Posted in Hiding His Word

The Better Sacrifice – Hebrews 10

We are studying Hebrews in Sunday School. It has been a challenging book but the Holy Ghost has been faithful to guide our teacher week by week. This week we were looking at chapter 10. I like to study along before and after the lessons. I usually write out my notes in journals but I am working to put them on the blog to preserve them for later use and study. So these are just some notes from my study time….and one of my favorite worship/prayer songs at the end.

Hebrews 10 – Notes on the Perfect and Better Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

(in contrast with the imperfect sacrifices offered under the old covenant).

Why was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ better?

1.Christ’s sacrifice takes sin away

Man had need of a better sacrifice. While at times the Jewish people permitted their sacrifices to become empty rituals, many people were sincere in their offerings to God and were blessed. But the very nature of the old covenant sacrifice still made them inferior.

Animal sacrifices could never completely deal with human guilt. God forgave but the guilt was not removed from the hearts of the people. The nations sins were covered but they were not cleansed.

The blood of bulls and goats could not take sin away, but God provided a better sacrifice. It was God who provided the sacrifice, not man. The sacrifice provided was Jesus, His only Son! Jesus came to do the Father’s will. This will is the new covenant that has replaced the old covenant.

The better and perfect sacrifice was effective. Believers have been set apart or sanctified by the offering of Jesus body ONCE for ALL. No old covenant sacrifice could do that. An old covenant worshipper had to be purified repeatedly but a new covenant Saint is set apart, finally and completely!

2.Jesus’ sacrifice does not need to be repeated.

The ministry of the priests in tabernacles and temples was never done and never different. The fact that Jesus sat down after He ascended to the Father is proof that His work was completed.

Sat down – Psalms 110:1

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

Believers are complete in him – Colossians 2:10

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”

An old covenant worshiper could not say that he had no more conscience of his sin. New covenant believers can say that their sins and iniquities are remembered no more.

In the new covenant there are no more offerings for sin and no more remembrance of sin. When a sinner trusts Jesus Christ, his sins are all forgiven. The guilt is gone and the matter is completely settled.

3.Christ’s sacrifice opened the way (for us) into the very presence of God!

No old covenant worshipper could enter the Holy of Holies but the death of Jesus Christ tore open the veil and opened the way into the heavenly sanctuary where God dwells.

Holy of Holies – The inner sanctuary of the tabernacle where God dwelt.

In Verses 19 – 25 we are given an invitation to enter the Holy of Holies. The invitation was:

  •  Let us draw near
  •  Let us hold fast
  •  Let us consider one another

The priests went in only once per year but we are invited to dwell in the presence of God always.

Dwell – to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside

Let us draw near

  •  Prepare
  •  Come with a clean heart
  •  Fellowship with God demands purity

Let us hold fast

  •  Hold fast the profession of hope.
  •  When a believer has hope fixed on Jesus and relies on the faithfulness of God, then he will not waver.

Let us consider one another

  •  Fellowship with God must not be selfish. Fellowship with God must also include fellowship with others in the local assembly.
  •  Emphasis is not on what believers can get out of the assembly, but what he can contribute.

Sobering Words of Exhortation

Hebrews 10 ends with some sobering words of exhortation.

It tells us that one who drifts from the Word will soon start to doubt the Word. He will become dull toward the Word and lazy in his spiritual life. This will result in despising the Word. The evidence of despising is willful sin.

Under the old covenant there were no sacrifices for deliberate or willful sin. The people were generally executed. God does not always take the life of willful sinners, but He will always deal with them.

Are you sending willfully and deliberately? If your answer is yes, He will deal with you. Have you grown dull toward the Word? Turn to God for mercy and forgiveness!

One of the themes of Hebrews is this – God has spoken, how are you responding to His Word?

 

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No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus

A hymn on my heart this afternoon.

NO ONE EVER CARED FOR ME LIKE JESUS

by C. F. Weigle (1932)

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me,
All my heart was full of misery and woe;
Jesus placed His strong and loving arms about me,
And He led me in the way I ought to go.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.

Ev’ry day He comes to me with new assurance,
More and more I understand His words of love;
But I’ll never know just why He came to save me,
Till some day I see His blessed face above.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.

