Face Like Flint

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Isaiah 50:4-9

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths will eat them up.


Questions:

When was the last time you had to be courageous?

There are 2 kinds of courage, courage in the moment and planned courage.  Courage in the moment is the split second decision to overcome fear and take action.  Planned courage is about seeing the difficulty before it comes but moving forward anyway.  Jesus demonstrated planned courage.  He knew the challenges that would face Him in Jerusalem but He set His face “like flint”.   Luke 9 records, 51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.

What do you know would be incredibly challenging but is the right thing to do?

Take courage. Know that it is the Sovereign Lord who helps you.  Pray for God to help you through the challenges that are sure to come.  Take the next step of your journey today.

The Divinely Cut Rock

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In Daniel Chapter 2 King Nebuchadnezzar has an unsettling dream. When no one can tell him the dream and explain it he orders all the wise men to be killed. Daniel, considered one of the wise men, asks his 3 friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) to pray that God would reveal the dream to them. When God does, Daniel praises God for revealing such a deep and wonderful mystery of things to come. We pick up the account in verse 17…


Daniel 2:17-45

24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”

25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”

26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”

27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:

29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.

31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”


Questions:

Spoiler Alert: Jesus wins.

God revealed to Daniel and king Nebuchadnezzar in 540BC that a kingdom was coming unlike anything humanity had ever seen before.  This kingdom would be established by God Himself and would be eternal.

Thinking through the lens of a kingdom, what kind of a citizen would you describe yourself as?  Are you one just passing through, a visitor, a servant of the King, a defender, a community builder, an ambassador, an outsider, an independent recluse, a leader?

What kind of a citizen do you want to be?

Pray that God would begin to reveal to you the kind of citizen He wants you to be in His kingdom.  Pray for wisdom how you might help to serve the causes of the King.

Ancient, But Yet To Come

Winter Castle Fantasy Backdrop

Micah 5:1-5b

Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
    siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
    on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
    to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.



Questions:

What does it mean to be at peace?  What does it mean to have peace?

The prophet Micah wrote in 735BC about a ruler who would be born in the small (and relatively insignificant) town of Bethlehem (which means “The House of Bread”).  He also notes that He is yet to come but is from ancient times, something that only makes sense in light of Christ’s deity.  He is the Shepherd who will bring security and peace to the ends of the earth (not just Israel).

Take some time to think beyond your immediate circumstances.  Forget about your “to do” list, your current projects, your schedule for the day or week, and your momentary afflictions.  Zoom out for a moment. James writes: What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14).  Think of how quickly life passes us by.

What does it mean to have peace in such a short life?  What matters today and what doesn’t?

Pray for Jesus to be your peace.  Thank Jesus that this momentary life is just the beginning.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you to stay focused on what matters today.

Better Than An Eyewitness

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2 Peter 1

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.



Questions:

Have you ever wished that God would just audibly speak to you from heaven?

What would you want Him to say?

Peter had a unique connection with Jesus.  There were several occasions where Jesus would single out Peter, James, and John to be with Him.  One example is during the transfiguration in Matthew 17:

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

Peter was a firsthand witness to these things yet he says there is something even more confirming of the deity of Jesus: the Old Testament prophecies.  Peter says these prophecies more fully confirm Jesus than an audible voice from heaven.

Thank God today for speaking to us through the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.  Thank God for His faithfulness that we can trust His promises to us that are still to be fulfilled.

Thread Conclusion

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Join us this weekend as Chad concludes the Thread series.  Part of the service will be devoted to celebrating those who have said “Yes” to Jesus through the public demonstration of baptism.  If you would like to be baptized during one of the services you can register at baptism.sv.cc.  Join us at one of our 3 locations or online at live.sunvalleycc.com (online viewing for Gilbert location only – Saturday @ 4 & 5:30pm, Sunday @ 9, 10:30, & 11:59am).  This is going to be an incredible service, you won’t want to miss it!

Family Time

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Family Time is an additional resource for parents with younger kids in the home to have a conversation about Jesus.  You can use this around the dinner table, at bedtime, or whenever is convenient for you and your family.


The Servant Who Had No Mercy

“21 Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times. 23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. 24 As the king began to do it, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold was brought to him. 25 The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed. 26 “Then the servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I’ll pay everything back.’ 27 His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go. 28 “But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said. 29 “The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I’ll pay it back.’ 30 “But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed.31 The other servants saw what had happened and were very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed. 35 “This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.””

Matthew 18:21-35 (NIrV)


Family Discussion: 

All month we have been teaching the kids in Kids’ Zone about Grace and how you can’t earn it but you can learn it.  When I read a passage like the one above, I realize I have a lot I still need to learn about Grace.  Whether I like it or not, I am the servant in the passage who was forgiven a great debt.  Jesus loved me enough to die in my place and pay for all my sins.  All of them!  When I think about His grace to me; I am overwhelmed.  But just as I am overwhelmed by Jesus’ grace to me; I also forget to give grace to others.  When I am wronged, I want to hold a grudge and get back at the person who hurt me or “make them pay” for what they have done.  I want grace from God, but I refuse to give grace to others.  That’s not how I should live.

I don’t know about your kids but there were times when our kids would keep records of the wrong things done to them by their siblings so they could get them back.  We would try to help them understand that they have been forgiven much, so they should be willing to forgive others.  This is a lesson we taught over and over again but the good news is just as we were teaching it to them we were learning it for ourselves.  Those times when our kids want to hold a grudge or get back at someone it may be helpful to remind them how much Jesus has forgiven them and we need to extend that same grace to others.

This week talk to your kids about God’s grace and how He freely gives us His grace because of what Jesus has done for us.  Ask and discuss the following questions with them:

How would you feel if you were the man in the passage who was forgiven a large debt?

What would you do to celebrate the grace you had been given?

Why do you think the man refused to forgive his fellow servant?

What are some things you might be holding onto that you need to forgive?

How do you think this connects with Jesus dying on the cross for our sins?

Spend some time in prayer and ask God to help you see where He has given you His grace this week and where you need to give grace to others as well.

Forsaken Foretold

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Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
    before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him—
    may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!


Questions:

Jesus quotes this incredible Psalm while on the cross.  The Jewish bystanders would have known this Psalm by heart and made the connection that Jesus was making.  Jesus was telling them (and us) that this Psalm is all about Him.

What stands out to you in this Psalm?

In this Psalm David speaks of the ends of the earth and generations yet to come remembering what the Lord has done and worshipping Him.  And here you are, at the ends of the earth hundreds of generations later, just as it was foretold.

Worship Jesus through your prayers.  Proclaim His righteousness and celebrate the fact that when it comes to purchasing our salvation, “He has done it!”