Staying awake this summer

Last year for the summer holidays, I set up a facebook group called Staying awake this summer. The aim of the group was to help us maintain a healthy reading of the bible because many of us will be going back home away from the Christian union and the church. Therefore it is easy to sleep through the summer period and backslide in your Christian walk. To help us from this danger I set up the group and we read all of Paul's letters and this year I have done the same thing but we will be reading through the gospels beginning at Matthew. We have started already and I am impressed with the comments that people have made on the chapters they have read and it has been a great encouragement to me. I will be posting people's comment on the chapters taking directly from Facebook. We read two chapters a day but the individual can dictate their own pace. If you would like to join us here is the Link, it would be a pleasure to have you involve. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_239817449364674&ap=1

People's comments on the first two chapters of Matthew:

Rebekah: Chapter 1 and 2 remind me about the great gift God sent us, His son Jesus! And about the amazing ways God talks to us and how faithful He is to us! I love the fact that I am reminded that the star led the people to Jesus, and recently I have decided to get myself an object that will be my reminder that God is good, and is always with me, so I can try and put all my requests etc to Him...and this object is a star, What a generous God!

Richard: The thing that struck me most from these chapters is how God is responsible fro basically everything that happens. The only person acting independently is Herod. It's really encouraging to know how much God takes the initiative in every part of our lives.

Rory: I see SIGNS as the theme of the first two chapters. You have a 400 year gap of oppression between Malachi and JESUS' birth Hallelujah HE CAME THEN, for us unworthy Gentiles so that we could be saved! His coming was prophetically spoken about for hundreds and hundreds of years, and more particularly since the fall of men in the garden. All these PERFECT sacrifices the Jews had to make. . no longer the great sacrifice was born, the LAMB OF GOD :) :) :)

You see God uses signs all the time, we too stubborn to notice; The Star(Matt 2:2, 2:7, 2:9-11), which also can be related in Psalm 48:14, "He will be our guide forever." He visits Joseph 3 times if I recall in dreams, and Archelaus (Herod's Son). We don't take dreams seriously that all are from God trying to give us a sign or message. God always speaks to us in the prophetic. Matthew 1:22-23, Matthew 2:5-6, Matthew 2:15, Matthew 2:17-18, Matthew 2:23.

He spoke to the Magi/Wise men in a dream, even saving them because they came to worship Jesus :) The father loves that :) He sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17). God tells us things through natural disasters too, the reason being to shake us up and bring us to Him. It was really cool how the Magi got overwhelmed with joy when the star stopped! ONLY God the Father can grant us true JOY, not happiness which is of the world and does not satisfy! I can't imagine what joy the overcame them for seeing the Messiah!

Interesting how they gave Jesus gifts too; gold, frankincence, and myrrh. The only gift we can truly give to Jesus is our SIN! We can do do do, try try try, work work work. But if we give Jesus our filthy record of sin, in exchange shockingly we get eternal life with him :O AWESOME.

Once again GOD is sovereign over EVERYTHING. He shows He is in complete control due to the protection from the enemy working in Herod. I think its a message for todays church. Be like Joseph and the Magi! Don't do it yours/man's/the world's way do it God's way! Because sometimes we are wrong with out God's voice, and correcting is a good thing. He shall truly protect us from the darkness :)

Sorry I wrote an essay I just LOVE this stuff! :) Leonard Ravenhill once said, "What are you going to do when you get to eternity, if you can't stick in an hour with God down here? In God's name, what are you going to do in a million years in God's presence? Expect some reports from earth about football or something?" lol LEDGE

Charnelle: I can really see how God is completely in control. Throughout these chapters, setbacks came (in the form of Herod etc) but through it all, God was completely in control and all the things that were foretold were fulfilled. These chapters really made me think about our lives and the promises that God has made about them. Yes, setbacks may come but ultimately, God is fully in control of our lives and knows exactly what he wants for us and NOTHING is going to stand in the way of what God wants for us :) These chapters also made me think about what incredible faith Mary and Joseph must have had through all of this and how wonderful it is to have faith in our Lord! It's amazing how i've heard the story of the birth of Jesus so many times yet sitting down and reading it today, God has revealed to me so many amazing things - our Lord is incredible and Jesus Christ was and is truly an amazing gift :D

Will: What particularly stood out for me reading it this time has been seeing God's amazing faithfulness! All that he says is fulfilled, even in that passage most of what happend has been told through prophets, by God, years before. It also gives me a massive encouragement of God's ultimate faithfulness shown on the cross, with only the start of the story it shouldn't be a surprise even (as it has already been written) though it is incredible! Isaiah 7:14 'Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.' GOD IS WITH US!! Look to God today guys! It is only by what Jesus has done on the cross that God is with us personally! How great is our God!

Ken: From the first two Chapters I learnt that Jesus was divine, that he will save his people from their sins, He was born King, he is a shepherd, He is with us and predicted in the old testament.
Also another interesting thing is that Jesus was to be called Emmanuel (God with us) and if you fast forward to the great commission Jesus promises to maintain his presence with his disciples when he said that I am with you always. So He is still with us today. Jesus is still Emanuel.
another point of interest is the genealogy. Notice it mentions five women. this is different from the norm and the woman mentioned were of mixed lifestyles. Tamar dressed as a harlot, Rahab was a Harlot, Bathsheba slept with David whilst married, Ruth was a Moabite (a non-jew) and Mary was thought to have committed adultery but we know that she was pure. This inclusion is a departure from the ordinary and Jesus in His ministry departs from the ordinary by welcoming outsiders into his kingdom. 
Also the wise men worshipped Jesus I think pointing to his divinity.

K.Oni

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