Monday, December 23, 2013

Romans. .Week 4. .Assignment

Well. .you made it. .our last week in the book of Romans. .
It looked like everyone took some different marching orders from Scripture this past week. .
I hope that you are keeping some of these meaningful scriptures handy somewhere so that you can go back to them in about February. .
and see if you have made progress. .
I appreciated seeing the ones that affected you this week. .a few things. . 

One of the ladies shared her insight from extra study during this week of bible study. .
I thought that her words were stated quite accurately. .
and easily summed up the points that have also become more clear to me through the book of Romans. .
Predestination and Election have been something that has been very muddy to me over the last year (because, frankly, before that. .I had NEVER heard of such concepts!)
 I’ve heard them in multiple different sermon series by multiple different teachers. .
Most have stated it as she did. .
And in Chapter 9, when Paul reminds them that they/we don’t have the right to question WHY God does/allows things. .
and then in chapter 11 tells us that God is sooooo high above human thoughts. .
that we can never totally understand his decisions and methods!! 
I wanted to copy her comments on to you because they were really good! 

*God's choices are aligned with His character, not ours!!

*God's choices are aligned with His divinely chosen plan.

*It is God in us that leads us to our salvation...we don't lead ourselves to our own salvation

*The responsibility to believe is ours...the ability is from Him.

*The sinner has to be willing to respond to the call!!  

*It's GOD'S job to job is obedience. 

I had done a little word study myself a few weeks ago on the word CALLED. .
which I noted to be used in 1:6; 1:7; 8:29-30; 9:11; and 11:29. . 

to the Holman bible dictionary (from the Holman Christian Standard version of the bible) for the definition the word Call/Calling. .and how it references throughout the bible. .
Interestingly. .
within the definition and their showing of the 5 ways the word is used in Scripture. .
verses from all 3 of the books that we have studied this fall. .are listed. .
a good reason to read through the short article. Meet me at the end of the article for your work for the week in our study. . 

Call, Calling
Invitation, summons, commission, or naming.

Old Testament Five main uses of call appear in the Old Testament. First, “to call” means “to invite or summon.” For example, God called to Adam (Genesis 3:9 ); Moses called the elders together (Exodus 19:7 ); and Joel gave a command to call a solemn assembly (Joel 1:14 ).

Second, the verb can have the sense of “calling on God,” hence, to pray. We first meet this expression in Genesis 4:26 : “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (See also Psalm 79:6 ; Psalm 105:1 ; Isaiah 64:7 ; Jeremiah 10:25 ; Zephaniah 3:9).

Third, “to call” is used very often in the sense of naming, whether of things (Genesis 1:5-30 ; day, night, heaven, earth; Genesis 2:19 , the animals), or of persons (Genesis 25:26 , Jacob; Genesis 30:6-24 , Jacob's sons), of a city (2 Samuel 5:9 , the city of David), or of qualities (in Isaiah 35:8 a way and in Exodus 12:16 a day are called holy).

Fourth, God calls by name with a view to service. The call of Moses (Exodus 3:4-22 ) and the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1 ) are good examples.

Fifth, “to call” may be used in the sense of “to call one's own,” to claim for one's own possession and to appoint for a particular destiny. Especially noticeable is Isaiah 43:1 , when the Lord addressed Israel: “I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” This calling of Israel stands closely related to its election (Isaiah 45:4 ). It thus points to the covenant relation in which Israel is called to salvation, is given its name, and has the function of God's witness.

New Testament All the senses found in the Old Testament appear again in the New Testament. The meaning “invite/summon” is encountered principally in the parables of the great banquet (Luke 14:16-25 ) and the marriage feast (Matthew 22:2-10 ). Calling in the sense of naming has special importance in the infancy narratives (Matthew 1:21 ; Luke 1:60 ; Luke 2:21 ). Calling on the name of the Lord is found in a quotation from Joel in both Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 . The choosing of the apostles can be expressed in terms of calling (Mark 1:20 ). Finally, Christ's people are those whom He has called and who are rightly called by His name (Romans 8:28 ; Galatians 1:6 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:12 ; 1 Peter 1:15 ).

The New Testament refers to the Christian life as a calling (Ephesians 1:18 ; Ephesians 4:1 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Hebrews 3:1 ; 2 Peter 1:10 ). The basic call is to Christ as Lord and Savior; thus, all Christians are “called ones.” It is employed in a comprehensive way to depict what has happened to those who through the Father's love are now called children of God (1 John 3:1 ). However, there are further callings to special ministries (Acts 13:2 ).

The noun “calling” takes on great significance in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. First, there is the goal of calling. We are called to salvation, holiness, and faith (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 ), to the kingdom and glory of God (1 Thessalonians 2:12 ), to an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15 ), to fellowship (1 Corinthians 1:9 ), and to service (Galatians 1:1 ).

The means of calling is clearly stated as being through grace (Galatians 1:6 ) and through the hearing of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14 ).

The ground of calling is specifically established in 2 Timothy 1:9 . The starting point for the divine calling is not works but the purpose and grace of God in Christ Jesus.

