Q52 Week 32

Till The Soil

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation with my family.. Katie, Keeley, and I always go to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It is paradise for us - the views are great, the sand is rock hard, and the food is as good as it gets. I never fail to cherish that week with my family as the memories are priceless. If you don’t have a rhythm of getting away, wherever that may be, with your family, I would highly recommend finding a way to get one. It’s one of the most important things that you can do as it helps you reset and rest.

MONDAY, AUGUST 8

Connect: Matthew 13

DISCOVER

  • What is represented in the Parable of the Soils?
  • Who does the sower represent?
  • What does the seed represent?
  • What do the different soils represent?
  • What do the stones, weeds, and thorns represent?

 

RESPOND

Of the soils (human hearts) represented in the Parable of the Soils. The fourth is notably different. This one understands and bears fruit. He accepts and confirms his life to the gospel. The presence of fruit, not its quantity, is what matters. Calvin says, “The fertility of that soil which yields a thirty-fold produce is small compared with that which yields a hundred-fold but Jesus classes together all kinds of soil which do not entirely disappoint the labors and expectations of the sower.” Mathew Henry writes: “ That which distinguished this good ground from the rest was in one word, fruitlessness. He does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness.” Stones or thorns may be found in the good soil of a believer’s heart, but these hindrances do not finally prevent him from bearing fruit. Despite your remaining sin, is your life bearing fruit for Christ?

TUESDAY, AUGUST 9

Connect: Isaiah 6

DISCOVER

  • What message was Isaiah required to carry to Israel?
  • How long was he to continue to proclaim this message?

RESPOND

  • Every time God’s word is proclaimed it changes all of those that hear it. No one ever remains unaffected by God’s word. To those who hear it positively, there is growth in grace. To those who reject it or are indifferent to it calluses are added to their souls and hearts. Their eyes become dimmer and their ears heavier. The mystery of the kingdom becomes more obscure. Ask God to open your ears to hear his voice and to clear your spiritual eyes so that your heart will understand his word.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10

Connect: Acts 28

DISCOVER

  • What freedom was Paul given – 28:16,30?
  • Whom did Paul call? What did he say the Romans thought of his case – 28:17,18?
  • What reason did he give why he was in Rome – 28:19?
  • What had the Jews heard about Paul, and why did they want to talk to him?

RESPOND

  • Paul preached wherever he was (v31), no matter the condition – whether in chains (v20) or while a prisoner in his house (v30). He preached lovingly (v17-20, biblically (v23), and doctrinally (v 23 &31). He preached with immediacy (v17), with endurance (v23 & 30-31), and with boldness (v31). He preached to everyone (v 17 & 28). He preached Christ (v23) and desired for people to know him (v31). As we saw in yesterday’s passage, Isaiah was commanded to preach a message that no one would hear and yet he was faithful to preach anyway. Pray that God would give you the boldness and faithfulness of Paul and Isaiah to proclaim truth despite the challenges we face.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11

Connect: Romans 11

DISCOVER

  • In 11:16, what is represented by the firstfruit, the lump, the root, and the branches?
  • What does 11:17 say happened? What is represented by the branches broken off and the wild olive tree grafted in?
  • Why were branches broken off and others grafted in?

RESPOND

  • What makes people spiritually hard of hearing?
  • Do you think you have always been a good listener when hearing the gospel? When did you listen more carefully? When are you harder of hearing? What made the difference?
  • Are you in a relationship with someone who is hardened to the gospel? How would you assess that person’s condition based on the four types of soil?
  • Paul explains that the hardening of the Jews has occurred so as to allow the Gentiles to come into the kingdom. Though there are many privileges in being a part of God’s family, we must never become conceited that we trust in Christ while others do not. Even withing churches Christians can tend to look down on other denominations. All of God’s people have been chosen from the foundation of the world, but it is not due to our own loveliness. Christins should therefore be the most humble of all people. If we find arrogance in ourselves, let us quickly repent.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12

Connect: 2 Corinthians 3

DISCOVER

  • Define “sufficient.” What was the source of Paul’s sufficiency – 3:4-6?
  • In what sense was Paul not sufficient but needed God? How is this true of us?
  • In what specific area had God made Paul sufficient?

