Speak a Blessing...Be a Blessing

hugging a tree
hugging a tree

Is there someone in your life that needs hope and encouragement? How about all of us? While preparing recently to teach a study on Hebrews 11, God's Hall of Faith, I read, as if for the first time, about two of the patriarchs that I rarely ever think of in connection with faith: Isaac and Jacob.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:20-21 NIV

Yes, that word blessed jumped out at me. And I remembered a significant moment in time on the last day of a preschool class I taught back in 1998-1999. It was significant because of what the Lord did and what He taught me as a result.

Why not reminisce with me via a blog I wrote to celebrate my "preschoolers" graduation from Xenia Christian High School.  And then answer my original question:

Is there someone in your life that needs hope and encouragement?

tree huggers
tree huggers

Why not be the one to speak a blessing...and be a blessing!

PS If you would like to read my entire "trip into yesteryear," click on Kingdom Academy.

The Blessing 1999

Sometime during the school year, I had read The Blessing by Gary Smalley & John Trent. In that wonderful book, the authors explore our human need for approval and validation. They show how this need was met in the Biblical blessings given by fathers to children. But also we could do this for our children today and for others we care about. The authors listed 5 elements to the Blessing:

1. Meaningful touch 2. Spoken words 3. Expressing High value 4. Picturing a Special Future 5. Active commitment

I intended to use what I learned from this book to bless my own young adult children and the ladies in my Bible study group. I basically left it at that, but God had other ideas.

It was the last day of PK class. We were gathering our things into each child's box. Just as we were all lined up and starting to walk down the hall and out to the waiting moms, the Holy Spirit stopped me. "Bless them!"

PK 98 last day
PK 98 last day

So there in the hallway, I laid my hands on them one by one and prayed over each in turn...unique words and blessings for every child. I wish I had journaled the blessings...alas! I didn't :(

But what I'll never forget are the eager little faces...as each child waited his turn to be blessed!

No dry eyes for me...and a lesson learned in the value of blessing others!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I Am A Promise I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I’m a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice

I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!


The Pilgrim Spirit of Faith (Hebrews 11)

We are so tied to the here and now, aren't we?  But at the heart of the life of faith is belief in the unseen God and trust in His promises that this world is not all there is.  People of faith are "pilgrims," "aliens."

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth...Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13,16

pilgrimage
pilgrimage

A bumper sticker I recently saw says it well,

We are not human [temporal] beings having a spiritual [eternal] experience. We are spiritual [eternal] beings having a human [temporal] experience.

If our existence on this earth is temporal, then it is temporary.  And according to God, it's fleeting...and we need to come to grips with that if we are to have the correct perspective of life on earth.  So...

...let these Scriptures wash over you, and then humbly worship the unseen God, our Father, Who loves us!

Hear my prayer, O Lord!    Listen to my cries for help!    Don’t ignore my tears.For I am your guest    a traveler passing through,    as my ancestors were before me. Psalm 39:12 NLT

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,    it will become a place of refreshing springs.    The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger,    and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. Psalm 84:5-7 NLT

Your word has been the music of my lifethroughout the years of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:54

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.Psalm 107:43 NLT

your life a vapor
your life a vapor

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 NASB

grass of the field
grass of the field

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children... Psalm 103:15-17 NASB

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Cor 4:16-18 NASB

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NASB

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Who am I, that the lord of all the earth Would care to know my name Would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that the bright and morning star Would choose to light the way For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin Would look on me with love And watch me rise again? Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea Would call out through the rain And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

I am yours Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? 'Cause I am yours I am yours

We are Part of Something Bigger than Us! (Hebrews 11)

Hebrews 11
Hebrews 11

John Eldridge in his book The Sacred Romance says that deep inside of us is a longing for intimacy and adventure.  Here in Hebrews 11, we definitely see both!  The intimacy is with a God who spoke us into existence and now can be trusted to care for us every step of the way (we will see this again in Heb 12). And the adventure...oh my!  We are part of something bigger than ourselves...and that's exciting!  We are in the "race of faith" with a long line of "runners"...some famous, like Abraham and Moses; some infamous and unlikely, like Rahab and Samson; and some unknown, like those who were sawn in two (among other horrors)...people "of whom the world is not worthy," the writer to the Hebrews says (Hebrews 11:38).

