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Thoughts: Biblical scholars believe that David – a Renaissance man before the Renaissance – wrote 76 of the 150 psalms. Temple musician Asaph wrote 12. David’s son Solomon, a name synonymous with wisdom, wrote two. Another temple musician, Aleph, wrote one, as did Ethen, a wise man who was a contemporary of Solomon.
And Moses, one of the best-known men in the Bible, wrote one psalm, which contains our scripture for this week.
Along with leading thousands of contentious Israelites through the wilderness, writing and administering laws, providing food and water, and climbing Mount Sinai twice to secure copies of the Ten Commandments, Moses found time to write one of our most exquisite psalms.
Discussion: Many people would choose Psalm 23 as their favorite psalm. For the sake of variety, what is your second favorite psalm?
Activity: Memorize the blessing in verse 17. “and let the beauty of the Lord our god be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.”
Thoughts: When our children were little, they delighted in asking me questions I couldn’t answer. One school morning we were scrambling around, finding the lost mitten, smoothing the crumpled homework – you know the drill.
When we opened the back door, we could barely see the garage through the heavy fog.
“Mama, what is fog?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted, “but we’ll look it up in the encyclopedia* after school.”
And we did. “Fog is a cloud come close to earth.” Short. Easily understood. Beautiful.
One of Jesus’ uncountable gifts was his ability to answer questions so perfectly that his questioners were silenced.
Discussion: Which was most important in Jesus’ earthly ministry?
(a) his teaching (b) his answers to his enemies (c) his miracles
Activity: Learn one useful and/or interesting fact.
*Encyclopedia – a comprehensive reference book, still invaluable.
Euodias: Well, Syntyche, how is everything at your house?
Syntyche: Oh, not ideal. Its been hard, having Lydia and the children move back home.
Euodias: I told you when Lydia married that Canaanite that it would never work.
Syntych: I remember your warning, Euodias. But then, I warned you that your son Jebu would never make a living selling sandals.
Euodias: Well, he did better than your son, Zorab, trying to be a tent maker.
Syntyche: You know perfectly well that his artistic hands were too frail to handle that heavy canvas.
Euodias: But not too frail to pick figs from my trees.
Syntyche: He picked up a few of your precious figs that had fallen in our yard!
Euodias: Your yard, my grandfather’s skull cap! Ill have you know…
Discussion: How can we best cope with discord between faithful church members?
Activity: Try to compliment at least three people at church each Sunday.
Thoughts: Paul had a special affection for the church he founded at Philippi. The first two chapters are filled with his love for the Philippians.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.…”
“…I have you in my heart.…”
“…how greatly I long after you all….”
By chapter three, Paul is less doting and more admonitory. He warms the Philippians against false teachers, who have convinced the Philippians that they are practically perfect – a concept the Philippians were delighted to accept.
Even I, Paul writes, am not perfect. But, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Discussion: What does Paul mean by “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gains”?
Activity: Find your own favorite verse in Philippians and memorize it.
Thoughts: Minerva never said no to any request. She was always cheerful – unfailingly kind – completely willing.
Of course, I’ll bake 8 dozen cupcakes for coffee hour! I have this great recipe for carrot cake!”
But there were no cupcakes. “My oven wouldn’t light.”
“I’d love to work at the rummage sale! I’ll come every day!”
But Minerva never came. “I found out I’m allergic to used clothes.”
“Of course, we’ll greet on Sunday morning! I just love to meet new people.
But Minerva and her family were not at church on Sunday morning. “the road between our house and the church was closed for repairs.”
“I’d love to be secretary for the administrative board! I can use shorthand I learned in high school!”
But Minerva never came to the meetings. “Oh, I can’t go anywhere on Tuesday nights. Abner bowls, and sometimes Abner, Jr. has a history test on Wednesday.”
Discussion: Would it be better for Minerva simply to say no? Why or why not?
Activity: Write the thank-you note to Uncle Zebulon for your April birthday present.
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