Memorize Matthew 7:7-8
"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened" (NRSV).
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened" (NIV).
Reflect on Matthew 7:7-8
- Read chapter 7 of Matthew's gospel in the NRSV, the NIV , or The MESSAGE.
- ASK and it will …;
SEEK and you will …;
KNOCK and the door will be ….
- Those who ASK, …;
Those who SEEK, …;
Those who KNOCK, ….
- Take time this week to read The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) asking God to help you ask the right questions, seek after the right things, and knock at the right doors.
Memorize John 16:24
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete (NRSV).
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete (NIV).
Reflect on John 16:24
- Read chapter 16 of John's gospel from the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- What would you like to ask God about that you have not yet asked? Why haven't you asked?
- When you pray what do you expect to happen?
- Richard Foster said, "When we pray, genuinely pray, the real condition of our heart is revealed. This is as it should be. This is when God truly begins to work with us. The adventure is just beginning." How is your adventure going?
Memorize 2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (NRSV).
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (NIV).
Reflect on 2 Peter 1:3
- Read Peter's charge to the Christians in 2 Peter 1:3-15 from the NRSV, NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- The section title for this passage in the NRSV is "The Christian's Call and Election." State Peter's description of that calling in your own words.
- God's power conveys to us all we need for life and godliness. Are there areas of your life that you still rely on your own "power" rather than allowing God to lead you?
- What knowledge do you have of God's glory and goodness in your life? Look for those moments when God's goodness and glory are made known in your life.
Memorize John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (NRSV).
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (NIV).
Reflect on John 10:10
- Read Jesus' description of himself as the good shepherd in John 10:1-18 from the NRSV, NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- What is the audience (congregation) for the telling of this parable?
- Who do the thief, the hired hand, and the sheep represent?
- Jesus says boldly, "I am the good shepherd." What implications does that have for us?
Memorize 2 Thessalonians 3:3
The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one (NRSV).
The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one (NIV).
Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 3:3
- Read Paul's benediction to the Christians of Thessolonika in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- Paul asks the church to pray for two things: that Word of the Lord would spread quickly and that Paul and his companions would be rescued from evil people. The basis for this hope is contained in the above verses. What is Paul depending on? What are you being invited to depend upon?
- Our modern ears often ignore or downplay words about evil people or the Evil One, (daibolos – "devil" in the Greek, ha-satan – "the enemy" in the Hebrew). Step back and honestly examine your workplace, school, neighborhood, community, and world. Where do you see evil? What do you need from Jesus so that you can guard against the Evil One?
Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (NRSV)
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV).
Reflect on 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
- Read Paul's teaching on Jesus' resurrection in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- The many "fear nots" ("do not be afraid" in the NIV) in the Bible are mirrored in today's prideful advertising slogan "No Fear!" Paul tells us that we can live without fear because God through Jesus has already won the victory for us. What do you fear?
- What about death? Do you fear death? Does USAmerican culture fear death?
- What one risk will you make for God this week?
Memorize Ephesians 1:7-8
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight (NRSV).
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (NIV).
Reflect on Ephesians 1:7-8
- Read Ephesians 1 from the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- In Ephesians 1 we are assured that God our Father has adopted us as children … as sons and daughters. In our culture with its emphasis on the immediate family, what does it mean to see everyone in the body of Christ as a sister or brother?
- What does the word redemption mean (think of redeeming a coupon at the grocery store)? What does it mean that God has redeemed you?
- What are you redeemed for? What are you redeemed from?
- What two lavish gifts does our Father offer us?
Memorize 1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (NRSV).
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (NIV).
Reflect on 2 Peter 2:24
- Read 1 Peter 2:21-25 from the NRSV, NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- One of the ways we make a passage our own is to give the passage a title. What would you call this passage?
- In the season of Lent we are paying attention to different ways of living. Peter reminds us that because of Jesus we may "live for righteousness." Where did Jesus show you how to live for righteousness?
- What sins have you died to because Jesus has set you free?
- Where in you life does Jesus need to help you take the next step forward?
Memorize Isaiah 53:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed (NRSV).
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (NIV).
Reflect on Isaiah 53:5
- What does Isaiah say about the coming Messiah in the 53rd chapter.
- In what two actions do we participate in verse 5 that causes the Messiah to suffer?
- What two actions will come our way because the Messiah suffered for us?
- These are the words that begin Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of The Christ. If you have seen the movie, what grabbed your attention? your heart? What made no sense to you?
Memorize Acts 10:43
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (NRSV).
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (NIV)
Reflect on Acts 10:43
- Again, look to the context of Acts 10:23-48 as you seek to understand the passage.
- Read Micah 5:2 , Zechariah 9:9, and Psalm 22:16 as you contemplate God's forgiveness for you.
- As you pay attention to your life and where you have fallen short of God's glorious purposes for you (see Romans 3:23), take a moment to lean into Jesus' everlasting arms and accept (again) the forgiveness offered to you.
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