November 20, 2011

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Chapter Four

Hebrews Week Four – Another Warning and Rest

Can you believe we are beginning Chapter Four?  This is one of my most favorite chapters in Hebrews.  I just love learning about God’s rest.  It is something for which we all long, but so often never  obtain.  This week we will learn exactly how we can receive and live in the fullness of God’s rest.

A few important items before we dig in to our study:

1)  We will NOT meet here next week for a new lesson.  We are taking the week after Thanksgiving off so that we can ENJOY our time with family and friends.  When we gather back together on Monday, December 5th , we will study Hebrews Chapter Five.  Feel free to use your time off to REST.  Or if you want to dig deeper and you have not yet read Leviticus, you may want to use this time to read it as it will give you a bit of insight into what we will discuss in the next several chapters.  Or if you want to learn more about the Old Testament high priests in particular, you might want to take the time to read Exodus Chapters 28 and 39. 

2) Some of you have asked how to make comments on the web site.  Visit the web site at www.wendyblight.com.  Once there, scroll to the end of the post on whichyou would like to leave a comment.  You will find the word “comments” with a number before it.  Click on that.  It will take you directly to the comments for that post.  You can read the comments or scroll to the end to leave your own comment.  You may also reply to the comments of others by clicking on the “reply” box in someone else’s comment.  To comment on another post, you will need to get out of the comments section of the post and find that post.  I hope this helps those of you who asked about this.

3)  This week our video will NOT be a You Tube video.  Instead, it is Vimeo recording of my Chapter Four lesson that I taught here in Charlotte.  It is about 30 minutes long.

Praying that no matter your physical or emotional circumstances, each of you will experience in very real ways the Grace and Love of our Gracious God and enjoy a most wonderful and joy-filled Thanksgiving. 

Below please find the link for Chapter Four’s teaching.

Untitled from Advance Student Ministry on Vimeo.

This Week’s Memory VerseLet us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.  Hebrews 4:11.

This Week’s Prayer:

My sweet Jesus, my Great High Priest, thank You for leaving Your heavenly throne, for invading this sin-infested place called earth, and for living amidst and among your people.  Thank You for loving me so much that You would endure persecution, unimaginable pain and suffering, and die a criminal’s death so that I could be forgiven of my sin. Father, fill my heart with sincere gratitude and appreciation more than ever before for what you did for me that day on Calvary.  Let me live a life that expresses my appreciation each and every day.  Father, through the power of Your Holy Spirit help me live in a continual state of Sabbath Rest.  Give me Your peace so that even in the midst of my most difficult and stressful days, I can rest in Your presence in me.  And, Father, enable me to not only endure my trials and temptations but also overcome them victoriously in Your Name.  Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, and for the gift of a Great High Priest who experienced all I experience and even more.  Help me to draw on the grace and mercy that is freely available to me through His death and resurrection.  I ask all this in Jesus Name.  Amen.

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Four

Homework Questions:

To understand this lesson better, we need to understand the biblical concept of rest.  The English word “rest” and the Greek word katapausis, from which it translates, means “rest, repose.”  The idea is to cease from work of any kind, exerting no action on your own.” 

1.  Strong’s Concordance says of rest, “God’s rest is entered when the believer is confidently assured within and outwardly lives peaceable in the assurance of God’s daily provision.”

  • What does it mean to be “confidently assured within?”
  • What does it look like to “outwardly live peaceable in the assurance of God’s daily provision?”

 

2.  The writer of Hebrews refers to several different rests found in the Old Testament.  In Hebrews 4:4, he refers first to God’s Sabbath rest.  On the seventh day, God finished His creation work, and Scripture tells us He “rested from all His work.”  The author also refers to a second rest, Israels’  rest in Canaan, in Hebrews 3:11. 

  • Read Exodus 33:14.  What does it say?

What do these two rests have to do with you and me?  Sweet friend, be encouraged because the author is about to tell his audience and us that we have the opportunity for that same rest and, really, an even better rest.  The Canaan rest for Israel in the Promised Land is a picture of the spiritual rest we find in Christ when we give our lives to Him. 

  • Read Matthew 11:28.  What does it say?
  • Read Matthew 11:29-30.  What do these verses say?

At salvation, we receive peace with God.  When we take the next step and submit our lives to Christ, we receive the peace of God.  Believing in Jesus allows us to enter into God’s rest.  The promise of Old Testament rest still stands.  But sometimes we too, like the Israelites, find ourselves unable to live in the fullness of that rest. 

  • Examine your life.  What keeps you from experiencing God’s rest?

 

3.  Read Hebrews 4:2-5.  Moses generation heard the truth.  They received God’s Word from Moses.  But they failed to believe it. 

  • How many times do you find the words “rest” or “rested?”
  • Why was truth of no value to the Israelites according to verse 2?
  • What needs to happen when God’s Word is given for it to do its work?
  • Read Romans 10:17.  How does faith come?

 

4.  The good news from God’s Word is that the failure of the Israelites to enter into God’s rest did not negate our ability to receive God’s rest.

  • Read Joshua 21:43-45.  Describe the rest Joshua’s generation experienced.
  • Read Hebrews 4:8-10.  What does the writer of Hebrews say about this rest?

The author of Hebrews makes the point in this passage of Scripture that although Joshua led the nation of Israel into the land of their promised rest, it was not the true and final rest.  It was partial and temporary.  If Joshua had had provided the final rest, there would not have been the continuing inviation of rest in Psalm 95:7-8.  The rest that eluded the O.T. (Old Testament) Jews is available to us, and it comes not through Moses, Joshua, David, or the author of Hebrews.

  • From whom does our rest come?

