Sign Seekers

 leaven bread

Do you need proof before you will obey God? If so, then you have a problem with trust. This is called walking by the flesh (using your five senses and human reasoning) instead of walking by the spirit. In Matthew 16, Jesus teaches about the fourth and last enemy of believing – human reasoning.

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

The religious leaders came to tempt him looking for a sign. The devil is called the Tempter, so all tempting in the Bible is for evil motives.

2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

Sailors discern the weather by observing the sky. Yet, the Pharisees and Sadducees are not aware of what is written in the Bible.

4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them and departed.

Jesus did not have a high opinion of sign-seekers. The only sign that they needed was concerning Jonas. Matthew 12:40

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

According to Romans 10:9-10, salvation requires us to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. He was raised after three days and three nights in the earth.

5 And when his disciples came to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

Jesus is using leaven figuratively and the disciples are taking it literally. Understanding Figures of Speech is vital to rightly divide the Bible. It determines error and truth.

8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

Jesus told them that they had little believing. I would not want Jesus to say that I had little believing. The problem was that they did not engage their brains and remember what they had seen and heard.

 

9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets ye took up?

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many baskets ye took up?

On two memorable occasions, they had seen miracles regarding insufficient bread.

11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Now they understood the figure, that just like a little leaven (yeast) will permeate a whole loaf of bread then religious doctrines will permeate and influence the whole Word of God. These religious doctrines are man’s thoughts, ways, and traditions.

Acts 17:11 is our instruction for discerning religious doctrine.

The Jews at Berea were of a nobler disposition than those in Thessalonica, for they very readily received the Message, and day after day searched the Scriptures to see whether it was as Paul stated.
 

Mega Faith – Part 2

 

leap of faith

Jesus asserts the significance of believing on multiple occasions in the Gospels. The words faith, believe, and believing are mentioned over 100 times. These words are always from the same Greek word, pistis. The noun is translated faith and the verb is translated believe or believing. This arbitrary translation has caused massive confusion in the church. Faith is a religious, ethereal word with subjective definitions. I prefer believe as the translation because it’s universally understood.

Jesus only mentions great believing twice and little believing four times. I call great believing and little believing – the bookends of believing. In Matthew 15 Jesus mentions great believing for the second and last time. Mega believing is rare and significant.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

A gentile woman cries out for Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter. She  pleads to him as the son of David which is reserved for the jews.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Jesus this woman in need. Does that seem to be loving? His disciples want to send her away.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The reason that he ignored her was his ministry was to Israel and not to the Gentiles. Jesus was faithful to his mission.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

Gentiles were called dogs by the Israelites. They were deemed an inferior race. Jesus told the woman that he could not neglect his mission to serve her needs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

Her response is brilliant. She addresses him as Master, acknowledges her inferior position as a “dog”, and then points out that even puppies eat the scraps that fall off of the kitchen table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Jesus was impressed with her humility, persistence, and believing; which resulted in her daughter’s healing. Great believing is simple. Embrace humility, be persistent and  believe God’s promise.

 

Dark Money

Dark Money

Congress authorized a massive wrong in 2010, authorizing rivers of political money  after the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. This 5-4 decision recognized corporations as people. I don’t have a problem with this because the first amendment is clear.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You may disagree if this was the right decision. As a result, of this decision Super PAC’s were created. These non-profits can distribute 100% of their money to influence elections but cannot support a specific candidate. All expenditures and donations to Super PACs require public disclosure of their donors. This limits individual giving.

However, this allowed disturbing groups, mostly classified 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) by the IRS, to operate in the shadows. These non-profit groups can spend up to 50% of their expenditures on political spending. They are required to report all of their spendings but none of their donations. There needs to be a spotlight on the donors hiding in the shadows. Transparency is not a first amendment violation.

The US Chamber of Commerce is the leading group that leverages this loophole. They expended $5.2M in 2106, $300M during 2012 (presidential election cycle), and $170M during the 2014 midterm elections. Their influence has been successful both supporting a candidate or attacking an opponent, resulting in 75% of their candidates winning their election.

The long-term solution is for congress to pass a law or the short-term solution is for our President to issue an executive order.  Plugging this loophole by requiring donor transparency, rights a wrong that has been overlooked for too long.

Matthew 10

king of kings

Does Matthew 10 apply to the church? If so, there are some conflicts with the church letters.

Matt 10

1) And when he had called to him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Why did Jesus give the disciples the power to heal? This is a calling card. Healings will get people’s attention regardless if they believe in God. After many of the healings in the New Testament, the Word of God is shared because people are attentive and highly receptive. When you are sick then receiving healing is usually a high priority in your life.

