crooked thinking and helps me to think straight.

Check out this bullet point statement from the above: For the word of God is alive and active…  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

And this is why I spend time in God’s Word regularly. It anchors me to God’s reality. It counteracts the patterns and ways of the world that press on me and surround me all the time.

I read the Word, I listen to the Word, and I seek to follow the Word because it is God’s Word, revealing God’s thoughts and ways.

As a Christ-follower my highest desire is to follow Jesus and live how He would have me live. And the only way I know how to do that is to pay attention to God’s Word.

The writer of Hebrews is so right…

Lord God, thank You for providing Your Word to me and to the world. I pray for the men and women who are translating Your Word into every language humans speak. I thank you for ministries like YouVersion Bible on the internet which publishes for free every or most every Bible translated in the world (www.youversion.com). Lord, I pray that Your Word is translated into all the languages of the world so people can hear Your Word in their heart language and be drawn to You.

Though Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, March 4: Hebrews 3- Be in God's word.

As I sat this morning, God built upon yesterday’s lesson. Throughout the chapter I kept hearing God’s Voice say, “Hold on to what you believe.”

The account of the Israelites, who were unfaithful, was an example to me… Don’t let go of your faith. There are dire consequences when you do.

I know Romans 8 teaches that God will hold onto me and God will see me through to the end. However, I also know that I have to press into my faith…

Hebrews is reminding me of my part… my holding on…my pressing in...my paying attention…

Practical questions circle in my thoughts. How am I pressing in? What can/should I be doing to grow in You, Lord? How is my Bible study going? Am I doing more than simply reading my Bible? And so my morning went with Jesus, the Father and the Spirit.

As a final act I returned to verse 1: Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus. Yes, fix my thoughts and focus my attention on Jesus.   And the best way to know Him is to be in God’s Word!

Lord, this is a good Word for me. It spurs me on to monitor my following of You and evaluate things I should do to strengthen my relationship with You. Read, Study, Pray, Serve…

Thank You, Lord, for Your written Word and for the Spirit’s Word to me through Your Word. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, March 3: Hebrews 2- God's word speaks to me.

Right out of the gate, the writer’s counsel hit me. Verse 1: We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Pay attention… so that you do not drift away. POW.

Theologians debate whether a person can ‘lose their salvation or not.’ Frankly, I don’t care to enter the debate, nor do I think this one text seals the deal one way or the other.

It does, however, speak clearly to me. Don’t get cocky. Don’t get complacent. Pay attention to your faith. Keep working at your faith.

For me this verse is very helpful.

I can grow complacent. I can become lackadaisical. I can forget to pay attention to my faith and become distracted by all manner of life things…

This verse gives me perspective and keeps me on the Lord’s track. This is one reason why I love being in God’s Word. It is so honest. The writers understand life, real life, the kind of life I live and they speak to it.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for inspiring such a practical Word. For caring so much for me (us) that you authored the Word to teach me about You, the Son, and the Father. Praise be to you, Lord God! Amen and Alleluia!


Monday, March 2: Hebrews 1- Jesus, my Lord.

I was sucked into the wonder and magnitude of Jesus as I read the opening to this grand letter.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 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. 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. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

Jesus… the Son

   Jesus… creator

      Jesus… the center

         Jesus… seated in glory

            Jesus… heir of all things

         Jesus… the sustainer

      Jesus… the radiance

   Jesus… the source

Jesus… my Lord

I spent my morning meditating on Jesus. What a glorious time in the Word and with my God.

Crown him with many crowns the lamb upon the throne. Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own…

All hail the power of Jesus name, let angels prostrate fall…

Jesus name above all names…

Lord Jesus, I love You and praise You and thank You for saints who have given us grand songs to sing of Your might. Power. position and glory. Alleluia. Amen.