 

5.  Read Hebrews 4:10-11.  In summary, the author of Hebrews has talked about two kinds of O.T. rest (God’s Sabbath rest and Joshua’s Canaan rest).  Scholars believe Hebrews 4:10 speaks of a third and final rest.  But interestingly, Hebrews 4:11 says we must “make every effort” to enter into that rest.  The King James translation says, “let us labour” to enter into that rest.  The word “labour” derives from the Greek word spoudazo which means “to make effort, earnest.”  It signifies “to hasten to do a thing, to exert oneself, to give diligence.”  It seems the author is saying we must work to rest.  Work to rest? 

At first, this seems to not make sense.  But then I thought about when I take a vacation. I spend days preparing, cleaning, catching up on mail, completing last minute tasks, picking up dry cleaning, arranging for dog care, mail and trash pick-up.  Honestly, by the time the day of departure arrives, I am exhausted.  But when I get to my destination, I am truly able to rest because everything has been taken care of.  I can relax and enjoy my time away and my family.  But I had to plan to rest.  Can you identify?

The same goes for us spiritually.  We must plan for our rest.  We must be purposeful and diligent. How do we do that?  Move to the next question and you will discover the author’s answer.

 

6.  Read Hebrews 4:12 and write it below. 

  • List the descriptive words for the Word of God in this verse.
  • Read Proverbs 1:8-9 and Ephesians 6:17.  What do these passages add?

 

7.  I want to be absolutely certain we do not confuse this “judging” work of God with condemnation. 

  • Read Romans 8:1.  What does it say?

God’s Holy Spirit uses His Word to prick our hearts and convict our spirits of a change that needs to be made.  But He will never condemn us and cause us shame.  That is the work of the evil one.  And, friends, it is SO important we pray for the Lord to help us discern the difference.

  • Read Psalm 139:1-12.  What words do you find here that confirm what the author of Hebrews says in 4:13?
  • As you meditate on the words God uses in Hebrews 4:12 to describe His Word (living, active, sharp, judges, penetrate), which word most describes God’s activity in your life right now?  Which of the words, if any, causes you fear or discomfort as you think of God working that way in your life?

God’s Word speaks to our hearts.  He uses it to change us from the inside out…to refine us…to make us more like Him.  He uses it not to condemn but to heal, not to destroy but to restore, not to bring shame but hope.  He uses it to set us free!  And it is in that freedom that we find rest, His perfect peace and rest. 

 

8.  Read Hebrews 4:14-16.  In the last few verses of Chapter 4, the author returns again to reminding his audience of who Jesus is.  His message turns from being negative and full of warnings, to positive and encouraging.  This begins the first of many chapters where we will learn about Jesus as the Great High Priest.

  • Read Hebrews 4:14.

What I am about to write may be review for some of you, but it is crucial to to the concepts in this passage. Before Jesus, Jewish law allowed one priest each year, the high priest who served the tabernacle, the privilege of coming into the presence of God on behalf of the people. The Law forbid the people themselves from entering into the presence of God.  Within the tabernacle, there were two rooms and a heavy veil separated one room from the other.  The room behind the veil, called the Holy of Holies, contained the Ark of the Covenant.  God Himself resided within this holy room.  Only the high priest had authority to enter behind the veil into the presence of God.  And this only happened once a year when the high priest offered a perfect lamb, a blood sacrifice, to cover his sins and the sins of the Israelite people. 

Then Jesus came.  Because of God’s grace and His great love for His people, He sent Jesus to live on this earth…to take human form…to live among us.  He sent Him to be the ultimate sacrificial Lamb.  The coming of Christ eliminated the need for the high priest’s annual blood sacrifice.  Jesus shed His blood once and for all to remove the barrier sin had erected and to allow all people direct access to God anytime, anywhere. 

The author wanted his audience to understand that Jesus is the Great High Priest…greater because He accomplished the forgiveness of sins through His one-time sacrifice, His death and resurrection.  Though His death, he opened the way for everyone who believed in Jesus to enter into the fullness of God’s presence. 

  • How does the way the author of Hebrews identifies Jesus distinguishes him from the O. T. high priests?
  • Why is it significant that Jesus asc ended into heaven (see John 17:1-5, Hebrews 9:11-12)?

 

9.  Read Hebrews 4:15. 

  • Why is Jesus able to sympathize with our weaknesses? 
  • List a few examples from Scripture where Jesus faced testing and temptation.

 

10.  Can you imagine how this sounded to the unbelieving Jews in his audience?  They knew God as Jehovah.  He was holy, righteous, perfect, and all-powerful.  How could their Jehovah God experience weakness, testing, trials, and temptation?  How could their Jehovah God sympathize with them? They had no personal relationship with Him.  The law forbid them from ever being in His presence.  In their experience, only the chosen, most faithful and favored of God’s Old Testament people experienced intimacy and relationship with God.  Yet, the writer of Hebrews was telling them that Jehovah God desired a personal relationship with them and identified with them in every area of their lives.  His teaching was revolutionary. 

Friend, when you face a trial or temptation, when you feel weak and trapped, unable to stand strong, remember Jesus.  He is your personal Savior.  He suffered and died for you.  He battled Satan in the wilderness and won.  He fought for you then, and he fights for you now.

  • How did He win that battle? (Matthew 4:1-11)
  • Is there something in your life you are battling?   What is God speaking to you through His Word about how you can overcome and win your battle?

 

11.  Rewrite Hebrews 4:14-16 using “I” and “me” in place of “we.”  Read it aloud.  Spend some time praising God for what He has done for you.

  • According to Hebrews 4:16, because of all that Jesus has been through and all that He has done for us, how can we approach our Father in Heaven?
  • Read Luke 22:31-34, 40.  What insight does Jesus give us in these words about temptation and sin?  What is the answer?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.  What does Paul teach us about temptation in this verse?

