Hebrews 13:18-25 – The Blessing

Read Hebrews 13:18-25

The Preacher asks for prayer and then gives a benediction to close out his letter of teaching. What a great display of what praying for each other looks like! We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for prayer. God didn’t intend for us to have to suffer alone. We should be bombarding heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t know about you, but when someone asks me to pray for them, I feel honored and privileged. Too often we keep our suffering silent. Why is that? Are we ashamed we don’t have it all figured out?

This benediction or blessing is so full of richness and truth. I can just imagine the Preacher extending his arms as he delivers this key address summing up the themes of his sermon: God is the God of peace; God’s power is great; Jesus is our Shepherd and cares for us; God will give us what we need to accomplish his will; and we are to honor God to bring him glory.

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Hebrews 1:1-4 – Encounter Jesus

Read Hebrews 1:1-4

If you’ve spent any time at all reading prophecies in the Old Testament, you are very familiar with the salutation to the book of Hebrews which talks about how God speaks to us through the prophets. It’s true that God’s prophetic messages are still relevant and applicable to us today. Many of those prophecies point directly to Jesus.

The book of Hebrews is like an eloquent sermon burning with passion. The author is unknown but appears to draw from eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life of ministry. Several main themes dominate. One is that Jesus Christ is superior to everyone and everything. We will see descriptions showing how Jesus fulfills prophecy and the promises of God. The other focus is simply to give encouragement to the Jewish Christians, likely 2nd or 3rd generation. Not all Jews had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, so the Jewish Christians needed this encouragement, so they didn’t fall back into their old ways.

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1 Timothy 1:18-20 – Ready for Battle

Read 1 Timothy 1:18-20

boxer in red shorts with red globes standing in the spotlight looking determined

As Christians, we aren’t promised a problem free life. In fact, some even say the Christian walk can be a battle. The conflict between good and evil has been going on forever, and now we are caught in the middle. False teachers were emerging, and Paul’s counsel to Timothy shed wisdom on how to face those battles.

How do we avoid catastrophe on our own faith journey? How do we recognize false doctrine and evil in disguise? Paul’s example of faith being shipwrecked would have been powerful for the people of his day when disasters at sea were more common. This idea of people’s faith being tested was happening then and it’s happening now.

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Colossians 4:7-18 – Final Instructions

Read Colossians 4:7-18

We are all God's Onesimus - quote from Martin Luther

Paul drops a lot of names here of fellow servants of Christ. Such a great group of believers with the same mission. The common goal was to make Jesus known and to nurture and encourage other believers. How familiar does that sound?

It’s clear that Paul wants to keep in touch. He has identified for the Colossians who they can turn to for help since he’s in prison and unavailable. Seeing the network of believers listed makes me realize how thankful I am for them. Their faithfulness has made it possible for us to know about Jesus!

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1 Kings 14:1-20 – Hiding from God

Read 1 Kings 14:1-20

person peering out between the crack in some boards as if hiding from sight

Do you think anyone can hide from God’s watchful eye? For some, we are comforted by the thought that God cares for us that much to be mindful of us. Others may be terrified because of the guilt they feel for living a life that is not pleasing to God.

Do you think that’s what was happening to Jeroboam? He was king because God had spoken it so through the prophet. So, now that Jeroboam wants to make contact with God, he sends his wife in disguise. It reminded me of Adam and Eve trying to cover themselves up in the garden after they had sinned against God.

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