Tag Archives: hebrews

Leviticus 21-23; Hebrews 8

But when God found fault with the people, he said:

“The day is coming, says the lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the people of Israel and Judah.

This covenant will not be like the one

I made with their ancestors

when I took them by the hand

and led them out of the land of Egypt.

They did not remain faithful to my covenant,

so I turned my back on them, says the lord.

But this is the new covenant I will make

with the people of Israel on that day, says the lord:

I will put my laws in their minds,

and I will write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

And they will not need to teach their neighbors,

nor will they need to teach their relatives,

saying, ‘You should know the lord.’

For everyone, from the least to the greatest,

will know me already.

And I will forgive their wickedness,

and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:8-12

Leviticus is full of rules – do this, do that, don’t do this, etc. – all designed to keep the Hebrews, priest and layman alike, on the straight and narrow; all designed to steer people toward righteousness. No matter how hard they tried to uphold the law, they failed, falling back into sin and unfaithfulness. The only way to be redeemed is through sacrificial offerings and feasts of worship.

God gives a clear picture through the Mosaic law that it’s impossible to live up to everything He asks; it can’t be followed and obeyed perfectly. Though God temporarily turned His back on His people, He never left them nor forsook them. He had a plan; a plan to draw us back to Him.

His plan, a new covenant, sealed with Jesus’ blood and my belief.

The new covenant allows me to be in relationship with God. The new covenant restores me and allows me to be forgiven, cleansed, and pardoned forever from my sins. It simplifies 613 commandments and refines it – love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and love others as I love myself – imprinted on my heart by God’s hand rather than being carved into stone. It allows me to experience God, know Him in a different way and helps move me toward a life of walking with God in the cool of the day like Adam did in Eden.

I am God’s and He is mine.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Ezekiel 10-12; Hebrews 11:1-19

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:19-20

As I have been growing closer and closer to God in my walk, I have come to realize just how hard my heart can be sometimes. There are so many places where He has healed me, breathed His Spirit into my stony heart, and brought it back to life. But for every layer of stone He chips away, there always seems to be another one lurking in the shadows.

From childhood, in the various less than pleasant experiences I journeyed through, I allowed walls to form, barriers that I believed to be protective built around my heart to allow no one fully inside; woundedness and sin the cement that held the stones in place.

That stony heart made true connection impossible. I didn’t want to show my weakness, reveal my vulnerabilities. I didn’t want to let anyone in to see my shortcomings, my struggles, my pain. I didn’t want to let anyone close enough to see that I didn’t always have it completely together, especially in those moments when I was actually falling apart.

In keeping myself closed off, I wouldn’t even let the One who could actually help soften me, near enough to foster healing. My past hurts, my past failings were just too scary to approach again. I thought I had sufficiently swept them under the carpet, but time and time again, there they were again knocking at my door.

I eventually realized that when I gave God permission to delve into my heart, when I gave myself permission to listen to Truth and to make the choice to forgive, I didn’t need to be scared of what had been anymore. I realized I was allowed to be free, and that was what God wanted so much for me that He gave His Son to be made sacrifice for my life.

Often the lies that turned my heart to stone scream loudly; but even in His still, calm voice, God is able to bathe my heart in love, grace, and mercy. His Truth soaks into the stone, and that river of Truth cleans off the propaganda of the enemy and replaces it with Himself, His Spirit, His Life.

With each layer of stone that God crumbles away, new flesh is brought to the surface and new freedom is released in my heart. I choose to allow myself to be open, honest, and vulnerable. I choose to obey the One who ushered in liberty, the One who gave me unconditional and everlasting love.

I choose God, just as He chose me.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Jeremiah 49-50; Hebrews 5

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14

These verses first stood out to me when I was involved in the House of Prayer. I had the opportunity to receive training from various teachers who had spent unbelievable amounts of time in the Word. And, these verses were a huge part of why I started writing for 66Books.

I was in my first year of motherhood, exhausted as most mothers are. I was new to the struggle of balancing life duties with my desire to spend huge amounts of time in the prayer closet. My daughter didn’t understand (and still doesn’t) that I needed to have time alone, time with God. And, though I incorporated God as best that I could into my day-to-day life, I was feeling dry and empty.

One day in desperation, at the end of my rope, completely burned out, I prayed and asked God to show me what to do, to show me a solution. I wanted something that would help me get back into the Word the way I had been in years past. I wanted someone to help hold me accountable to setting time aside to delve deeper than my simple (yet effective) “Help me Holy Ghost” prayers.

