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“Pay Close Attention to the Fundamentals”

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 2
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player who ever lived.Yet, even Michael Jordan was cut from his basketball team during his sophomore season of varsity basketball.Following being cut, he worked even harder at his game and saw that failure as an opportunity to succeed.Michael once said, “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”I would imagine that Michael worked nearly every day on the fundamentals of the game to improve.Even as an NBA legend, during his pregame rituals you could find him working on the fundamentals. In Hebrews 2:1 the writer says, “…we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it”.Could it be that the writer is giving us a warning to make sure we pay close attention to those fundamentals of our faith?I believe he is; but what are these fundamentals?If you will notice Hebrews 1 is reminding us of the way that God has communicated with His people over the course…

“Adoring the Doctrine”

BIBLE READING: Titus 1-Hebrews 1
In Titus 2.10 Paul encourages us to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior”.That word “adorn” is a very interesting choice of words.The Greek word for “adorn”, is the word in which we get our English word “cosmetics”.It means “causing something to have an attractive appearance”.We have seen this word before from Paul in I Timothy 2.9 when he directs the women to “adorn themselves with proper clothing”.John uses this word in Revelation 21.2 to describe the heaven as a “bride adorned for her husband”.Yet here in this context Paul is using the word as he addresses slaves.Slaves (or bondservants) were considered the lowest class on the social chart.Here Paul is reminding them that it doesn’t matter what class you are in, how much money that you have or what you even look like; you can be attractive to others by allowing the doctrine of Christ to be seen in your life.How is it possible for a “slave”, to be attractive as it adorned the doctrine of Christ?By do…

“The Book of Better Things”

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 1
Several years ago, as a child while attending a Gospel Meeting, I was listening to a Minister teach a class on the overview of the book of Hebrews.That was the first time I had ever heard the book of Hebrews being called the “Book of Better Things”.Essentially, that is exactly what it is about.It explains how the new covenant is much better than the old covenant, how the one new sacrifice is better than all the old ones, and the one mediator is better than the many of the past.In fact, the very first chapter sets the stage for this as he introduces the concept of Jesus being the means by which God speaks to us.Long ago, God spoke to humanity through the patriarchs like Adam, Noah and Abraham.Then He spoke to us through Moses and the Law, as He began to reveal to us how the Law was going to show us just how much we needed Jesus.Finally, God saw fit for us to speak to us using Jesus.How is Jesus better than the patriarch and the Law?The book of Hebrews answers th…

“Strength in Submission”

BIBLE READING: Philemon 1
During the Reformation, when Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli were exchanging strong words about Biblical interpretations and ecclesiastical practices, Zwingli spent a troubled morning walking the mountain trails of his beloved Switzerland. From a distance he observed two goats making their way toward each other on a path barely stitched to the side of a cliff. It was obvious that these nimble creatures could not pass one another. As the goats approached each other, each feinted a power move at the other in what looked like the beginning of a battle. In a surprise twist, however, one goat suddenly collapsed onto the narrow ledge so the other goat could walk over its back. Then each moved on. Zwingli was impressed. Here was strength defined by submission. It allowed two opponents to survive a crisis so both could get on with more important things. Zwingli applied the lesson to his next encounter with Luther. The same principle is evident in Paul’s words to Philemo…

“He Saved Us”

BIBLE READING: Titus 3
There are some things in life that we take for granted on a regular basis.For instance, even as you read this devotional you are inhaling air that contains about 21% oxygen. When you breathe in, ‘fresh’ air, it enters your lungs and reaches the air sacs (alveoli) which have very thin walls in contact with blood capillaries. The (deoxygenated) blood contains hemoglobin which has an affinity for oxygen. By the process of diffusion, oxygen is driven by the blood, taken up by the hemoglobin (in the red blood cells), and then transported by circulation to the rest of the cells in the body. Then the expired air now contains less oxygen and more carbon dioxide is exhaled from the body only to begin the monotonous process again.I will have to admit, I had to google that explanation of how oxygen from the air enters our blood stream.Proving my very point…we inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale; instinctively without a second thought.We get so caught up …

“A Model of Good Works”

BIBLE READING: Titus 2 As we live in this world, there a lot of things that are out of our control.We cannot control what the stock market will do, we can’t dictate the weather, we can’t even control how other people treat us.When we notice all the things that are beyond our control, it is easy to remember what we can control…ourselves.As Paul imparts his words of wisdom from the Holy Spirit to Titus he says “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8) We mustn’t forget that the conditions that Titus was living in were not the most Christian.Daily he was having to deal with pagans, sexual immorality, mercenaries and liars.No matter how much work Titus did in Crete, he could not control the conditions that he was living in.However, he could make a difference in their lives by the way he handle…

“We Need Leaders Too”

BIBLE READING: Titus 1 The island of Crete was not a very wholesome place for one to live.The island was known to inhabit criminals and mercenaries who would commit heinous acts for the highest bidder.It was so well known for being a place of dishonesty and deceit that Paul even quotes one of the Cretan prophets in Titus 1.12 “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons”.In fact, if you were to call someone a Cretan, you were essentially calling them a liar. Geographically, the island had many strategic seaports that sent ships all over the known world.The Apostle Paul thought because of all the dishonest, idolatry and immorality as well as the strategic places of the seaports, this seemed like a perfect place for him to establish a church.Afterall, they needed Jesus and with so many people coming and going into the city this would aid in the spread of the Gospel.In fact, there seemed to have already been several house churches from those who might have heard the Gospel on …