Perritte Memorial United Methodist Church


Falling Off the Wagon: Days 21-26 of The Bible in 90 Days
June 26, 2012, 7:22 pm
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The Bible in 90 Days

1 Samuel 16:1-2 Kings 4:37 || Read the CEB online at Bible Gateway

Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes and wasn’t completely devoted to the Lord like his father David. (1 Kings 11:6, CEB)

Wagon on the PrairieWell, it finally happened. I got to the point where I was feeling really good about blogging, and then I went out for a little family time and guess what? I didn’t write ahead of time…so no blog posts for nearly a week! And it’s really hard to go back and fix what’s already happened, re-create and rework, all the while watching yourself get further and further behind, or further away from where you need to be. If you’re feeling behind, I imagine you can empathize.

It’s actually not a bad case study in what’s been going on in our reading over the past few days. Saul, David, Solomon, and all the rest seem to start out strong, but somehow lose their way, and end up far away from what God wants and where Israel needs to be. Sin is like that — without constant vigilance, it can carry us far away from where we are, and nearly impossible to get back in time. And that cycle continues nearly unbroken throughout the reign of kings. The great solution proposed by Israel–to have a king just like the other nations–turns out to be just a different kind of unfaithfulness to God and Torah.

Though there are consequences — dire ones for Israel, as we will see shortly — even those results of unfaithfulness doesn’t put God’s people out of reach of grace and forgiveness. Things may not go back to normal, or the good old days…but they do continue on in a new way, with a new understanding of God’s salvation.

What figure in the monarchy of Israel do you idenify most with?
How do we break the cycle of sin and unfaithfulness?

Share your thoughts in the comments below,
and I’ll be back writing more in the morning!

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Don’t forget where you came from: Day 20 of The Bible in 90 Days
June 20, 2012, 9:41 am
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The Bible in 90 Days

Day 20: 1 Samuel 2:30-15:35 || Read the CEB online

“I’m a Benjaminite,” Saul responded, “from the smallest Israelite tribe, and my family is the littlest of the families in the tribe of Benjamin.” (1 Samuel 9:21 CEB)

Sometimes you hear about famous athletes who were born into modest or even poor families. Sometimes you hear how those athletes do extremely well, are wise with their money, do wonderful things for their community, & bring honor and provision to their family. Sometimes you hear how things don’t go that well. And sometimes you hear this phrase, in either case: “Don’t forget where you came from.”

It’s not a threat, not usually. Often, it’s a reminder to spread the wealth, that the community which helped you succeed is in need of your benevolence, that you can help others succeed also. But it’s also a reminder about the values that shaped your early years–generosity, benevolence, forgiveness, hard work, focusing on fundamentals, & the like. Don’t forget where you came from.

Saul is a big guy, a handsome guy, a strong guy. He knows what his social position is–low. Sadly, this doesn’t enable his noblest impulses for the most part. It gives him a chip on his shoulder. It makes him arrogant, not humble. He forgets where he came from.

What from your past is your greatest strength? Weakness?
What’s the difference between staying generous/humble or growing arrogant/selfish?

Share your thoughts in the comments below,
and don’t forget to pray for Doug, Jared, & Haley in Haiti this week!



Wickedness and Faithfulness: Day 19 of The Bible in 90 Days
June 19, 2012, 5:07 pm
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The Bible in 90 Days

Day 19: Judges 15:13-1 Samuel 2:29 || Read the CEB online

“In those days there was no king in Israel; each person did what they thought to be right.” (Judges 21:25 CEB)

“Now Eli’s sons were despicable men who didn’t know the LORD.” (1 Samuel 2:12 CEB)

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The story of God’s people has reached one of the lowest points. Things are bad after Gideon; they get terrifyingly worse by the end of Judges; and the story of Samuel opens without a lot of hope in those who should be the most faithful to God. The story of Ruth is a brief interlude of hope, but it was likely written down later and for a different purpose than the trajectory begun in Deuteronomy, Joshua, & Judges and finished with Samuel & Kings.

On Sunday we’ll talk about the chief problem that arose after the Israelites entered the land, but for now, let’s think on the problem of our own sin & God’s faithfulness. Even when the means God established did not work as intended, there’s a plan B. The courage & unrelenting perseverance of Hannah mirrors the way other Biblical women faithfully bear fruit for God’s way, like Miriam, Deborah, & Mary who also praise God’s righteousness and justice in song.

Where is the Church now: at a low or high point?
Through whom has God worked out a plan B in your life?

Share your thoughts in the comments below,
and don’t forget to pray for Doug, Jared, & Haley in Haiti this week!