Through the

New Testament

In One Year Reading Plan

 

OCTOBER

2019:

Gary Reynolds

October 1—October 4

1 Timothy 6
2 Timothy 1—2 Timothy 3

 

Dr. Craig Bowers

October 7—October 11

2 Timothy 4

Titus 1—Titus 3

Philemon

Dr. Kevin Calhoun

October 14—October 18
Hebrews 1—Hebrews 5

 

Jonathan Norton

October 21—October 25

Hebrews 6—Hebrews 10

 

Rev. JT Overby

October 28—October 31

Hebrews 11—Hebrews 13

James 1



  • October 1, 2019

     

    by Gary Reynolds

     

    Read 1 Timothy 6

     

    If you are anything like me, you tend to like to save and store for the days ahead. We splurge for the BOGO free deals at the grocery store. We  store bins of clothes from past decades because we paid good money for that sweater, and who knows if those bell bottoms will come back in style! And we save old dishes, college textbooks, and dusty workout equipment—sometimes because they carry sentiment, but mostly because we think we might need them again. They might come in handy. We could possibly have a use for them someday. Well, maybe not workout equipment!!

     

    This train of thought is not new. Back in the Old Testament, when God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He provided food for them that literally rained from the sky daily. But the Israelites were asked to gather only what they needed and then trust that God would provide for them the next day. Some people ignored this instruction, and when they secretly stashed some of this food throughout the night—because who knows when hunger pains will strike again—they found every morsel full of maggots the next morning. That is why Timothy was instructed in this passage to fight for contentment. Paul made this clear—do not trust in things, but trust in God.


    Application:

    Yes, we are called to be good stewards. But we have got to check our motives. Are we finding security in our possessions? Caring more about our things than with our relationship with God? Are we hoarding and craving more because we are trusting in things over trusting in God?  Or are we pursuing Christ, which is why we handle money the way we do? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    1 Timothy 6:6—“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”

     

    Prayer:

    Father, may my motive for all I do be godliness and to point others to Christ.



  • October 2, 2019

     

    by Gary Reynolds

     

    Read 2 Timothy 1

     

    More than once since I committed this verse to memory, I have had to  embrace it as truth, and pray that I do not give in to a "spirit of fear".  I have come to believe that the word "fear" really is one of those four letter words. Would it not be great if we could somehow have it censored from all of our thoughts and feelings, like bleeping out a bad word? But instead, fear is very much a part of our reality, even more so than we realize or want to admit. I know there are times when being fearful can be a good thing, such as being afraid of doing something that might bring harm or danger.

     

    The spirit of fear, as mentioned in this verse, is a different kind of fear. This fear hinders what God has given us: His power, love and sound mind. This fear grips us with doubts and insecurities, waging war with our thoughts and feelings. This kind of fear is not of God, but of the enemy, the devil.

     

    Fear is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses against us, as it attacks our minds. He tells us that we are no good, not worthy, unloved and useless. These thoughts affect us all, as he picks on everyone. No one is spared.

     

    APPLICATION: 
    How can we fight against such thoughts? By believing the truth of the second part of the verse. God through His Holy Spirit has given us power, love and a sound mind, not in our strength but in His. 
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    ________________________________________________________________

     

     



  • October 3, 2019


    by Gary Reynolds

     

    Read 2 Timothy 2

     

    As we sit in our chair at church and listen to the pastor share his message, so often we pick up on something new. Whether it is a detail from a Bible story we have never really noticed before, a strong conviction about a lifestyle change we need to make, or just a reminder and refresher of God’s commands, there’s always a nugget of truth we can take with us and apply into our lives throughout the week.

     

    Timothy was like us. He sat under the strong teaching of Paul, and he was constantly growing in his faith. Paul taught him about the power of the Holy Spirit within every believer, how we are all given spiritual gifts by His power, and how God has entrusted us with the Good News.

     

    And Timothy responded, as he trained for godliness.  In turn, he became an example to all believers in what he said, in the way he lived, in his love, his faith, and his purity. It is important to see that Timothy did not just sit on this knowledge and use it only for his own gain. He walked out of church and BECAME the Church, sharing God’s truth to all who would listen.

