{October 29, 2017}

 

October 29 – November 4, 2017

 

LOVE(MATH): Marriage

By Eizabeth Miranda

As I listened to the story of Abram (Abraham) my heart kept flipping back and forth between my personal relationships and my relationship with God. It seemed that today’s message had two parts, and how they fit together is hard for me. First, that God pursues us. Infinitely, non-stop, forever. He loves us and wants a relationship with us. Second, and this is where it gets confusing: we have relationships with others and if these relationships have a strong covenant with God and are healthy, they are amazing. It seems to say that God knows we need people; relationships outside of our relationship with him that help us experience and show the love of God to each other.

The confusing part for me? Is God enough. Abram waited YEARS. YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS for God’s promise of a son to come through. Abram got so upset, so disillusioned that he and his wife decided to skip God’s plan and do it their way: by having Abram sleep with Sara’s servant Hagar to have a son. Can you imagine their pain? YEARS of waiting. YEARS of pain from being childless and in a foreign land. Part of me wants to say God, what’s up with that? Why did they have to wait so long? Also, why, in our modern day world, do people have infertility and wait for years never to have a child while others can get pregnant without a problem?  Why are some people “blessed” on this earth and others suffer continuous pain, suffering?

See, here’s where my faith gets stretched. It gets hard. Yet here is what I know as personal truth as I look at the way faith and life intersect: doing it on my own, my way and not God’s way is awful. Truly. No joke. Awful. Ever had a friendship or marriage or dated someone and it was toxic? Abusive? Unhealthy? I’ve thrown in the towel waiting for God’s blessing at times and the pain that came from doing things “my way” was way worse than living in a loving relationship with God and waiting for his plan and blessings. The definition of “sin” isn’t “(gasp) you are awful!”  It’s “ouch, that decision is going to hurt someday.”

Here’s another way they God and relationships intersect: the love of God, his covenant with us is never ending. Whew. He will continue to pursue me and love me even when I turn away from Him and hurt Him. Now that’s an intersection of this faith vs. life that brings me peace.

So what do we know about Abram and Sara? The choice to have a son with her servant was incredibly destructive and led to a lifetime of pain for many people. Abram, Sara, Hagar, and all of their children for generations suffered due to that painful decision. But we also learn from their journey that God was faithful, and did give them a son. He also continued to love and pursue a relationship with them even though they screwed up.

So here’s my challenge, questions that I need to sit with and reflect on. Will you join me?

  • Where am I in my covenant relationship with God? Have I run away and he is trying to pursue me? Am I ready to turn towards him, or stubborn enough to keep trying it my way? What areas of my life have I not given to him (emotional, spiritual, physical, relational)?
  • What is one area of my life that I can turn towards God and seek his picture of my future and areas he wants me develop in?
  • Are there areas currently that I pulled an "Abram and Sara" and chose to do it my way vs. waiting on God?
  • Instead of looking at my friends, husband, colleagues, neighbors and children and thinking of all the ways they need to be more like God and how they have wounded me…I need to look at me. How have I hurt those I love the most? Painful. But needed. If I’m not aware, do I need to ask them, or pray about it so God can show me? What, if any, promises (covenants) have I broken?
  • Sometimes I find it helps to review my relationship through various lenses to ensure I’m not missing anything. But it’s also helpful to seek their opinion and experience of me. Dan said today that relationship comes with risk. Vulnerability is hard. The hardest for me is seeking not just to share my heart, but ways I need to work on how I love others.

Questions for me, then for my spouse (or a friend if single):

  • How close do I “feel” to my partner right now?
  • Are there areas of my life that I haven’t shared with my partner? Current wounds, situations at work, etc.
  • Rate our relationship physically: satisfied? Feeling connected?
  • How would I rate myself on how critical or condescending I have been of my partner lately?
  • How safe does my partner feel with me right now? What have I done or not done to contribute to this experience of me?
  • What areas of our relationship do we need to seek God?
  • What areas of my life do I need to seek God more?
  • What areas do I need to renew my covenant to God?  To my partner?

Sit with this. Chew on it. Pray through it. Seek feedback from others. It’s hard, it’s vulnerable. But amazing relationships are worth the risk. You are worth it too.

{sunday 10.29.17}

Read Genesis 15:1-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As you read these verses, consider writing them in your own words. If you and God were having this conversation, how would it be worded? What do you learn about God here? What do you learn about God’s promise/covenant here?

 

Join us over at the LOVE(MATH) podcast and listen in on conversations about relationships, God, community and more. CLICK HERE to subscribe on iTunes. CLICK HERE to listen on Soundcloud.

 

{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 watch a new episode of The Journey Continues: 1 Peter, from our own Seth Davidson.

{monday 10.30.17}

Read 1 Peter 3:8-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: We all have heard this concept in one way or another. "If someone is mean to you, be the better person and don’t be mean back." That’s the concept we commonly teach our children. It seems like we’ve run into this a lot in recent scripture. It must mean it’s important but it must also mean that it’s something people consistently struggle with and have for a long time. When do you fail at this? What causes you to do so? How can you overcome this struggle?

{tuesday 10.31.17}

Read 1 Peter 4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It seems like a lot is expected out of someone who follows Jesus. Be gentle and loving even if someone is persecuting you. Who do you know that lives this way?

{wednesday 11.1.17}

Read 1 Peter 5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This chapter has the key elements to a successful community for faith. Humble leaders, younger followers, understanding your own struggles and helping others with their struggles. Do you have a community? Does it have these key elements? If not, make a plan on how you can start one or become apart of one. Share this plan with God and ask him for his guidance.

{thursday 11.2.17}

Read 2 Peter 1:1-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "God has bestowed upon us everything we need for life and godliness" We have what we need we just don’t always chose to use it. What has God given you that you are not using in your life?

{friday 11.3.17}

Read 2 Peter 1:12-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Peter was an eye witness to Jesus and the stories of the gospels. An eye witness lends more credibility to any story. Eye witness testimony is something respected by the court of law. Have you ever witnessed something incredible or maybe even horrifying and were asked to recount that event? If asked today, could you retell the event as it happened? How do you think those around Peter reacted to his eye witness accounts of Jesus?

{saturday 11.4.17}

Read 2 Peter 2:1-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I think we’ve all seen someone using the name of Jesus for personal gain whether it was first hand experience or on TV. Sometimes it’s very obvious while other times it’s difficult to see at first. What’s your experience with this? How does it make you feel to see this? What can you do to show other people that are not all followers of Jesus the difference between someone who follows Jesus and someone who uses the name of Jesus to exploit?

 

{community discussion questions}

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 a Journey Community 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 on your journey.

  • Can you name a 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.

 

If you would like, please visit us and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

© 2017 Heartland Community Church 12175 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062 (913) 341-5820.

Unsubscribe from The Journey.

Sign
up
to receive our future emails.


Comments are closed.