Saturday, August 25, 2012
Scriptures for September 2nd: Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Psalm 45; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23; Theme: The love of God and us Song of Solomon: This is the only time that we will read from the Song of Solomon. On the surface this is a love story. It tells of a young girls preparations to marry the love of her life. We don’t hear from it because of its sexual overtones. But it can also be interpreted as the beginnings of the love story of God and us. God prepares for us. But more importantly, our faith journey here on earth is about us preparing for a lifelong relationship with God. This book is considered a part of wisdom literature. Wisdom is a big part of the Jewish faith. It is said that wisdom sat alongside God as he created the earth. Wisdom cries out in the streets for us to understand the ways of the creator. The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord. In order for us to know love, we have to respect the power of God. That is how we prepare ourselves for God to come into our lives, in fear and trembling. James: How do we prepare for a love affair with God, by living according the God’s precepts laid out for us in book such as James. We are not for sure if this was written by James, the brother of Jesus. But what we do know is that he lays out five understandings that every Christian should have. First God always sides with the poor over the rich, God does not need to test us, we test ourselves, God gives to all of us abundantly, life demands that we make a choice for God or the world, if we are faithful, we receive from God but we have to ask for it. If we believe these things about God and about our lives, then we must live them in our lives. Questions: Have you ever been madly in love with someone or something? Are you madly in love with God? Why do we frown upon the expression of deep love in our society? Do you think about faith, or do you live your faith? What is the difference? What do you think about the five beliefs about God?
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Scriptures for August 26th: 1 Kings 8: 1,6,10-11,22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 5:56-69; Jesus gives us everything; Song: Standing in the Need of Prayer – UMH 352 Ephesians: Paul has been explaining to us what it means to live a Christian life. People should be able to look at our lives and tell that we are different. When we give our lives to Christ, we should change. We should put on new clothing, so that people will notice that we are different. We live in a very mean world. And no matter how you want to be different, the world has a way of sucking you in. So Paul says that not only do we need to put on physical clothing, we need to put on spiritual clothing. We need to make sure that we are spiritually protected. Our biggest battles are in the spiritual realm. We have to put on salvation, peace, truth, and the word of God. Being a Christian, and changing your life is not a passive activity. We have to be strong in Christ, not in ourselves. This is the end of Ephesians. Paul wants to send us out in the world protected. The biggest thing we can do to protect our spirit is to stay in prayer. John: We also come to the end of the John lesson on Jesus being the bread of life. Jesus tells us to eat his flesh and to drink his blood. This angers the Jews. They are told not to eat the blood of animals, much less the blood of a man. What does that mean? It means to take on spiritual nourishment. Jesus realizes that not only is this confusing to the crowd, but the disciples don’t understand either. The church does not understand what it means to take communion. Is the flesh contained in the bread? No this is not about flesh and blood. Flesh and blood are temporary. Jesus says that when the Israelites ate manna they died. That is what happens to flesh and blood. But when you believe in Jesus, you have eternal life. Not because of what you eat, but because of what you believe. Believe in Jesus and have eternal life. Questions: How have you been threatened by the evil of the world lately? What did you have to do to protect yourself? What is the armor that you put on everyday to keep yourself grounded? How do you take in the word of God in your life? What does it mean to have eternal life? What do you have to do in order to earn eternal life? What does the fact that Jesus is the bread of life mean to you?