     

    APPLICATION: 
    Whatever we are learning as we pursue our own spiritual growth, may we take a lesson from Paul and Timothy, and share it with others—believers and non-believers alike. Because “It always produces fruit. It will accomplish all God wants it to, and it will prosper everywhere He sends it.” (Isaiah 55:11) 



  • October 4, 2019                                                                                                     

    by Gary Reynolds

     

    Read 2 Timothy 3

     

    Speak your truth! It is more than just a buzzword these days; it is a     teaching our culture has adopted and completely bought into. Do not like how your boss is running things? Speak your truth. You disagree with a friend? Speak your truth. A post on social media rubbed you the wrong way? Speak your truth. Ultimately, if you want to be happy, speak your truth. And somewhere along the way, this message picked up steam, and it muddied truth with opinion.

     

    Paul warned us this would happen. As the end approaches, people will love only themselves. They will consider nothing sacred, and they will deceive  others. If we are not careful, we will buy into false teachings as well.

     

    The good news is that we are not left on our own to discern right from wrong. We’re given absolute truth—not found in our learned experiences, preferences, or opinions—but stated plainly in God’s Word. Like Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong, and teaches us to do what is right”.

     

    APPLICATION: 
    Instead of speaking our truth, may God’s people speak His truth. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, and His truth changes hearts, silences fear, shines light into the darkness, and sets people free. As we face       today’s circumstances, may we seek what God has to say above all else.

     



  • October 7, 2019

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read 2 Timothy 4

     

    The Apostle Paul wrote his own eulogy in this chapter. Let’s aspire to have this kind of testimony.


    Verse 7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8, in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…” Let’s ask these four questions about our testimony:


    1. Am I fighting the “good fight”? Paul fought the right fight! He fought against the forces of darkness, not people!! If we are not careful, we will fight the wrong fight. Paul mentions several who had deserted him, but he harbored no ill will. In fact, one of them, John Mark, became “useful” to Paul. Paul also mentions an antagonistic   unbeliever “Alexander the coppersmith” that greatly hindered him. But he did not seek revenge. He said, “the Lord will repay him.” Am I fighting the good fight, the right fight?


    2. Am I all in? Paul said, “I have finished the course.” He was not a quitter! He had  every reason to quit. He was beaten, stoned, whipped, slandered, deserted, imprisoned, etc.  All for the cause of Christ! Paul did not retire from serving Jesus. He was in it all the way until he crossed the finish line. Will I stay in the race even when it gets hard?


    3. Will I keep the faith? Will I trust Jesus without understanding all that is happening, or why it is happening! Will I keep my faith in Him alone? Will my life anchors be based on the truthfulness of God’s character?


    4. Do I live each day in light of eternity? “In the future…” The crown of righteousness is not awarded to those who accomplish much, but those who trust in Christ! Paul lived in light of the fact that one day he would stand before Christ Jesus and receive a crown! Am I living each day in light of that day?


    Application: 
    Ask yourself the four questions and change your life so that you can write the same testimony. 
    ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer: 
    My King and my Lord. I look forward to receiving a crown from you so that I can lay it down at your feet. May my life reflect faith in You, a fight against darkness, and a faithfulness to finish strong



  • October 8, 2019

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Titus 1

     

    Let’s focus on the phrase “according to godliness” in verse 1. The chapter contrasts the godly (Elders) in verses 5-11 with the ungodly (Creatans) verses 10-16.  Godliness is based on “the knowledge of the truth”, as well as “faith.” So, let’s look at the key comparison.

     

    In verse 10 Paul compares the ungodly to the godly by stating, “For there are many rebellious men…” We see here that there are “many” ungodly people. Throughout human history there have been more ungodly than godly people. Within generations of the Fall, the “wickedness of man was great” and only Noah and his family walked with God. Even with the chosen Nation, Israel, the Bible tells us that God kept a “remnant” who were godly! Jesus said that “Many will say to me on that day…” and they will be rejected! The way is broad that leads to destruction and MANY have chosen that way.

