Bible Readings for June 27 – July 3

Galatians 4

How does the knowledge that you are God’s son or daughter and his heir affect how you view your relationship with him?

What is the difference between knowing God and being known by God?

Is there anyone you care so much for their spiritual well-being that watching their progress is like being in the “anguish of childbirth” until Christ is formed in them? Is this an unusual way to describe this process? Why or why not?

Galatians 5

What does it mean for you to be free in Christ?

What are things that hinder you from obeying the truth? What are ways you can get rid of those things in your life?

As you view the list of the flesh and the list of the Spirit, what stands out to you? Which of these two lists best describe you? Why?

Galatians 6

Describe a time when you were able to restore someone who was in sin? Who in your life needs similar restoration today?

Are you weary of doing good? Do you know someone who is? How can you encourage someone so they can continue to do good, but do it in a refreshed way?

In what things do you boast?

Luke 1

In what ways have you found Luke’s gospel to be an “orderly account”? How has this order been helpful for you as you work to strengthen your faith?

How do you think you would have reacted had you been Zechariah and an angel appeared to you?

How can you say to God today: “Let it be according to your word”?

Read the songs of Mary and/or Zechariah as a time of praise today.

Luke 2

How does the birth of Jesus compare to how one might imagine the coming of the savior of the world?

How has the birth of Jesus been “good news of great joy” for you and the people you know?

How are Jesus’ actions as a boy consistent with what you might expect from him? How are they different than what you would have expected?

Bible Readings for June 20-26

James 4

What does it mean to be a friend of the world and how does that make you an enemy of God, according to James?

In what ways are you working to ensure you show humility in your life?

Sometimes we act as if there is nothing we can do to avoid Satan and his schemes but James seems to think otherwise. How are you resisting the devil today? What specific things can you do to accomplish this?

James 5

Why is it at times difficult for us to be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord?

How often do we confess our sins to one another and pray for each other? How can we do this more?

Galatians 1

In what ways might Paul accuse us today of turning from the gospel of Christ?

Why is it so easy for good followers of Jesus to find themselves caught up in trying to please the people around them, versus God? Why do we worry so much what others think?

How do we receive a “revelation” of the gospel of Christ? How can we work to make sure it is God’s message, not our own?

Galatians 2

How does your story of coming to faith and your involvement in ministry compare to Paul’s?

Have you ever had to call out someone who was not living consistent with the message of Christ (and perhaps they thought they were)? How’d it go?

Does your life show that you have been crucified with Christ and that he lives in you, through faith? In what ways?

Galatians 3

How does our answer to Paul’s question about whether we received the Spirit by the works we do or the faith we have affect our life and actions today?

Why did Christ have to be a curse for us in order to redeem us from our own curse? What sort of gratitude do you feel for him doing so?

How can we live out Paul’s statement that there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for we are all one in Christ” today? In what ways are you working to build up the unity of the Christ’s body, the church?

Galatians 5.22-26 – October 21, 2020

Galatians 5.22–26

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  (Galatians 5.22–26, NIV)

Do you live by the Spirit? Is your life full of love, joy, peace…

Thought Questions:

How have you seen the fruit of the Spirit visible in your life?

In what ways have you been able to put aside the flesh, to avoid those things that are not consistent with the fruit of the Spirit?

Why is your relationship with others such a big part of a Spirit filled life?

Galatians 5.1 – August 13, 2020

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  (Galatians 5:1 , NIV)

In what seems like a redundant statement, our freedom–freedom for the bondage of sin–is what Christ died for in order for us to be free.

Thought Questions:

If you were asked to define to word “freedom,” what would you say? In what ways do you see this as similar or different to the way Paul is using that word here?

How does sin create a yoke of slavery in our lives?

You hear about people who have been “freed” from certain struggles or addiction, yet go right back to them. Why do you think people do this? Why would someone want to give up the freedom they have found in this way?

