October 12th-18th, 2014

Prayer of the Week:  

Lord, we pray that Your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Daily Scripture Focus:

Sunday—Psalm 96:7-13, Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

Monday—Psalm 97:1, Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Tuesday—Psalm 97:2, Ecclesiastes 5:8-17

Wednesday—Psalm 97:3, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Thursday—Psalm 97:4, Ecclesiastes 6:1-6

Friday— Psalm 97:5-6, Ecclesiastes 6:7-12

Saturday—Psalm 97:1-6, Ecclesiastes 5:8-15

Prayer List:  Jeannine Hope * Delferd Sloan, Larry and Jesse Grossman, Sue Kennington * Michelle Raglin, Sav-aLot crew, Lionel Moore, Ginger Gassaway, Myah Brown, Chavody Collins * Carl Rider, Faye Doyle, Dexter Jackson, Paul Raglin * Wanda Palmer, Larry Lumm, Jasper Gunter, Allene Gunter, family of JB Styles, Junelle Sims

October 5th, 2014

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Ecclesiastes 1:2-14

Today’s Scripture Focus:  Ecclesiastes 1:2-14

                 Today we begin our annual six week study in the Wisdom section of scripture.  This section of the Bible includes the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.  Wisdom literature is different from other sections of the Old Testament, in that it is meant to teach general observations and truths, rather than theology, history, or covenant. Most of the Old Testament is built around telling the story of God’s agreement with Israel, how God blessed them when they kept that agreement, and how they suffered when they broke it.  Wisdom literature, however, often uses poetry to explore questions that arise if it seems God is silent or absent.

This year we will focus on Ecclesiastes.  The name of the book means “gatherer”, and is one of the earliest forms of the word “teacher” or “preacher”.  This is how the author identifies himself in the first verse.  Traditionally, Ecclesiastes has been attributed to Solomon, though the work itself is anonymous.  The reason the church has generally given Solomon credit for writing Ecclesiastes is because the author is identified as a son of David, a king, as someone known for his great wisdom, and as someone who accumulated great wealth.  We will assume for our study that the book was at the very least written in the spirit of Solomon.

The main theme of Ecclesiastes is given in the second verse—”Vanity of vanities!”  This is a difficult phrase to translate.  The NIV captures the idea with the word “meaningless”, but “vanity” goes beyond that.  It is a form of the word “vapor”.   The Teacher wants his audience to know that everything “under the sun” is as fleeting as a wisp of smoke.  Anytime the Bible describes something as “_____ of _____’, it means it is the greatest or largest (ie.  Song of songs, king of kings, etc.)  So in other words, the “vanity of vanities” is the greatest puff of smoke imaginable!  What is this huge vanity?  Life itself.

“What is the meaning of life?  How can I be happy?”  These are questions that have been around since long before Solomon.  Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of someone who has spent years pursuing wisdom and wealth.  We will discover a timely message as we journey through these scriptures together—one that is possibly more needed in our day than in the days of Solomon.  The pursuit of wealth and pleasure does not result in happiness.  Work and study do not always lead to happiness.  The truth is, there is no happiness guarantee in this life.  Instead, each moment has value in and of itself as an opportunity to please God.

  • Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
  • Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
  • Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.

A recent poll showed most Americans are less happy than they were ten years ago.  Why do you think this is?  What would it take for people to be happier today? 

 

Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?

 

What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?

 

October 5th-October 11th, 2014

Prayer of the Week:  

Almighty and everlasting God, You are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily Scripture Focus:

Sunday—Psalm 96:1-6, Ecclesiastes 1:2-14

Monday—Psalm 96:7, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Tuesday—Psalm 96:8, Ecclesiastes 3:9-17

Wednesday—Psalm 96:9, Ecclesiastes 3:18-22

Thursday—Psalm 96:10-11, Ecclesiastes 4:1-12

Friday— Psalm 96:12-13, Ecclesiastes 4:13-16

Saturday—Psalm 96:1-6, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Prayer List:  Wanda Palmer, family of Janie Ramsey, Jacque Young, family of Garlin Ward, Larry Lumm * Jeannine Hope * Delferd Sloan, Larry and Jesse Grossman, Sue Kennington * Michelle Raglin, Sav-aLot crew, Lionel Moore, Ginger Gassaway, Myah Brown, Chavody Collins * Carl Rider, Faye Doyle, Dexter Jackson, Paul Raglin

 

September 28th, 2014

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2 Kings 23:1-3

Today’s Scripture Focus:  2 Kings 23:1-3

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                  We have been studying the lives of various kings who ruled during the declining years of Israel and Judah.  Last week, we learned how the righteous ruler Hezekiah turned the nation of Judah back to God.  Sadly, he failed to disciple his son, Manasseh, the longest serving king.  He sat on the throne for 51 years. Unfortunately, he was also Judah’s most wicked king.  He built shrines to Baal and Ashtoreth right in the Temple, filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, consulted magicians and mediums, and even sacrificed his own child to the god Molech by burning him alive.  The wickedness of Manasseh eradicated any good done during his father’s reign.

When Manasseh finally died, his son ruled only two years before being assassinated.  This made Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, king of Judah at the age of 8.  Unlike his grandfather, Josiah was interested in serving God.  But after 53 years of idolatry, God’s law had been forgotten.  Josiah started by having the Temple repaired, much like his ancestor King Joash.  During the repair of the Temple, a scroll containing the Law (probably Deuteronomy) was discovered.  The High Priest had it sent to King Josiah, who had it read in his presence.  Upon hearing God’s law, the king ripped his clothing in grief.  He knew just how far the nation was from God.