     

    While there are many ungodly, there are godly people who love God and follow Him. Christ has transformed their hearts and they have a reputation in the community of being godly. From their marriage, to the way they raise their children, the evidence of God’s love and grace are present. Godly people are disciplined and just.

     

    The root difference between the godly and ungodly is identified in verse 10. Ungodly people are rebellious! Godly people submit to the King. At the heart of all decisions is really only one – Will I obey God with a willing heart? Outward obedience is not evidence of a submissive heart. The obedience of godly people flows from a heart that is surrendered to the authority of God. We are all born with a rebellious heart. However, when we trust in Christ as we change our thinking about Him and ourselves, He transforms our hearts. Unlike King Saul whose “obedience” and “sacrifice” was purely self-serving, godly people worship the King with a spirit of brokenness.

     

    Application:

    Hold your life up to the mirror of the perfect law of liberty. Look at the characteristics of the godly and then the ungodly. Ask the Lord for a broken heart of submission to Him.

     

    Prayer:

    Dear Lord, may I be a godly person who honors you everywhere!



  • October 9, 2019

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Titus 2

    Can doctrine be separated from behavior? The Bible does not make that distinction. Actually, separating the two is paramount to hypocrisy. Doctrine and Deeds are married in the Bible. We divorce them to our own demise. At the outset of this chapter Paul writes, “Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” He immediately talks about behavior that is “temperate, dignified…” Again in Verse 7, behavior and doctrine are glued together, “…be an example of good deeds, with purity of doctrine…” Verse 10 solidifies the union as he writes, “… showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect…”


    Here is the point: Everything you do is rooted in what you believe. Your “WHAT” is based on your “WHY”! So, you can look at your “what” (lifestyle), but to really understand your behavior, you must go back to your “Why” (belief). If your lifestyle does not match the teachings of the Bible (doctrine), then the issue is your beliefs. At the root of all our issues over behavior is belief. If we believe that God winks at sin, our lifestyles will reflect a cavalier attitude about sin. However, we know the truth about the nature of God. Therefore, in the heart of this chapter that glues doctrine and deeds  together, is the encouragement “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age..”


    We develop new patterns of behavior as we challenge and change the way we think. That is why we must stay in the Scriptures! There are “fortresses” in our minds that must be destroyed by sound doctrine!

     

    Application:
    As you go through this day, think about why you do what you do! Then     challenge the beliefs you hold with the Bible you say you believe.

     

    Prayer:
    My great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, may I have your mind so that I can emulate your life.

     



  • October 10, 2019

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Titus 3

     

    There is some confusion about good works and salvation. This chapter clarifies that good deeds are not the basis for my salvation but the evidence that I am saved. “He saved us not on the basis deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit… being justified by His grace…” verses 3, 7. The confusion stems from the emphasis on good deeds in the New Testament. Especially when we get the “cart before the horse.” The Bible clearly states that salvation is based on God’s mercy and grace. Mercy is God withholding from us what we justly deserve – His judgment & wrath! Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve – His love and forgiveness.


    Once we are saved, He changes our hearts. That change is evidenced by our “good deeds.” Two times “good deeds” are emphasized. “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed.” Verse 1. Our heart of submission to authority is a “good deed.” That does not mean you agree with our governing rules, but it does mean that you are to have a heart that is obedient and submissive.


    Notice verse 8, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” The order is very clear, good deeds flow from a redeemed heart. Those who are saved demonstrate their salvation by how they respond!


    Application:


    What is the basis of my salvation? Grace or good deeds? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    What is evidence of my salvation? Good deeds or ungodly deeds? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    My Lord and my God, thank you that salvation is based on your grace through  Jesus Christ. Throughout this day may the good deeds of my life demonstrate your grace in my heart.

     


  • October 11, 2019

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Philemon

     

    This short, one chapter book is a personal letter from Paul to Philemon. In this letter Paul asks Philemon to forgive Onesimus, a runaway slave and receive him back as he would receive the Apostle. There are some great principles packed in this short book. Let me share a few:

     

    Honor others by appealing to them in love. Paul honored Philemon by sending Onesimus back to him even though Paul benefited greatly from Onesimus’ help. His appeal was based on the love of God in Philemon’s heart.

