Monday, February 1, 2010 Philippians 1
This was a personal letter to the Philippians. Paul wanted to thank them and, in verses 4-5, tell them they were a source of joy to him by helping him and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Could this be said about you? Are you a source of joy? Are you willing to spread the good news? Verse 6 assures us that God begins the good work in us and will finish it. Do you believe this? In verses 9-11 we are reminded of our part as we grow in spiritual knowledge. What do these verses say to you? Verses 20-24 tell us about Paul’s desire to honor God in life and death. What does he mean? 1 John 3:2-3 affirms that, once we know our eternal purpose, we are free to serve. Does your heart know that your purpose is to be with Christ? Pray about your freedom in Christ.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010 Philippians 2
Read verses 1-18. What do you think was the problem with the church in Philippi? What are the four motives for living in unity? How is this unity connected to humility? Verse 5 tells us that our attitude should be like Christ’s. What would change if you consistently applied verses 3-8 in your church? In your family? In your workplace? Read verses 14-18 again. What is the difference between humility (using your strength for the good of others) and being a doormat? Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or are you willing to serve? We are asked to “shine like stars in the universe” (verse 15). Reflect on this. Are you a twinkle, a bright light or burned out? Ask the Lord to help you apply these verses to your life.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010 Philippians 3
Verses 1-11 tell us that the notion of following Old Testament laws (mainly circumcision) in order receive salvation is foolish. Paul criticized the Jewish Christians because they believed that what they did made them believers, rather than the free gift of grace given by Christ. What confidences are diverting your trust from God? Good works? Good looks? Reputation? Thank God for the free gift of grace, and ask forgiveness for those things that block you from gaining Christ. In verses 12-21 we are told to “press on toward the goal.” What is the goal? Verses 18-20 contrast those who oppose Christ to those whose citizenship is in heaven. Verses 20-21 reveal the glory of citizens of heaven. How do you stand firm against the opposition of verses 18-19?
Thursday, February 4, 2010 Philippians 4
Paul seeks, once again, to lead workers for Christ in the church to be reconciled to one another. Read verses 4-6. What would a person who practiced all these qualities be like? How do these qualities relate to Paul’s peace objectives (verses 2-3, 7, and 9)? Read verses 8-9. What are you putting into your mind through television, books, movies and magazines? Pray that God will help you apply these verses to your life. Paul closes the fourth chapter of Philippians with thanks for their gifts. In verses 11-13, Paul expresses his contentment, whatever the circumstances. How do you view his contentment: independent, egotistical or hopeful? Perhaps he lived and believed 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Are you content? Do you have great needs? Or are you discontented because you don’t have all that you want? What can you do to be content?
Friday, February 5, 2010 Romans 1
Paul wrote this letter to introduce himself to the church at Rome. The main issue in Romans is how anyone can be right with God on the final day of judgment. Paul makes it clear that no one has an edge on God. All are condemned who live by the law, since no one can fulfill the law. Then, after laying that news on us, he is quick to tell us of the good news: salvation by grace through Jesus Christ. How did God call you to Christ? Has that calling changed your life? Your goals? Your sense of obligation to others? Read verses 18-30. What is wrong with people’s relationships with God? Why is it easy for us to worship creation and not honor the Creator? What do you worship? The one true God, or idols of your own making? Paul reveals the downward spiral into sin. Does life without God look like freedom to you? We do have choices. Read the list of sins in verses 29-32. How do you feel about some of your faults listed right along with the awful sins that others commit? Spend time in prayer, asking God for forgiveness and thanking him for his grace.
Saturday, February 6, 2010 Romans 2
Yesterday we considered the difference between living for self and living to please the Lord. Next, James admonishes the self-indulgent rich (5:1-6). In Timothy 6:17-19, we learn how the rich should live. James reminds us (5:7-12) that the Lord will return, and exhorts us to live with patient perseverance as we await his coming. In the final verses of James (5:13-20), we read about the importance of gratitude and praise in times of blessing, and of the need for fervent prayer in times of sickness and need. Notice the connection between repentance, forgiveness and healing. Have you ever considered that the greatest healing of all is the forgiveness of sin? (See Matthew 9:1-8, 12-13.) Spend some time in prayer.
Sunday, February 7, 2010 Psalm 28
David writes this Psalm as someone surrounded by trouble and wickedness. Verse 3 speaks of pretending goodness while planning evil. In verses 2-5, what does David ask for? In verses 8-9 there seems to be a change in his heart. Why? Have you ever felt as desperate as David in this Psalm? In verses 6-9, what image sums up how you feel about God now? The shepherd? The fortress? Pray verse 28:7. There are spiritual battles around us, and in them God is our strength and shield. Ask God for his protection, and thank him for it.