12.  “Come boldly!” He says.  Will you end our lesson this week doing just that?  Will you spend some time before we meet again at the foot of the cross…just you and God.  Whatever your need is this week, big or small, bring it to Him.  Sit quietly.  Listen.

  • What do you hear?  Will you please share it with us by leaving a comment?

May God richly bless your time with Him in the Word these next two weeks.  Please know that as I sit before the throne and thank the Lord for my blessings this Thanksgiving, I will thank Him for each one of you!! 

Love in Him,

Comments

  1. Thank you Wendy! That was a great lesson. I have managed to keep up, but seeing as Thanksgiving was in October here in Canada :) I will be taking two weeks to complete this Chapter, and I will read Exodus Chapters 28+29.
    God bless you!

  2. Hi

    Thats great you US girls have free for thanksgiving it gives me time to gear up!
    And as my work scheduel is going to shift and I will be free on thuesdays I have time to join the conversatioin!

    Thanks Wendy! And You all have a great thanksgiving I hope to be able to experience your tanksgiving feast once myself!

    With Love,

    Wendelijn

    • You have an open invitation to have Thanksgiving dinner at our house Wen :)

      Wendy, this lesson has blessed me beyond words. I can’t wait to dig into the questions. You and this amazing “small” group are so precious on my list of why I am thankful!

      God’s abundant blessings to each of you… enjoy your REST at the throne of grace!
      xoxo

  3. Wendy, your vimeo was great, and I found myself wanting more at the end of the 32 minutes! By the way, where is your group discussion class held in Charlotte? Blessings, Janet

    • Hi Janet,

      So sorry it took so long to answer. We have been in Disneyworld for Thanksgiving.

      I teach this lesson live in Charlotte at Forest Hill Church on Park Road on Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:30 (every other Thursday). We have our Chapter Six lesson this week and then are taking a break for Christmas and will come back together after the first of the year.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  4. Carol Subia says:

    Wendy, loved the vimeo. It was all that this weary soul needed to hear. Thank you for speaking boldly the throne of Christ. I look forward to digging deeper into the refreshing word of truth these next two weeks.

    Have a blessed and restful time with your family. God bless, carol

    • Thank you!! I wish I could have all of you together in my Charlotte Bible study. It would be so fun to all be together!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  5. Michele Caséca says:

    Hi Wendy,

    My heart is overwhelmed by the truths and principles God has taught me lately! I feel I can’t get my hands out of my Bible anymore. I take it everywhere. I can’t hold my tears when I think about the amazing work He has done in my heart in the past 4 months.

    One of the things He has spoken to my heart is about His indwelling presence. God has taught me what it means to have His Spirit in me. He lives in us! God lives in frail people like you and I. He is actively at work in us, and that’s where our behaviour begins to change (Definitely where my behavior began to change). Not outside in performance base, but it’s an inside-out transformation. We announce His presence…” I once was lost, but now I’m found and born again!” Hallelujah!
    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all fruit of the Spirit, which comes from God’s work in our lives. The presence of God in my life being fuelled and fed by the Word of God is changing me, moulding me, strengthening me…

    Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God is working in me, giving me the desire and power to do what pleases Him.

    This is absolutely Amazing!
    Thank you Wendy, for doing this study! You have blessed me beyond words!

    I love you,
    Mi

    P.S. I LOVE Chapter 4!

  6. Lorraine Nyahora says:

    Hie Wendy lovely to be with the rest of you Jesus girls once again studying Chapter 4 of the book of Hebrews. Wendy I find it so great that you introduce the lessons found in each chapter as we begin the chapter. Thank You cant wait to get more of the Lord’s rest and the other second warning to us as believers. God bless

  7. Hi everyone! I am just finishing Lesson 2…a wee bit behind! But enjoying this nonetheless. :)
    As I was finishing Lesson 2, I got to the part where it mentions about whatever causes us sorrow, pain, etc that Jesus has already experienced it and come through it victoriously. I challenge this…I love the Lord but lately I am mad at him, which I think he’s okay with him sometimes cuz I’m human and I talk to him about this. Anyway, what I challenge is that Jesus was never married. Therefore, he did not experience marriage and love and a relationship as one does when they fall in love and marry. How does he understand this when he actually did not experience it? Yes, I know God/Jesus is all knowing, etc etc, but the point is, this is one thing that Jesus did not do. He did not have to deal with the issues that arise in the marital relationship and boy are there some doozies! Thoughts?

    Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

    • Traci – No Jesus wasn’t married, but he did have relationships and he did deal with emotions. He felt hurt and betrayed by Judas; he felt sorrow when Lazarus died; he felt love toward Mary, Martha, Lazarus and numerous others; he felt anger with the money changers in the temple; and he even felt frustration with the disciples when they failed to grasp his teaching. These are just a few of the emotions he experienced, so although he didn’t experience the exact circumstance you are dealing with he did experience feelings and emotions that are common to any relationship. Best of all he can and will walk with you through your circumstances if you ask him to. Something I learned from a marriage study years ago was that God didn’t create marriage to make you happy but to make you holy. Marriage and family life is the perfect practice ground to build our Christian character – faithfulness, forgiveness, selflessness, humility, patience, mercy, etc… Not saying it is easy. Praying for your marital circumstances.

    • Traci,
      I’m joining late in the study – you’re ahead of me, I’m only on Week 1. But if I may reply to your question. Jesus may not have been married in the earthly sense, but the bible says we, the church, are the bride of Christ. We have certainly done a number on Him, haven’t we? In us, He has experienced what we have in our marriages = rejection, pain, suffering, misunderstanding, and all the other doozies. And I’m sure we break His heart the same way our spouses sometimes break ours. The difference is, He gives us grace, grace and more grace. That’s what I am try (and fail) to do, daily.

