Rest in His Promises

Text: Hebrews 4:1-11

Theme: God’s promise of rest for His people is for today.

Key verses: “God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news–that God has prepared this rest–has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, ‘In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world” (v. 1-3). “So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later…’Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts'” (v. 6-7). “So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall” (v. 9-11).

What God said to me: First of all for the record, you can’t assume that everything you think I’m “saying” to you is gospel truth right now. There is much debate and disagreement among learned and godly scholars over the meaning and interpretation of this passage. I appreciate your sincere desire to be accurate and correct in rightly dividing my Word. However, you as one man simply cannot have the “corner” on how this passage is to be understood. Trust what you sense it means based on your in-depth study of my Scriptures; yet also leave yourself room for error; humble yourself to admit you don’t have it figured out completely–you are just one man. Now, with that clarification and caution said, what do you think it means, Dwayne? Can you in any way reconcile this passage with others that seem so clear about eternal security of believers? If the “rest” the Hebrews author talks of here only refers to the rest of heaven in the future, then you would need to “do your best to enter that rest.” You would need to strive to obey me, to believe and perhaps do good deeds to get to heaven. Does that jive with the whole of my Word regarding how you get to heaven? Not at all. It is only by grace you are saved–not of your works, lest you should boast. I am the author and finisher of your faith. You don’t have to muster up strength to believe. You don’t fall off the wagon of belief and salvation one day, and get back on the next. My salvation is eternal and it’s secure. Once I adopt you into my family, you are always and forever my child. No one–not even you–can pluck you out of my hand. So, if this passage in Hebrews 4 can’t be referring only to eternal rest in heaven, the other logical interpretation is that it means rest from your fleshly labors and strivings now. Once you truly believe that my yoke is easy and my burden is light, then you can find rest for your souls as you learn of me. That’s what Jesus said–you can find rest for your soul, Dwayne. Doesn’t that sound like present rest in the here and now? The rest you need, the deep and rich peace and joy you seek, can only come from putting your faith and hope in me. Remember that Paul said not to be weary in well-doing, for in due time you will reap a reward, if you don’t faint along the way. Don’t be weary. That means don’t be weary now. They that mount up with wings like eagles shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint. Do you see how all these passages come together to support the idea of true, spiritual rest in the here and now, while you are still on this earth? Dwayne, I can only truly begin to use you to work in my fields when you first learn to rest in my love, security and strength. Rest in the truth that I am the Vine and you are the branch. Rest in the divine reality that without me you can do nothing, but with me you can do all things. The same power that raised my Son from the grave lives in you. Rest in that awesome truth! Hear my voice speaking to you today, right at this moment. Now believe what I’m saying to you and claim the rest I have for you, both now and forevermore–rest that only comes from knowing and believing in me.

What I said to God: Wow Lord, I had no idea You would inundate me with so many scripture passages and encouraging words this morning. I am so thankful I made time to meet with You and hear Your still, small voice today. Please forgive me for often not truly resting in Your promises and believing Your truth. You are the God who saves; You called me from the grave; You rescue me. I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour of today I need Thee.

I close my time with You now meditating of the words to this old and incredible chorus:

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

No Rest for the Rebel

Text: Hebrews 3:16-19

Theme: Rebellion and unbelief will keep us from God’s best.

Key verses: “And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? And who made God angry for forty years?…And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest” (v. 16-19).

What God said to me: Son, I take rebellion and disobedience very seriously among my chosen ones. I set Israel apart as a light to the nations; yet, they complained and disobeyed and rebelled for forty years in the wilderness. That trip could have taken them only days to make across the desert to the promised land. But instead, it took them many years. Why was that? I had to let those with rebellious hearts die off in the wilderness before I allowed them to enter the place I had for them. I have a place of rest for all of my children. The promised land for the Children of Israel was symbolic for another kind of resting place. So, what is this rest I promised to those obey me? Remember what you read from Matthew Henry about Psalm 95:11: “There is a rest ordained for believers, the rest of everlasting refreshment, begun in this life, and perfected in the life to come. This is the rest which God calls his rest.” When Jesus said he had come that you might have life and have it more abundantly, he was referring to the promised life of those who follow me. Dwayne, don’t wait until the “sweet by and by” for your joy and peace and spiritual rest. You can have all of that in this life. You don’t have to be years away from my promised rest for your soul. Hold on to my promises and follow me even during your wilderness of doubts and trials. Your abundant life and unending joy is just in sight! Never give up. Never ever give up. Just keep believing in me.

