In Today's Reading:
Worthy fruits of faith, patience, godliness; warning against disobedience; service well-pleasing to God
The history of the people of God confirms that some endured hostile circumstances and suffering, yet remained faithful and fulfilled His will. In the "Heroes of Faith Hall of Fame" (Hebrews 11:1-38), we are given a review of some of them. By faith Abraham, when he was tried (tested), offered up Isaac . . . Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. . . . By faith Moses . . . refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (11:17-26). The Old Testament men and women listed in this chapter chose to obey God and to live godly lives, regardless of the outcome.
This reminds us of how much more our Savior has made available to us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Surely, we too can lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and . . . run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us (12:1). The runners who win the race of life are looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising (thinking little of) the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (12:2). The Christian life demands self-denial, discipline, and wholehearted love for God and His Word. These characteristics distinguish the true Christian from the self-indulgence practiced by the world. We must decide for ourselves, by a prayerful reading of the Scriptures and self-examination, if there are worldly hindrances to our spiritual lives that need to be eliminated.
The race of which Paul writes is a life of faithfulness and obedience. Jesus said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23).
For Hebrews 11:18: See Genesis 21:12. Hebrews 12:5-6: See Proverbs 3:11-12. Hebrews 12:12: See Isaiah 35:3. Hebrews 12:26: See Haggai 2:6. Hebrews 13:5: See Joshua 1:5; also Deuteronomy 31:8. Hebrews 13:6: See Psalm 118:6.
11:29 assaying =b> attempting; 13:9 divers =b> various.
Pray for Government Official: Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (LA) • Country: Tajikistan (6 million) southeast central Asia • Major languages: Tajik and Russian • Almost entirely Muslim • 82% Muslim; 4% Russian Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Exalt the Lord, for He is holy (Psalm 99:9).
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 12:15