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October 2, 2016  LIVE

20th of August 2017 09:28 AM
August 20, 2017

1 Timothy 3:1-16 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

1 Timothy 3:1-16: Today’s reading offers explicit instructions for “church leader[s]” (3:1), known also as bishops. In the early church, a bishop was the chief leader of a local congregation. The passage also gives instructions for “church helpers” (3:8) also known as deacons. They had the task of serving people and taking care of their needs.

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:13

Those helpers who do their work well win for themselves a good standing and are able to speak boldly about their faith in Christ Jesus.

Today's Reading

Leaders in the Church

1This is a true saying: If a man is eager to be a church leader, he desires an excellent work.2 A church leader must be without fault; he must have only one wife, be sober, self-controlled, and orderly; he must welcome strangers in his home; he must be able to teach;3he must not be a drunkard or a violent man, but gentle and peaceful; he must not love money;4he must be able to manage his own family well and make his children obey him with all respect.5For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God?6He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was.7He should be a man who is respected by the people outside the church, so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the Devil's trap.

Helpers in the Church

8Church helpers must also have a good character and be sincere; they must not drink too much wine or be greedy for money;9they should hold to the revealed truth of the faith with a clear conscience.10They should be tested first, and then, if they pass the test, they are to serve.11Their wives also must be of good character and must not gossip; they must be sober and honest in everything.12A church helper must have only one wife, and be able to manage his children and family well.13Those helpers who do their work well win for themselves a good standing and are able to speak boldly about their faith in Christ Jesus.

The Great Secret

14As I write this letter to you, I hope to come and see you soon.15But if I delay, this letter will let you know how we should conduct ourselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.16No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion:

He appeared in human form,

was shown to be right by the Spirit,

and was seen by angels.

He was preached among the nations,

was believed in throughout the world,

and was taken up to heaven.

Reflect

According to this passage, what kinds of people should be leaders in the church? What instructions are given to church leaders? Think of strong church leaders that you know. What makes them strong leaders? What is the “secret” mentioned in verse 16? Have you had opportunity to share this “secret” with others and speak boldly about your faith?

Pray

Holy God, bless and care for the leaders of your church. Equip them with integrity, good sense, wisdom, boldness, courage and love, that they may help the church become a reflection of your realm. By your Holy Spirit, empower me to speak boldly to others about my faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church leaders

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Timothy 4:1-16: Warnings about false teachings are given.
19th of August 2017 10:48 AM
August 19, 2017

1 Timothy 2:1-15 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

1 Timothy 2:1-15: Instructions are offered on how and for whom to pray, including praying for kings and others in power. According to Paul, it was important for Christians to show respect to authorities so that they could avoid trouble. In this way, they could hope to gain respect for their beliefs, gain new members, and lessen the risk of being persecuted. Also prescribed are restrictions on women’s dress and freedom of expression.

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:5, 6a

For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race.

Today's Reading

Church Worship

1First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people;2for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence toward God and with proper conduct.3This is good and it pleases God our Savior,4who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth.5For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus,6who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved,7 and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim the message of faith and truth. I am not lying; I am telling the truth!

8In every church service I want the men to pray, men who are dedicated to God and can lift up their hands in prayer without anger or argument.9 I also want the women to be modest and sensible about their clothes and to dress properly; not with fancy hair styles or with gold ornaments or pearls or expensive dresses,10but with good deeds, as is proper for women who claim to be religious.11Women should learn in silence and all humility.12I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet.13 For Adam was created first, and then Eve.14 And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God's law.15But a woman will be saved through having children, if she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

Reflect

What is your prayer for those “who are in authority”? Verses 8-15 have been described as adhering to the household codes associated with Greco/Roman antiquity. Verse 9 suggests that there may have been people in the congregation who liked to show off their wealth. What are your thoughts as you read these verses?

Pray

Gracious God, this day I pray for all those who hold positions of authority in our country. In particular, I pray for _________________________. Grant them your wisdom, O God, and guide their decisions. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those in positions of authority and all public servants

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Timothy 3:1-16: Instructions for church leaders are given.
18th of August 2017 10:07 AM
August 18, 2017

1 Timothy 1:1-20 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

1 Timothy 1:1-20: In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, general instructions are given for life in the church, which include giving thanks and staying away from false teachings. The false teachings mentioned here might have been myths about Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:15a

This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Today's Reading

1From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by order of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope—

2 To Timothy, my true son in the faith:

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

Warnings against False Teaching

3I want you to stay in Ephesus, just as I urged you when I was on my way to Macedonia. Some people there are teaching false doctrines, and you must order them to stop.4Tell them to give up those legends and those long lists of ancestors, which only produce arguments; they do not serve God's plan, which is known by faith.5The purpose of this order is to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.6Some people have turned away from these and have lost their way in foolish discussions.7They want to be teachers of God's law, but they do not understand their own words or the matters about which they speak with so much confidence.

