February 22, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: A Study of the Book of Hebrews

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January 29, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Hebrews Chapter Ten

Hebrews Chapter 10:  Through the Veil

“Through the Veil”

Through the veil there’s a new and living way

Through the curtain welcome to the Holy Place

Through we once were separated, we are now invited in

Though the veil, through the blood, come to Him

Through the veil, through the blood, enter in

The Holy Place is open, come and worship

The Lamb for Sinners’ slain is King of All

We praise and glorify the Lord before His mighty throne

Through the veil, through the blood, come to Him

Through the veil, through the blood, enter in

Lyrics:  Gwen Smith

Don’t you love the lyrics to this song?  It was written by my friend, Gwen Smith.  She wrote “Through the Veil” while studying the book of Hebrews.  In the midst of discussing Chapter 10 with her small group, she literally excused herself from the room, went to a quiet place alone, and wrote this song.  Here is a link to hear Gwen perform this song live. 

She will be visiting our study here in Charlotte next month to lead our worship and perform “Through the Veil.”  How I wish each of you could join us!!  When you have a few minutes, sit quietly before the Lord and prayerfully listen.  I pray it will bless you as it has blessed me!

In this chapter, the author of Hebrews again points out the failure of the system of old sacrifices.  However, this time he gets very specific.  He presents three reasons …three benefits really…why Jesus’ sacrifice was superior to the Old Testament system of sacrifice.

1.  Christ’s sacrifice takes away sin forever and always.

2.  Christ’s sacrifice was once and for all.

3.  Christ’s sacrifice removed the barrier that had been set up between God and man.

Are you ready?  Let’s begin!

This Week’s Memory Verse: By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. Hebrews 10:20 (NLT).

This Week’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the cross.  Thank You for choosing to die for me…for shedding Your blood for the forgiveness of my sins.  Thank You that by the shedding of Your blood, You made a way for me to enter into the presence of God.  Thank You that by Your resurrection, You made a way for me to one day have everlasting life.  Help me, Lord, to cling to the cross and the resurrection and never forget the sacrifice You made for me.  I ask all this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Ten

Homework Questions:

1. How would you define sin?

Sin is mankind’s greatest problems.  It is what separates us from God.  After the fall, God’s first priority was to deal with sin.  He wanted fellowship with His people again.  To accomplish this, God took steps to make it happen.  He began with the Law.

2.  Read Hebrews 10:1-3.

  • What was the old system of sacrifice?
  • Read Colossians 2:17.  Share what it says.
  • According to Hebrews 10:2-3, what effect did the sacrifices actually have on the people?

3.  How is Jesus, the New Testament offering, like the burnt offering spoken of in Leviticus 1:3-5?

4.  Read Psalm 51:17 and Psalm 139:23-24. When you need forgiveness, do you come before the Lord with a broken spirit?  A contrite heart? If you do not, ask God to tender your heart to your sin.  Pray as David did the prayer in Psalm 139:23-24.

 5.  Read Hebrews 10:1-18.  Christ’s sacrifice was better because it was effective.  It totally removed sin, something the old system of sacrifice could never do.  

  • Compare what Hebrews 10:11-12 say about Jesus and the high priests.
  • Read the following verses.  What do they say about the effect Christ’s work had?  1 Corinthians 15:55-57, Colossians 2:15, 2 Timothy 1:10, 1 John 3:8.

6.  Reread Hebrews 10:16-17. 

  • What is the New Covenant promise according to Jeremiah?
  • Explain what this New Covenant means in your own words.

7.  Do you feel fully forgiven of all your sin and walk in the freedom of that forgiveness?

  • If you answered yes, how does this effect how you live day to day?
  • If you answered no, what keeps you from walking in that forgiveness?  I encourage you to take what you have learned these past few months and ask the Lord to enable you through the power of His Holy Spirit to believe in full faith that Jesus died on the cross for you and that His sacrifice makes you not only fully forgiven but also fully accepted in the eyes of God.

 

8.  Read Hebrews 10:19-22.  The author of Hebrews issues an invitation for his Jewish audience to “boldly” draw near to Jesus. 