2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

3) Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

4) Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

5) These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not.

6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Jesus instructs them to not go to the Gentiles but focus only on the house of Israel.

This is not in alignment with Colossians 3

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

There are no instructions in the church to only share the gospel with the Jews. This section of scripture is to the Jews and not to the church.

7) And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give.

9) Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

10) Nor money for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

11) And into whatever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till you go there.

12) And when you come into an house, salute it.

13) And if the house be worthy, let your peace come on it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

14) And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

15) Truly I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Christ is teaching about his second coming in this section when he says “day of judgement”. This occurs in the book of revelations.

16) Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

17) But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues;

The reference to whipping in the synagogues would only apply to the Jews.

18) And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

19) But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak.

20) For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.

The following is about Christ’s future return.

21) And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

22) And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved.

Christ says those that endure until the end shall be saved. In the church we are saved by grace and have eternal life. We are not required to endure until the end to be saved.

23) But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another: for truly I say to you, You shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

The cities in Israel pertain solely to the Jews. “Till the Son of man be come” is another reference to Christ’s return.

24) The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

25) It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

26) Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

27) What I tell you in darkness, that speak you in light: and what you hear in the ear, that preach you on the housetops.

28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31) Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.

32) Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33) But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

34) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

This is a future time when Christ returns to exercise judgement.

35) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36) And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

37) He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38) And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me.

39) He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.

40) He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me.

41) He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

This is referring to the rewards that Christ will distribute at his judgement seat.

42) And whoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

The bible is written to 3 different groups: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church (1 Corinthians 10:32). Identifying “to whom” a section is written is vital to rightly dividing the Bible.

 

 

Life Between The Ears

life between the ears

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor Frankl

Are you mad, angry, frustrated, or unpeaceful?  Do other people step on your last nerve? Do you dwell on past conversations and interactions obsessively? Then you are not alone. Do you find that worrying has ever accomplished anything productive? There is a different way to live.

God has given everybody since Adam and Eve freedom of will, which means that you get to choose. Our life is not determined by our circumstances. Our life is determined by our attitude about our circumstances. You can be miserable and poor or you can be miserable and rich. Your happiness is not decided by your circumstances. Nobody makes you mad. You get mad because you choose to get mad. You can control things that you have control over. These are the things to focus on. If you want to make more money then get more schooling, start a business, work to be a more valuable employee, change jobs, etc. However, there will be circumstances outside your control like the economy, health, demanding boss, etc.

Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor that understood freedom of will. His quotes are introspective.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr is a cornerstone of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom. When we lose control our challenge is to change ourselves. Mr. Frankl and Mr. Niebuhr  learned to live life between the ears and so can you.

To Judge or Not To Judge

pot calling the kettle black

Judge not, that you be not judged. Matthew 7

This seems to be one of the favorite verses quoted from the bible. I have heard this from unbelievers, newscasters, and politicians. This is used to stop an uncomfortable conversation that usually involves alleged or actual wrongdoing. Is this verse that straightforward without any needed context?

Matthew 7 is the end of Jesus Sermon on the Mount.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why behold you the speck that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?

Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the speck out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?

You hypocrite first cast out the beam out of your own eye and then shalt you see clearly to cast out the speck out of speck brother’s eye.

Don’t be a hypocrite. Judge yourself by the Word of God before judging others. One of the hallmarks of godly judges is displaying mercy. Mercy means merited judgement (punishment) withheld. The context of this section is correction and not punishment. We should all desire to give and receive biblical correction.

Proverbs 27

17 Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens a friend’s character.

To sharpen a friend’s character we need an agreed upon standard (the Bible) for common ground. We also need the spirit of God to correctly apply the bible with the right heart.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

The “holy” thing and the “pearls” in this verse are the Word of God and the “dogs” and the “swine” are the people that reject the word of God. Don’t waste your time arguing with a staunch unbeliever because you will lose due to the lack of common ground. This is one of the reasons that I refuse to debate the word of God. The nature of debate is that each side has taken a position before the debate begins with the goal of winning. We proclaim the Bible with authority and not to debate. The heart is the gateway to the mind. Once somebody’s heart is shut off then you can only communicate head knowledge, which is always a lost cause.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ask and then pursue? How do you know what to ask for? Is it anything that pops into your vain mind?  No, you find the promise in the Bible. Then, convinced that what you are asking for is what  you need, pursue it until you find it and the door is opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

God is a generous father when we ask according to his Word and our needs.

