bible reading plan
Every week we will post here Bible readings to follow up from the past Sunday's message.
When Circumstances Suck //
1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
Re-read verses 16-18. What does it mean to “be joyful always”? Times of joy can come easier and feel absent. Joy isn’t something we fake or put on instead it is the presence of God in our heart comforting and guiding. How can you “pray continually?” How does this practice infiltrate our work, sleep and the normal activities of life? When we praying continually we maintain a close relationship with the Lord through the close constant sharing of our heart with His. “Give thanks in all circumstances” is our agreement with what God is doing with our life. How can you be thankful today despite your circumstances? The last phrase of verse 18 wraps up the entire thought… “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Ezra had just received permission to lead God’s people back to Israel. He knew there might be opposition along the way so he called the Israelites to fast and pray to God before they packed up. Turning down help in the face of opposition seems crazy. Yet Ezra sought God before he developed his plan or asked people for help. Prayer was Ezra’s first course of action not an after-thought. Where do you need to seek God first in your life before jumping into action? Ezra placed his hope and confidence in God alone. Ask God to help you exercise your faith muscle the same way Ezra did. Before determining your plans ask God what He wants and how He would like you to move forward.
David is betrayed by a close friend and is heart-broken. How does Psalm 55 tell you that David responds to this situation? What prevents you from turning to God when you face difficult circumstances? Do you think God is burdened by your problems or issues? Do you cling tightly to your problems and burdens? Psalm 55 reminds you that you don’t need to face your problems alone. What does verse 22 tell you to do? Every time a worry crops up or you are faced with a problem or burden or you are heartbroken… go to God... He welcomes you and wants to respond to you. As you continue to take your problems or burdens or heartaches to God your trust in Him will deepen.
The Bible is a wealth of comfort, encouragement, and wisdom. Read it out of a place of delight not obligation or duty. It contains God’s love and truth for you. How could you be more disciplined in spending time in God’s Word (the Bible)? Try highlighting verses that speak to you or memorize verses so that you can quickly recall them when you need them at a future time. Meditate on these precious words. Pausing to process what we read allows our mind to comprehend the information better and will give our heart time to internalize what we’ve read. What do you think the Psalmist meant when he used the word meditate in verse 14? What do you think the result of meditating on God’s word is?
God wants you to hear these words from Him. Allow them to soak into your soul. He wants to bless you. “Keep you” means physical and spiritual protection. “Make His face shine upon you” is God taking pleasure in you, showing kindness to you, watching over you. What are ways you experience God making His face shine upon you? “Be gracious to you” as He willingly shows you His grace. “Turn His face toward you” to see your need, hear your prayers, be mindful of you. Is your face turned toward Him? “Give you peace” is to be in harmony with God’s will, to be in step with the purposes He created you for, to have peace with God because of Jesus. Let these words sink into your heart. Allow God to pour out His heart of blessing on you. Now, take this blessing and pour it out on the world around you.