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Week of 11/11-15  (B46;19)


Hebrews 11:1-16  (NKJV)


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a  good  testimony.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word
of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things
which are visible.  By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent
sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he
was righteous, God testifying of his gifts;  and through it he
being dead still speaks.  By faith Enoch was taken away so 
that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God
had taken him";  for before he was taken he had this testimony,
that he pleased God.  But without faith  it is  impossible to please
Him,  for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and  that
He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  By faith Noah,
being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly
fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which
he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness
which is according to faith.  By faith Abraham obeyed when he
was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an
inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as  in  a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the
same promise;  for he waited for the city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker  is  God.  By faith Sarah herself also
received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when
she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had
promised.  Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead,
were born  as many  as the stars of the sky in multitude - in-
numerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  These all
died in faith, not having received the promises, but having 
seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced  them
and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they
seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that
country  from which they had come out, they would have had
opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a
heavenly  country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called
their God, for He has prepared a city for them.  

Lord, we believe.  In Your mercy and grace, help our unbelief !  
In Jesus Christ's name we pray, amen.



Week of 11/18-22  (B47;19)


Hebrews 11:17-31  (NKJV)


By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he 
who had received the promises offered up his only begotten  son,
of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called,"  con-
cluding that God was able to raise  him  up, even from the dead,
from which he also received him in a figurative sense.  By faith
Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.  By
faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of
Joseph, and worshiped,  leaning  on the top of his staff.  By faith
Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of
the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. 
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by
his parents, because they saw  he was  a beautiful child;  and 
they were not afraid of the king's command.  By faith Moses,
when he became of age, refused to be called the son of 
Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with 
the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures
of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt;  for he looked to the reward.  By faith he for-
sook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king;  for he endured as
seeing Him who is invisible.  By faith he kept the Passover and
the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn
should touch them.  By faith they passed through the Red Sea
as by dry  land, whereas  the Egyptians, attempting  to do so,
were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they
were encircled for seven days.  By faith the harlot Rahab did 
not perish with those who did not believe, when she had 
received the spies with peace.

Father, what can we say but  amen  to the above, especially
as it is clarified by Your holy Word in this passage:  "What  does
it  profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not
have works?  Can faith  s a v e  him?  If a brother or sister is
naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them,
"Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,"  but you do not give
them the things which are needed for the body, what  does it
profit?  Thus also  faith by itself, if it does not have works, 
is dead.  ...  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that
faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father
j u s t i f i e d   by works  when he offered his son on the altar?
Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and
by faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which
says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for
righteousness."  And he was called the friend of God.  You see
then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when 
she received the messengers and sent  them  out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without 
works is 
dead also."   (see James 2:14-26 ; quote from the NKJ 
version ; emphases ours)
Father God, thank  You  for the insights You have graciously
given in our  "Faith and Works"  handouts.*  May Your people
enjoy the BALANCE of the full Counsel of Your Word as we
walk in Your Spirit and abide in Your Vine unto good works -
works pleasing to You because they are  wrought (done) in
!  Yes Lord, thank You for John 3:16-21.  In Jesus Christ's
holy name we pray, amen!

*   Click Here  for these insights - scroll down to view
     the handouts listed under #30.  May we apply 
     Matthew 15:1-20 and cast off our own  traditions  
     which conflict with God's authoritative Word!  



Week of 11/25-29  (B48;19)


Hebrews 11:32-40  (NKJV)


And what more shall I say?  For the time would fail me to tell of
Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also  of   David
and Samuel and the prophets:  who through faith subdued king-
doms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the
mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge
of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant
in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received
their dead raised to life again.  Others were tortured, not accepting
deliverence, that they might obtain a better resurrection.  Still
others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains
and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, 
were tempted, were slain with the sword.  They wondered about
in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented -
of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and 
mountains,  in  dens and caves of the earth.  And all these, having
obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
God having provided someting better for us, that they should not be
made perfect apart from us.  

Lord God, Your ways are not our ways.  Thank You for the light of
Your Word to Counsel us through these  end of days.  May we take
note to the extent we obey your Word through our faith actions! 
Please delight Yourself in Your living sacrifices who walk in Your
precious Holy Spirit.  Be honored and praised through Your people
in Christ Jesus Your Son.  And thank You for providing the full pro-
cess of salvation for Your adopted children -  for initial new birth and
forgiveness of sins through the blood sacrifice of Christ Jesus Your
Son,  for ongoing life in Christ - including both justification and
sanctification unto Your glory and praise, and,  for the sure promise
of our glorification.  You  indeed are our Savior - not we ourselves!
Even so, come Lord Jesus.  It's in Your holy name we pray, amen.  



Week of 12/2-6  (B49;19)


Hebrews 12:1-11  (NKJV)


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a
cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin
which so easily ensnares  us,  and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author
and finisher of  our  faith, who for the joy that was set before
Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider 
Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.  You
have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.  And
you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to
sons:  "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;  for whom
the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom
He receives."  
If you endure chastening, God deals with you
as with sons;  for what son is there whom a father does not
chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have
become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  
Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected  us,
and we paid  them  respect.  Shall we not much more readily
be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they 
indeed for a few days chastened  us  as seemed best to
them, but He for  our  profit, that  we  may be partakers of
His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for 
the present, but painful;  nevertheless, afterward it yields
the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have
been trained by it. 

Father in heaven, Your glorious Son, our Savior,
continues to be our focus and affection.  Lord,
help us walk rightly with You as we press on in
being Your Ambassadors to a wicked world.  Help
us shine Your light to souls bound by great dark-
ness.  And may Your Holy Spirit work wonders in
their lives, even saving them out of the Lake-of-
Fire pit they're heading toward.  And Lord, thank
You for loving us to the extent You're willing to
discipline us.  We confess we need it.  Yes Lord,
may judgment unto correction begin with us as
Your servant Peter penned under the inspiration
of Your Spirit long ago.  We love You Lord.
Thank You for first loving us.  In Christ Jesus
we pray, amen.



Week of 12/9-13  (B50;19)


Hebrews 12:18 - 13:6  (NKJV)


For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched
and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and
tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so
that those who heard  it  begged that the word should not be 
spoken to them anymore.  (For they could not endure what was
commanded:  "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain,
it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow."  
And so terrifying was the 
sight  that  Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid  and trembling.")
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to
the general assumbly and church of the firstborn  who are  regi-
stered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men
made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to
the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than  that of  Abel.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.  For if they did not
escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more  shall we
not escape  
if we turn away from Him who  speaks  from heaven,
whose voice then shook the earth;  but now He has promised, 
saying,  "Yet once more I shall not only shake the earth, but also 
"  Now this, "Yet once more,"  indicates the removal of
those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made,
that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore,
since we are receiving a kindgom which cannot be shaken, let
us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with
reverence and godly fear.  For our God  is  a consuming fire.
Let brotherly love continue.  Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so  doing  some have unwittingly entertained angels.  
Remember the prisoners as if chained with them - those who
are mistreated - since you yourselves are in the body also.  
Marriage  is  honorable among all, and the bed undefiled;  but
fornicators and adulterers God will judge.  Let your  conduct 
be  without covetousness;  be  content with such things as 
you have.  For He Himself has said,  "I will never leave you
nor forsake you."  So we may boldly say:  "The LORD is my
helper;  I will not fear.  What can men do to me?

Lord God Most High, we exalt You this Christmas season.
Exalted Mediator of the New Covenant, receive our praise.
Immanuel - God with us - we bless Your glorious name.
In Jesus Christ's holy and precious name we pray, amen.


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