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Lessons Learned: Seeming Victory vs. True VICTORY

Last night I was in prayer before bedtime and was praying for a very sensitive situation in my life. Suddenly I felt oppressed. I haven’t experienced that so severely in quite some time but found myself with one of those battles of the mind. I have fought them many times before and so they are familiar. I fought. It was very late so couldn’t really call up the prayer partners I have grown to depend on in these times at such an hour of the night. No one was on fb.

I started reading the Word. My choice was the Psalms and I figured I would just read them until…but it was difficult and after a while I felt so overwhelmed and so I said to God, “Father You are going to have to do something about this because I need my mind to settle and I need sleep!” I felt like I didn’t know what else to do. The Holy Ghost immediately reminded me though that I did know what to do.

Of course, He was right…so I started just saying the name of Jesus aloud and over and over. I can tell you with complete honesty that suddenly and briefly it was as though my spiritual eyes were opened and I saw the demons swirling around my face but then just as suddenly I saw them flee and disappear– with my own, natural, open eyes. I waited for a few minutes and read a bit more of the Psalms but then fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.

He is faithful to His Word and His promises! I praise Him! I woke up this morning so grateful but with a couple important lessons that the Holy Ghost brought to my attention. Friends, I write this today to tell you this…the devil and his demons are real and they do what they can to try to thwart what God is doing in and through your life. Their goal is to take you from the will and arms of God so that they can take you with them to hell. They cause confusion, distraction and noise and unrest….but we have a God that is stronger.

Our amazing God, our Savior Jesus Christ is stronger than anything that can be brought against us. He lives in you if you are a believer, making you too stronger than the enemy and all of his demons. He is also stronger than our own flesh. He is the answer and He sent His own Son to die so that we might be saved. He has given you His own Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to help you, guide you and comfort you. He has given us the weapons to fight and He has given us His own strength to stand. He is the ONLY answer but He wants us to use what He has provided us and He wants us to grow up and into maturity in Him.

I/we must remember to use what the Father has provided and what Jesus Christ paid such a price for. And also is in my/our gratefulness regarding deliverance and in that time of peace that follows…not to fall for the distraction (and so even in seeming victory) letting the enemy win. Even though the enemy did flee last night, still he accomplished distraction. After I was delivered of the attack I should have gone back to the place that the enemy manifested and I should have stood in true VICTORY and continued earnestly in prayer for that sensitive situation. There at that moment of prayer… I was in God’s perfect will for my life, for that moment.

I am learning step by step. The Holy Ghost is the best of mentors. May we all yield to His perfect will in each moment of our lives today!

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Under the Platform

I know God has a work for me but I am often reminded by the Lord that my work at this time is intercession, and serving and supporting other’s visions and dreams. Not that the Lord hasn’t given me my own dreams too but it is all related. As it says in Luke 16:12:

And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

No matter what, when you know your assignment has proceeded straight from the Lord’s mouth, no matter the opposition, it is an assignment full of life and joy and a mighty expectation.

My wheels began turning this morning after I read Greg Mauro’s article in Ministry Today Magazine titled “Are You Called to Another’s Man’s Ministry?”

It reminded of a story Evangelist Rachel Hickson told once. When she was first called into the ministry, she worked as an intercessor with Christ for All Nations and Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. For many of those early years, while Reinhard Bonnke would preach to tens of thousands and minister healing and deliverance to thousands, Rachel would intercede each night UNDER the platform where Bonnke was standing. It was her job and assignment. Rachel was faithful. It was during these times of intercession that she not only saw others healed and saved and called, but she herself was miraculously healed as she had been in an automobile accident that left her unable to walk. She saw deliverance herself- as she was so incredibly shy when she started that she could not talk to others normally (sound familiar-Rachel’s testimony and her selfless gift of her teachings are what gave me the hope that God would deliver me as He had her) Today, Rachel Hickson is an Evangelist and Author and yet, still and always an Intercessor. She travels the world leading others to salvation but also encouraging and teaching the saints- equipping them in areas of prayer and God’s supernatural gifts.

