Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

The Promised Land September 17, 2010

Filed under: Ezekiel,Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 12:37 pm

I love living where I do.  Sunsets, water, breezes, green year round….. warm…fish…And I love America.  “In God We Trust”…..  “Liberty”… “Fraternity”….  “Equality”…It is a wonderful place to be.

Ezekiel loved his homeland too.  He grew up in Jerusalem and thought of it as the city of God and the city of David–with all the blessings that promised. Especially, the wonderful promise of the atoning Savior and King to come. It was the promised land, after all. 

In Ezekiel 22-24, the prophet predicted that Jerusalem would be destroyed.  Their lewdness, idoltry, disobedience, corruption, immorality, and hardheadedness would finally catch up with them.  Their destruction would be a fair act on God’s part.  “I the Lord have spoken it;  It shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not hold back,…” (24:14). 

Ezekiel had already left Jerusalem.  He and his wife, along with people like Daniel and his friends, were living in Iraq.  He was preaching to the exiles.  They had lived there now about eleven years when she suddenly died (587 BC).  God told him not to cry or mourn in front of others.  In fact, he lost his voice and was told he would get it back when a messenger arrived telling him how Babylon’s army had wiped Jerusalem off the map (24:15-27).

And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on thefifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “the city has been captured!”

Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped.  And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute” (Ezekiel 33:21-22).

The point of all of this was to call attention to the truth of Ezekiel’s words as a prophet. These events were programed so that the people in exile, and those who would later read this book, would bow their knees and know that the LORD is God. Isn’t it remarkable that his experience and his prophecy have been preserved all these 2,600 years? 

Of course, Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC.  The exile lasted seventy more years before a group returned to rebuild the city and its temple. Ezekiel didn’t make it back to the city he loved.   But, he did keep on believing and preaching and calling others to turn from their selfish ways to love and trust the one true God.  That way he was living in the “promised land,” even while in exile, by loving God and doing what He commanded whether anyone really “heard” him or not.

LESSON TO THE CHURCH

Jesus is our representative–our righteousness. We are still called to love God and do what He commands.  The destruction of Jerusalem was a tragic event.  It really occurred.  Ezekiel tells us why.  They were stiff-necked, proud people who refused to listen and took their privileges as God’s people for granted.  They refused to clean up their act.  It is a lesson for us.  We Christians cannot take our position in Christ Jesus for granted.  We must live like people to whom God has shown many mercies, bow before Him as our Lord, as well as Savior, and clean up our lives.  What do you need to sweep away? 

 Some always listen; a remnant will return to living in the “promised land” of personal relationship with God through faith in Christ Jesus alone.  It is a wonderful place to be.

 

Talking Points September 12, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips,Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 12:36 pm

The planet Venus is 24 million miles from earth.  If the sky is clear at sunset tonight, Venus will be shining brightly in the SW sky by 7:55 p.m. EDT.

Take your child or grandchild outside and have a talk about several catechism questions:

Who made you?   God

What else did God make?  God made all things

Why did God make you and all things?  For His own glory.

How can you glorify God?  By loving Him and doing what He commands.

Why are you to glorify God?  Because He made me and takes care of me.

Remember, to glorify means to reflect some small measure of what God is like. So since God made us and takes care of us, we should repond with loving obedience and that is exactly what reflects the true nature of God.

Looking at Venus is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce the power of God’s spoken word in making something out of nothing.  Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Notice that s.  That would include Venus.  So leave your child wondering about the wonder of it all.  “And God said it was very good.”

He still speaks today—through the Spirit’s lighting up the Bible’s meaning for us.  Come inside and, at least, look up Genesis 1:1!

SHOW ME JESUS

When you pray, thank God that Jesus was there in the beginning, saying, “And it is very good!”

 

Bible Teaching Tip September 1, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 4:42 pm
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These pictures are of the notebook I kept this summer.  It is all the take-home papers from my 2-4 year olds Sunday School class.  We use this to review, play matching games with the Bible story pictures I’ve posted around the room, and to remind us of our songs we love to sing.  Our Songbook is kept in the notebook too.  

I suggest you keep all your child’s take-home papers from Sunday School or Children’s Church in a notebook for the year.   Flip through the pages for a quick review of people, places, biblical themes and principles. Then you can quickly apply those principles to her/his everyday life and devotional life for that day.  Be sure to show them Jesus and the gospel in every lesson. 

 For instance, these lessons in my notebook on Shadrake, Meshach, and Abednego and Daniel show how God listens to our prayers and wants us to worship only Him.  The way to show them Jesus is to explain that Jesus is God’s Son, the Promised King.  It is only through faith in Him that we can expect God to hear our prayers.  Even these boys long agos knew God had promised a Savior who would live forever.  The application:  Do you pray?  Do you believe in Jesus? Do you ever worship other things?

The Sunday School literature I use does all this for you. They also include memory verse and Catchism question.  (gcp.org) 

Simply putting weekly lessons into a notebook lets you keep your teaching tools handy.  If you have to search for them, you’ll end up not reviewing and not much will have been accomplished at Children’s Church or Sunday School.  KEEP YOUR TOOLS HANDY.