What is it enables us to endure, like our fellow runners?  It's faith!  Not the world's kind of faith, which makes faith a work, or a "name it and claim it," or an "entity" in myself that I need to muster up enough of to get what I want.  NO!  As Andrew Murray says, "faith is confessed helplessness, casting itself on God [the living God, the "I Am"] and His promises [which are 'yes and amen!']."

Heb 11:1
Heb 11:1

So the nature of true, Biblical faith has to do with the unseen and the future.  It is confidence in what we don't see:  God & His promises; not in what we do see:  circumstances, people, things, feelings, etc.

And the outcome of faith is that it puts "a smile on God's face"...it pleases Him.  He puts His stamp of approval on us!  In fact, He so loves to see faith that He witnesses to it in us...He testifies to it in His children.  Remember how God boasted of Job?  "Have you observed my servant Job?"  That's what God does when He sees true faith!

According to Spiro Zodiates in his Word Studies in the NT, the words, "to be approved, to obtain the testimony, obtained the witness" are all the same Greek word in the passive voice (which means someone else does it).  The exciting thing is that God "lauds" [dare I say, "applauds"] us and "reports well" of us because of our faith (which faith, by the way, is a gift, Ephesians 2 :8-9; as is everything in life!)

So this means that God is looking for faith, not perfection!  And that is good news to those of us who worship at the altar of "doing the right thing" or "doing it perfectly."  It may sound so right to be trying so hard to be perfect or get it right, but where is God in that picture?  That sounds more like self-effort and a "works with a smidge of God" type spirituality.

Heb 11:6
Heb 11:6

As you reflect on these far-from-perfect-people in Hebrews 11, thank God that, despite your "fluctuations of body and soul,"  you can walk by faith TODAY, because HE IS and He rewards those who seek HIM...step by step...by faith!

Hebrews 11 – Ray Stedman

BY FAITH Keith & Kristen Getty

By faith we see the hand of GodIn the light of creation's grand designIn the lives of those who prove His faithfulnessWho walk by faith and not by sight

By faith our fathers roamed the earthWith the power of His promise in their heartsOf a holy city built by God's own handA place where peace and justice reign

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith the prophets saw a dayWhen the longed-for Messiah would appearWith the power to break the chains of sin and deathAnd rise triumphant from the grave

By faith the church was called to goIn the power of the Spirit to the lostTo deliver captives and to preach good newsIn every corner of the earth

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith this mountain shall be movedAnd the power of the gospel shall prevailFor we know in Christ all things are possibleFor all who call upon His name

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

Mercy Came Running (Hebrews 8-10)

Mercy
Mercy

MERCY!  Ah, what a lovely word.Mercy speaks of compassion, love, tenderness, "thinking the best," overlooking faults and failings...and we could go on.  Those of us who have mercy-showers in our lives are blessed beyond measure! How reflective is mercy of our merciful, loving Creator.  Even throughout the Old Testament, we read of God's tender mercies and loving-kindness toward the children of men.

justice
justice

But there was a "not so little thing" called God's Justice, that is, His holiness and righteousness, that hindered the full expression of His mercy and love to us sinful creatures.  That's where our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, comes in...His Person and His work released us from the just wrath of God against sin so Mercy could come flooding forth upon us.

No where do we see the what's and wherefore's of the mercy of our God better spelled out than in Hebrews, chapters 8 through 10.  There we see the provision God made over generations to show mercy to a stiff-necked people (a.k.a. you & me).

