Luke 3-4 B

I love all these example of the way Jesus has power over everything.

He has power over Satan’s lies and temptations. (4:4)

He has power over the demons. (4:35)

He has power over illness and our humanity. (4:39)

Where are you underestimating Jesus’ power in your life? What do you need to tap in to so that he can get in there and heal and restore you?

-Carly

Luke 1-2 B

Doesn’t this bring you right in to the Christmas spirit? These chapters are long, familiar, and I’d really love to hear what you all are discovering, noticing, etc this year as you revisit the Nativity.

Check out last times post and let us know what stands out to you as you jump from Amos to Luke.

How did everyone respond to the LORD speaking again via Gabriel? What do you notice in the Magnificat?

-Bethany

Amos 8-9 B

“Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample the needy! You can’t wait for the sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals.” 8:4-6

I don’t know how we miss this. God really, really abhors greed, cruelty and when we act like we don’t need him (neglecting the Sabbath).

I struggle to recognize when we don’t miss the mark. I have such antennae’s for the churches that fail, the leaders that get it wrong and the systems that are corrupt. I’d like to get better at being quick to see the good, godly people who are lighting up the dark.

I struggled to get a lot out of these chapters, but I really liked how Bethany brought it back to the gospel.

-Carly

Amos 6-7 B

Here’s Carly’s from last time. I appreciate how she underlined the wealth and injustice disparity in chapter six, which has been a relatable problem throughout history.

Now in chapter seven, Amos brings some heavy doom and gloom to these fat cats, and it’s not because he pursued a career in “ministry”.

“Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’” (7:14-15‬)

Amos was just a regular, hard working farmer and shepherd, who obeyed the LORD when He gave him a message.

Sometimes we excuse ourselves from doing the hard thing, or saying the hard thing, because “it’s not our job”. But who is the hander-outer of jobs… truly? No matter how you identify yourself, based on American labels of occupation, the LORD might give you something to do or say.

Amos didn’t chase after status. In fact, shepherds were considered beneath common society. The man’s just watching animals and growing fruit trees. But the LORD would have his words carry through millennia to our ears, because he was obedient when the LORD said Go prophesy.

It’s all about obedience, and what kind of obedience is the LORD fussing over in this book? Justice and righteousness. Specifically, treating the lowly with equal respect.

I think these days with the massive amount of news that comes at us from all over the world, it can be overwhelming and difficult to have true empathy. It’s easy to disassociate from the suffering of others, and difficult to imagine the horrific realities befalling millions of people worldwide as if it was happening to you or a loved one.

Even within the United States, after a mass shooting, many are quoted as saying, “I never thought it could happen here.” It’s always there, detached. It hits closer to home when you know a victim or the place being shot up was somewhere you’ve been.

Righteousness has much to do with treating others with the honor, respect and justice you’d hope you or a loved one would receive.

We don’t have the capacity to truly care about everything, but we can ask the LORD to helps us care more for the people He allows us to reach. We can all do it. Don’t leave it to the prophets.

-Bethany

Amos 4-5 B

It really made me laugh to read this:

“Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, ‘Bring us another drink!’ “ 4:1

It’s not really funny, and instead should really be quite the wake up call. God despises gluttony, apathy and neglect of the vulnerable. He also severely rectifies it in ways he sees fit. Chapter 4 goes on and on, giving examples of how the Lord pursued his people, or punished them, and they didn’t repent and return to him.

“For the Lord is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the heights of the earth. The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies is his name!”

When I read this, I think, how can we not come running back to him?! There is no one better.

 

-Carly

 

Amos 2-3 B

After pronouncing judgement on their neighbors, the LORD zeroes in on His beef with Judah, and finally, Israel.

“Thus says the LORD, “For three transgressions of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they rejected the law of the LORD And have not kept His statutes; Their lies also have led them astray, Those after which their fathers walked.” (2:4)

Judah abandoned truth, a truth meant to make them a light for the nations as they bore witness to the One True God.

‭“Thus says the LORD, “For three transgressions of Israel and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for money And the needy for a pair of sandals.” (2:6)

Israel turned each other into slaves. This is not what the LORD brought them out of Egypt for. He didn’t free them just to watch them re-enslave themselves. He didn’t displace evil peoples just for His own to surpass the evil themselves.

Things are going very wrong. The purpose of their freedom and His promised blessing are grossly missed.

Which begs the question, what do we do with our freedom and His blessing?

The men of Israel were using their freedom to subjugate and assert power over others. How can we use our freedom to build each other up? How can we lay down our own lives for the sake of others?

The men of Judah were not only ignoring the blessing of knowing God’s Laws, but they were disobedient; exchanging those truths for lies. How do we steward our knowledge of God? How much authority do we give His Law?

What transgressions could the LORD find in you?

-Bethany