Less than a week later, I got a random email from a woman who I didn’t know, but who has become one of my dearest friends, asking me if I would consider contributing to the 66Books blog. The moment I read the email, I knew that it was a direct answer to prayer, and I stepped into this amazing journey of exploration into the world of ‘solid food’.

I’ve probably read the whole Bible 15-20 times throughout my life. I was raised in a Christian home, went to Christian school for my early and middle education, attended church and youth group as a teen, and then when I really started following Christ, I went to ministry school and began getting involved in missions. Much of those readings could have been considered ‘milk’; just surface readings to get the work done, to memorize the Bible verse so I’d pass a test, or racing with friends to see who could get the most read the fastest.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading the Word as straight forward ‘logos’, just the reading the words as they are written, as a story and as a biographical work. Sometimes I need it to be easy (especially when reading the Mosaic law in the Old Testament); I just need to drink it in, like a baby drinks milk to be sustained.

But something has changed in me, and even as I am reading, I am ever looking out for that ‘rhema’ Word, a word or a phrase or a group of verses that resonates, that seems like it was spoken just for me in that moment. When it pops out, highlighted on the page, I know that is where God is leading me to dig and explore; and there is where I start to chew on the solid food, the meat of the Word.

What I have begun to learn on this journey of gnawing on solid food, is that there is so much more for me, so much hidden in the Word that is specific and relevant to my life, to my struggles, to my personal walk. There are nuggets of wisdom buried like treasure in everything that has been written, in the choice of words (even those words that may not have been translated in the best way), just like the parables were bites of concealed knowledge understood by those who pressed in and were enlightened.

I have learned that when I read the Bible at face value, I am nourished; but when I chew on the meat of the Word, I feast. My mind and my heart are opened in new ways to God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love; and, I am overflowing with His goodness and filled by His faithfulness.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 5,6; Hebrews 10; Amos 4; Psalms 148-150

Home is taking on a slightly different meaning lately. My husband and I recently moved out of state and we may or may not stay here depending upon his job situation. Boxes are still unpacked, pictures remain wrapped in closets. I have no sense of being settled.

So where is our home? Here’s the reality:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hears sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:19-24.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath and know that I am near to God. My Savior, Jesus Christ has washed my soul clean of the dirt and sin that clung so tenaciously. He has brought me to his Father. This is where home is. This is where my soul rests, near to the heart of God.

Kathy

Psalm 84

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2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7; Amos 1; Psalms 144

Lord, why are people important to you?

Why do you even think about human beings?

People are like a breath;

their lives are like passing shadows. Psalm 144:3-4 (NCV)

There are times in my life when I suffer from hopelessness. In those moments, my world as I know it comes crashing down around me, dreams shatter and desires smash. And, like most people, I begin questioning “why”.

When I feel hopeless, I experience a sense of depression. I wonder if I am valuable to anyone, loved by anyone. I start thinking about what could have been, fantasizing about greener grasses. It is easy to listen to the lies of the enemy when I am vulnerable, the whispers of worthlessness, insinuations of rejection.

…Now a better hope has been given to us, and with this hope we can come near to God. Hebrews 7:19b (NCV)

Before I knew Jesus, my hope was based on my aspirations and on my relationships with people who surrounded me. Then, when the Lord revealed Himself, arms wide open, waiting expectantly for me to walk into His embrace, I began to see that my hope needed to be grounded in Christ. I realized the importance of centering my expectations on the Everlasting, Always-Loving God.

…Because Jesus lives forever, he will never stop serving as priest. So he is able always to save those who come to God through him because he always lives, asking God to help them.

Jesus is the kind of high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and he is raised above the heavens. He is not like the other priests who had to offer sacrifices every day, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Christ offered his sacrifice only once and for all time when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:24-27 (NCV)

When I put my hope in the fallible things around me, in mutable thoughts of the future I will inevitably be disappointed. When I put my hope in other people – family, friends, and those I don’t even really know – I am often hurt, my heart disillusioned and feeling more lonely than ever.