Josiah turned to God, inquiring how to proceed.  One of the Temple officials was married to a prophetess.  She confirmed that God was indeed going to destroy Judah as Israel had been destroyed, but because of Josiah’s heart, it would not happen under his reign.  Josiah assembled all Judah at the Temple, read the rediscovered Law, and had the people commit to follow it.  Then, he removed and destroyed every vestige of pagan worship in the Temple, in Jerusalem, in Judah, and even in the now desolate former kingdom of Israel in the north.  Josiah even outdid David by reinstituting Passover, which hadn’t been celebrated since the days of the judges!

Though Josiah knew Judah’s fate was sealed, he sought to do all the good he could while he could.  It wasn’t enough for him to remove the bad from the kingdom, he chose to replace it with the good (celebration of the Lord’s feasts).  Because of Josiah’s leadership, Judah was able to experience one last great revival just a few years before its capture by Babylon.  Like Josiah, we know today that eventually things aren’t going to end well for our planet.  We can choose to shrug our shoulders and give up, knowing the world is getting worse, or we can choose to do all the good we can while we can.  The life of Josiah shows us the better choice.

  • Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
  • Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
  • Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.

 

In following Christ, it’s not enough to just stop doing bad things.  We have to start doing good things!  What are some good practices you would recommend someone try who is trying to quit bad, destructive habits? 

 

Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?

 

What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?

September 28th – October 4th, 214

Prayer of the Week:  

O God, You declare Your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of Your grace, that we,
running to obtain Your promises, may become partakers of Your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily Scripture Focus:

Sunday—Psalm 95:6-11, 2 Kings 23:1-3

Monday—Psalm 96:1, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Tuesday—Psalm 96:2, Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

Wednesday—Psalm 96:3, Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Thursday—Psalm 96:4, Ecclesiastes 2:12-16

Friday— Psalm 96:5-6, Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

Saturday—Psalm 96:1-6, Ecclesiastes 1:2-14

Prayer List:  Carl Rider, Faye Doyle, Raglin family, Collins family, Dexter Jackson * Wanda Palmer, family of Janie Ramsey, Jacque Young, family of Garlin Ward, Larry Lumm * Jeannine Hope * Delferd Sloan, Larry and Jesse Grossman, Sue Kennington * Michelle Raglin, Sav-aLot crew, Lionel Moore, Ginger Gassaway, Myah Brown, Chavody Collins

September 21st, 2014

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2 Kings 20:12-21

Today’s Scripture Focus:  2 Kings 20:12-21

                 King Hezekiah is the subject of our scripture focus today.  This king of Judah, a descendent of David and Solomon, has been described as a “second Solomon”.  During his nearly thirty year rule, he restored some of the former glory to Jerusalem through several public works projects.  It was said of Hezekiah in chapter 18:5 that he “trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel.  There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  That’s a pretty impressive memorial!  What set Hezekiah apart?  He removed all the “high places” in the country—the unsanctioned worship sites that had become shrines to idols.

Twice in Hezekiah’s life he was faced with impossible situations and turned to God for deliverance.  When threatened with destruction from Assyria, he went to the Temple and prayed.  God answered by bringing death to the Assyrian army.  Then In his late 30s, Hezekiah was stricken with a terrible illness.  Hezekiah cried out to God, and while he was still praying, the prophet Isaiah gave Hezekiah the Lord’s response:  he would live another 15 years.  Isaiah 38 recounts this same event and adds these words from Hezekiah— “Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too.  You restored me to health and let me live.”  (Isa. 38:16)

Upon hearing of Hezekiah’s illness and recovery, the king of Babylon sent envoys to visit him.  Babylon was small in those days, and subject to the mighty Assyrian empire.  Most likely, the Babylonian king was looking to form an alliance with Judah and make a stand against Assyria.  Hezekiah, wanting to ensure Babylon of his strength, showed off all of the kingdom’s holdings, treasures, and weapons.  It never occurred to Hezekiah that Babylon itself might one day become powerful and use this information against Judah.  The prophet Isaiah pointed out to Hezekiah that is exactly what would one day happen.

Hezekiah’s reaction to Isaiah’s words was short sighted.  He was unconcerned about what would happen after he died, as long as there was peace during his lifetime.  There are three lessons we can learn from the life of Hezekiah—1)  when faced with impossible situations, pray.  2)  Don’t tell everything you know.  3)  Most importantly, our accomplishments in this life count for very little if we fail to care for those who come after us.  Hezekiah was a righteous king, but because he didn’t see the need to think about what would happen after he died, the righteousness of the kingdom died with him.

  • Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
  • Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
  • Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.

What, if anything, are some things we can do to make sure Denison Church of the Nazarene is still proclaiming the message after we have all gone on?

 

Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?

 

What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?

 

September 21st-27th, 2014

Prayer of the Week:  

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Daily Scripture Focus:

Sunday—Psalm 95:1-5, 2 Kings 20:12-21

Monday—Psalm 95:6, 2 Kings 22

Tuesday—Psalm 95:7, 2 Kings 23:1-20

Wednesday—Psalm 95:8, 2 Kings 23:21-27

Thursday—Psalm 95:9, 2 Kings 24

Friday— Psalm 95:10-11, 2 Kings 25

Saturday—Psalm 95:6-11, 2 Kings 23:1-3

Prayer List:  Michelle Raglin, Polly Staley, Marcus Davis, Barnum Briscoe Family, Jane Pennington, James Haynie * Carl Rider, Faye Doyle, Raglin family, Collins family, Dexter Jackson * Wanda Palmer, family of Janie Ramsey, Jacque Young, family of Garlin Ward, Larry Lumm * Jeannine Hope * Delferd Sloan, Larry and Jesse Grossman, Sue Kennington