1 John 3

1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Sin and the Child of God
4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

The Imperative of Love
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

The Outworking of Love
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error
24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

January 30 Devotional-1 John 3

1.  In What ways can you purify yourself? (3:3)

2.  What is our standard for purity?
3.  What does practicing righteousness prove? (7)
4.  What does sin prove? (8)
5.  What is the message we have heard from the beginning? (11)
6.  What will the world think of us when we live our faith? (13)
7.  What does real love look like? (16-17)
8.  What does keeping His commandments lead to?(22)

 

 

Prayer Requests

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1 John 2 

1My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The Test of Knowing Him

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Their Spiritual State

12 I write to you, little children,
    Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
    Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
    Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
    Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
    Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
    And you have overcome the wicked one.

Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Deceptions of the Last Hour

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the[c] Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.[d] 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Let Truth Abide in You

24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will[e] abide in Him.

The Children of God

28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

January 29 Devotional-1 John 2

1.  The beginning of this chapter touches on our relationship & fellowship with Christ.  1 John 2: 3-6 says, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

There are three verbs in these verses that instruct us in our relationship and fellowship with Jesus Christ. The words are “know,” “abide,” and “walk”. The word “know” from verse 3 means “to come to a clear understanding”. This coming to “know” Jesus was based on the condition that we keep His commandments.  The word “abide” means “to remain, abide, live, dwell”.  More specific to  1 John, abide means “to be and remain in or with Him, one with Him in heart, mind, and will.”  The word “walk” in our present day usage is usually confined to an activity of movement. The Greek word for “walk” is “peripateo” and in its simplest terms means to “walk around or tread”, indicating a continuous action.

Reread verses 3-6.  Do an honest examination of your life from the criteria in this passage. 

 

2.  Verses 7-9 touch on our relationship with others.  What is the condition of one who hates his brother?

3.  What is the condition of one who loves?

4.  What does hatred do to our ability to see (v11)? Explain.

 

5.  What lesson can you learn about righteousness (v28,29)?

 

Prayer Requests

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BOOK OF 1 JOHN

AUTHOR:
Although the writer did not identify himself, early church fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian, named John as the author. Irenaeus (A.D. 130-200), who heard the eyewitness of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and disciple of John the apostle, also specified that the epistle was penned by John, the Lord’s disciple. Thus, there is strong evidence that John, the son of Zebedee and the apostle of Jesus, composed this letter.

DATE:
The three letters of John were probably written from Ephesus to the churches in the surrounding area of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Tradition assigns the writing of these letters to the latter years of John’s life, dating them between A.D. 80 and 95. The exact date, however, is not certain.

SETTING:
The recipients of the letter had been exposed to the heretical teachings of a group of people who had left their church (1 John 2:19). This group believed that spiritual things were good and physical things were evil. For them, the divine Christ, the Son of God, was not the same human Jesus who came to suffer and die for the sins of the world. They claimed to have a direct knowledge of God and to be morally perfect. However, their sinful behavior, lack of love, and prideful claims betrayed their heretical belief (see John 1:4, note; 1 Corinthians 1, Heresies).

PURPOSE:
John wrote to strengthen the faith of the believers (1 John 1:4). He encouraged them to hold to the apostolic teaching and to express that gospel through love and righteous living (1 John 2:1, 26). As a remedy against the onslaught of heretical views, he also assured believers of forgiveness, victory, and eternal life through Jesus Christ (1 John 5:13).

AUDIENCE:
Historically, the heresy closest in character to that described in the epistle was the Gnostic heresy taught in Asia Minor by Cerinthus. Therefore, it is probable that the letter was addressed to the churches in Asia Minor.

LITERARY CHARACTERISTICS:
The literary character of the epistle evades classification. In its greeting and conclusion, it lacks the features typical of a first-century letter. Nevertheless, the author is apparently addressing a specific situation with which he is familiar. First John could be a circular letter containing a written sermon or address.

THEMES:
• A true claim of the knowledge of God entails the acknowledgment that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human.
• Right belief goes hand-in-hand with right conduct; love and righteous living cannot be separated from right belief.
• Right faith produces confidence in forgiveness, in prayer, in victory against the Evil One, and in the possession of eternal life.

