Back in the Day–Mama Mia Monday

hebrews-10-39

It is so easy to read verses like the ones shared in my last post. Verses like, “Let us encourage one another,” and “Let us draw near to God.”

But if we keep reading in Hebrews 10, the next bits of text aren’t exactly the things of Dayspring cards. But they are things that we need to read for the days when things get hard and we feel like giving up. Things like:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for our sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” verses 26-27

“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” verse 31

“Remember those early days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

Mama Mia!!

In today’s church we often skim over passages that remind us, in the American church, of this part of the call to discipleship. The Hebrews writer even reminds the people of that day of their life, “Back in the Day.” The suffering, the trials and persecution produced a joy for those mistreated for the sake of the name of our Savior, and they knew the consequence of falling into hands of the living God as an enemy rather than a friend. Things today’s western Christians are somewhat out of touch with.

In fact, we are often easily discouraged when things get even a little tough. We want to give up, give in and walk away. All reasons, I believe, the writer of Hebrews wrote these encouraging words:

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.” verses 35-37

Mama Mia!

We serve a God who keeps His promises. Yet, we must remember that one of those promises is that we will suffer for the gospel. And even so, He reminds us, encourages us, and spurs us on to not give up.

“He who is coming WILL COME and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” verse 37-38

Then I absolutely LOVE how the chapter finishes with this powerful reminder of who are:

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” verse 39

And when this truth is firmly planted in my heart and soul, I know that I can face anything. For I am not of those who shrink back and are destroyed. I am of those who believe and are saved!

As I write this I am reminded of the Chris Tomlin song, “Whom Shall I Fear?” which says:

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

With God at my side, I never need to shrink back again.
Mama Mia!

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The Lettuce People–Taste and See Sunday

lettuce heads2

How do you know God likes salad? Because He put so much “let us” in the Bible!

Since posting the picture of my lettuce head creations on Facebook recently, I’ve had several people ask me just what in the world I was doing with those little lettuce people. I don’t know! Seriously, where I came up with this one, I’m not sure. I just know that I wanted something to help a group of young college women I was sharing with this weekend remember the “let us’s” of Hebrews 10. So those five beautiful lettuce heads were just a silly and simple reminder of the five powerful instructions given to us in this call to persevere.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but
Let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25

Beyond these important words, we talked about understanding our hope, our calling and our identity. Things I think I’m going to save for later blogs because they are a dish in their own rights, and these words are so powerful in the context of which they are written.

Verses 16-17 remind us of why need need to live out the let us’s.

“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.” Then he adds, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”

When we realize, recognize and remember what has been done for us, it should be unfathomable that we could want to live any other way than for Him. However, when we choose not to live out the “Let us’s,” opting for something seemingly tastier, but not nearly as good for us, we quickly fail to realize, recognize and remember those precious things.

When we loosen our grip and stop holding on unswervingly to our hope, when we choose to simply spur one another rather then spurring one another on, when we give up meeting together, and we fail to encourage, we are in danger. God knew it, and He loves us enough to warn and remind us what we need to do to guard what has been given to us.

The next few verses remind us of something completely different–what happens when we choose not to live as “let us” people. Something I’d rather not taste and see, but are definately worthy of a “Mama Mia.” (That will be Monday’s post!)

So break out the lettuce heads, and “let us” begin living out the words God has served up for us.

Taste and See–The Lord, He is Good Indeed!