8We know that the Law is good if it is used as it should be used.9It must be remembered, of course, that laws are made, not for good people, but for lawbreakers and criminals, for the godless and sinful, for those who are not religious or spiritual, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,10for the immoral, for sexual perverts, for kidnappers, for those who lie and give false testimony or who do anything else contrary to sound doctrine.11That teaching is found in the gospel that was entrusted to me to announce, the Good News from the glorious and blessed God.

Gratitude for God's Mercy

12I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength for my work. I thank him for considering me worthy and appointing me to serve him,13 even though in the past I spoke evil of him and persecuted and insulted him. But God was merciful to me because I did not yet have faith and so did not know what I was doing.14And our Lord poured out his abundant grace on me and gave me the faith and love which are ours in union with Christ Jesus.15This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them,16but God was merciful to me in order that Christ Jesus might show his full patience in dealing with me, the worst of sinners, as an example for all those who would later believe in him and receive eternal life.17To the eternal King, immortal and invisible, the only God—to him be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.

18Timothy, my child, I entrust to you this command, which is in accordance with the words of prophecy spoken in the past about you. Use those words as weapons in order to fight well,19and keep your faith and a clear conscience. Some people have not listened to their conscience and have made a ruin of their faith.20Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have punished by handing them over to the power of Satan; this will teach them to stop their blasphemy.

Reflect

How is the relationship between Paul and Timothy described (verse 2)? What instructions are given to Timothy (verses 3-11)? What advice is given to Timothy (verses 18-19)? Who has served as a mentor in faith for you?

Pray

Lord God, you are our great teacher and guide, and you provide wonderful people along life’s path to offer wisdom and guidance. Help me recognize your teachers and mentors, that I may open myself to their wisdom. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Mentors in the faith

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Timothy 2:1-15: Instructions on how to pray are given.
17th of August 2017 10:00 AM
August 17, 2017

2 Thessalonians 3:1-18 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

2 Thessalonians 3:1-18: Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for him and his companions so that they can spread the message about Jesus and so that they will be kept safe from evil people. Paul reminds them of their obligation to work, and he instructs them to avoid those who are lazy.

Today's Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:5

May the Lord lead you into a greater understanding of God’s love and the endurance that is given by Christ.

Today's Reading

Pray for Us

1Finally, our friends, pray for us that the Lord's message may continue to spread rapidly and be received with honor, just as it was among you.2Pray also that God will rescue us from wicked and evil people; for not everyone believes the message.

3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and keep you safe from the Evil One.4And the Lord gives us confidence in you, and we are sure that you are doing and will continue to do what we tell you.

5May the Lord lead you into a greater understanding of God's love and the endurance that is given by Christ.

The Obligation to Work

6Our friends, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep away from all believers who are living a lazy life and who do not follow the instructions that we gave them.7You yourselves know very well that you should do just what we did. We were not lazy when we were with you.8We did not accept anyone's support without paying for it. Instead, we worked and toiled; we kept working day and night so as not to be an expense to any of you.9We did this, not because we do not have the right to demand our support; we did it to be an example for you to follow.10While we were with you, we used to tell you, “Whoever refuses to work is not allowed to eat.”

11We say this because we hear that there are some people among you who live lazy lives and who do nothing except meddle in other people's business.12In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command these people and warn them to lead orderly lives and work to earn their own living.

13But you, friends, must not become tired of doing good.14It may be that some there will not obey the message we send you in this letter. If so, take note of them and have nothing to do with them, so that they will be ashamed.15But do not treat them as enemies; instead, warn them as believers.

Final Words

16May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

17With my own hand I write this: Greetings from Paul. This is the way I sign every letter; this is how I write.

18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Reflect

What does Paul say are the hazards of laziness (verse 11)? Why does he tell the Thessalonians not to “become tired of doing good” (verse 13)? Do you ever feel tired or weary from “doing good”? If so, how is your strength renewed?

Pray

Lord Jesus, lead me day by day into a greater understanding of your great love for me. Teach me never to tire of doing good. Grant me patience and endurance when trials come my way. I know that you are by my side, blessing me with strength Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are unemployed and seeking work

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Timothy 1:1-20: Instructions for church life are outlined.
16th of August 2017 06:56 AM
August 16, 2017

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17: Even though members of the Thessalonian church were good examples of faith and love, some of them were listening to false teachings about Christ’s return. Paul then explains more about the Lord’s return and the Lord’s victory over “the Wicked One.” Paul reminds them that they were chosen for salvation.

Today's Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us unfailing courage and a firm hope, encourage you and strengthen you to always do and say what is good.

