Summer SUN Bible Study Day 6

Scripture- I John 2:9

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness

Understanding

“Hate” is just not a word southern women grow up saying. Oh, you may “hate” brussel sprouts or “hate” a rival SEC team, but your mama would never let you say that you hated a person. She might say use “dislike” or “don’t care for”. Other euphemisms are also popular. ” I love so and so, but I don’t like them.”"We just don’t get along.” This verse sees beyond our words and into our hearts. To walk in the light, we must let go of hate and this includes all the ways we’ve dressed it up to justify it to ourselves and others.

Now

Father, I want to walk in the light with you. Shine your light on the dark places of my heart where I have hidden hate for brothers and sisters. Even though I may have used nicer words than “hate” to myself,this verse convicts me of how I must love like you love. Amen.

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Summer SUN Bible Study Day 5

Sorry to post so late tonight, but when it doesn’t get dark until 9:30 time gets away from me!

Scripture Tonight’s scripture is  I John 2:6

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Understanding

I’m no seamstress, but growing up I spent a lot of time going to the sewing department and looking at pattern books with my mom. I was always so intrigued. How could all those pieces of tissue paper really be cut out of fabric and put together to make the garment pictured on the pattern envelope? I have spent some time sewing and I rarely end up with a perfect garment, but the pattern is not the problem.

When I think of trying to follow Jesus as a pattern for living, I think a lot about how many times I’ve had to start over on a sewing project. I’ve ripped out seams, struggled with fit, and scrapped piece upon piece. The pattern is still perfect, and it is still the pattern that I follow. Jesus is my pattern no matter how many times I’ve had to get back to the cutting lines or start over again. I say I want to look like my Savior, and to do that I have to follow His perfect pattern for life.

Now

To follow Jesus’ pattern, I need to walk as He would walk if He lived in my city, worked at my job, lived in my family, and attended my church. I can’t do this in my own strength, so I look to Jesus to guide my imperfect efforts to follow a perfect pattern.

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Summer SUN Bible Study Day 4

S-Scripture I John 2:2

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

My Bible also has this as a footnote translation of this verse, and I think it captures the spirit of the verse:

He is the one who turns aside God’s wrath, taking away our sins, and not only ours but also the sins of the whole world.

U-Understanding

This verse reminds me that I have a sin problem and were it not for the love of a Savior who was willing to die to “turn away God’s wrath” I would face eternity separated from God. I am so firmly planted in the world of American Christianity where I do nice things with good people, it is easy to forget that sin is my problem, but it is for me and for all of us. How quickly I forget of how much I have been forgiven.

N- Now

I can apply this verse by reminding myself of my need for forgiveness and by stepping outside of my comfort zone to look for those who are lost and in need of a loving Savior.

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Summer SUN Bible Study Day 3

I just realized I had skipped down too far on the reading plan, so I am correcting my reference but my love for this scripture needs no correcting!

S- Scripture

Today’s key scripture is I John 4:9

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

U-Understanding

The beauty of this verse hits me so hard that my eyes are misting as I type. It’s this love that I cannot understand. God sent us Jesus. He showed His love “among us.” He sent us a Savior who came to live where we live. And He did it so that we might live.

N-Now

Father, So much love, so much sacrifice! You didn’t just tell me you loved me; You showed me. And that love changes me every day. I see so much pain around me, and I know that Your heart longs for us to see the love You have shown us through Your Son. Keep me looking for ways to show that love where I am. Amen.

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Summer SUN Bible Study Day 2

S- Scripture
But if we walk in the light, as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7
U-Understanding-
I love that the verb “cleanses” is present tense. I was cleansed of my sins when I first followed Jesus, but that blood continues to cleanse me so that I can walk with Him in fellowship. Satan loves to accuse us and make us feel that we can’t “walk in the light”  and we can’t on our own. But through the blood of the Savior, my sin does not stand in between me and a holy God.
N-Now
Father, I want to “walk in the light” along with you.  Lead me through Your grace and Your blood into fellowship with You and with others.
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Summer SUN Bible Study Day 1

The format for the summer SUN Bible study is based on the acronym S-Scripture-Read the day’s scripture and then write or type the key verse word for word.

U-Understanding- Write a sentence or two about what you understand about the scripture.

N-Now-How can you apply this? Or write out a prayer / prayer concern.

This is my journal entry for today’s reading I John 1:1-4

Key scripture I John 1:3.

Scripture

What we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (HCSB)

Understanding

This verse in the Holman uses the word “fellowship.”One Bible translator’s note I read said that fellowship here means sharing a common reality. As Christians,  we share the common reality that Christ came to earth, died, and rose again to redeem us all. This binds us all in relationship to each other, the Father, and the Son!

Now    Thank you God for the gift of fellowship through your Son!

Ok, now this is the basic format, not too hard, not too long, and no wrong answers!

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Welcome to Summer SUN Bible Study!

This summer at Hilton Terrace Baptist Church I am helping to lead a women’s Bible study that is taking a close look at the book of I John. If you want the general information about our study or the reading plan, click Summer SUN. Even if you can’t join us in person, feel free to read along. We will be posting journal entries based on the readings here each day as well.

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Ministry and Memories

This post is lovingly dedicated to all of our friends in ministry, especially those who spent time with us at Southwestern in Ft. Worth.

The month of May is filled with graduations and the sight of grads in caps and gowns brings me back to  John’s seminary graduation in May of 1997. At that time, graduation was held at Travis Avenue Baptist Church on Berry Street. After a beautiful ceremony and a great graduation bash, John and I were soon immersed in getting ready to move to our first church in Ashburn, GA.  At that time, my precious friend Susan pulled me aside and gave me a few words I’ll never forget. She was a Methodist minister’s wife with young children, and her husband was pastoring  a growing church on Hulen St in Ft. Worth. I asked her what was the best thing about being in ministry. She said,” The best thing  is that the church is like your family, They will babysit your children, bring you casseroles and vegetables from their garden, and invite you to events like birthdays and graduations that would normally only be attended by relatives. They want to love you and this will bring you much joy.”

Then, I asked her what was the hardest thing about being in ministry. She said “The hardest thing is that the church is like your family. They will misunderstand you, step on your toes, and hurt you the way that only someone you have allowed to come close can do.  But remember, they’re family and you love them.” John and I have traveled a few miles in ministry since seminary, and we’ve had plenty of joy and pain, but God has always been near reminding us that He has called us to love and serve the family of God. What a privilege and a blessing!

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Give It Up, Let It Go, Throw It Down

A few years ago, I was sitting in the Spilman Auditorium at Ridgecrest, and Travis Cottrell was leading worship. He was becoming well-known as the worship leader for Beth Moore’s Living Proof conferences. He sat down at the piano and I immediately recognized those first notes which I had played so often. ”Old Moses way back there in the wilderness/ Saw some smoke/ Came to the bush and the bush was burning”“Then he proceeded to sing Ken Medema’s classic song as a solo. I sat there with tears in my eyes listening to his great rendition, but in my heart, I was hearing echoes of young voices from so long ago. For those who were not old enough to remember the One Way Singers singing this song, it is a musical interpretation of the conversation between God and Moses at the burning bush. In this powerful song based on Exodus 3-4, God makes it clear that Moses is His choice to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and Moses gives every excuse he can think of ( I stutter all the time, Do you know my brother Aaron?) But God insists and even shows Moses that God will perform miracles if he will obey:

With the rod of God, strike the rock and the water will come. With the rod of God, part the waters of the sea. With the rod of God, you can strike old Pharaoh dead. With the rod of God, you can set the people free.

We’ve all lived a lot of life since we first sang those words. We’ve had things happen that have made us say as Moses did, “Not me Lord.” We have been tired, afraid, insecure, but we have never been alone. We are not as young as we were, but God still has plans for us to serve him if we stop making excuses and living in fear. At this stage of life more than ever, I need to ask myself the question that echoes at the end of the song:

What do you hold in your hand today? To what or to whom are you bound? Are you willing to give it to God right now? Give it up, let it go, throw it down.

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It’s Contagious!

Today’s song is from the Otis Skillings’ musical Life. Life was the ultimate 1970s musical, and it was actually a little before my time in One Way Singers, but I’ll never forget it. I don’t think you can ever forget seeing that many teenagers in orange and purple polyester outfits standing on risers shouting the word “Life” over their shoulders. To help you remember, I found this link  http://othersideofmusic.blogspot.com/2009/09/otis-skillings-life.html that features a few songs from the musical.

The song “It’s Contagious” is not there, but think back to these words I remember. ”It’s contagious/ Makes you want to get involved. It’s contagious/ You want to get involved.” One of the greatest strengths of the One Way Singer experience was that it did involve so many people through so many years. After 20 years as a minister’s wife, I can tell you that at that time, no church growth expert would have looked at the Hebron community and predicted that it could have had the youth ministry that grew there in the seventies and eighties. The fact this was begun by a volunteer leader in a rural community is a testimony to the mighty power of God to work in His time and in a place where He chooses. As the song says, the gospel is contagious, and Mr. Robin knew how to get people involved.  No one sat on the sidelines. Whatever we did, everybody did. One thing that sticks out in my memory is how everybody sang and almost everyone had a solo at some point. We had some really great voices in our midst and those abilities were recognized, but Mr. Robin handed out solos to pretty much everyone who rehearsed and vocal ability was not always the criteria. The musicals were about more than the music and Mr. Robin clearly understood that. He knew that when people are involved they keep coming; you felt needed. We were structured to take responsibility for different jobs from organizing the music to cooking meals on the retreats.Everyone did something. You used what talent you had, and some people discovered that they were truly gifted in ways they never knew.

The choir had all kinds of people. It was not just a club for the “church kids.” Those with different faith backgrounds or no background at all were welcomed and they came and got involved. And the church grew and grew…It’s contagious!

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