     

    Don’t make decisions for others. Paul did not presume that Philemon would allow Onesimus to stay with him, so he sent Onesimus back. “But without your consent I did not want to do anything, that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will.” Verse 14.

     

    Stand up for those who are less fortunate. Paul risked a friendship to stand up for his new friend. “I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will repay it (lest I should mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).” Verse 18. Paul not only stood up for Onesimus, but he was willing to go the extra mile by paying Onesimus’ debt.

     

    Share Christ with those who are on the run! Onesimus came to know Christ through Paul. Those who are running from their problems need to know the solution – JESUS. God has uniquely placed you to encounter others who are on the run! Onesimus sought freedom! He was running from his problem – slavery. But what he really needed was true freedom that can only be found in Christ Jesus.  

     

    Application:

    Will I utilize my status in life to help others? Do I believe the greatest help I can offer others is the freedom they will experience in Christ Jesus? 
    ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    My Savior and my God, use me to spread the Gospel and to help others in the time of their need.



  • October 14, 2019

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Hebrews 1

     

    As we begin reading the Epistle to the Hebrews, we are immediately introduced to the “Greatness of Christ.”  Chapter 1 begins by acknowledging Jesus is better than the angels and He is our source of true salvation. Every word recorded in this chapter speaks of His greatness.

     

    Notice something else with me – in Hebrews 1 there are no commands for us to follow. We are not told to “do” anything. The entire chapter is a celebration of who Jesus is as God’s final “Word” to the world. God had spoken in many ways throughout history. He spoke through prophets, priests, and kings.  He spoke through visions, dreams, and miraculous acts. But in these last days God has spoken through His Son, Jesus.

     

    John said the same thing in the opening verses of his Gospel when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” (John 1:1). God the Son took on human form as God’s final and decisive word to us. Not final in the sense that God no longer speaks. But final in the sense that all God has to say in rooted in Jesus.

     

    Beyond what the Old Testament told us, everything we need to know about God and how He relates to us is seen and heard in Jesus. God has spoken by His Son. There are no commands, only declarations of the greatness of Jesus Christ.

     

    Application:

    Make a list of words or phrases you use to describe Jesus.  ________________________________________________________________

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    Describe how your understanding of Jesus determines how you live each day.  ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I turn to You today as the source of my strength and salvation. You alone are worthy of praise and honor and glory. Amen!

     


  • October 15, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Hebrews 2


    Yesterday we saw how Hebrews begins with a celebration of the person and work of Jesus. As chapter 2 begins, we have our first challenge or exhortation. Because God has spoken by His Son, we must pay very close attention. We are to listen very carefully.

     

    Think of who and what we listen to each day. If we want to find out the latest news, we look on the internet or turn on the television. If we want to listen to music, we listen to the radio or various apps on our phones.  We all want to listen to something. Sometimes we even take steps to make sure we will not be distracted.

     

    How does this compare to our listening to God’s Word? When we read Scripture, or listen to the Bible being read on a podcast, are we seeking to know more about Jesus? Are we listening to Him? Are we devoted to Him?

     

    As children of the Living God, we must listen to God’s Word as revealed in Jesus. We are to pay very close attention. Mark’s description of The Transfiguration records these words, “Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!’” (Mark 9:7). This is not a command to work for Him. He wants us to pay attention to Him.

     

    Application:

    Make a list of ways you seek to hear from God each day. 
    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Make a list of things that can distract you from hearing God speak to you.  ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I want to hear from you today. I pray I will remove any distractions that prevent me from listening. As I hear from you, I pray I will respond in faith. Amen!

     


  • October 16, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun                                                                   


    Read Hebrews 3

     

    Several years ago the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” became very popular.  It was placed on bracelets, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and numerous other items.  Though I am not convinced Jesus would seek to market the phrase in order to generate profits, the question is very important.  Hebrews 3 begins with this  exhortation:

     

    “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,” (vs. 1).

     

    I believe the phrase “to consider Jesus” has several implications for us.

     

    1. We should learn all we can about Jesus as we read and study Scripture.  Getting to know about Jesus can help us build a stronger relationship with Him.


