Reflections Week of 2/26/17

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 1 Corinthians 10 (3.3 Friday)

This chapter talks a lot about sin, and how it affects more than just the one doing the sinning.  This chapter was refreshing for me, as it renewed and improved my view of what sin is in my life.  God showed me today through Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 that when I commit sin, it doesn’t just affect me, but it affects the rest of the body of Christ, countless people that I care so much about.  Paul says that, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (v. 17).  A few verses later Paul says, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” (v. 24).

Reading this chapter caused me to be a little grieved because of my past sin, and because of the sin that I know I will struggle with in the future.  I don’t want to harm or hinder any of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I want them, and myself, as the body of Christ, to grow, to be unified and to be ready for action.

I also felt hopeful as I read this passage.  I have hope in knowing that I am not on my own as I seek the eternal prize that Paul mentioned in chapter nine.  I love the famous verses in chapter ten that say, “God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (v. 13).

Read 1 Corinthians 11 (3.3 Friday)

Two things grabbed my attention as I meditated on this chapter.  The first thing is just how beautiful God’s creation of men and women, together, is.  This chapter has a lot of controversy in it, but underlying the debated verses I saw just how connected men and women really are, and just how important that connection is.  I love verses 11-12: “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; just as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman.”  This is simply a beautiful snippet of God’s purposeful and beautiful work in creating men and women.  Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

The second thing that was on my heart as I read this chapter was simply a challenge to submit to God and His word, even if what I find is counter-cultural.  I’m not saying that I am taking an old-fashioned head covering view of this passage, but I was simply challenged as the thought crossed my mind, “what if this really was saying the awkward command for men not to cover his head and for woman to cover hers?”.  If I truly believed that was what God’s word was saying, would I fully live as God as my King and stand up for that conviction?

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What do you think the Bible means when it talks about wives submitting to their husbands? Or when it says things like husbands honoring his head, and women honoring their heads?
  2. Do you think verses 11-12 (“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; just as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman.”) speak to today’s culture of sexuality? Why yes? Why no?
  3. Do you feel free and safe as you live with God’s word as your authority, even with the hard passages?
  4. How do you think it affects how people read the Bible when they are living for themselves as god, rather than for God as God?

Reflections written by Wade Henderson

 

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Reflections Week of 2.20.17

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 Judges 16 (2.20 Monday)

Samson has always been a very interesting individual for me. There is such a stark juxtaposition between his reckless propensity to give into his fleshly desires and God using him to accomplish judgement on the Philistines, the bane of the Israelites during Sampson’s life. This contrast is seen so clearly in the account of Sampson’s fall and renewal of strength in Judges 16.  In reading this account, I could not help but notice the downward spiral that comes Sampson’s way when he allows sin to enter and entertains the temptations that come with it. We see that Sampson once again allows his fleshly desires to lead him into a situation where he is toying with sin a temptation. Delilah tempts him to reveal his weakness, and instead of turning away, he plays a game of “Catch me if you can!” with the temptation. Ultimately, it is Sampson’ willingness to engage and let his guard down that leads to him giving up his strength, allowing himself to be overpowered.

How often do we do this with sin and temptation? Rather than calling out the danger in the situation we find ourselves in, too often we try to toe the line without stepping over.

For Reflection: What are some sins or temptations in your life that you may be allowing to gain a foothold?

 

Read Judges 21 (2.23 Thursday)

I think the book of Judges can be summed up pretty well with one phrase: “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This phrase is first penned in Judges 17:6 and also at the conclusion of the book. In between lies a summary of the damage that occurs when everyone does what they deem to be okay. In passages leading up to Judges 21, I could not help but feel repulsed and sick by some of the gruesome details, and when we get to chapter 21, we are presented with the aftermath of humanity following their own sinful desires: God’s people—the tribe of Israel, are left in disarray, relationships are severely broken, and almost an entire tribe is completely wiped out. All of this because a group of individuals did not follow God’s way but their own.

There are such dirty consequences when we decide to abandon God’s care and direction in our lives and go after desires which are contrary to his will. We can see that time and again throughout the book of Judges as the people repeatedly turned away toward idols and disobeyed God. We can see it in our own lives when we choose to disobey God and do things our own way. Fortunately, as we see throughout the book of Judges, God is merciful, hearing the cry of his people when they fall, providing redemption for us just as he did for the tribe of Benjamin.

For Reflection: In what ways are you doing things your way rather than God’s way? Thank God for his reconciliatory work in your relationship with him and others!

