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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Taking Time to Rest

Many times we do not take the time to rest and rejuvenate our hearts, bodies and souls. We are so busy in our culture today that rest is a forgotten necessity of life. As new parents, we go without sleep sometimes for a few days if our child is sick or cranky. When we grow into our teen years, we just keep going from one activity to the next, not thinking about the fact that our physical body needs to rest and regain its' strength.  One time I took one of our boys to the Dr because of some sort of illness and the very wise physician we had at the time told me to let the boy sleep! Sleep all day if he needs to, he is growing so fast his body can't keep with itself. Then, we become young adults in a new career and we continue to burn both candles at the ends. We work 50-80 hours per week. 

Some times I think about our churches. We might find ourselves doing the same thing in our places of worship. We have so many things offered to the likings of so many diverse ideas and ministries, that we forget to rest in the Spirit of the living God. To truly find God's presence during our time of worship, to rejuvenate our souls!

    What about rest, God taught us from the very beginning of time that even the Divine Creator of the Universe rested. 

    Gen. 2:2 "On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work." (NLT)

    Jesus found himself needing rest. Many times he would go off by himself, leave his disciples and spend time  in the place he found rest and peace. Many times Jesus would find this rest in the Mount of Olives. Can you picture it? Sitting amongst the beauty of the olive grove, the smell of the Mediterranean Sea and the olives themselves. Jesus knew enough to do something for himself, to find a quiet place to rest, to rejuvenate with his heavenly Father.

    We are no different. As humans we need to find rest, and as followers of Christ we need rest! The kind of rest that only comes from the power of the Holy Spirit which brings forth healing. Healing, so that we may continue on the journey that God has placed us on; as we walk together on the planet sharing the love and grace freely given to us by our Creator.  Jesus gave so much of himself that when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed and drops of sweat blood came from him.

   Luke 22:44 "He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." (NLT)

    My encouragement for you today is this; find that sweet place, those few moments during your day, that week of rest and vacation, and rest, body soul and spirit. We need to be ready to come into a place of regular rest so that we can continue on this journey of life sharing the great commission with those around us. 

   Matthew 28:18-20 "Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NLT)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lesson 6



Lesson 6                                                        

Day 6 of Holy Week-Friday 



Today we explore the truth that happened that Friday when Jesus was crucified, died and was buried.

READ:
This first reading is long, but it shows us the prophecy of what will happen to the Son of Man. As you read this passage, attempt to visualize the horror that Jesus must have looked like to those who witnessed his abuse at the hands of the Roman soldiers.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

“13 See, my servant will act wisely[a]; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him[b] his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—15 so he will sprinkle many nations,[c] and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
53 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
 the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression[d] and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.[e]
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
 and though the Lord makes[f] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[g] and be satisfied[h];
by his knowledge
[i] my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[j] and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[k] because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”


What are your thoughts about this very graphic description of what Jesus looked like!






READ:

John 18:1-19:42

This passage is very long. I suggest you read it, put it down, come back again a while later and read it again. This way, you can begin to break it apart.


Here is what we need to…this week, is a reflection week. As you read and re-read the long passages, think on these things

          1. Could you remain silent during this physical torture?
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          2. If you were a bystander, could you watch?
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          3. If you were Jesus’s parent what would be running through your mind, and heart?


          4. What if you were one of Jesus’s followers, what would you have done?
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          5. Lastly, by suffering for us all, Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself…what does that mean to you?
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If you are a FB fan, ask me to join our closed ACC Bible Study FB group. We will be discussing our thoughts there.

Until next week! Ask God to show you how to worship Him freely and openly or, maybe, you will need to go for a walk and hear the rocks singing!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lesson 5

Lesson 5                                                 

Day 5 of Holy Week-Thursday     



There is a great deal that happens on this Thursday of Holy Week. This is the day that we remember and celebrate when we come to the Lord’s Table.

First though, we need to head back to the Old Testament. It is there that we learn how God’s chosen people first celebrated Passover!  That celebration is what we commemorate as Holy Thursday or the Last Supper. This reading is separated into three parts so that you might stop and think about each section before going on to the next one.


Exodus 12:1-4
12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.

Exodus 12: 5-10
The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.


Exodus 12: 11-14
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.

Altogether, this is a fairly long passage about Passover and all the rules that the people had to follow. It is important to understand that these requirements were given for a purpose…

Having read the Scripture, quickly journal what you learned about the meaning of Passover to these people:





Stop and take time to think about this….
  1. Why did the lamb need to be an unblemished lamb?
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  1. What is the meaning of the blood placed on the door post?
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  1. Why were they instructed to eat in haste?


Now we move to the New Testament text; we need to not only read this but also to “hear” the threads, the connections to the Old Testament.
(let’s take time to read )
1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


Paul is teaching us here about the Last Supper. He helps us understand the bread and the cup.  Can you see any comparisons between the Hebrew text and the New Testament text?   ________

If so, how?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When we celebrate Holy Communion in church, what does this mean to you?
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Have you ever participated in a Seder Meal? If so, what meaning did it bring to your life?  If not do you have a desire to do so?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Here is another Scripture I want you to read and think about.
(Now let us read)


John 3:31-35
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[a]gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

In this passage we read about God and God’s words of truth. We read about the Spirit being given without limitation.
How might we see God’s Spirit working actively in our lives (actively)?
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How might we be open to the movement of God’s Spirit in our daily lives?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How might we recognize that it really is God’s Spirit that is moving and not just our own decisions?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As we move through the remaining part of Holy Week, let us take time daily to reflect on all that we have learned through this study and how God has revealed himself through our conversations.


If you are a FB fan, ask me to join our closed ACC Bible Study FB group. We will be discussing our thoughts there.


Until next week! Ask God to show you how to worship Him freely and openly or, maybe, you will need to go for a walk and hear the rocks singing!