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens… Hebrews 8:1 NASB

As Ray Stedman has so clearly said:

On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took a cup of wine, passed it to his disciples and said: "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:27-28). With those words and that symbolic action, he borrowed the phrase used by Moses when he took the blood of an animal, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words" (Ex 24:8). The contrast was deliberate. Moses used the blood of an animal; Jesus used wine as a symbol of his own blood. Moses spoke of the covenant of the law; Jesus alluded to the new covenant of grace. Moses spoke of God's words which provided for the partial covering of sins so God could remain with his people; Jesus promised the actual remission of sins so God could live within his people forever. It is that excellent new covenant which chapters 8-10 of Hebrews...expounds.

Because of Who He is, Son of God and Man (Hebrews 1-7), what He has done carries infinite weight!  Let's look at what His work entailed according to these chapters in Hebrews:

I.  He is the Mediator of a  New Covenant (8:6-13; 9;17-22), “based on better promises.”

new covt
new covt

Compared to the Old Covenant (Law), The New Covenant is immeasurably more glorious!  No longer is it, "I do it; therefore God does it."  This was at the heart of the Law ("If you obey, I will bless you and be your God.").  Rather now in the New Covenant, it's all about, "God does it: therefore, I do it."

Isn't that the way, Jesus lived His life on earth?

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. John 5:19 ESV

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. John 8:28

For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. John 12:49

The New Covenant then is all about God and what He has done through the finished work of His Son.  And it's also about what He is now doing in His world, in and through His people.

10 commandments
10 commandments

But the problem is that the Old Covenant proved that we humans are not reliable vehicles of the divine life and ways.  So how can the change take place from the "I do it, so God blesses me" mentality to "God does it, and I'm His instrument?"  That's the beauty of the New Covenant provisions and promises.  Take a look at those amazing truths stated in our passage (Hebrews 8:6-13):

  1. The Law written on the heart (Heb 8:10; 10:10).  No longer are God's ways (the Law) written on tablets of stone (2Cor 3), but now they are written on human hearts.  And even that heart of ours has been changed.  Look at an important cross reference: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  Ezek 36:26-27 ESV Not only is the Law written on a new heart, but the Holy Spirit is united with our spirit.  He causes us to walk in God's ways...isn't that incredible?!  So now there is the truth united with desire and power!
  2. Intimacy with the Living God (Heb 8:10-11).  Jesus said that the heart of His zoe, eternal life, is that we know God! And this is eternal life [zoe], that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  John 17:3 Since we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, the resident Teacher, we know God! The Apostle John referred to this glorious truth in his first epistle: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know... But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.   1John 2:20-27
  3. Complete Forgiveness of Sins (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).   And this is primary.  Until sin was permanently dealt with, God's justice and holiness "prevented Him" from uniting with His people.  But now the way is open...Why?  Because...
The_Holy_of_Holies
The_Holy_of_Holies

II.  He is the Minister in the  True Tabernacle (8:2-6; 9:1-14, 23-28)....Jesus entered the True Tabernacle...the Holy of Holies of the throne room of heaven.   And what did He do there?

III.  He Himself is the Offering of a Perfect Sacrifice (10:1-18).

He offered HIMSELF!  He was the perfect, eternal sacrifice because of His perfect, indestructible life (Hebrews 7). He presented His perfect blood so that He could perfect for all time, those who are in the process of being sanctified while on this earth (10:10,14) It's a finished work that is a done deal forever.  It is totally true, perfectly and forever int the eternal realm.

images-4
images-4

But you may ask, "Why am I not experiencing this now?"  The answer is all about faith.  Just as we enter the New Covenant by faith in the finished work of the eternal Son of God, we also live by faith every day of our lives in this temporal realm (Col 2:6-7).  As we run our lap in the race of faith (Hebrews 12:1-4), we fix our eyes on the indwelling Christ.  We surrender to His indwelling, resurrection zoe Life.  Then we experience the glory of the New Covenant:  "God does it; therefore we do it!"  If we begin to live according to our own, even morally "good" way," we go back to OC living, expecting something of God in response to our "good works" (like a reward) or in addition to our "good works" (like help to do what I'VE determined to do).  Then we're back to, "We do it ; therefore God does it."