    2. We should, as the phrase implies, consider Him with every decision we make. Asking “what would Jesus do?” is a very good practice for us to follow.


    3. We should “consider Him” as we give thanks for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. Developing a spirit of gratitude can be a tremendous  witness to everyone we see.


    4. We should “consider Jesus” as we encounter others and build relationships with others.  Jesus repeatedly instructed His disciples to “go and do likewise” as He taught them.

     

    The author of Hebrews makes the point abundantly clear.  We are to “pay attention” to Jesus (2:1), we are to “consider Jesus” (3:1), and we are to “fix our eyes upon Him” (12:1).  Jesus truly is “the author and finisher of our faith,” (12:2).

     

    Application:

    Make a list of ways you can learn more about Jesus today. ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    What decisions can Jesus help you with today?  ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I want to know You more each day!  I want to walk with You each day!  I want to live for You each day! Amen!

     


  • October 17, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun 
                                     

    Read Hebrews 4

    Thus far in Hebrews, we have been introduced to the greatness and glory of Jesus.  He is the One we are to worship, the One we are to listen to, and the One who guides us in our ministry. Here in chapter 4, we learn we can find rest in Jesus because He is our great High Priest.  The chapter concludes with these words:

     

    “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need,” (vs. 16).

     

    Knowing that Jesus completely understands our needs, we can turn to Him for mercy and grace.

     

    I find comfort in the promise, we “may find grace in time of need.”  I saw a  paraphrase of this verse that said we may find “grace for well-timed help.”  Think about that for a moment. No one likes to wait for things to happen. We live in a culture that wants and expects immediate results.  Therefore, we struggle when we have to wait.

     

    “Grace for well-timed help” means we may not receive God’s help according to our time table. But grace is received according to God’s purposes and plans. You have heard the phrase, “God may not be in a hurry, but He is never late.” As we trust in the sovereignty of God, we find His grace in times of great distress.

     

    Application:

    Make a list of times you have experienced God’s grace at exactly the right  moment. ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    Are there circumstances you are facing now where you need to trust in God’s grace?  ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, thank You for being present with me in all of my circumstances. Help me trust in You to provide grace according to Your plans. Amen!

     


  • October 18, 2019   


    by  Kevin Calhoun                    


    Read Hebrews 5


    I once heard about a young boy who fell out of his bed one night and hit the floor with a loud crash.  When his parents came to check on him, his mother asked, “What happened?” The son replied, “I guess I stayed too close to where I got in!”

     

    This may be a problem for many in the church today. Someone shares their faith with us, we turn to God by faith in Jesus, we are baptized, but we fail to grow in our faith. The failure to grow may be the result of “staying too close to where we got in.”

     

    In Hebrews 5:12-14, the author of this epistle says the readers should be teachers by now, but they are still in need of learning the “elementary” principles. They still need “milk” when they should be eating “solid food” by now. Therefore, they cannot distinguish between good and evil. 

     

    The pathway to maturity is to feast on the “milk” of God’s Word, and growing to maturity so we can enjoy solid food. We do so through Bible study and prayer. Not merely reading the Bible, but seriously studying Scripture and seeking application to life. It is equally important to pray for God’s help in understanding the truth of the Scriptures we read.  There is no substitute for time spent in Bible study and prayer. We must not be passive about our faith. We must be earnest and diligent about what we are learning from God’s Word.

     

    Application:

    Describe your daily routine of Bible study and prayer. ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    How can you grow in the disciplines of Bible Study and prayer?   ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________



    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I want to know You more each day! Teach me Your ways as I study Your Word!  Amen!

     


  • October 21, 2019                                                                                     


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Hebrews 6

     

    In this chapter we are instructed to Press on to Spiritual Maturity (vs. 1-12), and then the Foundation of How to Grow into Spiritual Maturity (vs. 13-20).

     

    Spiritual maturity is growing up in our faith, which means we need less supervision from others, and more direction from the Holy Spirit. In our everyday lives, as we grow up, we become more independent. Likewise, in our spiritual journey, as we mature, we should not need to be told what to do by more mature believers. We should be following God’s leadership through studying His Word and spending time with Him in prayer. In this text, we are instructed to “not be sluggish, but be imitators of those who faith and patience inherit the promises”. Who are you imitating? Are you growing or dying spiritually?