What I said to God: Father, what a privilege to know You and to love You each and every day. I am amazed at Your faithfulness to me and my family. Please forgive me when I disobey. I confess that at times I harden my heart, and plant  weeds of rebellion in my heart. It stems from my unbelief in Your promises, when I lose sight of how You will never leave me nor forsake me and how You always have our best interest in mind. You are our Shepherd, and we are the sheep of Your pasture. Please help me trust You today and obey everything You instruct me to do and think today.

Today

Text: Hebrews 3:7-19

Theme: Today is the day we should hear Him and obey.

Key verses: “This is what the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled…’ (v. 7-8a).” “‘So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.'” “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ” (v. 12-14).

What God said to me: Dwayne, I blessed you with an extraordinary weekend with your Board of Directors as you celebrated 2017 and looked ahead to 2018. You have done a better than average job of hearing me and obeying me this past year. However, there have been those days and those moments when you chose to ignore my Word and my voice and when you disobeyed what you knew I wanted you to do. The only day you have is today. Yesterday is gone. Whatever you may have done yesterday–good or bad–is logged in my books and covered under my Son’s blood. Whatever you might want to do tomorrow is impossible since you can never do something in the future. You only have today. Today, if you hear my voice, do not harden your heart; obey me quickly and fully. The consequences are to enter my rest. We will unpack that in our next meeting together. But for today, let’s focus on what you know I want you to do today and not do today. Today I expect you to examine your own heart and be sure there is no hidden sin and rebellion inside your mind and soul. I want you to warn others not to be deceived by sin and become hardened against me. I want you to one day share in all that is Christ’s. It’s not possible to for you to comprehend “all” you will inherit. But trust me, you don’t want to miss any of it. So do today what I expect and lead you to do today. Today is all you have.

What I said to God: Father, I am once again in awe of You and Your faithfulness to speak so clearly to my heart. Thank You for pointing out to me how imperative it is to follow You closely today and listen for Your still, small voice in every moment of this day. The cry of my heart today and every day should be…

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

Fix Your Thoughts

Text: Hebrews 3:1-6

Theme: Jesus deserves our full attention and faithfulness.

Key verses: “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses…” (v. 1-3a). “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory” (v. 6).

What God said to me: Dwayne, I call you by name because you are one of my children and one of the brothers this passage is speaking to. You “share in the heavenly calling.” Let that sink into your soul. You have been called to something much higher and more lasting than this world, and you get to share in that calling with millions of other saints. Some of them have remained faithful to the end, and some have not. Which will you be, Dwayne? The only way you can remain faithful and devoted to me, the only way you can “hold firmly” to your confidence and hope, is to glory in me and fix your full attention on me. You allow your thoughts to wander at times. You occasionally like to peak over into someone else’s pasture and look for greener grass than your own. You struggle with lust and envy. I point these things out to you because you cannot allow these stray thoughts to linger in your mind. You must fix your eyes on me. You must take captive every thought and bring it into the obedience of Christ. I will keep you in perfect peace if your mind is stayed and fully focused on me. My Son is worthy of much greater honor than anyone else in this entire world. He is your High Priest and the ultimate apostle who represents me. He stayed his course on earth, endured the cross, despised the shame and is now sitting at my right hand. He deserves your full attention today, tomorrow and every day for the rest of your life. I will accept nothing less from my sons and daughters, who were purchased with my Son’s blood.

What I said to God: Woe is me, for I am undone, and I dwell among a people of unclean hearts and minds. We are guilty of turning our gaze every way but upward toward You, great Lord and King. I am personally convicted and found lacking in my faith walk today. You have exposed the deepest parts of me and shown me my sin. Thank You for loving me enough to shine Your everlasting light into my soul and spirit. I confess my wandering eyes and mind. I confess my tendency to envy others for things I don’t have. How foolish of me! Today, by Your grace and through Your power that lives in me, I choose to take captive every thought and bring them into obedience to You, my Master. You are my King and my Redeemer, who deserves my full attention and faithfulness.

 

Only in This Way

Text: Hebrews 2:5-15

Theme: There is only one plan and one way to make us holy members of God’s family.

Key verses: “What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position ‘a little lower than the angels’; and because he suffered death for us, he is now ‘crowned with glory and honor.’ Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God…chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (v. 9-11).  “Because God’s children are human beings–made of flesh and blood–the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (v. 14-15).