RESPOND

  • The problem with the old covenant was unregenerate hearts. Many individual Israelites looked to the law not as a way of salvation but as something to obey to thank God for his grace. But the nation as a whole erred by looking to establish their own righteousness by it. If we try to merit righteousness by keeping the law, the law will kill us. But if we reject our own merit and obey out of gratitude for God’s grace, we show that the Spirit is at work in us.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13

Connect: 2 Corinthians 4

DISCOVER

  • In 4:7, what is the treasure, and what are the earthen vessels?
  • Is the power of the gospel in the message or in the messenger?
  • In what sense did Paul bear or manifest the dying and the life of Jesus?

RESPOND

  • God told Paul that he wanted to keep him weak because “My power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Paul’s weakness and suffering kept him dependent on God, and became a channel for God’s grace to others. Jesus asked that the cup of suffering pass him by. We are never to seek suffering, but when it comes could it be that God is allowing us to take someone else’s pain, that they may have the strength to serve? Such a thought comforted Paul; it may comfort us as well.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14

Connect: Philippians 1

DISCOVER

  • What did Paul expect to result from his circumstances – 1:19?
  • What did he believe would bring about this result?
  • Was he certain whether he would live or die – 1:20? In either case, what did he expect and hope would be the most important outcome?
  • What advantage did Paul believe there would be if he continued to live?
  • What advantage did he see if he were to die?

RESPOND

  • Jonathan Edwards once said that many of us live like the traveler who stops at a hotel along his way and enjoys it so much that he abandons his journey. The apostle Paul did not suffer this attachment. He was well aware of the blessed hope that awaited him. We can detect the tension though. He enjoyed the fellowship with the Christians at Philippi, and he knew it was necessary for him to remain and continue as their teacher. But what he really wanted was to see Jesus. He knew that death is not a tragedy for the believer. Have you come to the place where you understand that death is a great victory for those that follow Jesus? If you fear death and are a Christian, remeber that to live is Christ, but to die is gain.

Q52 Week 31

Let's Talk About Money

I have quite the statement to make today... Are you ready? Are you sure? Positive? Okay here we go.... I love money.

MONDAY, AUGUST 1

Connect: Luke 15

DISCOVER

  • What made the younger son come to his senses – his hunger or the error of his ways?
  • Why do you think the older son was so miserable at his younger brothers return?
  • Who among the people listening to Jesus do you think could have identified themselves with the older brother? How would this have made them feel?

 

RESPOND

  • Explain how one sheep or one coin be more valuable than all the others?
  • How can we as Christians overlook the privileges we have as children of God? (Luke 15:31) What are these privileges, mention a few of them?
  • What does it mean for – a sinner to repent? Reflect on your life right now. Is there something in your life you need to repent for? If yes, take time with the Lord to do so.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2

Connect: 2 Chronicles 7

DISCOVER

  • Read verses 11-12. What had Solomon just finished & how did God respond to his accomplishments? Even though Solomon had accomplished so much, why was this time of prosperity the most dangerous period of his life?
  • Take apart the 4 conditions of God’s promise in verse 14.  Why does he start with saying “If”?  Why could it have been hard for Solomon to be humble & why does God start w/ this condition first?  Why do you think God ends with repentance as the last condition? How does prayer relate to all the conditions?
  • Read verses 15-16. What happens when we pray in the way God wants us too & how does this show the secret of moving His heart?  What other conditions did God require of Solomon & what would be the fruit if he obeyed? (17-18)  What would happen if Solomon disobeyed & what did he eventually end up doing? (19-22)

 

RESPOND

  • God appeared to Solomon at night – possibly in a dream or “vision of the night.” What would be your response to an appearance from God? Why?
  • Which of the 4 conditions of God’s promise in verse 14 do you need to work on & how can you do so?

