For the Diggers: Our High Priest in Hebrews

 

Your list from Hebrews probably looks a lot like mine. Just for easy reference, though, this might be helpful to have on hand for the podcast. I hope you will be there. Tonight at 7. It will be here https://livestream.com/whcoc/for-women/videos/151935596 and also on Facebook Live (Check the group page).

4:14—He is great. He has passed into the heavens, He is Jesus, God’s Son.

4:15—He is touched with our infirmities and tempted in every way that we are tempted. 

5:5—He did not grasp the door of being priest for himself.

5:6—He was begotten of God.

5:7—He offered prayers and pleadings and confessed His fears to the One who could save Him..

5:8—Though He was a son, he learned obedience through suffering.

5:9—Being perfected He became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey.  

5:10—He was called by God after Melchisedek’s order.

6:20—He has gone beyond the torn vail. 

7:2—He is also King of Righteousness and King of Peace.

7:3—He is a continual priest without father, mother, descent, beginning or end.

7:8—He lives and receives tithes.

7:10—He is not of Aaron’s order.

7:14—He is not from the priestly tribe, but of Judah.

7:16—He was not made priest by a fleshly commandment, but by the authority of His resurrection and endless life.

7:20—He was made a priest forever with an oath from God (Psalm 110:4)..

7:22—He is our assurance of a better covenant with God. 

7::24—He is the singular high priest in an unchangeable priesthood.

7:25—He lives to keep on interceding.

7:26—He is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens.

7:27—He does not have to daily offer. He did that once and for all.

8:1—He has sat down on God’s right hand.

8:2—He ministers in a sanctuary and tabernacle not made with men’s hands. 

8:3—He had to have a gift, as priests do.

8::6—His ministry as priest is more excellent. His covenant is better. It is based on better promises.

9:11—He is a high priest of good things yet to come. Ministers in a tabernacle not made with hands. 

9:12—He offers His own blood rather than blood of bulls and goats, having already obtained our redemption.

9:14—This priest offered Himself (He is both the priest and the spotless sacrifice.), so that He can purge our consciences.

9:15—He is the mediator of the New Testament, involving an eternal inheritance.

9:24—He did not go into the physical tabernacle to minister, but into heaven, going to God in our behalf.

9:26—He put away sin by sacrificing Himself.

9:28—He was only once offered to bear the sins of many. He will appear the second time to save us eternally.

10:11,12—He offered once and then sat down on the right hand of the throne till all enemies are subdued. 

10:14—By one offering, He completed our sanctification.

10:20—Consecrated a new way for us through His torn vail/flesh.

10:21—He is the authority over the house of God.

10:22—He sprinkles our hearts, purifies our consciences, and washes our bodies.

Christ Over Color–(Part 2): When the World Got into the Church

It’s hard for a patriot to look back at her country’s history and see the dark days when sinful practices were legitimized, both in the legal processes of the nation and in the minds of those who governed. I am, for instance, while thankful that Providence allowed for the founding of our great nation, aware that the revolt against British government in the late 1700s, no matter how tyrannical and unfair that government, was a movement that Christians could not support, according to Romans 13.

Certainly, the dark history of slavery is another painful era for Christians to contemplate. While the Bible does not specifically condemn slavery, certainly the kind of forced slavery that occurred in our nation’s history is implicitly condemned by multiple principles and passages beginning with the Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12. There is simply no justification for the national sin that continued from prior to the birth of our country until the latter part of the nineteenth century. Much time could be spent on American slavery’s atrocities and the huge and multi-generational negative ramifications in our society. But that is not within the purview of this post.

One of those lasting ramifications was the culture of segregation that persisted for much of the twentieth century. The U.S. military was legally segregated, as was the public education system, as well as many public and private community and social facilities all over our nation. This was particularly true in the South.  At first, of course, it was a legal separation mandated by the Jim Crow laws, giving African Americans a “separate but equal” status in southern society. Let me once again emphasize that Christians—people who are called to adhere to the principles of the Word of God—have to constantly examine the culture around us and reject the ideas of culture that are sinful (Romans 12:1,2).