    • Hi Traci. I’ll take you up on your invitation and share a few thoughts briefly. Jesus made and designed us so He knows exactly how every part of us works. He was made flesh so he also knows how it all works from a human perspective as well. He has a bride that He’s waiting for. It’s been a long engagement and throughout, she’s been so unfaithful. I’m sure you understand I’m talking about the Church as a whole and also each believer individually as well.
      When He was walking this earth as a human being (and a perfect one at that) He was hated because He loved people, He was rejected because He wanted to include everyone and He was slandered because He only spoke the truth. In our marriages (or any of our relationships) we end up on the receiving end of those hurtful emotions as well, yet none of us can say that they were always undeserved.
      And we know that Satan was very eager to cause Jesus to sin yet He remained sexually pure in spite of all the temptations common to man. He had many women friends and family and experienced misunderstandings often by the opposite sex (Mary, Martha, His mother, the Samaritan woman…). Bottom line… He knows/understands everything we’re going through and there IS a purpose for it all.
      I’m going through the deepest pain I’ve ever felt in my life (my husband has left our 30 year marriage and family) and in the midst of my lonliness and grief, the Lord revealed to me that He is hurting along with me. My husband turned his back on his Saviour who died at the cross for him before he walked away from me. I totally believe He feels everything we do and I’ve just learned the purpose for it. I don’t feel TOTALLY alone now and I feel honoured to share in the fellowship of His suffering.
      I urge you to consider this in your prayertime with Him. It’s a blessing that, once received, you’ll be thankful for. ~abundant blessings to you Traci~

      • Great responses to Traci sisters! There is some good discussions going on here with God as your Guide. I am awed.

      • sister in christ says:

        Traci..your faith in this difficult situation is an inspiration ….my prayers are with you

      • How beautifully written Judi! Your response was a witness to myself of how amazing our relationship with God can be when we let him in. The greatest pain is tolerable when we know and our confident of God’s love.
        That is what week four did for me…helped me focus on being confident of His love & resting in the fact that He has it all under control. I don’t but God does, so I am drawing closer to him.
        Wonderful blessings!

    • Angela Hardman says:

      Traci…Don’t feel bad!!! I’m just now catching up!!! God will allow some REST for you to catch up with his teachings!!! And in response to Jesus not being married the ladies have summed it up!!! Jesus sees, knows, and understands all!!! So trust he knows what you’re going through and better than that he CARES!!! He was tempted, hurt, not trusted, made mockery of, and worst of all CRUCIFIED!!! He definately can understand marriage and it’s emotions!!! Be blessed!!!!

  8. Ok sisters, I’m totally lost on the last part of question 8. I get the Hebrews 9:11-12 reference as far as Christ being our one sacrifice for all and that there is no longer any need for the temple here on earth. Therefore, when He ascended into heaven…in a sense so did the temple, for He is both the temple and the sacrifice; in Him we have redemption. {Unless I completely missed that one too}

    I am lost on the John 17:1-5 reference and how it relates to Christ entering heaven. I know it says He looked to heaven when He spoke His prayer and asked God to help His disciples understand His message because He was about to leave them {this is right before Judas betrays Him in the garden and after the disciples partake of the Passover meal and hear Christ’s final instructions before His betrayal.}. I also see that it’s talking about how Christ’s work was almost done; therefore, He would soon enter into His “rest” which is heaven. I’m confused though on why it’s significant for us…or is it that because He has gone to His rest in heaven and prepares a place for us to…though this verse doesn’t talk about that {John 14:2 does}. Help??

    <3 Heather

    • Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your question. I sent us to these verses for general purposes to see that Jesus was telling them the hour had come. God was going to glorify Him. God sent Him to earth to accomplish His purposes and those purposes were nearly completed. He would then travel back from where He came…heaven. He would be going back through the heavens to His home. Nothing too deep. Just verses that support where Jesus is now.

      Hope this helps.

  9. Good morning girls!,
    I want to comment about something I learned this past week when reading Hebrews 3. God spoke to me very clearly!! I am encouraged because I hadnt heard such a direct word towards me in a while. I was confronted by what Hebrews 3 says about why the Isrelites didnt enter quickly into the promised land. God wanted them to reach the promised land quickly and be able to enter his rest. However their UNBELIEF caused the Lord to not let them enter quicker into the promised land. God spoke to me about believing so I can see miracles. I have had a tough situation for about 6 years, dealing with severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, and atthe beginning of the journey (7 years ago) I had a big faith I would overcome with Gods help. However as years passed, and I kept dealing with the same things anxiety etc i started becoming hopeless.. even if i was on the outside doing all the right things, going to a lot of church services, seeking more of God and everything, ghoing to prayer groups etc. but my faith was really on the floor it was not high at all but God reminded me the importance of faith and that I have to believe. I am feeling better… praise God!! Ive had a peaceful weekend…

    • I encourage you with God’s command and promise to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to Him, AND THEN the peace that passes all understanding will GUARD your heart and mind.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  10. Happy Thanksgiving Wendy and to everyone in this group. Be safe traveling this weekend.

  11. Aleya, I know exactly where you are coming from I suffer from bipolar and know the drifting away and hardness of heart that sets in. I’ve learned not to question it any more, but to cling to God’s word and this study has made it even more clear to me. We should not let life’s circumstances make us lose our grip on God’s word and Jesus. This is why we need this study of Hebrews to be reminded of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Live your life from day to day. Thank God for good days and praise Him even in the bad, I find that helps.

