Tag Archives: hebrews

Don’t be allured by the illusion! Spiritually assess the true value.

Most people believe that violins by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737), which sell for millions of dollars, project a superior sound to modern violins. On the contrary, modern sound tests have failed to show the proof of these claims. In fact, in a recent series of tests, Stradivari’s violins, once again, failed to impress…well, sort of.

Stradivari’s violins are beautiful works of art. But in “blind” sound tests, such as those published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, modern violins are preferred. Modern violins are consistently said to project sound louder and better. But, guess what? When listeners were told a Stradivarius was being played, they picked it as the better instrument!

This isn’t unusual. Name brands are perceived to have quality. People pay thousands more for name brand watches, purses, etc. In functionality, though, the illusion of the brand often fails to live up to perceptions of superiority.

Assume that you had paid millions of dollars for a Stradivarius because you thought it had superior sound. Then it failed to impress when compared to a far less expensive, modern violin. Would you feel duped?

In Spiritual matters we see this every day. People are duped by the illusion of worldly matters. But the illusion of this world’s value is surpassed immensely by the actual value of heaven and the functional reality of the gospel.

The Hebrews writer lets us know why Jesus is better: As the Son, Jesus is greater than all messengers and messages (1:4-7); He builds a greater house than Moses (3:1-6); Jesus brings a greater rest than Joshua did (4:8-9); He is a greater priest than Aaron because He is sinless and lives forever (7:26-28); He has a greater ministry with a greater covenant, built on greater promises, with the greatest sacrifice (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6; 9:12).

Those who live for this world cannot see beyond its allure. Rather, we must appraise the value of things according to their spiritual worth (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)! Things in the world have the illusion of being better, but Jesus is the best! And why would you listen to anything else?

Take It On Faith…And Hear The Applause!

It took a moment for David Colby to figure out what the fuss was about. David is an amateur golfer who was playing at the CareerBuilder Challenge in Palm Springs. He had just teed off on a par 3 at the 17th when he heard loud cheering and applause from the gallery…a hole-in-one!

To say the least, the look on Colby’s face was amusing. If it had been my shot, they would have been cheering because I made it on the green! Instead, Colby got a hole-in-one and won a car at the same time.

The reason Colby was clueless about his shot was the topography of the hole. He was hitting into an area where he couldn’t see the green. But there was no doubt. Why? The applause of the crowd.

There are a couple of great lessons I like from Colby’s experience:

#1, “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitudes rule those who choose to deny God, but in all other areas of life, people accept far less data than scripture provides. Colby heard applause, his caddy gave him a high-five, and a tournament director told him he won a car. He accepted, as fact, all of this, without having seen it. Why? Reliable testimony.

#2, He knew he had victory because of the applause of the crowd. Many were cheering for him. They were happy to see him succeed. Also, a hole-in-one is a rare feat in golf, and many were glad to have witnessed the shot.

The Bible teaches both lessons:

#1, Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Seeing isn’t the only way of believing. The evidence, nevertheless, is there.

#2, Hebrews 12:1 teaches that great acts of faith, by the faithful who have gone on before us, continue to cheer us on. They remind us to remain faithful, even unto death.

Listen. Can you hear the cheering? We overcome in Him. A hole-in-one may win you a car, but remaining faithful leads to an eternal crown of righteousness. Our victory is in Jesus!

The Grilled Cheese Cronut? Well-played, Satan. Well-played.

cronutAccording to a recent article in Medical Daily (click here), “Pastry hybrids are all the rage with today’s food frenzies.” In the hybrid category, the “Cronut” (basically, a donut-like crescent) has been king since October 2013, when Chef Dominique Ansel introduced it. King, that is, until now!

Our newest obsession? The Grilled Cheese Cronut. Looking delicious and tempting, pictures of the Cheese Cronut have been making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media as the “must try” treat of the season. And, while the grilled cheese cronut might fulfill a craving for the perfect pastry hybrid, no sane person would argue that it is a healthy snack.

And, sadly, this is where fantasy ends and reality begins. While this caloric nightmare might look good, smell good, and taste good, it is terrible for us! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good, fried treat as much as the next person, perhaps more. But if we become hooked, we will follow our taste buds into heart disease, high blood-pressure, cholesterol problems, and other chronic conditions.

The Bible warns us about the same problems, but with spiritual junk food. And many people have already given themselves over to a steady diet of meaningless stories, “moving of the Spirit,” tales from beyond, and “devotional” books that look good and feel good, but leave the reader with no actual, scriptural nutrition.

The writer of Hebrews plainly states, “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited” (Hebrews 13:9). Are you being benefitted by what you consume? If it isn’t the teaching and commands of scripture, then it might taste good, but it won’t give you the nutrients you need for life.

So, I say, well-played, Satan; the cronut is an impressive temptation to my diet. But no “leading of the Spirit” will ever tempt me to disregard the clear teaching of scripture. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He does not say one thing in His Word and the opposite through feelings we have.

2 Timothy 4:3-5

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Not an angel, but a good reward anyway!

Image: Dave Matthews and Emily Kraus

Have you ever had one of those moments when you had to make a split decision between stopping to ask someone if they are ok or drive on because you have somewhere to be? Emily Kraus will never forget the time she stopped to ask. Emily and her boyfriend were on the way to a Dave Mathews concert, when they saw a bike rider with a flat tire on the side of the road. What would you have done?

In this dangerous world, it is hard to know whether or not to stop. And I am not telling you that stopping is the right thing for you. But I am glad to say that this time it all worked out. You see, the guy just happened to be Dave Matthews! He was out for a bike ride before his concert that night and he was stuck with a flat and no cell phone to get help. Many people passed by, but Emily and her boyfriend decided to stop. Imagine their surprise when they learned it was Matthews! He graciously invited the couple to dinner, gave them backstage passes and front row seats to his concert. He even mentioned their kindness during the concert. Quite a payoff for deciding to stop!

The Hebrews writer states, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). While I am not ruling out the possibility that there are angels on the earth today, that isn’t really what this passage says. The Hebrews writer is merely looking back in history and saying that people doing the will of God, such as Lot, have entertained angels without knowing who they were (Genesis 19). We must be kind to fellow Christians, strangers, prisoners, and those who are ill-treated by society. And if we do so in the name of Christ, we will be rewarded for our efforts.

And if you think Emily and her boyfriend had a great payoff, think about eternity with our Lord where His children will have great joy (Jude 1:24) and all-access passes!