Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust?
And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted?
And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?
That’s why Scripture exclaims,
A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!
But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act.
Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another:
“Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?”
The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.
The New Way of Worship Has a Better Gift
But Christ came as the Head Religious Leader of the good things God promised. He made the way for man to go to God.
He was a greater and more perfect tent. He was not made by human hands and was not a part of this earth.
Christ went into the Holiest Place of All one time for all people.
He did not take the blood of goats and young cows to give to God as a gift in worship.
He gave His own blood. By doing this, He bought us with His own blood and made us free from sin forever.
With the Old Way of Worship, the blood and ashes of animals could make men clean after they had sinned.
How much more the blood of Christ will do! He gave Himself as a perfect gift to God through the Spirit that lives forever.
Now your heart can be free from the guilty feeling of doing work that is worth nothing. Now you can work for the living God.
Christ is the One Who gave us this New Way of Worship.
All those who have been called by God may receive life that lasts forever just as He promised them.
Christ bought us with His blood when He died for us.
This made us free from our sins which we did under the Old Way of Worship.
When a man wants to give his money to someone after he dies, he writes it all down on paper.
But that paper is worth nothing until the man is dead. That piece of paper means nothing as long as he is alive.
It is good only when he dies.The Old Way of Worship had to have a death to make it good.
The blood of an animal was used. Moses told the people all the things they had to obey in the Law.
Then he took the blood of animals together with water and put it on the Book of the Law and on all the people.
He used special branches and red wool as he put it on them.
Moses said, “This is the blood of the Way of Worship which God said you must obey.”
In the same way, Moses put the blood on the tent and on all the things used in worship.
The Law says that almost everything is made clean by blood. Sins are not forgiven unless blood is given.
One Perfect Gift
The tent to worship in and the things inside to worship with were like the things in heaven.
They were made clean by putting blood on them. But the things in heaven were made clean by a much better gift of worship. For Christ did not go into the Holiest Place of All that was made by men, even if it was like the true one in heaven.
He went to heaven itself and He is before God for us.
Christ has not given Himself many times, as the head religious leader here on earth went into the Holiest Place of All each year with blood that was not his own. For then Christ would have had to die many times since the world began.
But He came once at the end of the Old Way of Worship. He gave Himself once for all time. He gave Himself to destroy sin.
It is in the plan that all men die once. After that, they will stand before God and be judged.
It is the same with Christ. He gave Himself once to take away the sins of many.
When He comes the second time, He will not need to give Himself again for sin.
He will save all those who are waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:11-29)
no one can shut what He opens;
no one can open what He shuts.
Letter to Philadelphia
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia.
“These are the words of the holy One, the true One, and the One who possesses the key of David, which opens the possibilities so that no one can shut them. The One who closes all options so that no one can open. (Revelation 3:7)
They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24)
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys My word will never see death.”
(Matthew 16:28; John 3:16; John 8:51)
“My advice to you is to buy pure gold from Me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from Me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from Me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight.
For we preach Christ Jesus made flesh, crucified for our sin, risen again with healing in His wings!
…Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.…“
“Anyone who does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:50)
Jesus Made Like His Brothers
For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him.
But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory,
to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.…(Hebrews 2:8-10)
Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death:
“He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”
For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Through Him you believe in God, who raised im from the dead and glorified im, and so your faith and hope are in God.
(Hebrews 11:5; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 1:21)
Faith in What We Don’t See
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.
By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain.
It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference.
That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.
By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.”
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why?
Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.
By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land.
He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved.
His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world.
As a result, Noah became intimate with God.
By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home.
When he left he had no idea where he was going.
By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents.
Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise.
Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.
By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time,
because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said.
That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.
Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing.
How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home.
If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted.
But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country.
You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God.
Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead.
In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.
By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau.
By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.
By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.
By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.
By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house.
He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors.
He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth
because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff.
By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt,
indifferent to the king’s blind rage.
He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going.
By an act of faith, he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them.
By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.
By faith, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.
By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot,
welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.
I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time.
There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . .
Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves.
They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead.
There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection.
Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.
God had a better plan for us:
that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.
Exalted to the right hand of God,
He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit
and has poured out what you now see and hear.
“…and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30)
Know now that there are better things waiting for you that will last forever.
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.
Then you will receive all that He has promised.
“For in just a little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay.
And My righteous ones will live by faith.
But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”
But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction.
We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.
Fight for the Faith
Live your lives as the Good News of Christ says you should. If I come to you or not, I want to hear that you are standing true as one. I want to hear that you are working together as one, preaching the Good News.
Do not be afraid of those who hate you.
Their hate for you proves they will be destroyed.
“I have created the blacksmith
who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction.
And I have created the armies that destroy.
But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
their vindication will come from Me.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Faith and Wisdom
My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy.
You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering.
If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good.
You will be mature and complete.
You will be all that God wants you to be.
Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom.
Men forget that all things are ordained in heaven; they see but the human force, and the carnal passion, but the unseen Lord is more real far than these. He is at work behind and within the cloud. The foolish dream that He is not, but He is near even now, (The Treasury of David)
But Elisha replied as before, “I swear to God that I won’t leave you.”
So they went on together and stood beside the Jordan River as fifty of the young prophets watched from a distance.
Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it; and the river divided and they went across on dry ground!
When they arrived on the other side Elijah said to Elisha, “What wish shall I grant you before I am taken away?”
And Elisha replied, “Please grant me twice as much prophetic power as you have had.”
“You have asked a hard thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.”
As they were walking along, talking, suddenly a chariot of fire, drawn by horses of fire, appeared and drove between them, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.
Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariot of Israel and the charioteers!”
As they disappeared from sight he tore his robe. Then he picked up Elijah’s cloak and returned to the bank of the Jordan River, and struck the water with it.
“Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” he cried out. And the water parted and Elisha went across!
(2 Kings 2:6-14)
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.
But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!
We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:12-13)
God alone is the only right Judge.
It is in the secret place; and from the secret of God’s counsel that promotion comes. From God alone all must receive their reward.
For those that come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder
of those that diligently seek Him.
Likewise, when you pray, do not be as hypocrites who love to pray loudly at synagogue or on street corners—
Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters.
As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.
Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone—without God—trouble is around the corner.
The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God.
Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything.
The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.
Nothing can separate us from His love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior
The King’s Place of Power in Heaven
After this, I looked and saw a door standing open in heaven.
The first voice I heard was like the loud sound of a horn.
It said, “Come up here. I will show you what must happen after these things.” (Revelation 4:1)
IN VIEW OF ALL THIS, WHAT CAN WE SAY?
IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
Those who now scoff His feast of love; these shall be dragged to His table of justice, and made to drink their due deserts.
My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the LORD
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
(As the Scriptures say, “For Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.“)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now may the God of peace—
Who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
and ratified an eternal covenant with His blood—
may He equip you with all you need
for doing His will.
May He produce in you,
through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to Him.
All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.
It proves you have life from God that lasts forever.
You are not only to put your trust in Him, but you are to suffer for Him also.
You know what the fight is like.
Now it is time for you to have a part in it as I have. (Philippians 1:27-30)