We did it! We read for 7 days. Science says it takes 21-60 days to create a habit…so, we are somewhere between 11-30% of the way there, depending on our inclinations. This week we have read the first 7 chapters of Matthew, Genesis, Romans, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Joshua, Isaiah, and Acts. We completed the book of 1 Thessalonians and have started, and almost finished, 2 Thessalonians.
So, let’s get started:
“Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
We discovered the genealogy, birth, and early life of Jesus. God called Joseph and Mary to, “Get up, Move, and to Stay elsewhere,” early on to protect him from the genocide of infant boys under King Herod. We learned about John the Baptist and preparing the way for Jesus. We got to read about Jesus’ baptism and being tempted in the desert for 40 days by the enemy. Then, Jesus begins his ministry by gathering His disciples. We learn His first instructions for how to live, love, and be through His sermon on the mount.
Questions: Which part of the ‘sermon on the mount’ spoke to you most? In what ways has God called you to “Get up, Move, and stay elsewhere”?
“God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” Genesis 1:27
Genesis starts us off with the creation of the world and everything in it. We understand the roles of mankind and that we were created in God’s image. Quickly, we watch the fall of man as Adam and Eve partake from the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and life drastically changed for mankind after. The first murder happens between their sons, Cain and Abel and we watch God bless Adam and Eve with another son, Seth. Humankind expands alongside our wickedness and God wants to wipe out the entire Earth….But Noah. We get to revel in the hope of ONE MAN…a foreshadow of what is to come.
Questions: If you could live in Eden, what would you find most enjoyable? Why are we so prone to sin? Think of examples in your own life where your natural response is to sin. In what ways do you see the coming redemption of Jesus through Noah’s story?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
We start off with one of the many of Paul’s letters. Here is writing to the Romans, which pairs beautifully next to the next book, Thessalonians. Romans focuses a lot on humans being sinners, by nature. It also provides the hope of salvation given to us through Christ. Romans beautifully illustrates how sin separated us from Christ, but through Christ’s life and resurrection, we can gain new life through faith in Him. He also begins to tell why sin is a problem and our desperate need for Jesus.
Questions: Do you believe we should follow the law or do you believe that we are free from the law through grace? Why? In Romans 5, Paul says that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. In what ways have you seen this illustrated in your own life?
“So, we speak, not to please people, but rather God, who examines our hearts.” 1 Thess. 2:4b
We see “Grace to you and peace” again at the beginning of this letter. So, I read through the study notes in my ‘She Reads Truth’ study bible to find that Paul started each letter like that intentionally: He wanted the church of each city to know that there can be no wholeness apart from Christ’s kindness. Moving forward, we see grace upon grace on the people of Thessalonica because they worshipped idols and yet, received the gospel with full assurance. In Thessalonians 5, beautiful verses flood the pages. Two of my favorites are: God didn’t make us for wrath, but for salvation through Jesus (v.9) & He who calls you is faithful; He will do it (v. 24).
Questions: In what ways have you experienced Christ’s kindness leading to wholeness? How have you seen Him “Do it” in your own life? In Thessalonians 2, Paul prays that Jesus will encourage our hearts and give us strength in every good work and word. Stop and say a quick prayer for that specifically.
“Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Job 2:10
Every time I read Job, my heart breaks. The older I get, the more I find myself coming back to this book when times get difficult. Somehow, I find comfort and encouragement in Job’s relentless clinging to the Lord. To recap, Job was a blessed man in every sense of the word and God allowed Satan to attack him in order to prove the point that Job’s faith in Him was stronger than any of his Earthly blessings. So, Satan attacked everything but couldn’t lay a hand on Job. Then, Satan came back and covered Job in boils. Then, we hear Job speak and in a tough season, these words seem so relatable with heartbreaking questions and pain with no answers. Unfortunately, in his despair, Job’s friends to provide more drama and discouragement than anything.
Questions: How does the book of Job remind us of God’s goodness? List 3 statements that resonated with you in the first 7 chapters. How can this book teach us to be a better friend to those going through hard times?