Many times over the years since I was saved, I have been called to the prayer room during a service. Honestly, sometimes I have not wanted to leave the atmosphere of what was happening. Sometimes I resented that no one would come alongside no matter how much we pleaded for help. Seemed no one cared. Still, I knew that prayer was my assignment and God had spoken to me of interceding during services…much like some serve in the nursery or on the praise team or wherever. Prayer was my assignment.

There were times I found it incredibly easy. There were times it was so difficult. During one of the difficult seasons I found myself telling God over and over that I felt like I was missing something special out in the service. I would say God please let YOUR GLORY flood this room TOO. Over and over God would tell me that He would never leave me out.

One day God said to me Words that I keep always with me and close to my heart. They were Words of correction but great LOVE. He took me to Psalm 63:2

“To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.”

Beautiful, hopeful thought….and then He said, “Missy, your real rebellion is feeling like I have put you on a shelf in the midst of the action. I haven’t put you on a shelf; I’ve put you UNDER the platform with JESUS!”

He never left me out of what He was doing, He was using me also to do His own will. I have thought so often of those words and that two year time of being back there with him during those services and I know this – what He was doing, was He was trying to make a minister of me. When He brought me back into the services I was different.

Now when I am in a service of another minister that I know God has specifically called and assigned me to pray and intercede for, I see myself and position my heart with Jesus….UNDER THE PLATFORM. What a very special place and indeed a treasured assignment!

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Matthew

The first time I knew for sure that I had seen the face of Jesus was when I met a boy named Matthew at a Romanian Orphanage. I had been warned of the “horrors” and told that if I didn’t want to see him and others like him that I could stay outside of their special room. I had been warned to say nothing of the experience while still in Romania because it was illegal for me to even be allowed in this particular orphanage and to speak of it put their workers in danger. Internationals and especially Americans were no longer allowed to be in these places. They are not allowed to adopt these children. Americans are allowed in the mission organization orphanages but not the government run facilities. I just happened to be hosted by a wonderful woman that once worked there and she arranged for my visit after a few days of long conversation over morning coffee.

Nothing just happens. It was a part of a great plan.

The orphanages are dark, old, and ill equipped…but their workers love the children and do the best they can with what few resources they have and within what they are allowed by law to do. Many sacrifice food and other things we would consider necessity to supplement the milk and food of these that they have grown to love so.

As I arrived at the orphanage I prayed that the Lord would help me to be able to look into the face of anything and anyone with love and without flenching. I remembered past experiences with people that had been victims of accidents and crime and having a hard time looking into their eyes. I didn’t want that to be what I left with and what I left them with.

Matthew was a little boy with a head so big that he could not sit or stand and could only lay to the side. In America we would call that hydrocelphalus or water on the brain. In America we would have treatments and special hospitals and special therapy. In Romania these children are immediately deserted and put into orphanages where they will spend the rest of their lives or until their eighteenth birthday. In Romania even the mentally challenged are set aside and out of the orphanages to fend for themselves at the age of eighteen..unless a mission organization agrees to take them in.

Matthew lay in his little crib all day, every day. He could not speak and his eyesight was poor. His head was much to big and it caused everything to be much too unstable to allow for us to hold him. He was rotated from side to side every few hours but his head had grown and flattened. His head was twice as big as his little body that had not grown much at all. Matthew’s body look to be about 3 months old. Matthew was three years old.

I remember walking up to him and I all I wanted to do was touch his face…so I did. And he smiled. It was then I saw Him…it was the face of Jesus! I knew it, for sure. I didn’t cry then like I did for so many days afterward and as I do to this day when I think of his smile. His beautiful face. I had a hard time pulling myself away. He was by far the most beautiful child I have ever seen. I was not allowed to take pictures so in the moments I had with him, I memorized his face and his body. I can see him today as though it were yesterday.

I have often wondered why God would allow a little boy to just lay there but I kind of know. I pray that every day someone can see what I saw and I know that one day I will see him again.

Since that very moment I have been able to see the face of Jesus in so many people. God allows it. Sometimes I am in awe and kind of taken breathless and speechless. I wonder if they even know what I can see in them.

The Bible says of Jesus almost what I was told of little Matthew –  In Isaiah 53:2: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

Oh that I could go again and take you to that orphanage to see the face of Jesus in a little boy named Matthew!!! Since I can’t do that yet…I just look around.

