The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 15-21, 2017, is Hebrews 11:1-13. This week’s passage deals with faith. You will notice the frequent use of the word. In the book of Hebrews, the word “faith” is used more times than in any other New Testament book, except Romans.
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.
By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.
Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.
But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness (that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).
[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.
[Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.
For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.
So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.
These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. (Hebrews 11:1-13, AMP)
How many times is the word “faith” used in this passage? Go on! Count! Christians today are often ridiculed for their faith in an unseen God, but this is nothing new. Individuals have been ridiculed for their faith for thousands of years! It is not likely to change until Jesus returns to this earth. Do you ever pause to consider the faith required of the individuals mentioned in this passage. We know their stories, their outcomes, so their faith may not seem great, but place yourself in their position. Like you now, they did not know how their story would end, how they would be remembered. They made mistakes, mistakes which they probably wished the entire world would not know. But we do know. We can take comfort in their faith and in their mistakes. They too struggled with their faith, but we remember them because they pushed on and kept their faith. As you mediate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your own faith. How do you show it to the world around you? How can your faith motivate those around you?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 8-14, 2017, is Micah 6:6-8. Micah, like many prophets, foretold of Israel’s destruction because she had abandoned the way of the Lord, choosing instead to worship false gods and follow the demands of godless leaders. In this week’s reading, Micah answers a question that many were asking, that many are still asking: What does God want?
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8, AMP)
What does God want? Is it a question you have ever asked? Everyone struggles with this question at some point in their life. What does God want from me? Micah’s answer then is still a valid answer today. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider if you are asking the wrong question. You know what God wants. How are you going to give it to Him?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 1-7, 2017, is Hebrews 5:11-14. The author of this letter is unknown, as are the intended recipients. Those who were receiving this letter were Christians who had formally been Jews. They were struggling in their faith and considering returning to their Jewish roots. This letter is one of encouragement and instruction to these Christians.
Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even slothful in achieving spiritual insight]. For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law. (Hebrews 5:11-14, AMP)
Have you ever felt like you have hit a plateau in your spiritual growth? The Christians addressed in this letter had not only stopped growing in Christ, but were starting to fall away. They were allowing their daily struggles to overwhelm them, forgetting all that the Lord had done. A relationship with the Lord and living a life pleasing to Him was never promised to be an easy life. But it is a life that requires dedication and commitment in order to grow. Meditate on, pray over and reflect upon these verses. Do you show daily dedication and commitment to the Lord?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 24-30, 2017, is Proverbs 27:1-3. Most of the book of Proverbs is attributed to King Solomon who was extensively known for his wisdom, which was a gift from the Lord. Important to remember, however, is that Solomon lacked a solid relationship with Christ, often failing to follow the instructions given by the Lord, which led to Israel’s downfall.
Do not boast of [yourself and] tomorrow, for you know not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. Stone is heavy and sand weighty, but a fool’s [unreasoning] wrath is heavier and more intolerable than both of them. (Proverbs 27:1-3, AMP)
Are you a bragger? Do you let others boast about your accomplishments or do you personally boast? We are to acknowledge the work we have done, the accomplishments we have made and then move on to our next project. It can be difficult to discern between acknowledging our work and bragging about our work. Carefully examine your actions and words this week and seek change if necessary. Are you a bragger?
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 17-23, 2017, is John 21:20-22. Jesus has risen and once again revealed Himself to His disciples. During this time, Jesus and Peter have a discussion regarding Peter’s death. But Peter is not satisfied simply knowing his fate.
But Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, following—the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper and had said, Lord, who is it that is going to betray You? When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me! (John 21:20-22, AMP)
For many, Peter is a very relatable disciple. He does not always think before he speaks or acts, he speaks when he sometimes shouldn’t, he makes mistakes and learns from them, and he is extremely curious. In his heart, he truly loves the Lord, even when he makes mistakes, he still loves the Lord. In this week’s passage, Peter’s curiosity shows once again. Jesus reminds Peter, reminds us all, that we serve Him in the way that we have been called to serve Him. We do not need to be overly concerned about the lives and works of others, but show our support for them. This week, as you mediate on, pray over, and reflect upon the above passage, focus on your service to the Lord. What are you doing to serve him everyday? What is your role in serving Christ?