As we start this new year, God has put it on my heart to pray scripture in the coming days. There will be a slight change to my format, but I hope you will join me in raising our voices in prayer.
Dear God, may we, like Paul, struggle on behalf of others. May we have a heart for those we know and those we don’t know and may we grow to know you more of you each day.
READ Colossains 2:1-3
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.“
- What does Paul tell us about what he has been doing, and what does that tell you about what we should be doing?
- What does Paul want believers to “be”?
- What does the image of hearts knit together tell you about how we are connected to our fellow believers?
- What does he want them to reach?
- He wants them to be fully assured of and understand God’s mystery – Christ – in whom are what?
- Take time to pray this for the people in your church, pastors, believers across our nation and around the world.
Dear Father God, we praise you that you have given us the example of Paul. A man that was completely transformed and made new in Christ. Lord give us hearts like his. Give us hearts that desire to struggle with and for those we know and those we don’t. We pray today that our hearts may be encouraged, and that you would knit together the hearts of all believers everywhere. That we would see the image of God in each one and love the way that you have loved us. Lord help each believer grown to truly know Christ that we may have godly wisdom and knowledge so as to minister to one another and all. In Jesus Name… Amen
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Lord God, Jesus is victorious! Let us live in this truth and see His power in your word today.
Revelation isn’t what we usually think about when we are anticipating the birth of our Savior. But, I think it is important to look at who Christ is as we prepare to see His coming as a helpless baby.
READ Revelation 1:9-18
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.'” Revelation 1:17-18
- Can you imagine seeing a vision of the risen Savior? Here we see a description of John’s vision and Jesus’s directive. What does Jesus ask him to do?
- In John’s awe, he falls to His knees and Jesus does what?
- Jesus first comforts John and then declares who He is. Write down the phrases that He uses to describe Himself.
- We see a picture of a victorious, risen, eternal Savior what is your reaction?
Lord you are mighty. You are victorious. You are the first and the last and you are the Living One. We praise you for you have conquered death and hold the keys to our eternity. Lord as we prepare to celebrate your birth, help us to see your power and majesty wrapped in the tiny baby in a manger. Help us to see what you gave up to come to earth to be our Savior. Alleluia! In Jesus Name… Amen
Lord God, thank you that the story did not end at the cross. Help us to see a picture of our risen Savior in your word today.
READ Matthew 28:16-20
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
- What has God given to Jesus?
- With that authority, Jesus gives what directive?
- He gives a specific command about who are to be made disciples and how this is done. Write it down.
- Then – he gives one of the most comforting passages in scripture. What does he tell us in Matthew 28:20?
- Has this passage helped you see Jesus and your relationship with him in a new way?
- How does that change the way you will approach life in the new year?
Lord we are so thankful that you have equipped us with the gift of your Holy Spirit. You have given us a purpose and have not left us alone to fulfill it. Today, help us to see your plan more clearly and help us to trust you to guide us, knowing that you will indeed fulfill the purpose you have for each one of us (Psalm 138:8). In Jesus Name – Amen
Lord God, thank you for Your finished work on the cross. Lord help us to see your purpose more clearly, and work in our hearts and minds to reveal yourself to us today.
READ John 19:28-30
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said,’It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30
- Jesus came for a purpose – think back to our study of Jesus as the good Shepherd. (“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15). What is that purpose?
- What does Jesus’s statement “It is finished” say to you (Read also Romans 5:6-11?
- He died for you. Jesus died so that you may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Write a praise to God for the gift of His Son!
Lord help us to live abundantly through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Him the founder and perfecter of our faith. Help us to celebrate Jesus’s coming while we remember the purpose of it. Lord help us have hearts and lips full of your praises for we who were once dead have been made alive in Christ. In Jesus name….Amen
Lord God, help us to see you in your word today. Speak into our hearts your comfort and love. May the picture of the relationship between the Father & Son and your relationship to us become more clear. May your word fulfill its purpose today.
READ John 14:1-6
“‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.'” John 14:2-3 NIV
- Jesus begins this passage by comforting His disciples. What are the commands he gives them in verse 1?
- He then reiterates that He is leaving. But what comforting picture does He give to His disciples?
- He then reminds them that He will be returning, and for what purpose?
- Though Jesus affirms that they will know the way, Thomas questions that they actually know the way. What is Jesus’s response?
- As He seeks to comfort and encourage His disciples, Jesus gives a specific directive about the path to His Father’s House – what is it?
- Though only 6 verses, we learn a lot about Jesus, His relationship to us and His relationship to the Father. If you know Him as your Lord and Savior – He is preparing a place for you. Alleluia! What comfort and direction did this passage bring to you?
Lord help us to take comfort in knowing that you have gone ahead to prepare a place for us and that you will return again to bring us home. Help us have confidence in the truth of your word and the life that you offer. May we know your Father as we grow to know you. In Jesus name – amen….
Lord help us to see your love for us as we see this picture of you as our good Shepherd.