     

    How do we grow and mature?  By standing on the promises of God, and placing our hope in Him. We are reminded in verse 17 that we have inherited the same promises of Abraham, and even more. That is incredible! What is even more remarkable is that God’s promises do not depend on our works, but on His faithfulness. Verse 19 provides great encouragement for those who desire to grow in their faith: “We have this sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain”. The God of the universe gives us steadfast promises and hope as He anchors our souls. The best way not to drift in our life is to hold tight to the anchor! As believers, we have assurance that keeps our souls steady, no matter how rough life gets. We should enjoy His everlasting presence, as nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39).                 

     

    Application: 
    How are you growing in your faith? 
    ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Heavenly Father, thank you for Your promises and the hope we have in You. Amen.   



  • October 22, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton                                                                                 


    Read Hebrews 7


    If I asked you to list the three most important people in the Old Testament, I am pretty sure Melchizedek would not be on that list. After all, he is only mentioned two times in the whole Old Testament (Genesis 14:17-24 & Psalm 110:4). However, the Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, goes back to those two passages to remind us of a very important truth: The priesthood of Jesus Christ is superior to that of any other high priest in the history of the world.  I am simply in awe when I think about how the Bible is perfectly organized into 66 books, with 40 authors, written over a period of 1,500 years; yet, there is harmony in the message that points us to Jesus.  

     

    It is so cool to know that if we want to be close to God and know Him, we do not need a priestly line or religion that brags about our family tree? We do not need a long line of people in our family history that qualify because they have completed some  religious ritual. All we need is the only priest that is indestructible (v. 16), the only priest who lives permanently (v. 24) – Jesus!     

     

    In verse 11, there was a need for God to establish a different priesthood; we need someone who will give us access from Earth to Heaven, from our sin to righteousness, from our guilt to forgiveness, and from the grind of life to the glory of God’s amazing grace. We need help in order to draw near to God and know Him personally. Hebrews is a letter that shares the truth- that we can live our lives knowing God, if we simply have the Priest who can give us that direct line to Him – Jesus Christ.

     

     

    Application:

    Read verses 26-28 again, as the writer summarizes everything we have in Jesus as our High Priest. Reflect and praise Him for how He meets our need. 

    _____      ________________________________________________________


    ______________ __________________________________________________


    Prayer:

    Lord, we exalt Your holy name and praise You as the Most High Priest!  Amen.  

     

     


  • October 23, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Hebrews 8

     

    If you are like me, you are always looking for a better way to do things.  A better way to get in shape, a better way to complete a project at work, or a better way to grow in your walk with Christ. Well, in this chapter we are reminded that we have a better high priest (v. 1), who serves in a better place (vs. 2-5), with a better covenant (v.8), built on better promises (vs. 10-13). The author here in Hebrews 8 quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34. It is cool to think that Jeremiah 31 was written over 600 years earlier. It is also interesting to remember that the Hebrew people were going through a very dark time of failure and difficulty when Jeremiah wrote about God’s promise of a new covenant. That new covenant can only be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. I love how verse 6 says “Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant He mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises”.  Jesus is much more excellent than anything or anyone else we can rely on.

     

    I was convicted when reading verses 10 & 11: “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people… because they will all know me”.

     

    Application:
    Am I consistent in reading and putting God’s Word in my heart and mind daily? 
    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Am I living like I belong to Him, and He is my one true God? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

    Do I tell others I know Him? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

    For this is our covenant, are we abiding by it? ________________________________________________________________


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    Prayer:

    God, thank you for your new covenant promises. May we write your laws in our hearts and minds daily as we tell the world how awesome it is to know you as Lord and Savior.  Amen.    