So let me ask you a question.  What would change for you if you took the risk to abandon yourself to the New Covenant, Indwelling, Risen Christ...ceasing from your own labors, self-effort, good works...and live in His Sabbath Rest (Hebrews 4:9-11)?

Freedom!  Joy!  Fruitfulness!  Rest!

Listen to how two brothers from the past describe this glorious life:

...The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you . . .” (Colossians 1:27). It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification— imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace...Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness— “. . . kept by the power of God . . .” (1 Peter 1:5).    (Oswald Chambers)

If today I am patient, it is not I but He who lives in me who is patient. If today I love, it is not because I try my best to love, for the power of love is not in me.  But it is because there is One who loves in me. If today I forgive, it is not due to my generosity or effort or ability.  It is instead purely due to the One who lives in me and always forgives.  He is my forgiveness. If today I am humble, this does not happen because I remind myself how proud I am and that therefore I need to be humbled.  My humility does not come through suppressing my needs and then determining to be humble.  It is the Person (the Lamb) in me who is humble.  Since He is my humility, I therefore am humble.   (Watchman Nee)

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I love the imagery of this song.  Can't you just visualize our Father God "bursting forth" when Jesus cried from the Cross "Tetelestai/It is finished!/the sin debt, paid in full!" and breathed His last?  Usually we think of us finally being able to come into the throne room of God (Heb 4:16).  But here we see it from the opposite direction -- God "chomping at the bit" (I hope that's not irreverent) to get at us with His loving-kindness and tender mercy.  When the veil was rent, God came flooding out to the world of men.  Oh, embrace Him by faith today!

Mercy Came Running Phillips, Craig, & Dean

Once there was a holy place Evidence of God's embrace And I can almost see mercy's face Pressed against the veil Looking down with longing eyes Mercy must have realized That once His blood was sacrificed Freedom would prevail And as the sky grew dark And the earth began to shake With justice no longer in the way

Chorus: Mercy came running Like a prisoner set free Past all my failures to the point of my need When the sin that I carried Was all I could see And when I could not reach mercy Mercy came running to me Once there was a broken heart Way to human from the start And all the years left it torn apart Hopeless and afraid Walls I never meant to build Left this prisoner unfulfilled Freedom called but even still It seemed so far away I was bound by the chains From the wages of my sin Just when I felt like giving in

Repeat chorus

Sometimes I still feel so far So far from where I really should be He gently calls to my heart Just to remind me

Repeat chorus

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For further meditation:

Hebrews 8-10, Ray Stedman

Oswald Chambers, "Sanctification"

The Beauty of the Incomparable Christ...the Son of Man (Hebrews 2:5-18)

Incarnation
Incarnation

CS Lewis calls the Incarnation "The Grand Miracle."

The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation...God became Man.  Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this….it was the central event in the history of the Earth–the very thing the whole story has been about. Miracles, “The Grand Miracle,” C.S. Lewis

In chapter 2 of Hebrews, we continue the thought that Jesus Christ is better than the angels...not just because He's the Son of GOD, but because He's the Son of MAN.  What an incredibly important truth for fallen man!

Our destiny that was lost (Hebrews 2:5-8) is now regained in the God-Man Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:9-18).  Here are a couple suggestions for your study of this passage:

  • Go through Hebrews 2:9-18 and see if you can give 5 descriptions of Jesus as our God-Man.  They are listed for you below,* but why not try them on your own first.
  • Spend time reflecting on how your Great High Priest has come to your aid in the past and how you need Him to come to your aid today.  Praise and pray!

