Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 23, 2014 - 7th Sunday after Epiphany

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for February 23rd: Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18; Psalm 119:33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48; Theme: It is not you, it is Christ in you; Song: Precious Lord – UMH 474 1 Corinthians: Paul has been teaching us what it means to become a healthy community. We must be careful to take our cues from God and not from normal behavior. Last week Paul told us that we are co creaters of God’s kingdom. This week Paul says that we are the building of God. The foundation of the future is our behavior. The foundation of the past was what our ancestor taught us. God certainly sends leaders and guides to teach us. But we are not to put our trust in them, but we are to put trust in the way God is leading them. Some people want the praise and acknowledgement, but in reality they are nothing unless the spirit of Christ shows through in their actions. We talk a lot about the building of God’s kingdom. The foundation of the kingdom is in our heart. We are the temple of God. Thus we have to treat our body, our soul, our mind, our thoughts with care. We have to open our hearts, so that God can use us. Matthew: Jesus continue his if this then that statements. Jesus reminds us that we are to go above and beyond even the standards set in the bible. We have to challenge ourselves to go above and beyond the standard. We also have to realize that the only way to rise above human nature is to have a relationship with God. We base our standard on behavior on the way God treats us, not the way man treats us. We do what we do for God not for ourselves. When we strive for a higher standard, those who are less faithful come to understand that it is possible, but they also understand that they need Christ in their life to make it so. When our behavior changes the world becomes a better place for everybody. Isnt that truly what it means to build the kingdom of God? Questions: How are you working to build the kingdom of God? How is God helping you with that project? Do you like to have acknowledgement for what you are doing? How does God say thank you for what you do for him? What do you do to love your neighbor? Do you honestly try to live up to God’s standard? Can people tell you are Christian based on your actions? When have you been able to turn the other cheek? When have you loved your enemy?

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