A daily devotion for December 30th
13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a]
6 So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]
7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.Hebrews 13:4-5
Nonconformity to the world must certainly involve these areas. The loose sexual standards of our generation and the intense materialistic spirit of this age constitute a constant peril to our hearts, and we must beware of them. We must realize that God has undertaken to sustain the sacredness of marriage and that he unceasingly, unrelentingly judges violations of it. Therefore, we dare not heed the fine sounding declarations being made today about a
new morality, as though we had passed beyond the ancient standards and they no longer had significance.
As this writer reminds us, God judges the immoral and adulterous. He does not mean that God looses lightning bolts from heaven against them, or that he causes terrible diseases to come upon them; these are not the forms of judgment. But we can see the judgment of God in the anguish and pain which sweep like a plague across this land. They are due to the breakdown of moral standards. The certain deterioration of life is the judgment of God. It is the brutalization of humanity, so men become like animals and live on the level of animals. This is so apparent in our day.
Then there is the danger of materialism. We must swim against the strong currents of a luxury loving age. We must not give in to the pressures to
keep up with the Joneses, the mad rush to have all that the world around us has. The weakness of the Church is due in large part to the failure of Christians to be content with what God gives them.
This does not mean that all Christians should take a vow of poverty. There is nothing like that in the New Testament. God allows levels of prosperity that are different one from another. The point the writer makes is not that there is anything wrong in riches, but that we must learn to be content with what God has given. Contentment is not having what you want; it is wanting only what you have.
It is difficult to know where to draw the line between a proper increase in the standard of living, and needless luxury which is really waste, but the secret is given in the latter part of the verse:
For he has said, That is the promise of God. He is our great and unending resource and will never fail us. Here is the strongest negative in the New Testament. The original carries the thought,
I will never fail you nor forsake you.
I will never, never, under any circumstances, ever leave you or forsake you. It is a mighty declaration and on the basis of it the writer says we should declare,
The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid (of loss or poverty or anything else). What can man do to me? If I have God, what can man do to me? The point is that we must be content to take only what God gives us.
Lord, help me not to conform to this world, always grasping for more. Teach me to be content and to believe that you will never leave nor forsake me.
Life Application: Is either affluence or poverty making us restless and discontent? What effect does our discontent have on our marriage? Whom, or what do we trust to both determine and provide our essential needs?
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