Hebrews 11-13

I found one main constant in these final chapters of Hebrews: faith. What is faith? Why do we need faith? What does faith do for us? Why does God desire us to have such a strong faith in Him? #letsgo

Faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (11:1)

I feel like a lot of the times, life can’t be counted on. The world is often times a shady place and it’s unreliable. Our faith in our parents are not always there. Our faith in our government is sometimes scary. Our faith in the education systems are lacking. Our faith in ourselves to stand up for what is right gets a little touchy. Faith. It’s quite a challenge. It’s trusting something when you are not totally sure of the outcome but believing that it will work out for your good. Chapter 11 is all about ancients from the Old Testament completely relying on the Lord to provide freedom and justice. “This is what the ancients were commended for.” Commended means to deserve attention or praise. The people in the O. T were praised for their faith in our Lord. Even when they were put into times of hardship, manual labor (oh Noah), extreme wandering (Where ya going Mos?!), or even to be led through a massive wave, people still held onto one thing: Faith in God. They were not sure of how things would end or even the road the Lord would put them on but still, they trusting Him to pave the way which led to righteousness in His eyes.

But wait. “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” So they didn’t receive God’s full promise? Not yet. God had bigger and better things in store for them: Jesus and his death and Resurrection which would lead to eternal life. If your faith is being tested right now, and it looks like God isn’t answering prayers or solving your problems, or finishing his promise – just wait. Patiently and prayerfully wait. It just means He’s not finished yet.

NOW COMES MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PASSAGE. ARE YOU READY? (Go read it for yourselves, I’m going to paraphrase. For those of you who don’t know what that means: I’m going to summarize it in my own words. It’s August. I’m a teacher. My mind is preparing.)

And so because we have read about all these incredible people from the Old Testament, and we have seen their faith in all kinds of different seasons, we should be THROWING off everything that makes us sin. Bad relationships, sexual television shows, porn, our social media, buffets:), parties, addictive stimulants, ect. It wraps our minds up in everything negative and against the will of Jesus. So THROW IT AWAY. And let us run, not leisurely walk, or even jog at that matter, ( God spits out the lukewarm believers), the path that Jesus has for our lives. Not with unsteady feet, but with ready and willing feet that are pumped to run that path. Not looking at anything but Jesus, who died for us and perfected our eternity. Without him, we would be nothing and would still be trying to cover our sins up with dead animals. We need to be running to him with our eyes solely fixed on the prize of Jesus because of what he did. He walked himself to the cross. He willingly laid down and did not try to take his hands or feet away while crazy, hateful men torn into his skin. He did this, knowing that in just a few days, he would be sitting at the right hand of God, perfectly renewed and in all of his glory. Because of this reason, we should not grow weary, get tired, loose the flame, and feel defeated. Because of the wondrous rescue mission Jesus did for us, we need to be running.

Whew.

We can do this, knowing in full faith that “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” He did not leave me when I was in complete rebellion against Him. He did not forsake me when I was hurting and in despair. He isn’t unaware of your trials right not, and if you’re in waiting, keep praising. He’s coming. If you find strength and comfort in worship, listen to this song. It’s all about HAVING to believe when things are not going right and HAVING to praise when time and time again, you mess up. Look to the Mountain of Zion (Jesus) – Hebrews 12: 18-28. This mountain is no longer something we should be afraid of or even not allowed to enter. This mountain is fully aware of your sin yet loves you even more.

 

Hebrews 8-10 by Kelsey!

Hey guys, thanks for reading my blog! I’m just gonna go ahead and jump right in. Okay, so first of all, I don’t know about all of you but for me Hebrews isn’t necessarily the easiest book to read. It’s easy for me to get lost in the deeper theological issues and in the “technicalities” of the covenant and symbols of the Old Testament vs. the New. BUT, when I take a step back, I realize that one truth rings true throughout this entire book and that is Jesus is greater! The author gives us example after example of how ridiculously greater and enough Jesus is. I know for myself that when my walk with Jesus isn’t right and I find myself placing things, people, myself, anything above God, my initial reaction is to try and belittle or “bring down” these things and although I think that is important to do and a great step, we shouldn’t stop there! Not only do we need to put into perspective how irrelevant most of these things are, but we also need to get God out of our stupid little box we most likely put him in and build Him up! Reflect on His greatness, His holiness, His mightiness! Hebrews 9:12 says “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, having obtained eternal redemption.” Because the law required that “nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” and “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, so that we may serve the living God” How much greater was this sacrifice? This new promise was and is so much better than the old! He died once and for all! Gone are the ways of multiple sacrifices that were only temporary and here is a perfect, loving, awesome God who can now fully cover us and our sins! I don’t know about you guys but for me, growing up in church it’s pretty easy to just “accept” what Jesus did for us on the cross and become a little numb to it. These chapters help me to slow down and reflect and start to grasp a little more how utterly amazing and incredible and loving and selfless and perfect and superior the cross was! Like c’mon guys this is what it’s all about! Just take a second and stop and think…our God really rocks!