The nature of God's calling is described as an upward (Philippians 3:14 ), heavenly (Hebrews 3:1 ), holy (2 Timothy 1:9 ) calling. It is filled with hope (Ephesians 1:18 , Ephesians 4:4 ). Christians are urged to lead lives that are worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:11 ). Also, they are urged to make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10 ). Finally, the “called, and chosen, and faithful” are with the Lamb (Revelation 17:14 ) indicating that those whom God called (saved) He glorified (Romans 8:30 ). The stress is on the initiative of God. The one who experiences God's calling can only break forth in praise with Paul: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33 ).
So. .We have learned a LOT of stuff over the last 3 months. .
We’ve gotten used to reading the scriptures on a REGULAR basis. .
We’ve learned how to search out who God tells us He is through the qualities lined out in the text. .
We’ve learned how to take the Scriptures and apply them to our life. .
We’ve also (hopefully) started looking at things within ourselves. .
that need to be changed to align our hearts. .
with the heart of God. .Am I right in all of this??
Next month. .
our final month of the 4 month study you committed to. .
we will be in the book of James. .
who promotes the concept that we are to be workers. .doing what God says. .
living how God wants us to live.
One of our email study ladies. .
 shared that she has been making changes in the way that functions in her job. .
based on what she has learned in our study. .
AWESOME. .and to GOD be the glory for the changes that she is witnessing.
 I had actually taken a little break to go wrap a couple of gifts for some birthday kids around here. .
with the intent of touching base with God about the direction of the work for this week. .
I smiled when I got back to the computer and read what she  had written. .
because God was impressing on me that this week should be a week for reflection. .
sharing. .and accountability.

This is a busy week. .BUT. .
it is also a week where, though our time will be busy. .cleaning for celebrations, cooking for celebrations, napping after celebrations J
and a lot of travel time for some. .
but a week that we may have some extra time for reflection. .
cause really. .how many of us will clean, pack, prepare food after busy kid hours. .
with someone around the whole time?? If you have travel time. .
set yourself a time limit from the noise in the car. .
let them know how much time you are out for. .
put in some headphones, look out the window and reflect. If you want to make a list of some suggestions to use in your reflection, please do. .
I will offer some suggestions as well. .
Sometime AFTER you have spent some DEDICATED time in thought and prayer. .
please answer in a response to all. .
we have already hit on judging a LOT. .
so I will bet there will be none. .
we have all established that none of us are perfect, have the perfect life, do the right thing always, or have the perfect relationship with Christ. .so we want reality answers. .
We want to take a look back and see where we were on September 30 2013. .
and where we are now. .
It will be important for you to answer each question. .not so that I can be nosy. .
but more, so that you can be responsible to evaluate and know where you are headed. .
this is the week that we will put our money where our mouth is in regard to all the things that we said were touching our hearts from the Scripture, and all the areas of change that we noted we needed in our life. .
1.)    Where was I in my relationship with God in August 2013??

2.)    What did I really want out of this bible study? (specific)

3.)    Have I benefitted from studying God’s word?  If so, how. .if not, why?

4.)    What type of things have I changed in my life based on my walk through this bible study?

5.)    Has my big-picture view of God changed. .or been enhanced in any way (hint, in what way have you changed how you VIEW God based on who you have found Him to be in our week 2 assignments each month)

6.)    Are you finding yourself “Uncomfortable” in certain situations now or around certain people or when you say or act in a way that is not really glorifying God? If you are willing to share an example, I think that each lady will appreciate the support and insight from the “human-ness” that each of us possess.
So. .
it might even be helpful to take each question one at a time each day and just consider it. .
making taking a moment each day to answer the questions in a word document of your own to share at the end of the week instead of making one big post.
I know, I know. .but if I didn’t think this would be both insightful for you and beneficial for your growth and walk with God. .
I wouldn’t be asking you to do it. .the answering for all of us to see. .
is to remind us that we are human. .
and to be an encouragement to each other as we see how we are all growing and changing. .
and that requires a degree of transparency. . 

FINALLY. .this will likely be difficult for some of us. .
but the thing that has been weighing on my mind heavily all evening. .
is this final aspect of the week. .
I urge you NOT to skip over this part of the assignment to avoid the possible and probable uncomfortable nature of the communication (in a way that probably NONE of us are used to!) 

Choose someone that you spend a LOT Of time with. .
maybe a girlfriend. .
maybe a spouse. .
maybe one of your kids. .
or each of your kids. .
and ASK them. .
if they see progress or changes in you since August. . 

Yes, yes. .I know. .
they can’t see the changes that are being made in our hearts. .agreed!!
BUT. .one of our goals each month, has been to locate some areas of our life that need to align better with God’s words. .
so that we will be “DOERS of the word and not just studiers and HEARERS of the word and WISHERS that we could carry out the words. . 

That being said. .Just remind them. .
that you are involved in this bible study. .
and that you are wondering if they are able to see any progress in your personality, attitude, understanding, compassion. .whatever!!
 If they don’t automatically notice any changes, don’t feel hurt. .
they may have just not realized it or thought about it. .
you might tell them what you have been led to work on. .
give them some time to consider it and have them get back to you. .
so you won’t want to wait until Sunday afternoon to find someone to ask. .
Our desire is. .or should be. .
that EVERYONE should be able to see the light of Jesus shining THROUGH our lives. .
our actions, our words, our attitudes. .Right??
So. .the person that you ask to assess you. .
need not be someone who knows WHAT a Christian woman should look like. .
they should just notice something DIFFERENT than how you were before. .

they should just be able to say. .
well, I’ve noticed this now that you mention it. .
or no. .NO, I haven’t noticed any difference in you at all except that you spend every night in your bed reading the bible now (which, in and of itself. .is a change!!)
At that point. .you might let them know what you would like to see changed within you. .
so they can give you feedback too!
Enjoy the last FULL week of 2013!!

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