Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:15-17

As Christians we are told to share what we have and to do the right thing. But sharing does not have to be monetary it can be as simple as a smile or a kind work or as complex as sharing the Word with a friend or stranger.  We have been given a gift of immense worth. So immense that we can give it away and still have all of it left. So immense that all the world can share in it and everyone can have it all. We have the gift of eternal life with God.

We do not have to be a gifted speaker to share God’s Word. In fact many times we do not have to speak at all. We can share His Word just in the way we live our lives. We can share in the way we treat others. We each need to learn how God has blessed us in our abilities. Some are great speakers and can inspire other with the spoken word. Others can write and in so doing share the Word with others. Some have the gift of hospitality or encouragement. Others are good listeners. Each can spread God’s love and His Word.

We do not have to go to a foreign land to do so we can do it right in our own towns. This week as we get ready to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus is a great time to share the greatest event in history with someone else. Jesus’ resurrection is the event that changed the world. From a small out of the way place in the Roman empire a message of hope sprang and spread to the entire world. This message of hope is for the entire world, every man woman and child.  God wants each of us to spend eternity with Him. All we have to do is chose to.

Have a blessed day,

David

Posted in Bible, Devotional, God, Hebrews, Resurrection | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

EQUIPPING BELIEVERS TO ANSWER CRITICS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS Part 6

Gnostic Views On the Resurrection

Interest in Gnosticism and the Gnostic gospels has had a revival in recent years and has been further fueled by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. For much of history, most of what was known about Gnostic thought and gospels came from the writings of the church fathers in their refutations of Gnosticism. Then in 1945, Coptic Gnostic codices were found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt. These texts were dated about 350-400 AD. By 1977 they had been translated into English. (1)  Gnostics have a different interpretation of the resurrection. They see the resurrection as a spiritual rather than a physical resurrection. In her book, The Gnostic Gospels (2) , Elaine Pagels writes :

“But the Gnostic Christians rejected Luke’s theory. Some Gnostics called the literal view of the resurrection the ‘faith of fools.’ The resurrection was not a unique event of the past: instead, it symbolized how Christ’s presence could be experienced in the present . What mattered was not literal seeing but, spiritual vision.”

She goes on to state the Gnostic belief that Jesus taught His disciples secret teaching or mysteries that the disciples taught only to those more spiritual advanced. Only these people were taught the gnosis or secret knowledge. (3)

Not all books on Gnosticism write about a solely spiritual resurrection. In his book, Gnosticism New Light On The Ancient Tradition Of Inner Knowing (4)  , Stephen Hoeller writes that Jesus’ body could have gone through some type of reanimation on Easter morning.
Writers on Gnosticism want to date the Gnostic gospels as being written during the first century and circulating during the same time as the New Testament Gospels. They believe that it was only during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, that the Gnostic gospels were left out in favor of the New Testament gospels. The facts are that the Gnostic gospels were written later in the second century long after the apostles, who are alleged to have written them, had died. The New Testament Gospels have been dated from circa 40 AD to 90 AD. The New Testament Gospels are quoted by the early church fathers and the canon was decided long before the Nicean council.

1 Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus Ancient Evidence For The Life Of Christ (Joplin: College Press Publishing Company, 2003), 101.
2 Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), 11.
3 Ibid, 15.

4 Stephen A. Hoeller, Gnosticism New Light On The Ancient Tradition Of Inner Knowing (Wheaton: Quest Books, 2002), 64.

 

Posted in Apologetics, Comentary, God, Resurrection | 4 Comments

We seek the city that is to come

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:7-14

Do you ever feel out of place? You know like you do not belong. There is a reason for that feeling. We are really not meant for this world. That is not how God made us. We are made for something better. Deep down inside we all know this but most refuse to believe that anything better exists. It does.

When God made Adam and Eve they were meant to live in a garden. The Garden of Eden was a place where humans could live and work in communion with God. We would work not toil. God would be a ready presence in our lives. Things would in a word be heavenly. But things did not work out that way. God gave Adam and Eve free will. He did this so they could freely choose to love and obey Him. One cannot force love. Obedience can be forced but it would be a constant struggle. God could have made us like the animals going through life on auto control never having a choice but he did not. He wanted us to be able to choose. Unfortunately we chose wrongly.

We can blame Eve or Adam for our current predicament but the cold hard facts are we would have not done anything differently. It seems that given the choice we choose to sin rather than obey God. Oh, we manage to rationalize our sins away telling our selves that what we did was really not that bad and anyway we are still pretty good people compared to the other guy.

God knew we would make the wrong choice but He had a plan on how to enable us to be reconciled with Him. And so almost two thousand years ago He sent His own Son to live among us and make the ultimate sacrifice paying the price for our sins and enabling us to be reconciled with God. Jesus’ sacrifice gives us entrance to God’s city and allows us to stay there for all eternity. We call this city heaven and it is the place we were meant for. I do not know if there will be a garden as there was in the beginning but I do know we will feel right at home. Never more will we feel out of place.

Have a blessed day,

David

Posted in Bible, Devotional, God, Hebrews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Be content with what you have

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:1-6

As we begin the final chapter of Hebrews we see the writer giving us a list of things Christians should strive to do. I do not think it is a coincidence that love is the first thing mentioned. Love should define us as Christians just as love defines who God is. So many problems could be avoided is we would just approach each other in love rather than in an adversarial way. I firmly believe that many of the people who have left the faith did so because some well-meaning Christian forgot to be loving first and foremost.

He moves on to tell us not to forget hospitality. I know from firsthand experience what it is like to show up at some church function for the first time and be ignored. You watch all the friends talking and laughing together and you find yourself shrinking into the shadows. This behavior is especially a problem in youth groups where cliques have formed and no one remembers to welcome the new comer. But adults are just as guilty and in fact more so as they should know better. Who knows which angel you may be ignoring?