*Descriptions of Jesus Christ, the God-Man:

1.  He is my Substitute (2:9)

2.  He is my Savior (2:10-11a)

3.  He is my Brother (2:11b-14a)

4.  He is my Deliverer (2:14b-15)

5.  He is my Helper / High Priest (2:16-18)

The Beauty of the Incomparable Christ...the Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-2:4)

images-2
images-2

Back in 1995 we lived in Centerville, Ohio.  Centerville had a wonderful little post office in those days right behind Bill's Donuts.  In February of that year I stopped by to buy some stamps, noticing a large poster of the current stamp. As I awaited my turn in line, I reflected on the picture of the cherub I saw on the wall.

sistine madonna cherubs
sistine madonna cherubs

"Wait a minute," I said to myself, "I've seen that cherub before, but in a bigger painting."

I had taken art history in college and loved it! So I was wracking my brain to try to remember what painting it was part of. I couldn't let it rest...so it sent me to the library to those big, dusty art books.

Sure enough, here's the painting those little cherubs are part of:

sistine madonna, raphael
sistine madonna, raphael

The cherubs are hardly noticed in this painting.  The obvious focal point is the mother and child...but the mother, more than the child!

"Wow," I thought, "Isn't that just like what we do in our Christian life?  We loose our focal point -- the Lord Jesus Christ!  Rather we focus on all the peripheral Christian things, as good as many of them may be...things like the spiritual disciplines, godly behavior, our motivation, the latest Christian best-seller, the current Christian "band-wagon," the retreat or conference everyone is talking about...the Christian to-do list!

I love this "equation" that says it all:

Jesus + nothing = Everything

Right here in the first chapter of Hebrews, we see the exalted Christ...God's final revelation...the culmination, the fulfillment of all that has gone before.

He's better than prophets and preachers; better than angels and other emissaries; He's God's Son...God Himself!  The Father has spoken in His Son, the Logos, the Word (John 1)!

And as with any speaking, there's the expectation that someone will listen.   So it is and much more so when it comes to hearing God in His Son:

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! Matthew 17:5

Why must we hear HIM? He's the Darling of Heaven! He's the Indescribable One, beautiful beyond human words! The Incomparable Lord Jesus Christ! 

He's the One our God describes and compares in the letter to the Hebrew Christians of the first and second century.  And He's the One our God wants US to hear in the 21st century.  So, my friends...

Let us HEAR HIM!

I Stand in Awe by Mark Altrogge

You are beautiful beyond description, Too marvelous for words, Too wonderful for comprehension, Like nothing ever seen or heard. Who can grasp your infinite wisdom? Who can fathom the depth of your love? You are beautiful beyond description, Majesty enthroned above.

(Chorus) And I stand, I stand in awe of you. I stand, I stand in awe of you. Holy God, to whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of you.

You are beautiful beyond description, Yet God crushed You for my sin, In agony and deep affliction, Cut off that I might enter in. Who can grasp such tender compassion? Who can fathom this mercy so free? You are beautiful beyond description, Lamb of God, Who died for me.

(Chorus)


Practical Help in Reading the Letter to the Hebrews

Letter to the Hebrews
Letter to the Hebrews

The letter to the Hebrews can be a bit daunting.  Yes, we have our favorite passages.  Who doesn't know about the giants of the faith in chapter 11 or the exciting challenge to run our lap of the race in chapter 12?  Then there's the assurance that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever in chapter 13.  But what about the message of the entire book? For those of you who would like to understand the message of this Christ-exalting book, there is help!  Here are a few tips for those of you who are reading the letter to the Hebrews.

Please don't get discouraged...do what you can. One of my mottoes of life is "Something is better than nothing."  "All or nothing" used to be my motto...but that is unrealistic, and you'll end up with nothing most of the time.  God wants to speak to us in this glorious word of His. Listen for HIM as you read!

That being said, here are some ideas that, I think, can be helpful.