Sadly, there’s considerable evidence that the prevalent societal norm during the early to mid-twentieth century was far too influential in the thinking of many Christians. When I read statements such as the following, from men who were powerful and prominent preachers among us, I  can hardly believe it. The devil must have been very happy when he could succeed in getting men who were loudly proclaiming the gospel to make statements such as these:

…From a well-known preacher in the Bible Banner:

Reliable brethren in the Valley have reported the definite inclinations of the negro man and his wife in charge of the orphan home for colored children at Combes toward social equality. They are supposed to be members of the church, and some of the white brethren are apparently encouraging them. It is said that these two negroes have privately stated that they favor social equality and are working for it. The young editor of “Christian Soldier,” in the valley, admits that he roomed with the negro preacher, R. N. Hogan, and slept in the same bed with him two nights! And he seemed to be proud of it! Aside from being an infringement on the Jim Crow law, it is a violation of Christianity itself, and of all common decency. Such conduct forfeits the respect of right-thinking people, and would be calculated to stir up demonstrations in most any community if it should become generally known.”

…Another excerpt:

When (well-known preacher) held the valley-wide meeting at Harlingen, Texas, some misguided brethren brought a group of negroes up to the front to be introduced to and shake hands with him. Brother (preacher) told them publicly that he could see all of the colored brethren he cared to see on the outside after services, and that he could say everything to them that he wanted to say without the formality of shaking hands. I think he was right. He told of a prominent brother in the church who went wild over the negroes and showed them such social courtesies that one day one of the negroes asked him if he might marry his daughter. That gave the brother a jolt and he changed his attitude!”

I could include other quotations. It is a painful process to read and print such. I confess that the above quotations from men who preached the gospel in the 1940s were, to me, shocking and disturbing. How could these men, who studied their Bibles diligently, be so very calloused and hardened to the teachings that permeate its pages, from the golden rule of Matthew 7:12 to the treatise of James in chapter two?  Where was the disconnect?

I believe it was in the same place as it so often is today. We, without even recognizing its power, allow the thinking of society around us, to affect our own thinking and the result is that our words and actions are corrupted by the world.

The lesson for me is obvious. It is a parenthetical lesson as we travel through a study of race relations, but it is still important: May I never get comfortable accepting the ideas of the world around me without carefully and honestly scrutinizing them in the light of the Word. This has got to be true for me even in examining legal mandates. It must be true for me even with reference to the ideology of the leaders of society or the community’s respected voices. It must be true for me when examining messages from the pulpit. I am, at all times and in all ways, accountable to the Word. It is the Word that must guide me in matters of race relations and indeed, in all relations. If men who spent many hours weekly in the Word could be so affected by the world, surely I must  constantly be on guard, to be sure my mind is constantly being renewed by the Word (Romans 12:2).

Next Time: Lingering Fears in the 2017 Church

 

Sister to Sister: Christ over Color

For several months, my husband, Glenn, and I have been soberly thinking and praying about the racial tension that has recurrently and  sharply divided many areas of our country, particularly in reference to recent developments relating to police shootings and resulting rioting and violence. Even more specifically, we have been concerned that there may be areas in which the unity of congregations of the Lord’s body may be at risk because of racial issues. Several sisters have asked me to examine relevant issues, pray about them and respond to concerns. I am going to give my best attempt to explain, in the next few issues of Bless Your Heart, some of the threats that I see to unity among sisters and some ways in which the Bible, our guide in all such matters can help us stay focused on His plan for our families, brown and white, to work together to be one in Him as we keep our eyes on heaven. I surely do not have all the answers and I know that my wisdom is far inferior to that of many readers who have been in the Word with great diligence for many years. Yet, I believe God’s Word is very clear on the way we are to treat one another with regard to individual differences in the body. I think we can emerge from such a study with humble hearts, a greater love for each other and a determination to never allow the influence of the flawed world around us to mold our views and treatment of one another in Christ. I believe the gospel of Christ is absolutely the answer to racial tension and division. I know I love His body and I want to offer whatever small voice I have to protect her from attitudes that are harmful and inhibitive of the spread of the good news of salvation! So, beginning next week: “Sister to Sister: Christ Over Color”.

