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Hebrews 4 Ministries

"For the word of God is alive and active."
Hebrews 4:12
Daily Devotions for the week
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather they they turn from their ways and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11) This is the heart of our God. This is the message He has given us to share with the world. It is not a message of hate. It is not a message of a calloused deity who looks for opportunities to smite His enemies and punish the ones who disobey. God’s own words declare His love for even the vilest of sinners. His desire (the desire our own heart should echo) is that everyone feel, understand, and accept His loving forgiveness. This is the heart that beats in our souls. Do we honor it? Do we copy it? Do we live it out as we interact with others? There is a phrase Christians have adopted wherein we label people who do not know the Lord as “lost”. I love this terminology because it reminds me that what is lost may yet be found. Who are the lost? Are they simply the ones who do not know God? Yes. Are they the kindhearted neighbor deceived by the lies of atheism or perhaps a religion of untruth? Yes. Are they also the evil, the damaged, the vile of creation? Yes. God’s love extends to every sinner. Does ours? In a world that grows more evil with each passage of the sun, let us not forget God’s motivation is love. He desires that every ‘wicked’ heart turn and live. Instead of putting up walls of hate, bigotry, or even self-righteous indignation, let us adopt our Heavenly Father’s desires. Let us love even the most lost of travelers. Let our desire be not their destruction but rather longing for the moment even they are found. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
The Testing of Your Faith Produces Endurance
No one likes going through difficult times in his life, but we all have to at one time or another. No matter how much we pray and ask God, He will not shelter us from every undesirable event. He allows us to be tested at times. But good things can come out of our bad experiences. The Bible says, “The testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:3, NASB). Disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, and church attendance are vital to your spiritual growth. The Christian who neglects these will experience little in the area of spiritual maturity. But then there is a
limit to how much you can grow through these alone. The testing of your faith is also essential to
spiritual growth. Trials in our life tend to stretch us and take us beyond our comfort zone. They help us to develop boldness and strong faith in God. Are you currently going through a test in your life? God’s objective for allowing you to be tested is never to break you but to help make you. He is not trying to see what we are made of; He already knows that. He will not allow you to be tried above what you can bear (see 1 Cor. 10:13). Rest assured that He knows how to make even the bad times in your life work together for your good. (Written by Frank King.)
“And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities in persecutions, in distress for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
The first time I read Isaiah 57:15 which says, "For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones", I asked myself, "Do I have to commit sins always that I might have something to repent?" - a foolish question of an ignorant. Then, I came to realize that my goodness was not good enough. Your light uncovers the truth in me that I have a sinful nature from Adam and Eve - destroyer, adulterer, liar, thief, etc. Impossible to control without the help of God: My tongue has made me a destroyer of character, a liar, a gossiper, etc. Rage/Anger has led me to lash out a number of times a day. My imagination has made me an adulterer and a fornicator. Insincerity has taught me to steal time, effort, etc. in working. How wretched I am! Who will save me from these? I do praise and thank God for dying on the cross to save from the curse of sin. The blood of Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit cleanses me and gives me the power to overcome the sinful nature in me. I now understand that in my weakness, whether it be physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual, I need to ask for God's strength. That is the time I become victorious because the strength I use is unlimited and infinite. (Written by Worm lepidopteran.)
A just and wise king sent everyone invitations to a magnificent feast. The only stipulation was that they must arrive before the setting of the sun. Once the sun was set, the doors would be locked and no one else would be admitted. One foolish man was so busy with his daily chores that he set the invitation down and forgot about it. About mid-morning, the mighty king looked from his window. He saw the large crowd of people arriving for the feast and smiled, but he could see a few were still missing. Looking out beyond the eager guests, he saw the busy man walking from his forgotten ticket. Being a merciful king, he thought to help the busy man and sent his son to escort him to the castle to rest. The man, far too busy to listen to the prince, ran the king’s son away. Still, the king watched from his window. He watched the stragglers making their way to the castle doors, but the busy, angry man continued chasing his own desires. The king watched him become so occupied with unimportant fancies that he wandered off the path to the castle. Feeling mercy and compassion towards him, the king declared, “I will write him a letter and explain