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Today's background music is "He Leadeth Me."
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised" (Hebrews 10:35,36).
Today is Trash Day. For many years I have had the family assignment of gathering the trash from the small individual trash baskets throughout our home, pouring them into a large bag and taking the bag out to the road. It's also my assignment to see that we don't throw away something accidentally. The other day I was emptying the trash from Ester's room and discovered that she had thrown away an electric candle. She had broken the bulb and assumed the candle was no longer any good.
I suppose we've all thrown away something we later regret. There's sure some stuff of my Dad's I wish I now had, specifically his stainless steel Aladdin thermos that Mom would fill with coffee before he left for work. Not only would that be practical, but also very sentimental!
Mistakenly throwing out material goods is one thing, but I want to be absolutely diligent about holding onto key spiritual truths. The first part of today's text is a forthright command, "So do not throw away your confidence." I want this to be drilled deeply into my heart. When I teach from the book of Hebrews I have taught that this single verse summarizes the book's purpose in encouraging the initial recipients to remain faithful in the midst of the scorn and persecution they were enduring.
Today's verse is a great truth for all readers to memorize. We all deal with different temptations and issues in life as we seek to stay faithful to Christ. The believers addressed in Hebrews were facing persecution and were tempted to go back to their old way of life. Perhaps part of the temptation was that in doing so their persecutions might ease. There are many believers today under similar circumstances.
But going back to the old way of life remains a temptation in varying degrees for all believers, although for different reasons. For many readers it may be the busyness of life, affluence, the persistent barrage of godless, secular teaching and other issues we confront daily that lull us into complacency or pull us back into the world.
One that I have noticed is the heavy load that people bear as they overcome the consequences of many years of disobedience to God. It may have been tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual immorality or indebtedness due to wasteful spending. Turning to Christ does not immediately negate the long-term consequences of these past sins. Though some receive miraculous deliverance, there are those who will endure weaknesses and temptations that require diligent prayer and overcoming.
The enemy of our soul may persistently murmur, "What's the use?" and tempt us to just throw away our confidence and simply give up. Sadly, I know some who have done just that. A major theme throughout Hebrews is, "Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." The word translated "hold firmly" is in the present active and conveys the ongoing need to actively participate in this "holding on" to our faith.
But note the great promise in the daily text. I have been blessed by it often and committed it to memory: "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded." Any earthly rewards pale in comparison to the eternal rewards our heavenly Father bestows on the faithful believer. May the Lord's present and future promises strengthen your faith today and fill you with anticipation for the future when you will be "richly rewarded."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the writer of Hebrews encourages us not to abandon our faith when difficulties arise. It is during these times of testing that we prove our faith to be genuine if we persevere. We choose not to shrink back and be destroyed, but we choose to be numbered with those who believe and are saved. We thank You for the present rewards that come with diligently serving You and by faith we look forward to the eternal rewards You promise to the faithful. Amen.
Personal note: As is often the case today's message was preceded by study and pondering. I have on my heart the subject of "reward" today. The very first Biblical reference for this word is God's covenant with Abraham, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." The very last reference is in the last chapter of Revelation, "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." Hallelujah!!!
We have often used this song in this series and it has been among our favorites for many years. It pertains to today's message as well. "Knowing You" by Graham Kendrick. This is from his website, which includes full files of much of his music. He is in my view one of the great musicians of our time. We actually sang this song in church last night.
We also consider a song titled Press On by Selah, one of Brooksyne's favorite groups. This is our prayer for each reader!
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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