Reflecting on the Scriptures: Peace

Our word for Strengthen through the Scriptures is ‘peace.’ How do you define ‘peace?’ Harmony? Free from chaos? Lack of disagreement? Do you feel at peace right now – this very minute? How do you find peace in times of chaos or discomfort? Be honest. Don’t give the answer that you think you should.

Romans 8:28 is a verse that I keep in my heart. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I can keep those words in my heart and understand them in my head, but sometimes that means I have to wait for God’s plan. The Bible tells us to be courageous and wait. I must admit when I am waiting, the feeling of peace is NOT within me! Then I have to remember John 16:33.  Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Let’s start the week with a look at Peace in the Proverbs.

 Proverbs 3:1-2
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

 Proverbs 3:17
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.

Did you notice the ALL in that verse? ALL of her paths are peace!

Proverbs 12:20
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.

Do you promote peace? Is promoting a high priority for you? There are so many that live for drama in their lives and sharing it with others. We should always aim to promote peace in our lives and the lives of others.

Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 17:1
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Have you ever had a meal with family or friends that was full of contention and strife? How did you feel during the meal…and after?

Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

This verse hits at home and goes back to God’s plan of giving instruction to our children. Is your life as a parent always going to be peaceful? Of course not. However, with teaching and disciplining your children will be more like to bring peace to you rather than turmoil.

Our challenge this week is simple and straight-forward. Look for peace in your life. Share with others how you found that peace and how they can find it also. Our memory verse this week can help us meet this challenge.

John16_33_Peace MV

Have a wonderfully, peace-filled week.

Kim_Oval

Wrapping Up: Kindness

We have focused on two words this week: kindness and love. In the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 9:3 states: The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” What inspired this act of kindness toward Jonathan? Love was the inspiration. This makes me think of the phrase ‘loving kindness.’

In Luke 6:35, Jesus taught:  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Love your enemies? Do good for your enemies? Lend to your enemies? Don’t expect anything in return from your enemies? Do all of those things seem easy to do? What is our reward to reaching outside of our comfort zone and doing them? A great reward and being children of the Most High BECAUSE God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. In the next verse we read: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). God is our example to be merciful and kind to everyone – family, friends, and enemies!

To help review the Scriptures that we have read this week, you can download, print, or find key words on the Kindness word search. Click here:  Kindness Word Search.

Have a blessed weekend. See you on Monday for our next Strength from the Scriptures study.

Kim_Oval

Strength from the Scriptures: Kindness

Happy Wednesday to All!

Remember that our discussion today is on the different kinds of kindness. Let’s begin by looking at Acts 20:35: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” The use of ‘kind’ in the sentence is not the same definition that we used earlier. Here it means a type or variety of hard work. However, let at the ‘kind of hard work’ discussed: help the weak which is a blessing of being able to give to other. Isn’t that an example of kindness?

Can you show kindness to strangers? How can you show kindness to strangers? In Leviticus 19:34, we read: The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Isn’t this the same message that we discussed earlier – love your neighbor as yourself? Now, we are told to love those residing among us – strangers. Let’s flip over to the New Testament where Jesus shares: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in… (Matthew 25:35)  Which is easier to show kindness toward – a stranger or a friend or family member? Why do you think this is?

Next, let’s move to the book of Galatians to see an example of a kindness that helps to bear the hardships and difficulties those around us may be experiencing. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 

  • How do we restore the person caught in sin?
  • Why should we watch ourselves?
  • What happens when we carry each other’s burdens? (Have you ever thought about this in the reverse? You should be willing to share your burdens with also, shouldn’t you?)

Galatians 6:10 continues by telling us that as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Opportunity. Do good. All people.

Look around and discover how you can extend simple kindness to someone today and every day this week. Maybe they are carrying a burden, big or small, that you can help lighten with an act of kindness. Look for those opportunities where you can show kindness to those around you – to ALL people.

Keep working on our memory passage. It’s longer this week but the message is so important to each of us. Some of you may already have these verses written on your heart. That should be the goal for all of us.

