Stubborn Faith

This week, after a couple of weeks off – one of them unexpected – I was privileged to be back in the pulpit. We dove into the third part of our series, How to Be Faithful When No One Else Is. This week we explored Daniel 3 and the well-known story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. We marvel at their faithfulness and God’s miraculous rescue of the trio, but something even more powerful lies at the heart of the story when it comes to our challenge to stand on faithfulness even when we are standing alone. Let’s explore this together to see what it is. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Stubborn Faith

When was the last time you did something that left you feeling accomplished? When was the last time you checked something off your list in a way that made you feel satisfied? It feels good to do big things. It feels good to do smaller things too. It feels good to be making forward progress. Some of you know that I enjoy building metal models. They come in a nice, little kit with detailed instructions and sheets of metal that are pre-painted and laser cut so you can snip them out, fold them accordingly, and build things like this Stormtrooper. Putting the last couple of pieces into place and finishing these feels really good. It’s satisfying to finally throw away the empty scraps of metal that used to hold all the little pieces in place. 

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Morning Musing: Psalm 40:1-3

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and they will trust in the Lord.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I haven’t done this for a while, but this morning is going to be a bit of a grab bag. Honestly, that’s because I didn’t know what I was going to write until I got up this morning. That’s sort of true every day because I tend to write each post the same day it goes live, but most days I’m only completing a thought I first started sketching out two to three weeks before writing. Fridays, though, are for taking a break from the rest of the week and reflecting on something different. I spent the time I lay in bed awake last night prayerfully pondering what I would write about this morning. So, we’ll call this morning an answer to prayer. Perhaps it’s an answer for you. Here’s to a bit of a stream of consciousness morning.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 9:16-23

“Where a will exists, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will is valid only when people die, since it is never in effect while the one who made it is living. That is why even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. For when every command had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.’ In the same way, he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the articles of worship with blood. According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done something wrong? Actually, let’s go ahead and change up that question to: When was the last time you did something wrong? I mean anything wrong. I’m not talking about just the big stuff. Big stuff, small stuff, medium stuff, all the stuff. When was the last time you did something for which you needed to be forgiven? As the author of Hebrews continues to unpack in more detail how the new covenant in Christ was made, he says something here about how forgiveness happens that should get our attention. Let’s take a look at it together.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:15

“Therefore, [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Buying a house is complicated. It shouldn’t be. It should be a simple matter of two people agreeing to the exchange and that’s that. But because houses are so unbelievably expensive, nearly everyone has to borrow a lot of money to make the purchase. Lending companies want a lot of guarantees they’ll get their money back. Also, the federal government at some point inserted itself into the process which always makes everything more complicated. The result – as perhaps you have experienced – is that buying a house requires knowledge of dozens of laws and regulations and culminates in a process that takes multiple hours, multiple attorneys, and dozens of signatures on hundreds of pages of documents. It’s crazy. And you really can’t do it yourself. I mean, yes, legally you can, but if you don’t want a huge extra headache, you need a representative. Making a new covenant with God isn’t quite such a complicated process, but you do need a representative for that as well. We have that in Christ. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:13-14

“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who use only name-brand products, those who use only off-brand products, and those who really don’t care. Off-brand products are designed and intended to give you the look and feeling (or flavor) of the name-brand without their cost. But while some off-brands can get pretty close – close enough that even a picky eater or fussy dresser can be satisfied – the honest truth is that there’s a difference. In most cases, the name-brand products are the name-brand products for a reason. We are walking through an explanation of how the new covenant came to be here in Hebrews 9. What we see here is essentially a brand comparison. The new covenant versus the old covenant is a little like a name-brand product versus an off-brand product. Let’s dig into this together.

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