This week's verse is Exodus 23:25:
"You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you."
This verse, selected from God's discourse to Israel concerning the laws they were meant to live by, does not mean to imply that life will always be free of trouble for God's people. In this context, it applied to the whole theocratic nation state of Israel, meaning to say that if the people of Israel would only abide by the law of God, he would bless them. As a general principle, it also means that God will always respond to the prayers of believers, even if the response isn't what we're hoping for. But even then, He usually has a better idea in mind.
This week's sermon in the main service was on Romans 9:1-29, plus a brief recap of what we've learned previously in the series. This section of scripture deals with Paul's grief over the unbelief of his people, the Jews. In view of this, the pastor asked what we cry over, the logical conclusion being that we cry over what we love most. Paul, in this case, had a passion for the unsaved, an attitude which all believers should share. More specifically, when tragedy strikes, we often ask God why this sort of thing could have happened to him, the error in this thinking lying in our mistaken belief that God owes us his blessing. Israel had a particularly bad problem with this way of thinking, believing that just because they were God's chosen people, God owed them his blessing. The reality is that God blesses not based on race, but based on grace, including the grace he has given Israel over the years.
In the High School service, the sermon was on the subject of unity. Being a longtime fan of Bionicle, in which the Three Virtues were unity, duty, and destiny, I found it interesting to be treated to a Christian take on unity. The basic premise of the sermon was that divisions in the church are not a new problem, dating all the way back to the Corinthian church. Often, said the guest speaker, division is born of pride, in this case, pride in being a follower of a specific leader. Thus, humility must be practiced if we are to achieve unity, humility meaning not to put yourself down, but to put others first. In the end, unity is always possible in the church because all Christians have the commonality of Christ.
In other news, chapter 9 of my fan-fic, The Misadventures of Nobody (and X-Ray) was posted a couple of days ago on BZPower.com. Go ahead and check it out!