MONTHLY ARCHIVES: July 2014

Wear It

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Karah

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Take some time to look back over the studies from the last few weeks. Think about what you learned as you spent time studying God’s Word. What stands out to you most? Thank God for speaking to you through His Word.

Carefully read Colossians 3:12-15 in your own Bible. Jot down what a believer looks like according to this passage.

“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

—Colossians 3:12

Put on: Literally, clothe. In verses 5-9, Paul had outlined the sinful vices Christians should put to death. Here, he lists the qualities that should characterize believers.

Humility: An attitude that’s free from pride and the need to make yourself the most important. Who exemplifies this quality in your life? Why?

Gentleness: Refusing to demand one’s rights; allowing the Master to control your power and rights. What’s a real life example of this concept?

Patience: The capacity to bear injustice or injury without retaliation. This involves forgiving injustices committed against you. Does this describe your interactions with others? Why or why not?

Respond

Reflect on verse 12 of this passage. Who in your life needs to see compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience from you? Pray and ask God to work through you as you develop this kind of character in your life. Jot down one way you’ll commit to live this out this week.

Behind the Story

When Paul wrote this letter to the church at Colosse, false teaching had infiltrated the church. Gnosticism was the problem—combining ideas from other religions and philosophies, emphasizing special knowledge and denying Christ as God and Savior. Paul combated this error by teaching the supremacy of Christ and His death on the cross.

The Point

Truly living out God’s patience means displaying patience to others no matter the circumstance.


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Proclaim & Persist

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Karah

8b84bfc3-1ab4-4c0c-b3fc-e399d89ef4e1Pause

Think about how quick you are to give up when people don’t respond the way you think they should. Now, thank God that He isn’t like that.

Think about a difficult situation you have faced or are facing right now. How quick are you to give up when something gets hard? Below, rate yourself from 1 to 10.

 never give up                   give up at first sign of difficulty

            1—-2—-3—-4—-5—-6—-7—-8—-9—-10

Read 2 Timothy 4:2-5 to discover a difficult situation Paul knew Timothy would face: proclaiming the gospel to those who didn’t seem to respond.

“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.”

—2 Timothy 4:2

Ask yourself:

• When should you persist in proclaiming the gospel? What would that look like in your daily life?

• What does it mean to rebuke, correct, or encourage with “great patience”? Who do you know who truly lives that out? Explain.

• Why would correcting someone or sharing the gospel without patience be detrimental to the cause of Christ?

Respond

Do you know someone who needs to hear God’s message of hope? Have you tried sharing with them, only to become frustrated or discouraged? Commit to pray for anyone who came to mind by writing down their names. Ask God to give you opportunities to share His message with patience this week.

Behind the Story

Paul wrote this letter as he waited in a Roman prison for death by execution. He was convicted for being a follower of Christ. The letter was written to Timothy, Paul’s dear friend and the pastor of the church at Ephesus, as a sort of “passing of the torch” of leadership. Paul’s letter was to remind Timothy of what was truly important and to encourage him in the faith.

The Point

Because God is patient, wanting all to come to salvation, we must continue to share the gospel and encourage others with great patience and persistence.


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A Patient Life

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Karah

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What things are causing you to be anxious? Instead of worrying about those things, lift them up to God.

Think about the words patient and impatient. What attitudes, feelings, or other words and phrases do you associate with each of those words? Write out your ideas.

Patient                                                             Impatient

Read Ephesians 4:1-5 in your Bible, then read over verse 2 again. Underline the words that should describe your way of life as a follower of Christ.

“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us”. —Ephesians 4:1-2

According to this passage, why is it important for Christians to exhibit this kind of character? Explain.

Patience is a vital part of maintaining unity within the body of Christ, the church. Do you think that statement is true? Why? How have you seen it play out in your church?

Respond

• There are probably people all around you who try your patience. Think about the people in your life or church with whom you sometimes grow impatient. What are some specific ways you’ll choose to be patient with them this week? List two.

