Reflections Week of 5/15/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Luke 8:10-14

There are two people in this story, one who is right and one who is wrong. And the truth that this story portrays is that God’s standards are different from what we think God’s standards should be.  The one who is right, in this story, is not the one that that displays righteous behavior. In fact, the Pharisee, in this prayer, is building himself up, and he thinks he has already earned his own salvation.  He even thanks God for giving him the power to earn it himself. The tax collector, however, has a true understanding of man’s relationship with God.  He knows that the only way to escape his sin is to rely on God’s grace alone.
Question for Reflection: Do you ever identify with the Pharisee in this story? In what ways do you try to earn your own salvation or glorify yourself?

 

Read Psalm 51

When the tax collector in the last passage says, “Have mercy on me, a sinner,” this is the scripture he is actually referencing. It shows perfectly what a right relationship with God looks like: A person fully confident in his won distance from God, and God’s own ability to bridge that distance.  Notice the language of this section. David doesn’t dwell long on his own sin, reveling in false humility. Instead, his repentance is a sincere and important first step. As you continue through the psalm, you can see that he uses repentance as a springboard for God’s glory.  Ultimately, he uses this to inspire others to experience God’s glory as well. Repentance leads to sanctification.

Question for Reflection: What does repentance look like for you? Do you ever pray scripture back to God like the tax collector did? If you haven’t, this psalm is a great one to try.

Reflections by Amy and Wayne Giacalone 

Advertisements

Reflections Week of 5/8/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read John 15:12-17

Jesus commands us to love one another.  What does that love look like?  He uses himself and his relationship with us as an example: “as I have loved you.”  First he tells us the absolute nature of his own love (v. 13)—Christ died for us!  There is no greater act of love than that.  He goes on to explain that he no longer calls us servants, but friends.  He does this for two reasons: (1) so that we will bear fruit, and (2) so that he will be able intercede on our behalf before God the Father.  Jesus is the perfect example of friendship.

Question for Reflection: How do you show love for the people that you know?  What can you do to make your love more Christlike?

 

Read Col 3:12-14

In this section, we see that we are to put on our new selves.  Our new selves have a lot of good qualities, such as compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.  Ultimately, though, the subject of other people comes up.  Sometimes dealing with other people isn’t the easiest thing.  But we’re called to “bear with one another” and “forgive one another.”  Remember the example of Christ in the last passage?  If anyone knows something about bearing with another person’s faults and foibles, it’s Jesus.  Yet, he died in our place, forgave our sins, and called us friends! Now he calls us to do the same for each other.

Question for Reflection: Do you ever have difficulty loving people in your life?  What can you do to bear with them and forgive them better?

Written by Amy and Wayne Giacalone

Reflections Week of 5/1/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Titus 3:1-7

The image of being washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit is one of the most encouraging things I could think of. Think of the last time you washed your car, or cleaned your bathroom. It’s hard work, but it is so nice to step back and see a difference when you’re done! This is the feeling I get when I think of God washing us of our sins. We go from something dirty and gross to look at, to someone refreshed and clean. And this isn’t something we do to ourselves. It is only by the mercy of God that we are able to be washed of our sins. The state of our souls is obviously a little more important than the cleanliness of your bathroom though. It is for this reason that we worship this great Savior who rescued us from the sin we were in! We have come from a life lacking light to a life with great hope and eternal security.

Questions for Reflection: What areas of your life need “cleaning?” Do you find yourself putting others down for sin they struggle with? How can you come beside them instead and help them through the process of overcoming that sin?

 

Read 2 Timothy 2:20-26

Do you have stuff lying around your house that serves no real purpose? I know I do! It gets in the way and takes up space that could be used for necessities. Then all of a sudden it’s hard to find what you actually need. This is kind of like the wood and clay discussed in V20. We need to rid ourselves of those things that are common and unnecessary to make room for the gold and silver which are for a special purpose. When we cling to things that are not helpful in our lives, we are hindered from reaching our full potential. We need to pursue the Lord with all our might! There are foolish things like arguing and selfishness which become a trap in our lives to keep us from reaching the righteousness God desires for us. Let go of these things and pursue faith and love instead!

Questions for Reflection: Are there silly arguments you are holding onto? Why? Is this keeping you from God?

Reflections written by Bailey Carlson