Boasting – September 8, 2019

Isaiah 1.1-2.22; 2 Corinthians 10.1-18; Psalm 52.1-9; Proverbs 22.26-27

If you are like most people, you probably have an accomplishment in your life that you enjoy boasting about, in the most humble sort of way, I mean. There are things we do that bring us pride and joy, things that demonstrate some ability we have crafted and honed in order to be useful in the world in which we live. But how often do you hear people boast in the Lord? What would it take for us to transform our own boasting–even when it is probably not considered wrong–into a moment in which we get to highlight the Lord’s working through us?

Questions:

Why is it so troubling for us when our children rebel?

How does God demonstrate his “mighty weapons” today?

What happens when we trust in our wealth more than we trust in the Lord? Wealth is powerful; how can we keep from trusting too much in it?

Why would we consider not putting up security for someone sound advice?

Unfailing Love – September 7, 2019

Song of Songs 5.1-8.14; 2 Corinthians 9.1-15; Psalm 51.1-19; Proverbs 22.24-25

Here is the most amazing thing about God’s mercy: We do not deserve it, at all, yet because of his unfailing love, he gives it to us anyway. Tell me another instance in which that is the case, where one so undeserving gets a gift beyond description? What helps you realize you get God’s mercy because of him, not because of what you did to deserve it?

Questions:

How does the love letter we know as the Song of Songs compare to the love letters you have written?

In what ways are you eager to help others? How does your eagerness increase when that help includes the opportunity to share through giving?

In what ways do we try to purify ourselves rather than letting God be the one who creates in us a clean heart?

Why are hot-tempered people so influential on us, versus us calming them?

Thankfulness – September 6, 2019

Song of Songs 1.1-4.16; 2 Corinthians 8.16-24; Psalm 50.1-23; Proverbs 22.22-23

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for us to do, especially in the midst of our busy, crazy, overpacked lives, it to be sure we have a heart of thanksgiving. It is not that we do not want to be thankful or even that we are NOT thankful, it just is easier to get caught up in the motions and become trapped in our hectic schedules than to pause and give thanks. Spend some time today listing those things for which you are thankful to God.

Questions:

What are your initial reactions as you read through this section of Song of Songs?

Why do you think people might have criticized the way Paul was handling the collection that had been given for the churches in Jerusalem?

Why do you think people find it easier to focus on the routine of our life and worship to God rather than having a heart that is really dedicated to Him?

Why is it so easy for people to take advantage of the poor, needy, and oppressed?

Fear God and Obey His Commandments – September 5, 2019

Ecclesiastes 10.1-12.14; 2 Corinthians 8.1-15; Psalm 49.1-20; Proverbs 22.20-21

If you read through the entire book of Ecclesiastes, the writer explores every possible manner of finding happiness and success. And after all is said and done, his conclusion is this: Fear God and keep his commandments. How would your life improve if your entire focus was this?

Questions:

How have you seen foolishness spoil great wisdom and honor?

Do we think of the opportunity to share a financial gift as a privilege? Why or why not?

Do you fear when trouble surrounds you? How can you avoid doing this?

Where do you find sayings of advice and knowledge? How can you seek these out more?

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry – September 4, 2019

Ecclesiastes 7.1-9.18; 2 Corinthians 7.8-16; Psalm 48.1-14; Proverbs 22.17-19

It is interesting that the writer of Ecclesiastes determines that the way to live life is to enjoy it: to eat, drink, and be merry. In what ways does this attitude match how you live your life? In what ways does it seem contrary to your attitude, and perhaps even what you think God might advocate as a “good life?”

Questions:

Would you say that people today have a hard time taking dying to heart? Why do you think this is the case?

We often hesitate speaking a strong word of correction against someone. How does Paul’s writing here give us reason to reconsider this hesitancy?

Spend some time today meditating on God’s unfailing love.

How have the words of wise people help you trust in the Lord?

Three Stranded Cord – September 3, 2019

Ecclesiastes 4.1-6.12; 2 Corinthians 6.14-7.7; Psalm 47.1-9; Proverbs 22.16

People who study these things tell us that people today feel more alone than any other time in history. While there may be many causes for this, the result of this loneliness may need to be our focus. The writer of the Ecclesiastes reminds us going at it alone can be dangerous, not to mention more difficult. Who have you surrounded yourself with who make up a part of your three-stranded cord?

Questions:

Have you ever felt like the world is in such poor shape that it would have been better to have not been born? How do we address this feeling of despair?

What reasons does Paul gives–or do you presume he thinks–as to why one should not team up with an unbeliever?

What has God done that makes you want to applaud him?

Would you agree that those who oppose the poor today end up in poverty? Why or why not?

Ever Increasing Glory – August 29, 2019

Job 31.1-33.33; 2 Corinthians 3.1-18; Psalm 43.1-5; Proverbs 22.8-9

Wouldn’t it be nice if when we came to a place where we expressed our belief in God and his redemption through Jesus Christ, we suddenly became perfect? No more wrestling with sin, no more living in the reality of a glory we have inherited, but haven’t fully received. The bad news is that it doesn’t work that way, obviously. But there is good news. God is continuing to work in us and through us and we are being transformed into people who look more and more like him. Praise be to God who changes us into his image!

Questions:

Do we believe that being wicked or doing evil leads to calamity? Why or why not?

In what ways have you discovered that your ability to do good is not based on your own qualifications, but the abilities given to us by God?

How does putting your hope in God eliminate discouragement from your life?

How do you show generosity to others?