  12. Lorraine Nyahora says:

    Good-morning, I am enjoying the bible study and as I was doing question 6 on how to prepare for our spiritual rest after reading Ephesians 6 and on verse 17 this verse made me understand that as believers we are at war. We must prepare for our rest and as we continue to study the word, it becomes active in our lives, its the one that changes our hearts, our minds and our thoughts and we begin to live in the word as we do this we are transformed to the mind of Christ and only then do we win this war and receive victory which is our rest. Sweet sisters our rest starts in our minds, our actions and our feelings as we shift from ourselves from the person of the flesh to Christ and this is achieved through the sword which is the word . God desires that we have peace and that we are at rest.

  13. Beth Overman says:

    Wendy,
    You referenced 2peter in your lesson on Monday. I was going back over my notes. Clearly, I wrote it down incorrectly. I have 2 Peter 4:1-8. Help.

    Beth

  14. Good morning to everyone! Magriet,Your comments have made a bold impression on me! After reading your remark above, realized that I have been guilty of letting life’s circumstances cause me to lose my grip on God’s word! I am going to let that statement be my daily mantra from now on. Thank you, Magriet! My prayers are for each one of you sisters in Christ to have a most blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and loved ones, and to rest in the love of Christ!
    Faithfully, Janet

  15. Good morning to everyone! Magriet,Your comments have made a bold impression on me! After reading your remark above, I realized that I have been guilty of letting life’s circumstances cause me to lose my grip on God’s word! I am going to let that statement be my daily mantra from now on. Thank you, Magriet! My prayers are for each one of you sisters in Christ to have a most blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and loved ones, and to rest in the love of Christ!
    Faithfully, Janet

  16. My heart is beating fast and and I am so excited at how God is showing up here and using you Wendy.
    I love this book but was never able to gain deeper understanding until this study! I am learning so much and the Lord is helping live it out!!!
    I praise Him and I thank Him for using you and for your faithfulness to teach me and all of us!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  17. I just printed the lesson and I like to read through it before I start. Wendy, I love the times you “review” for some of us. Hearing anything from God’s Word over and over again blesses me. Plus, your insight (and from the other’s in our sisterhood) awakens my soul to Who our God is and once again my cup is full.

    Everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving. To our sisters in other countries I am thankful for each of you and will be remembering you and your family in my Thanksgiving prayers.

    Be blessed and full of joy!
    Yanna

  18. Thank you all for your words of wisdom! :)

  19. Hi Wendy and to all my sisters

    I am so behind with the study….just finished the 2nd lesson, starting the 3rd chapter now. I will take advantage of the Thanksgiving break to catch up….as I am from Italy, in fact, we do not celebrate it…..would love to experience it though!
    I’ve read many of the comments from lesson two and it has been a blessing…..I’m so sorry I always come so late, and so far I did not be so active in the sharing with my other sisters….I’ve been missing so much….

    From lesson two I had two important message that God spoke to my heart, and would like to share:

    1- Hebrews 2:1:
    This passage teaches me that when I feel discouraged, and loose passion in prayer, don’t feel like to pray or read the Word….I have to force myself to remain focused on Him. I’ve been a little discouraged just recently, but, in obedience to what God speaks me in this passage, I’ve forced myself to remain in the Word, pray, ask help for my spirit to be renewed in Christ….and now I feel like I’m lifted up, uphold, supported, loved, comforted, strengthened, refreshed.

    2- Hebrews 2:14-15:
    Through this passage I came to a deeper understanding of the meaning of being set free, and when Satan tents me, I can say to him: “Jesus has defeated you, Jesus has destroyed the chain that was keeping me in that lie!
    Moreover, Hebrews 2:18 assures me that Jesus knows every details of my life, my situation, my experience, my struggles, and if I call Him I have His promise He came to help me.

    Thank you Wendy for letting me sharing this with you, and thank you for being such a blessing in my life.

    With Love,
    Erica

    • Erica you are definitely not alone I and just starting 2 myself, had issues come up , including getting a green light to teach preschoolers at Church, I start next Sunday so I’ve been studying that lesson and getting ready for that. I look forward to the week to catch up and be fresh for the week after thanksgiving, Hope all my Sisters here as well as you Wendy have a great holiday

  20. Hi Wendy,

    Praise the LORD. I would like to greet all my sisters in Christ this morning. I am a Fijian lady who had just joined the club this month and this is the first time for me to mail a comment on this web. I had read the other 3 chapters of Hebrew and did complete only chapter 1. I will be completing my chapters 2 & 3 and will post it later to Wendy.
    I would only want to share that GOD is good…..all the time. I am so busy scheduled and will try to answer 1and 2 question this week. I may need more time to read and study this beautiful book of Hebrews.
    I had read this book so many times BUT THIS WEEK I JUST REALIZE HOW IMPROTANT IS IT TO STUDY IN DEPTH. Great work Wendy. Blessed day to all my sisters.

    • Welcome! We are so excited to have a friend from Fiji. This is the best place to share your answers, Paira. So please jump back on when you have time and share your thoughts. And don’t worry about being “behind.” That is what is so great about an on-line study. It is always up and ready for you to read and do your homework. It will not go anywhere!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  21. Jeannie K. says:

    Hi Judi,
    When you said you are honored to be sharing in the fellowship of his suffering I began to think about when I suffer the same way Christ did and if I feel honored? I am beginning to see my situation a bit different because you said that. We are going through many trials here at home and I feel kinda lonely and I am seeing misunderstandings and stressful situations. The Lord has surrounded us with his love and grace + his mercy. He using so many people to speak to my heart daily and even the local christian radio station to speak to my heart. In the car I was on my way to work and I said “I am having some struggles and I don’t know what to do!” I turned on Bot radio network and listened to a sermon about going thru struggles and letting the Lord take control during those times etc… So, I think I look at my painful situations as such a horrible deal but I overlook that I am being refined in the process.
    Thanks for your post :)

    • Love what you shared, Jeannie!! I need to remember that very same Truth.

