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Hebrews 4 Ministries

"For the word of God is alive and active."
Hebrews 4:12
Daily Devotions for the week
Sometimes, it can be hard to understand why God leads us through difficult times. In fact, the idea that God would create hardship in our lives often becomes a stumbling block to us understanding His love. After-all, if God truly were a loving God, He would never willingly cause pain and heartache in our lives, right? But, what if the very situation we are complaining about – the pain and the suffering that we lament having to endure – were in fact an expression of His love? It sounds crazy. It doesn’t sound fair. You may even be thinking, ‘Love me less then, Lord.’ But, before we dismiss God as cruel or indifferent to our problems, let’s take a step back. We know that there are times in scripture when God made it very clear that the pain and hardship He allowed had a purpose that obviously led to joy and provision. Take for instance the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. He honestly suffered miserably at the hand of his brothers, his employer’s wife and others. He was beaten, sold into slavery, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and forgotten in prison. We discover, however, that these tragedies were ordained by God because He had a greater purpose. Joseph even admits, “You intended to harm me, but God tended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) A few hundred years later, God would again prove that the path of hardship may be a blessing in disguise when He led the young nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 13:17-18 tell us, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So, God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.” The road through Philistine country would have only taken a few days, and it was a road – well traveled – well supplied – well protected. The desert took far long, had no amenities only hardship, thirst and hunger. There was one thing more it lacked – Philistines. Often, we focus on the hardship and not the blessing. We focus on the difficulty and not the pain it may avoid. The other direction was easier and shorter, but it led to a war the Israelites were not prepared for. The difficult way brought hardship and struggles but it gave them time to prepare for the war they would have face. Sometimes, it can be hard to understand why God leads us through difficult times. That’s where faith comes in. That’s where trust shines in the dark. Can we, like Joseph, hang on God’s promises and trust that even the hard road has a purpose? We may not always understand God’s ways, but we can trust His ways are always motivated by love, and that makes all the difference. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
Standing up for what is right can often be a challenging stand, especially when we are asked to stand alone. The crowd offers comfort in numbers but not always comfort to our souls. When God sought to teach His people about how to live righteously and how to honor and love our neighbors, he told Moses to write: “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” (Exodus 23:2) Simply because the mob is strong doesn’t mean it is right. The fact that evil is shouted does not make it love. We must not harden our hearts to the truth. We must stand firm and resist allowing our culture’s love of evil and self from corrupting the way we live; the way we fight for the those who are defenseless; and how we hold unswervingly to God’s word. It may not be fashionable to follow Jesus. It may not even be accepted and might even be condemned by the world around us. However, we cannot follow the crowd in doing wrong. We cannot allow ourselves to become weak to the temptation of being included. There are more on the side of righteousness than we might think when the wicked shout so boldly. Stand firm for the cause of love. Refuse to give in to hate and violence. Embrace God’s word and allow it to shield your heart from the bold lies of this corrupt world. When the crowd seeks malicious gain through a flood of violence, only love can stop the tirade. Only light can end the darkness, and we are that light. One small candle cannot possible light the whole world, but it can light the candle next to it. Together we can keep the dark at bay and resist hate with the light of love. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” Psalm 37:1-2 It can be very hard to resist the worry that creeps up when we see evil prevailing in our society. Perhaps, like Elijah, we want to find a quiet and secluded cave to hide. Perhaps, like Job, we long to plead our case so the world knows our innocence. We honestly need only believe and hold tight to that belief. God is God and there is no other! Nothing can prevail against us that He does not allow. We may feel very much like the Israelites did when they fled the bondage of Egypt. Before them stood a raging sea. Behind them thundered down the mighty chariot army of Pharaoh. They looked doomed, but God is not swayed by the appearance of things. He knew there was a plan and that not even the depths of the sea could stop His love from saving His children. Matthew Henry once wrote, “What seems to tend to the church’s ruin, is often overruled to the ruin of the church’s enemies… Those who set their faces heavenward, and will live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect to be set upon by Satan’s temptations and terrors. He will not tamely part with any out of his service.” Let Satan rage. We no longer belong to him. We no longer quake at his vile threats or empty promises. We belong to the God who parted the Red Sea. We belong to the God who stepped down from heaven to save us. We will not worry in the face of evil men’s desires. We will stand on God’s promises and keep our eyes on heaven; remembering that God’s will and His purpose can never be thwarted (Isaiah 46:10). (Written by Keegan Harkins.)
The burdens of life can crush the soul. They can blind us from what really matters. If we could see the burdens each heart carries, we would be overwhelmed by what some people hide underneath their polish smiles and joking expressions. Just beneath the surface, these burdens weigh down the heart and choke the joy from life. What if there was a way to erase those burdens, one by one? What if there was a way we could set them at the foot of the cross and never feel their weight again? For many of us, this sounds like an impossibility. The burdened heart hears the command to leave their worries at Jesus’ feet, but they just don’t know how. We must do more than smile and say, “Be blessed my friend.” We must reach, we must mean the kind words we say. We must sacrifice of our day, our schedule, our expectations and truly care about the weight others carry. Burdens don’t have to be the noose that tightens around our neck. They don’t have to be the sour in the pit of our stomach or the fear that suffocates our very breath. There is a way. But, often it takes more than a song, more than an uplifting poster or virtual hug. Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Some burdens cannot be carried alone. Are you willing to reach out and take some of the load? (Written by Keegan Harkins.) 
Mathew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” True righteousness is not just about our acts, it is an inward reality. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees who did many righteous acts because they were hypocrites with impure motives. They did it to gain the recognition of man and wanted to be considered pious. Their righteousness was indeed like filthy rags. True righteousness comes from Christ alone. We are made righteous through our faith in Jesus. We must stay in a place of pursuing that righteousness that only Christ can give.
Hunger and thirst provoke me to action. When I am hungry or thirsty, getting something to eat and drink becomes a primary concern. Everything else becomes secondary in my quest to satisfy that desire for food and drink. When I am hungry and thirsty for righteousness, I have a deep desire for the more of God. I don’t make excuses for why I can’t pursue the one who makes me righteous. My hunger for the more of Him creates a desperation that causes me to hurdle over the excuses so that I can sit at His feet. He fills me and at the same time leaves me longing for more.  I want to remain in that place of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, how about you? (Written by Anika Jones.)
When we follow where God leads, we should expect and rely with confidence on God’s ability and desire to supply everything we need. Over and over in scripture, we are told that God knows what we need and supplies the right amount in the right time. In fact, Jesus challenged our pattern of worrying about what the future holds and how we will be provided for in Matthew 6:31-34. He said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” He teaches us some very valuable lessons in these verses. He reminds us that when we seek God’s kingdom and His will, He will provide for all our needs. We need to be unrelenting in our hope for God’s provisions. As Hebrews 10:23 encourages, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” God has promised to provide when we put Him and His will first in our lives. He knows what we need, even when our needs do not reflect our wants. Our challenge, as faithful servants and loving children of God, desires what God desires and live contently in the provision of our Creator. May your every desire be fulfilled in everything God has and everything He calls you to do. Never forget or doubt that He not only knows the plans He has for you but also exactly what you need to fulfil those plans. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)

Hebrews 4 Ministries

"For the word of God is alive and active."
Hebrews 4:12