Galatians 5.19-21 – May 25, 2020

Galatians 5:19–21

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19–21, NIV)

As we strive to know what to do to live a Godly life, we also need to be sure we are aware of what NOT to do, as well.

Thought Questions:

Do you think the “acts of the flesh” are obvious? Are they obvious to the people around us? In what ways might we find them less than obvious?

As you look through the list Paul gives here, are any of them things you find others–or perhaps even yourself–doing often? Why do you think someone might do these, even when they know they should not?

How does inheriting the kingdom of God motivate you to live a more faithful life?

Tower of Refuge – September 17, 2019

Isaiah 25.1-28.13; Galatians 3.10-22; Psalm 61.1-8; Proverbs 23.17-18

In a world that was filled with individuals or bands of people who would raid neighboring villages, a tower of refuge stood tall, a symbol of protection and security. All throughout scripture, but especially in this passage from Isaiah, we get a picture of God being the one who protects those who need such a refuge, people who have no other recourse. How has God been a tower of refuge for you when you needed it most?

Questions:

Why does it seem odd that Isaiah starts this reading with words of praise for the “wonderful things” God has done, yet all of the surrounding texts have spoken of doom and gloom?

Describe a time that you were aware you were a prisoner of sin, yet free through the power of Jesus.

How does it feel to be sheltered under God’s wings?

The proverb writer tells us not to envy sinners, but why is this so easy to do, at times? What can we do to help us NOT envy them?

I’ve Been Crucified… – September 16, 2019

Isaiah 22.1-24.23; Galatians 2.17-3.9; Psalm 60.1-12; Proverbs 23.15-16

“I have been crucified and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2.20) How can you live in such a way as to claim this verse as your own?

Questions:

How often does our world fall apart around us, yet we never humble ourselves and ask God for his help? How can we be sure this is our first response, not the one that happens after all other options have been exhausted?

In what ways is it a word of comfort for you that the children of Abraham are not determined by biological link, but by belief in Christ?

What circumstances in your life cause you to cry out to God for rescue? How has God responded?

Celebrate a time when your child–either a biological child or a child of faith–showed a wise heart.

Faith or Works? – September 15, 2019

Isaiah 19.1-21.17; Galatians 2.1-16; Psalm 59.1-17; Proverbs 23.13-14

As Paul writes to the church in Galatia, one of their actions is the cause for him to write some of the strongest criticism we see in any of his writings: They are turning away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. It would appear that the main sticking point for Paul is the idea that one needs something more than Jesus in order find salvation in God. To Paul, any salvation you have to work for, that is, any salvation that requires certain actions to be considered an “insider” means that you have no need for Jesus. Obviously, this cannot be the case. Why was it so difficult for the Galatians to believe that their faith in Jesus Christ to redeem them was enough for salvation? Why is it at times difficult for us to do the same?

Questions:

How would you have liked to have been told by God to walk around naked and barefoot in order to communicate a message to His people? What is the most awkward manner of message delivering you have encountered?

Why do you think Paul spent as much time as he did explaining his “backstory” to the Galatian people?

What helps you “sing of God’s power” even in the midst of attacks from your enemies?

How does physical discipline save individuals from death?

Approved by God or Man? – September 14, 2019

Isaiah 15.1-18.7; Galatians 1.1-24; Psalm 58.1-11; Proverbs 23.12

For many of us, we have a strong desire to live lives that God wants us to live. Our desire is to please him and that remains our steadfast focus … until the pressures of living that life becomes crossways with the desires and approval of people around us. While we certainly do not WANT to seek man’s approval over God’s, it can be difficult for us to actually do so in the stress of “real life.” Why is this the case and what can we do to avoid seeking to please those around us more than God?

Questions:

Why does it take complete destruction of a nation or for people to hit rock bottom before they turn to their Creator?

Why do you think the letter to the Galatians lacks any sort of formal thanksgiving, which is a part of every other letter of Paul’s?

Do you know the meaning of the word “justice?” How does your life demonstrate that you do?

In what ways do you make sure you are committing yourself to receiving instruction from God?