1 John 1 

The Incarnation of the Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

January 28 Devotional-1 John 1

1.  1 John 1: 3, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”  Any time a word is repeated in scripture, it is note-worthy.  The word ‘fellowship’ in this passage means “to have all things in common.”  We are to love one another because we share life together. We have something in common. We share the life of the Lord Jesus, and therefore we should have fellowship with one another.  Don’t confuse RELATIONSHIP and FELLOWSHIP.   Relationship is when we come to know the Lord, and fellowship is when our relationship is visible through us.  Fellowship is the key to vital Christianity.  A nonbeliever may not see if you have a relationship with Christ, but he/she should know if you have fellowship with Christ.   As a Christian, are you enjoying fellowship with the Father and with His Son?

 

2.  There are several IF-THEN statements in verses 5-10.  Record the statements below and think about what each statement means to you.

Verse 6:   

If- 

Then-

Lesson:

 Verse 7:

If- 

Then-

Lesson:

Verse 8:

If-  

Then-

Lesson:

Verse 9:

If-

Then-

Lesson-

 Verse 10:

If-

Then-

Lesson- 

Prayer Requests

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Jonah 4 

Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion
1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

January 27 Devotional-Jonah 4

This passage is very interesting to me. Jonah was so angry that the people of Nineveh confessed their sin to God and that God forgave them that he went outside the city to pout.

  1.  Verses 1-3 say,But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

To find out what “this” and “that” from the passage are referring to, you have to go back to chapter 3 verse 10: When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah was mad because God had mercy on Ninevah.  Why was this ironic?

 

  1. Jonah cared more for the plant than he did for the people.  We see this a lot in our country today.  People care about recycling, conservation, and clean air, … but not about the hearts and souls of the people.  You may be adamant, like Jonah, about an issue, but you also may be dead wrong like Jonah, about your priorities.  List ways your focus is correct today & areas of priority that you need to change.

 

 

  1.  Spend some time reflecting on what God has done for you by rescuing you from your sins. Without this rescue, where would you be right now? Confess any sin in your life that you haven’t confessed to God, and surrender your heart fully to him today.

 

Prayer Requests

1.  Help me to prioritize God’s will & God’s plan in my life.

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Jonah 3

Jonah Goes to Nineveh
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

January 26 Devotional-Jonah 3

1.  List what you know about Jonah from this passage:

* (vs. 1-3) Jonah kept his vow made in the belly of the fish

 

*(vs. 2)

 

*(vs. 4)

 

2.  How can you learn from Jonah’s actions?

 

 

3.  List what you know about the people of Nineveh from this passage:

* It was a great city (vs.1) It was a large city (vs.3)

*(vs.5)

 

*(vs. 7-9)

 

*(vs.10)

 

4.  How can you learn from Nineveh’s example?

 

Prayer Requests

1. Spend time searching your heart and confessing any sin in your life.  It may be sin that has become a habit so you justify keeping it around.  It may be sin that is keeping you from peace in your life.  Meditate on Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 139:23-24Search me, God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

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Jonah 2

1From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me,[b]
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
7 “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

January 22 Devotional-Jonah 2

1.  “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:  “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”

Jonah was calling to God in his distress. This was distress that he had caused himself! If he had just done what God had told him to do, he would not be stuck in the belly of a large fish. Instead of ignoring Jonah’s cries, God heard his voice and answered him. I am glad that we can say as Jonah does that God will answer our prayers no matter how bad we have messed up?

Tell about a time where you cried out to God from a place of despair.  How did God answer?

 

 

2.  Do you need to turn back to God today?  What is stopping you?

 

3.  We do not have to be in a life or death situation before we make a promise to God.  Jonah cries out: “What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.'” God wants our best.

What area of your life can you vow to improve?  Is there an area that you need to rededicate to Christ?  