There are some major warning passages scattered throughout the book...5 of them, in fact.  I have found that if you block off these passages and then read through the book without them several times, it's much easier to get the flow of the author's thought.

Then after reading through that way, read the warnings within the context of the flow of thought.  It is really amazing how you will be able to see why the warnings come where they do.

Here are the passages (I have drawn a box around each of them in my text of Hebrews):

Warning #1 = 2:1-4 Warning #2 = 3:7-4:13 Warning #3 = 5:11-6:20 Warning #4 = 10:26-39 Warning #5 =  12:15-29

After you read and get the flow of thought and then put the warnings back in, take a look at this outline to further help you:

Plan of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Listening via audio can also be helpful. If you have the Bible on CD or MP3, pop that in your player and listen. Here is a link to a youtube audio of Hebrews:

May you be blessed as you read, dear sisters and brothers!

Thy Word

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path

When I feel afraid And think I've lost my way Still, You're there right beside me Nothing will I fear As long as You are near Please be near me to the end

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path

I will not forget Your love for me and yet My heart forever is wandering Jesus by my guide And hold me to Your side And I will love You to the end

Nothing will I fear As long as You are near Please be near me to the end

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path And a light unto my path You're the light unto my path

Sacred Reading: Hearing the Whisper of the Lord

Devote yourself to the...reading of Scripture...  1Timothy 4:13 Why not begin your fall Bible study (no matter what that may be) by reading, reading, and then reading again.

Or as my almost 4 year old grandson Carter and I would say, "Reading?...reading?...how about reading?"

Carter reading
Carter reading

And why should we read?  Because it's by repeated reading that we begin to get the "big picture" of what God is saying in the Bible.   We also begin to notice repeated key truths.

And most precious of all, we begin to hear the Lord speak to us through His treasured words.

As the prophet Jeremiah once said,

Your words were found and I ate them,And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;For I have been called by Your name,O Lord God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

Or as my sweet friend Penny once prayed,

LORD, Your words are so delicious!

During the past summer, a small group of ladies met at BellHOP Cafe in Bellbrook OH every Friday afternoon.  We shared with each other the Lord's "whisperings" from our personal meditative reading in the Gospel of John from the previous week. Then we spent time in worship based on our treasured reflections. Our time with the Lord was so rich!

If you would like to explore what is traditionally called lectio divina, read this short excerpt and click here for the remainder of the article: Whisper of the Beloved (2 pages).

Lectio Divina is like the joyful reading of an ancient pile of love letters. It is a time to listen-- not to dissect, analyze, evaluate or dialogue. It is not studying to learn about the Scriptures; it is reading to listen. Come to this reading and listening as a young lover would-- eager to hear afresh the whisper of the Beloved. Listen to the sound of each word. Read slowly. And rest as you listen.

1098Whisper
1098Whisper

So this week, grab a journal or notebook, your Bible. Chose a book or passage (maybe using different versions for each day) and then just read, read, read -- not books about the Bible. Read the Scriptures!

Write down verses that jump out, thoughts that come to you in the reading...and of course, prayers that rise up.  Write it down.  Trust me, you will forget!  So you will be glad to have recorded what God may be saying to you!

So...HAPPY, RESTFUL READING...and I'll see you later on.

open bible
open bible

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Timothy 3:16-17

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Here's a link to Bible Gateway. You can read in many different versions at his site. Just enter the passage and the version you want and...voila!

Voice-NT-cover79-204x300
Voice-NT-cover79-204x300

I've been enjoying The Voice, a new translation of the New Testament published by Thomas Nelson. For a free download and short video clips, follow this link:

http://www.nelsonfree.com/voicent

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Bible study
Bible study

If you would like to join us in our fall reading and study in the letter to the Hebrews, here is a chart that will help you as you read through the book of Hebrews multiple times.  Make notes in the corresponding boxes for each chapter as you go along:

Hebrews Reading Chart