Next we are told how we are to treat others including how we are to respect and treat marriage. We are also told to refrain for sexual immorality and adultery. All of which our society now feels is outdated and no longer applies. The world tells us we are entitled to be happy no matter what. If our partner no longer makes us happy then find someone who will or get a divorce and move on. The only restraint on sexual behavior today concerns children and I fear that may soon fall by the wayside. Society has redefined marriage so it just about lets anyone marry anyone else.

It is the last warning that I think is the root of all the other problems we face today. We are no longer content with what we have. We always want more. It does not matter what it is but we are sure more is better. Our houses are bigger than ever. We constantly look for a chance to get an even bigger house or maybe a second home in the country. We have TVs in every room of the house and always on the lookout for a bigger screen. We hop from job to job always looking for more and more. We move from relationship to relationship looking for that special person who will make us happy. We are always looking for something better.

We spend so much time looking for something better that we often miss the one person who is better, God. He is the only one who can satisfy us. He is the only one who can fill the void we have in our lives. With God we can finally be content for there is no one better. Only He can fulfill all our needs. He is the only one who can bring true joy to us. He is the only one who will never let us down. We need to be like Paul, content in all our circumstances knowing that the one who gave His life for us is all we will ever need.

Have a blessed day,

David

Posted in Bible, Devotional, God, Hebrews | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Petals of Joy…..

dwwork:

Really enjoyed this post from my friend down under. Hope you do too.

Originally posted on Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus:

Pink Rose 40Petals 1Petals 1Petals 1Petals 1On a warm day in Spring, one friend asked another,
“How is it you have so much Joy and so much inner Strength?
You never seem to stay discouraged.”

With her eyes smiling,she said,
“I know the secret!”

“What is the secret?”

To which she replied,
“I’ll tell you all about it,
So that you can share the secret with others”

Roses42Petals 1” The Secret is this “

I have learned there is little I can do in my life
that will make me truly happy if I depend on myself.
I must depend on God and Trust and obey Him
in doing so I have Joy and my deeper needs are meet.

Roses42Petals 1When a real need arises in my life,
I have to trust God to supply according to
His knowledge and riches.

I have learned most of the time I don’t need half
of what I think I do…

View original 218 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:18-29

In today’s verses the writer of Hebrews compares the earthly Mount Zion with the heavenly home of God. No one except for Moses was to be allowed on Mount Zion and Moses was only allowed at certain times. Similarly only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and the Temple. Now we no longer have these restrictions. Any believer can enter in God’s presence.

The old earthly places where God was were subject to destruction. Earthquakes shake mountains and buildings sometime destroying them. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans and has yet to be rebuilt. But the heavenly Jerusalem and Temple is beyond destruction, they are eternal and have been there from before creation. What we had on earth was only a shadow of them.

God’s kingdom to which we are to enter cannot be shaken. That is what we have been given to right to inherit as sons and daughters of God. We have been given a promise from God that He has a place for us. It is a place that will never be taken away from us. Heaven is eternal all the universe is transitory. It will eventually be blown away like dust and only two places will remain. Hell set aside for Satan and his followers as well as those who choose to live without God and Heaven where God, His angels and all who choose to follow Him will reside for all eternity.

Have a blessed day,

David

Posted in Bible, Devotional, God, Hebrews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That no root of bitterness springs up

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. Hebrews 12:12-17

Bitterness is one of those emotions that rob us of our joy. We get bitter when we focus on what we do not have or what happened to us in the past rather that enjoy what we do have and celebrate the good things that have happened to us. Bitterness eats away at you from the inside as you dwell on the bad to the point that the good gets over shadowed.

I have experienced how bitterness affects a parson and a family firsthand. My Dad struggled with bitterness his whole life. Many would say with good reason. His father deserted the family when my dad was an infant leaving a single mom to raise a son in the early 1930’s. This was a time when divorce was not widely accepted but it was also a time when many men deserted their families. As a result my dad never knew his father. Years later he would find that his father had lived within a few miles of where my Dad had lived his whole life. The when my Dad was in the navy in the late 40’s he received word that his mother was seriously ill. She died a few years later. So yes, my Dad had a lot to be bitter about.

However, in 1950 my Dad married my Mom and they remained married for just over 47 years ending only with my Dad’s death in 1997. They had four boys of which I am the oldest. We were not rich but as far as I knew growing up we never lacked for anything. Maybe we never had the newest car of the best toys but we never went hungry, always had a roof over our heads and had more than enough toys to play with. My Dad lived to see all four of us married and to see eight of the eventual ten grandchildren. None of us was ever seriously ill so I guess you can say we were blessed as a family. I certainly think so.

So, there is my Dad with tragedy in his life but also a lot of good also, a wife, sons, daughters-in-laws and grandchildren. The tragedy was he could not get past the bad. It colored how he viewed the world and he many times obsessed so much that he would forget the joy. Forgetting the joy mad for some bad times in our home.

One of the great gifts we receive from God is joy. Even in the darkest times we can cling to the joy we have in the Lord. That joy will get us through the rough patches in life. It will do that only if we do not let the joy become eclipsed by bitterness. I do not know what tragedies you have had in your life. I do not know how hard you had it growing up or how hard you have it today. I do know that God has showered blessings on you. How do I know that, because I know God I know how much He loved you? What you need to do, what we all need to do, is to not let the bad things the world throws our way ever rob us of the joy God gives us. Life is hard but it is intolerable without joy.

Have a blessed day,

David

Posted in Bible, Comentary, Devotional, God, Hebrews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments