Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Hebrews 10:19-25 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
A Call to Persevere
19 Therefore, my friends,[a] since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The first four verses of the passage from Hebrews describes the work of Jesus Christ in the imagery of the temple and temple sacrifices. It is a bit difficult for modern ears because we aren’t accustomed to blood sacrifice and all the other rituals practiced in the temple in Jerusalem before its destruction by the Romans in the year 70 A. D.
It is the last three verses of the passage where the writer exhorts Christians to hold fast to the hope that we have in Christ without wavering and that we “consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds” and that we encourage one another. “Provoke” is a provocative word (pardon the pun). We should be creative in figuring out how to spur one another on in love and good deeds, how to stir up one another to do good. Let’s take Hebrews seriously and challenge one another to be the best we can be—to spur one another on and to encourage one another.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster