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12 We have all these people all around us, proving to us that we should believe God. So then, like people running a race, we must take off everything that is heavy. We must put off all wrong, wrong things that get in our way. We must not stop running until we reach the mark that has been put in front of us.

We must keep our eyes on Jesus. He believed from first to last. What was put in front of him made him glad, so he did not give up when the people nailed him on a cross. He did not care about the shame. And now he is sitting beside God.

Think about him. He did not give up when bad people said wrong things about him. When you think about him, you will not become tired and your hearts will not give up.

You have been fighting against bad people. But you have not been hurt very much.

You have forgotten the words spoken to you as sons. `My son, when the Lord punishes you, do not think it is a little thing. Do not give up when he tells you that you do wrong.

The Lord punishes the person he loves. And he beats every son he takes into his family.'

Do not give up when you are punished. God is treating you like sons. Is there a son who has never been punished by his father?

You are punished like the other children in the family. If you are not, you do not belong to the family as the other children do.

And what is more, our fathers on earth punished us and we respected them. We should obey even more the Father of our spirits. If we do, we will live.

10 Our fathers on earth punished us for a short time the way they wanted to. But God punishes us the way it is good for us. He is holy and good, so he wants us to become holy also.

11 At the time a person is punished, he is not glad. He is sad. But after it is over, there is peace. Then those who are trained by it do what is right.

12 So lift up your hands that are hanging down. Make your weak knees strong.

13 Walk straight ahead. Then weak feet will not get worse, but will be made well.

14 Try to be at peace with all people. And try to be holy. If a person is not holy, he will not see the Lord.

15 Take care that no one loses God's blessing. Take care so that no angry feeling starts to grow in anyone. It will make trouble and many people will become bad.

16 Take care that no one takes part in wrong ways of using sex. And take care that no one is like Esau and forgets God. He was the older son. But he sold all that he would get from his father. He sold it for a little food.

17 You know that later he wanted to get the blessing, but he did not get it. He could not turn back. He even cried as he begged for the blessing.

18 You have not come to the mountain that can be touched and is burning with a big fire. You have not come to the place of darkness and night and storm.

19 You have not come to a place where a loud trumpet or horn is blown, and a loud voice is talking. When the people heard the voice, they begged that God would not say anything more to them.

20 They were afraid of what he said. He said, `If even an animal touches this mountain, it must be killed with stones.'

21 Moses was afraid when he saw all this. He said, `I fear very much and I tremble.'

22 But you have come to a hill called Zion. You have come to the city of the living God. It is the Jerusalem in heaven. You have come to many thousands of angels in a happy gathering.

23 You have come to the church people. They are God's first sons, and their names are written in heaven. You have come to God who is the judge of all people. You have come to the spirits of good people who have been made right.

24 You have come to Jesus who is the middle man of a new agreement. You have come to the place where the spilling of his blood has more power than Abel's.

25 Take care that you listen to God who is talking now. The people were punished when they would not listen to the One who talked on earth. And we will be punished much worse if we will not listen to the One who talks from heaven.

26 That time his voice shook the earth. But now he has said, `Only once more I will shake the earth and the sky also.'

27 The words, `Only once more' mean that the things that are shaken will be taken away. They are things that were made. The things which are not shaken will stay.

28 We have a place in heaven that cannot be shaken. So let us be glad and worship God and please him. Let us respect and fear him.

29 Our God is a fire that can burn up.