What God said to me: Dwayne, you are having a hard time focusing this morning. Turn off Facebook and close your email long enough to hear from me. I want to speak, but you must meditate on my Word. You must choose to focus intently and search diligently for wisdom as for hidden treasure.  The writer of Hebrews was clearly doing some diligent searching when he wrote, “What we do see…” Dwayne, open your spiritual eyes and look to see what I have for you in my written Word today.  The One I want you to see is my Son. What you should see is Jesus. Now notice how many times this translation uses the word, “only”: “it was only right,” “For only as a human,” “only by dying,” and “Only in this way.” What I want you to see about Jesus today is that he is the only way you or anyone else can obtain salvation and sanctification. He is the only plan I have to “bring many children into glory”; there is no other name given among people that they may be saved. I sent my precious Son to become human like you so he could offer his body as a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of all mankind. Only in this way can you be set free from the fear of dying a second death, eternally separated from me. Only through this redemption plan can you be made holy and live and reign forever on the new earth. Only through Jesus can you be included in our family–as his brother and as my child. I don’t expect you to fully grasp this in your limited, finite mind. But I do expect you to try–just try to appreciate a bit more how much I love you and how much my Son suffered for you. To be clear, Jesus and the Father are one; thus, I love you with an all-encompassing love that includes the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. Dwayne, have you any idea what and who you have, and the cost required to show you endless mercy and grace?  More important than your likes today on Facebook or your latest messages from friends and associates is my message from my written, infallible Word. Determine to seek first my Kingdom and righteousness today, and all the things you need will be granted you.

What I said to God: Wow, I needed this today, Lord. Thank You! I confess that I don’t meditate near enough on powerful truths like how much You suffered and bleed to give me salvation and to make me holy.  This truth can set me free–free from fear and free from sin. I praise You for the beautiful weather around me and for the peace beyond understanding inside of me. Please protect my family today and continue to make them more like You. And help me look for an opportunity today to share Your Good News with someone who needs to hear it.

Listen Carefully

Text: Hebrews 2:1-4

Theme: God confirmed a message we dare not ignore.

Key verses: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose” (v. 1-4).

What God said to me: Dwayne, listen carefully. Don’t miss a word I say. I’ve already said it through my Son and through those I inspired to write my Word, the Holy Bible. Listen up. Read it slowly and read it again and again. Meditate on it day and night, so that you will be like a tree planted by rivers of water, bearing fruit and prospering in all you do for my glory.  Notice it says, “Every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished.” That hearkens back to what I said to Joshua when I called him to lead the Israelites into the promised land. I said, “Do not turn to the right or the left, but be careful to obey everything I have told you in the Law.” I’m serious about those words, Dwayne. I punished those in the Old Testament who didn’t obey my dictates. How does anyone today think you could escape and have a different result than they did? Because of my Son’s sacrifice for you on the cross and because of my mercy, you will escape my wrath. Nonetheless, I still expect you to obey what I say. Jesus said, “You are my friends, if you do whatever I command.” Yes, you do live in the “age of grace.” But don’t assume my grace can be an opportunity for you to sin and ignore my commands. You still have to listen to my words and obey them.

What I said to God: Thank You, holy God, for speaking so clearly to my heart this morning. There is so much to try to grasp in the book of Hebrews. It is so rich with truth and insight. But no truth is more clear and important that what I’ve read today. The pain you’ve endured and the love you’ve poured out deserves my obedience and devotion. I will close my prayer today with this poem by Isaac Watts. May it express our deepest heart-felt desire.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

 

Worthy of All Worship

Text: Hebrews 1:5-14

Theme: Jesus is above all and worthy of all worship.

Key verses: “For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father'” (v. 5). “And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, ‘Let all of God’s angels worship him'” (v. 6). “But to the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever…'” (v. 8). “He also says to the Son, ‘In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will love forever.’ And God never said to any of the angels, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet'” (v. 10-13).

What God said to me: Good morning, Dwayne. I love our meetings each morning. Please build this habit back into your life of scheduling time alone with me in my Word. As you journal what I show you, you will continue to grow and be challenged and stretched in your faith. I have much to teach you. Never think you have arrived or attained all I have for you. What I want to teach you more than anything is to worship my Son, who is worthy of all of your worship and devotion. To no one else have I ever said, “Let all the angels worship him.” To no one else will I ever say, “Your throne, O God, endures forever.” My Son helped lay the foundation of the earth and made the heavens. Together with the Holy Spirit as three-in-one, we formed all of creation. No one else can one day in the future fold up the discarded earth and heavens and simply “throw them out”–much like you would take out your garbage. Try to fathom the greatness of my Son. Try to comprehend his power and authority as he now sits in the place of highest honor at my right hand. All his enemies will become as nothing more than his footstool, subdued under his feet. That’s what I do to anyone who rejects and defies my first-born, Jesus. Worship him, and him alone. Allow no other gods to take his place in your heart and life. Nothing short of complete surrender is what I expect from those who follow my Son.

What I said to God: Thank You, holy God. I admit that this book and the deep theology it presents is difficult for me to understand and fully grasp. For example, I don’t get how You are a triune God, three-in-one as God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe it. I see it clearly taught in scripture; yet I get easily confused about it. Here You say to worship Your Son; but in doing so we are really worshiping You in your fullness and glory, since You are really one God. I may never fully grasp this incredible truth this side of heaven. Nonetheless meanwhile, please help me do exactly what this passage calls for–to worship Your awesome Son with all that is within me. I pray that all who read this will be challenged to worship You more deeply and more passionately.

These Days

Text: Hebrews 1:1-4

Theme: In these last days we have Jesus.

Key verses: “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son…The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names” (v. 1-4).

What God said to me: Dwayne, you have no idea. I don’t hold it against you. You couldn’t know. You didn’t live back then in the B.C. days. But really, you have no concept of how much better you have it these days than the prophets and people of old. I’m glad you want to dive into Hebrews to learn more about worship. I have so much to show you within its pages. Worship should come so naturally and supernaturally to you. Worship is giving honor and allegiance to me and to my Son. How could you not give unceasing adoration to Someone as great as Jesus? How could you not worship me with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength when you realize what He’s done for you in these last days?  Consider this: These days you don’t to have rely on human prophets to hear from me; you have heard directly from my Son. These days you don’t have to wait around to see my glory through some burning bush or red sea miracle; you can see my awesome glory and power every time you look at my Son. You don’t have to wonder what I’m like; my Son has shown my very character and likeness. These days you don’t have to offer up goats and bulls for your sins; my Son bled and died on a cross to take away the sins of the world–and your sins too. You are forgiven completely and permanently because of the sacrifice of my Son Jesus. These days there is no question Who is in charge; my Son earned his rightful place at my right hand where he rules over all forever. You don’t have worry Who will watch over you and care for you these days; you have been blessed with my Son as your Savior and Friend. These days there’s no question Whose name is greater than all and above all. In these last days there is no one like my Son, no one who has greater glory and honor, no one who deserves more worship and more love than my one and only begotten Son. The entire book of Hebrews is about my Son and his superiority to everyone and everything else. Understanding his authority and bowing to his greatness is where true worship, your worship, must begin.

What I said to God: Father, You are awesome in this place and in my life. I am so grateful to be living in these last days. Thank You for revealing Your Son to us and for giving me new life through and because of Him. Because You and Your Son are one, I know I am also addressing Jesus as I pray now, and the Holy Spirit as well, the Three-in-One. Wow. I can’t fathom why I would have this awesome, awe-inspiring privilege to address You directly like this. I am talking with the King of kings and Lord of lords! Please help me worship You like I’ve never done before–with more love, more sincerity, more awe than I’ve ever experienced. Please protect my family today and teach us all to love You more.

Intro to Hebrews

As we launch into this amazing and often misunderstood book, we must approach it with fear and trembling and with much prayer for guidance and understanding. I dare not claim that what I will write in the devotional posts will be a definitive and complete commentary. I simply hope to grasp and apply some old and timeless truths to my life and to the lives of those who read this online journal.

Keep in mind my format for writing my devotional thoughts is quite subjective–and thus open to scrutiny and discussion. When I say this is “what God said to me” I do NOT mean He spoke to me in an audible voice and that He showed me some new revelation. Not at all. I simply mean that I sense He MAY have spoken something very personal to my heart and mind through His written Word.

Our Focus in This Study

There is perhaps no book of the Bible that unpacks Old Testament worship practices and helps us understand their symbolic significance as does Hebrews.

Thus, as we go through each chapter we will pay particular attention to how it might apply to worship and worship leadership. We will seek to draw principles and guidelines (and perhaps some boundaries) for those of us who help to lead others in praise. This study can also encourage anyone who desires to go deeper in your worship experience and knowledge of our awesome, holy God.