And the good news doesn’t stop there! These chapters remind us that through this sacrifice we have been made holy!

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more”

“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people”

“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”

“because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy”

“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”

Just like Tom mentioned tonight our sins are separated as far from us as the east is from the west. Let’s stop focusing on what we did to separate us and focus on what He did to redeem us and bring us home! We are a new creation because of this amazing act of unfailing love. This new promise that surpassed the old, insufficient one presents us as holy and blameless to God. We need to start viewing ourselves as God sees us instead of how the world sees us. Let’s not belittle what Jesus did for us by holding on to past regrets and instead focus on Him. Get rid of these lies the world is constantly throwing at us and focus on this truth, right here, that God loves us so much He did what we could never do on our own to win us back!

We can do this y’all!

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” –Hebrews 10:23

1 Timothy 1-3 by Abbey Kriegel

1 Timothy 1-3 : Abbey Kriegel

Hey fellow Obterns! I know this is a tad late! I did my blog last year at BigStuf and thought I could accomplish it again because I didn’t have to lead but I just got too busy with helping Tracy and such and totally forgot to do the blog. Okay…there’s my explaining as if I needed to do that. So I love 1 and 2 Timothy–they are stinkin’ great!

1 Timothy 1–
I love 1 Timothy 1:12 –“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who have given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” God used Paul despite Paul’s past and God uses us too.
But so often, I get blinded that I used to be so caught in sin, not being the woman I strive to be, or comparing myself to anything around me. Which ultimately steals my joy. I often think that I’ve done “too much” wrong that I can’t be “good enough”. This reminds me about Jon Acuff’s message during the second session of BigStuf about who we put in the lead of our story. When it’s not God, then it’s us trying to be the “enough” part. So we chase the sense of being enough and we never accomplish it. We aren’t supposed to accomplish it. Jesus is our enough.
And then we look at people like Paul and we actually connect to him. We connect to some of the major things that He did or the person He is. And like Paul-we should be thanking Jesus–that He showed us grace, gave us mercy, and pour those out abundantly. He took our place, once and for all. And here comes the beauty of this scripture (1 Timothy 1:15-17) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. — And so trustworthy are those sentences!

1 Timothy 2–
In 1 Timothy 2 tells us about instructions on worship — our everyday living. Our goal should be to have a right relationship with God and others. It also talks about men and how they should “lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or dispute” and also talks about women “to dress modestly with decency and appropriateness (courtesy).” This was a good reminder for me to read on how I should be dressing and ultimately desiring to dress to respect brothers in Christ. The study notes talk about how it’s not a bad thing to want to look good ladies, however, to what degree should women take this advice. Paul reminds us that we should not be drawing attention to ourselves through this.
Ladies-remember that beauty begins on the inside. Ready for these study notes, too good! “A gentle, modest, loving character, gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by even the best cosmetics.” I mean that is so true. And I think as women it is so hard to not have insecurities and not want to try to be the most attractive, especially when the media and our world scream at us on how we are supposed to look. But, when we are keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and becoming how and who He wants us to be — a confident woman in Jesus — then that character does give light and it can’t be duplicated. That was a good read and reminder for me!

1 Timothy 3–

1 Timothy 3 ends with beautiful scripture. “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
 was vindicated by the Spirit, (This shows the spirit’s power — His resurrection) 
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
 was taken up in glory.”
Such a mystery is true. But a beautiful mystery to be apart of. “As a man, Jesus lived a perfect life, and so He is a perfect example of how to live. As God, Jesus gives us power to do what is right.”

Thanks for reading y’all! Again, sorry it’s a tad late!

Hebrews 3-4:13 by Kphilly

Hebrews 3-4:13 is a short read, so this is going to be quick and to the point.

Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” Because Christ lives in us as believers, we can remain courageous and hopeful to the end. We are not saved by being steadfast and firm in our faith, but rather our courage and hope do reveal that our faith is real. Without this enduring faithfulness, we could easily be blown away by the winds of temptation, false teaching, or persecution. To prevent having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin, and encourage each other with love and concern. You may ask, “How do I do this?” and the answer is simple, join a small group and surround yourself with good community. Many people will admit that joining a small group was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made and I would have to agree with them. This past week at BigStuf (a summer camp for middle/high school students) all the students had small groups twice a day and some of the kids new one another before that week and some did not, but by the last day every student would tell you that their small group had encouraged one another and shown them love that some students may have never felt before. What am I trying to say? I am trying to tell you that while our courage and hope reveal our faith is real, it takes a community of people to keep a person from being blown away by the winds of temptation, false teaching, or persecution.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive an 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.” I could say something on this, but the study notes sums this up best…The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us, with the incisiveness of a surgeon’s knife, God’s Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God’s Word require decisions. We must not only listen to the Word; we must also let it shape our lives. God is constantly speaking to each and every one of us, while most of us continue on and ignore what he’s trying to tell us, for those that listen and make decisions their lives are changed for the better.

 

I hope y’all enjoyed the read 🙂 

[Hebrews 4:14-7:28] Christ is Enough!

Happy Monday fellow OBterns! I got the privilege of being assigned to some chapters of Hebrews that are such a great reminder that Jesus should ALWAYS be the center of our affection and attention. Here are three main points that really stuck out to me:

1. Christ is greater than EVERYTHING.
Throughout Hebrews,the author discusses how no high priest will ever surpass the greatness of Jesus. The author encourages his audience to see Jesus as so much greater than even the highest priest of the time. What I took this as is that we should see Jesus as so much greater than ANYTHING [school, parties, etc]. Coming off of Bigstuf a couple of days ago, our students and even we are feeling that Bigstuf high. This feeling makes us feel so close to God because our heads are filled with the truth that God’s way is greater than any other way. However, this feeling starts to fade once we start prioritizing worldly things over our Savior. There is a verse at the end of Hebrews 4 that encourages us to cling to our faith and to fight for Jesus, whom we know has saved us and been through the same temptation we have. [Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-160]

2. We don’t have to be perfect.
Hebrews 5:8-9 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
So we know that we should honor God before anything else. But sometimes we feel as if we aren’t worthy of doing so.
Thats all wrong. Jesus was made perfect and became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Did that verse say he became eternal salvation for all who are perfect??? No! It said Jesus was made perfect so that we can be saved through him! And if thats not reassuring, I’m not sure what is. So we need to drop those standards for ourselves that say we have to be at a certain level of holy before we can approach God. God calls you to COME AS YOU ARE.

3. Train Hard and Run Well.
Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
“we do not want you to become lazy”. Well thats a pretty high demand for a bunch of college age students. And not becoming extremely lazy when it comes to our faith can seem impossible, but the study notes for this verse say “Hope keeps the Christian from becoming lazy or feeling bored. Like an athlete, train hard and run well…” And then they say something profound, “… remembering the reward that lies ahead“.
I love this. Remember the reward that lies ahead. That reward being LOVE. PEACE. SALVATION. GRACE. MERCY. JOY. All of God’s promises! If you really do what the study notes say and remember the reward that lies ahead, there is no excuse for being lazy. Theres no excuse for not chasing after Jesus with your whole heart. Theres no excuses for putting anything before God.

CHRIST IS ENOUGH! That reward that lies ahead is ENOUGH! Theres no reason to get off that Bigstuf high! Keep reminding your students of the truth that there is nothing greater than the life God promises and that the end result is amazing. Lets keep ourselves and our students on fire.

Love you guys!
a bergs

Philemon by LD

So you’ve read Philemon and you might be thinking, “Dang, that was a quick read.” Maybe you’re wondering why God would even add the book Philemon to the Bible, because I was kind of wondering the same thing….until I looked deeper. I looked online for summaries and lessons learned from this letter sent to Philemon from Paul, in order to gain a better understanding.

In this letter, Paul starts off by thanking God for Philemon and all of the great work he is doing for the Lord through the love of Christ. He specifically states, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” He then goes to plea with Philemon to forgive Onesimus (Phil’s former slave who ran away from him). In his plea, he states that he could order him to forgive him (as another brother in Christ would make him accountable to forgive like Christ does for us). But, Paul even approaches his brother in Christ with LOVE (yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love 1:9). They say that Onesimus was not a Christ follower before Paul taught him the gospel. And now Paul is sending him back to Philemon, selflessly, with two expectations in return: for his heart to be refreshed in Christ and for Philemon to forgive Onesimus for running away. Can you imagine what Paul is asking of Philemon? Back in that day, running away from your slave owner put you in the path of death. If you were caught, you were most likely killed. Not only is Paul asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus for his actions, but he’s also asking that he work with him as a brother in Christ instead of treating him like a slave.

