Tis a season for everything under heaven,
and Advent and Christmas are lovely,
but the decorations are looking a little sad,
the sweets have made me a bit sluggish,
the money spent a little too freely,
and all the festivities may have crowded out time with Him.
So it is time to turn.
January is the season of new beginnings,
the season of quiet,
where we can renew (or establish) the habit
of drawing near to the One who makes all things new.
They say it takes 21 days to establish a habit.
Let’s meet together, daily, and see how God indeed, will renew us.
If you are new, just click on the “blog” at the top, and then on the
“Getting Started” door and follow the easy directions.
We have a wonderful group of women here who will enrich you.
And we so heartily welcome fresh faces.
There is room at the table for you!
We have been doing a study on “The Jesus Who Surprises,”
finding Him in the Old Testament and in every corner of our lives.
For the next six weeks we will find Him in the psalms.
The psalms not only help us spend time with Him,
but also help us renew our prayer life.
And how exciting it will be to discover Jesus or His gospel in these psalms.
We have a God who is as near as our very breath, but because He is Spirit, we may forget He is here with us. But the psalmist says, “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.”(Psalm 125:2) I often thought of Psalm 125:2 when we lived in Seattle, where mountains practically surround the city. The Olympic mountains line the Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier, in all her glory, looms over the city from the south. Most of the time, however, you can’t see any of them! Whenever my parents visited my dad teased me that there were no mountains, that it was just a grand publicity stunt to lure tourists, for this is how the Seattle skyline often looks, and did every time my parents visited!
But oh, hidden behind those clouds was beauty. Sometimes the sky would be the bluest blue, and you’d look out, and there she was — a mountain so big she looked unreal — taking your breath away. She was there all the time, just hidden from sight.
God is like that. He is the God who surprises. Those who were with us during our study of The Song of Songs learned He is like a deer who hides, but then leaps out and takes our breath away. I caught this picture of a stag leaping onto my snowy deck. Indeed, he took my breath away.
This week we will get our bearings, thought it will be a review for old-timers. Many who have been with us for a while have become wonderful encouragers and mentors to those who are new. Come every day, to get off on the right foot for 2018. If you miss a day, don’t quit, just get right back on. The Christian walk is not a sprint, but a long obedience in the same direction. But, as we will see from Hebrews, there is value in conscientiously endeavoring to establish a habit — so let’s make a goal of getting 21 days straight without a missI I will post a new study each Sunday. We will do this study until Lent begins in mid February. Come and stay with us for six weeks and then evaluate if you want to join us for Lent. We’ve become family here, and there is always room for another at the table!
A few hints for beginners: Give us your first name, and then another name, but not your last, to protect your identity such as Laura Dancer and Sue Seeker have done. I suggest you do not check the box to get replies, as too many e-mails will fill your box. There are directions so you can show us a picture of yourself, which helps us to know you. We are so glad to have you! We have found it is possible to experience God in a place like this!
Sunday, New Year’s Eve
1. What stood out to you from the above?
2. To help us get to know you, what was one way you sensed the presence of God this last Advent or Christmas and why?
3. Write a prayer right here, asking God to help you get off on the right foot in 2018. We can read it and pray it for you as well.
4. If you have been here before, how can you encourage your new sisters to not just start, but stay the course?
Monday, New Year’s Day, 2018
I love the Christmas season, but despite my best intentions, usually have too many sweets, especially at the end, and I did it again. I am taking the warning of Hebrews seriously
5. What does Hebrews 12:12-13 tells us to do? Is there an area where you are in danger of becoming “lame” if you continue to walk this path? What is it and how might you establish a better path in the next several weeks?
6. Read Luke 24:1-27 (Review for many — but the basis of this study.)
A. How did Jesus surprise the two on the road to Emmaus?
B. Why do you think He did not allow them to recognize Him at first?
C. What did He show them in their Scriptures (the Old Testament) according to verses 26-27?
The Greek phrase “zeugma,” translated “all” means from front to back. In other words, both Christ and His gospel can be found in every Old Testament books.
D. If you were with us in the fall, share one place you discovered Jesus “in the books of Moses.” Why did this stand out to you?
Tuesday, Jan 2
7, Read Luke 24:28-53
A. How did the two describe their time with Jesus in verses 32?
B. Have you had a time when you felt like that? If so, share.
C. Imagine you were in the room with the eleven when Jesus appeared. Describe what you would have seen. How do you think you would have felt?
D. What three sections of the Old Testament are mentioned in verse 44?
I (Dee) am writing a book tentatively titled “The Jesus Who Surprises.” Though I wish I could cover every OT book, for Jesus and His Gospel are hidden in every one, since I am writing just one book, I must limit myself to Genesis (representing books of Moses), the psalms (representing the poets) and one or two of the prophets (representing the prophets).
Wednesday: Jan 3
8. Read Psalm 1 and find everything you can about the man who is blessed.
9. How can you be like that man in 2018?
10. How can you see Jesus hidden in Psalm 1?
Thursday-Friday: Jan 4 and 5.
11. Listen to Tim Keller’s Sermon on Psalm 1 and share your notes and comments. You can divide this into two days — the message is 40 minutes. If you have heard it before, it is definitely worth listening to again!
12. How is living like the man in Psalm 1 related to establishing a new habit of eating right, spending right, loving right?
13. What is your take-a-way and why?