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This Week's Readings:

Week 3, December 16

Reading Plan

Day 1-

READ:  John 12:1-7

REFLECT:  Why do you think Mary anointed Jesus?  Why do you think Judas was angry about it?  How did Jesus, who knew their true motives, react to each of them?

PRACTICE:  Think of a time you did something with good intentions and were misunderstood or criticized.  How can you avoid misjudging the actions of others?

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ:  Philippians 2:3-8 and 4:8

REFLECT:  How will the truth in these verses help you guard against unrealistic expectations of yourself and others? 

PRACTICE:  What expectations did Mary and Joseph have as they anticipated the birth of Jesus? Watch this short video teaching by Margaret Feinberg on Right Now Media: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/illustration/98056  (If you do not yet have a Right Now Media account, you can register for one here: https://whoisgrace.com/rightnowmedia/)

 

Day 2-

READ: 2 Corinthians 2:15-16; Galatians 1:10

REFLECT:  Paul reminds us in these verses that people will have varying opinions about what we do but we need to focus only on what Jesus thinks.

PRACTICE:  Write Galatians 1:10 on a card and keep it in a prominent place so you can read it several times throughout the day.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ: “Lay Aside the Weight of Christmas Expectations” from Desiring God-

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-weight-of-christmas-expectations

 

Day 3-

READ:  Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 3:15-16

REFLECT:  How will an attitude of thankfulness reduce your anxiety? 

PRACTICE: It’s easy to forget thanksgiving as we rush on to Christmas. Stop and thank God for at least ten ways He’s blessed you today.  Each time today you begin to feel stressed immediately thank God for one of these blessings.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ: 1 John 5:21

REFLECT: “I needed to be mindful that my expectations were becoming idols. I was replacing true thanksgiving to God, and all the mercies he has shown, with turkey and pumpkin pie. Celebrating the birth of Jesus, the real reason for Christmas, was being replaced with glittery trees and presents. Those things are good gifts, but they are not meant to take first place in my heart. “—Liz Holst

PRACTICE:  Pray and ask God to show you if any of your holiday traditions might rival His first place in your heart.

 

Day 4-

READ:  John 12:1-7

REFLECT: How are you like Mary in this story (worshiping Jesus)?  How are you like Judas in this story (judging or placing expectations on yourself/others)? 

PRACTICE: Realize you can never really know the story behind the words and actions of others and sometimes not even your own. Pray and ask God to help you remember this and give you grace for others and for yourself.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ:  Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9

REFLECT: How is this story just a bit different when told by Matthew and Mark? What have you given or could you give Jesus that would be as meaningful as the ointment she gave?

PRACTICE:  Listen to this song by Cece Winans about the Alabaster Box

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR6HSSm5YUM

 

Day 5-

READ:  Romans 8:1; Psalm 46:1; Philippians 4:13; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 119:105

REFLECT: God’s word is the only source of true expectations for how we should live and for what we can count on from God.  How can you use the promises you find in the Bible (like the verses listed above) to change how you view yourself and others?

PRACTICE: Read the above verses again and put your own name in each one to personalize it (ie.“There is therefore no condemnation for [your name] who is in Christ Jesus.”)

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ:  Hebrews 4:14-16

REFLECT:  Jesus has experienced all the frustrations of life that we experience.  How does this give us confidence as we pray?

PRACTICE:  Stop and take some time to pray over your holiday expectations and ask Jesus to help you line them up with His expectations for you.

 

Last Week's Readings:

Week 2, December 9

Reading Plan

Day 1-

READ:  Matthew 18: 15-17

REFLECT:  How does Jesus teach us to resolve conflict? How do you need to adjust your way of resolving conflict based on this passage?

PRACTICE:  In a moment of tension with a family member, try to practice this passage in working it out.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ:  “How to Resolve Conflict” from Cru about how to communicate clearly during conflict: https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/help-others-grow/collaborative-discipleship/lessons/2c-how-to-resolve-conflict.html

 

Day 2-

READ:  1 Samuel 26:1-12

REFLECT: Why doesn’t David take the opportunity to kill Saul? How does the Lord work out vengeance for David? (see 1 Samuel 31)

PRACTICE:  Pray for those that rub you the wrong way, or disagree with you.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

PRACTICE:  Do something nice for someone with whom you often have tension.

 

Day 3-

READ:   Matthew 5:38-47

REFLECT:  How does the Lord care for those who are evil? What impact would it have on the world if every Christian lived this out?

PRACTICE:  Brainstorm some ways that would be relevant today to do good to those who do evil to you. Do one of those things for someone.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ: “Pray for Those Who Abuse You” from Desiring God. (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/pray-for-those-who-abuse-you)

 

Day 4-

READ:  Proverbs 15:1

REFLECT: How can your tone and words effect the direction of a conversation? What does it look like to soften a tense conversation?

PRACTICE:  When tensions start to rise, take a deep breath and soften your tone.

TAKE IT FURTHER!

READ: “Going Soft Against Wrath” from Desiring God. (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/going-soft-against-wrath)

 

Day 5-

READ:  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

REFLECT:  How does the love described in this passage remind us of Jesus? How are you doing at loving others?

PRACTICE:  List out the ways that you can believe the best in those who you struggle to like. Confess any sin in your life that leads to further conflict with someone. Ask God to give you a heart like His, to love the unlovable. Thank Him for loving you!

TAKE IT FURTHER!

REFLECT:  What role does love play in conflict? How is it loving to resolve conflict quickly?

It's important to read the Bible on a regular basis. We want to provide resources to help keep you on track. These readings allow you to take a longer look at some of the passages that the teaching pastor referenced during the weekend sermon. Please contact us if you have any questions/issues.

Here is a handy guide on how to study the Bible that may help you!

To view the sermons and the sermon notes, visit our sermon archives