Today's Reading

The Wicked One

1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to be with him: I beg you, my friends,2not to be so easily confused in your thinking or upset by the claim that the Day of the Lord has come. Perhaps it is thought that we said this while prophesying or preaching, or that we wrote it in a letter.3Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until the final Rebellion takes place and the Wicked One appears, who is destined to hell.4 He will oppose every so-called god or object of worship and will put himself above them all. He will even go in and sit down in God's Temple and claim to be God.

5Don't you remember? I told you all this while I was with you.6Yet there is something that keeps this from happening now, and you know what it is. At the proper time, then, the Wicked One will appear.7The Mysterious Wickedness is already at work, but what is going to happen will not happen until the one who holds it back is taken out of the way.8 Then the Wicked One will be revealed, but when the Lord Jesus comes, he will kill him with the breath from his mouth and destroy him with his dazzling presence.9 The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders,10and use every kind of wicked deceit on those who will perish. They will perish because they did not welcome and love the truth so as to be saved.11And so God sends the power of error to work in them so that they believe what is false.12The result is that all who have not believed the truth, but have taken pleasure in sin, will be condemned.

You Are Chosen for Salvation

13We must thank God at all times for you, friends, you whom the Lord loves. For God chose you as the first to be saved by the Spirit's power to make you his holy people and by your faith in the truth.14God called you to this through the Good News we preached to you; he called you to possess your share of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.15So then, our friends, stand firm and hold on to those truths which we taught you, both in our preaching and in our letter.

16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us unfailing courage and a firm hope,17encourage you and strengthen you to always do and say what is good.

Reflect

Some members of the Thessalonian church were upset because people were saying that the Day of the Lord had come and that they had missed out on this event. How does Paul reassure the believers? What in today’s reading do you find encouraging?

Pray

Dear God, I am bold to ask in your name for unfailing courage and a firm hope. Help me to always do and say what is good. I praise and glorify you and give thanks for your steadfast love. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are without hope

Tomorrow's Reading

2 Thessalonians 3:1-18: Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for him and his co-workers.
15th of August 2017 09:00 AM Link
I Can Only Imagine coming to theaters March 16, 2018
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14th of August 2017 08:17 AM
August 14, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5:1-28 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

1 Thessalonians 5:1-28: Paul seeks to encourage the Thessalonians by instructing them on preparing for the Lord’s coming as well as how live until the day of the Lord’s return.

Today's Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

Today's Reading

Be Ready for the Lord's Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen.2 For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night.3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape.4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief.5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober.7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk.8 But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet.9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes.11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life.13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.

14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.

16Be joyful always,17pray at all times,18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit;20do not despise inspired messages.21Put all things to the test: keep what is good22and avoid every kind of evil.

23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.

25Pray also for us, friends.

26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.

27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.

28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Reflect

What does Paul say about preparing for the Lord’s coming (verses 1-11)? What does he say about how to live in the meantime (verses 12-24)? Do you find Paul’s words to be a source of encouragement? Why or why not?

Pray

Dear Lord, help me to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful. Guide my words and deeds this day so that I may bear witness to my faith in you and bring encouragement to others. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who have not yet heard the Good News about Jesus

Tomorrow's Reading

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12: Paul describes the judgment that will take place when Jesus returns.
13th of August 2017 08:34 AM
August 13, 2017

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18: Paul reminds the Thessalonians that God wants them to be holy, which means treating one another with respect and avoiding immoral behavior. He exhorts them to live in a way that will earn them the respect of non-believers. Paul then begins to describe the Lord’s coming in response to his concern about the grief the Thessalonians were experiencing.

Today's Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:7

God did not call us to live in immorality, but in holiness.

Today's Reading

A Life That Pleases God

1Finally, our friends, you learned from us how you should live in order to please God. This is, of course, the way you have been living. And now we beg and urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to do even more.2For you know the instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.3God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality.4Each of you should know how to live with your wife in a holy and honorable way,5not with a lustful desire, like the heathen who do not know God.6In this matter, then, none of you should do wrong to other Christians or take advantage of them. We have told you this before, and we strongly warned you that the Lord will punish those who do that.7God did not call us to live in immorality, but in holiness.8So then, whoever rejects this teaching is not rejecting a human being, but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

9There is no need to write you about love for each other. You yourselves have been taught by God how you should love one another.10And you have, in fact, behaved like this toward all the believers in all of Macedonia. So we beg you, our friends, to do even more.11Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before.12In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need.

The Lord's Coming

13Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope.14We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him.

15 What we are teaching you now is the Lord's teaching: we who are alive on the day the Lord comes will not go ahead of those who have died.16 There will be the shout of command, the archangel's voice, the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first;17then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.18So then, encourage one another with these words.

Reflect

How does Paul describe a life that is pleasing to God? What does a call to holiness (verse 7) mean to you? Paul describes the Lord’s coming (verses 13-18) in the same way that others throughout the Greek-speaking world described a great event, such as when a king made a formal appearance before the people. What were your thoughts when you read these verses?