Praying for each you.

Kim_Oval

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Kindness

Hello Friends!

How many of you have been invited to play the game where you take the first letter of your name and find an adjective that starts with that letter AND describes you? Is there a certain adjective that you always use? How does it describe you? My name begins with a ‘K.’ What do you include for a ‘K?’ I usually add the word, ‘kind.’ How would you define the word ‘kind ‘to’ someone? Friendly? Benevolent? Nice?

When a group of young children are playing together, what phrase is often said? ‘Be nice.’ Be nice to your…friends…brother…sister…cousins…the list goes on and on. What is expected of those children to ‘be nice’ to the other children? Do you ever look at those in the world around you and wonder what it would be like if everyone treated everyone nicely? What would the world look like if we were ALL nice to EVERYONE?

What did Jesus answer in Mark 12:29-31 when asked what the greatest commandment was?  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Think about that: loving your neighbor as yourself. Think about the people in your close circle of family and friends and those that you worship with and what about the leaders in both business and government. Can you imagine what the world would be like if EVERYONE loved God will ALL of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths? What if EVERYONE loved their neighbors as themselves?

Mistrust, envy, and hatred of others is nothing new. As Solomon shared – they is nothing new under the sun. But do we just use that as an excuse and dismiss the unkind actions of those around us – or even our own unkind actions?

Our memory passage for this week is: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12_30_3131 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Mark 12: 30-31. This passage is also our challenge for the week. Stop often and reflect on your own thoughts and actions. Are you demonstrating that you love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Not just one or two of these but all four! Secondly, when you are reflecting, ask yourself how you are showing love to your neighbor each day.

Come back on Wednesday to discuss the different types of kindness that are taught in the Scriptures.

Kim_Oval

Wrapping Up: Courage

Hope everyone has had a week full of opportunities for sharing your courage and strength. Today, let’s look at four sources of courage. To help review and reflect, you are going to match verses with their locations in the Bible and then fill in the blanks to complete the verse. You can write the letter of the correct verse on the line beside the Scripture. All of the Scriptures are from the NIV.

Courage Friday Matching
We looked at many verses this week to teach us about being strong and courageous as we rely on God and His infinite power. Try to sit aside a few minutes over the next few days and reflect on what these verses mean to you and how you can apply them to your daily walk.

Enjoy your weekend and the blessings from God in your life. See you on Monday when we explore our next Strength from the Scriptures topic: Kindness.

Kim_OvalFor those of you that would like to print out the matching activity,  click the link for a downloadable version: Courage Matching Reflections,

 

Strength from the Scriptures: Courage

How is your week going? Are you feeling strong and courageous after our talk on Monday? Have you noticed displays of courage around you – or with you?  Today we’re going to look at some displays of strength and courage from the Bible. Let’s look at Joshua, David, Daniel, Peter, and Paul and circumstances they faced.

In Joshua 1:6-7, God’s gives Joshua direction to be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. God’s plan to give His people the land He has promised them now included Joshua leading them. What a huge task! But Joshua was not alone. God gave instructions to guide him:

Lead the people to the land

Be strong

Be very courageous

Obey all the laws Moses gave

Do not turn to the right or left

Following these instructions from God would insure Joshua’s success – IF Joshua followed them.  Is it always easy to follow God’s instructions? Joshua faced challenges but God gave him the keys to success.

Can you tell who is involved in this situation by reading 1 Samuel 17:32? David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Who was the Philistine that David was talking about? Young David was willing to fight Goliath and confident of victory because of his faith that God would be with him. What an example of faith and courage!

What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They had the strength and courage to speak to King Nebuchadnezzar and tell him that they would not serve the gods of that land or worship the image of gold he had set up. (Daniel 3:18) Have you ever needed to speak to a supervisor at work or someone in a role of authority? Did you feel a little (or a lot) nervous? To me, this makes what these young men did even more courageous!