 

Prayer Requests

1. Help me to obey God in all areas of my life.

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Background Information

BOOK OF JONAH

AUTHOR:

Though this book does not cite a specific author, tradition ascribes the authorship to its main character, the prophet Jonah, son of Amittai (Jonah 1:1). Jonah (Heb., lit. “dove”) was a real person from Gath Hepher near Nazareth (2 Kings 14:25). This Hewbrew prophet was called by God to proclaim His message to the pagan nation of Assyria, while God used other prophets (Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah) to prophesy to Israel during the same time period.

DATE:

The date of the prophet Jonah’s ministry is generally accepted as between 800 and 750 B.C. Nothing about the book is incompatible with an eighth century B.C. composition. Some scholars support a later time after the Babylonian exile or the destruction of Nineveh, although these arguments are not conclusive. The Book of Jonah records historical events that occurred before the great city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was destroyed (about 612 B.C.; see Jon. 3:3). Jeroboam II was king of Israel (782-753 B.C.; 2 Kings 14:25) and Uzziah was king in Judah (792-740) B.C.). During this period, the Assyrian king was probably Ashur-dan III (772-755 B.C.).

SETTING:

The Book of Jonah was initially set in Israel, where the prophet lived in the town of Gath Hepher near Nazareth. When Jonah fled from God’s assignment in Nineveh, he went to Joppa, a port city along the Mediterranean Sea to catch a ship sailing in the opposite direction to Tarshish. After his brief encounter with the “great fish,” Jonah returned to land. The last two chapters of the book were set in Assyria (present-day Iraq) after the prophet journeyed in obedience to Nineveh.

 

PURPOSE:

The Book of Jonah teaches that only true repentance can bring salvation, and it also demonstrates God’s compassion toward all (Jonah 4:2, 11; see Mic. 1:1, note). God wants all people truly to repent and receive salvation. Readers will discover Jonah to be a minor prophet with a major message.

 

 

AUDIENCE:

While the original audience of the Book of Jonah is unidentified, clearly the Lord gave Jonah a message of hope for the wicked Assyrians and a message of restoration for believers who rebel. Taking that message to the enemies proved to be Jonah’s greatest challenge. The impact of the Book of Jonah has continued through the generations, even among the Jews. The book is read in its entirety in the synagogues in the afternoon of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). This liturgical use of the book is helpful in understanding its message of hope and assurance for God’s chosen people.

LITERARY CHARACTERISTICS:

The Book of Jonah is a historical account of a major event in Jonah’s life. Most of Jonah is narrative with almost no proclamation, while other prophets are almost all proclamation and little narrative. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ verified the historical significance of the prophet Jonah and this book (Matthew 12:39-41; Luke 11:29, 30).

Several significant, but sometimes overlooked, themes are found in the Book of Jonah. Though only forty-eight verses in length, the message of Jonah is important. The following are among its obvious themes:

Salvation comes only from the Lord. The Book of Jonah teaches that salvation is not by works, but by grace through faith (Jonah 2:8, 9; see also Ephesians 2:8).

The God of the Hebrews has always expressed concern for the whole world. Jonah explained that Yahweh God lovingly offers salvation even to people we would prefer to hate (Jonah 4:9-11).

God is a God of beginning anew. The prophet experienced God’s forgiveness when he was unfaithful and was offered another opportunity for obedience (Jonah 3:1). Nineveh likewise received the opportunity to repent.

Jesus used the experience of Jonah in the belly of the fish to explain His death, burial, and Resurrection (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:38-41).

Jonah 1

Jonah Flees From the Lord

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.

Jonah’s Prayer

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

January 22 Devotional-Jonah 1

Steps to following God’s call on your life

Step 1. Hear God’s plan for you.  Verse 1 says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

Jonah knew God’s plan.  What is God calling you to do?  When you spend time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in quiet times of being still with God, ask Him to reveal His plan for you.  As you look around at your circumstances and situations in your daily life- has God shown you a need or a direction?

Step 2: Make a decision to answer God’s call OR NOT.  What is keeping you from doing what God wants you to do?  Maybe you are supposed to prioritize worship, quit a habit, lead a study, take a stand at work, make a change in your life, …  How can you get started today?

Step 3:  Watch God work through you.  Jonah’s obedience started with acknowledging that he was running from God- At the time, he did not know when he went overboard how his story was going to end or how God was going to use him, BUT GOD DID!

