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Background
1. Who is the author of the book of Jonah?

2. When was this book written?

3. Who was the original intended audience for this book? How do you know?

4. To which Kingdom did Jonah prophesy, Northern or Southern?

5. What does the name “Jonah” mean?

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Read Amos Chapter 8
1. What does Amos see in a vision in Amos 8:1-2?

2. What does the fruit represent?

3. What does God say will happen to His people Israel in Amos 8:2-3?

4. What does God say will happen to those who take advantage of the poor and needy in Amos 8:4–10?

5. What does God say will happen in Amos 8:11-14?

Read Amos Chapter 9
1. What does Amos see according to Amos 9:1?

2. What is the message God gives in Amos 9:1-4?

3.What do you learn of God from Amos 9:5-6?

4. What prophecy is given about God’s people in Amos 9:7-10?

5. Copy Amos 9:11-12 here. Meditate on this. Record your thoughts and impressions.

6. What great promises does God give His people and the land in Amos 9:13-15?

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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     Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Paul mentions this “one thing” he does to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him. The Amplified version tells us “that” refers to “perfection.” Perfection is why Christ took hold of Paul and why He has taken hold of us. He desires that we might be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. (See Matthew 5:48)

So what is this “one thing” Paul says that he does? “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Examining Paul’s statement more closely we see that he is really speaking of doing three things: forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forward to those things ahead, and pressing toward the goal

Forgetting
What does it mean to forget? The dictionary has several definitions of forgetting which carry with them a lack of intentionality. However, Paul’s statement has no such connotation. Forget in this case means to cease to think of something or someone by choice. To say it another way, he is telling us to no longer have those things in the center of our thoughts or focus.
What would Paul be thinking of that we need to forget? What are some of the things “which are behind?” Perhaps Paul was thinking of the things that he had done that offended God. Perhaps he was thinking of his own sin in persecuting the church. One had to forget one’s past–Paul knew that. Too much focus on past wrongs might cause a person to become paralyzed with guilt and/or shame.

Paul may also have been thinking of the religious life he left behind–the life of a Pharisee. He was, in his community, a man of considerable stature–his future was bright. Earlier in Philippians chapter 3, Paul describes himself as “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” He had what many of his contemporaries would have envied. But those things he chose to forget.

We need to choose to forget both the good and the bad. Having repented, we need to forget how bad we were, our sin, our wrong conduct, our failures. We cannot focus on them or make them the center of our thoughts. We need also to choose to forget our successes–who we were in the world’s eyes, how much we had accomplished–our bright future. Forget–choose to forget. We choose to forget not because these things are not important–but rather because in comparison to the prize we are seeking there are not important.

Reaching Forward
Reaching is an action which speaks of intentionality beyond one’s current location or circumstances. It suggests there are thin–a goingt location, beyond our ability, perhaps even beyond our imagination. Thus, we must reach forward. It is a complement to the forgetting what lies behind. Reaching forward necessarily requires letting go of what was before, things that mattered in the past become less significant as we move toward what lies ahead.
So what might Paul be thinking of as he speaks of “reaching forward to those things which are ahead?” Paul might be thinking of the work for God, e.g. the next city he will visit or the next group of people to whom he will minister. He might also be thinking of spiritual progress such as a greater closeness to God, a greater freedom from sin, a greater zeal for God and bringing Him glory, or a greater sorrow over sin. But he might also be thinking of setting himself more steadfastly toward heaven and eternal life with God.

Pressing Toward the Goal
Paul tells us that he presses toward the goal–further emphasizing the forward momentum of his life. The word “press” is not passive. It speaks of determination and diligence. Paul is telling us that with great energy and desire, he moves toward the goal. He sees it, and with all the force he can muster, he explodes in that direction. But what is the goal? Paul says it’s “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” One day we, all believers will receive a call from God–a call to come out of time and into eternity. I believe that is the prize Paul was looking to, pressing toward eternal life forever with God without suffering, sin, sorrow, tears, pain or separation.

Why does Paul consider this one thing and not three things? I believe he refers to this combination of actions as “one thing” because they must all be happening together–in concert. Reaching forward is just how the press toward the goal is initiated. The reach turns into the press as we gain momentum and neither the reaching nor the pressing can happen unless we forget the things behind, things which cling to us and threaten to hold us back, and move our focus onto what lies ahead. Once free from the past and reaching out toward what lies ahead, which will be different for every believer, we are moving, toward God. As we catch His scent or spy the train of His robe, we are energized to press toward the prize–toward what every breath has been leading to since we took our first one. Toward God.

May this one thing that Paul speaks of be the one thing you do as well!

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page.

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My Savior’s Love

by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932)

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful
Is my Savior’s love for me!

For me it was in the garden
He prayed, “Not My will, but Thine;”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat-drops of blood for mine.

In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered and died alone.

When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
‘Twill be my joy thru the ages
To sing of His love for me.

Read Amos Chapter 7
1. What did Amos see in a vision according to Amos 7:1-2?

2. What does Amos do in response? What does God so?

3. What does Amos see in a vision in Amos 7:4?

4. What does Amos do in response? What does God do?

5. What do you learn about prayer from the following verses?
James 5:16

1 Peter 3:12

6. What does Amos see in a vision in Amos 7:7-9?

7. Who is Amaziah?

8. What does Amaziah tell King Jeroboam about Amos and what he said in Amos 7:10-11?

9. What does Amaziah say to Amos in Amos 7:12-13?

10. What is Amos’s response to Amaziah in Amos 7:14-17?

11. What do you learn about false prophets and teachers from the following?
Ezekiel 3:9

Matthew 7:15

Matthew 24:11, 24

2 Peter 2:1-3

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Read Amos Chapter 6
1. What is the point of Amos 6:1-2?

2. Where was Calneh? Hamath? Gath?

3. The sin that God is addressing in these first two verses of Amos is the sin of complacency. They were trusting in their military strength, their fortresses on Mt Zion (Judah) and Mt Samaria (Israel). Their focus was on how they were in comparison to the other nations around them. They showed no concern for where they stood with God. Record the dictionary definition of complacency you find here.

4. What additional insight do you gain about complacency from the following verses?
Psalm 20:7

Isaiah 31:1

Revelation 3:14-17

5. What is God accusing them of in Amos 6:3-6?

6. What do you learn of self-indulgence from the following verses?
Proverbs 21:17

Matthew 23:25

7. What does the LORD say will happen to them in Amos 6:7-8; 11-14?

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Tel Dan

      One of the farthest points you can travel in modern Israel is Dan. As you make your way north from Jerusalem or the Sea of Galilee to Tel Dan, the border with Lebanon is within sight. Conflict along this border has continued for many years. Hezbollah, which was designated a Foreign Terror Organization by the U.S. State Department, is a terrorist organization backed by money and resources from Iran which does not believe in the legitimacy of Israel, and seeks its total destruction. When you visit the area, you will see that Israel’s enemies are very close to her, and it is only through diligence that Israel is able to keep the enemies at bay.
      Dan and the surrounding area has many natural springs. One of three springs that feeds the Jordan is located near the ancient city of Dan (Tel Dan). It is a beautiful area all year round with lush greenery, trees, and rushing water.
      The city of Dan was formerly called Laish or Leshem. The Bible describes the people of Dan brutally defeating the people of Laish and burning the town to the ground and then building their own town on the same spot (Judges 18:7) The city is mentioned approximately twenty-four times in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and it was typically the first city to be lost to invaders from the north because of its location very close to the northern border.

Dan
Dan
Location of the golden calf – place of false worship. The metal frame is meant to give you an idea of how big the altar would have been.
The seat of the chief elder of the town at the gate of the city.
Close up of the gate – dating from approximately 1750 BC. (the time of Abraham)
“Abraham’s Gate” at Tel Dan

You can visit our website or email us for more on upcoming trips to Israel. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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My eyes for beauty pine

By Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

My eyes for beauty pine,
My souls for Goddes grace;
No other care nor hope is mine;
To heaven I turn my face.

Once splendour thence is shed
From all the stars above:
‘Tis named when God’s name is said,
‘Tis Love, ‘tis heavenly Love.

And every gentle heart,
That burns with true desire,
Is lit from eyes that mirror part
Of that celestial fire.

Bethel

Bethel (“house of God”), formerly known as Luz, is a town located in the land of Canaan, the land given to the tribe of Benjamin. Bethel is mentioned seventy-one times in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The only city mentioned more times is Jerusalem. That information alone speaks volumes about the importance of Bethel to the Bible narrative. Bethel is where Jacob saw the ladder ascending and descending from heaven and where God blessed him. We’re told in Judges 4:5, that near Bethel is where Deborah sat and heard the people when she was the Judge of Israel.

 

Pictures of Bethel and from Bethel

Read Amos Chapter 5
1. What does Amos prophesy of the house of Israel in Amos 5:1-3?

2. What does the LORD say to the house of Israel in the following verses?
Amos 5:4-5

Amos 5:6-7

Amos 5:10

3. What do you learn of the LORD from Amos 5:8-9?

4. What punishment does the LORD promise the house of Israel in Amos 5:11?

5. What sins does God say Israel committed in Amos 5:12?

6. Copy Amos 5:14-15 here. Meditate on this. How is this exhortation applicable to your life today?

7. What do you learn about the day of the LORD from Amos 5:16-20?

8. What additional insight do you gain about the day of the LORD from the following verses?
Isaiah 2:5-22
Zechariah 14:1-15
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
2 Peter 3:10

9. Summarize what you learn about the Day of the LORD?

10. What application can you make to your own life of these chapters in view of what you learned about the Day of the LORD?

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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