Tag Archives: discipleship

My Delight is the Lord, February 23

February 23, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-12

TLJT

Jesus doesn’t just tell us what to do and what not to do. Unfortunately that is the sum comprehension of what following Jesus and the exercise of faith is all about to far too many disciples. No doubt, Jesus tells us there are some things we should do; love your neighbor, love your enemy, pray, forgive, care for ones in need, and so on. He also forbids other things; immoral behavior, self-righteousness, using demeaning, hurtful, or careless words, and on that list goes too. It is not only behaviors and actions, good or bad, for which Jesus is concerned. He wants inside our heads. It isn’t just that we do as He did, but that we would think as He thought. The “Beatitudes” address thought processes as much as anything, don’t they? Aren’t these talking about values, attitudes, motivations, priorities, commitments and the like? I would submit a better mantra than WWJD (“What would Jesus do?” in case you’ve forgotten), would be TLJT–think like Jesus thought. The “doing,” then, would take care of itself.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who are the “poor in spirit”? (v. 3)
  • What, from the world’s perspective, is better than being meek? (v. 5)
  • What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? (v. 6)
  • What is an outcome of pursuing righteousness? (v. 10)

My Delight is the Lord, January 26

January 26, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21

The Real Trouble

It is a fact, that there is no book of the Bible with any greater theological depth than Romans. It is also “pure Paul.” That is, some so-called biblical scholars who cast doubt on the authorship of other of his epistles, still maintain that Romans is his. That would be classified as testimony from a hostile witness, but still. He has spoken at length and in great depth on a subject no less than our very justification. Here in chapter 12 the book turns practical. Scholars debate meaning and intent and interpretation in ad nauseam over the first 11+ chapters. But what is there to miss about “Let love be genuine”? Or “Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good”? Or “Love one another with brotherly affection”? You see it’s really not the theologically challenging that trips us up. It’s more often the plain and straightforward.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How do we love with brotherly affection? (v. 10)
  • What does it mean to “give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all”? (v. 17)
  • Why is it hard to leave hurts and wrongs suffered to the wrath of God? (v. 19)
  • How do we prevent being overcome by evil? (v. 21)

My Delight is the Lord, January 12

January 12, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Luke 10:25-37

Why the Good Samaritan?

The Good Samaritan parable is certainly among the best known teachings in the history of humanity, even among non-Bible-believers. But do we recall what prompted the parable? Jesus was asked about what one must do to inherit eternal life. He turned the question back on the inquisitor who rightly responded that loving God and loving our neighbor was key. Jesus endorsed that response. The man, though, wanting to “justify himself” asked for clarification on the identity of his “neighbor.” Jesus’ answer was the parable, which He concluded with, “You go and do likewise” (v. 37). I believe it is true that virtually every spiritual failing can be traced back to a failure to love God or to love our neighbor the way, and to the degree to which we are called. It is not complicated, but it is profound.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is obedience related to loving God?
  • Within the story what is the impact of the hero being a Samaritan?
  • On the basis of this parable, who is my neighbor?
  •  In what terms did the lawyer identify the neighbor? (v. 37)

The Joy of God’s Presence, December 16

December 16, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—2 Timothy 2:1-13

God made man. God has chosen to make Himself and His will known to man whom He has made. If this is true, then there are two primary components to this scenario. One is the revelation itself–which God says includes the creation as well as His Word (both written and in the flesh; see Psa. 19:1; Rom. 1:19-20; Jn. 1:14; 2 Tim. 3:16). The other is the mind of man and its capacity to receive God’s revelation. Both must be present and functioning. One without the other is failure. God’s word without the ability to know it serves no purpose. Man’s intellect apart from God’s revelation is futile. So, here, Paul calls on us to “think over what I say” (v. 7). Just like the Lord invites us to “reason together” (Isa. 1:18). God intends for us to use the mind He’s given us.

Questions to Ponder:

  • By what was Timothy strengthened? (v. 1)
  • What was Timothy to do with what he had been taught? (v. 2)
  • What 3 metaphors does Paul use? (vv. 4, 5, 6)
  • What will happen if we endure? (v. 12)

The Joy of God’s Presence, December 2

December 2, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—2 Timothy 1:3-14

We all need help sometimes. We all need prodded and encouraged and motivated. How that happens is not a settled and concrete thing. We are mistaken if we think that the answer to getting us off of “high center” has to be something new and fresh and innovative. It’s not that this isn’t true at times, but neither should we reject or deny the familiar, the known, the old. Paul knew what Timothy needed when he wrote to him to be reminded and to remember. One of the best pieces of marital advice I ever heard was that the answer to a stale love is not a new flame, it’s to remember exactly why one had fallen so madly in love in the first place. A listless faith needs to remember exactly why and how faith erupted in the first place. Sometime the way forward is to go back.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did Paul characterize his service to God? (v. 3)
  • Where had Timothy’s faith first dwelt? (v. 5)
  • In what did Paul encourage Timothy to share? (8)
  • What is brought to light through the gospel? (v. 10)

