Scriptures for July 17th: Genesis 28:10-19; Psalm 139:1-12,23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Theme: The Presence of God; Song: We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder - UMH 418
Genesis: We continue our story about the first family. Abraham has died, Isaac’s twins have grown up. Now it is time for Jacob to find a wife. His mother Rebekah sends Jacob back to her homeland to find a wife. Jacob has never been a faithful man. He has never needed to pray, his father’s have always prayed on his behalf. This is probably the first time in his life that he is on his own. During his travels, he has a dream about God, that the place he sleeps is where God’s angels are traveling back and forth. He realizes that God’s presence is with him, whether he acknowledges God or not. This is the beginning of his own faith, his own family, his own story. A story in need of God.
Romans: Chapter 8 continues Paul’s conversation about the life in the flesh and life in the spirit. I don’t think that Paul is saying that we as Christians should live in the spirit. He is saying that in reality, we live in the middle of these two sides. There are a part of us that belongs to the world we live in, there is a part of us that belongs to God. As long as we are a part of this world, there will always be suffering. There will be problems, there will be struggles. But it is in our suffering that we realize that God is about to do a new thing in us, with us and for us. In the midst of fleshly suffering it is okay to groan and cry out. Our crying gives us hope and peace. Just be patient and things will change.
Questions: When in your life did you start to take on your own faith life and not your parents? What were the circumstances? How did you know that God was present in your life? How does living in the flesh affect you? How does living in the spirit affect you? What does suffering mean in your life? How has your suffering helped you to have hope? How often do you complain, or groan about the things in your life?