Sister to Sister: Just Sharing A Boost

The sweetest part of my weekend just might have been when a lady approached me as I was eating lunch on Saturday. I had just finished speaking at a ladies seminar near Montgomery, Alabama about the glorious bride of Jesus, the church. She told me her name and how that she had cared for her father until he passed away in his nineties. I could relate to that as I, along with my siblings, have the current privilege of doing that same wonderful thing. But then she said this: “I just want to tell you how very much we love your son, Caleb, over at the University church.”  She went on to tell me some of the things in which he had participated while he was a member at University during the years he attended graduate school at Faulkner. During these years, he also worked at Apologetics Press. All of those things made me smile. But then she said something I’ll always remember: “He used to come over to my house and have a Boost with my daddy.” 

There are at least four things that made me love knowing this:

  1. Caleb does not always like to try new things, especially drinks that are made to help older people ingest a bunch of calories, make up for nutritional losses and gain weight.
  2. Caleb is not a fan of calorie-laden foods or gaining weight, period.
  3. Caleb was extremely busy while he lived in Montgomery.
  4. This elderly, gentle Christian man, at this point in life, could offer very little in goods or services to Caleb, so he offered him a Boost, in more than one way. 

See, there’s really just one reason Caleb would have had a Boost. It was because the frail body and hesitant taste buds of his ninety-plus-year-old brother needed some encouragement to get that drink down. Sometimes, when a young person takes on the responsibility of helping older Christians gain physical strength, the simultaneous  and automatic result is that the young person grows in spiritual strength. That rich drink was meant to strengthen Caleb’s elderly friend. In reality, the biggest boost was probably for the young college student. 

And, because that student was my son, the boost was still being recycled today as this sweet sister told me something good about Caleb that I did not know. Someone could have told me that one of my children had done some great thing and I would not have been more encouraged. But wait, that’s exactly what happened.

“He that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).

Little Eden Nix, age 4, coincidentally asked her mother today “How can God take such good care of us when He doesn’t even have a wife?” Once again, there’s a big spiritual reality for little Eden. God has a wife; the glorious bride of God, the Son (Ephesians 5). She’s the church of Jesus Christ. It is through that “wife” that He does take such good care of us, providing water that permanently quenches (John 4), the Bread that gives life  (John 6:33), milk and meat (Hebrews 12), and, most importantly salvation from sins. And, in Montgomery, Alabama, on those visits to the home of a nonagenarian, it was the fellowship in that bride that provided a Boost from those wrinkled hands to young and agile ones that were learning the joy of “bride” service. I am glad God has a wife and I am so thankful to be married to Jesus. 

Dissenters Briskly Removed!

It is one of the hallmark traits of liberal thinking when a view is stated and, in the stating of it, there is an automatic preclusion of any disagreement or dissenting idea by others . Examples are everywhere you look, particularly in the writings and conversation of millennials:

On Facebook: “Feel free to comment, but negative remarks will be briskly deleted.”

On Twitter: “No time for haters.”  (Of course, often a “hater” is a person who expresses disagreement with a premise or application of such.)

In a letter: “Those who are characterized by fragility will feel compelled to be defensive about this…” 

On the phone: “You just haven’t come to understand this issue yet and so we cannot have a dialog.” 

All of these, as you can see, are different ways to say “You cannot have input in this conversation because you do not agree with me.” Interestingly enough, the very view being expressed, with which folks are not allowed to disagree, is most often an espousal made in the name of “tolerance.”

Very often today, the people for whom there is not time or space for comment are those who are  in a different age group, particularly those who are older—who have lived a bit longer than millennials.

Don’t get me wrong. I think those in their twenties and thirties who are attempting to contribute to conversations about political, ethical, social, and spiritual issues are often bright and well-informed. I think ideas emerging are often fresh and innovative. I can learn a lot from them IF the perspective is one of honesty, humility and objectivity. It’s the preclusion—the foregone conclusion that one has arrived at truth and dissenters will be “removed and blocked”…therein lies the problem. 

