Reflections Week of 11/6/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. 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 Acts 27-28
The last two chapters of Acts read as though they’re an adventure story.  Prisoners of the Roman military are being transported; one in particular named Paul. The prisoner Paul warns them about their future and a great storm they will face if they leave. From the sailor’s perspective, listening to the advice of a prisoner was absurd. Who was he to predict the weather? But just as the prisoner said, a storm hit that was so strong, ropes were holding the ship together! But what did it matter at that point? They believed they were going to die and were in despair. Then, Paul speaks to them about the future again promising their lives would not be lost and went on to serve them food and rest … in the middle of a storm.
Does your life seem to be under a massive wave of grief, anger, pain or temptation? I find myself under subtle, constant waves that fight against my strength to listen to Jesus’ voice of encouragement and rest in his strength alone. At the end of this epic adventure Paul gets to “live in his own house” and proclaim the gospel “without hindrance!” God brought Paul through a very literal time in his life of crashing trials yet he stayed faithful in trusting that Jesus would save not only him but those with him.
For Reflection: Is your life like a calm sea, or, like Paul, a downpour of waves coming over you, draining all your strength? Ask God for faith and sustenance for this time and take hope in receiving the restful morning promised in the future.
Read Leviticus 3-4
Reading through Leviticus has made me realize how precise and intricate our God is. Can you imagine Moses taking notes as the Lord explains exactly what to do for different offerings? Leviticus is a book most easily described as boring, difficult to read or not relevant to our day. I can understand these feelings but this book as a whole teaches us great truths about God. The fact that God was so specific in the instructions for how to offer sacrifices reveals that God is purposeful. He has an order and plan for every little thing in our lives. In reading Leviticus I’ve learned to be intentional when approaching the Lord through worship. God goes to great lengths to give Moses instructions of how to present a sin offering. Offerings were an act of worship the Israelites were given to participate in BY God and FOR God. God gives detailed steps to accomplish forgiveness and reconciliation with God for their sins.
We all can probably think of a time as a child where we did something wrong and were told, “Say you’re sorry.” And we would automatically repeat the words (do the actions) needed to fix the problem. This is not what God wants; a repeating, unintentional, offering in worship. He wants thoughtful and intentional actions that flow from our heartfelt repentance and sorrow for sins. The actions God gave the Israelites were to teach them to consider and physically see the cost of their sin, the death of a perfect animal. As you are in a day-to-day routine, it’s easy to just fall into the motion of worship, prayer, scripture reading or repentance but God doesn’t want our outward actions to be empty and meaningless. The outward action is to develop an inward response and intentional focus on God and the forgiveness he provides for our sins through Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice.
For Reflection: When you pray or read scripture, are you “going through the motions” without a second thought to who God is? What have you learned about who God is through the detailed and precise instructions given in Leviticus.
Reflections written by Lauren Floyd
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