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BIBLE READING
 
March 20: Colossians 1
March 21: Colossians 2
March 22: Colossians 3
March 23: Colossians 4
March 24: Proverbs 1
 
March 27: Proverbs 2
March 28: Proverbs 3
March 29: Proverbs 4
March 30: Proverbs 5
March 31: Proverbs 6
 
April 3: Proverbs 7
April 4: Proverbs 8
April 5: Proverbs 9
April 6: Proverbs 10
April 7: Proverbs 11
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Proverbs 1

 

Scripture

Proverbs 1:5

 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—

Observation – What does it say?

The author of this portion of Proverbs, Solomon, is letting his audience know from the outset his purpose in sharing these proverbs. The purpose of the sayings in this book is to help us to gain wisdom. A couple good definitions I’ve heard for wisdom are applied knowledge and skill in living.

In this verse he invites the wise to listen along with the simple. These wise statements are not only for the fool but for those who are already wise and discerning. Wisdom cries out, “Come to me and I will teach you!” And to anyone who would respond to the invitation – wise or foolish, discerning or simple, old or young – wisdom is available.

Understanding – What does it mean?

First of all, I’m reminded that I’ve got a lot to learn! I wouldn’t be quick to identify myself with the wise. I still make mistakes, I still make dumb decisions, I still have struggles in my life that are a result of my actions. And, it’s not because I’m trying to sabotage my own life. It’s because I’m desperate for wisdom!

Solomon, who wrote these proverbs, was extended the most incredible invitation from God in Scripture: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:4) Imagine God said that to you. What would you ask for? Solomon asked for wisdom. He recognized his desperation for wisdom. 

We would be wise to recognize the same. It will do us no good to read through the rest of the book of Proverbs unless we first recognize our need for wisdom.

Second, I’m reminded of the source of wisdom: God.

Job 32:8-9

But it is the spirit in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
It is not only the old who are wise,
    not only the aged who understand what is right.

Wisdom does not come with age. There are plenty of old people living like fools. Neither does wisdom come with experience. It’s possible for us to have experiences and rather than learning from them we just continue making the same mistakes. Wisdom comes from God. And since it comes from God alone, there is only one place to turn when we need it.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

If our desire is the same as Solomon’s, then we have a promise from God that he will fulfill that desire. If any of you
lacks wisdom ask God and he’ll give it to you!

Life Application

Follow Solomon’s example and respond to God’s invitation in James by asking for wisdom!

As we continue through Proverbs, be teachable and open, reading with an awareness of need and an expectation to gain wisdom.

God, I humble myself before you. Uproot any pride in my life and notion that I have it together. Thank you so much for your invitation and promise to grant wisdom to each of us who ask. So today we ask – Please fill us with wisdom. As we continue to read your word, speak to us. And may it not just be head knowledge, but give us the strength to apply it to our lifes. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Colossians 4

 

Scripture

Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Observation-What does it say?

The theme of Colossians is the overall sufficiency of Christ for salvation and sanctification (gotquestions.org). It’s very important to point this out as some of the encouragement/exhortations that Paul gives the church in Colosse may seem like it was work they were to do in their own strength, when actually it was a result of who they were in Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”1 John‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 Christ’s light in us should not result in a double life of being a Christian on Sunday, but living a worldly life during the week. Outsiders (unbelievers) are always watching us, the way we conduct ourselves, act towards them and speak with them. They should be asking us where the purpose of our hope lies, instead of asking us why we claim one thing, yet still walk in darkness, aka are hypocrites.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Walk in and WITH the Light, not in the darkness.

The world has enough darkness of its own. It is desperate for the light of Christ and the light shines brightest in the darkness.

Dear Jesus, I pray that You would shine Your light in us. I pray that through our love for each other, they will know we are Christians. I pray that because of the love You’ve given us for them in the way we act and speak, they will know we belong to You. I pray that Your love in us would draw them to You. Thank You Jesus that it is Your power working through us through Your Holy Spirit that enables us to be witnesses in this world. May Your Name be praised because of all the people You will choose to draw to yourself as a result of our faith, surrender and obedience to You.Amen.  

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To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Colossians 3

 

Scripture

Colossians 3:23

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Paul writes a letter to the Colossians to encourage and remind them of their new life in Christ. Paul tells them that they are God’s new creation, that their old and sinful ways should be buried and dead to this world. And now is the time to live a new life, a life filled with Christ. A life filled with the attributes of Jesus Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?

We all have a boss to serve…and His name is Jesus.

We’ve all been in a workplace or situations where we have to submit to people who are in authority over us that we may not particularly like. While others may defy them, Jesus calls us to submit to their authority. Work willingly for them, as though we were working for the Lord rather than people-(vs. 23). This is a great reminder for me in my workplace. I know there are times for me when I feel under appreciated or disrespected, and I just think to myself, “what’s the point?!” I mean here I am giving work my all, and management is gonna come back and not even acknowledge the hard work?! If anything they either criticize it or give me even more work to do! Ugh! Then I remember this verse. It reminds me that Jesus is watching. He sees the works that I am doing. It is Him who I am trying to please. Then I’m also reminded that as a Christ follower others around me are watching as well. They are observing how I am reacting to certain situations. That is even more incentive to work happily and willingly. This way when others may fold and break under those difficult circumstances, I can remain steadfast. Then others may ask “how I’m able to do it?” I can simply say it is my Lord and Savior Jesus who gives me strength to do so, and He is the One I work for!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

It’s all about the attitude.

No matter what comes my way today, I’m going to come at it with a grateful heart, knowing that Jesus is with me, and understanding that He is in control. Understanding that He has a purpose behind everything, whether good or bad. It’s up to me and how I carry my attitude, which can help determine how I can use those situations to glorify Him.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Colossians 2

 

Scripture

Colossians 2:23
“…regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
 
Colossians 2:17
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ

Observation

Paul exhorts the church at Colosse not to settle for the cheap counterfeit of legalism, spiritual pride, meaningless ritual and superficial worship as the means of right relationship with God and victory over temptation but rather to seek the genuine reality of these things which are found only by abiding in Christ. Paul points the believers to trade religion for relationship.

Understanding

Paul mentions that legalism, empty ritual and worship are mere shadows of a greater reality. Every one dimensional shadow that we settle for is cast by the genuine article, just as a counterfeit is a worthless rendering of the valuable original. We are compelled to look past the shadow and seek out that which is casting it. In this chapter, the shadow is the delusion of legalism and the solution to the problem is for us to be found “In Christ” who is the reality. 10 times in this chapter, as the remedy for empty, meaningless worship and the temptations of the flesh, Paul uses terms to describe intimacy with Christ as our only source of righteousness and our only hope for victory – in Him, in Christ, with Christ, by Christ. This chapter reminds me that the gospel has never been about following a list of rules and regulations or jumping through a bunch of hoops in order to overcome, to be holy, to please God and make Him love and accept us. Paul reminds us here that the ongoing process of progressive transformation is never accomplished from outside in, but it happens from the inside out as we seek to fully understand and experience who we already are “In Christ” and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to bring our earthly actions and attitudes into alignment with that heavenly position.

Life Application

So many times, I re-write Philippians 1:6 to read, “I need to carry on to completion the good work that He began in me”. However, as surely as my election and salvation were not my work but His work in me, so also are my transformation and sanctification. As faithful as He promises to be in completing that work, I need to be as faithful in cooperating with this lifetime project through surrender, humility, obedience and acceptance of the means by which He intends to affect these changes in me. 
 
To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Colossians 1

 

Scripture

Colossians 1:17

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Observation

Paul is now writing to the people of Colossae. 

He honors them and blesses God for their faith, love and hope

(v1-8).  He prays for their fruitfulness and growth in spiritual knowledge (v9-14). Then, in verse 15, Paul begins talking about the supremacy of the Son of God.  And, in the midst of speaking to His supremacy, He sums it up simply and perfectly in verse 17 with “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Understanding

I love the simplicity of this verse. 

Paul precedes and follows this verse with examples of the Son of God’s supremacy:

  • Verse 15 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
  • Verse 16 – “…in Him all things were created…”
  • Verse 18 – “…he is the head of the body…the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead…”
All of this simply reinforces that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Life Application

May we give God His proper place in our lives today – before all things.  And, may we faithfully believe that in Him all things hold together.

God, thank you for the way you love on the church and your people. 

May I remember today that you are before all things – nothing surprises you, nothing catches you off guard, you are ever-knowing.  You’ve known my steps this day and 10 years from now before I even came to live on this earth.  You designed a plan and purpose for my life before you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  May I regard you FIRST in my life, before all things. 

And, Lord, may I believe in faith that, in you, all things hold together.  As I walk in obedience to your call, to your will, no doubt there will be uncertain times.  In those times, may I remember this verse and continue to walk boldly, knowing and trusting that in you all things hold together.

Thank you for being never-changing, fully trustable you. In your name, I pray.  Amen. 

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

– Rei



Philippians 4

 

Scripture

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Observation – What does it say?

Rejoicing is a major theme in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In 3:1, he says, “Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” In other words, “Rejoice! Oh, and I’m going to keep telling you to rejoice. It doesn’t bother me to, and it’s actually good for you.” The Apostle Paul goes on to mention the word “rejoice” 8 times in this short letter. A command that was repeated so often, likely because rejoicing was something the Philippian believers, and some believers today (ahem), struggled with. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Rejoicing is just as necessary a part of our Christian journey as anything else!

In Luke’s account of the story of 2 sons (aka: The Prodigal Son) the father was determined to rejoice. And although both sons were uncomfortable for different reasons, he pleaded with them individually to come in and celebrate with him. Guess what? If we’re uncomfortable with rejoicing we’re going to be uncomfortable in heaven, because that’s what our Father is about!
 
In the Lord’s presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). We serve a God who is the source of joy, radiating it always, who loves to throw a party. And we are invited, commanded rather, to share in his joy! Not just in good times or when we feel like it, but as the Apostle Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Rejoicing creates a barrier around our faith; rejoicing glorifies God; rejoicing breathes force, passion and confidence into our confession of what we believe about God. And to be honest, rejoicing is, well, a lot more fun! The following adjectives cannot be used to describe a mature Christians: serious, irritable, mopey (think Eeyore), skeptical, negative. Rather, a sign of spiritual maturity is continual rejoicing!

Life Application

Rejoice!

Rejoicing in the Lord is our continual choice. We can choose to give into the drain of seeing our challenges and circumstances from a merely human perspective, or we can call our emotions into alignment with heaven.

God, thank you that because you are delighted in us who believe in you (regardless of our performance) we have freedom to share in your delight. Forgive us for the times we’ve chosen to give into negative emotions when you’ve offered joy. Today, we receive your joy! Help us to choose to walk in it regardless of circumstance. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Philippians 3

 

Scripture

Philippians‬ ‭3:7-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

I love this chapter! First, Paul talks about putting no confidence in our flesh, and instead consider those accomplishments loss for the sake of knowing Christ. There would be no need for Christ if all we had to do was follow a set of rules and regulations. Next, Paul encourages the church to keep pressing forward no matter what was behind, as they continue to be perfected in Christ and look above to their citizenship in heaven, not on earth. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Less of me equals more of Christ. 

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39, Matt. 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, John 12:25).
 
As Paul noted, his long list of accomplishments meant nothing and he would lose all of it just to have more of Christ in his life. No wonder God chose to use him for great things! He was more concerned about taking the focus off of his own needs, wants, desires, pride, and security, and laid it all down for the Lord, to put the focus of his life on what pleased the Lord and giving Him glory for all of it alone.
 