I’ve thought about Titus 2 a lot lately when reading millennial writers. If older men are to teach younger men in the Lord’s body…if older women are to teach younger women ( and that’s the acceptable scenario to prevent blasphemy of the Word)….I say, if these commanded conversations about relationships and daily Christian living are going to occur, the younger heart has to be malleable, kind, gentle and inquiring. The “all dissenters will be deleted” prohibition is not in Titus 2. In fact it’s not in the description of what is good:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8).

I pray that Titus 2 scenarios can be plentiful and blessed in the kingdom today. I certainly do not have all the answers now, but I surely am thankful for some older women who helped me figure out some very important things when I was younger. In fact, I’m thankful for some sixty, seventy, and eighty-somethings who are still helping this fifty-something figure things out.  

That’s my view for today. All dissenters welcome!

Sister to Sister: Still Using a Little Dixie Cup?


Looking at all of this water as I sit here watching the waves roll in on this beautiful Alabama Gulf shoreline brings to mind my two-year-old grandson, Ezra. It was a painstaking task for such a little one who  loves splashing in a puddle even more than I love putting my toes in this deep and expansive one.  But he was determined to make his own puddle for splashing in my bathroom floor with a dixie cup and a tiny stream of water running in my bathroom sink. I saw him pour the meager ounce of water on the hardwood and I asked him “Ezra, why on earth are you pouring water in Mammy’s floor?” 

“I make a puddle. I can spwash.”

“Well, you may NOT make a puddle in the floor, but you are welcome to make one in the bathtub, if you like.”

He smiled broadly. That was even better! He would get to carry the water in his little Dixie cup, that with each fill held a little less of its shape and got a little more crumpled. Tirelessly, he went back and forth from the sink to the tub, pouring his little purple and yellow cup half-full of water into the big garden tub, barely even making a wet spot for jumping. In truth, he was spilling more on the floor en route than he was collecting in the tub. 

It occurred to me that we, finite little creatures in the workings of an awesome God, are a lot like Ezra. We keep doing the same futile things over and over again, trying to make our own “puddles”. We painstakingly try to collect the things that will make for happiness in the end. We often spill and make messes in the process and what we ultimately accomplish is  small and temporal. We fail to realize that we have a Helper, who could give us unbelievably effective and permanent results if only we would come to know His ways for our lives.

See, Ezra didn’t think about the fact that there was a big and powerful source of water in the spout of that tub. What would come out of that waterspout, if I but turned a lever for him, would fill up his tiny Dixie cup hundreds of times without the trip he was making back and forth. In fact, he would not even need the crumpling cup. There would never be a mess on the floor and the danger of him slipping in that mess would never threaten. Not only that, but there’s a stopper in the bottom of that tub. With the turn of a big knob, I could plug that reservoir up, so that none of the water would be wasted. None of that big stream of water would go down the drain where his little trickle of a puddle of water had been slowly disappearing. All of the resources were there for Ezra to not only jump in a “puddle” and have a splashing good time, but there was enough ingenuity there for his little Scuffy tugboat to sail or even for him to have a heated sauna swim, had he preferred, as I would have if I were his two-year-old size. 

Sometimes the blessings and opportunities are all around us, but we keep carrying the Dixie cup, spilling the contents along the way and processing through the same futile routines over and over again. We think we can work our way to desired goals only to find out in the end that our dreams are disappearing down the huge drain that only our God can plug. He has every resource we need to achieve what really will make us happy and fulfilled, but we fail to investigate His Will. We fail to ask for His wisdom. We fail to understand fully His resourcefulness. He controls all the levers and knobs and he freely offers His limitless capability for our ultimate progress and benefit. But often, like Ezra, we just go on about our vain tasks with impotent precision, expending life’s time and energy in fruitless pursuits. (In this case, it was profitable for me to allow Ezra to be “entertained” for a while before I showed him the “puddle” I could so easily make for him. See, I needed to dry my hair and put on my make-up. But God is never too busy to turn on the living water for those who are seeking it [John4:10].)

I know many people who have thrown away the Dixie cup and turned on the waterspout. Can I help you know His will for your life? You can stop living small and messy and start basking in His spiritual abundance!

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Ecc. 2:11)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecc. 12:13)