Jeremiah 1.1-2.30; Philippians 4.1-23; Psalm 75.1-10; Proverbs 24.17-20
One of the most popular verses in scripture may also be one of the most misused. Philippians 4.13 is used to encourage us to do any sort of major task that we face, it is the pep-talk of pep-talks from Scripture. Yet if you go read the entire chapter, Paul is not writing about the major tasks he can accomplish, but rather the ways he can be content in any circumstance. How does your thinking change, and the actions that follow improve, when you know that any situation you face–good or bad–you can overcome it?
How cool is it to know that God knew you before you were even formed in the womb? How does this change your understanding of your value and worth?
Why is it so easy for people who belong to the Lord to get crossways with one another and why does Paul see unity as such an important aspects of being a part of God’s people?
In what ways are you thankful for God who is near.
Why is it so easy for us to rejoice when our enemies fall? Why would the proverb writer instruct us not to do so?
Isaiah 66.1-24; Philippians 3.5-21; Psalm 74.1-23; Proverbs 24.15-16
Fleetwood Mac were not the first to point out one can go their own ways; the prophet Isaiah wrote similar words back in his day. The challenge with Isaiah’s words are that even though you can chose your ways, the results will not be good. Look at what Isaiah writes. How do his words compare to your own results when you have tried to go at it on your own?
If everything on heaven and earth belongs to God, how should our actions reflect this?
Use Philippians 3.10-11 as your prayer for today.
Have you ever felt rejected by God? How did you respond?
Why does it only take one disaster to overthrow the wicked?
Isaiah 62.6-65.25; Philippians 2.19-3.4; Psalm 73.1-28; Proverbs 24.13-14
“We put no confidence in human effort.” Paul’s words tend to be difficult for us to fully accept. On the surface, we would agree with him: there is nothing we can do to gain salvation from God. We have heard this enough to recognize the truth in the statement, yet there is a part of us that tries to prove otherwise. We cannot stand the thought of not earning our way, of doing enough to be recognized. In what ways do you rely on Jesus and what he has done for you rather than trying to earn your standing with God through human efforts?
What has God done beyond your expectations?
How have you rejoiced in the Lord today?
Describe a time you have been bitter, yet God still held on to you. How do you continue to remind yourself of his presence in your life?
In what ways have you found wisdom to be sweet as honey?
Isaiah 54.1-57.14; Ephesians 6.1-24; Psalm 70.1-5; Proverbs 24.8
The writers of ancient literature would often times categorize people into grouping so as to give instruction to these specific collections of people. To fathers, one set of instructions; to the mothers, another, etc. Here is Ephesians, Paul does the same thing, giving instructions to the various members of the household (hence: household codes). How do you see these instructions applying to you and what “codes” or instructions are needed for your household?
How are we just and fair to all, doing what is right and good? Why is this such a rare trait in today’s world?
Why is obeying parents such an often talked about topic in Scripture?
How have you found joy and gladness in your search for God?
How do we identify those who do evil as troublemakers?
Isaiah 51.1-53.12; Ephesians 5.1-33; Psalm 69.19-36; Proverbs 24.7
This section of Isaiah (especially chapter 53) contains many references that we have heard before, most often as descriptions of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. As you read through this passage, how is your understanding of Jesus as a sacrifice for us changed or is strengthened, given the full context described by Isaiah?
In what ways is the start of Isaiah 51 the Hebrew equivalent of The Lion King’s “Remember who you are”?
“Imitate God.” How is that even possible?
Have you ever felt like no one–no one–would show you pity? What did you do in that circumstance?
Why is wisdom too lofty for fools?
Isaiah 48.12-50.11; Ephesians 4.17-32; Psalm 69.1-18; Proverbs 24.5-6
For many of us, there is no question that God is Sovereign. We consider him the Almighty and no one or no thing has power over him. If that is the case, why do we often turn to our own devices or substitutes (the Bible would call these things idols) to provide us the power we think we need in difficult times in our lives? Why would we not just trust in the power of God?
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.” Do we think this? How do our actions demonstrate this to be true … or not?
How does the Spirit renew our thoughts or actions?
In what ways do we understand our prayers differently when we realize we are praying to the God of unfailing love?
In what ways are people who are wise mightier than those who are strong?
Isaiah 41.17-43.13; Ephesians 2.1-22; Psalm 67.1-7; Proverbs 23.29-35
We live in a world that rewards those who work hard. An independent spirit and the desire (and ability) to pull oneself up by one’s own bootstraps are at times idolized or celebrated as the ideal characteristics of good member of society. The problem is that when we begin to approach our faith and following God with this same attitude, we actually prevent ourselves from coming to him. Our salvation is God’s masterpiece. We can’t do enough to gain it, not can we create it for ourselves. We can only accept that God has given it to us. How do you celebrate the gift of God’s grace in your life?
How often do you give credit to God for the things he has done, versus just assuming his good things are “life per normal?”
How difficult is it for you to understand you were dead to your sins, especially if your life has never been full of sin?
Today, may God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us.
Summarize today’s reading from Proverbs in a sentence. Why do you think this issue was so important to the proverb writer?