Thursday 11/18/21

Today we will pop into the book of Thessalonians. We saw in Acts 17 that Paul departed abruptly from Thessalonica. He writes this letter to these new believers to encourage them in their faith, and to remind them how to live because Christ is coming back.

We learn a lot about them and a lot about Paul from these two short passages.

  • Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-7; 2:6-9

Reflect on the following questions:

  • From the sections in chapters 1 & 2, what do you learn about these people? Who are they?
  • What do you learn about Paul?

Verse 3 and verse 8 are beloved of mine and speak volumes about Paul’s care for his people. He tells them in 1:3 that he continually remembers their work produced by faith. He remembers that their labor is prompted by love, and their endurance is inspired by hope.

It’s brought me much encouragement over the years to turn these sentences around: Faith can be work. Love can be Labor. Hope can get Long. But that does not change the prayer for us. Perhaps you are in the place where it’s been work to have faith, and your loving is hard and laborious, and hope seems stretched thin it’s been so long.

Hear Paul’s encouragement and love spilled out for them.

Wednesday 11/17/21

  • Read Acts 25

Paul had his trial before Felix, and now it is Festus’ turn. Festus has succeeded Felix and finds a leftover Paul still in prison.

The Jewish leaders bring their accusations, Paul denies, and Festus is stymied. I get the feeling that things are just as Paul wants. He appeals to Caesar and apparently those are the magic words!

But it nags at Festus that he can’t figure out exactly what to write to Caesar, so lo and behold, King Agrippa and his wife arrive for a consultation.

  • What is interesting to you from this chapter? Confusing?
  • How would you describe Festus?
  • If you were Paul, how would you be feeling? What are your thoughts about God throughout this season?

Tuesday 11/16/21

Today we will pop into the book of Galatians, one of the first Epistles written by Paul.

We heard during an October sermon how Paul encouraged the Apostles to not burden the Gentile believers with observing the whole law, specifically the command to be circumcised.

He reasoned that we are all saved through the same means: faith. All undeserved. All a gift. Bringing us freedom.

  • Read Galatians 5: 13- 26

KNOW (What does the text say about God?)

BE (What does the text say about us?)

DO (What is the text calling me/us to do?)

  • How does what you read here impact the ‘together’?

Monday 11/15/21

  • Read Acts 24

Consider the following questions:

  • In your mind, what is going on in this chapter?
  • What is interesting or confusing?
  • Have you ever been called on to give a defense of your faith in God? What was that situation like?
  • After reading this chapter, how would you describe Felix?

Paul is imprisoned for two years so that Felix can appease his curiosity. Felix got rattled by the judgement to come that Paul spoke about.

  • What are your thoughts about the coming judgement? Think back to the Revelation series!

Sunday 11/14/21

Spend this morning reviewing again what you are thankful for. Also spend time praying for God’s kingdom to come and His justice to rule.

Next week and following we will trace Paul’s journey to Rome and prison.

Along the way, we are going to pop in and out of some of the Epistles he wrote to the churches he started and encouraged. We will read his prayers for them as well as some of his thoughts and see his huge heart for those he shepherded and grew up in the faith.

Saturday 11/13/21

  • Read Acts 23:12-35

Reflect on the following questions:

  • Who does God show Himself to be in this passage?
  • What can we learn about people and the character of humans from this passage?
  • How does Paul respond with courage?
  • Why do you think that Paul took himself into this situation? What could have motivated him to head to Jerusalem despite the warnings?
  • When you are in an impossibly hard situation, what encourages you to turn your face towards the Lord?

Friday 11/12/21

  • Read Acts 22:30- 23:11

This whole interchange makes me chuckle J. Paul knows of this long dispute and focuses his opponents on each other.

Paul speaks sharply and confronts the leader of this group. But once he learns of his position as high priest, he publicly repents of his disrespect.

It always seems unjust to me that he should have to behave respectfully in the midst of this, but that is what the Lord calls us to.

  • When have you been in a situation, or perhaps you are in one right now where you are called to behave respectfully towards someone who is not respecting you?
  • What is a situation where you are longing to see God’s justice served? Spend some time praying for this situation.
  • The Lord comes to Paul and tells him to “take courage”. Where do you need courage today?