Romans 14.11 – January 31, 2020

Romans 14.11

It is written:
“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ”
 (Romans 14.11, NIV)

“Every knee shall bow before God. That’s powerful!”

Thought Questions:

As you read this verse, do you assume most people do or do not bow their knee to God, that is, recognize God as the Sovereign Lord? What causes you to think this?

What does it mean for “every” knee to bow before God? What causes people to recognize him as Lord?

In what ways have you recognized God as Lord today?

Isaiah 42.1-9 – January 30, 2020

Isaiah 42.1-9

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” 

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

(Isaiah 42.1-9, NIV)

Thought Questions:

When you read this description of the Lord’s Servant, what attributes do you find that you think should be imitated in your own life?

In what ways did the God’s servant described here bring forth justice into the world? Does this match how we most often describe justice?

What does it mean for the Lord not to yield his glory to another god or idol? How can we be sure we are giving him alone our glory?

Matthew 6.25-34 – January 29, 2020

Matthew 6.25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6.25-34, NIV)

“Although very difficult to do, we should not worry about all of the things we find so important to obtain. God takes care of us!”

Thought Questions:

What are the things you tend to worry about most often? Why do you think this is the case?

Why do you think we are so prone to feel like we must take care of our own needs, versus relying on someone else to help us out?

How can we work to be more confident in the love of God and his provisions for us?

Isaiah 40.8 – January 28, 2020

Isaiah 40.8

“The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”
 (Isaiah 40.8, NIV)

“Simply a reminder that there are ups & downs in life. The highs don’t last forever so don’t take them for granted. Neither do the lows, don’t get swallowed up by them. What is eternal is God.”

Thought Questions:

In what ways do we assume life is great when things go well, but something must be wrong with us when things go bad?

What things in your life do you assume will be around forever? What things do you need to enjoy and celebrate now because they won’t be around forever?

In what ways does the word of God last forever? Why is this a comfort to you?

Hebrews 1.1-14 – January 27, 2020

Hebrews 1.1-14

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1.1-4, NIV)

“The reminder that Christ has spoken God’s love to us, through the gift of His son, spoken to us through his son.”

Thought Questions:

How does watching the life of Jesus help us know better God and his love for us?

How does being an “exact representation” of something help demonstrate the “real” thing?

How important is it for us to recognize that purification for our sins comes from God through his son, Jesus?

Matthew 6.1-4 – January 24, 2020

Matthew 6.1-4

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6.1-4, NIV)

While God is a proponent of giving to those in need, he also wants us to give in an appropriate manner. While receiving accolades for our giving may be self-satisfying, it’s not why we give.

Thought Questions:

Why do you think it is so easy for people to want to give in such a way as to receive some sort of credit or accolade for their giving?

What is the reward Jesus understands you will receive when you give to those in need (in contrast to public recognition)?

Try to give someone something this week in such a way as so they will never find out who gave the gift to them.

Psalm 145 – January 23, 2020

Psalm 145

   I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
   Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
   Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

   One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
   On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
   They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
   They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
(Psalm 145.1-7, NIV)

God has done great things! Do we think to pass that along to the next generation?

Thought Questions:

As you think about passing on to the next generation what God has done, what things do you want to tell that generation?

How have you seen God’s steadfast love in your life?

Have you praised the Lord today?

Proverbs 1.1-7 – January 22, 2020

Proverbs 1.1-7

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
(Proverbs 1.1-7, NIV)

“When we ask: “How does a person follow God?”, the Proverbs are a good place to start!”

Thought Questions:

What has been the best advice you have ever received on how to live a Christian life?

What are some practical, hands-on ways in which individuals can learn “wisdom?”

In what ways have you seen the “fear of the Lord” be the “beginning of knowledge”?

Philippians 4.6-8 – January 21, 2020

Philippians 4.6-8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4.6-8, NIV)

“God’s got us no matter what, so there’s no reason to fear or be worried about anything. He’s working for our good.”

Thought Questions:

What things are you anxious about on a regular basis? Do you think Paul really means for you to be not anxious about these things? Does Paul have exceptions?

Describe a time when you felt peace, even when you were undergoing times of anxiety or struggles. To what do you credit as the cause of such peace?

Spend time today praying specifically for those things which cause you the most anxiety.

1 Corinthians 12.12-31 – January 20, 2020

1 Corinthians 12.12-31

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12.12-31, NIV)

Each of us makes up a part of a larger whole and each one of us is important.

Thought Questions:

Why is it easy for people to think someone else’s gift or ability is better than our own? What factors into your evaluating someone else as better?

In what ways do you see yourself as a part of the body of Christ? Of the body at meets together here on this earth?

How do you use your gifts to support and encourage others?