Happy are those who are like this;

happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15 (NCV)

But, when I draw near to God, placing my hope in Him, I am able to give thanks in all things. And, when I choose to bless His name, especially when circumstances are challenging, happiness arises from His gift of sufficient grace. I remember my heavenly identity and the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. I find joy in my salvation. I discover that I’ve become strong despite my weakness and my faith has been fortified.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my hope, my salvation. Thank You for thinking of me and counting me as important, valuable, and worthy of Your Love. Thank you for Your steadfastness and Your grace. Thank you for drawing near to me as I draw near to You. Thank You for Your many blessings over my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Numbers 15; Psalms 51; Isaiah 5; Hebrews 12

Discipline can occur in many ways. It can be simple teaching, a means to inform and instruct. It can be a verbal correction or a physical punishment. It can be carried out in a loving way that fosters peace and nurtures self-control or it can be accomplished in a way that creates fear and encourages disconnect.

How terrible it will be for those people! They pull their guilt and sins behind them as people pull wagons with ropes. Isaiah 5:18 (NCV)

In India, I have seen men bear the brunt of their punishment for wrong living with hooks perforating the skin on their backs, attached ropes pulled taut, dragging behind them a cart housing an idol they believe is an all-powerful god. They hope against hope that this act of sacrifice will make them worthy of being forgiven for their sin; they wish that this self-imposed discipline will help them be delivered and redeemed.

These men haven’t yet understood that Christ was punished, beaten and pierced, for them. Hands and feet nailed to a cross, thorns gouged His head, and a sword speared into His side, so that they would not only be accepted, but loved with an everlasting love, invited to be His children.

The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6 (NCV)

I think about the times I recognize His discipline in my own life, my walk with Him. Though I make mistakes, I sometimes sin, He offers freedom, teaching from the look in His eye, guiding me in lessons of self-control. He corrects in unconditional love and never-ending mercy. He instructs with firmness, equips me with tools to be triumphant, and prepares me for the future. He does not raise His voice, loose His patience or physically harm me. He does not leave me nor forsake me.

The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit.

God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin. Psalm 51:17 (NCV)

We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful at the time, but later, after we have learned from it, we have peace, because we start living in the right way. Hebrews 12:11 (NCV)

As I experience His discipline, my heart is altered, my attitude adjusted. I am altered forever, not because I am frightened into obedience, but because my spirit is instilled with His truth and relationship is restored. I am blessed by His goodness and my nature is made holy in Him.

Create in me a pure heart, God,

and make my spirit right again.

Do not send me away from you

or take your Holy Spirit away from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation.

Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12 (NCV)

Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Numbers 7; Psalms 42, 43; Song of Songs 5; Hebrews 5

As a deer thirsts for streams of water,

so I thirst for you, God.

I thirst for the living God.

When can I go to meet with him?

Psalm 42:1-2 (NCV)

I am thirsty. Thirsty for more of God; more of His tangible presence.

I am craving extra time spent in His arms, enveloping my heart with His compassion. I am longing to bury my face in His scent – purity, sacrifice, love – and feel the glowing warmth of His Glory. I am eager to hear His voice, whispering in my ear, booming in my spirit. I desire to see His benevolent face, His grace-filled eyes, and His tender smile. I yearn to taste and see more of His goodness.

The distractions of life, of motherhood, of the busyness of piled up to-do lists, and the enticing lure of smart phone, computer, television…, cut chunks out of my day. Interruptions make upheaval out of my attempts at quiet time, exclamations in the middle of my prayers. Most days I don’t have a single moment to myself to think, use the bathroom, or shower, let alone be still and know. Exhaustion, an ever constant, yet unwelcome companion, leads to falling asleep moments after beginning to meditate on the Word.

I often feel spiritually dehydrated, and left wanting more of His Living Water. My lips are parched from thanklessness issuing from my mouth; my tongue is dry from a lack of praise. My eyes gritty from being in the desert place. My ears not fully tuned into the whispers of His voice, hearing only fragments of truth amidst the enemy’s lies. My skin dried up, mummy-like, desperate for His healing salve.

When I am able to find my way to the river, when I am able to meet with Him, I dip my toes into the waterside, feeling His refreshing. Wading into His compassion, forgiveness ripples and flows around me, currents of mercy tugging at my legs. Sinking deeper still, I am able to drink in His Holy Water, tasting His perfect draught, baptizing in His love.

My heart is flooded with gratitude, and my mouth is filled with worship. I am soaked in His affectionate whispers and drenched in His Truth. I am renewed, revitalized by His answers to prayers. I am encouraged by His Word. I am restored.

My thirst is quenched.

And, yet, I still want more…

I am thirsty. Thirsty for more of God. When can we meet again?

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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