      W

    • Dear Jeannie thanks so much for writing this! God knows what we need always, and it’s not always what we think we need. Our job is to bring glory to Him so our first response to trials and storms should be “how can I bring glory to you through this mess, Lord?” Jesus had this in mind when He prayed in Gethsemane “nevertheless, not my will but yours…” . Keep growing, Girl!

      • Judi: Thanks so much for the reminder that my job is to bring God glory through all the messes of my life, and that wheneve I get “stuck” in my pity party, I should ask myself this question and focus on Him! Blessings–

    • Jeannie: I love, love, love what you said in your last sentence about being refined in the process of having to endure trials! I should type that up and post it everywhere–my kitchen, bedroom, car, etc! Thanks!

  22. About chapter 2, another passage that came out of the page for me is: “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” Jesus is not ashamed to call me sister!!! If He is not ashamed to call me sister, how can I be ashamed to talk about Him and the goaspel even with people that mock at me!!!! Many times I’ve been afraid to give my testimony, and share the truth that God gave me, to people I knew they would have mock at me…..!! This passage made me meditate on it……and grow about it!

    Happy Thanksgiving to my American sisters

  23. The vimeo was great. I felt it went into deeper discussion of course there was more time to do that. :) I am going to use this time to get caught up. I need to finish lesson 3 and get started on lesson 4. Happy Thanksgiving Wendy and all that’s participating!!

  24. I enjoyed your teaching.
    Everyone have a blessed and restful Thanksgiving.

  25. Dear sisters,

    Happy thanksgiving to all the American ones celebrating with their loved ones.

    God bless

  26. Charlotte Askew says:

    Wendy, I am just now getting a chance to watch your video teaching of Chapter 4. Let say this…..I wish you could start with Genesis Chapter 1 and teach me the Bible through to Revelation Chapter 22. I thank you for sharing that teaching with us. I stand in awe of your teaching abilities and the way you share your love of our Father God when you teach others.

    • Charlotte, your words bring tears to my eyes. Teaching God’s Word is the passion of my heart, and to read words like yours fill me to overflowing!! Thank you, sweet friend. I am so thankful for your friendship and your many words of wisdom of which I have been blessed to be a beneficiary.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

    • I fully agree!!!

  27. Hi Wendy, i have been unable to watch the vimeo because my office desktop is an old model and doesn’t support the format although the internet is great and fast. My personal laptop can play the vimeo but my internet at home is too slow and keeps breaking after 2mins of play and unfortunately i can’t connect my personal laptop with my office internet (office policies!). But started the study and up halfway now.
    I also want to thank you for connecting me to a counselor. My husband has apologized a thousand times now and has promised not to do it again. I am praying for him and we are working things out. I love this bible study group! just reading comments and questions alone, gladdens my heart.

    Cheers,
    Olayinka

    • Bless you and your study with Wendy Olayinka. I pray that what you wrote is true!

      Heavenly Father, I just thank You for doing a new work in Olayinka and her husband. Come to her as her Wise Counselor and Comforter as she continues in counseling, I pray. Only You, Lord see their hearts. I ask that You would speak directly to her husband. Only You, Lord can change him.
      I bind any spirit of strife or domestic violence in the Name and authority of Jesus Christ from continuing in this home. I release peace over this household. I pray protection over our sister in Christ, Olayinka. Stress the importance to her to stay alert and in counseling. These situations do not go away that easily. Father, take control. Release forgiveness. Guard Olayinka’s heart, mind, body and soul. Grant her and her husband serenity “to accept the things they cannot change;” courage for her husband to change the things he can, courage for Olayinka to change the things she can… and YOUR wisdom to know the difference. We ask Lord that the apologies
      would be confirmed with a repentant and changed heart in her husband and in his behavior.
      We pray for Your Holy Spirit to take control over him and fill him with more fruit of You! We bind any anger in him and release Your sweet spirit of calm and spirit control, flood him with Your peace as You pour out your healing grace over both of these children. Encourage Olayinka to trust in You and continue with counseling. We thank You for Your protection and love over her!
      We ask that You would help her to continue her study in Hebrews with better internet! We ask for Your favor and blessings to enrich their marriage rather than bring destruction but that Olayinka
      remain aware and prepared that promises have been broken by many men before… but YOUR
      PROMISES, Father are forever! To You be all glory, honor and praise for we are Redeemed by Your precious Son and plead the blood of Jesus over Olayinka.

    • You can always try to watch it on You Tube, http://www.youtube.com. You might have better luck. Let me know.

    • Hi,

      You might want to visit You Tube, http://www.youtube.com, directly and try to watch them there. It might work better for you. Let me know.

      W

    • Charlotte Askew says:

      Olayinka, if the youtube link doesn’t work either, why not take your laptop to a place where they have free wifi. Places like Starbucks, Krystal, McDonalds, etc. have the free wifi. Good luck on getting to see Wendy’s wonderful teaching lesson. I can promise you that it will quicken the Holy Spirit within you and things that you did not understand before will be made clear. This was such a blessing to me and I did not want to see it end, so I watched TWICE!

      • Hi ladies, thanks for your help and encouragement. I really don’t know what I would have done without it. This morning on getting to work, I asked one of my colleagues to start up his system to check if the vimeo will play on it and it did! wow! so I am coming to work at least an hour early tomorrow to watch it. Praise God!
        Have a lovely day y’ll
        Cheers,
        Olayinka

        • Olayinka, You are such an inspiration to me! Your love for God and His precious word really inspire me! You will be blessed by the vimeo–more of God and more of Wendy’s special messages as God uses her. Blessings and peace to you, dear one.