A Brief Overview Before We Start

The book of Hebrews is the message of Jesus Christ, superior to every thing and everybody. It is simply a presentation of Christ, the Messiah, the author of a new covenant, greater than the old one that God had made in the Old Testament. Not that the old one was wrong, it was only incomplete. Now the theme of the book then is the superiority or the preeminence of Christ. That He is better than anything they’ve got. That He is better than anything that is. He’s better than the Old Testament persons. He’s better than the Old Testament institutions. He’s better than the Old Testament rituals. He’s better than the Old Testament sacrifices. He’s better than everything.

According to John MacAuthur, if we want to get a summary of the book of Hebrews, it’s Chapter 8, verse 1. It even tells us it’s a summary. It says this, “Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum.” Here is the whole summary of Hebrews in one verse, in one sentence for that matter. “We have such an high priest who is seated on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens.”

It’s been said that we “cannot understand the book of Hebrews unless you understand the book of Leviticus, because the book of Hebrews is based upon the principles of the Levitical priesthood.”

It was written by an unknown author to a suffering, persecuted group of Jews somewhere in the east–not in Israel, but outside of Israel. This letter was written to second generation Christians as a result of apostolic missionaries. Hebrews had to be written sometime after Christ’s ascension, which would have been about 30 A.D., and sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem, which would have been 70 A.D., because Jerusalem is still standing at this point in the letter. So it’s got to be between 30 and 70.

John MacArthur goes on to say we must understand that “there were three basic types of people in view throughout this Epistle. If you do not understand these three basic types of people then it becomes very confusing.”

The first group in view are Hebrew Christians. The second group is Hebrew non-Christians who were intellectually convinced about the gospel. These are people who are convinced that Jesus is the Christ, but have never committed themselves to Him. The third group in view in the book of Hebrews are Hebrew non-Christians who weren’t convinced intellectually or otherwise. The Holy Spirit not only wants to speak to the Christians to strengthen their faith, but He also wants to speak to the intellectually convinced and push them over the line to true faith and salvation. And He wants to speak to those who haven’t believed at all yet, who aren’t convinced of anything, and give them enough information to show them that Jesus is in fact whom He claimed to be.

Prayer

Holy God our Father, we are incapable of seeing and interpreting the many incredible truths you have installed in the book of Hebrews. This book is far beyond our grasp of human intelligence. We must have the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and shine Your precepts into our hearts. We are/I am desparate to hear from You and to be encouraged and challenged through Your Word. Help us (me) to respond to every truth with humility and obedience. Please transform us through this study. Make us clean and holy through the Word You have spoken.

Starting a Study through Hebrews!

It has been some time since I have journaled through a book in the Bible.

For the past few months I’ve read from Psalms, Proverbs, 1 & 2 Timothy, Philemon and other books. I’ve meditated on certain chapters and passages, at times reading them over and over for several days, to try to get them into my soul and mind. However, I’ve not kept a journal and I’ve not been writing out my thoughts and impressions from my devotional times.

A daily routine of journaling in the same place and same time has been difficult to maintain, with our transition from KY to AL and with my extended travels and grueling schedule in Africa and most recently in Florida. I have stayed fairly consistent to reading from the Bible each day and praying my response to His Word. However, during seasons when my schedule is especially full and demanding, I find that my spiritual growth goes mostly into “maintenance mode.”

I desperately need and long for fresh discoveries and experiences in God’s presence and in His Word again! The time has come again to devote and discipline myself to a thorough and careful journaling routine. The discipline of journaling what I sense God is saying to me through His Word has been by far the most riveting and rewarding practice of my Christian life. I started journaling daily during my quiet times when I was in college.

My plan is to journal at least three times per week, taking a few verses each day in Hebrews. When I journal I try not to skip any verses, for doing so could mean missing huge chunks or small nuggets of life-directing truth the Holy Spirit wants to teach me.

I hope you will consider following along with me through this study, even adding your own thoughts and comments to my journal entries. In no way do I believe my thoughts and ideas are infallible. What I write needs to be vetted and scrutinized in light of all of God’s Word and compared to the commentaries of trusted theologians and fellow Christ-followers.

One of the main themes of Hebrews is perseverance and steadfastness. My prayer is that I will remain faithful and steadfast to this weekly commitment to journal online what I’m learning. As always is the case, I’m confident that journaling through this book will prove to be encouraging, correcting and life-changing for me and perhaps for others who read it with me.