Monday, December 28, 2009: Colossians 2
Read Colossians 1:3-6, 1:9-14, 2:2-3, and 2:6-7. Pause and pray that God’s word will take root in your heart and that the Spirit will build you up in faith, hope, and love, so that you will live a life pleasing to God in every way. Now read Colossians 2:1-10. Reflect on the wonder of Jesus (2:9). Paul’s words are rich and merit reflection. Consider Colossians 2:11-14 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 with Ezekiel 36:25-27, which embraces promises for Israel and for believers. Now read Colossians 2:16-23. Compare 2:2-3 and 9-10 with 2:17. How do these teachings about Jesus help us stand against the spiritual forces that might lead us astray? Pray with a grateful heart (2:7), rejoicing in Jesus.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009: Colossians 3
Read Colossians 3:1-4 with Hebrews 12:1-3 and 1 John 3:2-3. Pause and pray. Read Colossians 3:1-17. How does Paul define greed (3:5)? Do we see sin in others more easily than in ourselves? Read 3:5-14 again; confess your sin and pray that you will be clothed with the characteristics of Jesus (3:12-17). Now read Colossians 3:18 – 4:1. How do these directives for Christian households, which speak of selflessness, reflect the heart of Jesus (Philippians 2:6-8)? Side note: Though slavery was prevalent in biblical times, God continually sets captives and slaves free. God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt; God spoke to the issue of slavery (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; 23:15-16); and God frees us from the greatest enslavement: slavery to sin (John 8:34-36). Pray.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009: Colossians 4
Paul wrote Colossians while imprisoned, yet he doesn’t ask the Colossians to pray for his freedom. For what does Paul ask them to pray (4:2-6)? In the context of 4:2-6, what does it mean to make the most of time and every opportunity? Paul’s passion is to share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. Pause and pray that this will also be your desire. Read 4:7-18. What does Paul write about Epaphras (4:12)? For what does Epaphras pray? Let his prayer concerns guide your time of prayer fellowship with the Lord.
Thursday, December 31, 2009: Hebrews 1
Many believe that Hebrews was originally written to encourage Jewish Christians facing suffering and persecution. They must not turn back to the old covenant, but rather stand strong in their faith, fixing their eyes on Jesus (12:2). Begin by reading John 1:1-3, 1:14, and 1:18; Colossians 1:16, 1:19a and 2:9; and Hebrews 1:3 and 1:8. What glorious truths these are for meditation on the brink of a new year! Now read all of Hebrews 1. Bask in the wondrous glory of Jesus. Notice the promise and prophecy of 1:10-12. Thank God for the comfort of 1:14 (see also Psalm 91:11). Pray!
Friday, January 1, 2010: Hebrews 2
Yesterday we read about the glorious identity of Jesus, who came to die to pay the penalty for our sin, that we might live in God’s presence forever. Today’s text begins with a warning. What is it (Hebrews 2:1)? How, or through whom, did God testify about salvation (2:2-4)? Read Hebrews 2:5-9. Some versions translate the pronouns in 2:7-8 as “them/their;” some as “him/his.” Read 2:10-18. Ponder 2:9, 2:14-15 and 2:17 with Romans 5:12, 5:15-19, and 2 Corinthians 5:21. With a thankful heart, tell Jesus of your love for him. Spend time in worship and praise.
Saturday, January 2, 2010: Hebrews 3
Read Hebrews 3:1 and 12:1-2a. Pray you will fix your thoughts and eyes on Jesus. Read Hebrews 3:1-6. The writer of Hebrews explains (and will continue to explain) that Jesus is greater than Moses (the New Covenant, sealed with Jesus’ blood, is greater than the Old, sealed with the blood of animal sacrifices). “Christianity grew out of Judaism just as the flower grows out of the root. Hidden away in the ritual of the root was the color, the fragrance, and the beauty of the flower of grace.” (Real Faith, C.S. Price). Hold this image as we continue to read through Hebrews. Read Jeremiah 31:31-33, Matthew 5:17-18, 26:26-29, and 1 Corinthians 11:25. Hebrews 3:7-19 warns about the danger of hard hearts. Read 3:7-19, and pray your heart will stay tender and true.
Sunday, January 3, 2010: Psalm 146
Read Psalm 146:1-2 aloud. Consider that God is worthy of all honor and praise. Ponder Psalm 22:3 (NKJV): “You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel (your people),” and Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Notice the transition from thanksgiving to praise as the worshiper nears the presence of the Lord. Now read all of Psalm 146. In whom alone should we trust and put our hope? What does it mean for you to know that God is faithful forever (146:6b)? Spend time in worship and praise.