Monday, October 31, 2011

The Day of the Lord

Daniel is one of our best examples of Biblical Apocryphal literature.  Bored already?

So, the Ancient Jews believed in a "Day of the Lord".  A day when God would come in judgement--striking His foes down and saving His people.  Daniel shows visions of such a day.  As you read, remember this context.  Also remember we are reading a TINY piece of a much larger book.

Remember, this would be the stuff that was half belief and half legend.  Something told by campfires and talked about in hushed whispers in the exile.  

Read Daniel 7:9-14 several times.  Then read the entire chapter.

1) How does the small selection point to Jesus.  
2) If you were an Ancient Jew, what kind of Messiah would you be looking for?
3) How does reading the larger selection change your mind or views?
4) What part of the reading stuck out to you?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!


Jeremiah 23, revisited

So, for a moment of honesty.

Its hard to write this second post when no one comments.  I try to write them off of what you say, and when you don't comment, its hard. So, between Trunk or Treat and other things, I didn't get to this last week.


But, back to the study--we have some new folks following along, and I am excited for them to join us!

What were your thoughts on Jeremiah 23?  Like Becky, I saw only one verse that spoke to Jesus specifically.  And yes, Jesus was from the line of David, but this passage seemed to point more to a military king and presence than to the Jesus I know.

To me, this is the clearest example of a prophesy that meant something to the Ancient Jews that seems to point less to Jesus.

What do you think?


Monday, October 24, 2011

Jeremiah 23

Please Read Jeremiah 23 this week! 

Lets see what God is saying to us!

1) What would you think the ancient Jews would have thought about this prophesy?
2) What do you see that points to Jesus?
3) What is speaking to you out of this?

Pastor Emily

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our God suffers.....

My Dad loves to ask the question, "Which holiday is more important--Easter or Christmas?"  Now, its not about the Bunny vs. Santa.  Its a question, of which of God's acts touches you more--the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross followed by the saving miracle of resurrection or the Incarnation--God being with us in flesh.

I love that question, and my answer always surprises people.  To me, the part of Christianity that boggles my mind is that God CHOSE to come and be with us.  To walk with us.  To be a part of this broken world.  In my logic (as flawed as it is), without Christmas--without Christ being PART of our world, there would be no Easter.  To me, there must have been as much pain in the stable that night--in Christ being "separated" from God--in Jesus coming to be born in a stable--than there was on the cross.  Maybe its just my poetic license.  I don't know.

But as I read Isaiah 53, I see Jesus.  I see Jesus like me.  When I hurt--when someone hurts my feelings, when I am sick, when I have tough choices to make, I turn here. 

Surely he has bourne our infirmities and carried our diseases, yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

When I don't feel good enough, when I feel like everyone else is prettier, more eloquent, smarter, richer, I turn here.  

v. 2b
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; as one from form others hide their faces.  He was despised, and we held him of no account.

And when I suffer, I remember he suffered first.  Yet he did not open his mouth.  When I think there is no hope and all is dark, I remember that out of his anguish he shall see light.  And when I wonder if all my sacrifices are worth anything in the end, I remember that therefore I will allot him a portion with the great and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out himself to death and was numbered with the transgressors.

I love this picture of a God who loves me enough to suffer.  A God who suffers with me, for me, and in spite of me.  Who suffers because I suffer and who suffers from my hand.  This is the picture of God's strength and love that is bigger than I can ever imagine.  I am so thankful.  So thankful.


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Suffering Servant!

I am sure I say this a lot (well, I know I do!), but Isaiah 53 is one of my favorite pieces of scripture.  This is odd, because it is kind of violent.  It is not a pretty picture.  But it speaks so much to my vision of God.  And of love.  Please read Isiaah 52:13-Isaiah 53:12 carefully.  Several times.  I'm not going to give a specific details, just read it.  To yourself.  Aloud.  To someone else.  Pray about it.  Pray the scripture.  Do what you need to do to inhale this passage and let it speak to you.

Then think about these questions:

1) What would thie passage mean to a Jew in Exile? 
2) What points to Jesus?
3) What does this passage mean to you today?
4) What does this passage say about God?

The questions are simple, I look forward to hearing your responses!


Pastor Emily

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Christmas is coming!

I can’t read this passage without thinking of Christmas.  It almost smells of Silent Night and Candles and candy canes and evergreen trees.  Doesn’t it?  We can almost recite the passage together:

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

The gospels tell us that Jesus came from David.  The Jews believed that too.