12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

This is a rephrasing of the law of conscious or the golden rule; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The only way to know the narrow way which leads unto life is the Bible. The broad way that leads to destruction is easy to find by following the world.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

How will we identify false prophets unless we are judging?

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

We are called to be fruit inspectors. How do we identify good fruit coming from a good tree from bad fruit coming from a bad tree? The difference is what is feeding the roots. Only by judging words and action filtered through the word of God can the fruit properly be inspected. God’s thoughts and ways produce good fruit and man’s thoughts and ways produce bad fruit.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

God contrasts religion versus relationship. Prophesying, casting out devils, and wonderful works are not proof of a godly relationship. Why? Because the devil can counterfeit them all. This section is a heart check for why you serve.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

In this parable, two houses are built exactly the same: Same materials, same plans, and the same craftsmanship. They both undergo the same hardships: the rain from above, the winds from the side, and the floods from below. All sides of both houses were tested. The only difference between the two houses was the foundations. The house that fell was built on a foundation of sand. The sand represents man’s thoughts and ways. The house that stood was built on a foundation of rock. Jesus is called both the rock and the Word. The rock represents God’s thoughts and ways.

28 And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Jesus doctrine astonished the people because he taught with authority, unlike the scribes. Jesus taught the pure word of God with authority. This is the goal of all teachings. The scribes were the ordained experts concerning the Old Testament but they followed the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law.

In this chapter we are instructed to know the Bible, believe the Bible, apply the Bible, correct ourselves first and then others according to the Bible, to measure others according to the Bible, and to ensure that the bible is the foundation for our lives.

Better (Part 3)

Christ is better

(A word study from the Book of Hebrews)

This concludes  the third and final part of this series.

Better Country

Hebrews 11

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: why God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city.

This is in reference to the third heaven and earth at the end of Revelations. The city is the new Jerusalem.

  1. Better Resurrection 

Hebrews 11

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

There are two resurrections mentioned in Acts 24

15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

The resurrection of the just is better than the resurrection of the unjust.

Also, in John 5 there is a further explanation of the resurrections.

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

The resurrection of the just is the resurrection of life and the resurrection of the unjust is the resurrection of the damned.

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

The return of Christ for his saints is the better thing for us. We will receive new bodies, know him as we are known, and forever be with the Lord.

  1. Speaks better things

Hebrews 12

18 For you are not come to the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor to blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them anymore:

20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:

21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22 But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Abel was the victim of the first murder by the hand of his brother Cain. This was the first shedding of human blood. Cain slew his brother as a sacrifice to exact the price for his misplaced envy. Abel’s death speaks of the broken inheritance that we received from Adam due to his high treason act in Genesis 3.

The blood of sprinkling – Christ’s death — whereby Jesus shed his own blood speaks better things because it reconciles men back to God that believe.

25 See that you refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him[Jesus] that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaks from heaven:

26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

This present earth (the second heaven and earth) will be replaced by the third heaven and earth.

27 And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

29 For our God is a consuming fire.

The Book of Hebrews is a legal defense for why being a being a follower of Jesus Christ is better than the Mosaic Law. Romans 8 summarizes the contrast.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

  1. Better Things for You

The next occurrence concerns God having better things for us. In Hebrews 6 [The Message Bible]

9-12 I’m sure that won’t happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you—salvation things! God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.

God has better things in mind for us – salvation things! What are salvation things? The next verse highlights how God saw their expression of their love by helping needy Christians, and to not stop. He then tells them to continue loving with the same intensity in light of Christ’s return until they finish. Don’t dawdle, but stay the course so that you receive everything that is promised.

These verses are about the rewards that we shall receive when Christ returns. The better things are the rewards that we will receive at the judgment seat. Keep showing your love to your neighbor until you die or until the return of Christ. The rewards are eternal, but there is a richness of life when we extend love while we remain on the earth.

  1. Better Plan for Us

Hebrews 11 [The Message Bible] is the Believer’s Hall of Fame.  God closes this chapter with the following verses.

39-40 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

These pillars of faith demonstrated sublime examples, but none of them received what was promised.  Instead of a select few having the holy spirit on them in the Old Testament and the Gospels, we are blessed with life after the day of Pentecost, when all that are saved have holy spirit in us. This is the better plan that was not available until the day of Pentecost.

Paul develops a strong case in Hebrews for why it’s better to be a Christian than to remain a Jew.  The dominant theme in these 12 occurrences is about  salvation (Christ in you), the hope (the second coming of Christ), and rewards (the rewards that Christ will bestow at the judgement seat). Christ was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, but he is front and center after the day of Pentecost. Praise God that he blessed us to live in this privileged time!