August 7, 2020
Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
Life feels like it is “on hold” these days.  “After the Coronavirus goes away . . .”  Complete the sentence.  What will we do?  We begin a number of sentences with this exact sentiment.  “When this is over, I want to . . .”  Out and about I get to see some of my sheep at a social distance.  One said to me, “When this is over, we all need to give each other hugs . . .”  Amen.  But it may have to be over before we can, right?

Does God begin sentences with those words, too?  What do you think?  Is God waiting for the virus to leave?  The recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were experiencing the first pangs of persecution.  No blood had been shed, as yet. But the martyrdom of early believers was not far away.  The writer starts his benediction with, “Now.”  I have said before, I want to produce a watch which always has one word written on its screen, “Now.”  Why?  Whatever time of day it is, it is always, “Now.”

The writer prays that the God of peace who raised Jesus from the dead, the great Shepherd of the sheep, will equip the believers with everything good for doing his will.  If we pray that prayer, as my friend loves to say, “Won’t he do it?”  Won’t God give us everything good for doing his will?  God is not at all like the ancient Pharaoh who took away the Israelite’s straw and simultaneously raised the quota of bricks they had to make.  Doesn’t God want us to have everything we need to do his will?  He does!

When the writer uses the word “may,” in his benedictions, he is offering a prayer.  May he work in us what is pleasing to him.  This is a good prayer for us to pray at the end of reading Hebrews and at the beginning of a new day:  “May God work in us what is pleasing to him . . .” 

God’s will and work in his world are not on hold.  Not at all.  He is working in our waiting.  Even more, God is right on time.  So he will continue to show us his will and give us everything we need to do to do it.  When?  Now.  Because whatever time it is where we live, it is always, “Now.”  Now is the acceptable time.  Today is the day of salvation.  

Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you that you never lack.  You always have everything we need to do your will.  Please help us to use your good gifts to do good today.  Help us not to waste this present moment but to improve upon it by doing all the good we possibly can.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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