Pray

Holy God, thank you for Paul’s encouraging words. Your Son, Jesus, died and rose again, and those who die believing in him will be with you always. This I believe and I claim this promise and thank and praise you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who are grieving the death of loved ones

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Thessalonians 5:1-28: Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to be ready for the Lord’s coming
11th of August 2017 10:58 AM
August 11, 2017

1 Thessalonians 2:1-16 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

1 Thessalonians 2:1-16: When the Thessalonians listened to Paul’s teachings and began to follow Jesus, some in the community made trouble for him and his co-workers (see Acts 17:5). Paul describes the opposition he and his companions faced along with the persecution the Thessalonians suffered.

Today's Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:12

We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.

Today's Reading

Paul's Work in Thessalonica

1Our friends, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure.2 You know how we had already been mistreated and insulted in Philippi before we came to you in Thessalonica. And even though there was much opposition, our God gave us courage to tell you the Good News that comes from him.3Our appeal to you is not based on error or impure motives, nor do we try to trick anyone.4Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives.5You know very well that we did not come to you with flattering talk, nor did we use words to cover up greed—God is our witness!6We did not try to get praise from anyone, either from you or from others,7even though as apostles of Christ we could have made demands on you. But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother taking care of her children.8Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us!9Surely you remember, our friends, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God.

10You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct toward you who believe was pure, right, and without fault.11You know that we treated each one of you just as parents treat their own children.12We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.

13And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God's message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God's message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe.14 Our friends, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews,15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone!16They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God's anger has at last come down on them!

Reflect

How does Paul describe his ministry among the Thessalonians? What does today’s reading reveal about Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians? Paul says that, despite opposition, God gave him and his companions the courage to share the Good News (verse 2). Have you ever encountered opposition when demonstrating your faith? If so, what were the circumstances? In what ways have you experienced receiving courage from God?

Pray

Almighty God, you have called me to share in your Kingdom and glory. Teach me to live my life in a way that is pleasing to you. Empower me with your Holy Spirit and with courage to share the Good News of your love and salvation. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those facing hostility for preaching about Jesus

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Thessalonians 2:17—3:13: Paul sends Timothy to meet with the Thessalonians
9th of August 2017 08:34 AM
August 9, 2017

Colossians 4:2-18 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Colossians 4:2-18: Paul reminds the Colossians to be persistent in prayer, and he encourages them to treat non-believers in a way that demonstrates Christian love. He concludes the letter with personal greetings to the community of believers.

Today's Scripture: Colossians 4:2

Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God.

Today's Reading

Instructions

2Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God.3At the same time pray also for us, so that God will give us a good opportunity to preach his message about the secret of Christ. For that is why I am now in prison.4Pray, then, that I may speak, as I should, in such a way as to make it clear.

5 Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have.6 Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.

Final Greetings

7 Our dear friend Tychicus, who is a faithful worker and fellow servant in the Lord's work, will give you all the news about me.8That is why I am sending him to you, in order to cheer you up by telling you how all of us are getting along.9 With him goes Onesimus, that dear and faithful friend, who belongs to your group. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have already received instructions to welcome Mark if he comes your way.)11Joshua, also called Justus, sends greetings too. These three are the only Jewish believers who work with me for the Kingdom of God, and they have been a great help to me.

12 Greetings from Epaphras, another member of your group and a servant of Christ Jesus. He always prays fervently for you, asking God to make you stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, in complete obedience to God's will.13I can personally testify to his hard work for you and for the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis.14 Luke, our dear doctor, and Demas send you their greetings.

15Give our best wishes to the believers in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.16After you read this letter, make sure that it is read also in the church at Laodicea. At the same time, you are to read the letter that the believers in Laodicea will send you.17 And tell Archippus, “Be sure to finish the task you were given in the Lord's service.”

18With my own hand I write this: Greetings from Paul. Do not forget my chains!

May God's grace be with you.

Reflect

Why does Paul exhort the Colossians to be persistent in prayer? Do you ever find it hard to pray? What does a prayerful life mean to you?

Pray

Holy God, I praise and thank you for your mercy, love, and grace. Help me to be persistent in prayer, and draw me close to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Prayer warriors

Tomorrow's Reading

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10: The apostle Paul commends the Thessalonians for their faithfulness
8th of August 2017 08:29 AM
August 8, 2017

Colossians 2:20—3:17 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Colossians 2:20—3:17: Paul encourages the Colossians to set their hearts and minds on the things of heaven and to put aside earthly desires. He reminds them that they are people of God, united as a community bound by love.

Today's Scripture: Colossians 3:17

Today’s Scripture: Colossians 3:17 Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.

