Reflections Week of 9/24/17

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 Psalm 23 (Monday 9/25)

I remember my seventh grade Bible class at Desert Christian Middle School like it was just seven years ago. Which is to say, not very well. However, my one shining memory was a quiz that involved writing this very passage out, in its entirety. Now, with only one hundred and ten words to write, this seems upon first blush to be an incredibly simple task. However, as someone who struggles deeply with memorization, I buried my entire being in getting this passage committed to memory.

It was at that moment that I realized how this had become a universally acclaimed passage. David seems to hit on some pretty large tenants of the Christian faith. Quotes about restoring his soul in chapter three, fearing no evil due to his presence in verse four. If there is any one feeling that speaks to me, it is a feeling of reassurance. That God has not, does not, and will not abandon us under any circumstance.

In the end, I believe I got 100 percent on that quiz. Obviously, fourteen year old me was ecstatic. A good grade was a good grade, to be sure. However, the implications were far reaching. It showed me for the first time some of the many attributes that God has, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Read Psalm 27 (Wednesday 9/27)

Continuing the theme of my wondrous middle school years, we would often sing the same set of worship songs during chapel. One of the hooks on a particular song would sing out in a large crescendo, “whom then shall I fear?” It was a constant question that seemed to ring out for a lot of my time at the school.
Taking a step back and looking at fear, in general, we see a huge pull in today’s society when it comes to fear. There is a fear of the economy, our congressional leadership, fear of losing our friends and family. I could spend eight bulletins talking just about individual fears in America.

However, David says later in verse four that he asks only to dwell with the Lord in his house. At first, to me, that seemed like a non-answer. “David!” I thought to myself. “You aren’t dealing with the increased tensions with North Korea’s nuclear tests!” But at the end of the day, David was well aware of his problems, and as seen by later books, he certainly did not ignore them. Rather, he found solace in God’s promise. And that is a beauty that is far greater than fear.

 Reflections written by Jax Gorman

 

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Reflections Week of 9/17/17

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 Psalm 12 (Monday 9/18)

David laments that the faithful and true are gone, that all of us are sinners. We deceive ourselves and each other, believing that we are in control of our bodies and minds, that we are our own masters.

If that were true, why would we need God? Why would God sacrifice His Son for us? We can speak words of creation or destruction. Words are powerful. God shows us by example how to live and what to avoid, if we would only listen.

God protects the weak and the needy, He rises to the occasion when the weak and needy are in harm’s way. God is always true and is never wrong. God can be counted on always.

David prays that God will protect us from the liars and deceivers, because humans glorify what is vile to God. God will always show us the truth, we must seek Him and seek relationship with Him.

We must always be careful not to deceive ourselves, not to hurt others, and to have faith and trust in God only.

For Reflection:

  1. Do I speak truth to myself and others? Do my words come from God? If I am not sure, I should pray to God and ask him. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.

  2. Do I follow God’s example by protecting the weak and the needy? Do I surround them with truth?

 

Read Psalm 14 (Tuesday 9/19)

The person who does not believe in God is corrupt and vile because he/she does not understand what is good. This person has a skewed perspective of the world because he/she does not understand why or how it was created.

God looks to see who seeks and understands Him. He sees all, believers and nonbelievers. He offers refuge to believers, and nonbelievers are filled with dread because they have no one to turn to for support.

Nonbelievers do not want to be alone; they will try to corrupt believers to make themselves feel better or to feel like they have someone on their side. To be seperated from God is the worst fate I can imagine. When I think of all the challenges I have been through (my husband dying, raising a son with autism who does not speak at all by myself, letting my son go to a group home to get the structure he needs rather than living at home with me, helping my parents as they age), I can not imagine getting through all of that alone, without God. I may feel at times that God has turned His back on me or that He is punishing me, but in the end I know that is not true. God has shown me His mercy and love time and time again, and it is because He is with me that I get through all of these challenges.

For Reflection:

  1. Do I allow myself to be tempted by the world? Do I run to God when this happens and confess, or do I try to hide it from Him?

  2. Do I believe and trust in God’s promises? Is God the first and most important thing in my life?

Reflections written by Anne Wilson

Reflections Week of 9/10/17

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 Ephesians 5:1-2 (Monday 9/11)

Have you ever known a kid who was just like his parents? Not just in looks, but in mannerisms as well? Kids often do things the way their parents do because they observe and then imitate them. One of the ways little kids learn is through doing things with their parents – they learn how to behave by watching their parents and participating in an activity together.

When we are commanded in Ephesians to imitate God as beloved children, think of it in the same way that little kids learn from their parents. God, the perfect Father, acts with us, enabling us through His Holy Spirit. And as we work with Him, observing how He does things, we learn to act like Him and it is obvious that we belong to the same family. Even Jesus took His cues from His Father – looking to Him and only doing what He was doing (John 5:19).

So how exactly does the Father act – what should I be doing to imitate Him? Verse two explains how God acts – in love. And Ephesians is chock full of examples and instructions on what that looks like practically. If you read a bit further, you’ll learn what that looks like in husband-wife, parent-child, and master-servant relationships. Take some time this week to OBSERVE God – read His Word and look at how the rest of Ephesians describe healthy relationships. After you’ve observed Him, IMITATE what you see, knowing that you become like Him not in your own strength, and as His beloved child.

Application:

How does the fact that I am a child of God change the way I follow Him?

What one passage or verse in Ephesians stands out to me as a way I need to imitate God?

Read Psalm 10 (Saturday 9/16)

Take a look at the first 11 verses of Psalm 10 – wat kind of emotions do you hear? The Psalmist is questioning God – asking Him why He seems so far away and is not acting to stop evil men from hurting the innocent. And look at the attitude of those evil men – they exploit the poor and think God has forgotten and doesn’t see the evil things they do.

When you look at the events happening here in Chicago, in the States, and around the world, do you ask along with the Psalmist, “Why God? Why don’t you act?” When people take advantage of you or those you love, do you ask God why He allowed it to happen? The Psalmist had the same questions, and He brought them to God.

Things shift, however, in verse 14 – “But you do see…” And the psalmist goes on to express His confidence in who God is and that He will act. Note the action words in verses 14-18: God sees, He notes wrongdoing, He is a helper, He hears, He strengthens, He inclines His year, and He does justice. When you are hurt or afraid or angry because of the senselessly evil things that people do, take your questions to God and like the Psalmist, anchor yourself on the certainty that God is just, and He will act.

Application:

Do you have confidence that God is just and will punish the wicked? If not, tell God about it and ask Him to show Himself to you as just.

Where do you go first when bad things happen, either to you or to others? Is your first response to turn to God with your questions? If not, what should change in order to develop a habit of turning to Him?

Reflections written by Monica Friesen