The Power of God – March 5, 2019

Numbers 4.1-5.31; Mark 12.18-37; Psalm 48.1-14; Proverbs 10.26

I learned at an early age that the Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection. So if you are paying close attention, you recognize the fallacy of their question to Jesus: What will it be like in the resurrection? Their biggest problem, was not the attempt to trap Jesus, but rather, their misunderstanding of the power of God. Be careful when you figure out how God is supposed to act. You may end up sad, you see.

Questions:

In the Old Testament times, the people who were unclean were removed from within the camp, in order to keep the purity of the people of God. Aren’t you glad that Jesus gave his life to make us righteous, or clean before God? How have you experienced the cleansing power of God in your life?

Is the man who asked Jesus about the most important commandment trying to trap him, as well, or do you think he was asking a serious question? Why do you think this is the case?

What are some ways you meditate regularly on God’s unfailing love?

Why are lazy people an irritant? Why would they be “called out” in the Proverbs?

Badges? We Don’t Need No Badges! – March 4, 2019

Numbers 2.1-3.51; Mark 11.27-12.17 Psalm 47.1-9; Proverbs 10.24-25

There is a bit of irony that the “religious leaders,” those over the Temple, would come to Jesus to ask him, the Son of God, who gave him the authority or the right to perform the acts he was performing. Why didn’t they know who God was? Was their desire for their ways to remain intact so strong, it blinded them to the wonders of Jesus? (They were later amazed, it should be noted.) Do we ever assume our own authority over how God should work in this world today?

Questions:

We are told where the different Israelite tribes were to line up around the Tabernacle, but not why. Why do you think they were to line up in this pattern?

Why do you think the religious leaders were afraid to arrest Jesus on account of the crowds? What did the crowds have to do with it?

What reasons do you have to “Shout to God with joyful praise”?

What storms in your life have proven the worth of your Godly foundation?

A Den of Thieves – March 3, 2019

Leviticus 27.14 – Numbers 1.54; Mark 11.1-26; Psalm 46.1-11; Proverbs 10.23

What would it have been like to be in the temple the day Jesus turned over all of the tables? Do you think you would have talked about it later that day or for the next several? Do you think you would have understood why Jesus did this?

Questions:

How do we set apart the things we have–money and also possessions–for the Lord today?

In what ways is holding a grudge related to having faith?

Do we really believe that God is our refuge and strength? How can we live lives that show our assurance of this?

“Doing wrong is fun for a fool.” Does this describe you? How can you work to ensure it isn’t?

Doh! – March 2, 2019

Leviticus 25.47-27.13; Mark 10.32-52; Psalm 45.1-17; Proverbs 10.22

I always have wondered what James and John thought after Jesus’ instructions to the disciples about his death, followed up by their infamous question: Can we sit at your right and left when you are on your glorious throne? (I can just imagine this long, awkward pause from Jesus, who then says: “Really?”) You can’t tell me they do not spent the rest of the day saying to one another: “That was dumb. Really dumb.” I know, because I ask the same type of question far too often and at just the wrong time. How about you? Any questions do you wish you could take back?

Questions:

Ensuring that people have opportunity to be released for their bondage is a recurring theme throughout the book of Leviticus. How do we work to ensure people are free from their own bondage today?

Why do you think people wanted to quiet blind Bartimaeus?

In what ways would the psalmist be able to say of you: “You love justice and hate evil?”

Richness that comes from God does not have sorry attached to it. How have you seen richness apart from God produce sorrow?

Impossible – March 1, 2019

Leviticus 24.1-25.46; Mark 10.13-31; Psalm 44.9-26; Proverbs 10.20-21

Some days following God in the manner I would really like seems impossible. I don’t even think it has to do with how hard following God really is. In many ways, following him does not seem as hard as I make it out to be. Not following him really comes down to me not being able to do so because of my own weaknesses. Because of me, I am not sure really following God is possible. So I am glad to hear Jesus say: “Yes, for you this is probably impossible. For God, nothing is impossible.” I need to allow him to lead me more than I try to guide myself. You?

Questions:

Should we have a Year of Jubilee now? What advantages might there be in living out this practice in the world we live in?

What does it mean for the “Kingdom of God” to belong to a child? What does it mean for our own lives of faith?

Why might you cry out: “Wake up, Lord?” What sort of events in your life might cause you to think God had gone to sleep on you?

How have the words of the godly encouraged you? Who speaks these words for you? Thank them for their gift to you.

Cut It Off! – February 28, 2019

Leviticus 22.17-23.44; Mark 9.30-10.12; Psalm 44.1-8; Proverbs 10.19

Sin is often something we just assume is a part of our lives. We know we never act sinless, so just grow accustomed to having sinful behaviors be a part of what happens day in and day out. Too often, we do not even try to avoid it … we just accept it and the things that cause it. Jesus says this is not the best practice. We need to get rid of those things that create sin in and around is, even if it means a drastic change to accomplish this. How are you focused on ridding yourself of sin?

Questions:

Why does God give the Israelites festivals to observe throughout the year?

Why does Jesus want to keep his location a secret while he is teaching his disciples? What about his teaching topic would have been important for Jesus to have his disciple’s undivided attention?

What would your ancestors tell you about God at work in their lives? What will you tell your descendants?

“Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Describe a time when you wish you would have kept this advice.

Be Holy – February 27, 2019

Leviticus 20.22-22.16; Mark 9.1-29; Psalm 43.1-5; Proverbs 10.18

“Be holy because I am holy” says God. What is your reaction when you hear this? To me, it seems near impossible–I know how non-holy I really am. But at the same time, there is a certain sense of desire that is ignited in me when I hear these words. God, I believe, would not ask us to be something we cannot be. He’s not setting us up for certain failure. So I trust that he can make me holy. In what ways has he been making you holy?

Questions:

God reminds us that we are to keep his decrees and put them into practice. What is the difference between understanding or assenting to the decrees of God and actually putting them into practice? How are you putting his decrees into practice?

How do you think you would have reacted had you been on the mountain and seen Jesus, Moses and Elijah all together? How does your reaction compare to Peter’s?

Discouraged? What are ways you can put your hope in God in spite of this discouragement?

While it is often our first reaction–to slander someone else so as to bring them down to our level–doing so makes you a fool. How is this the case?