When I read Acts 5:29, I am amazed at the courage of the apostles when they are brought before the Sanhedrin and questioned about returning to Jerusalem to teach about Christ after being ordered not to. Peter replies: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” They had already seen what had happened to Jesus, but were still had the courage to stand up and state that they MUST obey God and not man. This makes me think of living in the world today and how difficult it can be to obey God and follow His teachings opening. Christians are so often persecuted in different ways – from social media comments to physical acts of violence. It still takes being strong and very courageous and not turning to the left or right but staying on the straight path God has given us.

Later in Acts, we see Paul that responded to those not wanting him to return to Jerusalem because they feared for his safety. He said: “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13) How many of us are willing to die for the name of the Lord Jesus? Can you think of anyone in your lifetime that has died for Christ?

Let’s revisit our memory verse: Psalm 27:14: Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Think about different situations that you have experienced or witnessed where courage had to be shown. Did faith in God’s power increase after those situations? Could those situations and their resolutions showing strength and courage be used to teach others about God, the Scriptures, and Christ?

I hope to see you on Friday to reflect on these talks about courage and to explore sources of courage in God’s Word. Which verses do you think we’ll focus on?

Kim_Oval

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Courage

Be strong and courageous. How does reading those words make you feel? Do you know where find the verse in the Bible that includes those words? Yes, that’s a trick question. 🙂 This phrase is actually found in numerous places in the Scriptures – both in the Old and New Testaments. After reading all of these verses, I decided that Psalm 27:14 would be our memory verse for this week: Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Courage MV

Let’s break this verse into four sections:

  1. Wait for the Lord
  2. Be strong
  3. Take heart
  4. Wait for the Lord.

How interesting that the verse begins and ends with the same four words: Wait for the Lord. Do you like to wait? Usually, waiting is not something that I want to do, but sometimes God wants and needs us to wait. Let’s look at three passages from the Scriptures to begin our look at courage.

In Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, Moses shared words from God with the Israelites. We read: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses spoke to Joshua in front of all of Israel and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.” What a challenge to give to Joshua! I wonder how Joshua felt.

Do you think the Israelites were afraid? Is that why Moses reminded them that God would never leave them or abandon them. Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever been terrified? What caused the fear you felt? These words from Deuteronomy should encourage us in times that we are afraid. If we have faith that God is always with us, doesn’t it make it easier to feel courageous in times of fear? Remember what Psalm 23:4 says? Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Shouldn’t we be able to say:

I will fear no evil.
I will have courage.
I will be strong.
I can do this because God is always with me.

In 2 Chronicles 32: 7-8, King Hezekiah told the Israelites to be strong and courageous even though they were in the midst of a war with Assyria. Assyria had a great army, but the Israelites were reminded that there was a greater power with them than with Assyria. Assyria only had a human army but Israel had God to help them and to fight their battles. We are told that the people gained confidence from these words. God is always with us as we fight our battles today. Do we always show the confidence we should knowing that God is with us?  How can we build that feeling of confidence? Studying God’s Word? Walking our daily walk with God? Surrounding ourselves with others that are walking in God’s Light?

Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight. (2 Samuel 10:12) David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men and sent some against the Ammonites and the others against the Arameans. Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans and put the rest of the men under the command of his brother, Abishai, to fight against the Ammonites. Joab told Abishai to be strong and to fight bravely, and most importantly, that God will do what is good in His sight. God has a plan and is in control. How often do we think that we know what is best for us and expect God to take care of it? God will take care of us – in His way and in His time. We must learn to wait. (Yes, there’s that “wait” word again!)

We may not want to wait or delay our expectations. Immediate gratification is not always in God’s plan. What we must always remember is that God is always with us. Knowing that, we can be strong and courageous in all challenges that we face – big and small. My challenge for you this week is to examine the challenges in your life. Hod did you show courage and strength? How did you lean on God? Then look around you and see the challenges that others are facing. How can you help them be strong and courageous and to have confidence in God’s power?

See you on Wednesday when we will discuss circumstances that require courage – in Bible times and today. Remember to work on our memory verse!

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Kim