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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

A Cloud of Witnesses

Memorable Moments Hebrew

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV

Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV

Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV

I humbly consider myself to be very blessed by a great cloud of witnesses who surrounded me and prayed for me all my life.

I knew most of my great-grandparents and the were all people of faith. Even when I was very young I knew they were church-goin’ people.

My grandparents were also people of faith. They spoke of Jesus and church. They were generous and caring to those in need.

My parents were (are) people of faith. They taught me about Jesus. They went to church. They read scripture and discussed it with me.

They all taught me and they became a huge part of my faith story.

In Hebrews 12:1-2 we are told, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Deciding which way to run (away from sin or toward sin) is a personal choice we make every minute of every day. I learned about making choices when I was a young child. I learned from my parents and I also learned from my grandparents.

My grandmothers were both great teachers. I was taught how to embroider, crochet, quilt, and clean by watching my grandmothers.

My grandfathers were both quite capable of keeping their grandchildren on track.

However, the two could not have been more different if they tried.

My maternal grandfather was a railroad man. He was a mechanic. He was tough and he was a no nonsense kind of guy. I knew it was prudent to do what he said, not to run in the house, and not to play around at the dinner table. His rules were clear and simple. I understood what I need ended to do,

I noticed my mother had a strong connection to her dad. His countenance seemed to change when they were together. He was gentle and attentive to her. She called him daddy.

My paternal grandfather was very different. He was funny and he made me laugh. If there were rules I didn’t know about them. He watched me and noticed when I was struggling to figure something out. There were times he would laugh and suggest I try to do things another way. He taught me how to stay on track.

He was a store owner. My paternal grandparents owned a corner store in Kansas City, Missouri from after the depression until 1965. He was the butcher at the store.

He was always funny. He laughed a lot. When my Mother would discipline me (even gently) he would help me not to be sad about it. I would often cry when I messed up and he would make me laugh. He always made me laugh.

I don’t remember ever ‘messing up’ when I was with him. As an adult I know he had the ability to see when I was getting ready to ‘mess up’ and he would laugh and redirect me. He was king of redirection.

While I loved both of my grandfathers I appreciated the way my maternal grandfather gave clear direction and I loved the way my paternal grandfather kept me on track with laughter.

Hebrews 12:5-6 tells us, “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,    nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

I didn’t know it as a child, but as an adult I realized the importance of laughter. Because of the influence of my laughing grandfather (and my dad’s use of laughter) I have been known to discipline while I’m laughing. I was told that if I’m laughing I won’t be taken seriously. I disagree.

I have not found the discipline of the Spirit to be harsh. As I matured I realized when I listen well and watch for movement of the Spirit, the Spirit redirects. Ever so gently, the Spirit turns me back to the light.

The Spirit is not demanding but rather the discipline of the Spirit of God is stalwart. God is reliable and trustworthy.

Hebrews 12:28-29 reminds us, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

The Kingdom of God cannot be shaken. Even when I mess up, God is faithful to me. The Spirit redirects me to turn and worship God which causes me to realize the power of God’s love.

When I was younger I thought that meant I need to fear God. I was very wrong. The consuming fire is a fire fueled by love. The consuming fire of God’s love for us cannot be shaken by anything. When we turn and surrender to God the consuming fire of holy love fills us completely with such abundance of God that fear and strife dissipate.

We worship God in the consuming fire with reverence and great awe.

Spiritual Practice: The Consuming Fire

Sit with God and let the consuming fire of God’s love fill you.

In God, Deborah


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