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3

Connect: Acts 3

DISCOVER

  • What were the questions that Peter asked the crowd gathered in the temple?
  • What did Peter claim happened to Christ? 
  • What does it mean to repent and be converted? What will happen when we repent and are converted? 

 

RESPOND

  • Have you set aside time for prayer? Why or why not?
  • Do you know anyone who has a handicap and cannot work? What can you do to help that person? 
  • How do you respond when others ask for help? Why?

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4

Connect: 2 Corinthians 7

DISCOVER

  • What had the Corinthians been mourning about?
  • Why had Paul written such a rebuke to them? What then can we learn about the purpose of rebuke in the church? What is the difference between godly grief and worldly grief?
  • Who did Paul hope to touch through his letter v.12?

 

RESPOND

  • Have you known someone who was a prodigal who returned to her community of faith? What was that person’s experience like? If it was you, are you willing to share your story?
  • Why do you think it’s difficult for “older brothers” to welcome prodigals home?
  • Come up with a list of three things your church could do to make prodigals feel more celebrated when they come home.
  • What could you do personally to make prodigals more open to attending church with you?

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5

Connect: 1 Peter 2

DISCOVER

  • What does the phrase mean, “if for the sake of conscience toward God?”
  • How can we “bear up” under sorrows?
  • How should we treat those who hate or mistreat us?
  • What applications can we make in our own lives based on these verses?

 

RESPOND

  • Are you suffering through something that you view as unfair? What?
  • How will you normally react if you think that people are treating you unfairly? Why?

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6

Connect: 1 Peter 3

DISCOVER

  • Who are wives to be subject to? Who does this NOT include? Then who do the sisters who are not married need to be subject to? What does it mean to be subject to your husband? In what ways is this similar or different than the previous passages, which command servants to submit to masters and all of us to submit to authorities/governments? What kind of behaviors show a submissive heart? What kind of behaviors show an unsubmissive heart?
  • What is true beauty in God’s sight? Which kind of beauty will last?
  • What does it mean “in the same way?” What is the role of the husband as seen in this verse? What does this verse show us about the respective value of the husband and wife? Knowing that both are heirs of God, how should the husband treat his wife? What does this verse say the results of a husband dishonoring his wife would be?

 

RESPOND

  • How do you feel as a woman or towards women about this command? Does it mean that in the Bible women are inferior to men? Why or why not?
  • What are five practical ways in which husbands can demonstrate both their willingness & abilities as a “learner” to their wives?
  • If married, what are some aspects of your marriage you need to work on? If not married, what are you doing to develop your character for the Lord?

SUNDAY, AUGUST 7

Connect: Proverbs 3

DISCOVER

  • Should one stir up strife with a person? 
  • Who is an abomination with the Lord? 
  • What wisdom can we do without?
  • What will be health to our flesh? 

 

RESPOND

  • How willing are you to seek the Lord’s wisdom? Why?
  • How active is the Lord’s will in your day to day task?
  • Do you notice the Lord as more of an accessory to your life rather than your main priority? What can you do to change your priorities for Christ?

Q52 Week 30

Let's Talk About Money

I have quite the statement to make today... Are you ready? Are you sure? Positive? Okay here we go.... I love money.

MONDAY, JULY 25

Connect: Matthew 6

Day 25 Matthew 6

DISCOVER:

  • What can worry not accomplish according to 6:27? Does this mean it is wrong to plan for the future?
  • How did Jesus illustrate His point again in 6:28-30? So is it wrong to toil and spin?
  • What did Jesus say should be our “first” concern? 6:33.

RESPOND:

  • Jesus’ answer is not to “let go and let God”. to be unconcerned with the basic necessities of life. Instead, he calls us to place our needs for such things in the proper perspective. We don;t have to worry about the basics when we seek his kingdom because the Lord will make sure that his children are supplied with everything they need to fulfill their roles in this kingdom. Our compassionate, gracious God is far more concerned about our essential needs than we can ever know. We should not be afraid to mention even those needs we consider to be insignificant in prayer. While we should always define our needs according to what God says they are, we are still free, even commanded, to bring these before the throne in prayer.