how to get back on track. I will tell him where he can find the prince who waits to bring him to the feast.” But the man wanted nothing to do with the letter. He tucked it away in his breast pocket – unopened and forgotten. As the sun began to set, the king walked to his window to see the progress of the man below. In the fading light, he watched him gather a meager meal of half rotten apples and dried bread. Once again, filled with compassion and knowing the busy, angry, stubborn man only had a little while until the sun set, the king quickly sent a servant to remind him of the feast. The man pretended to listen as the servant begged him to open his letter, but he ignored every word. Finally, as darkness draped the kingdom in night, the man stumbled to the door of the castle. Finding it locked, he yelled and demanded to speak with the king. The king walked to his balcony and looked with sadness on the late arrival. With anger, the late man accused the king of being selfish and cruel for allowing him to struggle and suffer. He demanded that the door be unlocked. The king simply shook his head and asked, “Did you not listen to my son when he told you of the feast I had prepared for you?” To this the man shook his head. “He didn’t appear very prince-like. If you had wanted me to listen to him, he should have been wearing his crown.” To this, the king responded, “Didn’t you read my letter which reminded you of my feast and told you were to find my son?” To this, the man replied, “It looked old and irrelevant, so I never opened it. If you wanted me to read it, you should have made it exciting and covered with glitter.” Shaking his head, the king asks, “And when my servant came to warn you of the lateness of the hour and told you to read the instructions, what did you do?” Impatiently, the man replies, “I had no time for his silly ramblings. I had work to do.” With sadness, the king responded, “Too bad. If you had listened to my son, he would have lead you home. If you had read my letter, it would have reminded you and pointed the way to my son who waited to bring you here. If you had headed my servant’s warning, you would not have wasted your day chasing after things that did not matter.” The man pondered the king’s words and said, “Surely, I don’t really need my ticket. You know that you sent it to me.” With sadness, the king responds, “You are too late. The doors are locked.” The man tugs on the un-opening doors and declares, “But I am here now. Open the door and I will come in and join the feast with you.” The king shakes his head, “Alas, you foolish, busy, angry, stubborn, and condemned little man, the hour is too late. The invitation has expired.” Matthew 22:13-14 says, “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Written by Keegan Harkins.)  
Do I hunger for the bread of heaven or the things of this world?  What I consume the most determines the answer to that question.  If my focus is on gaining more money, status and pleasure from this world, then my diet will reflect that. Most of my time and energy will be spent on feeding my flesh while my spirit man starves.  The things of this world bring temporary satisfaction and it will fade and leave me hungrier than before. However, when I am hungry for more of God, spending time in His presence becomes my main priority.  I don’t make excuses as to why I can’t, I make it happen.  Real hunger births desperation and desperate people are driven to action.  I love that my Jesus responds in a very loud way to people who are desperate for Him; ask Blind Bartimaeus and the Woman with the issue of blood. Truth is, I become satisfied and never hunger again when I continually feast on Jesus, the bread of life.
The ongoing question we must all ask ourselves is, “Am I willing to deny myself the “bread” of this world so that I may feast on the bread of life?”  What’s your answer?
John 6:35: “Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (Written by Anika Jones.)
Each of us have a job to do in God’s kingdom. We are watchmen over our families, our friends, our neighbors and our coworkers. Maybe that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Maybe that challenges you more than you are ready to accept, but it is true. We have been given a liberating truth. We have also been given a responsibility to share this truth. (Matthew 28:19 records Jesus commanding, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”) Because we have been reborn, we have been given a new life with new eyes. We see the sin that threatens to drag our family and friends away from the Lord. James 1:13-15 tells us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Because we know sin drags us from life to death, should we not then be willing watchmen over our family and friends? Ezekiel 33 warns about being a watchman who gives no warning. Verse 6 tells us, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.” We are not responsible for stopping the sin around us. Each man and woman has to make their own choice. We cannot force salvation on the lost. We can, and we must, warn them of the coming destruction. Because we understand the truth of Romans 6:23 which says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”, we must warn the people we see following after sin. If we see it and we remain silent, can we claim to be innocent of their demise? Our warning may not make a difference. It may not be welcomed or even listened to, but what if it is? Remember the words of James 5:20, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (Written by Keegan Harkins.)

Hebrews 4 Ministries

"For the word of God is alive and active."
Hebrews 4:12