Thoughts: Benediction is a familiar word to church-goers. It signals the end of the service. The Latin roots of benediction remind us that the word means “to say good.”
We treasure compliments, when other people say good things about us. What a perfect way to end our church services – with a benediction!
Today’s scripture ends with an exquisite benediction.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Discussion: What is your understanding of “according to the power that worketh in us”?
Activity: Memorize this benediction.
“Oh, better than the minting of a gold-crowned king is the safe-kept memory of a lovely thing!” - Teasdale
Thoughts: The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes, individual gems. There are sermons in each one.
The Beatitudes would seem to be a tough act to follow, but the next verses have gems of their own.
“Ye are the light of the world.”
“Let your light so shine before men . . .”
“. . . one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law . . . “
Discussion: What part of your life do you want not to be changed even by a jot or tittle?
Activity: Show a family member that your love for him or her has not diminished by a jot or a tittle.
Thoughts: Job has suffered almost every possible loss – his children, his health, and his property.
Four “friends” have come to “comfort” him. Their idea of comforting consisted of sharp questioning and accusations of wrong-doing, until Job exclaimed, “Miserable comforters are ye all!”
Now in chapter 38, God speaks directly to Job.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
And Job replies humbly, “I have uttered that I understood not, things too wonderful for me which I knew not.”
Discussion: What do we discuss that we know not?
Activity: Dazzle people by knowing the names of Job’s three daughters, who were the fairest in the land. John Wesley’s youngest sister was named for one of them.
Thoughts: Infirmity – reproach – necessity – persecution – distress. Are these words similar in meaning?
Persecution sounds dire. Infirmity is likewise threatening. Distress and reproach are far from desirable. Necessity is neutral.
Paul writes that he takes pleasure in all of them. This is hard to believe. But the Lord has assured Paul that “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
We have so much to learn – and so much to understand.
Discussion: What five words would you choose to follow “I take pleasure in ________, _______, ________, ________, and ________?
Activity: This week, take pleasure in writing a note of thanks or sympathy.”
Thoughts: Andrea del Sarto was a successful painter – successful, but not exciting. As he admitted, “All is silver gray - placid and perfect with my art: the worse!”
He is married to a beautiful, much younger woman, who often goes out to meet her “cousin.”
Andrea admires his wife’s physical perfections, concluding sadly, “But had you . . . with these the same, but brought a mind!”
Paul reminds the Corinthians that first, they need willing minds.
Discussion: What does your mind shrink from learning?
Activity: Learn one new word each day. You might start with “byzantine.”
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