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Hebrews 4 Ministries

"For the word of God is alive and active."
Hebrews 4:12
Daily Devotions for the week
“I am sorry.” I’ve heard those words many times in my life. I’ve even said them many more times. Honestly though, sometimes I said it because it was the right thing to do not necessarily because I meant it. Sometimes I said it because, in the moment, I meant it, but I would soon change my mind. People are quick to say, “I’m sorry.” But sometimes slow to honestly meaning it. How are we supposed to know? How are they supposed to know if our apology is true? How are we supposed to know if our repentance will stick? There isn’t a magical answer. There isn’t a special formula that we can say that will instantly make us turn from our sinful ways. There is only a commitment. All the times that I have said I was sorry and not meant it held something in common. I wasn’t committed to the repentance. I regretted being caught, or I regretted the consequence. The action; however, still felt right. My mind lies and says, “Next time, it will be different.” The truth of the matter is that our repentance needs to be evident. If we can’t see a change in our life, we haven’t truly repented. Perhaps we have lamented the agony that our sin brought. Perhaps we regretted the pain that it led to. But the action of the sin still holds control over us. To repent is to turn away from. It’s to change direction. It’s to go a new way. If our life isn’t going the way that we know it should, the way that lines up with the word of God, we need to repent. We need to change the direction of our life. Therefore, our repentance should be obvious to anyone who looks at our life. Repentance can’t be insincere. “I’m sorry,” means nothing if the action continues to be repeated. Let our commitment to honoring God with our life change the direction of our path. And let that change be evident to everyone who looks at our life. God doesn’t want our empty and hollow words of apology. He wants us to be committed to striving after His will. God will give us enough grace when we fail, but our heart should long to follow even if we occasionally stumble. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13.) (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
Mathew 5:3 says, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  This is a scripture that on the surface doesn’t seem too appealing.  Who in their right mind would want to be poor?  But that’s just it, in the kingdom of God, we must lose our mind and gain the mind of Christ. Poverty of spirit means to be fully aware of your need for God.  In other words, the poor in spirit realize that without God, they are spiritually bankrupt.  There is an utter dependence and desperation for God’s presence. The poor in spirit wears humility as a fragrance because they are fully aware that they are nothing without God.  This is the total opposite of what the world tells us we should do and be.  In this world, we are told that we can figure it out on our own, we are strong and smart enough.  We are applauded for our independence and our ability to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.  However, the poor in spirit shun this worldly mindset and without shame they cry out for the more of God.
This poverty that Jesus is referring to is one that leads you to a richness that money could never buy. Those who are poor in spirit has the kingdom of heaven as an inheritance, and that my friend is true prosperity.  The kingdom of heaven refers to the reign and rule of God, both now and in the time to come. How powerful is that?! Jesus says that when I am poor in spirit and acknowledge my need for Him, I have access to this reign and rule…it’s my inheritance!  This then gives me power over the enemy and guarantees me the victory EVERY SINGLE TIME, regardless of my circumstance.
My question for you is, are you poor enough? (Written by Anika Jones.)
If we look back throughout history, we can see the purposefulness of struggle and even persecution. We can see it lead to a development of character and a deepening of faith. But, does it last? Charles Spurgeon once preached, “I have heard of a city missionary who kept a record of two thousand persons who were supposed to be on their death-bed, but recovered, and whom he should have put down as converted persons had they died; and how many do you think lived a Christian life afterwards out of the two thousand? Not two.” In our agony, we cry out to the Comforter of our Souls. We turn our hearts and our minds back to our God and seek relief. But, what happens when the storm fades and our nightmares disappear? When God sent His plagues upon the land of Egypt, Pharaoh felt the agony of God’s reprimand. When frogs leapt into every room and cupboard in the land, he cried out to Moses to pray to God for relief. Then the frogs faded from his worries. As soon as the inconvenience disappeared, we read, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 8:15) There is a purpose to pain and strife. There is a purpose to the obstacles we face. They remind us that this world is not our home. They force us to look up to Heaven and cling to our Savior. But oh, what if we never looked away? What if we stayed in the shadow of His mighty hand in the good times as well as the bad? Matthew Henry explained it like this, “Till the heart is renewed by the grace of God, the thoughts made by affliction do not abide; the convictions wear off, and the promises that were given are forgotten. Till the state of the air is changed, what thaws in the sun will freeze again in the shade.” Let us remain in the glow of the God’s holy light so that our love never freezes in the delights of this world. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
It is easy to become distracted and enamored by the things that surround us. We sometimes feel a strong connection to the things we accumulate or the positions we fill. When we talk of ‘idols’, it is easy to dismiss them as merely tiny statues of false protectors and idle deities. However, most of us spend precious time worshipping idols of a very different nature. We pour our lives into the offering bowl of pride and prestige. We sacrifice willingly to the god of our comfort and luxury, goals and relationships. Philippians 3:19 describes our self-centered worship like this: “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” How easy it is for us to fall into this trap! We have substituted tiny statues made for idle and vain wishes for greed and self. These idols choke us from the inside and strangle the holy from our lives. We truly have become a generation whose “god is their stomach”. We want what we want. We strive for what we can consume and acquire. We sacrifice our joy for honor, our family for success, our energy for moments of pleasure. We lay ourselves down at the alter of our own desires and we glory in the things that should cause us to blush. We proudly display our sins and call it being self-aware and free. None of these things will bring us true happiness. None of these useless attempts at appeasing the god of our own being will earn us peace. As Philippians says, when we worship at the alter of our own desires, our destiny is destruction. Shut your eyes to the endless enticements of this world. Drown out the voices of temptation by filling your mind and heart with God’s praises. Be willing to lay your desires aside and seek God’s will. Strive for love and grace. Such things do not vanish with the changing tides of prosperity. Sacrifice your name for the name of Jesus. Pour yourself out in service of God. We don’t have to fill ourselves up. When we serve the Lord, He will provide everything we need. We don’t have to run ourselves until we are spent for just a moment of pleasure or glory. Run the race of obedience and enjoy eternity of God’s glory and endless peace. Let us leave our idols at the foot of the cross and be free. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)  
Oh, how sad to see the eyes of sinners shut to their sin.
How devastating to hear them profess their shame as if it were glory!
Will you listen and watch forever, Oh Lord?
Will you allow rebellion for all time?
 