This next part is beautifully poetic,

The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

But I’m not sure that it fits with my theology.  Jesus WAS God, it wasn’t that the Spirit of God RESTED on him.  But as I read and pray more over these words, I realize a few things.  First of all, the Spirit of the Lord did rest in a human body.  The spirit of wisdom, understanding, power, might, and knowledge did come into human form.  Through Mary!  So, yes, this points to Jesus too! 

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

YES!  I bet to ancient ears, this rang true.  They were the poor, they were the meek!  They were in exile.  They wanted a savior to raise them up.

But to my ears, I think of Matthew 5.  The poor will no longer be the lowest class—but the exalted.  That’s the promise of Christ.  The poor will be rich.  The meek will be raised up!  How are we helping that promise of Christ?  Even more—are we like the ancient Jews assuming that we are the poor?  Or are we looking for the poor to love?

he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

This seemed to point to a righteous warrior.  But, Jesus kills the wicked in different ways—Jesus kills the wicked INSIDE of us.  He vanquishes the demons!  And he was righteous and faithful!  He IS righteous and faithful!  He will always be righteous and faithful!

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Then comes the section of backwardness.  The backwardness of God—That the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the baby goat, the calf and the lion, the child leading.  See, Jesus triumphed through suffering and death.  Jesus was made to lie down with the enemy.  But, he was not a young child to lead them…So, although I see the pointing to Jesus, I also see parts that aren’t exactly in line.

Then, skipping to the next session, comes:

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

The entire last section points to the warrior.  To the messiah conquering enemies.  To the lands of Judah and Ephraim working together.  To Israel being back in power and the enemies in the dust.

I can work to make this make sense and point to Jesus, but I’m not sure I’m convinced the argument is a good or fair one.  Jesus will conquer all enemies, but not the way this last section seems to indicate.

This section came at the right time for the weather to get crisper didn’t it?  It just makes me start to think of all the great festivities that are coming!

Pastor Emily 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Isaiah 11!!!

More of Isaiah's prophesy to Ahaz!  This is another section we know well!

Read this one with the ears again of the Jews that heard this from Isaiah.  What a hard challenge!  We read these each year at Christmas!  We KNOW that they point to Jesus.  But, try--try to forget those things, and imagine yourself as a Jew, in exile in Babylon.

1) Read the chapter twice.
2) Pray and walk away from it.
3) Read it again and answer the questions.

1) What points to Jesus?
2) What doesn't point to Jesus?
3)  If you were a Jew in exile--what would your Messiah look like?
4) What hit you powerfully in this passage?
5) So, what is the point of this?  What have you learned examining these passages?

Love and Blessings!
Pastor Emily

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Today's wrap up is a little more scattered--please forgive the scattered state of my brain tonight!

I really enjoyed this reading more than I'd anticipated!  You'll have to bear with me--I wasn't stoked about reading more Isaiah. I can't believe that I read that passage 4 times and still missed the reference in verse 1 to the Jordan!  Thanks Lindsay!

I can absolutely see how this points to Jesus--but I still can't imagine that I'd ever have connected the dots in the time and place!  Maybe that's part of the point.  One of my favorite verses is in John when Jesus reminds us that the Holy Spirit will come and reveal more to us!  Its amazing how God puts all the pieces together!

When was the last time God put the pieces in your life together?  When you thought the world was lost--but instead God showed you that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I think this passage can speak to people in those places.  The people who have been waiting for a sign, they have been walking in darkness, but there was hope!

So, next time things seem to be out of place--return to this passage.  And remind yourself that God can make good out of anything!  Exile, famine, sin!  Remind yourself, there is always light.  Remind yourself there is always good!  Remind yourself that there is always more to the story.

God, thank you that you are so many things.  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.  Thank you for making a way when we don't see one.  Thank you for the beauty in our lives.  Thank you for understanding our messes.  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.


Pastor Emily

Monday, October 3, 2011

Names of God

This week, we will continue with Isaiah's prophecy.  This section continues in Isaiah's prophesy to King Ahaz.  So, its a continuation from last week.

Remember, Isaiah is telling Ahaz about the exile that is coming!  The selection we skipped was talking about how terrible the invasion would be!  Think about that as you start this section.

This week's assigment:

1) Pray for enlightenment and wisdom!
2) Read Isaiah 9:1-7 twice.
3) Put it down for a while!
4) Read it again, and then answer the questions below!

a) If you were Jew during the exile or during Roman occupation, what would you expect the Messiah to be like?
b) Which parts do you think point to Christ as the Messiah?
c) Why would Isaiah use the words government in verses 6 and 7, if he wasn't pointing to an earthly ruler?
d) What struck  you in these passages?

Pastor Emily