Today's Reading

Dying and Living with Christ

20You have died with Christ and are set free from the ruling spirits of the universe. Why, then, do you live as though you belonged to this world? Why do you obey such rules as21“Don't handle this,” “Don't taste that,” “Don't touch the other”?22All these refer to things which become useless once they are used; they are only human rules and teachings.23Of course such rules appear to be based on wisdom in their forced worship of angels, and false humility, and severe treatment of the body; but they have no real value in controlling physical passions.

1 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God.2Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth.3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.4Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!

The Old Life and the New

5You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry).6Because of such things God's anger will come upon those who do not obey him.7At one time you yourselves used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them.

8But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips.9 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits10 and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.11As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.

12 You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you.14And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.15The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful.16 Christ's message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts.17Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.

Reflect

Paul talks about dying with Christ and being raised to life with Christ (2:20—3:4). What does this mean to you? What does it mean to you to “put off the old self” and “put on the new self” (3:9-10)? Reread 3:12-17. How do you envision a community that reflects the unity Paul describes?

Pray

Lord Jesus, thank you for the new life you offer. Clothe me with your righteousness and set my heart and mind on you so that all I do and say reflects my thanks and love for you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those seeking to break bad habits

Tomorrow's Reading

Colossians 4:2-18: Paul encourages the Colossians to be persistent in prayer
7th of August 2017 08:18 AM
August 7, 2017

Colossians 2:6-19 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Colossians 2:6-19: Paul warns the Colossians to let no one deceive them with false arguments, and he encourages them to remain strong in faith, rooted in Christ Jesus.

Today's Scripture: Colossians 2:6

Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him.

Today's Reading

Fullness of Life in Christ

6Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him.7Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.

8See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ.9For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity,10and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.

11In union with Christ you were circumcised, not with the circumcision that is made by human beings, but with the circumcision made by Christ, which consists of being freed from the power of this sinful self.12 For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death.13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins;14 he canceled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross.15And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession.

16 So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon Festival or the Sabbath.17All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ.18Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels. For no reason at all, such people are all puffed up by their human way of thinking19 and have stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body. Under Christ's control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow.

Reflect

How is Paul’s message different from the message others are trying to teach the Colossians? What messages in the world today attempt to lure people away from the life that God offers through Christ Jesus? What does having a “full life in union with [Christ]” (verse 10) mean to you?

Pray

Lord Jesus, I have accepted you as my Lord and Savior. Keep me rooted in you, and strengthen my faith each day as I live to serve you and live in union with you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those being led astray by false teachings

Tomorrow's Reading

Colossians 2:20—3:17: Paul describes new life in Christ
5th of August 2017 05:49 PM Link
Mums, Thank You Delahunty Nurseries
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5th of August 2017 12:16 PM
August 5, 2017

Colossians 1:1-23 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Colossians 1:1-23: Today we begin reading the Letter to the Colossians which opens with Paul’s greeting and prayer of thanksgiving. Among Paul’s purposes in writing the letter was to warn the Colossians about false teachers in their midst and to oppose their teachings with the true Christian message. Today’s reading includes a description of the person and work of Christ and concludes with Paul’s exhortation to remain faithful.

Today's Scripture: Colossians 1:9b

We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives.

Today's Reading

1From Paul, who by God's will is an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy—

2To God's people in Colossae, who are our faithful friends in union with Christ:

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

3We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.4For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all God's people.5When the true message, the Good News, first came to you, you heard about the hope it offers. So your faith and love are based on what you hope for, which is kept safe for you in heaven.6The gospel keeps bringing blessings and is spreading throughout the world, just as it has among you ever since the day you first heard about the grace of God and came to know it as it really is.7 You learned of God's grace from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is Christ's faithful worker on our behalf.8He has told us of the love that the Spirit has given you.

9For this reason we have always prayed for you, ever since we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives.10Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God.11-12May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light.13He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son,14 by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.

The Person and Work of Christ

15 Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things.16For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him.17Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place.18 He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body's life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things.19For it was by God's own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God.20 Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son's blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.

21At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought.22But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence.23You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel. It is of this gospel that I, Paul, became a servant—this gospel which has been preached to everybody in the world.

Reflect

What does Paul’s prayer reveal about what he has heard concerning the Colossians (verses 3-8)? What is Paul’s prayer for the people (verses 9-14)? Verses 15-20 are probably derived from an early Christian hymn. What do these verses say about Jesus? What does Paul admonish the Colossians to do (verse 23)?

Pray

Almighty God, help me to be strong with all the strength that comes from your glorious power, so that I may be able to endure everything with patience. With joy I give you thanks for rescuing me from the power of darkness and bringing me safely into the kingdom of your dear Son, Jesus Christ my Lord, by whom you have set me free and offered me forgiveness of my sins. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those discerning a call to ordained ministry

Tomorrow's Reading

Colossians 1:24—2:5: Paul describes his work as a servant of the gospel.
4th of August 2017 10:33 AM
August 4, 2017

Philippians 4:1-23 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Philippians 4:1-23: Paul expresses his deep affection for the Philippians and gives them final instructions for living in community. He concludes the letter by thanking them for all the help they have given him.

Today's Scripture: Philippians 4:13

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

Today's Reading

Instructions

1So then, my friends, how dear you are to me and how I miss you! How happy you make me, and how proud I am of you!—this, dear friends, is how you should stand firm in your life in the Lord.

2Euodia and Syntyche, please, I beg you, try to agree as sisters in the Lord.3And you too, my faithful partner, I want you to help these women; for they have worked hard with me to spread the gospel, together with Clement and all my other fellow workers, whose names are in God's book of the living.

4May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice!

5Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon.6Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.7And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

8In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.9Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.

Thanks for the Gift

10In my life in union with the Lord it is a great joy to me that after so long a time you once more had the chance of showing that you care for me. I don't mean that you had stopped caring for me—you just had no chance to show it.11And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have.12I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little.13I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

14But it was very good of you to help me in my troubles.15 You Philippians know very well that when I left Macedonia in the early days of preaching the Good News, you were the only church to help me; you were the only ones who shared my profits and losses.16 More than once when I needed help in Thessalonica, you sent it to me.17It is not that I just want to receive gifts; rather, I want to see profit added to your account.18 Here, then, is my receipt for everything you have given me—and it has been more than enough! I have all I need now that Epaphroditus has brought me all your gifts. They are like a sweet-smelling offering to God, a sacrifice which is acceptable and pleasing to him.19And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs.20To our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

Final Greetings

21Greetings to each one of God's people who belong to Christ Jesus. The believers here with me send you their greetings.22All God's people here send greetings, especially those who belong to the Emperor's palace.

23May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Reflect

Paul says that he has learned to be satisfied with what he has (verse 11). Why is he able to say this? What is the “secret” he has learned (verse 12)? What are your thoughts about these verses? Verse 13 is one that many people commit to memory. In what ways can this verse be a source of comfort to you? In what ways can the power that Christ gives help and strengthen you?

Pray

Almighty God, you sustain me in ways I may fail to recognize. Teach me to be content, trusting in your love and grace and daily blessings. By the power that Christ gives me, strengthen me to face whatever conditions I encounter today. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those who struggle to find peace and contentment

Tomorrow's Reading

Colossians 1:1-23: Paul thanks the believers in Colossae for their faith.
3rd of August 2017 08:11 AM
August 3, 2017

Philippians 3:1-21 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Philippians 3:1-21: Paul warns the Philippians to be on guard against those who do evil things and about putting their trust in external ceremonies. He describes the journey of faith in terms of running toward a goal, and the chapter concludes with Paul expressing his eagerness in waiting for Jesus Christ to come from heaven.

Today's Scripture: Philippians 3:12b

I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.

Today's Reading

The True Righteousness

1In conclusion, my friends, be joyful in your union with the Lord. I don't mind repeating what I have written before, and you will be safer if I do so.2Watch out for those who do evil things, those dogs, those who insist on cutting the body.3It is we, not they, who have received the true circumcision, for we worship God by means of his Spirit and rejoice in our life in union with Christ Jesus. We do not put any trust in external ceremonies.4I could, of course, put my trust in such things. If any of you think you can trust in external ceremonies, I have even more reason to feel that way.5 I was circumcised when I was a week old. I am an Israelite by birth, of the tribe of Benjamin, a pure-blooded Hebrew. As far as keeping the Jewish Law is concerned, I was a Pharisee,6 and I was so zealous that I persecuted the church. As far as a person can be righteous by obeying the commands of the Law, I was without fault.7But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ's sake.8Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ9and be completely united with him. I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith.10All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death,11in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.

Running toward the Goal

12I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.13Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.14So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above.

15All of us who are spiritually mature should have this same attitude. But if some of you have a different attitude, God will make this clear to you.16However that may be, let us go forward according to the same rules we have followed until now.

17 Keep on imitating me, my friends. Pay attention to those who follow the right example that we have set for you.18I have told you this many times before, and now I repeat it with tears: there are many whose lives make them enemies of Christ's death on the cross.19They are going to end up in hell, because their god is their bodily desires. They are proud of what they should be ashamed of, and they think only of things that belong to this world.20We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven.21He will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule.

Reflect

What does Paul say he reckons “as loss” (verse 7)? What does he now consider valuable? What is the “goal” toward which Paul is running (verse 14)? Paul once again makes reference to Christ’s return (verses 20 and 21). What does he say will happen? What is your understanding of Paul’s statement that Christ-followers are “citizens of heaven” (verse 20)?

Pray

Lord Jesus, knowledge of you as my Lord is priceless and beyond measure. May I be completely united with you, and I pray that you will grant me the righteousness that is given through faith in you. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Athletes who participate in the Special Olympics

Tomorrow's Reading

Philippians 4:1-23: Paul gives final instructions to the Philippians.
2nd of August 2017 06:54 AM
August 2, 2017

Philippians 2:1-30 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Philippians 2:1-30: Paul reminds the Philippians that Christ “took the nature of a servant,” and he encourages them to have the same attitude as Christ by being humble toward one another and by shining “like stars lighting up the sky.” The chapter concludes with Paul’s plan to send Timothy and Epaphroditus to Philippi.

Today's Scripture: Philippians 2:1

Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another.

Today's Reading

Christ's Humility and Greatness

1Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another.2I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind.3Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves.4And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own.5The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:

6He always had the nature of God,

but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God.

7Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had,

and took the nature of a servant.

He became like a human being

and appeared in human likeness.

8He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—

his death on the cross.

9For this reason God raised him to the highest place above

and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.

10 And so, in honor of the name of Jesus

all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below

will fall on their knees,

11and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Shining as Lights in the World

12So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation,13because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose.

14Do everything without complaining or arguing,15 so that you may be innocent and pure as God's perfect children, who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky,16as you offer them the message of life. If you do so, I shall have reason to be proud of you on the Day of Christ, because it will show that all my effort and work have not been wasted.

17Perhaps my life's blood is to be poured out like an offering on the sacrifice that your faith offers to God. If that is so, I am glad and share my joy with you all.18In the same way, you too must be glad and share your joy with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19If it is the Lord's will, I hope that I will be able to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be encouraged by news about you.20He is the only one who shares my feelings and who really cares about you.21Everyone else is concerned only with their own affairs, not with the cause of Jesus Christ.22And you yourselves know how he has proved his worth, how he and I, like a son and his father, have worked together for the sake of the gospel.23So I hope to send him to you as soon as I know how things are going to turn out for me.24And I trust in the Lord that I myself will be able to come to you soon.

25I have thought it necessary to send to you our brother Epaphroditus, who has worked and fought by my side and who has served as your messenger in helping me.26He is anxious to see you all and is very upset because you had heard that he was sick.27Indeed he was sick and almost died. But God had pity on him, and not only on him but on me, too, and spared me an even greater sorrow.28I am all the more eager, then, to send him to you, so that you will be glad again when you see him, and my own sorrow will disappear.29Receive him, then, with joy, as a believer in the Lord. Show respect to all such people as he,30because he risked his life and nearly died for the sake of the work of Christ, in order to give me the help that you yourselves could not give.

Reflect

Reread verses 1-4. What words express Paul’s concern for unity among the believers? Verses 6-11 are believed to be derived from an early Christian hymn. What are the key points in these verses? Are you familiar with any songs or hymns that attest to this passage of Scripture?

Pray

Holy Jesus, grant me the nature of a servant and help me to be guided by your example of love and humility in my relationships with others. I proclaim that you are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church Liturgists

Tomorrow's Reading

Philippians 3:1-21: Paul describes the journey of faith in terms of running a race.
1st of August 2017 08:31 AM
August 1, 2017

Philippians 1:1-30 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement

Introduction

Philippians 1:1-30: Today we begin reading the apostle Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, which he wrote while in jail. Paul had established the church in Philippi, located in the Roman province of Macedonia (Acts 16:12). He begins with a greeting, traditionally used in formal Greek letter writing, followed by a prayer of thanksgiving, and then proceeds to share the good news about Christ.

Today's Scripture: Philippians 1:11

Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God.

Today's Reading

1 From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus—

To all God's people in Philippi who are in union with Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and helpers:

2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul's Prayer for His Readers

3I thank my God for you every time I think of you;4and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy5because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now.6And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus.7You are always in my heart! And so it is only right for me to feel as I do about you. For you have all shared with me in this privilege that God has given me, both now that I am in prison and also while I was free to defend the gospel and establish it firmly.8God is my witness that I tell the truth when I say that my deep feeling for you all comes from the heart of Christ Jesus himself.

9I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment,10so that you will be able to choose what is best. Then you will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ.11Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God.

To Live Is Christ

12I want you to know, my friends, that the things that have happened to me have really helped the progress of the gospel.13 As a result, the whole palace guard and all the others here know that I am in prison because I am a servant of Christ.14And my being in prison has given most of the believers more confidence in the Lord, so that they grow bolder all the time to preach the message fearlessly.

15Of course some of them preach Christ because they are jealous and quarrelsome, but others from genuine good will.16These do so from love, because they know that God has given me the work of defending the gospel.17The others do not proclaim Christ sincerely, but from a spirit of selfish ambition; they think that they will make more trouble for me while I am in prison.

