Resources on Hebrews

Chapter 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

 —Hebrews 12:1

 

One of the most important phrases in today’s verse is “let us run with endurance.”  Now that’s a constant challenge of the Christian life!

Physically speaking, running is one of the healthiest activities that we can do to improve our health. Running is great for the cardiovascular system and helps promote health in a variety of ways. The problem is that many people when they start jogging try to run too hard and end up burning out in just a short period of time.

Unfortunately, the same can be true of our spiritual lives. Many of us run hard and fast for Christ, but quickly lose energy and heart and find ourselves out of strength. Why?  Because we haven’t laid aside the things that hold us down.  It’s like trying to run with weights tied to your ankles!

The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint.  And the only way you will be able to run with endurance is to do what the verse today says…to lay aside the sin in your life that weighs you down. 

Are you struggling today in your walk with Christ?  If so, take an honest look at your life and see if there is any sin that is un-confessed.  If there is, confess it and cast it aside.  When you do you will find you will once again be able to run…and to do so with endurance.

Cast aside any sin that is...

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Chapter 13

[God] has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

—Hebrews 13:5

It’s great to have really close friends you can trust with just about anything, isn’t it. I’m blessed enough to have quite a few, and I know these true friends love me unconditionally.

 

But the most amazing “friend” you and I have is God Himself.  In John 15:15, Jesus makes an incredible statement when He says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

 

Now, one of the best definitions of the word “friend” I’ve ever heard is, “a person who comes in when the world goes out.” And that’s a pretty good summary of today’s verse.

 

God is the truest of all friends…One who is always there and, no matter the circumstance, will NEVER forsake you.  He will support you and love you absolutely unconditionally. He is the Friend “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

 

Jesus Christ is indeed your greatest and dearest Friend.  And like any friend, I trust you speak with Him daily and love Him completely.

 

Jesus Christ is the truest of all friends!

 

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

—Hebrews 12:1-3

 

As Christians, one of the best ways to defeat Satan…the enemy of our souls…is to know how he operates. 

 

Far too many believers today are unaware of or don’t fully appreciate how deadly this enemy is…and to what lengths he will go, to thwart and destroy God’s people and God’s plan! So it’s important each of us know our enemy so we can better prepare ourselves for his attack.

 

Of all the schemes and tactics Satan uses against the people of God, his greatest tool is probably the tool of discouragement. Satan knows that if he can pry open your heart with discouragement, he can make you quit.

 

Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

 

If you’re a believer and you’re discouraged today, it’s because Satan is on your trail. Are you thinking about throwing in the towel on your marriage…or giving up on your kids…or giving in to that recurring temptation? Don’t do it...

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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.

—Hebrews 12:15

 

I’ve never claimed to be the world’s best gardener. But I do know that if you let weeds go, they can take over an entire garden.

 

But to get rid of weeds, you have to do more than clip them off at the top. You have to dig them out by the root.

 

The same is true for weed of bitterness.

 

Today’s verse points us to the need to deal with bitterness. And for good reason. It’s a root that can easily take hold in any one of our hearts.

 

What does a root of bitterness look like? It’s holding on to an offense, either large or small. It’s determining to hold hostility in your heart towards someone who’s hurt you. It’s anger towards another person that’s not dealt with appropriately.

 

What happens is this offense, hostility, or anger festers and grows. And eventually, it can take over your life! It’s a like a cancer that metastasizes in the human soul.

 

Over the new several days, we’re going to be taking a closer look at bitterness and why you shouldn’t allow it to have any place in your heart or life. In preparation for that, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to prepare your heart. Ask Him if there is any root of bitterness in your soul right now. And commit to digging up the...

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For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

—Hebrews 12:11

When you face adversity, you have two choices. You can choose bitterness or you can choose happiness. But you can’t choose both.

You can choose to allow the trails in your live by God’s grace to make you better…or to make you bitter.

In Psalm 105:18, the Darby Translation says of Joseph, “They afflicted his feet with fetters; his soul came into irons.” I love that! Joseph was being developed as God was putting iron in his soul.

God knew difficult days would lie ahead for Egypt, and that it would require Joseph to have a durable and doable faith. There in prison, God taught Joseph wisdom and courage and character and perseverance and endurance as his fetters produced faith and his chains produced character!

God steeled Joseph’s soul without Joseph hardening his heart. And as a result, he became a veritable velvet covered brick—soft on the outside, but strong on the inside.

And you know, God is looking for some strong and steely saints today…believers with iron in their souls! I know there are some who teach that life is a dream if you’re a Christian. That all you need to do is name it and claim it and you’ll be healthy, happy, and all the rest.

But that kind of teaching isn’t biblical teaching. And it produces wimps instead of warriors for God.

And in these uncertain days, we need Christians who have steel and iron in their souls! But be prepared, as God uses adversity to bring...

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Chapter 1

Chapter 11

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.

—Hebrews 11:5

It’s sad to me how so many Christians are so immersed in sin and seeking after vain things that they end up conforming to the world, and not to Christ. To be sure the temptations are strong…and sometimes difficult to overcome. 

Perhaps you are struggling with giving in to the temptations of our world today.  If so, I want to give you a word of hope today by reminding you of a man named Enoch.  Enoch lived a holy life during another period in history that was also full of sin and debauchery.

Enoch wasn’t a great missionary, a powerful preacher, or a leader of the people. Bur he stood out in a depraved generation.  Specifically, the Bible says that Enoch walked with God.

Now that’s interesting because the Christian life is often described as a walk. It’s about taking small steps, one at a time. And as we take these steps, God sometimes places an event in our path that becomes a turning point for us. 

For Enoch, there was a turning point, a time in his life where he went from normal to extraordinary.  I believe this turning point came when Enoch had a child at the age of 65. This experience pushed him to be a better child of God and walk in true faith.

Many times, even though we’re Christians, we are pushed to live holier lives by some turning point or experience. At 65, Enoch became such a unique follower of God that he made faith’s “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11.

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Chapter 6

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.

—Hebrews 6:19

I think Hebrews 6:19 is one of the grandest statements in the Bible. I love the picture of hope as the anchor of our souls. A ship’s anchor holds it steady even when the winds are blowing hard and waves are crashing all around.

This kind of hope is what helps us cope with the reality of disappointment.  Mary Magdalene in Scripture is a good example of this truth. The Bible tells us that Mary was possessed by seven demons when Jesus first met her. After He cast them out, Jesus continued to love Mary despite her sin and failures.

So she was understandably very disappointed and distraught when Jesus was crucified and then buried in the tomb (John 20). He had done so much for her, and now all she could do was weep bitter tears for Him. But then the resurrected Christ appeared to Mary, and her hope was instantly restored.

That’s what true hope…the hope found only in the resurrected Christ…can do for anyone who is overcome by disappointment and tragedy. No matter how devastating the circumstances, the hope found in Christ can overcome the pain.

Is your soul anchored in the hope of Jesus Christ? If so, you have an anchor that can hold you fast despite any storm!

Hope in Christ is an anchor for the soul. Is your hope anchored in Him today?

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Chapter 9