Did You Know?

Thirteen men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of June 14-20, 2015, is 1 Kings 18:17-18.  This short passage is an exchange between Ahab, king of Israel, and Elijah, a prophet of the Lord.  Ahab and Elijah were opponents, with one worshipping Baal, and the other worshiping the Lord God.  In their first recorded meeting, Elijah told Ahab that Israel would have no more rain until Elijah allowed it.  Then Elijah left the country!  Now, the two men meet again, seven years later.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals.  (1 Kings 18:17-18, ESV)

  

Israel was in a severe drought.  It had not rained for seven years!  Ahab blamed Elijah for the drought, and all the problems caused by the drought, calling him a “troubler of Israel.”  But Elijah called out Ahab, reminding Ahab that the problems of Israel stem from Ahab and his house, who no longer worship the Lord.  Elijah statement still stands today.  Those who follow the Lord are repeatedly blamed for problems that countries experience, because they refuse to abandon the commandments of the Lord.  Followers of the Lord are still, thousands of years later, considered troublers!  We are called to follow the Lord and obey His commandments at all times, not just when it is convenient.  Without the Lord, without troublers, society would rapidly degrade into complete immorality and chaos.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your daily actions.  Are you a troubler?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of June 7-13, 2015, is Ephesians 1:3-14.  Paul wrote this letter while he was imprisoned in Rome.  Unlike many of his letters, this letter was not written to address any specific issues within the church and was likely meant to have been shared with other churches.  In all of his letters, Paul includes a greeting.  In this greeting, Paul includes each element of The Trinity, and their role in salvation.

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  (Ephesians 1:3-14, ESV)

 

Sin destroys our relationship with God!  Blood sacrifice restores our relationship with God!  Jesus Christ is the ultimate blood sacrifice!  Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have been offered eternal salvation.  When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice and the gift of salvation, we are given the Holy Spirit, which resides in us.  Today, we can approach God at any time, in any place we may be.  We can tell Him of all our problems, needs, and desires.  Through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we have eternal hope of one day entering the Kingdom of the Lord.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks verse, consider how your relationship with The Trinity affects your everyday life.

The Bible passage for prayer, mediation, and reflection for the week of May 31 - June 6, 2015, is Luke 9:46-48.  This short passage is shows how Jesus lived His life, and how we are to live ours.

 

But a controversy arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest [surpassing the others in excellence, worth, and authority].  But Jesus, as He perceived the thoughts of their hearts, took a little child and put him at His side and told them, Whoever receives and accepts and welcomes this child in My name and for My sake receives and accepts and welcomes Me; and whoever so receives Me so also receives Him Who sent Me. For he who is least and lowliest among you all—he is [the one who is truly] great.  (Luke 9:46-48, AMP)

 

Being first, being the best, is something that we are taught from a young age.  We are taught to be proud of our accomplishments, whether it’s being the smartest kid in school, the best in their chosen sport, or even simply being the first kid out on the playground.  Each disciple wanted to the best, they wanted to be acknowledged as being better than the others.  They were focused on the wrong objective!  They were focused on themselves!  When they should have been focused on serving others.  Being a Christian is not about having all the answers or being the smartest, it is about serving others.  Jesus Christ ultimately came to this earth to serve us, by dying on the cross so that we could have eternal life with Him.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider how you can better serve others.  What you can you do today to serve?

The Bible passage for mediation prayer and reflection for the week of May 24-30, 2015, is Galatians 1:15-2:2.  Galatians is written by Paul.  Today, Paul is remembered as a man who wrote a large portion of the New Testament, a man who was one of the first missionaries, and a man who helped establish much of the early church outside of Jerusalem.  But during the time in which Galatians was written, Paul was also remembered for his persecution of Christians.  In this week’s passage, Paul defends the person he has become.

 

 But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart [even] before I was born and had called me by His grace (His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased to reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel), immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone].  Nor did I [even] go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles (special messengers of Christ) before I was, but I went away and retired into Arabia, and afterward I came back again to Damascus.  Then three years later, I did go up to Jerusalem to become [personally] acquainted with Cephas (Peter), and remained with him for fifteen days.  But I did not see any of the other apostles (the special messengers of Christ) except James the brother of our Lord.  Now [note carefully what I am telling you, for it is the truth], I write this as if I were standing before the bar of God; I do not lie.  Then I went into the districts (countries, regions) of Syria and Cilicia.  And so far I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea (the country surrounding Jerusalem).  They were only hearing it said, He who used to persecute us is now proclaiming the very faith he once reviled and which he set out to ruin and tried with all his might to destroy.  And they glorified God [as the Author and Source of what had taken place] in me.  Then after [an interval] of fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem. [This time I went] with Barnabas, taking Titus along with [me] also.  I went because it was specially and divinely revealed to me that I should go, and I put before them the Gospel [declaring to them that] which I preach among the Gentiles.  However, [I presented the matter] privately before those of repute, [for I wanted to make certain, by thus at first confining my communication to this private conference] that I was not running or had not run in vain [guarding against being discredited either in what I was planning to do or had already done].  (Galatians 1:15-2:2, AMP)

 

Paul’s transformation did not occur overnight!  Neither will ours!  Often when we become Christians, we expect that our lives will immediate reflect the new person we have become: trials will disappear, we will always be joyful, everyone we meet will see this change in us and want to know what happened, we will be able to share God’s word and make a difference in everyone’s life.  Unfortunately, that is not the way it works.  Paul spent three years studying before he even approached the disciples of Jesus Christ!  And he spent 14 more years studying before he began his mission work with the Gentiles!  Paul spent more years studying the Word of God than some of us went to school!  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks passage, consider your daily habits.  How much time do you spend everyday dedicated to learning the Word of God?  How much time do you spend everyday in prayer and fellowship with Him?

 

The Bible passage for prayer, meditation, and reflection for the week of May 17-23, 2015, is Luke 6:27-31.  This week’s passage gives instructions for how we are to live our lives everyday, yet Christians everywhere will agree, it is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible to follow.

 

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”  (Luke 6:27-31, ESV)

 

In elementary school, they were called our playground rivals.  In middle school and high school, the lines became more defined - they were not part of our group and we looked at and spoke of one another with contempt.  In college they were easy to ignore, although a few harmless pranks played on them was always fun.  But as adults, things changed.  Those we disliked could no longer be ignored and we had to learn to work and tolerate them.  As we grew from childhood into adulthood, we learned various ways of dealing with those we considered our enemies, our rivals, or simply those we disliked.

 

But those methods are the way of the world, not the way of Christ.  In this week’s passage, Christ tells us His way.  We are to show them love and kindness.  We are to pray for blessings upon them.  We are to smile when they insult us.  We are to kill them with kindness - so to speak.  But this passage does not mean that we are to allow ourselves to become complacent in abusive situations!  We are to forgive, be kind, and not stoop to their actions, yet we are not required to stay and subject ourselves to harmful behavior!

 

As you prayer over, meditate on, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider your actions.  Do you show love to your enemies?  Ask for the Lord to help you change your attitude and actions, then pay attention to the opportunities He provides!  How are you responding?

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