I am currently studying the second week of the advent lessons in “God With Us” from Love God Greatly. This Bible study is well-written, inspirational and affirming. I highly recommend the studies from this ministry. They offer ongoing studies that are free, accessible on their blog and on device apps. This time, I purchased the study journal from Amazon, as I wanted the physical book, although I could have printed it at no cost, from the web site. I also like the fact that this is a non-profit group, so when I purchase the journal from Amazon, the proceeds go directly back into the ministry. They provide translations of the study in several languages, and I love that as well.
During the first week of the study, I was reminded of the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the actual “Christmas story,” the telling of the story of Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus, the stable, the shepherds, the angels, the wise men—that I forget how important it is to realize that this baby was the fulfillment of prophecies throughout the Old Testament.
The Love God Greatly studies use the SOAP method: Scripture (write it out), Observations from the passage, Applications from the Scripture, and Prayer over what has been learned that day.
Here are some of my SOAP notes for the first week:
God is in control of His creation, and He had a plan from the beginning (Genesis). The penalty for the sin of man was overcome by the plan of redemption, through the Messiah.
From Isaiah 9:6 (my Bible art passage), I observed a royal birth announcement of One who would be the Messiah; He would be a counselor (how awesome is that!); He would BE God; He would be eternal; He would be the definition of peace.
This Messiah, to be born of a virgin, was predicted 700 years before the birth. In my notes, I paired this part of the study with a quote from a sermon by my son, Mark Ford, December 6, 2015: “Who you believe Jesus to be will determine who you are—and it will determine not only your identity, but your eternity.”
Lastly, at the conclusion of the week, attention was drawn to the adjectives in the listing of the names of the coming Messiah.
Wonderful – He is awe-inspiring.
Mighty – He is all-powerful.
Everlasting – He is eternal.
Prince – He is on the throne.
I love all the Bible passages about the names of Jesus. Simply repeating this verse, “His name shall be called…” gives me a sense of peace and joy.
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
– Isaiah 9:6
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