Rise up, you sinners.
Take head to the voice calling you.
Fear you not the cost of your indulgences?
Think you not of the future when the bill comes due?
 
God, I know you will fight for the lost.
I know you will strive to draw them back into your arms.
Send me to deliver your message.
Put your word in my mouth and your love in my heart.  
 
Do not hate the hand that frees you.
Do not scoff at the sacrifice for your soul.
Turn your eyes off yourself.
Step into the light and be eternally free.
(Written by Keegan Harkins.)
People say that “you are what you eat”. This saying has brought many hysterical images to my mind – strange crossbreeds of men and doughnuts or toddlers shaped like chicken nuggets. The message is true; however. What we put into our bodies greatly affects our health and how we look and feel. This truth doesn’t just stop at our waistline though. We get out of life what we put into it, in other words, “A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7) What we ‘hunger’ for says a lot about what we are sowing and who we are. Proverbs 15:14 NLT says, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” What we put into our bodies makes us either wise or foolish. I’m not talking about cake or oatmeal here, and neither is the psalm. What are we hungry for? Do we want to devour more and more of God’s word? Are we filling ourselves up with scripture, prayer and more of God, or are we snacking on trash? There is surely plenty of trash to choose from: social media; gossip; impure thoughts; godless movies, books and video games… the list grows every day. Before filling your plate with things that distract or tempt, think about the outcome. If we are what we ‘eat’, shouldn’t we consume righteous and holy things? If we aren’t, what does that say about who and what we truly are? (Written by Keegan Harkins.)

Hebrews 4 Ministries

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