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Faith in Waiting for the Promises

13All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16, NRSV)

Life is not about where we came from but where we are going. It is about why we are alive now on this journey and where our destination will be.

None of these, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, saw the promised land. They only knew the promise and saw it from a distance but never obtained it. Yet they lived their lives in a way that showed the trust they had for God.

They lived so that others would be drawn to the love they knew God has for them. Notice not had but has, because they are with God, as we will be. Life is not about making sure we don’t screw up so we make it. Life is about giving God’s love to others as God gave it to us.

Trust the promise and give it away like it doesn’t belong to you, because it doesn’t. God is giving it to you to use and help the world see God’s love.  So know the promise is true and trust it and live like you want to see everyone there.

 

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Faith Connects us to God

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. 5By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith. 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” 13All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 11:1-16, 12:1-2, NRSV)

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

When we think we know what the outcome will be, it is our own doing and our own making.

Hebrews 11 tells us of all of the times when people were led by God to something they could not see yet but believed what was told them by God. Noah didn’t see the rain or the flooding but built the boat. Abraham didn’t see the child or the new land, but he believed he would be a father and would have a new place to call home. Jacob and Isaac believe this too. As well as Sarah. and all of these died without receiving the promise! They didn’t see it in their lifetime! What makes us think we are more important or special than them to get to see it?

God wants us to follow in faith, knowing that the promise is true, not always knowing what is going to happen and accepting that and following where He leads us. Because His ways are better than ours.

I am reminded with this passage of the beginning to the movie, My Sisters Keeper  If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans…

 

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Made Pure Because of Christ

13Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. (1 Peter 1:13-21, NRSV)

Do not hold to your old ways but be made different by Christ. Do live life as you had looking out for yourself first, but look out for others first and know that by doing this you will show them the love that Christ gave to you and Christ, in turn, will refill your cup.

Because if we are filled with Christ we can not live the old life we had been living for the old has gone away and the new has come. That is what life in Christ does, it changes us to look at the other first.

Are you filled with the spirit and guided by His love to give grace and mercy to all of the world?

Do you live a new life in Christ?

 

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Jesus is Baptized

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17, NRSV)

This is the version of this story that is open ended and doesn’t really give us a lot of details. We don’t know who was there if it was a crowd or just John and Jesus. We don’t know who heard the proclamation of God.

But the story still shows us that Jesus knew somethings needed to be done for good order and to give us an example of how to live.

We also see the love that is poured out through baptism to all of God’s children by God.

We all get grace and love through baptism. Live in the love we are given through the love given in baptism.

 

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The Word Became Flesh

14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”)16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. (John 1:14-18, NRSV)

Jesus was with God in the beginning and helped create everything that is. And because of that he is filled with Grace and Truth.

Not truth as most of us know but ultimate truth that doesn’t change.

You see we can say that God changes but I would say it isn’t God that changes but us. Our perception and understanding is what changes.

Know that Jesus is always the same.

 

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God Speaks to Us through a Son

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4, NRSV)

Jesus is the son whom God has given us to speak to us and tell us how we should live.

He is higher than everything except the Father and is more excellent than everything.

Jesus came to show us how to live and what it means to be a follower of God’s life plan.

God has a way God wants us to live and Jesus showed us that.

 

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Do What is Good

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.5Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 7Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:1-7, NRSV)

So according to Paul here we are supposed to not fight against the rulers we are placed under because they were put there by God. No power can be a power without the authority of God.

So if we go against the government we should expect to be punished for that.

But we are ultimately only subject to God so when and if the government goes against God we should not follow the government?

We are to always do what is good and to show God’s love in everything we do.

Don’t grumble about being a good citizen. Live and show the love of God.

 

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