What this blog is about and what I hope it does...

I hope this will be a simple fun tool for us to grow in our understanding and surrender to God through the Bible as we connect over the web. Reading the Bible is both simple and difficult. What could be easier than opening a book and reading? Yet we've all done that and wondered what sections of the Bible mean? What's with the book of Leviticus? What is Revelation really about? Is the Song of Songs about marital love or is it supposed to be more 'spiritual' than that?

So, my intent is for this blog to be a tool that helps us in our faith. A forum for better understanding. An honest place of sharing that nurtures us as we follow Jesus together.

(There are a few resources I have included under "PAGES" that may be a helpful start, especially to those newer to reading the Bible. It's located just below this and to the right. Also included is a READING OUTLINE. If you miss a day, go on to the next rather than trying to catch up.)

ONE LAST NOTE: you don't have to join or set up an account to share comments. Just click 'comment' at the bottom of a post, click the drop down and click 'anonymous.' Then write your post and if you want sign it with your first name and finish by clicking 'Post comment.' I would love to hear your thoughts.


Hebrews 10:19-39

For NIV reading click here
I'm sorry it's been so long...maybe you haven't missed our posting/commenting, but I have. I'll push through the rest of Hebrews. There's such good stuff there.

These last 21 verses of chapter 10 can be organized in three sections: verses 19-25, verses 26-31 and verses 32-39.

The first section begins with the reminder of two phenomenal realities that have been given to the Christian in Christ (notice the the 'have' in verses 19 and 21): 'we have' (1) confidence to enter the 'Most Holy Place,' and (2) a great priest (Jesus). The 'confidence' referred to is not so much what we think of as self-confidence, as if it is a feeling inside us; rather it is a boldness, openness, free invitation to come to the very throne of God for relationship, help, service and worship and it is open to us not because of us, but because of what Christ has done for us.

In the second section, the author leads us to 3 big Christian qualities that are at once both gifts given to us, and responses we must take seriously: faith (v. 22), hope (v. 23), and love (v. 24), which might remind us of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Verse 25 is a reminder to every church that gathering together for worship, though it is for some easy to 'give up,' is a necessary, God-given meands of encouraging one another.

Verses 26-31 are meant to serve as a caution to also watch how we live. To casually continue in sin (v. 26) is practically speaking, a 'trampling' (v. 29) over the Son of God and an insult to God's Spirit of grace.

Third and last, verses 32-39 are meant to motivate the listeners to remember that they can stay faithful to God, to a moral life, and to each other as a local church regardless of the circumstances. It is a simple stark push that every Christian 'needs to persevere.' We can't always make excuses or shift blame. Yes, God is amazingly patient (thank you, Lord), but God is also a just Judge (vv. 30-31) and though His grace comes to us, it is not to be treated as no big deal.

So...may we also be 'not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.'


Hebrews 10:1-18

For NIV reading click here

This is the last unit before the main turn to really embed into the hearers the importance of bold faith and unity.

10:1-18 wraps up the teaching that the ministry of the old covenant, as good and important as it was, pointed to a new covenant in Christ that is eternal. The old covenant could deal with sin in a temporary way, but the new covenant deals with sin in a permanent way by making us holy (v. 10).

This is one of the main distinctives of United Methodist (Wesleyan) theology: an essential aspect of the Christian faith is that God's will is that we be holy people and that means toward that is Christ's sacrifice for us and continued work in us.

You and I are not meant just to be forgiven...we are meant to be freed from the power of sin. We are not meant to be only be justified...we are meant to be sanctified. We are not meant just for our past sin to be wiped away, but for our present and future to be lived apart from sin.

So, a new law is at work - a law of holiness and love that springs from a new covenant with God through the ministry of Jesus the sacrifice and priest.

