March 7 – March 13, 2017

WORD

1Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  2I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  3I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  4So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.

Genesis 12:1-4

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go…”  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.

Pause for a moment to think about all God accomplished through Abram and Sarai.  From this one elderly couple, God produced a nation of twelve tribes that still endures today.  Into this family, God has grafted many other “tribes” including whatever tribe you claim as your own.  God brought forth a Savior of the whole world.  The sin and destruction the world suffers under has been overcome through Abram and Sarai’s faithfulness and trust.  Though they lived over 4,000 years ago, their decisions and choices to follow God have allowed you to live within the Church and be a part of an everlasting kingdom of grace, peace, holiness, and love.

For us Methodists, we can draw a line to this promise of a great nation back through Anglicanism, to Catholicism, to the Apostolic Church, to Jesus and the Twelve, to Judah and Galilee, to the divided kingdoms, to the rule of David and Solomon, to the days of the Judges, to the settlement of the Promised Land, to wilderness wanderings, to slavery in Egypt, to the days of Joseph, to Jacob and Rachel, Isaac and Rebekah, and finally to the receivers of this promise, Abram and Sarai.  Our entire spiritual heritage is due to them saying “yes” to God.  When God said “Go,” their response was to go.  That opened the door for all of us to find our place in God’s presence, work, and story.

How might the faithful decisions you make now grow you and the Church of today into a great nation?  Imagine for a moment what spiritual heritage might start out of your response to God’s call to go and do or even God’s call to stay and be.  Our ability to say yes to God, no matter the heavenly request, has consequences that reach far beyond our own place and time.  But first, you have to be listening for God’s voice and be committed to God’s purposes and timetables.  Our stories of faithfulness will not look exactly like Abram and Sarai’s, but their epilogues can be just as powerful.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, March 7 – 2 Kings 23
  • Wednesday, March 8 – 2 Kings 24
  • Thursday, March 9 – Galatians 1
  • Friday, March 10 – Galatians 2
  • Saturday, March 11 – Galatians 3
  • Sunday, March 12 – Galatians 4
  • Monday, March 13 –  Galatians 5

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

This week let us pray for our families and the families of the world.  Ask God to provide fathers and mothers who will stay faithful to one another and who will care lovingly for their children.  Ask God to strengthen the very institution of the family in our society and across the world.  Remember in your prayers those men and women who are faithfully serving as both mother and father as single parents.  Let us never forget that our hope for salvation started with a family (Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac) and culminated in a family (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus).  Go forward this week as a living prayer, expressing your love in action and word to whomever you call family.

Meditation Focus: I will…make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 

It is not a matter of pride to pray for success.  However, we must check our motives for success.  Do you want to succeed in life so that you might be a blessing to yourself or so that you might be a blessing to others?  I am not referring to finances, necessarily, though that is one way we can be a blessing when we experience increase.  I am referring in a more general sense of finding success in whatever we set out to do.  Abram and Sarai’s ability to bless all peoples of the world was tied to their ultimate success in providing an heir and establishing themselves in the Promised Land.  God was behind every success they experienced and when their name was made great, God’s name was made great.  That is the key to what I am writing about here.  Do you see your success as being God’s success?  Do you set out to accomplish goals within your family, work, or church in order to bring glory to God?  Do your goals line up with God’s goals?  If we commit to living in such a way that our goals do line up with God’s goals, such that our successes are God’s successes, then we might need to redefine what success and greatness mean.  Here in our passage the message is clear – our name is made great so that we might bless others.  We should seek success that furthers God’s kingdom and brings others into the blessedness of the merciful and just shalom of God.  Such success might mean humbling ourselves or losing some honor of greatness we seek apart from God.  Beloved, ponder this question this week, turning it over and over in your mind: How might my life be a holy success so that others might know the great name and love of God?

Journaling Focus: Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house…

Have you ever had to leave behind the comfort of a situation that was familiar and safe for you?  Perhaps you left your family of origin to go to college or branch out on your own.  Maybe you went on a trip far away, even overseas, to experience a new culture.  Some of us leave behind certain realities from our past without ever physically leaving to go somewhere new.  Perhaps we have experienced differentiation, a process by which we come into our own by veering away in thought, perspective, and action from past ways of thinking, perceiving, and experiencing the world.  Following Christ faithfully will mean, at some point (and most likely at many points) leaving behind past realties for the new realities of communion with God.  Paul likens this to putting off the old man or woman and being clothed with Christ (see for instance Romans 6:6, Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 4:22, and Colossians 3:9).  Write about a time in which you had to leave the familiar to face a new challenge.  In what ways did you need to leave “your kindred and your father’s house” to follow the ways of God and experience God in a new way?  How did this experience help you own your faith?  In what ways might God be calling you now to leave behind your comforts in order to embrace the divine will?

Breath Prayer: Father, give us faith.

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