As the calendar comes to an end and many look to new hopes in a new year and many wish things could have gone different, it is a healthy time for us to reflect on the blessings. Many of us have sat around this table in the past month or so and laid our burdens and troubles out before us. They are real, and we continue the fight, the good fight.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24 NIV
As we put away the Christmas decorations, and straighten the house after all the festivities or make some good decisions and plans for the coming year, we can reflect a bit on what we did as a community…
We started off the year by studying through the book of Jonah. We learned about the prophet that was talked to directly by God and how he went off in the opposite direction and then after God interceded, he did God’s will. Not with a joyful spirit or a happy ending.
Do you have any memorable moments or gleanings from the book of Jonah?
For a quick review of the Jonah studies: click here
From the middle of March through April we went through a variety of Proverbs, titled Proverbial Times. We learned about some specific proverbs for our growth and challenges.
- Our Tongue
Most likely we did not get a big powerful lesson or revelation during the study of the proverbs. They are solid bricks to our foundation and we should not begin to neglect them. They are wisdom for our well-being. For the complete list: click here
Most likely the most impactful retreat we have hosted, brought us to Lake Martin and brought to us our childhood. Each of us that attended actually read an entire book about one of the biggest lacking in our lives. How we don’t adequately love ourselves. We learned biblical truth about how we have only been fooling ourselves by thinking that we could ignore ourselves and just pour into others.
What was your insights, delights and pains from the retreat?
There were some major events that happened on that trip. We did get to connect with some men that don’t normally sit around our Saturday table, and we were able to build deeper relations with the ones that do and most importantly, with “little me’s”.
What are some of the new approaches to your walk and life have you incorporated? Do you think people in your life can see an impact/change in who you were?
Letter of First John
We followed the retreat up with a lengthy study of the letter of 1 John. The lovely letter penned by the Apostle John to the brethren. Given to use for love and encouragement. The letter brought it full circle from direct clarity and encouragement to a conclusion of how messy this world is and the challenges we face with family, sin and this world.
The various studies can be reviewed by clicking here
This year also has brought a lot of tension and challenges in the world and our community, from racial attacks and assaults to fears of terrorism and the world of corruption around the globe. Each of us being real and being in this world do have our own personal battles as well.
What were some of the battles that you have faced this year? Any spoils from the victories? What are some of the big lessons you have learned this year?
We studied through the beautiful Psalm 23 of David. The timing of the study aligned in a time when we needed some love and encouragement as Patrick’s mother ended the long physical medical challenges and God moved right in to comfort us. For the studies we received, click here
Have you gleaned any new insights into Psalm 23 or did you get a particular message or nugget during these times?
We began the fall with a study of the book of Exodus. We learned about the life of Moses and the rebellion of the Hebrew nation in Egypt. We learned about Moses calling and the mighty miracles that God empowered Moses with, before passing for the holidays.
What were some of the gleanings that you may have gotten in the first part of the study of Exodus. If not much, what do you desire to know more about as it relates to Moses and the Exodus?
For a complete list of the Exodus messages, click here
We have each lived out 365 days of 2016. Many of us never thought we would ever see it. As we engaged in it, we had ambitions and desires, but some times it just did not unfold the way we expected. The conclusion is that God did part many seas for us this year.
What are some of the blessings that he has donned you with? Travels? Vacations? Meals? Moments of laughter? Triumphs? Wisdom? Prosperity? Grace? Peace? Love?