  • How do Mark 15:37-38 and John 19:31-34 help you understand Hebrews 10:19-22?
  • In Hebrews 10:20, what are the two words the author uses to describe Jesus’ way?

 

9.  Read Hebrews 22-25.  The author of Hebrews tells his audience how to respond to what Jesus did on the cross.  

  • List at least three ways we are to respond.
  • What does it mean to go before the Lord with a sincere heart? With full assurance of faith?
  • Read Titus 3:5 and Ephesians 5:26.  Share the truths you glean from these verses.

 

10.  Read Hebrews 10:23. 

  • To what does the author of Hebrews tell his audience to hold fast?
  • What is that hope?
  • What are you doing in your life to “hold fast” to the hope you profess?

11.  How can we spur one another on?

 

12. The author gives his audience another warning in Hebrews 10:26-31.  (For review, the earlier warnings are found in Hebrews 2:1-4, Hebrews 3:7-14, Hebrews 5:11-14).  Summarize this warning in your own words.

  • Read 1 John 2:19, Deuteronomy 13:13, and 1 Samuel 15:11.  How do they relate to this warning?
  • According to Hebrews 10:26, what are the two characteristics of apostasy?

13.  Read Hebrews 10:32-39.  Knowing the persecution many in his audience have suffered, he calls his audience to remember.  He then exhorts them not to throw away their confident trust in the Lord and points them to something as an encouragement.

  • What is his encouragement? (v. 35)
  • What does the author tell them they need to receive all that he has promised? (v.36)

14.  In Hebrews 10:38, the author tells his audience to “live by faith.”  What does living by faith mean to you?  Is there something in your life that requires you to live by faith?  What does that practically look like in your circumstances?

If you have something with which you are struggling, I encourage you to seek God’s Word on that issue.  Find specific promises that speak to your heart.  Stand on them, pray them, memorize them, and believe them with all your heart.  God will be faithful!!

Sweet Blessings to you,

 

February 5, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Hebrews Chapter 11

Hebrews Chapter Eleven:  It’s All About Faith

(If you are looking for my “Choose NOT to be Offended” devotional post, please click here.)

What is faith?  We are about to spend an entire week studying the meaning of one of the most significant words in Christianty.  Without it, there is no salvation!

I love Warren Wiersbe’s definition of faith:

“True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances and consequences.”

We are about to see faith come alive as we embark on a journey through Hebrews’ Hall of Fame.  God has given each of us has great stories of faith…times God has called us to take a step of faith, and, through it, He has done great things. I share one of my big faith stories today.  I would love to hear yours.  Please share your stories with us this week.  The faith stories of others always bless and encourage my own faith.

Let our journey begin…

This Week’s Memory Verse:  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

This Week’s Prayer:

Oh, Father, how I long to be a woman of faith.  Help me to trust in You above all else in this world.  Help me to loosen my hold on what I treasure in this world.  Keep my eyes fixed on You, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  No matter what my circumstances look like, no matter what man says to me, keep only Your Truth before me.  Give me the mind of Christ.  Thank you for this chapter which not only teaches me what faith is but also shows me.  Keep these truths ever before me.  Grow me, Father, to be a great woman of faith.  A woman who trusts in You for all things. A woman who others  look to for hope and encouragement.  Use me, Lord, to bless others and to lead others to a closer walk with You.  May my faith point them to You.  May my faith make them hunger for more of You.  I ask this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Eleven

Homework Questions:

1.  Let’s talk a moment about your faith.

  • When did your faith first begin?
  • When has your faith been its strongest?  Why?
  • When has your faith been its weakest?  Why?
  • How would you describe your faith now?  Explain.
  • As we embark on a journey through the heroes of the Christian faith, who are your heroes of the faith?

 

2. Read Hebrews 11:1-3.  

  • Write this verse below and then write it again, but this time in your own words.
  • Now read Romans 10:17.  Write it below and then write it in your own words.

 

3.  Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.  What insight do these verses give us about faith?

 

4.  The heroes of the faith each left a great legacy.  What about you?

  • Looking at your life right now, what will be your legacy?
  • Perhaps a better question is what do you want to leave behind?  What do you want your legacy to be?
  • What steps do you need to take now to ensure that you leave this legacy?

 

5.  Hebrews 11:4 introduces us to Abel.  If you would like to read Abel’s story, read Genesis 4:1-10. 

  • Why do you think God was pleased with Abel’s offering and not Cain’s (hint:  Genesis 4:6-7)
  • If God’s decision bothers you, read the rest of the story in Genesis 4:8-16.  What does this story reveal about Cain’s heart?

6.  Read Hebrews 11:5-6.  To learn more about Enoch, read Genesis 5:18-24.

  • What do you suppose close fellowship with God looked like at this time?
  • What lesson of faith does God want us to glean from Enoch’s life?

 

7.  Read Hebrews 11:7 and Genesis 6:9. 

  • List the words used to describe Noah.  Based on these words, what kind of man was Noah?
  • Read 2 peter 2:5.  How does Peter describe Noah?
  • Read Genesis 6:5.  What does it tell us about the world in which Noah lived and those to whom he preached?
  • If someone asked your friends to describe you, what words would they use? 
  • What words would you use to describe yourself? 

 

8.  Read Hebrews 11:8-19.  The author spends most of his time in this chapter on Abraham, the Father of the Hebrew nation.

  • Why do you think he devoted so much time to Abraham?
  • What does Joshua 24:2 tell us about Abraham?
  • Yet God chose him anyway.  What do you think God saw in his heart to call him out?
  • What actions did Abraham take because he had faith?
  • What did God promise Abraham? (hint:  Genesis 12:1-5)

 

8.  Did God ask you to give up when you entered your new life? 

  • If you answered yes, what was it?
  • What did you receive in return?
  • Was it worth it?  Why or why not?

 

9.  Read Hebrews 11:11-12.  These verses tell us that, Sarah, a barren woman conceived a child.  And because she did, an entire nation of people came to be.  Every Jew that has been or ever will be is the result of Abraham’s faith.  And you and I share in that legacy because of our faith in what Jesus did on the cross. 

  • Are you struggling with something today for which you have asked and trusted God?  Be encouraged by Abraham’s story.  Read it and hide it in your heart.  Allow all that it reveals about God, His character, and His Word seep into the marrow of your bones.  
  • Read Mark 9:23, Matthew 19:26, Ephesians 3:20, and Philippians 4:13.  Share what eachverse says and hide the truths in your heart.  Pray fervently for your struggle!

 

10.  Read Hebrews 11:17-19.  Abraham’s greatest proof of faith came when he willingly surrendered Isaac on the altar.  In doing so, he was giving back to God the son of the promise….the one and only person who could fulfill God’s promise to him.

  • Why was Abraham able to obey so quickly?

Abraham knew the promise to which he was clinging, and he knew the One who made that promise.  He knew that One was faithful.  To have a faith like Abraham’s, we too must KNOW God’s promises and must believe that He is faithful to deliver them.

  • Is there something you love as much as Abraham loved Isaac?  Is God asking you to be willing to sacrifice it in obedience to Him?
  • Are you willing to trust God enough to give it to Him?
  • Take one step of obedience today.  Share that step with us so that we can pray for you.

 

11.  Read 2 Timothy 1:5.  Read Exodus 2:1-10.

  • What does these verses teach about faith?
  • What do you learn about the faith of Moses’ parents in the Exodus passage?

 

12.  Read Hebrews 11:29 and Exodus 14:12-14.  Here again we see another step of faith…this time for Moses in his own life and the life of his people.

  • What are Moses’ words to the people?
  • How did they respond?

The people  believed Moses’ promise from God and marched right through the seabed, with a mountainous wall of water on each side.  Can you imagine how terrifying, yet awe-inspiring, this event must have been?  The walls of water could have descended upon them and drown them all at any moment.  The Israelites had no guarantee except God’s Word.  They heard it through Moses and put their faith in it.  Faith is trusting in God’s promises.  But we must know the promises.

  • Read Romans 10:17 again.  What does it say? 
  • Do you know God’s promises?

 

13.  I love the story of Joshua!  Read Joshua 1:1-9 and Joshua 6:1-5.

  • What does God say to Joshua in Joshua 1:1-9?
  • What instructions does God give to Joshua in 6:1-5?
  • How do you think what God promised Joshua in Joshua 1 impacted Joshua when he received the instructions in Joshua 6?
  • What does this story teach you?

 

14.  Read Daniel 6:1-23 (Daniel and the lion’s den) and Daniel 3 (the fiery furnace).  Share what you learn about faith from these stories.  Pull out specific verses that exemplify faith.

 

15.  Let’s go back to Hebrews 11:6.  

  • What does the author mean when he says, “without faith it is impossible to please God?”
  • What two things must you believe if you want to come to God?
  • Do you believe God rewards those who earnestly seek Him? (see Deuteronomy 4:29 and Jeremiah 29:13)
  • Do any of the heroes we have looked at this week particularly reinforce the truth of this promise for you?

What a wonderful blessing to study these heroes of the faith. My prayer is that the Lord will move each of us one step closer to becoming the great women of faith He has called us to be!!

Sweet Blessings to you!

 

February 12, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Hebrews Chapter 12

Lesson 12: Run the Race

Friends, we are drawing close to the end of our study.  We have one chapter left.  You have been absolutely amazing!  Thank you for your commitment and the hours and hours of study and commentary you have put in to make this study one of the best ever.  I pray that each one of you will feel called to join us for the next one.  Please be in prayer for what comes next.  I am praying.

As I close teaching and writing this chapter, I am overwhelmed by the magnificence of our God!!  Before you begin your lesson today, spend some  time praising God through His Names.  He is worthy!

El Elyon, Most High God

Sun of Righteousness

I Am

Rock

Strong Tower

Messiah

Prince of Peace

Lamb of God

Bread of Life

Light of the World

Sure Foundation

Cornerstone

Abba Father

All Consuming Fire

Sweet friends, God is all this and more!  He is Who He says He is.  He can and will do what He says He will do!  He is a faithful God.  My prayer is that we will encounter God in a fresh new way today as we open His Word this week!!

Let’s begin….

 

This Week’s Memory Verse: Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2(a) (NLT).

This Week’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of faith.  Thank You for the great men and women of the past who set a great example for me to follow.  When times get tough, and I struggle to see You in my circumstances, draw me back to You and to Your Word.  Lift my eyes to You, the One from whom my help comes.  Strengthen me, Lord, from the inside out and enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to run my race with endurance.  Give me the mind of Christ and protect me from the lies of the evil one who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to discourage and derail me from the path You have for me.  When I want to give up, fill me with Your Hope and point me to Your Truth.  Lord, I thank You that with You nothing is impossible, and that I can do all things through You who strengthens me.  I ask this all in Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Twelve

Homework Questions:

 1.  Read Hebrews 12:1-2. 

  • List the three pieces of advice you find in verses 1 and 2.
  • Read Romans 15:4.  What does it say?

 

2.  The author tells us to run the race with “endurance.”  

  • Define endurance.
  • How does 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 speak to Hebrews 12:1-2?

 

3.  What is the first step to enduring according to Hebrews 12:1?

  • What weighs you down in your spiritual journey?
  • What keeps you from “stripping” off these constraints?

 

4.  Read Hebrews 12:2.  What is the third and final step to running our race?

 

5.  Read Hebrews 12:5-6.

  • What are the author’s two instructions about discipline in verse 5?
  • Who does the Lord discipline?

 

6.  Read Hebrews 12:7-10.  Distinguish between how an earthly parent disciplines and how our heavenly Father disciplines.

  • List some ways that God disciplines.
  • Share a time in your life when you received God’s discipline.  How did you respond?  How has God used that time in your life to correct and refine you?

*If you would like to read more verses on discipline, read Proverbs 6:23, 12:1, 15:5, 15:32, Zechariah 13:9, Romans 5:3-5, and Revelation 3:19.  Share what they teach you about discipline.

 

7.  Read Hebrews 12:10-11.

  • What are the blessed results of God’s discipline?
  • What does the author mean when he says, “But afterward (after the discipline) there will be a peaceful harvest of righteousness for those trained by it?”
  • Why does the author use the word “trained?”

 

8.  Read Hebrews 12:12-13.  Read Isaiah 35:3-4.

The author of Hebrews sensed the spiritual weakness in his audience.  He felt a strong call to encourage them to renew their strength.  We find a similar metaphor in Isaiah 35:3-4.  Both the prophet Isaiah and the author of Hebrews are calling the body of believers to strengthen one another.  In strengthening the body, we strengthen others and ourselves.

  • What are some ways we can strengthen the body of Christ?
  • Read Isaiah 58: 10-12.  How does this verse relate to our discussion?
  • What are you doing to strengthen the body of Christ?  How has serving the body in this way strengthened you?

 

9.  Read Hebrews 12:13 again. 

  • Read Proverbs 4:25-27.  How does this passage reinforce the author’s words in Hebrews 12:13?
  • Practically, how do you do this?  List steps you are taking or will take to leave a level path. 

 

10.  Read Hebrews 12:15 and Deuteronomy 29:18-19 and Deuteronomy 29:20.

  • What do these verses tell you about bitterness and turning your heart away from God?
  • Read Ephesians 4:1-5.  Share what this passage speaks to you about what we are studying in this chapter.
  • Practically, how do we rid our heart of bitterness?

If you are in a place of bitterness, please tender your heart to the Lord and pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father, Your grace amazes me.  Thank You for dying on the cross for me when I was still a sinner.  Thank You for the pain, humiliation, and rejection that You endured for me.  Thak You that Your sacrifice was sufficient to forgive all my sin.  I know my unforgiving attitude toward _____________ grieves Your heart.  Forgive me for not extending grace and forgiveness the way You extended it to me.  You know how he or she has hurt me.  Father, I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus, for the strength to forgive _______________.  Help ensure that no root of bitterness grows up in my heart.  I leave all my hurt and all my pain at the foot of the cross, and I ask You to begin your healing work in my heart and mind.   Take away my hurt and my selfish thoughts.  Fill me with thoughts that are pure, righteous, and praiseworthy.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.

 

11.  Read Hebrews 12:18-24.  What the writer of Hebrews wants his audience to know is that God offers two paths for us.  This same message is weaved throughout Scripture.

  • Read Deuteronomy 30:19, Joshua 24:15, and Matthew 7:24, 26.  What do you learn about choices?  (If you want to dig deeper and read more on the giving of the Law, read Exodus 19)
  • What image of God does Mt. Sinai leave with you?
  • Contrast this with the image of God Mt. Zion  leaves with you.
  • Read Galatians 4:24-26.  How does the author of Galatians describe the two mountains?
  • What are the blessings we find/receive in Mount Zion? (name as many as you can find in Hebrews 12:22-24)

 

12.  Read 2 Corinthians 1:22.  How has God identified us as His own?  What does it mean for our lives?

 

13.  Read Hebrews 12:25-29.

  • What is the warning in verse 25?
  • What is God’s promise in verse 26?
  • Read 1 Peter 3:10-13.  What does it say?  Read Revelation 21:1-7?  What is to come?

 

14.  The author speaks of the shakable and the unshakable things.

  • What are the shakable things?
  • What are the unshakable things?
  • To what are you more heavily anchored…the shakable?  the unshakable?
  • What are we called to do in response to this unshakable kingdom we will receive in the last two verses of Hebrews Chapter 12?

Blessings to you,

 

February 20, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Hebrews Chapter Thirteen

Winners of Giveaways:

“I Choose Not  to be Offended” Giveaway…copy of Jesus Calling…goes to Breinny who posted on February 3rd at 3:01 p.m.

“Even in the Darkness Giveaway”…copy of Hidden Joy…goes to both Lori who posted on February 15th at 3:25 p.m. and Stephanie who posted on February 15th at 3:50 p.m.

Congratulations!!  Please send me an e-mail to deuteronomysix@aol.com, with you full name and mailing address so I can send you your books.

Lesson 13:  Living a Cross-Centered Life

You made it!!!  We have reached the end of our journey.  How I wish I could hug each and every one of you and spend the day together celebrating this most monumental achievement.  This has been the longest on-line study we have done together, and you have been so faithful to hang in there!  This journey through Hebrews has demanded much of us, and you have no let up.  You persevered to the end.  We now have a working knowledge not only of this challenging book but also of the rich history of God’s people and His priesthood.  I am so proud of you!!  And you can be assured of this:  God will richly bless your faithfulness.

Thank you for investing your precious time in this study.  I am so thankful for each and every one of you!  I will be starting a new study in April on my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.  I would love to have you join us.  If you are registered for this study, you are registered for all future studies, including the Hidden Joy study.  If you are unsure if you are registered, just click on the link in the right column that says “Sign up for Wendy’s On-Line Bible Studies.”  If it gives you an error message when you register, then you are already registered.

Please don’t be a stranger from now until April.  Stop by and visit when you have time.  I will continue to post between now and the next study.  In fact, next week I will be introducing a new author who is a dear friend of mine and the wife of our pastor.  She has written an amazing book on prayer that has just been released, Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars.  Be sure to come back and visit for a chance to win a copy of her book.

Now…let’s move on to our study.  With this chapter, the author of Hebrews moves us to the practical.  He spends this last chapter teaching believers how to practically live out their faith.  Warren Wiersbe summarizes it well with these words:  “true faith demands true living.”   

Jesus says it even better:

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16 (NIV 1984)

 The author calls us to live lives of integrity.  Friend, we must never forget that we may be the only Jesus some people ever meet.  Our lives must be living, breathing evidence of a cross-centered life.

Let’s begin….

 This Week’s Memory Verse: Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name.  Hebrews 13:15 (NLT).

This Week’s Prayer:

Precious Father, You have brought me such a long way.  This is my last week of Bible Study.  Thank You for all that You have taught me these past months.  Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to receive and understand the wonderful things in Your Law.  Thank You for the amazing knowledge You have revealed about the history of Your people and about the true meaning of the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice.  These are truths that have changed my life and my faith forever.  Father, don’t let me close this chapter and forget all that I have learned.  Plant these words deep in my heart and enable them to take root.  I give You my heart and hold nothing back.  Take Your Word, the double-edged sword, and pierce my soul.  Mold me and change me to be more like You.  Use me, Lord, to take what I have learned and do great things that will bring glory and honor and praise to You.  Teach me to stand strong in my faith, to be a Light in this dark world.  Give me courage to live out my faith no matter the cost.  I love You, Lord, lead me down paths of righteousness, fill me with everlasting joy, use me, Lord, use me for your glory!!  I ask this in Jesus’ Name.  AMEN

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Thirteen

Homework Questions:

1.  The author of Hebrews presents three pieces of evidence that demonstrate a cross-centered life.  The first piece of evidence  is Christian Fellowship.  Read Hebrews 13:1-6.

  • Hebrews 13:1 says to love one another as brothers and sisters.  Share places in your own life where you observe and or experience the “brotherly” love spoken of here.
  • Why does such love fail to exist in some churches, communities and relationships?
  • Hebrews 13:2 says to show hospitality to strangers.  Read Matthew 25:40.   What does this verse tell us about helping a stranger?
  • Practically, how can we offer hospitality today?  What keeps us from doing this?

 

2.  Read Hebrews 13:4. 

  • What is another way of loving one another according to this verse?
  • List ways we can honor marriage (Hint:  read Ephesians 5:21-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-7).
  • Do you struggle with any of these words as you read them?  If you do, invite the Lord to show you if there is any place in your marriage where you are not honoring His will and His way for you and your husband.  Listen prayerfully to His answer and then comit what you hear to Him in prayer and ask Him to change your heart.  Watch and see the wonderful things He will do.

 

3.  Read Hebrews 13:5-6.

  • What is the author’s teaching?  How does it relate to loving one another?
  • Read Exodus 20:17.  Write this Commandment below.
  • How does Colossians 3:2 guide us in living out this call from the author of Hebrews?

 

4.  Read Hebrews 13:7-9 .  The author of Hebrews now moves on to the second piece of evidence of a cross-centered life:  Honoring our Spiritual Leaders.

  • To what does the author of Hebrews call his audience in these verses?
  • Who are some people in your life who have set a Christian example for you?  How do you remember them?  Take time today to pray for those people and thank God for the influence they have had in your life.  Maybe even write them a note of thanks and blessing, telling them how they have impacted your faith.
  • What is the warning in Hebrews 13:9?  What should be be wary of today?

 

5.  Read Hebrews 13:15-16.  What are the two sacrifices we can offer God?  Choose one of these and apply it in your life this week.  Share with us later in the week how God uses it to bless you and honor Him.

 

6.  Read Hebrews 13:17-18.

  • According to this verse, what is another way to honor our leaders? 
  • What emotions and thoughts does verse 17 elicit as you read them?  Do you agree with the author’s instruction?
  • Why should we trust our spiritual leaders?  Read James 3:1.  How does it relate to this discussion?
  • To what does the author of Hebrews call his audience in Hebrews 13:18?
  • Would you prayerfully consider praying for a Christian leader today?  It may be a national leader or preacher,  your own preacher, a Sunday School teacher, a Young Life Leader, a pastor, or a worship leader.  After the Lord has laid that person on your heart, contact him or her and let him/her know you are praying.  Let him/her know you will cover them in prayer for a certain period of time.  Keep in communication as you pray.  Watch and be amazed at what the Lord does in and through your obedience.

 

7.  Read Hebrews 13:20-25.  The author of Hebrews now presents the third and final piece of evidence of a cross-centered life: Spiritual Lordship.

  • Read John 10:11-14 and 1 Peter 2:25.  Share how the Hebrews passage and these passages make Jesus more personal.
  • What does the author of Hebrews pray for his audience in Hebrews 13:21.  Write what this verse means personally in your life.
  • Read Ephesians 2:10.  What does this verse teach us about oursevles?

 

8.   It is only when we fully surrender our lives to Christ and make Him Lord over all that God can work in and through us to enable us to be the women He knew and created us to be before time began.

  • List some ways God “perfects” and equips His people.
  • Personally, how has God perfected and equipped you?  Was any part of this process painful?  How?
  • How is God now using that equipping in your life?

 

9.  Read Philippians 2:13.  Share what it says and how it relates to this discussion.

 

10.  Take a deep breath, sweet friend.  We are on our last few questions!!  Let us spend the last few questions remembering.  In Hebrews 13:22, the author of Hebrews instructed us to “pay attention” to what he has written in this letter.  Please take time to do just that…to reflect on what you have learned.

  • How has the year you have spent in Hebrews affected your love for Jesus?
  • What difference has spending the last nine months in Hebrews made in your life?
  • Write down one or two new truths from this study that you have learned and have applied ( or will commit to apply) in your daily life.
  • Describe one way your life is different because of this study.

Let me close our study with a prayer:

Heavenly Father, I thank You for bringing me into this fellowship of women.  Thank You for the spiritual truths, promises, history lessons, and warnings that You have taught me over these past seven months.  Thank You that You are faithful even when I am not. 

I praise You as the Holy One of Israel, Jehovah God, the One Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Thank You for revealing the secret things about Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ.  I praise Him today as my Savior and my Great High Priest.  Thank You that by the shedding of His blood, You made a way for me to enter into Your presence.  Stir my heart, Lord, to desire more and more of You…to daily enter into Your  presence. 

Father, Your Word says to be still before You.  Help me to do this.  Help me to stop striving in my own flesh and to rest in You.  Your promise me REST.  You promise to keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast because she trusts in You.  Help me to fix my eyes on You and You alone, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  Help me to trust in You and in all Your ways.  As I empty myself of me, fill me with more and more of You.  Father, give me the fullness of Your Peace and Your presence…transform me from the inside out. 

And as I leave this study, Lord, give me a hunger and a thirst to stay in Your Word.  Continue to lead me through Your Holy Scriptures.  Continue to teach and remind me of Who You are and of Who I am In You.  Never let me stop learning.  Never let me stop growing.  Let Your truths and promises take root and grow wild and free in my heart.  Let them consume me from the inside out.  And as I change and grow, open my eyes and my heart to see where You want me to take me.  Use me, Lord, use me to do Your great kingdom work.  I ask all this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

With great love and admiration for each and every one of you,