Return to the middle earth – Costa Rica

We made it again to Costa Rica again after 5 years, this time without my wife (Erica) and my daughter(Pori). Our last trip in April 2017 did not include a beach visit, as it was just a lot to squeeze in. This time I had the excuse of my son Kiran starting his internship at the Wild Sun Rescue as a pre-vet summer intern. The trip highlights have mostly to do with forest and less of the beach than I had thought, nevertheless Costa Rica continues to amaze me at its bio-diversity and beauty.

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Traveling to Infinity – a review

My review of “Traveling to Infinity” by Jane HawkinsThis is a unique book to read in one sense. In some ways, it reminds me of Gerard Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy and Alf Wight’s “All Creatures Great and Small” , both British authors’ creative accounts of their lives. However, this book has a bit more to offer.  There is much comedy, laughter, and light-hearted prose in the book, but there is also deep romance, love, struggles, insights and finally what I consider to be practical philosophy.  

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Exhortations for the Hebrews

The sprinting words to the finish-line in the book of Hebrews (ch. 13) is about actions and activities of the Hebrew believers so they are adepts for the life ahead. This will be a life of high persecution in the Roman Empire against Jews and Christians. We will explore how this book prepares the Hebrew believers to what is ahead.

H’ Philadelphia meneto

The simple phrase translated “let brotherly love continue” stirring up the believers that they are to be committed in love and service to one another. This brotherly love (2nd love known as Philos from C.S. Lewis’ Four Loves) will welcome strangers – who may be angels, will visit prisoners, will identify with the mistreated. This serving love will carry forward Christians through all that is ahead of them.

The Daily Christian Life

As to their, daily lives, the author encourages them to keep the sanctity of marriage and live content lives in a very Epicurean society that seeks pleasure and self fulfillment. The honorable use of money are practical ways in which Hebrew believers will show their trust in God. The author quotes both Deut 31:6 and Ps 118:6 short passages as familiar words shared during a Passover meal – “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” and “The Lord is my helper, what can man do unto me?” It is believed that Jesus along with his disciples most likely sang Psalms 118 at his Last Supper which was a Passover meal (Mark 14:26). So this brings a stark reminder to the believers of their anointed one, who himself suffered outside the gate to redeem the world.

Sacrifice of Praise and Sacrifice of Good Works

The author uses sacrifice in a new testament way to mean two important things (1) Praise to God (like the aroma of an incense or the aroma of our lives 2Cor 2:15) and the related idea of serving God and other believers with your time, talents and abilities. “Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.” The author urges believers extend good works to the world as a result of heir new life and salvation

Doxology of the Hebrews

Hebrew’s Doxology has some very key ideas as the author tries to summarize the doctrine that brings peace to Hebrew believers. The God of peace and the great Shepherd of the sheep are both actively equipping believers in doing what is good, doing his will and working what is pleasing to him. The author recognizes the difficult words and exhortations that has been written down to prepare these believers for what is ahead. There is no way to know if our lives will face turmoil in the days ahead, but we will be wise to pay heed to be girded and ready for what may be times that are difficult along with a God who is all faithful and true.

Faith that Endures

The Hebrews author reaches this point of saying “What more can I say?” (Heb 11:32) as he/she ponders the faith of Old Testament believers who “did not receive what was promised” (v.39) yet endured. The Hebrews author has foresight to see persecution is coming and will require a commitment from the Jewish believers to endure, not always ending in glorious victories on this side of our lives on earth.

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Early Heroes of Faith

Hebrews 11:17-29 account of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph) shows how they learnt to let go of whatever is precious to them and lean more on God. This is the process of a journey in faith, growing more dependent on God and relying less on one’s self. This type of faith also led Moses to look for a different reward than the “pleasures of sin” and forego of success here and now, looking for the invisible reward.

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By Faith

Hebrews 11 has a concise and simple definition of what Faith is, as the author is talking about. The rest of the chapter 11 displays this faith being practiced in history by many heroes of faith. As one carefully observes the stories in this chapter, the layout contains both victory and loss experienced by these heroes of faith. Is there a trick to navigating life to avoid pain, failure and achieve success by faith?

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Reaching Full Assurance of Hope

The book of Hebrews has several passages urging believers to persevere so they can obtain the full assurance of their salvation. The passage is on Hebrews 10:19-31 can be seen like a crescendo leasing the believers into an understanding of the essential key to their perseverance in Christian life – Faith. This perseverance can be seen in the believer’s practical “assembling together” and in their deep commitment to “suffer along” with other believers.

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Death of a testator

Hebrews 9:1-10:18, our study passage, reflects on a very important event Jesus’ death and its meaning to be seen in the imagery of the Old Testament. The author spins from the description of the earthly tabernacle into the idea of shedding of blood as a requirement for sin and declares the Blood of Christ was sealed proof of our eternal salvation.

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A Better Priest and a New Covenant

Hebrews chapter 7 and 8, our bi-weekly study passages, deal with theme of Christ’s better work in two areas. Chapter 7 focuses on priesthood and Christ’s work as the new High Priest and Chapter 8 deals with a greater covenant that reorients the hearts of people instead of their external actions. There is a lot to learn of the author painting a portrayal of Jesus upon the background of the Old Testament

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