     


  • October 24, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Hebrews 9


    In verses 1-10, we get a description of the old covenant sanctuary called the “tabernacle”, which is mentioned in 50 chapters in the Old Testament.  Notice that the word “regulations” is used in verses 1 and 10.  Are you not thankful that we, as believers today, do not have to perform some external ritual in order to receive     salvation?  We must understand that following some external regulation will not solve our internal spiritual problem. Only the blood of Jesus provides us the internal   cleansing we desperately need (vs. 13-22). The blood of Jesus does not just cleanse us outwardly, covering our sins ritually like the Old Testament sacrifices did. The blood of Jesus purifies our souls and our inner nature, which completely free us from all of our sins. Remember, our blood is tainted because of our connection to Adam and Eve. But Jesus Christ’s blood is perfect, sinless, and shed for us on the cross. Praise God we are purified by His blood!       

     

    This chapter closes with two power packed verses (vs. 27-28) that should cause us to stop and reflect on where we are spiritually. Are you ready for the day you will die? Are you absolutely sure where you will spend eternity? Are you ready to give an     account to the Lord for the way you have lived? Verse 27 is a chilling reminder that we all have an appointed time here on earth, and that we will be judged. But verse 28 gives us great hope, as we are assured that Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice once and for all, and saves those who are eagerly waiting for Him. Are you ready for the return of the Lord?     

     

     

    Application:

    Do you sometimes get caught up in spiritual rituals in hopes that it will somehow make you feel more godly? 

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    Prayer:

    Jesus, we are humbled by Your blood that was shed for us. May we not take that for granted, and live our lives knowing that You will one day return. May we be ready Lord!  Amen.   

     


  • October 25, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Hebrews 10


    The first four verses of this chapter start out with a “reminder” (v. 3) that the Old Testament sacrifices could not remove our sin, but that the law is there to remind us of our sin. For it is “impossible” for sacrifices to take away our sins (v.4), that is why we need Jesus. Charles Stanley writes: “Without the law, we would not know what sin is or understand our need for the grace and forgiveness of our Savior. However, the law was never meant to be the final goal”.

     

    The final goal is to know Him personally, as both our Savior and Lord. How we do that is provided for us in the invitations presented in verses 19-25:


    “Enter His holy place, by His blood and with confidence” (v.19), “Draw near with a true heart” (v. 22), “Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (v.23), “Stir up one another to love and good works (v. 24) and lastly “Not neglecting to meet together, but encourage one another”. (v.25). It is awesome to know that we can have confidence to enter into the presence of Almighty God any time we want.

     

    Verse 25 is a reminder that fellowship with God must never be selfish. When we gather together, worship is not about what we, as believers, “get” from each other, but rather what “contribute” to each other. It is vital for Christians to gather for corporate worship, study,

    encouragement, and service. It is hard to encourage others with love and good works if you are not spending quality time with Him and them. The church is a place where we need to assemble for the purpose of exalting our Lord. We should leave worship being encouraged, not discouraged.         

     

    Application:

    How often have you come to worship and heard something negative, a sarcastic jab, or critical comment? How can you respond biblically to such comments and encourage others?  

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    Prayer:

    Father God, I pray we are a church that encourages one other. Thank you for encouraging us through Your Word and Your presence.  Amen. 

     


  • October 28, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read Hebrews 11


    The universe was created by the Word of God, which we cannot see. We are people of faith who believe in a God we cannot see-- for now. We are people of faith now, but one day we will see our glorious Father, Savior, and Spirit. Until then, we are being cheered on by a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1), as we run to Jesus. Who are these witnesses?


    Hebrews 11 gives us a great survey of many people of faith from the Old Testament. As you read, you should rightly remember how imperfect some of the people were. Yet, they were people who had faith in something more, something beyond themselves, and ultimately something they wouldn't fully experience in this lifetime.

     

    When reading this chapter, we should be careful to remember who the real hero is-- Jesus. As we read of all these imperfect men and women of the faith, we remember just how great, gracious, and faithful our God is to us. That is the God we place our faith in!


    Faith is required of us. But that faith is a belief in God, and that He rewards those who seek him. In God, we find life, joy, and pleasures forevermore. We will be imperfect in this lifetime just like the people of chapter 11, but our God is so good, and so worthy of being sought.

