Sunday, 31 December 2017

Better blood

(You have come) to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.                    Heb. 12.24

Abel suffered violence and death at his brother's hand. Cain's jealousy caused him to commit the most atrocious, and deadly, crime against his brother. Abel's blood cries out in protest against this violence and injustice.

Christ's blood, on the other hand, was shed purely out of love. John expresses this clearly when he says, "God so loved the world." God loved us so much that He sent His own Son to die for our sins. This is the cause of the spilling of Jesus' blood. He came as mediator of the covenant of love and grace. God has always loved. He is unchanging. His love for us has always been sure. What the new covenant brought was His action of redemption in love. The Old Testament presents one opportunity after another for people to return to God through their own right actions. But they are unable to do so - and we are unable to do so! God does it for us.

The blood of Jesus does indeed speak a better word than the blood of Abel. Love and grace demolish and overcome violence and injustice. Whereas the blood of Abel cried out in protest, the blood of Jesus invites. It says, "The price has been paid. Come to the Father. Return to Him and let Him love you. Do not struggle in your sin. Release it, and give yourselves into the arms of love."

Holy God,
I thank You for the blood of Jesus. I receive its message of love, grace and hope. I confess my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I give myself into the arms of love.           Amen.

Friday, 29 December 2017

In training

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.                                                                                                                 Heb. 12.22

The destination for the believer is the heavenly Jerusalem. Here in the presence of the living God and in company of multitudes of angels will be joy, unlimited and unceasing. This is God's covenant of eternal love.

In the immediately preceding verses the writer has presented aspects of the first covenant that was given to Moses on the mount. The mountain was afire and the people were afraid. Here they met the awesome God. Here they heard warnings that frightened them with fearful and severe penalties.

Christ offers a new covenant - of love, hope and joy. This is what I look forward to. And I am living in this covenant already. It is not complete, nor will it be complete while I remain in this earthly life. But I give myself to the covenant and I adopt a lifestyle of love, of acceptance of people as they are, of forgiving and not festering. I seek joy and peace in the day to day. I look for wonder and delight in the ordinary. I seek the heavenly Jerusalem to the extent that I can find it in this earthly existence.

I am in training. One day I will pass into the fulfilment of Christ's covenant for me. One day all will be joy, peace, love and blessing. Meanwhile, I seek it as I go, and I hope to spread it during my journey.

Loving Lord,
I embrace Your new covenant of love. I seek to live it to the fullest I am able in this earthly existence. Be with me always. Guide me in truth and in love.
I ask this in Jesus' name.                Amen.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.                                                                                                                                               Heb. 12.17

This verse refers to Esau. He sold his inheritance in order to gain one single, solitary meal. Afterwards, he rued what he had done. He was rejected even though he pressed his claim with a deep demonstration of emotion. He missed out, and it came by his own actions.

What a clear lesson there is here for us to be mindful of the decisions we make and the actions we take. It is better to fully consider situations before we launch into any action. Later remorse may be of no real effect. How different might the Old Testament story have been if Esau had not sold his birthright!

The question arises in my mind - Who, or what, is leading you? Esau was led by his appetite and, I suggest, by a somewhat volatile temperament. I endeavour to give myself to God for His leading. Even so, I need to keep myself ever vigilant to be sure I'm hearing what He would say to me. This requires me to give time for Him to speak to me. I need to situate myself quietly and in a relaxed manner, and then not rush to be onto the "next thing". No, God is the next thing, and must always be so.

Almighty God,
I seek Your guidance at all times. I pray for no cause to ever be remorseful about decisions I have made. May my choices always be in You. And if I should make a decision that is not led by You. I ask You to change it. I give myself to You for Your direction on all things.                        Amen.

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