• Identify the triggers that cause you to be impatient, then outline specific actions you will take when tempted to respond impatiently.

• For further study, read Galatians 5:22-23 and to learn more about what walking with Christ looks like.

Behind the Story

The Book of Ephesians is a letter Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus to strengthen and encourage them. One of his key themes in the letter is the church. Chapter 4 stresses that unity should characterize the Body of Christ. That means that believers should have commitment, concern, and harmony with one another because of their common bond in Christ. How do you see this in your relationships with other Christians?

The Point

Because God is patient, you can be patient with others, especially within the body of Christ. Patience is vital to building unity in the church.


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Extraordinary Patience

Posted on July 8, 2014 by Karah

Newspaper PartyPause

When are you the most impatient? Think about the people, situations, and circumstances that most often trigger your impatience. List a few below.

It’s easy for us to place our own characteristics on God. Because we get impatient, we think He will, especially in light of our sin. Even as Christians, we often sin, but we don’t have to worry that God will get impatient with us and walk away. That’s not who He is. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17 to learn more.

“But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

—1 Timothy 1:16

Ponder these thoughts:

• Re-read verses 12-14. Underline the words Paul used to describe himself before he came to Christ. What words would describe you before Jesus came into your life?

• According to this passage, why is Paul an example of God’s great patience?

• Paul obviously still marveled at the power of the gospel and the transformation Jesus had brought into His life. He knew how bad he’d been, so he understood the patience God had shown Him in forgiving Him and never giving up on Him. Have you ever felt that way about the gospel? Why or why not?

Respond

• Meditate on these truths:  Because God is patient, I know He can forgive and transform me, no matter the sin. Because God is patient, I know that He will never be impatient with me.

• Do you live like you believe those truths? What changes will you make today in order to do so? List one idea below.

• For further study, read Psalm 40:1-3 and consider the benefits of God’s patience. Also, read “A New Way to See” in The Jesus Storybook Bible, a story about Paul’s conversion.

Behind the Story

The “extraordinary patience” discussed in verse 16 suggests an attitude of moral restraint even when provoked. In His patience, God holds back overdue judgment and offers forgiveness rather than separation and lostness.

The Point

Paul claimed to be the worst example of sin, but his life gives proof of God’s great patience toward us. Jesus came into the world to save sinners and no sin is too great for forgiveness.


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God’s Patience

Posted on July 1, 2014 by Karah

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Let the wonder of God’s patience toward sinners overwhelm you today by contemplating this quote:

How wondrous is God’s patience with the world today. On every side people are sinning with a high hand . . . It is truly amazing that He does not instantly strike dead those who so brazenly defy Him.”  —A.W. Pink

God’s patience is part of His character. But like everything in God’s economy, that patience has a purpose. Pore over Romans 2:1-4 in your Bible looking for that purpose. Underline it when you find it.

“Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

—Romans 2:3-4

Paul was writing to Jews who condemned the Gentiles for their wickedness while overlooking their own. His point was that everyone of us have gone our own way and will face judgment. Why would this have been vital news to the Jews? Why is it important to you?

God isn’t just patient and tolerant with the Gentiles; He is patient with all people. This isn’t careless oversight. He is patient in order to lead people to repentance. What does this reveal about God’s character? Explain.

Respond

When has God’s kindness led you to repentance? Journal your thoughts and thank Him for showing you such kindness.

For further study, listen to Chris Tomlin’s “Kindness” on The Noise We Make.

Behind the Story

Many scholars see Romans 2 as a warning to the Jews not to assume that their national identity was enough to give them right standing before God. Many Jews believed that because they had historically been God’s people, had the Law and supposedly kept it, that God would regard them as righteous. But Paul said everyone has fallen short of God’s standard. It is only a relationship with Christ that brings salvation, not your family’s faith or how good or moral you are.

The Point

In God’s kindness, He gives ample opportunity for repentance, but judgment is coming. Don’t mistake His patience for approval of sin!


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