The Promise of God

 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

 

Hebrews 6:13-20New International Version (NIV)

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God has Come to Prove You

 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance  and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven:  Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

“‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.

 

Exodus 20:18-24New International Version (NIV)

Love in Action

 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

 

Romans 12:9-12New International Version (NIV)

The Power of Faith

 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.  Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  [b]

 

Mark 11:20-27 New International Version (NIV)

Footnotes:

  1. a:Mark 11:23 Some early manuscripts “If you have faith in God,” Jesus answered, 23 “truly
  2. b:Mark 11:26 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Matt. 6:15.

 

Temptation

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.  “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]

 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]

 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]

 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Footnotes:

  1. a: Matthew 4:1 The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.
  2. b: Matthew 4:4 Deut. 8:3
  3. c: Matthew 4:6 Psalm 91:11,12
  4. d: Matthew 4:7 Deut. 6:16
  5. e: Matthew 4:10 Deut. 6:13

Faith without work is dead

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:17; James 2:26 – New International Version

 

God so Loved the World

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John 3:12-21, New International Version (NIV)

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”[a]

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Footnotes:

  1. a: 1 Corinthians 1:19 Isaiah 29:14

The Lord is my helper

 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.  Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.  Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”[a]

 So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]

 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:1-8New International Version (NIV)

Footnotes:

a:Hebrews 13:5 Deut. 31:6

b:Hebrews 13:6 Psalm 118:6,7