Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One of the most beneficial kinds of benediction is one-on-one conversation, especially when the focus is on the Word of God and the Ways of God in our everyday lives - past and present. As some of you know, I am living at home under hospice care. I may have a few months to live, of perhaps a year or two.

Today, at my bedside, I received a benediction from a dear friend from the 1970's. He and I spoke of many matters and then prayed together as he knelt by my bed. I know I was "blessed" and I trust that my theologian friend, Alan Padgett, was as well.

I desire to not only say, write, pray and think benediction to others, but to be a benediction incarnate. I long for my very presence/body/self to be a rich blessing/benediction to the other - whether this is someone kneeling next to my bed or someone I fuel my car next to at the gas station.


Denise said...

Dear Bob and Judy -

We received a prayer update yesterday at faculty meeting and then an e-mail this morning with this blogspot. I am so touched by your desire to be a blessing and to live until you die. You have truly been a blessing in my life. When I came to Bethel Seminary as a new faculty member you always took time to pause and talk with me and ask me how I was doing. I remember with fondness the invitation to your home for dinner. Our spaghetti dinner and devotions shared blessed me at the time and left a sweet fragrance in my life. So I have bookmarked your blog, will check in regularly and share this journey with you in this way. Please know that Allen and I walk each morning and we pray. We will be remembering you in our "walking prayers" - asking for God's presence and peace to be with you and Judy and your daughters.

Blessings to you this day!

Denise Muir Kjesbo

Unknown said...

Hello Bob,

As Denise mentioned, I too received your prayer update and was very encouraged by your message surrounding "Hospice But Not Hopeless." I admire so much the focus you have on living your days to experiencing the fullness of God's presence and to extend a blessing to others. Certainly your words and actions have done that throughout your days, and now more than ever you are incarnating benediction among us. Thank You! We look forward to the ongoing ministry of your blog.

Grace and peace in Jesus,

Justin Irving

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob and Judy,

Thank you for blessing us all with your benedictions. Speaking of blessing, the entire book of Ruth is filled with blessing. In the dark days of the Judges these good folks brightened each others' days with blessing. But thinking longer range, there is a link between the blessings the characters speak to one another and the incredible outcome, for the fruit of their blessings involved not only the marriage of Boaz and Ruth and the birth of Obed, but the birth of David, and ultimately the birth of our Savior! Who knows what long range effects our blessings can have?

May the Lord bless you both richly with his joy and peace. Your lives have been an inspiration and blessing to us all.

Dan and Ellen Block

CPCC Pastor said...

Dear Dr Rakestraw,

Your benediction blog is a great idea! I've been blogging for almost two years, and am fascinated at how God uses the internet is so many ways!

I am very much interested in pursuing the etymology and theology of blessing and benediction. Your postings have stirred me. You continue to teach!

Dave Bissett
Bethel Sem 1985-89
now upstate NY

Rosemary said...

What a blessing this blog is going to be for people everywhere. I am honored to be your sister, and will continue to pray that God is real to you everyday. His Will be done.....Love, Rosemary

Anonymous said...

Bob and Judy:

I was grateful for the update we got at the faculty meeting. I had been thinking of you and praying for you of late, and appreciated getting a better sense of how you are doing.

Thank you for using this tool as a means to service and blessing. Your reflections about life after your heart transplant have moved me deeply; just as your care for students touched me when I was in your class! If you had chosen in this season to be self-absorbed, none would question it. That you have decided to keep looking for ways to bless others speaks volumes of your character.

You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Kristin Anderson

Anonymous said...

Hey Unky Bob-blogger!! I am so thrilled that you have entered the blogging world.
I will absolutely keep checking in on your blog as you constantly encourage and inspire me with every email or thought you write. You are loved by so many people and there isn't one person who has known you that you haven't touched their lives in some way. You are definitely my role model Uncle Bob.
Love you tons,
Renee-b-baby-baby :)

Linda Grounds said...

Hi Bob and Judy,

The Benediction Project is so characteristic of your whole life ... as I've experienced it -- a blessing, always blessing. From the first handwritten critiques of my seminary papers to the benediction of blessing over my marriage to Don in 2003 ... your gentle spirit and love for Christ have given me much to strive for in my own follower-ship of Jesus. You have been and will always be my mentor -- in the past through phone calls, in the present through your living witness in the face of suffering, and in the future a continuous legacy of a life lived to God's praise and in sincerest care for those of us who are on the path behind you (though you would always make us believe we are beside you).

Your relationship with Judy shines as a beacon to all married couples. Judy, you exemplify faith and courage in tenderness and peace.

For now, dear friend, peace and grace,

Linda Grounds

Banana said...

Hey Bob! It's Anna Haynes, Peter and Pauline's daughter. Your mind is a blessing to us all. In the few times that we had a chance to talk it was stimulating and enjoyable. I think you are remarkable, as Judy is as well. I've got you on RSS feed so I'll know when you update... I'm praying for you.

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