{August 6, 2017}





Heartland Community Church


 

August 6 – 12, 2017

 

{3 Letter Words: Why}

By Elizabeth Miranda

Why? Why me? Why now? I’ve been good, faithful, and kind to others, loving beyond my limits.

There was a very dark time in my life that this question plagued me. As a counselor working with abused and broken families, it continues to creep up, asking again why me? Or why them?  When it gets in my head I begin to cry just like that psalmist, “MY GOD MY GOD!! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!!! Why are you so far from saving me?!”  Psalm 22:1-2

I’d like to think that I yell it, weep it, wrestle with it a little less as I get older. Age and wisdom have brought some strength as I have many years to look back on and reflect all of the ways he saved me and blessed me.  Time and time again I experienced even in the darkest of tragedies how God was there, and what Satan meant to destroy, God used to redeem me.

But have I? No. I still cry it, maybe not as often, but I do. My focus now is on that second part—why are you so far from saving me?  Recognizing that he WILL is the peace and gift that I experience in faith.

But many times I have to focus on the why. Sit with it, simmer in it…wait expectantly for him to answer.

The verse that brings me hope is the story of when Jesus returns to visit his friends, the disciples, after he died and came back to life.  Thomas is one of them, and based in this verse he is forever known as “Doubting Thomas.” (John 20:27) When he first saw him, he doubted and did not believe Jesus was real. In that moment, Jesus didn’t yell at him, cast him away or mock his fear and pain. He said, "Come closer Thomas, put your hands in my wounds where the nails pierced me. Put your hands in my side where the spear gutted me." As if to say, test me. Doubt me. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to stay and I’m real.

God gives us permission to doubt, to question, and to seek him. He can handle my anger and my pain, and the darkest of questions— including one of the hardest, why?

For me (and possibly this psalmist) the answer comes on the journey. One where He brings his peace, his love, his hugs for our wounds.

What are the “whys” in your life? Take them to him, however painful, and let him have your doubts and fears.   

 

{sunday 8.6.17}

Read Pslam 22:1-2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How would you ask this question of God in your time of need? If you have asked this question in the past, describe how God has responded.

 

{personal reflection and bible reading plan}

As you read the verses each day, make notes of questions you have about what you’re reading as well as answering the reflection questions below. Grab a friend or two to discuss what you are learning and what God is doing in your lives.

 

CLICK HERE to check out the Bible Project video on 1 Thessalonians!

 

{monday 8.7.17}

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:10-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul’s analogy of fatherly concern can be met with a lot of eye rolling and scoffing from today’s standpoint. Put that aside and imagine a caring father guiding you. Do you find comfort imagining this? What is your life experience with a father? Explain.

{tuesday 8.8.17}

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Reading this passage reminds me as a father the general worries I have about my children. Parents worry about their children, that’s just what they do. Paul is relieved to hear they are OK when he receives his report back from Timothy. Who do you worry about? What is it about them you are worried for? What worries do you think God has about you?

{wednesday 8.9.17}

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: There is so much that can be unpacked in this chapter. In summary, I get that we should continue to live more and more like Jesus and care for others. In my experience people to tend to focus on one of these aspects over the other. In your own words (try to not use "Christian" words but, common everyday language) explain why these aspects are different and how they connect with each other.

{thursday 8.10.17}

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Take 5 minutes and write whatever comes to mind about the word “heaven”. The only guidelines are…. 1) Do NOT stop writing for the entire 5 minutes. 2) Do NOT self-edit as you write. If you feel comfortable doing so, share what you wrote with someone else.

{friday 8.11.17}

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:4-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: When I think of the church "warning people who step out of line" I don’t think of it like how Paul instructs. Paul says to console the downcast; help the weak; be warmhearted and patient toward everybody. That’s not the perception the public has of those who follow Jesus. If you have chosen to follow Jesus, how can you improve to match the description Paul has given here? Where have you fallen short?

{saturday 8.12.17}

Read 1Thessalonians 5:16-28

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul leaves this very young church at the end of his letter a little poem/song/saying that would be easy to learn and keep in mind. It’s filled with joy and wisdom. It’s not much different than the little sayings my wife has created specifically for each one of our three kids to remind them how much she loves them. It’s good to have something that reminds us of God and his love. What do you have in your life that you use a reminder of God and his love? Why does this bring you comfort?

{group discussion ideas}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as an Heartland group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters for The Journey.

  • Can you name an ‘takeaway’ or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?

 

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

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