I’d have to say one of the hardest parts of being a Christ follower is forgiving people. Forgiving people who know they’re in the wrong, forgiving people who won’t admit they’re wrong, and forgiving people who never even knew that they did something wrong. It’s definitely not easy to do, as the world tells us everyone deserves to be treated for the actions they commit. But, can you imagine if God treated us this way? Thank Him that He doesn’t, because we would never have the chance to even have a relationship with Him if He didn’t forgive us DAILY.

Therefore, we should forgive daily. And not even forgiving others “for ourselves” so that we may be free, but forgiving for Christ. As we proclaim the good news of all that He is, people will find radical forgiving is something supernatural (as in, God like and God powerful). Something that they can’t explain. How about the Christ followers who forgave the doctor that dropped their baby at delivery causing a life-long disability? Talk about radical forgiving. Or the Christ followers who forgave the person who murdered their son? That’s supernatural.

Any kind of forgiving in your every day life can be radical. It doesn’t have to be drastic. Just what we would and should do as Christ followers. I am learning to forgive my dad daily as he can be very brutal sometimes. My hope is not that I become free out of the forgiveness, but that He would see something super powerful going on in my life (Jesus) that I am able to turn him the other cheek. For you will not change people by your opinions, but rather by your actions. The world’s watching.

Love,
LD.

Ps. Can’t wait to see, hear, and experience all of the life change that happened this week! Thanks for being kingdom bringers to the younger generation! You guys rock!!

Titus 1-3 by Michelle Kyle

Hey lovely people! So Bigstuf has been quite awesome, and I hope everyone has been able to witness how faithful God has been to us this week. To those of you who could not come I hope you are keeping up with your readings and such.

So Paul wrote Titus. As most of you have figured out.. Paul is a pretty sweet dude. I just wanted to point out that Paul calls himself a servant of God, and in other books he calls himself a prisoner in Christ. As followers of Jesus we are automatically put in chains. We will be persecuted. We will be mocked. The only way to overcome the pain of this world is to own the fact that Jesus is bigger than us and loves us more than we could ever imagine. If knowing and living a life for Jesus means death then I would rather die right now then not know Jesus.

Titus 1:10-11 “For there are many rebellious people full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of circumcision. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach-and that for the sake of dishonest gain”. I think this tells us that there will always be people that try to convince us that we are wrong. Some “Christians” think one thing and another thinks something else. A lot of what a Christian knows about Jesus is how they are taught it, Not everyone reads and studies the bible enough to understand things on their own and when faulty pastors are out there twisting Jesus’ words it makes our job of spreading the Gospel much more difficult.

Titus 1:15-16 “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure, In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” This part is pretty straight forward and blunt. If you do not believe in Jesus or believe his word then you are no good. It our society today it is so easy for children and adults to have corrupted minds, Social media, movies, music, etc. What we fill our minds with effects our heart. It is impossible to be completely pure but we can do a better job and guarding our hearts and our minds. Movies with sex scenes and bad language do not bring you closer to Jesus. There is nothing good about it, Sometimes entertainment gets in the way of living a pure life. I know that is something that I have struggled with. I do not want to fill my mind with dirty language and inappropriate movies that is close enough to being porn that it should not even be legal. On one of our trips last year Tom would not let us watch Pitch Perfect, and I did not really understand what the big problem was. I knew that some things were inappropriate, but I did not really think of how much it can mess with our minds and hearts.

Titus 2 is also somewhat about purity. Disciplining ourselves to be as pure as possible is a really hard concept. It talks about slaves being respectful to their masters and do not talk to them. This is crazy to me because I do not treat my parents with the respect they deserve, and I was never their slave. They love me and have given me so much, but i have caught myself so many times being so rude. The second part of 2:10 says that the teachings on God should be attractive. People should see Jesus in the way you live your life and be attracted to that lifestyle. 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people, It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to love self-controlled..” Just say no.

Titus 3 is all about devoting ourselves to doing good and avoiding foolish controversies. 3:10-11 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” We can only do so much to help a person find and get closer to Jesus, but at some point we have to let them make the decision for themselves. We plant the seed and be the influence they need in their life.

Well that is all I have guys. Love you!!