          • I am so blessed! Just watched the vimeo and I am so blessed! I know what to do now when my mind is uneasy and the troubles of this world threaten to consume me – go to the throne of grace and mercy.
            Thank you Wendy, may your ministry continue to expand and touch lives all over the world. Janet is right, God is indeed using you for all of us.
            Thanks y’ll for your prayers and encouragement – I feel so blessed today! I will definately find it hard to hide my excitement! I am so blessed! lol

    • I am praying for you and your husband. I pray the Lord will come into your husband’s heart and change his destructive patterns of behavior and renew his spirit. I pray he will love you the way the Lord would want him to. I pray you are kept physically and spiritually safe. I am so glad you spoke with a counselor, please listen to them. Counselors are there to help and have seen this countless times. My husband (like Lori’s) is a Police Officer and he goes on so many domestic violence calls. I will keep praying for you and all victims of domestic violence. You are a child of God, and Jesus is not ashamed to call you his sister (just as we read in Hebrews 2: 9-11). I hope it is ok that I post this here, I have a friend that was a victim of domectic abuse and she is also a Christian woman and an amazing writer. She posted her story on Facebook on The Police Wife Life page (you are not alone!): https://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=170378176344140
      Much love and prayers!

  28. I am still on chapter 3 and wanted to share what I learned. Question number 6 was about having confidence and hope and what we were like without this. I remember slowly over the years becoming more and more confident and hoping and clinging to the Lord during trying times. Just recently I was able to encourage a coworker. she was saying she didn’t feel she had a purpose in life and felt that she was an accident and wasn’t meant for anything. I reassured her telling her that she was planned by God and she had a purpose. She encouraged me when I first started working there and made me comfortable on the job. I think it is so neat to have opportunities like that. The Lord is so awesome how he works things out.

    • What precious truths to feed your coworker who is believing the lies of the evil one. I pray the Lord will give you more opportunities to share encouraging truths and promises from the Word with her. Praying she will see that she has great value and worth in God’s eyes and that He does have a wonderful and perfect plan for her life.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  29. WOW! Chapter 4 is such a “meaty” one! I particularly love question 1 and the God’s rest definition of inward and outward signs. In fact, my eyes keep going back to it every time I am on Wendy’s website; this definition forces me to ask myself how I appear to others, not only at all times,but especially during intensely stressful times. I can only call to mind two people who are “confidently assured within and outwardly live peaceable in the assurance of God’s daily provision.” As I reflected on this beautiful definition and prayed, God suddenly revealed to me why I am not able to experience His perfect rest constantly: I do not keep my focus on Him at all times–regardless of my circumstances–I let myself be influenced by the attitudes of others around me (especially my husband). And circumstances are so fleeting and changeable, but God’s promises ARE NOT! Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes; I shall press on to be the best representative for Christ that I can be. Have a wonderfully blessed week, sisters!

  30. I was so thankful for the week off, so I could catch up on Chapter 4 — so much good stuff in there I didn’t want to miss a detail! I think it is especially interesting how rest and temptation fit together in this chapter. I know I, for one, feel my most vulnerable to temptation when I am weary. This has been the case this past week with the busyness of the holidays approaching. I will be honest here and say that my biggest weakness is my mind. I have allowed myself in the past to be tempted by satan and drug into a world of depression. God has given me deliverence on more than one occassion, but I recently have been battling once again with those feelings. This chapter was an answer to prayer this week particularly. I am trusting in God’s grace and confidence to see me through the busyness of the Christmas season. I am praying that He will remind me daily of what the true meaning is and that it is only through His son’s birth, death and resurection that I can have peace and rest in my heart and mind.
    Through that peace and rest and the confidence He gives, I can conquer the temptations that satan throws my way. I plan to spend the remainder of this week listening to God’s voice and the promises He has for me. Thank you to Wendy and all those who have committed to this study. I feel so blessed to have to all as sisters in Christ!

  31. It’s me again. . . my husband just came home for lunch and is under attack at work for a stand he took against a wrong that another employee was committing and my husband chose not to cover up. As I previously mentioned, I have recently been under attack as well. We are not sure exactly what God has planned in our lives right now, but know that He is trying to show us something through these struggles. Please pray for my family as we seek His will for our lives and continure to make decisions based on our convictions, no matter how unpopular they are. The most recent attack will affect us financially in the year ahead and we were already struggling like everyone else. I am also prayinig that our children (ages 16 and 20) see each action we take as a result of the peace of Christ in us.

    • Praying God will be your Defender as you stand up for what is good and true and right. He needs more people like you and your husband in this world. Praying He will provide for your every need and bless your obedience. Our actions speak much louder than our words to our children. I am sure you are setting a fine godly example your children as you stand up for your convictions.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

    • Lori, you have given me such encouragement and inspiration this morning! I love your insight on how being weary goes hand in hand with temptation, therefore we need rest. Thank you for that.

      I am praying that God blesses you for seeing Him and HIs kingdom first… that these decisions you are making, although it seems unpopular in our society… will be music to His ears. I’m going to His throne boldly like Wendy reminded us at the end of the study, lifting you and your family up!

      xoxo

  32. I was behind as well but I am caught up and I love lesson 4! I really enjoyed having the longer video (and with the week off I will be watching it again!)..as well as all the descriptions in the homework. I have struggled in the past few weeks (this is my first study) but it gets easier each week to dig deeper. The Lord is definately opening my heart and mind to a deeper understanding of each lesson. I love to read all the comments, they are very encouraging and insightful! Thank you all for your uplifting words and prayers!
    I loved the realization that the “rest” that is being spoken of with Joshua seems to fall in line with John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” When they entered into Canaan with Joshua, although the Israelites had peace they still fought enemies but won the battles because the Lord was with them. So it is telling us that they still had troubles but the Lord was with them through them all, just as He is with us! So encouraging!
    He is telling us over and over…this world is full of trouble…you will have battles and troubles but hold tight to the Lord and He will see you through them all…he is not saying there will be peace for us on this earth but that there will be peace IN HIM while we are here. I love this study, thank you Wendy!

