Certainty Through Jesus Christ

 

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Gracious Uncertainty

Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

Hebrews 9:23—10:18 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Giving Us Hope

From: American Bible.org.

Introduction

Hebrews 9:23—10:18: From today’s reading we learn that following the sacrificial rituals according to the Law cannot cleanse us from sin but only serve to remind us of our sins. Rather, we are saved because Christ offered himself once for all.

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 10:12a

Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever.

Today’s Reading

23 Those things, which are copies of the heavenly originals, had to be purified in that way. But the heavenly things themselves require much better sacrifices. 24 For Christ did not go into a Holy Place made by human hands, which was a copy of the real one. He went into heaven itself, where he now appears on our behalf in the presence of God. 25 The Jewish high priest goes into the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of an animal. But Christ did not go in to offer himself many times, 26 for then he would have had to suffer many times ever since the creation of the world. Instead, now when all ages of time are nearing the end, he has appeared once and for all, to remove sin through the sacrifice of himself. 27 Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. 28 In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him. 1 The Jewish Law is not a full and faithful model of the real things; it is only a faint outline of the good things to come. The same sacrifices are offered forever, year after year. How can the Law, then, by means of these sacrifices make perfect the people who come to God? 2 If the people worshiping God had really been purified from their sins, they would not feel guilty of sin any more, and all sacrifices would stop. 3 As it is, however, the sacrifices serve year after year to remind people of their sins. 4 For the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins. 5 For this reason, when Christ was about to come into the world, he said to God:“You do not want sacrifices and offerings,but you have prepared a body for me.6 You are not pleased with animals burned whole on the altaror with sacrifices to take away sins.7 Then I said, ‘Here I am,to do your will, O God, just as it is written of me in the book of the Law.’” 8 First he said, “You neither want nor are you pleased with sacrifices and offerings or with animals burned on the altar and the sacrifices to take away sins.” He said this even though all these sacrifices are offered according to the Law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, O God, to do your will.” So God does away with all the old sacrifices and puts the sacrifice of Christ in their place. 10 Because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do, we are all purified from sin by the offering that he made of his own body once and for all. 11 Every Jewish priest performs his services every day and offers the same sacrifices many times; but these sacrifices can never take away sins. 12 Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever, and then he sat down at the right side of God. 13 There he now waits until God puts his enemies as a footstool under his feet. 14 With one sacrifice, then, he has made perfect forever those who are purified from sin. 15 And the Holy Spirit also gives us his witness. First he says,16 “This is the covenant that I will make with themin the days to come, says the Lord:I will put my laws in their heartsand write them on their minds.” 17 And then he says, “I will not remember their sins and evil deeds any longer.” 18 So when these have been forgiven, an offering to take away sins is no longer needed.

 

April 29
Strangers and pilgrims

From: Christianity.com
For reading & meditation: Hebrews 11:8-16
“‘ Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (v.16)

We continue meditating on the fact that one of the reasons why we find it so difficult to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty is because we have never really died to self-interest. We are more concerned about our own purposes than we are about His – hence we are uncertain and insecure. Today we look at Abraham and the way he handled his situation of ambiguity and uncertainty. He was almost seventy-five years old when God called him to step out on the pathway of uncertainty. There he was, loading up his camel caravan with his wife and nephew, bound for ‘somewhere’. The Amplified Bible puts if most effectively when it says: “‘ he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.” Charles Swindoll humorously pictures a conversation between Abraham and his neighbours going something like this: “Abraham, where are your going?” “I’m moving.” “Why? Why ever would you want to leave Ur?” “God has made it clear that I should go.” “God? You’ve been talking to Him again?” “Right. He told me to leave. I must go.” “Well, where are you going?” “I don’t know; He didn’t tell me that.” “Wait a minute, you know you ought to go, but you don’t know where you ought to go?” “Yes.” “Abraham, you really have gone off the deep end.” And so it continues. It isn’t easy to obey without understanding. It is the same thing that we talked about two days ago: going – without knowing. It might help to remind ourselves of the term God sometimes uses to describe us – strangers and pilgrims. People on the move, free to follow Him wherever He leads – regardless.

 

Under His Care

From: Christianity.com

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord. – (Isaiah 54:17)

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus made a fascinating statement that some have misunderstood. Speaking of believers, He said, “They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:18). Some, of course, have misunderstood this and have held snake-handling services. But that is not trusting the Lord; it is testing the Lord.

Here is what this statement does mean: If you are a Christian, then you are indestructible until God is done with you. There is a day appointed for your death. And you really have nothing to say about when that day is.

Case in point: Paul the apostle was shipwrecked on an island, and as he was warming himself by the fire, a venomous snake bit him. So he simply picked it up and threw it into the fire. Everyone was waiting for Paul to die, but he didn’t die. Why? His time was not up. But when your time is up, it’s up. And Paul’s day eventually came.

Before that day, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper,” as Isaiah 54:17 says. That means God will keep you and protect you. Even if there is some plot against you, it will not succeed if that is not your time.

So stop worrying about when you will die because you have nothing to say about it. It isn’t up to you. The Bible says, “And  as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Does that mean you can eat anything you want? I think you should exercise and eat properly. That will improve the quality of your life. But ultimately, the quantity is up to God.

April 29
From: Christianity.com
Morning …
Jeremiah 17:17
Thou art my hope in the day of evil.
The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

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