     

    Application:
    Do you struggle with believing that God wants and desires you, and wants to reward you for seeking Him?________________________________________________________________

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    How does it bring comfort to know that God rewards and delights in people of faith, even when they are so imperfect? ________________________________________________________________

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    Prayer:
    God, you are the great hero of Scripture. Give me grace to set my eyes of faith upon You and seek You with all I am.

     


  • October 29, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read Hebrews 12

     

    The word used for founder in v. 2, is the Greek word "archegos", which means  captain, one who leads the way, or blazes a trail. Salvation is found in Christ alone, because He IS the way. There is no other way. He is the One who leads, the One who blazes a trail to God the Father. Salvation is found in Jesus alone because He is the only one who has the right to come near the Father. Apart from Christ, we are separated from God, dead in our sins.


    Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith.  He is the one who also endured the shame of the cross so that our sins could be dealt with, and so that we could come in boldness before the Father. The trail has been paved, we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and we have been granted access to come to God!


    We come to Him now in faith, but one day that will be in sight. Until that day comes, we must run the race with endurance. Endurance is needed in the Christian faith, as it is a long and hard road. Praise God for His discipline. He wants us. He will guide us, protect us, and discipline us along the way for our good. He will perfect our faith. When He does, we will enter that unshakeable kingdom for all eternity!

     

    Application:
    What weight do you need to throw off in your life that is hindering you from running? ________________________________________________________________


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    Seek out brothers and sisters around you who can help you throw that burden off.

     

    Prayer:
    God, give me eyes to see Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith, who died a shameful death so that I may have life in Him. Give me grace to run with endurance


  • October 30, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read Hebrews 13


    While there are many great exhortations in this last chapter of Hebrews, my favorite truths in the chapter come in v. 20-21. The book of Hebrews so  wonderfully shows us why we need to consider and set our eyes upon Jesus.  He is better than all the heroes of old, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, and bringer of the glorious New Covenant. It shows us how He is our salvation, and the One who continues to save us and protect us until the end of our lives on earth, and beginning of our lives in eternity. 


    In v. 20-21, we see a familiar metaphor used of God-- Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23, who we see from John 10, lays down His life for His sheep. But also, He is the Good Shepherd who now equips us with every good we need in this life (see Ephesians 1:3-4). 


    Do you ever wonder how you can make it through the day, the week, or the present suffering you're experiencing? The overwhelming darkness you are feeling? Well, we have a Good Shepherd who knows our every need, and  graciously equips us with all we need to live in this life. 


    As Hebrews 7:25 tells us, Jesus now lives to make intercession for us in our need and weakness. As it has been said before, “Oh if we could hear the  prayers that Jesus prayed for us and what that would do to our hearts”.

     

    Application:
    Do you live your life trusting that Jesus is your Good Shepherd, or do you try and make it on your own, in your own strength, in your own wisdom?  
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    Prayer:
    Thank you, Jesus, for laying down your life for the sheep. Thank you for living now to make intercession for us in our weakness.

     



  • October 31, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read James 1

     

    The command we have is not based around "if we meet trials", but rather, "when we meet trials". The life of being in Christ comes with greater joys than we can ever imagine or comprehend. We have no idea the good that is in store for us in the New Creation! Until then, we will have trials. As part of being united with Christ, we enjoy His joys and his blessings, but also in this life, we face the   sufferings of living in a world against God and His people.


    The command is for us to count it joy! God is using the sufferings we face to cause us to look more like Christ! God gives us wisdom to walk in a dark world, and we should be sure He will give it. We must understand that while we are here today, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and so we must walk with wisdom, and the Lord desires to give it (see psalm 90).


    We must then receive with humility, the Word of God. We must devote our lives to it. God will plant us like a tree by living waters when we do so (Psalm 1). The Word will convict but also encourage, it will wound but will also heal, it will     reveal darkness in our lives, but ultimately lead us to the Light. Let us be people devoted to the Word-- faithfully listening to it and doing as it says.

     

    Application:
    Do you find yourself joyless in life?  ________________________________________________________________

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    What encouragement can you gather from the Word today to point you to Jesus and strengthen you? ________________________________________________________________

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    Prayer:
    God, thank you for uniting us with Yourself. We know that being in You means suffering for a time, but we long for the day when You come again! Plant us by living streams until that day comes!