The Sunday School Corner

By Overseer Regina Carr

The Winter Quarter theme is “God’s Great Blessings.” In review of the lessons for this quarter, there is a great discussion of the promises and the blessings of God. These two entities, need to be defined for clarity and understanding. “What is a promise? A promise is a commitment by someone to do or not do something. A promise means a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. It means to commit oneself by a promise to do or give. It can also mean a capacity for good, similar to a value that is to be realized in the near future.

The December lessons reveal a promise regarding the coming of Christ. Most of us have either made a promise or been the recipient of a promise. We have also been disappointed by a promise that was not kept. However, the promises made in these lessons are the promises of God. From the beginning of time, God has made promises to us and He has shown himself as a promise-keeper! From the fall of Adam, to His birth and death, and His Resurrection, we are assured that He has kept His promises to mankind. The benefit of promises are the resulting blessings.

Nelson’s Bible dictionary defines, “a blessing as the act of declaring or wishing favor and goodness upon others. The blessing is not only the good effect of words; it also has the power to bring them to pass.” The Bible Expositor and illuminator expresses that Jewish thinkers explain that to bless means to increase in joy and peacefulness. God blesses people by giving life, riches, fruitfulness, or plenty. But His greatest blessing is turning us from evil (Acts 3:25-26), and forgiving our sins (Rom. 4:7-8).

The first quarter begins a survey of God’s promises and blessing:
Dec. 4th – The Promise of Messiah’s Forerunner – Luke 1:18-20

Golden text: “Thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth (v.13-14).
This lesson examines the promise of the one who would be the herald of the coming Christ, John the Baptist. We are introduced to Zacharias, a devout priest, carrying out his spiritual assignment to go into the Temple to burn the incense, in the Holy of Holies. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While Zacharias is in the temple, Gabriel, the angel, speaks to him. This encounter is alarming and life altering; but a blessing. Gabriel says your prayer has been heard. Who knew that Zacharias had been praying for a child; although his wife was barren. At his age, that prayer, and dream was the last thing on his mind. Nevertheless, the miracle of a child is being performed and the promise is that he will be great! Zacharias was in the right place at the right time. There is also a promise of joy and gladness for them and many others! What took place here was anything but ordinary.

Do you believe that God is still answering your prayers you prayed (a long time ago)?

Dec. 11th – God’s Promise to David – II Samuel 7:4-1
Golden text: “He shall build a house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever (v. 13).”

Lesson 2 takes us back to the of King David and the Prophet Nathan’s prophecy of God’s covenant.

Here, we find David at the peak of his success as King. It appears that he is marveling at all of his possessions and accomplishment. He decides that he will build a house for the Lord? The lesson begins with God’s response to David. “Shalt, thou build me a house for me to dwell in? I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, (v.5-6). God is not in agreement with David’s plan. He tells David what will be. He keeps His promise, but it is according to God’s plan. The Davidic covenant (promise) is that God promised a descendant of David to reign on the throne over the people of God. David wanted to build a house, God built an empire, an eternal kingdom. God’s plan was to prepare the way for Christ. David received a greater blessing than he thought.

God thoughts are not like ours. Do you believe your plan is better than God’s plan for your life?

Dec. 18th – God’s Promise of a Saviour – Luke 1:26-38
Golden text: “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” (v. 3

Lesson 3 deals with the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Luke introduces us to a young virgin, betrothed to Joseph. The announcement of conceiving a child is baffling and life threaten. The angelic appearance and the divine message were more than enough to convince Mary, that she was truly having a spiritual encounter. Her humble response is the response God is seeking from us!

Mary’s response was humble, will you respond as Mary did to God’s call?

Dec. 25th – The Birth of the Savior – Luke 2:1-17)
Golden text: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (v. 11)

This lesson studies the actual birth of our Lord. The previous lessons prepared us for this moment. John the Baptist is the forerunner; David is the line of descendancy; and Mary is His mother. Because God is omnipresent and omniscient, He arranges our situations and circumstances, so that things happen when and where they should. He orchestrated the angelic announcement to the shepherds and not to the kings; to prevent the news from being in the wrong hands. The Messiah was not supposed to be a baby; but a warrior. That is what the people were expecting. God understands what we need, when we need it and where He will perform His miracle in our lives. We needed a Saviour to save a dying world.

Have you accepted God’s plan for your life? Do believe He is using you to transform the life of others?

From the Standard Lesson Commentary:

Their quarterly theme is: From Darkness to Light; December’s theme: God’s Preparation

Ironically, the biblical lessons are relatively the same as the Gospel Press (except for the lesson from 2 Samuel). The perspective is focusing on the faithful people of God who longed to experience God’s salvation. December’s lessons are called God’s Preparation. The lessons demonstrate the people of God response to His call. They are called because of their faithfulness to Him, in spite of the delayed answers from God! These participants are being brought out of darkness, out of the background, into the marvelous light.

Dec. 4th – Zacharias Hears from God – Luke 1:8-20
Zacharias, an elderly priest with a barren wife, are chosen to be the bring forth a child that would be the forerunner of Jesus, the Christ. Despite his age and the barrenness of his wife, God chose them to perform His miracle. Gabriel the angel pronounced the blessing, Zacharias mouth was shut because of his unbelief, and Elizabeth hibernated during the pregnancy.

What do you think? Do we respond with joy or fear, when God is calling us?

Dec. 11th – Zacharias Speaks – Luke 1:57-66; 76-79
Golden Text: “Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare the ways.” v. 76

God shut Zacharias mouth until the birth of his son. Once Elisabeth gave birth, everyone heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her and rejoiced. At the circumcision, they called the child by his father’s name. Elisabeth said, “Not so; but he shall be called John! The people were familiar with the custom to name the child after their kindred. They were puzzled. Zacharias wrote on a tablet, “His name is John.” His mouth opened immediately and he praised God! The people feared and said, “What manner of child shall this be?

What do you think? How can believers determine whether or not a tradition follows God’s will?

Dec. 18th – John the Baptist – Luke 3:2b-6; 10-12
Golden Text: “He came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” v. 3

The previous lesson introduced us the ministry of John the Baptist before he was born. As the prophet of the Highest, he went before the Lord to prepare his ways. He was to give knowledge of salvation; and to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. John, a Nazarite, is the voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” His peculiar voice, in the wilderness, baffled the people and they wondered if he was the Messiah. John’s assignment was to prepare the way and to prepare the people.

What do you think? Can we attentive to God’s word when we feel like we are in the wilderness because of life’s challenges?

Dec. 25th – Mary Rejoices – Luke 1:46-55
Golden text: “Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” v. 46-7

Young Mary is now convinced of the presence and power of God in her life. She has encountered Gabriel and his divine announcement; is overshadowed by the power of the Highest, and is now pregnant. Gabriel shares that her cousin Elisabeth, who was barren, is also pregnant! For with God nothing is impossible! Elisabeth sees Mary; her baby leaps; and she exclaims, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.” Elisabeth confirms and convinces Mary of her being chosen by God to birth His son. Mary rejoices!

What do you think? How can we follow God so that His mercy will be displayed through us to future generations?

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