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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, March 2, 2017
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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb ♥
Today’s scripture reading:
Apparently some were teaching that keeping the Old Testament ceremonial laws and rituals (such as not eating certain foods) was important for salvation. But these laws were useless for conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. The laws could influence conduct, but they could not change the heart. Lasting changes in conduct begin when the Holy Spirit lives in each person.
Since these Jewish Christians, because of their witness to the Messiah, no longer worshiped with other Jews, they should consider praise and acts of service their sacrifices—ones they could offer anywhere, anytime. This must have reminded them of the prophet Hosea’s words, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you he sacrifice of praise” (Hosea 14:2). A “sacrifice of praise” today would include thanking Christ for his sacrifice on the cross and telling others about it. Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others. (NLT)
Hebrews 13:7-16 – Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your spiritual strength comes from God’s special favor, not from ceremonial rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.
We have an altar from which the priests in the Temple on earth have no right to eat. Under the system of Jewish laws, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, but the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates in order to make his people holy by shedding his own blood. So let us go out to him outside the camp and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.
With Jesus’ help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.
Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. –Psalm 116:17 (KJV)
Heidi Gaul (Oregon) titled her story “A PRECIOUS GIFT;” here is a portion of Heidi’s story:
“I’ve always observed Lent by sacrificing something to help me remember Christ’s holy sacrifice for me. But over the years some of my passion for this practice dimmed, and I began to question my motives for observing this spiritual discipline. Does Christ really find pleasure in my ‘suffering’? I had to acknowledge that the answer was a resounding no. After all, Christ loves me!
“Divided between the desire to make a heartfelt offering to God and the ambivalence I felt, I struggled. I yearned to give God what I considered most precious – and with some reluctance, I realized that what is most precious to me is my time. Most days I feel I don’t have a second to spare.
“Committing to give God an hour daily is a genuine sacrifice – but like everything I’ve given in the past, my time already belongs to God. Those 60 minutes – bowing in prayer, reading the Bible, or volunteering – leave me stronger and happier. I now share a more intimate relationship with Christ than I’ve enjoyed in years. I haven’t really given up anything after all. I’ve discovered the riches of time well spent in the presence of God.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – One of the greatest gifts I can give to God is my time.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your sacrifice and for the blessing we find when we move closer to you – day by day, hour by hour. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/