Daily Devotion for June 3, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer to Walk with Christ Today
Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your Word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.
Please help me today to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Oh blessed Holy Spirit, nudge me, remind me throughout my day, again and again, for I know I will find freedom in obedience to your Word. I pray, show me what I need to focus on, right now and wherever the day might take me.
Change my vision. Embolden me to practice what you reveal to me, for I am confident of the blessings that come from life in harmony with your Word. My life is yours: I give it to you, of my own free will, and pray you to take it up and show me your path. In the name of Jesus, I pray this with all my heart,
[How can I make Scripture more a part of my life?]
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father in heaven, creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon me and receive my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you for all the grace and blessings, both spiritual and temporal, you have bestowed upon me, my loved ones, and this community of prayer: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our Lord and friends.
Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued grace and blessings during the coming day. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your only son, who has saved me from death.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hebrews 4:12-13, 7:23-25, 11:1 (ESV)
For the word of God is alive and 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. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
* * *
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
* * *
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Notes on the Scripture
Overview of the New Testament: The Epistles
14. Epistle to the Hebrews
Hebrews is long and difficult to read; in fact, it is practically incomprehensible to the average Christian without a good teacher or guide to explain what's going on. It is also a bit of a mystery; it was once credited to the pen of Paul, but scholars today almost unanimously agree that Paul could not have written it. Nobody knows who did.
The theme of Hebrews is Christ as our High Priest. The Hebrews were raised and thoroughly grounded in the idea that a high priest was needed to intermediate between sinful man and God. Once a year, on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the high priest of Israel would enter the room that held the Ark of the Covenant, called the “Holy of Holies”, and sprinkle the blood of an unblemished goat on the altar there, as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the entire Hebrew people. No other person ever entered this room, and the high priest only did so once a year. It was where God lived.
As an example of the difficulties in reading Hebrews without a guide, it discusses (at some length) the concept of Christ as a high priest “after the order of Melchizedek”. The problem was that Mosaic Law prescribed that all priests must be from the Tribe of Levi: the Priesthood of the Levites. Jesus, however, was from the tribe of Judah. He was not qualified to be a priest, much less the High Priest of Israel.
So where does “Melchizedek” come in? Very long ago, centuries before Moses lived or the Tribe of Levi existed, Abram (before he was renamed Abraham) gave a tithe to a mysterious king-priest of Salem named Melchizedek. (Salem is believed to have been an ancient town that became Jerusalem.) (Genesis 14:18-20) Then, Melchizedek blessed Abram.
The upshot of this encounter was that Abram acknowledged Melchizedek as the anointed priest of God. He was thus a priest of the Most High, but was not a Levite, since the tribes of Israel lay in the future; in fact, the patriarchs who founded the twelve tribes were Abraham's great-grandsons. Therefore, Hebrews tells us, there was a non-Levitical priesthood, ordained by God, that predated Levi and Moses; and Christ, while not qualified to belong to the order of Levitical priests, is qualified to be a priest by a different source, i.e., the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews is one of the really important epistles, because it is the only full explanation of Christ in his role of priest, our intermediary to God. It needs to be read, but “reading” it is a project; it must be studied to really get the benefit and understanding it can bring.