“[his] delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and [he] meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears fruit in its season.” Psalms 1:2-3
Psalms is my prayer manual. David has such beautiful words and as a man after God’s own heart, I refer back to this book often to find his intimacy with the Lord speaking straight to every situation I face. From wisdom, confidently facing hard times, nightly prayers, and God’s refuge. We have read it all this week. To me, if you are ever struggling, I always open my Bible to its heart, Psalms and follow it up with wisdom from Proverbs.
Questions: In psalms 1, it talks about the two ways; how do they differ? How does you life line up with the two ways? Write down a verse from Psalms 1-7 that spoke to you.
“Pay attention to my words…for they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22
If you read ANY part of scripture, make Proverbs your daily pit stop. I’ve never read a chapter without picking up a highlighter and a pen…no matter how many times I read it. Somehow, loving instruction and wisdom seem to put everything into perspective. As an entrepreneur, this book has served me well from relationships, money, perspective, and focusing on what is truly important. Proverbs is a fountain that will continue to fill you up, as long as you keep coming back. Proverbs 1-3 focuses on knowledge and wisdom; these two being the grand prize in life, apart from salvation. In Proverbs 4, we are taught to follow the Lord’s instruction that lead us to a life of blessings. Finally, Proverbs 5-7 talk about lust, seduction, adultery, and marriage. 10 pages of the best personal development book you will ever read.
Questions: Proverbs 6 talks about laziness and ants; in what ways does this encourage you to be motivated in your work? Why do you believe wisdom, knowledge, and instruction are the most valuable things for us?
“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night…for then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” Joshua 1:8
Joshua is now leading the Israelites to take their land, but they must fight some battles first. This book is one of the many “War books”. We begin in Jericho, where 2 spies go to scout the land. They come upon Rahab and stay with her and she keeps them safe in exchange for her family’s protection when they Israelites take over. They leave with the men of Israel and stay in Acacia Grove to consecrate themselves. To create intimacy with God again, the Israelite men were circumcised and God removed the disgrace from them. Now, they are called to march around the city of Jericho for 7 days. On the seventh day, they must march around it 7 times, sound their trumpets, and shout and the wall collapses. We end with another battle and a loss because the Lord was not fighting their battles due to one man taking what wasn’t his. This man was judged and put to death.
Question: In what ways does this contrast the way we live through grace? What is a “Jericho” in your life that God may be calling you to march around in order to take it?
“If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.” Isaiah 7:9b
Oh, the book of prophecies! This is a book that can be revealing about our character and our current world. We see a prophet begging his people to simply turn from their wickedness and obey. We see him telling of God’s judgement coming soon. BUT….there is more to this story and hope awaits us as we continue reading. I promise…Isaiah is just getting heated up.
Questions: What comparisons can you draw between the world Isaiah is in and the world we are living in today? In Isaiah 7, we see the first prophecy about Jesus. Do your research to find how many years separated the writing of Isaiah and the fulfillment of the prophecy.
“We must obey God rather than people” Acts 5:29
Imagine learning everything you know from your teacher and now living in life without them. Grief is weird, but so is calling. Acts is the introduction to the world after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. So, you can imagine…it’s crazy! There’s both good and bad. The beautiful part: the Church was new and growing by thousands a day and the Holy Spirit has now come upon believers. The sad part: persecution was on the rise and the Sanhedrin (71 elite Jewish council) were NOT happy about the disciples talking about Jesus. There are 2 arrests in the 7 chapters we read. The Church was growing rapidly and the disciples had to appoint some additional leaders to take over the daily distribution with Stephen being chosen as one. If you ever need a recap of God’s plan from beginning to end, Stephen’s sermon is a great place to start (Acts 7). We wrap up our reading with the first Christian martyr and see the great need for Jesus, even in a culture that was able to fully experience Him.
Questions: Put yourself in the time of Acts; come up with three adjectives to describe what you would be experiencing if you were a follower of Jesus. Do you feel that boldness is still difficult within our culture today? How did Stephen’s sermon help you to see the full circle moment of our need for Christ?
I hope this week nourished your soul. Can’t wait to recap and study deeper with you next week. Let’s get to reading!