Bible study 11. Encouragement

STUDY 11

From Bible Reading Fellowship “New Daylight” daily readings

Contributed by Harry Smart UK Anglican priest, mental health and hospital chaplain and retreat leader.

Opening prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Encouragement

As for us, we have this large crowd [some other versions use the word cloud] of witnesses round us. So then let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way and the sin which holds onto us so tightly and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.

Hebrews 12:1-2a (Good News Bible)

The writer of the book of Hebrews (who is unknown) is encouraging those who are struggling within the Jewish community, he is reminding his readers that others before them had suffered persecution for their faith and their perseverance can be an encouragement for his readers.

We may not be persecuted for our faith, but we do need to lift our eyes. In spite of lockdown ending do we still feel shackled in some way ? We may be able to visit friends and family at last, but does there still seem to be difficulties ? We still feel lonely, ill and perhaps we don’t have all the electronic equipment that others have to make things easier? Do we concentrate on our own miseries ? Do we forget to keep our eyes on Jesus ? 

Who are our witnesses that will encourage us ? Are they people we know or knew who have bravely kept going in spite of their sickness, disappointments and tragedies ?

The writer of Hebrews uses the image of an athlete with his/her eyes on the goal. Perhaps we can use the image of the athletes in the Para Olympics. Who can forget those images of determination in spite of difficulties.

In our race we too must run with our eyes on Jesus. He is the power and perfecter of our faith. With our eyes on him our worries and difficulties will fade and our faith will grow.

  1. Who are the people in your life that have helped you through your difficulties ?
  1. Can you see which problems are holding you back?
  1. Perhaps you have other ways of “throwing off” those depressing thoughts and sins. Reading the scriptures, singing hymns etc ? Share your experiences.
  1. Have you been an encourager for others ? Share.

Finish with prayer.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow

strangely dim. In the light of his glory and grace.” Helen Howarth Lemmel 1918 

Bible Study 11-11/11/21