18It does not matter! I am happy about it—just so Christ is preached in every way possible, whether from wrong or right motives. And I will continue to be happy,19because I know that by means of your prayers and the help which comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ I shall be set free.20My deep desire and hope is that I shall never fail in my duty, but that at all times, and especially right now, I shall be full of courage, so that with my whole being I shall bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.21For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more.22But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose.23I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing;24but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive.25I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith,26so that when I am with you again, you will have even more reason to be proud of me in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

27Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you, I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel.28Don't be afraid of your enemies; always be courageous, and this will prove to them that they will lose and that you will win, because it is God who gives you the victory.29For you have been given the privilege of serving Christ, not only by believing in him, but also by suffering for him.30 Now you can take part with me in the battle. It is the same battle you saw me fighting in the past, and as you hear, the one I am fighting still.

Reflect

Reread verses 3-11. For what does Paul pray? What does Paul’s prayer indicate about his relationship with the Philippian church? Paul refers to Christ’s return a number of times throughout the letter. In this opening chapter, the reference appears in verses 6 and 10; and Paul expected Christ’s return to happen soon. How does this expectation influence what he says in verses 20-30?

Pray

Lord God, help me to keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that I will be able to choose what is best and be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Prison chaplains

Tomorrow's Reading

Philippians 2:1-30: Paul describes Christ as the example of true humility.
31st of July 2017 08:16 AM
July 31, 2017

Psalm 113 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Mercy and Forgiveness

Introduction

Psalm 113: Today’s psalm affirms God’s sovereignty over heaven and earth and God’s concern for the poor and needy.

Today's Scripture: Psalm 113:4

The LORD rules over all nations; his glory is above the heavens.

Today's Reading

In Praise of the Lord's Goodness

1Praise the Lord!

You servants of the Lord,

praise his name!

2May his name be praised,

now and forever.

3From the east to the west

praise the name of the Lord!

4The Lord rules over all nations;

his glory is above the heavens.

5There is no one like the Lord our God.

He lives in the heights above,

6but he bends down

to see the heavens and the earth.

7He raises the poor from the dust;

he lifts the needy from their misery

8and makes them companions of princes,

the princes of his people.

9He honors the childless wife in her home;

he makes her happy by giving her children.

Praise the Lord!

Reflect

Reread verses 4-9. How is God described? Why does the psalm writer say that “there is no one like the LORD our God”? In what ways have your experienced God’s goodness? For what will you thank God today?

Pray

There is no one like you, Lord God. You lift my spirit by reaching down from heaven and blessing me with your love. You are good all the time, and I will praise your name now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Community organizations that serve the needy

Tomorrow's Reading

Philippians 1:1-30: The apostle Paul, writing from prison, shares the good news about Christ.
29th of July 2017 11:48 AM
July 28, 2017

Psalm 68:21-35 (Good News Translation)God’s Faithful Word of Mercy and Forgiveness

Introduction

Psalm 68:21-35: Today’s reading concludes the psalm and describes a joyful procession into God’s sanctuary—the Temple in Jerusalem. The opening verses include a description of enemies being defeated by God, and the psalm concludes with songs in praise of God’s power.

Today's Scripture: Psalm 68:35

How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary—the God of Israel! He gives strength and power to his people. Praise God!

Today's Reading

21God will surely break the heads of his enemies,

of those who persist in their sinful ways.

22The Lord has said, “I will bring your enemies back from Bashan;

I will bring them back from the depths of the ocean,

23so that you may wade in their blood,

and your dogs may lap up as much as they want.”

24O God, your march of triumph is seen by all,

the procession of God, my king, into his sanctuary.

25The singers are in front, the musicians are behind,

in between are the young women beating the tambourines.

26“Praise God in the meeting of his people;

praise the Lord, all you descendants of Jacob!”

27First comes Benjamin, the smallest tribe,

then the leaders of Judah with their group,

followed by the leaders of Zebulun and Naphtali.

28Show your power, O God,

the power you have used on our behalf

29from your Temple in Jerusalem,

where kings bring gifts to you.

30Rebuke Egypt, that wild animal in the reeds;

rebuke the nations, that herd of bulls with their calves,

until they all bow down and offer you their silver.

Scatter those people who love to make war!

31Ambassadors will come from Egypt;

the Ethiopians will raise their hands in prayer to God.

32Sing to God, kingdoms of the world,

sing praise to the Lord,

33to him who rides in the sky,

the ancient sky.

Listen to him shout with a mighty roar.

34Proclaim God's power;

his majesty is over Israel,

his might is in the skies.

35How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary—

the God of Israel!

He gives strength and power to his people.

Praise God!

Reflect

How do you envision the procession that is described in verses 24-27? What verses in today’s reading speak of God’s power? When have you sensed God’s power at work in your life?

Pray

Sovereign God, you are indeed awesome, and you renew and strengthen me in my faith journey. I sing praises to you and will proclaim your mighty power every day. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Church choirs

Tomorrow's Reading

Psalm 80: A prayer for a nation’s restoration