We can be the most beautiful/handsome, popular, wisest, gifted, talented, richest, best dressed, charismatic, healthy, happiest, perfect, law abiding citizen on this planet, but without faith in Christ, it means nothing. Without love for others and the heart of a servant, it’s just outward works that God is not impressed with. 

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭10:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Take on the form of a servant, like Jesus did. 

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What is the practical application of losing our life for Him? It’s taking on the form of a servant, like Jesus did. He left all the riches of heaven for you and me. He came not to be served, but to serve. (Matt. 20:28, Mark 10:45).

When we think of our own lives, what must we surrender to Him in order to be a better servant to Jesus in our marriages/relationships? In our church? With our finances? With our time? To our supervisors? To our children? To the lost and broken? 

Dear Jesus, you are a prime example of someone who gave up everything, even your own life, for the people you loved and were called to serve. And as Scripture says, You didn’t even use your equality with God to your advantage, but lost your life completely for our sake. I pray that You would give us Your heart of servanthood, and break us of any pride within ourselves that would make us boast in ourselves. May our lives boast in You alone because without You, we are nothing. Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Philippians 2

 

Scripture

Philippians 2:5-8

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing the church of Philippi and is encouraging them to take on the attitude of Jesus Christ. He implores them to be compassionate and loving. He reminds them to love one another and to work together for the one purpose of spreading the gospel to others. Paul tells them to not be selfish; to think of others as better than themselves. Paul tells them to humble themselves, to not only lookout for their own interests, but take an interest in others as well. Ultimately, Paul is able to point to the life of Jesus, and use that as an example of how they all should be living their lives.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus not only talked the talk, but He also walked the walk.

You know the old saying “Actions speak louder than words”? Well Jesus spoke volumes through His actions. Here is God in the flesh, who gave up His throne from Heaven, to come down to earth and be born in a lowly manger. He came not with a sense of entitlement, but rather came to us with a humble heart. He came to serve, not be served. He came to not only tell us how we should live our lives, but he also demonstrated with His actions how to do it. And above anything else, He took the fall for our sinful nature. Jesus put God’s plan, and others well being, ahead of His own. I cannot help but admire, respect, honor, and love Him for that! 

There is something about following someone that you know put in the work themselves. You know that they were once in your shoes, and found a way to get the job done. There is something about following someone that you know, when times are tough, that they don’t mind rolling up their sleeves, and getting dirty. There is something about following someone that is willing to do life with you, and has your back no matter what! There is something about following someone who puts your needs above their own, and is even willing to die for you. Now that is someone I am willing to follow and strive to be like each day!

“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” 1 John‬ ‭2:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

Does my life reflect one of Jesus Christ? What areas can I improve in?

Thank You Jesus for leaving the comforts and riches of Your throne in Heaven,  to lead us and show us how to live. Give me a humble heart to serve others the way You did. Give me the eyes for the lost so that I may help guide them and lead them to You. Give me discipline to not be stuck on my own selfish ambitions, but to instead be more driven to serve Your kingdom. In Your name Jesus I pray, Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Philippians 1

 

Scripture

Philippians 1:27          
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Observation

Paul writes to the Philippian church while a prisoner in Rome and his deep love for this church is evident from the introduction and throughout the entire letter. In this first chapter, he thanks the brethren for their partnership in the gospel and offers encouragement by reminding them of Christ’s promised faithfulness to complete the good work He has begun in them. Paul then points out that his imprisonment has actually served to advance the gospel, both by his witness within the palace and amongst those who guard him as well as outside of the prison walls as others preach the gospel more fervently in his absence, albeit from various motives. As an example of the intimate nature of this epistle Paul shares the struggle that he is experiencing; being torn between his desire to depart and be with Jesus or to remain and continue to minister with and to the Philippian church. The chapter ends with an exhortation to perseverance and unity even in the midst of struggles and as they contend for the faith.