  33. I am so thankful for Wendy bringing out verse 11… that we have to make every effort to enter God’s rest. I love the illustration of working to get everything in order to take a vacation.

    Similarly, in the cross references she used Matthew 11:28-30, it takes our action in order to gain God’s rest. Jesus tells us to COME TO ME and TAKE His yoke upon us. This is the part of the equation I’ve been missing! I’ve set aside parts of my days to rest and a full day a week to rest- as in I had no work to do- but I wasn’t taking action to gain the blessing Jesus offered. On a random side note, when I had searched what a yoke was and what it looks like, it’s a CROSS bar that fit over the neck of a working animal. In most cases, it would be a pair of animals. I love that I need to approach Jesus to take His cross yoke upon me… and that I’m not created to be burdened on my own… I’m created to have Him right next to me, therefore not burdened or heavy laden.

    God bless you girlfriends! Have an awesome day!

  34. Hey everyone, hope your weekend is going well and you are enjoying left overs as much as I am, lol. I am on Chapter 3 but re writing my notes into a cool 3 subject notebook and Ch1 question 4 stopped me in my tracks. As I wrote the question ” How does they speak to this attribute I looked up the word attribute a quality belonging to a particular person ( Jesus) or thing. Then I looked up quality Something that sets a person ( or thing) apart . High in social rank. As I looked at the definition of quality I had to stop. I stopped because I had to give thanks to God for Jesus. The quality that sets Jesus apart is 1 he is the Son of the most high God. 2 He is flawless, No body can come close to Jesus and what He has done for me- for ALL OF US because of His love for us. How can you not stop and praise Him. 3 Another quality that sets Jesus apart is he went through all of the suffering so that I may have not only an example , but life. Praise God And what better social rank can you get then King of Kings Lord of Lord?!.

    Personally I don’t like the word thing included when they are talking about Jesus – they weren’t talking about Jesus in the definition I was- but if its going to be there then the thing I would say is salvation and eternal like. No body but Jesus can give us that. ???

    ok on ward and up ward talk to you all soon!
    Debi

  35. oops just a few typos, I was kinda battling watery eyes just thinking of what a wonderful God we serve.

  36. Wendy I just finished watching the lesson here and I was just getting into it when you were ending … Such a good teaching thank you. When you were talking about the double edged sword and laying your neck out exposed there have been times when God’s word has done that , and I have had to close the bible because what I was seeing was hard to deal with. But before long God was there to help me through it as he always does, so I can get closer to him. Thank you Wendy for these.

  37. When I listen the verse from Exodus 14:14 is in my head, heard with my heart, and filling my soul.
    “The LORD will fight for you, you need only be still.”

    Putting this verse to memory helps me find my rest in Him. Today.

    I love all you.

    Be blessed and filled with joy,
    Yanna

  38. I was enjoying this two week study to be able to go slower with my reading. I was able to listen to the video twice, to read Hebrews 4 several times and to go through the questions. I find the more I read the more I gain- yes the Word is living and giving me more and more insight into the wonderful relationship I have with Jesus.
    I am very much understand the 3 rests we are talking about. I am rejoice that Jesus was on Earth to understand how we feel, for those who are loved ones and ill, for the loss of our loved ones, to work through relationships as Jesus observed others in relationships and was in relationships with his family of friends and disciples. He understands just how we feel.
    I am ready for Hebrews 5.

    Susie

  39. Wendy~
    I’m a bit behind on the study and just watched the video this morning. What a way to start my Sunday morning:) I wish the video was longer..:) You are an amazing teacher and have brought new truths to life through Hebrews 4. My walk with the Lord continues to be blessed by your teachings! Thank you!!
    Hugs and Love,
    Colleen

  40. Wendy, the video lesson was so good. I agree with the other ladies I wish every week we had a longer lesson. Thank you.

    I have one question. Do you have a scripture reference for the OT Priest and their limited time with God in the Temple (the cord reference about 27:48 in the video.) ? Interesting concept. I thought the cord (tassels) were from Numbers 15:37-40 as a rememberance to obey all of the LORD’s commands. Good thing Zechariah got to stay as long as he wanted in the temple. :) Luke 1:21 (grin)

    I love the thought that Jesus is the reason we have all the time we want with our Father. (and we are not pulled away except by our own choosing not some cord!) I know when we get to Hebrews 10:20 you will share more how the curtain was torn! So exciting what God has done for us through His love and grace by gving us His Son our Great High Priest.

    Looking forward to chapter 5, this is a wonderful study of Hebrews.

  41. Martha T. says:

    Rewriting Hebrews 4:14 – 16 was very powerful ! It really came alive for me what Jesus has done- for me and you and all of us!

  42. Wow, what a lovely time I just had with the Lord. I mean, I feel now like I have been crying for hours – puffy eyes, sniffly nose…but I’m at peace. Do you know what I discovered about myself in my crying out to God this morning? I am forever striving NOT to be second place, or A- or not the best. I had that ‘dream’ when I was a teenager reading “To Be the First” to one day write a book called “To Be The Best.” So, it’s not just that I want to be the best; it’s that I want to avoid being second place or just less than best. Revealing! I felt God telling me to give it up, let it go. Let go and let God. Also, God showed me that it is important for me not to DO things SO THAT (so that I will be fit, so that I lose weight, so that my children have a good education, so that I please people, so that I do what is right, so that I look good to others, so that I use my talents wisely, so that I make the most of my time, etc, etc, etc.) but that I do things JUST BECAUSE (just because God wants me to). I need to do things not SO THAT but JUST BECAUSE. I seem to have a thing about ‘doing’. I need to learn to just ‘be’.

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