Reflections written by Daniel Rico

Reflections Week of 2.12.17

 

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 Judges 4-5 (2.13-14 M-T)

In Judges, God commands Barak, through the prophetess Deborah, to go in battle against Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army. This story contains elements that become red herrings to the reader. Some focus on Deborah and Jael, and how God used women to win the battle. Some question Barak’s willingness to lead. And then Sisera is murdered, quite brutally. This story, as the entire book of Judges, is a bit crazy.

But while God raised up leaders in this dark time in Israel’s history, these leaders are not the heroes. Judges 4:4 tells us that God routed Sisera and his men. Another version says the Lord threw Sisera and his army into confusion. The song of praise, which Deborah and Barak sing together after the victory, acknowledges God as the One whose presence won the battle.

Are you looking for God at work in the world? I often forget that God’s presence is working in the big things, like national and global events. Just as in the Book of Judges, our world is a little crazy right now. It is easy to get distracted by red herrings: political leaders, arguments and protests, a lack of willingness in others to respond or understand, and brutality against humanity. But just as we read in Judges, God is at work in our world. He routes the enemy. He brings the victory. He is the One at work.

Question: In what way have you seen God at work in the world this past week?

Read Judges 13 (2.18 Saturday)

James 1:5 states: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Wisdom might be my word for 2017, as it has been my continual prayer. Wisdom for relationships, wisdom for classes, wisdom for dreams and plans. The cry for wisdom often comes when we feel directionless, uncertain, or confused about life.

Manoah and his wife felt directionless. An angel came to Manoah’s wife, who was infertile, and told her she would conceive and give birth to a son. Astonished, the woman told Manoah the news the angel had given her. Not only would this couple have a son, but he would be a Nazarite: an individual set apart for service to the Lord. Manoah’s response was an immediate cry for wisdom, and scripture tells us that God listened to Manoah’s plea.

This story offers hope. Thousands of years before James penned his message to the early church, Manoah sought for wisdom. Just like me. Are you seeking wisdom? Are there situations for which you feel directionless or confused? God hears your cries for wisdom. Just as He answered the plea of Manoah, James offers us a promise that God will hear and give generously, without finding fault in our request.

Question: How has God granted you wisdom in the past? Thank Him for that! What do you need wisdom for today?

Reflections written by Emily Alexander

Reflections Week of 2/5/17

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 Joshua 24 (Tuesday 2/7) 

“Not of this world.” Have you heard that before? It’s in reference to the fact that each Christian has residence in Heaven, though we are at present living here. Most people think of John 17:16 when you say that, but when you take a step back, you’ll notice that it’s a theme throughout the entirety of Scripture. Take a look at Joshua 24. The end of Joshua’s life is coming, and he is getting ready to pass of his leadership to the next generation. Before he does this, he recounts the history of his people to his people. Over and over and over again, God allowed the Israelites to enter into trials and tribulations. He brought them out of any hardship that they came up against, even war. Why? Because He said He would, He is in control, and He is faithful to keep His promises.

But also: He did this to remind His children that they could not go it alone.

Without His help, could they have survived all that they did? Without His protection, they would have fallen to the plague, to other nations, to starvation.

Though we as gentiles are not God’s chosen people, we are His adopted children. These are truths we can cling to. If God promises something, even something as huge as an entire nation being protected from a plague, He is going to make good on it. Your God called you to Himself. He chose you. He desires you. He love you. He is going to walk with you through each step of your journey, no matter how low you get or how high you go. You’re not going it alone. You never have been.

For Reflection: What is one thing you can do this week to remind yourself that God is in control?

 

Read Galatians 1 (Wednesday 2/8)
(Fun fact: if you’re of Irish heritage, you’re likely descended from the Galatians.)

The world is a scary place right now. Whether you are looking at the political climate, the crime rates, or the increase in natural disasters – there is no denying that it’s tumultuous out there. And worse – we have to live in it; truly, many of us even live in fear of it.

Here is what I think: We can be concerned, heartbroken, and even mournful for the world around us. But we should never fear it. Look at the beginning of Galatians 1. Paul starts by reminding the Galatian church of the Gospel, of our salvation from “this evil age.” When he says that, he is referring to “the Church Age” which is the era of history wherein we currently reside, before Christians are taken up to the New Jerusalem. We live in this world, in this age, but we are not destined for it.

Now take a stroll down to the bottom of chapter 1: Paul ends by reminding them that he once took delight in persecuting Christians; he hunted them for sport. But, by the grace of God, he is now ministering to Christians around the world (then and now.)

I guess my point is this: We live in a world that God created, that God oversees, that God controls. He took even the greatest of sinners and now uses him to minister to believers in the midst of a perverse and wicked generation (theirs and ours). No matter what is happening in our world, believers can live without fear because our God is greater than all of it.

For Reflection: Today, what do you need to remind yourself that God is greater than?

Reflections written by Liz Doogan