The Joy of God’s Presence, November 25

November 25, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—Titus 3:1-11

So, is it malice, envy, and hatred or gentleness, courtesy, and peace? Just open your eyes and ears and in very short time disobedience, straying, priority of passion and pleasure along with the malice, envy, and hatred are manifest. It makes for a troubling and a troubled world. It does not have to be that way. It can be gentleness, courtesy and peace, along with good works, obedience, and submission as well as the absence of quarreling and evil speech. What is the difference? Which of these two are the result of “the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior” appearing (v. 4)? Obvious, isn’t it? Oh, and here’s a thought; does it not make sense that as a follower of Jesus Christ I should pay close attention to which of these lists is most evident in me?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What should be our disposition and treatment of all people? (v. 2)
  • According to what did God save us? (v. 5)
  • By what are we justified? (v. 7)
  • What should be the first response to one who stirs up division? (v. 10)

The Joy of God’s Presence, November 18

November 18, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—Luke 18:1-8

Jesus wished to fix a particular problem. He wanted to address a current concern and also to prevent future issues. It had to do with prayer. Specifically, this parable was given with two intentions, to encourage people always to pray and to not lose heart in praying. Think about that second one. Why might people lose heart? Not why shouldn’t they, but why would they? Is it not that prayer often is not answered as efficiently as we would like? We’ve prayed to God and made our request, so why isn’t anything happening? We pray again; nothing. Do we give up? God doesn’t want that. The widow in the parable was continually coming to the unrighteous judge.  God wants us continually coming to Him. The reasons could be many as to why a response is not forthcoming. Ours is not to have to know why. Ours is to keep praying. That’s the point.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is the judge characterized? (v. 2)
  • Who represents God in this parable?
  • To whom will God give justice? (v. 7)
  • What kind of faith is Jesus speaking of in v. 8?

The Joy of God’s Presence, November 4

November 4, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—Colossians 2:6-15

Jesus talked about the problem of a house without foundation (Matt. 7:26-27). How about a foundation without a house? That’s no good either. For functionality, usefulness, and good effect our lives must have something to be based upon, to hold it in place, to provide support. At the same time our life needs to flourish and grow and increase and bear fruit. Are these not the very ideas behind the encouragement that as we have received Christ that we would be “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” (Co. 2:6-7). So, how’s your life in Christ? Rooted and founded, solid and secure? Growing and expanding and maturing?

Questions to Ponder:

  • By what might one be taken captive? (v. 8)
  • What dwells in Christ bodily? (v. 9)
  • What power is at work in baptism? (v. 12)
  • Over whom did Christ triumph? (v. 15)

The Joy of God’s Presence, October 28

October 28, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—James 5:13-20

James writes to Christians. He describes real experiences and circumstances of the Christian life. Here, several notable features are identified: suffering, cheer, illness, spiritual leaders, singing, and prayer. Two things come quickly to mind. One is that even the life of God’s child will encounter negatives like suffering and illness. Their presence is no indication of God’s displeasure. The other is that good or ill, life’s circumstances should elicit a spiritual response. How often when confronted with life’s offerings, no matter if pleasant or otherwise, do we think first of singing and prayer? These aren’t to be confined to the assembly. Our spirituality isn’t on display Sundays only. Our spiritual leaders are not a decision making board, but caring and engaged shepherds concerned for our well-being. How close is James’s depiction of the Christian experience to our own?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the role of anointing with oil? (v. 14)
  • Is there a connection between illness and sin? (v. 15)
  • What should be done so that we may be healed? (v. 16)
  • What has great power? (v. 16)

The Joy of God’s Presence, October 21

October 21, Wednesday: Discipleship

Scripture Reading—James 5:7-12

God allows His people to suffer. He does. The Bible says He does. The Bible even says we should look at His faithful servants who suffered as examples of what we should do and how we should respond when we suffer. How was that? We’re not going to like this, but they responded with patience and steadfastness. “You mean they just took it?” Well, basically, yes. The Bible even has the audacity to tell us not to grumble in these circumstances (v. 9). Not only that it even talks about how God’s mercy and compassion play an important role in all of this (v. 11). Why is this so hard for us? Perhaps it’s because our hearts are not “establish[ed]…for the coming of the Lord” (v. 8). Are our hearts fixed in this life and in the present time? Are our hearts fixed on security and comfort and safety and pleasure and ease? Is our problem not the problems we face but where our heart is set?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who is used as an example of the kind of patience we are to have? (v. 7)
  • For what are our heats to be established? (8)
  • In what are we in danger of when we grumble? (v. 9)
  • What Old Testament characters are invoked as further examples? (vv. 10-11)