Hebrews 3- Unbelief and Hardening our Hearts Against God

 That is why the Holy Spirit says,

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled,
    when they tested me in the wilderness.
There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
10 So I was angry with them, and I said,
‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11 So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”[e]

12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.[f] Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”

This one hits close to home, hardening our hearts against God.  It does seem at times that the older we get, and the tougher we have to be with the world, that we harden out hearts towards the Lord as well.

It is hard to keep a soft pliable heart, but it is so important to God.

Praying that the Lord will help keep my heart soft towards Him…..

Bringing my heart in prayer and silence and solitude before Him now….

Halloween, the one day our culture celebrates Death, and the Christian

I don’t know why this Halloween I have been finding all these great articles and really giving this subject a lot of thought.  Halloween is obviously a sensitive topic to many, and I have had my struggles of going back and forth over the years as to whether to engage in it or not.  I really didn’t when I was single, but I have to admit, once I had kids, those little eyes that would plea for candy and to be able to dress up drove me and my hubby to our church fall festival.

I came across some really good articles on Desiring God about Halloween.  They are prolific writers over there and they are Biblical and I highly recommend them.  They will give much better thought out written ideas than me, because I have less time and experience.

Here are a couple….

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/take-halloween-captive

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/god-frankensteins-and-more

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sent-into-the-harvest-halloween-on-mission

But my main thoughts this morning (that i have so little time to share because my littles will all be clamoring soon )is some passages in my devotions this morning that seemed so relevant to me.

Halloween is the one day that our culture will actually look at death.  This may be an oversimplification and I am sure we can find ways to argue that statement, but can we just say in a general sense, and usually we don’t deal with death as a culture unless someone dies. So Halloween is  a day that death is actually acknowledged in our culture.

There are obviously pagan and Satanic celebrations during Halloween, but there are also other people who celebrate it as “all saints day”.

My thoughts are that maybe we as Christians could remember the history of those faithful witnesses and saints and martyrs who have gone ahead of us.  I also think (and this is more important) that we could share the great hope that we have as Christians in the face of death.  This is our greatest story, that Jesus came and conquered death, and as a result, we who believe and follow Him, have the great hope of heaven.

I love the Christian concept of redemption, how what was meant for evil, God can use for good.  I see this as being so on Halloween.

Here were some of Scriptures that really blessed me this morning and that seemed so very relevant.  Let them sink into and nourish your soul.

Hebrews 2:14b-15 “For only as a human being could he (Jesus) die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” 

Psalm 103: 13-17a

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are, he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass, like wildflowers, we bloom and die.  The winds blows, and we are gone- as though we had never been here.  But the love of the Lord remains forever, with those who fear him.”   (Our eternal hope)

A couple thoughts… if your kids are begging for a video today at some point and you have Amazon Prime, why don’t you let them watch some Torchlighter videos, which highlight true Christian stories of those who have gone before us.

Or, if you have any other books or videos on Christian characters.  There are so many different options.  I haven’t done a you tube search, but you would think that there would be a few.

Of course Bible stories and Bible videos are always good, and just a good story or video or reminder of Jesus’ death and RESURRECTION and conquering power over death.

We have such a great hope on Halloween.  The enemy is already defeated.  We just have to shine the light into the darkness.

Have a blessed day my friends. ❤

Series: Biblical Love, I Cor. 13, Love is Patient

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Why study Biblical love?

Here is the answer, from the Bible.

The greatest commandment is this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  And the second is like it.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

On these two hinge all the laws and the prophets.

 

“Now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”  I Cor. 13

So obviously, I do not write these posts because I have it all together.  And I do not write this post because I am a perfectly patient person.  To say so would be an outright lie.  Rather, I post this as a fellow learner, a fellow traveler, one who needs this Word in my life desperately, for I know the reality of my humanity and the need for Christ and His Word in my life.  

And so, onwards.  Let’s look at


“Love is Patient.”


Definition of Patience:

Noun

The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I think I am ready to stop right there.  How about you?  Seriously.  Accept trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset??????

 

I’m toast.  How many times a day do I become impatient.

So before we go on, let’s think about something REALLY important.

Learning about this definition of love is important.  This is GOD’s standard.  And I really care about God’s standard, because He is the One I want to live for.

But pretty much, I know I am going to fail, so rather than let that discourage me, it needs to make me run to God’s grace and mercy.  And He is wonderfully gracious and merciful.  And it is His kindness that will lead us to repentance.  When we fail we can run to Him, hide our faces in his shirt so to speak, be assured of His wonderful love for us, and than we can continue on.

So, I have run into God’s grace and mercy realizing I will never be able to do this perfectly.  And I am ready to keep going.  How about you?  Please run to Him first before you continue, realizing how much he loves you and accepts you.  He is not shocked.  He knows everything.  But he is glad you want to be more loving, that pleases  Him.

So Lord Jesus, because our finite efforts no matter how small and imperfect please you, we continue on.

St. Augustine said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.”

In order to be patient with others, look for others’ needs.  Let them ahead of you, and let their needs come first.  Phil. 2 says “Look out not only for your own interests but all the interest of others.”  Patience is not thinking so much about our own needs and rights.  It is being kind to others, being in self control for everyone’s benefit.

Patience can stem from empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  Empathy is something that I definitely want to learn.

Some other tips about being patient

  • Keep your Emotional Perspective
    • Anticipate the other person’s emotional state.
    • Tune in to the other person’s behavior.
    • Use instructive statements.
    • Use relaxation techniques.
  • Be a Supportive Listener
    • Acknowledge Your Acceptance of What the Speaker is Saying
    • Do not judge or criticize
    • This does not signify agreement
  • Take a day where you make patience your goal for the entire day
    • Make a concerted effort to take your time
    • Think about everything you do, be mindful and live in the moment.
    • Learn to do it on a daily basis.
  • Help the Speaker to Clarify Thoughts, Feelings, and Ideas
    • Repeat what the other person says.
    • Paraphrase what you think the person really means.
    • Share your perceptions of the situation.
    • Ask purposeful questions.
  • Practice delaying gratification
    • If we’re patient, pause and go over what we want to say we can avoid hurting or offending others.

So, I know that this is probably more information than I can fully absorb so I am going to try take baby steps.

My “small” goals

-Learn to be a good listener with my kids and my husband and my friends in my small groups.  This means getting off the electric device and really listening with my kids and hubby.  This means not thinking through what I am going to say next but really entering into what they are saying.

– Speak gently and not harshly

-Bear with the weaknesses and failings of others with more grace.

Well, I already feel a little overwhelmed writing these goals out and I am embarrassed writing them out in front of you because I know that while these are truly the desire of my heart I will fail.  But friend, let’s keep each other accountable anyway, not shocked and disgusted when we fail, but giving each other grace and mercy and the time and freedom to learn and continue on by God’s grace.  And let’s ask the Lord to change our heart and keep our heart sensitive to obey His Holy Spirit.

Time to remind myself why I am studying this again.

The greatest commandment is this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  And the second is like it.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

On these two hinge all the laws and the prophets.

“Now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”  I Cor. 13