Maybe you are being obedient and following God’s direction for your life, how have you seen God working?

Prayer Requests:
 1.  Pray that you would have the wisdom and courage to follow God’s call on your life.

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Philippians 4

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Final Exhortations
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for Their Gifts
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Final Greetings
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.[a]

 

 

January 21 Devotional-Philippians 4 

Paul closes this great book with an amazing conclusive chapter.  Philippians 4 is one of the most quoted, memorized, preached about and read chapters in God’s Word.  I think that is because of the practical, applicable way the text instructs & reminds us to live for Christ.

After you read Philippians 4, record what the following verses tell us specifically to do & how.  

Phil 4:1 – Be Firm:

 

Phil 4:2-3 – Be Focused:

 

Phil 4:4-5 – Be Joyful:

 

Phil 4:6-7 – Be Prayerful:

 

Phil 4:8-9 – Be Careful:

 

Phil 4:10 – Be Peaceful:

 

Phil 4:11-13 – Be Content

 

Phil 4:14-18 – Be Generous

 

Phil 4:19 – Be Practical

Which verse spoke to you the most today?  Write it down in the space provided and commit to memorize it this week.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prayer Requests:
 1.  Pray that the wisdom from God’s Word will direct, correct, and instruct you today.

2.

3.

4.

Philippians 3

No Confidence in the Flesh
1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Following Paul’s Example
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Footnotes:
a Philippians 3:9 Or through the faithfulness of
end of footnotes end of crossrefs

 

January 20 Devotional

Philippians 3

1.  Paul constantly repeats the phrase “rejoice in the Lord.”  It is not surprising that he begins this chapter by reminding us of this, again.  A believer who rejoices in the Lord is a healthy believer.  This is a distinctive sign of a victorious Christian who has peace and contentment. Therefore, it is the one thing Paul repeats over and over and over again: rejoice in the Lord.

How are you rejoicing in the Lord today?

 

 

2.  “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (PHILIPPIANS 3:14)
Saul, the young man who was to become the Apostle Paul, knew what it was to strive to please God by fulfilling requirements of the religion in which he had been raised. He vigorously opposed anything that was outside of his system of beliefs. All that was so important to him fell away when he met the risen Christ. He had studied about God. But then he met his living Lord.

The religion that once had spawned Saul’s hatred and persecution of those who did not conform took on a whole new dimension. The truths he had studied now came alive. He had met the One the prophets foretold, and his life was filled with joy and purpose. All that mattered was to know Christ and complete God’s assignment. Until his death, Paul loved and served his Lord wholeheartedly. (Haven)

God has a plan for each of us, too. How it unfolds may be as surprising and dramatic as the changes that came for Saul. On the other hand, His plan may be more subtle in our lives, unfolding with each New Year and drawing us closer to Jesus.

How is God working in your life right now?

 

 

 3.  Prayer Requests:

1.  Pray that the wisdom from God’s Word will direct, correct, and instruct you today.
2.

3.

4.

Philippians 2

 Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mindDo nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

 

January 19, 2015 Devotional

Philippians 2

  1. In verse one the word “if” occurs four times, it is used in the same sense that we use the word “since” and describes four conditions. What are the four conditions Paul cites in verse 1 to encourage the Philippians to do the things he asks of them in verse 2?

If ____________________________

If ____________________________

If ____________________________

If ____________________________

2.  What does God tell us to do in verses 3 and 4 of this second chapter of Philippians? Fill in the blanks.

Do nothing out of _________________ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in ________________ value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the ___________________.

 

  1. Verse five tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Reread verses 5-8: 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

According to these scriptures, describe the attitude that we should have:

 

 

4.  In verse 14 Paul exhorts the Philippians to do everything without murmurings or arguing. Other translations say without: grumbling, arguing, complaining or disputing. I love how The Message translates verses 14-16:

 14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.

What do you think would happen around you at home, at work, in the community… if you lived according to verses 14-16?

 

Prayer Requests:

1.  Pray that the wisdom from God’s Word will direct, correct, and instruct you today.

2.

3.

4.

 

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