TUESDAY, JULY 26

Connect: Proverbs 10

DISCOVER:

  • How is the wealth of a rich man viewed in contrast to the poverty of a poor man – 10:15?
  • What is more important than wealth or poverty – verse 16?

RESPOND:

  • The reason money so often becomes a “strong tower” and confidence of people is that it actually does rid life of many trials. It keeps you warm with clothing, nourished with food, sheltered, and protected from abuse. The list could go on, but here lies the deception. While money can provide many things, it guarantees nothing. Wealth can be taken quickly – Job is a classic example. Only God remains the same from age to age. Only he provides lasting protection. Even more importantly, wealth cannot be taken beyond the grave. After death, every man will stand bare before God. Only those clothed in the righteousness of Christ will be granted entrance to the kingdom of Heaven and know what it truly means to be rich.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 27

Connect: Ephesians 5

DISCOVER:

  • What should children of God do – 5:1? 
  • What are some qualities of God that children of God should imitate?
  • What quality did Jesus demonstrate that we should imitate – 5:2? 
  • How did He demonstrate that quality?

 

RESPOND:

  • Matthew 16 tells us that imitating God is a costly endeavor, one that requires daily self-denial and the narrow road of discipleship. If we think that there is no price to following the Savior, we are fooling ourselves. This price might even mean a martyr’s death, but for most of us it will mean putting up with the flaws of others, being eager to forgive, and being willing to give up what we want to do in order to serve others.

THURSDAY, JULY 28

Connect: 1 Timothy 6

DISCOVER:

  • Define “contentment.” With what should we be content and why should we be content with it – 6:7,8?
  • What sinful attitude is discussed in 6:9,10?
  • What are some problems this attitude can lead to according to these verses?

 

RESPOND:

  • Who is someone you respect for his generosity?
  • How would you rate that person’s worry?
  • Why do you think America has some of the highest rates of worry?
  • What are some implications of this statement “the problem of poverty in the world is due not to the lack of provision but to a lack of distribution.”
  • What are you worried about right now?

FRIDAY, JULY 29

Connect: Hebrews 13

DISCOVER:

  • What should we do instead of coveting? Where else is this mentioned? 
  • What verse does v5 quote? What does it promise? How does this help us be content?
  • What promise is made in 13:6? Where is it quoted from?

RESPOND:

  • Are you content with what you have? Or is there something that is not yours that you covet? Ask God to reveal those things that you covet. Take some steps to avoid this sin like finding accountability, avoiding tempting situations, and giving up those things that you have acquired by way of coveting.

SATURDAY, JULY 30

Proverbs 30

DISCOVER:

  • What four animals or insects demonstrate great wisdom – 30:24-28?
  • How do each of these four things demonstrate wisdom? 
  • What can we learn?

RESPOND:

  • The cooperation we see among the members of an ant colony evidences the kind of wisdom that allows people to thrive when they work together – even when individual weaknesses might hold them back. It is not surprising then that God in his wisdom has designed his church to work in such a way. The Lord has gifted each of us differentlyso that his church grows to maturity as we work together. How are you using your gifts to benefit your local church?

SUNDAY, JULY 31

Connect: Proverbs 31

DISCOVER:

  • How is the value of a virtuous wife described – 31:10? 
  • What should husbands learn?
  • What blessings does a husband receive through a virtuous wife – 31:11,12?
  • What work does the virtuous woman do according to 31:13,19,21 & 22? 
  • What attitude characterizes her work?

RESPOND:

  • The wisdom of Proverbs is not meant to remain “out there” in theory but is to take root in the everyday lives of God’s people. The excellent wife embodies the Lord’s wisdom in fulfilling her divinely appointed role and in bringing great blessing to her family and community. By God’s grace, the women among us strive to become Proverbs 31 women, and the men among us should do what is in their power to assist the women they know to become this embodiment of wisdom.