Tag Archives: kingdom of God

A Time For Everything Under Heaven

Standard
A Time For Everything Under Heaven

Hello! I am glad you have decided to embark on this journey of discovery with me, planted in chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Over the next 14 days I will be writing blog posts on the verses King Solomon writes to us in this chapter of this great book. At the end of this post I will include a study map of which verses I will be covering each day. That way, you can read them ahead of time and if you have questions or want to start a discussion on things that stood out to you, we can do that! I want this study to be interactive and I encourage you to keep a journal handy for writing down your thoughts and observations. I also encourage you to write ways that you can apply these verses to your life. A lot of people tell me that in no way is the Bible relevant to today…to that I say, YES WAY! BIBLE stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth! All you have to do is open your heart and mind for what God wants to reveal to you while you are reading His Word and I guarantee you He will! If you haven’t already read the blog post to introduce this bible study, please do so, you can find it here on our blog titled… A Time for Everything!  by livingwaterdesigns

So, are you ready? Here we go! Today we are going to dive into verse 1…

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Eccl. 3:1

God is the keeper of time. As hard as it may be to think about sometimes, we are only limited in how much control we have over our time. We can control it, to a point, what we do with the 24 hours God gives us each day but we are not promised an hour from now, sleeping through the night, or even tomorrow. God controls when it is our time to leave our earthly bodies. But until then, God gives us a time and place for everything under the sun, everything under the heavens.

This verse reminds me of the Disney movie, The Lion King. This movie has a special place in my heart because it was the first animated movie my husband George took me to see, and I was pregnant with our first daughter, Kimberly. My favorite part is when Mufasa is doing his morning lessons with Simba about the circles of life. The scene starts by Simba waking his dad Mufasa in the wee hours of the morning. Like any parent, Mufasa wakes groggy, not wanting to get up, but Simba looks at him with that look kids give their parents and says, “You promised!” So Mufasa gets up, yawning, and sets out at sunrise to teach his son valuable lessons about life.

He starts out his lesson by telling Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom. A King’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day Simba, the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you as the new king.” Simba looks at his father, and the beautiful landscape, in amazement and says, “And this will all be mine?” Mufasa replies, “Everything”, and Simba ponders… “Everything the light touches”. Then comes the questioning that all of us parents get from our children… “What about that shadowy place?”. And Mufasa tries to teach him about boundaries, those dark places that are off limits. “That’s beyond our borders. You must never go there Simba.”, and the questioning continues…”I thought a king can do whatever he wants?” Mufasa replies, “There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time.” Simba, still in awe says, “There’s more?”

Then Mufasa explains the circle of life to him. “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” More questioning… “But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?” “Yes Simba, but let me explain. When we die our bodies become the grass and the antelope eat the grass, and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life.”

The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, are my two favorite Disney movies. So much life lessons if you really pay attention. Here, Mufasa is teaching his son important truths about life, just like King Solomon is teaching us those same truths about life in this chapter of Ecclesiastes… God has a plan for each of our lives and each season has its time. Each part of our lives is connected in the great circle of life, and in each part we have different tasks to carry out for the glory of the kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

As we move along through these truths, I want you to think about the truths God has revealed to you as you have read and studied His Word. I also want you to think about the season of life you are in NOW… not the one you were in last year, or the one you will be in 5 years from now, but today, this very moment in time. In your prayers, thank God for this season you are in, no matter whether it is difficult or a piece of cake. Humble yourself before the throne of Grace and believe that God is giving you opportunities to discover more of Him and His plan for your life…because apart from God we can do nothing. It is in His timing, His control…we just have to be childlike, with an open heart and mind, to hear His whispers.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

P.S. Link to the study map is below. Feel free to print it out…

LLC- Ecclesiastes Study Map

Photo courtesy of seasonsoflifeproject.tumblr.com

 

 

Advertisements

The Kingdom is Here

Standard

“The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand;  repent and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:13-14

In Sunday School this week we had a long discussion about the kingdom of God.  Everyone knows that the kingdom is at the heart of Christ’s teaching and purpose, but evidently there is little agreement about how to define it.  Some equate the kingdom of God with heaven;  others that it is still in the future and will be established during the 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth.  Others connect it with the spiritual life –“behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 KJV).  Still others associate it with social reform.

It seems the Lutheran understanding goes like this (at least our Bible Study author from Concordia Publishing and my husband-Pastor agree):  the kingdom of God is where the Gospel is preached in its truth and purity, and the Sacraments are administered according to the command of Jesus.  In other words, the true Church is the kingdom.  This includes both the Church Militant (the Church still struggling against sin here on earth) and the Church Triumphant (the Church in heaven at rest).  It is both now and not yet. It is not the institutional church, but the people of God, known only to God, past and present.

The kingdom is now.  It’s here.  It’s available to you.  Don’t you want to be part of it?

 

Liturgy as Prayer

Standard

“The liturgy of the Word is prayer.  You pray the scriptures with, and for, the people assembled and the words go out to them, touching them in ways that only God can imagine.”

Kathleen Norris

The congregation I belong to, St. Paul’s Free Lutheran, is liturgical.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Liturgy, in Greek, means “work of the people.”  It’s something we participate in together, the body of Christ in this place.  If prayer is communicating with God, the liturgy is also prayer.  In the familiar words, many of them directly from the Scripture we confess to God, we sing His praises,  and thank Him.  We intercede for others.  We offer our gifts for His use.

God speaks to us as well through the reading and sermons.  He offers us forgiveness and the gift of His body and blood to strengthen us.  He sends us out with renewed minds and spirits to do His work in the world.  Here’s a quote by Thomas Merton which reminds me of what the liturgy does:

“….(prayer) is  the needle by which we draw the thread of charity through out neighbor’s soul and our own soul and sew ourselves together in one Christ.”

Through the liturgy God weaves us into a community.  It doesn’t matter if we are old or young, rich or poor, black or brown or white, educated or ignorant, for this brief time we become one in Christ and it changes us.  It changes us because when we pray together, we become God’s kingdom on earth.

How does your worship experience change you?  Please send us your comments.