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As I Walk on the Road to Emmaus – My Miracle

There has been a lot of talk recently about miracles. This past Sunday Pastor Sammy called those that needed a miracle to come forward to be anointed and to receive. I need a miracle in my life and so I went forward and I walked back to my seat believing I received. So did I? Well, first let me say-

Recently while reading Luke 3 the phrase “a state of expectation” just stood out to me. I began meditating on it maybe because I have felt this state, this expectation over these last months.

“Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ.” Luke 3:15

Then Monday I received an IM (instant message) from a friend. She said, “Melissa: Sitting here thinking of you. Continue to ask, seek, and expect big things. Ephesians 3:20-21.”

I saw that word “expect” and thought back to that “state of expectation.” Was this the Lord speaking about that? Maybe, maybe just me. Either way, I began meditating on it again…expecting and expectations. Sometimes my plans, goals and dreams do not turn out as I expect or imagine they should. Sometimes it appears that things I thought may be of the Lord do not turn out at all. If a miracle doesn’t manifest itself based on my thought life or yours, does that mean there was no miracle?

Last night at Bible study we read the story of the guys on the road to Emmaus and I began thinking about the miracle they too had expected and imagined.

“And He said to them, ‘What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?'” Luke 24:17

I thought it interesting that Jesus not only questioned them about their conversation, but also mentioned the sadness in their hearts. He knew their struggle. They were very open about it too. At that point, these guys thought Jesus was just another stranger because He appeared in a form that wasn’t familiar. They were sad because all they were hoping and believing for did not turn out as they expected. They were in a place that they saw no miracle or possibility.

“But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.” Luke 24:21

Jesus was and is redeemer…however, at the moment, it didn’t look that way to them. I think that is where I find myself sometimes, no oftentimes…on that same road. Things God has promised have not turned out the way I expected in some areas just yet. Sometimes I find it hard to even see the possibilities of my miracle. Ii is then that I have to try as best as I know how to trust in the Word. The Bible seems to be full of moments where it appeared things were not going to work out.

Maybe, like these men, I have missed the Lord and His miracles as I focus on other things…the road itself, my emotions. Maybe because I expect Him to show up a certain way and at a certain time and when He does not meet my expectations or my miracle doesn’t look like what I dreamed up in my limited fantasies and thoughts I tend to start withdrawing. Then I fall into disappointment and then blindness. I can see how easily temptation, lukewarmness, the desire for other things, and sin could follow. All because I allowed my road of possibilities and miracles to be changed into a path of lost expectation in the Lord when I began limiting those same expectations.

So back to my miracle. What will it look like? Will I know it? Maybe not at first, but I have to still believe. Because I believe we aren’t so different from those in Bible times that walked that original road to Emmaus but also because I read in the scripture that my friend IMed that it is God’s desire to do above and beyond what we are asking or thinking up. I have to work not to lower my expectations to my own personal experience or to your experience or the church’s or even our world’s. If God always came through in the Bible, He will always come through for me. SO by faith I tell you… YES- I GOT MY MIRACLE even as I walk on the road to Emmaus and it is all that He imagined and so very good…PRAISE THE LORD! GLORY TO GOD!

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

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Mind of Christ

I often journal my prayers. This morning during one such prayer, I simply wrote the following…”Father, Show me how to love like you love. What will that look like in my life?” As I finished I began reading in the Bible where I had left off the day before. The passage was Mark 10 but I could go no farther than verse 45 because as I read this verse I began to hear God answer.

45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

My eyes were drawn to a little note I had in the margin “see Philippians 2:3-7” and so I turned to it.

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Wow- I saw it, heard it, felt it. I got it. God was answering my question from His Word and so from His heart. Jesus came not to be ministered to, but to minister. If my goal is to love like Jesus, to be more and more like Him then am I not asking for the “mind of Christ?” And if this is what I am asking for, if I receive it then what am I expecting? What I feel the Father showed me is that to receive the “mind of Christ” and to learn to love as He loved and live in a way that pleases Him will cause a change to be made in me that is very visible and unmistakable but in that change… I will be made only a servant, of no reputation on this earth, just like His Son.

Oh that I would embrace such service and honor it as the ultimate gift passed down to me by a loving Father; shared with me by His precious Son, Jesus.