READ John 10:11-18
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” John 10:14
- Make a list of how Jesus describes himself as shepherd.
- How does this contrast with the hired hand?
- What is the result of Jesus’s shepherding (v. 16)?
- Jesus says repeatedly in this short passage that He will lay down His life for His sheep. Count how many times he says it.
- After He lays down His life what does He do?
- Verse 18 brings a profound statement and a little revelation into the relationship between the Father and the Son. What does Jesus say?
- Jesus says, I have been given the “charge” to lay down my life, I have been given authority to do this and I do this because I choose to do it. Jesus loves you so much that He chose to lay down His life for you… His sheep. You are His. You are part of His flock. He cares for you as He cares for all of His sheep, with love, completely and sacrificially. What is your response?
- “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20
Father God, help us to see Jesus as the one who does your will. The one who offers us a life transforming gift when we choose to look on Him and believe.
READ John 6:35-40
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’” John 6:35-40
- What does Jesus claim to be and what does that satisfy?
- What does verse 38 tell us about Jesus?
- Using verses 39 & 40 write down what God’s will for His Son is.
- When we choose to look on the Son and believe we are given eternal life – Alleluia! Looking at verses 37 and 40 what does Jesus tell us about that promise?
- Jesus came to the will of the Father – to save those who look to Him in faith and trust Him for their salvation. Have you put your full faith and trust in Christ and His saving work on the cross?
Lord God you sent your Son to do your will. You sent your Son to be the propitiation for our sins. You have ordained that He would raise up His followers on the last day! Lord, help us to live according to this truth. Lord help us to have “the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
Lord God help us to grow to understand more of who you are by what we study in your word. Who we see of Jesus and the lessons He taught as those around Him struggled to fully understand just as we do. Lord transform our minds to be like yours.
READ Luke 22:24-27
“A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” Luke 22:24-27
- What were Jesus’s disciples arguing about?
- Seems a little crazy that they are seated with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and they are arguing about which one of them is the greatest. Jesus instead tells them what the greatest looks like in His kingdom – write it down.
- Jesus then contrasts what the picture of greatness looks like from a worldly perspective. Write it down.
- How do these two world views differ?
- Even as Lord of all Jesus instead gives himself which title (read also Mark 10:42-45).
- How is God calling you to serve Him today?
Lord serving you can look like many things. Help us to hear your call, see the need in our families and neighborhoods and offices. May we serve as Christ came to serve, may we love with the love that comes from you. In Jesus Name…
Father God, you have created us with a spiritual thirst. One that will not be satisfied by anything but you. You have put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), may we open our eyes to the truth of your love. May we open our hearts to your living water.
Read all of John 4:1-26
“The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:11-14
- Why was the woman surprised that Jesus asked her for a drink?
- What is Jesus’s response to her?
- This paints a beautiful picture of our spiritual thirst. We can all relate to the idea of having physical thirst, but what Jesus is seeking to satiate is so much more. What does this tell you about your need for Christ?
- As the passage concludes, Jesus shares some powerful truths about God the Father and God the Son. What does verse 24 tell you about God? What does Jesus reveal about himself in verses 25 & 26.
- Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah to a struggling woman from a people with whom Jews never associated & what does that tell you about who he came to seek and save?
- What is Jesus invitation to you?
- God put eternity in our hearts for a reason – he has put us here at this time in these circumstances in this place that we would seek him (Acts 17:26-27). He reveals himself in His creation, in His word, and through the gift of His Son. How does that help you look at your life in a different way?
Lord God may our attitude be as the psalmist writes…”As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2) Lord may we look to Jesus to quench that thirst and may the springs of eternal life well up inside us so that we can pour out your love and life to others.
Dear God, you have revealed yourself through your Son and through the scriptures. Open our eyes to Christ this advent. May we know You more and more as we study the life of Christ and look toward His return. Soften our hearts to your truth that we may rest in the cover of your love.
“At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” H
- Here little children is used to describe people who seek Jesus with simple faith. How does this picture contrast to the image of those who do not approach Jesus this way?
- What authority does Jesus reveal in verse 27.
- What details about the intimate relationship between the Father and Son is revealed in this passage?
- What invitation does Jesus make to all who hear (read) of Him?
- Two yoked oxen also share a very intimate relationship. One takes the heavy burden and leads – but unless both work together the cart will struggle to move easily or straight. What does Jesus demonstrate about the kind of relationship He desires to have with you?
- Jesus proclaims that “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (vs. 30) What burden are you carrying around on your shoulders today? Give Jesus the heavy weight upon you and take His yoke upon you.
- Jesus reveals who His Father is and who He is by what he shared throughout His life. What did you learn about the God today?
Lord God you desire to be in relationship with us. Lord you desire to be our rest, and yet we carry around our burdens and struggle to accept your beautiful peace. Help us today to come. To come to you, lay down our burden at your feet and take up your yoke. Help us to experience your gentleness & love as you lead us. Knowing that when we come to you with faith like children we are bound together for eternity by your work on the cross. In Jesus name – Amen.