So, I'll leave with a prayer from John Wesley:

O merciful Father,
do not consider what we have done against you;
but what our blessed Savior has done for us.
Don’t consider what we have made of ourselves,
but what He is making of us for you our God.
O that Christ may be “wisdom and righteousness,
sanctification and redemption”
to every one of our souls.
That His precious blood may cleanse us from all our sins,
and that your Holy Spirit may renew and sanctify our souls.
May He crucify our flesh with its passion and lusts,
and cleanse all our brothers and sisters in Christ across the earth.
O let not “sin reign in our mortal bodies,
that we should obey it in its lusts.”
But, “being made free from sin,
let us be the servants of righteousness.”
Let us commend our hearts to you,
and let all our ways be pleasing in your sight.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who live and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


Hebrews 9:11-28

For the NIV reading, click here

These verses are about the New Covenant - something we celebrate everytime we celebrate Communion ('the blood of the new covenant poured out for you and the many for the forgiveness of sins'). In this unit, the author explains what was required for a new covenant (=new promised relationship) and that Christ has provided what was necessary.

In the old covenant, a sanctuary was entered by a high priest who offered sacrifices for himself and the people which accomplished forgiveness and made the people 'outwardly clean' (v. 13). But Christ, ('how much more...') has provided himself as a once-for-all sacrifice that not only forgives, but cleanses the inner person ('conscience' v. 14) and provides 'eternal redemption!' We have been ransomed, our debt has been covered for us! And this is the new covenant that brings a new and eternal inheritance (v. 15).

Now, we wait for Jesus to return, who currently as entered heaven and is in God's presence (v. 24). We wait as those who know He is returning with salvation (v. 28)!


Hebrews 9:1-10

1 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order. (NIV, 1984)

These short 10 verses point out two of the main limitations of worship in the old covenant: (1) the limited access to God - the tabernacle was set up to show God wants personal relationship, yet human activity, even ordained human activity is incapable of overcoming the limitation; and (2) the limited impact of the sacrifices - the sacrificial system was accepted as adequate by God, but did not provide for deep cleansing in the heart.

These point to the new covenant in Christ that overcomes these limits which will be explained in 9:11-28.


Hebrews 8:1-13

For NIV reading click here

Author highlights here more benefits that are ours because of who Jesus is and what He has done:
He writes, 'the point of what we are saying is this:'
(1) we do have such a high priest!
What we have read in chapter 7, about Jesus being a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (that He is a priest forever, that His offer a new covenant is based on God's oath/promise and thus is a better covenant, and that the result is that Jesus is able to save completely), all of this is for us!!! 'We' have such a high priest! That 'we' is for you!
(2) Jesus' high priestly work for us is triumphant symbolized by Him being seated at the right hand of the throne of Majesty
(3) the context of Jesus' work is in the heavenly sanctuary which has cosmic significance
(4) the new covenant was foreshadowed in Jeremiah 31:31-34 (longest quote from the OT in all the NT) which is necessary because of human failure with the old coveanant (see 8:8)

So, I hope we are encouraged because of the work that Jesus has done on our behalf. I hope we are reminded that salvation is about what God has done for all of us. I hope we see how privileged we are. I hope this drives us toward deep celebration on EASTER Sunday for all Jesus has done for us.


Hebrews 7:11-28

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Though I don't mind lingering over a passage, long or short, we should move on, so let's finish Hebrews 7

The author makes several arguments for the superiority of Jesus' high priesthood over what had been in place as the Levitical priesthood. Maybe the main issue is that the old priesthood and the law that went with it served an important funciton, but it didn't/couldn't actually make anyone whole, perfect, mature or fully draw anyone near to God. Thus the change in priesthood, the change in law, and the nature of it all as Jesus assumes the role of High Priest. Not only that, but Jesus can guarentee that His ministry is eternal, truly saves, and truly draws people to God based on His perfect sacrifice.

I know Hebrews 7 comes across as strange to us. It is for me one of the more difficult chapters in Hebrews to get my mind around. Nevertheless, it is a really powerful and unique chapter in the New Testament and has encouraging implications for our own growth in faith.