Understanding

As metal is tested, strengthened and purified by the silversmith’s furnace, hammer and anvil; so are the Christians faith and works refined through the fires of affliction and struggle (Acts 14:22) . The question is not if one will be so tested, but when.  Jesus promised that we would suffer trials and tribulations but He also assured us that we would overcome in Him. Troubles and afflictions are God’s proving ground and His preferred arena within which He matures our faith and displays His power and glory. Charles Spurgeon says that, “[Christ] has allotted our trials to us; he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good people must never expect to escape troubles.” The Christian who would only sing, “Blessed be your Name when the sun is shining down on me and the world’s all that it should be” but not “on the road marked with suffering, when there’s pain in the offering” would be guilty of Satan’s accusation against Job; that we worship God only because He has put a hedge around us and blessed us.  Paul exhorts the Philippian church, and believers throughout the ages, to live a life that is worthy of the gospel no matter what happens – be it in times of peace, safety, health and plenty or in times of conflict, peril, weakness and want. Our ability to worship God in the midst of trials provides witness to His power and faithfulness to deliver us from the fire (Daniel 3:17).

Life Application

Lord, I pray that those who observe my life and faith from day to day would, at face value, be unable to tell if all is right in my life or if I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death; because my life of faith, love, joy, peace, praise and worship would be the same in either season. Let me not use times of trouble as an excuse to gripe, grumble and complain, but as opportunities to magnify and exalt You. May I live a life worthy of the gospel, no matter what happens.
 
To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Ephesians 5-6

 

Scripture

Ephesians 6:18-20

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Observation

Paul is writing to the Ephesians, during his first Roman imprisonment.

An excerpt from The Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll’s page on Ephesians states, “While Galatians offers instructions particularly important for those churches overrun with legalism, Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community.”

Through Chapter 5 and the first part of Chapter 6, Paul encourages the Ephesians in living out the actions that reflect Christ in them – following God’s example (5:1), loving as He loved (5:2), remaining pure and without greed (5:3), giving thanks in everything (5:20), he provides instructions to Christian households (5:21-6:9) and being prepared for spiritual warfare by putting on the armor of God (6:10-17).  So much good and practical stuff here!!!  And his final encouragement is in the matter of prayer.

Understanding

God has been speaking to my heart about the matter [and power] of prayer.  As I pick apart these verses, here is what I found…

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

We are to pray at ALL times.

Anyone else find their prayer walk varies – even if slightly – dependent on circumstances.  However, just as God is constant, we are called to be constant in our communication with God.  Sure, the language of our prayers may change depending on circumstances; but God’s heart is that we stay in relationship and communication with him ALWAYS.  I find it easiest to pray when things are good (with gratitude and praise) or bad (with requests and sometimes despair)…but where does my heart go when things are, well, neutral?  May I become more present in my times with God at al times.

Our church family and fellow believers need our prayers!

I was reminded several times yesterday of the needs within our own church.  Families suffering illness, marriages facing challenges, brothers and sisters in Christ facing financial issues, family struggles…people seeking restoration and healing.  It’s all present right here in our own little church family.  May we glorify God and release His power in our prayers for our church family.

 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

THIS verse.  This is what I want my heart’s cry to be – that I will move FEARLESSLY in obedience to God and recognize my position – an ambassador for Him – in every situation I find myself in. 

Life Application

Dear God, thank you for reminding me of the necessity and the power of prayer.  I am so grateful for all the blessings that you’ve poured out on me; may I use them to glorify you.  I am forever grateful for this family that you’ve placed me in; may I glorify you in the way that I love on them, lift them up to you and be your hands and feet to them.  I am honored that you have chosen to me to partner with you and for the things you have spoken to me; may I move fearlessly in obedience as I respond.

In your precious and Holy name, I pray.  Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

PS In digging in, I found and really enjoyed this…https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/ephesians

– Rei