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Hebrews 10:23 on My Mind

NewOMM“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” –Hebrews 10:23, NLT

Though we can’t always understand God’s ways or His timing, one thing we can always know is that God will keep His promises. We can trust Him completely to do everything He has promised to do.

Therefore, whenever we’re called to pray about something long-term, no end in sight, we can encourage ourselves to hang in there and keep on praying by seeking out promises that we can cling to, by carefully studying God’s Word.

In Hebrews 10, the author is doing just that. The people are becoming discouraged as they suffer under great persecution. The author reminds them that God has promised them a great reward for their patient endurance (v. 35-36). Christ, who died for their salvation, is coming back to take faithful believers to their future home (v. 34, 39). The author of Hebrews quotes promises from Deuteronomy and Habakkuk in order to give the people solid hope to cling to.

None of those believers lived long enough on earth to see those promises fulfilled, but those who hung in there, as the author encouraged them to, will see it all happen someday, just as we will, in God’s perfect timing. Hebrews 10:23 assures us all will be well. God keeps His promises.

And His Word is full of them! To encourage us all through this life. To give us something to hold tightly as we prepare to journey into Eternity with Christ.

This doesn’t mean we can take the Bible’s promises out of context and twist their meaning in order to manipulate God into giving in to something we want Him to do for us now. He wouldn’t fall for that kind of thing anyway. Yet we can carefully study what the Bible has to say, pray over passages that give us hope and build our confidence, and trust God to do everything He plans to just perfectly.

When life tempts us to give up or give in, let’s choose to hold tightly to hope by seeking to understand all that God has promised in the Bible, His Word.

Father, lead us to the verses we need to see. Use Your written word to speak truth to us each day. Help us to understand Your teaching that we’ll come to know and fully trust You. The Bible says You keep Your promises. I’ll believe this, Lord, as I continue to wait and pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Ephesians 3:12 on My Mind

NewOMM“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” –Ephesians 3:12, NLT

It distresses me that some people, even Christians, are afraid or don’t know how to talk to God. This is what He created us for! He loves us. He wants us to love Him back. And, as in all other relationships, communication is the tool we use to get to know one another, to understand each other, to resolve conflict, to grow close.

God invites us to grow closer to Him each day.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed walking and talking in the garden with God. They enjoyed a closer relationship with Him than any of us have ever yet known.

But sin built a barrier between them and God. Sin gives people a reason to fear His Presence, a reason to cower in the dark.

That’s why we need Jesus. Because of His sacrifice on our behalf and if we’ve placed our faith in Him as our Savior, that barrier of sin is gone. We can enter God’s Presence boldly and with confidence.

Eph3-12When I was in junior high school, my mom and I were baking one day. The vanilla smelled so good, I asked my mom if I could taste it. She told me no, telling me that I wouldn’t like the taste.

Later that day, she left to run some errands. I remembered the vanilla in the pantry and decided to try it for myself. I guess I didn’t believe my mom. But I should have! It tasted so bad that I spit it back out—and got it all over my clothes.

Not wanting my mom to know what I’d done, I changed, washed the strong smell of vanilla out of my clothes, and put them in the dryer. They finished drying just in time for me to change back into them before my mom came home.

I’d gotten away with it! But I still felt badly about what I’d done. I avoided my mom for most of the afternoon until I couldn’t stand it anymore and made a tearful and fearful confession.

She laughed! I was so confused—and relieved. Our relationship was restored.

In the same way, if ever we do wrong, thanks to Jesus, we can confess this wrong to God, knowing He will always forgive. The wall of sin between us will come down, so we can boldly and confidently enter His Presence again.

Father, thank You for creating us for fellowship with You. And thank You for Your Son, Jesus, Who died on the cross and rose again, that we can enjoy this fellowship—now and through eternity. We love You, Lord. Draw us into Your Presence often. This is where we long to dwell, forever with You, growing closer each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Psalm 73:25 on My Mind

NewOMM“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” –Psalm 73:25, NIV

I don’t know about you, but I can remember some pretty greedy Christmas moments from my childhood. I remember one in particular. I must have been four, maybe five. I’d asked Santa for a baby doll that year. But not just any baby doll. I wanted a very particular baby doll. And when that very particular baby doll did not show up under my family’s Christmas tree on Christmas morning, I was pretty angry with Santa for letting me down. In fact, while holding the new baby doll I’d received that wasn’t the particular baby doll I’d wanted, I pouted all the way to Grandma’s house and all through the first few hours of our extended-family Christmas celebration.

Imagine my surprise to learn, as we started the gift-opening portion of the day, that Santa had indeed brought that doll for me. As my grandma explained it, she’d wanted to see me receive it, and so, had asked Santa to bring it to her house instead of mine.

In hindsight, I think I should have caught on to the Santa scam that day. Instead, I felt sorry for being so angry with Santa for not bringing the baby doll I’d wanted when, in fact, he’d brought the one I’d wanted plus one more. I learned to be more patient in future years.

Such can be the drama of Christmas morning. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown those days. At least, I hope I have! I’m sure that you have, too. Now the joy of Christmas morning comes as we watch others open gifts we’ve carefully chosen for them: some they have requested, others meant to surprise and delight.

Why is it that brings us joy?

Because, in Christ, we have everything we need. His Presence fills every longing and promises so much more! For eternity! We celebrate this fullness by letting it flow over into others, generously, as God leads.

The tangible gifts are just a symbol of this, of course. The real celebration is the coming of Christ Who permanently meets the needs and desires of all the world. As we give and receive gifts this Christmas, let’s remember this verse—and be thankful indeed.

Jesus, thank You! You are the reason we celebrate, the reason we look forward to Heaven someday. Earth has nothing for us compared to the joy of being loved by You. Amen.

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Revelation 22:17 on My Mind

NewOMM“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” –Revelation 22:17

I think this must be one of the happiest verses in the Bible. Can’t you feel the excitement? The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” It’s a party invitation. And this party includes free water of life for all who are thirsty. Life. Joy. Everything we need.

A key part of this verse, though, can be found in the first few words. Look who’s doing the inviting: the Spirit and the bride. The Spirit, of course, is God’s Holy Spirit, the One Who draws people to Christ, the Source of the free gift of water in this verse. (See John 4:10-13.) The bride, though, is us! If we’ve received this living water and are on our way to the party (eternal life in Heaven with our Lord), we’re not to be silent about it. We’re to yell, “Come!” As we travel, we tell everyone we meet where we’re going and that they’re invited, too. Just picture yourself walking, or maybe even running, toward the great feast in God’s Kingdom that you’ve been invited to. As you go, you reach out toward everyone you see along the way, eagerly taking their hands, looking in their eyes, and urging them to come with you.

“Come!” you say.

“Come!” the Spirit says.

Those who recognize what they are thirsty for will be happy to go with you.

I’ve written this verse on an index card and placed it where I’ll see it often this week. I invite you to do the same. As we meditate on these words, perhaps even coming to memorize them, let’s remember where we’re going and ask God to help us invite thirsty people to come along. In our prayer time, our thoughts on this verse will help us remember to pray that God will cause all people to recognize their thirst and to realize the truth: Jesus is the living water Who can satisfy their needs for all eternity.

Father, thank You for these joyous words. Help us to think of them often this week. Remind us, as we face whatever comes our way, that we’re on our way to eternity with You. Show us how and when to invite other people to come along. We’re looking forward to that future, happy day. We love You, Lord. Amen.