Advent Devotional: Day 5

Advent 2021: Day 5
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Opening Prayer

“Almighty God, who came to us long ago in the birth of Jesus Christ, be born in us anew today by the power of your Holy Spirit. We offer our lives as home to you and ask for grace and strength to live as your faithful, joyful children always. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (Rueben Job)

Scripture Reading

2 Peter 3:11-18

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. f That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

The Great Tradition

May glory always be given to God our Lord and Savior, both now when we are still in the flesh and far from him, wandering through the daily pressures of our adversaries, and especially at that future time when he who has been long desired shall come to all the nations and deign to illuminate us by his presence. Meanwhile, as we await that glorious day, let us go on singing: “One day in your courts is better than a thousand.” (Bede)

Prayer of Confession

O God, as the Advent season reminds us of your imminent return, we also see the many places in our lives where we have been too careless in our ways and too free to walk the paths you would not have us travel. Forgive us, Lord, and take our hand that you might lead us into your paths of righteousness for all to see. Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.” (James Wilson)

Reflection

In what places in your life have you been “too careless in your ways?” What paths have you walked that the Lord “would not have you travel?” In today’s text, the Apostle Peter reminds us that heaven and earth, in their current state, will not continue. They will be consumed, not with rain this time but with fire. We therefore must be careful how we walk in this world, always with an eye on the “day of God.” My longtime mentor is fond of saying there are only two days we ought to have marked on our calendars: today and “that day.” By “that day” he means the same as Peter, the day of God when Christ will return and bring an end to everything as we know it. Or, as C.S. Lewis put it, that moment when the author walks onto the stage and signals the play is over.

But this scene ought not be horrifying to Christians, those who look forward to the day of God and pray with the Apostle John, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). For on that day there will be brought forth a new heaven and new earth where the righteous will dwell (v. 13). Yet while we wait, we are not to be idle and unfaithful. Peter warns us to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with [the Lord]” (v. 14).

More than that, we should rejoice that God is so patient. How many times have you thanked God for his patience with you throughout your life? Are you grateful the Lord did not return during earlier times in your life? Would you have been ready for him then? Even now, as someone who knows Christ, do you continue to make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with God? And while you understand you are not saved by your conduct, you know very well that your outward behavior can be an all too accurate indicator of what is taking place in your heart. In light of that, how grateful are you for the patience of God?

Therefore, take Peter’s warning to heart and “be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position” (v. 17). Indeed, let’s continue to grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (v. 18), even as we await his return.

Walking Points

  • Name some of the reasons you are grateful for God’s patience in your life.
  • Spend some time giving thanks to God for his patience.
  • Share your reasons with someone you believe needs to be reminded of God’s patience, not in a haughty way as someone who has their act all together, but as a humble recipient of the very patience to which you are bearing witness.

Advent Devotion: Day 4

Advent 2021
Day 4: Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Opening Prayer

“Merciful God, you sent your prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (UMC Book of Worship)

Scripture Reading

Matthew 21:23-32

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

The Great Tradition

“It is surprising that the publicans and sinners believed in Christ even before the priests, who were too arrogant. To work in the vineyard is to do justice. Lessons drawn from the parable include the point that it is better to do the righteousness of God without promising to do so than it is to promise and then renege. The son who first refused to work but afterward repented did the will of the father. The son who said he would go but did not go is reproved. Even after the publicans and harlots had believed, the Jewish leaders had not believed.” (Hillary of Poitiers)

Prayer of Confession

“Eternal God, we your Church, who should be instruments of your victory, confess that we have often put barriers in your way. Where we should be a light to the world, we participate in the sin around us. Forgive us, we pray, and free us to be people prepared for your coming, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (H. Burnham Kirkland)

Reflection

Jesus had earlier cleared the temple. He decried its use as a place of commerce (a “den of robbers”) instead of a house of prayer. He, to the say the least, was righteously indignant over the disregard of such a holy place. He then, there in the temple, began to heal the lame and blind who came to him in need. Afterward, he left for the day but came back the next and began teaching in the temple courts.

The accepted religious authorities, still presumably upset about the previous day’s activities, and now witnessing this unofficial teacher instructing others in the temple, began to interrogate Jesus about the authority by which he did these things. In the rabbinic tradition, Jesus replied that he would answer their question if they first answered his. He asked them about the authority of John’s baptism, whether or not it came from God, which presented them with a dilemma. Either way they answered would get them into trouble with the crowd. So, they copped out by saying they didn’t know. Thus, Jesus refused to answer their question.

Jesus followed up with a parable about the stubbornness and arrogance of the religious authorities. Tax collectors and prostitutes, Jesus said, were entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the so-called righteous religious leaders because the former understood their need. By humbly coming to Jesus, they acknowledged his authority and ability to rescue and redeem them from their sinful situation. They repented of (turned away from) their former ways of life and were now living renewed lives under the reign of the true King. That’s what it means to enter his kingdom. That is why Jesus came.

The religious leaders initially would not humble themselves and admit that their pursuit of righteousness was actually self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-dependence. The coming of Jesus and his standard of true righteousness should have stopped them in their tracks and humbled them, as it ought to do to us. And yet, the good news is that when we have eyes to see and are utterly humbled by what we discover… when we acknowledge we’ve been traveling down the wrong path and, moreover, are unable to live up to the King’s standard in our own strength… it’s then we find ourselves welcomed into his Kingdom. It’s then we are made into new creatures, people who become able to pursue real and abundant life with the power and direction Jesus provides to those who transfer their trust from themselves to him.

Walking Points

  • Have you turned from trusting in yourself and your ability to live a righteous life, to trusting in Jesus and living under his authority and power?
  • If you have, share the story of your journey with a friend. What was it like making that change? Was it painful? Was it worth it? Explain the process and some of the lessons you learned along the way.
  • If you haven’t made that change yet, share with a Christian friend what the obstacles are for you to make that change. Perhaps your friend can help you work through some of those difficulties. But don’t be discouraged if you are not there yet, for God is patient. If all you are able to do is, “want to want” that life, that in itself is pleasing to God. He will help you continue moving in down the right path.

Advent: Day 3

Advent 2021

Day 3: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Opening Prayer

“O God who didst prepare of old the minds and hearts of men for the coming of thy Son, and whose Spirit ever worketh to illumine our darkened lives with the light of the Gospel: Prepare now our minds and hearts, we beseech thee, that Christ may dwell in us, and ever reign in our thoughts and affections as the King of love, and the very Prince of Peace. Grant this, we pray thee, for his sake. Amen.” (Methodist Book of Worship, 1965)

Scripture Reading

John 1:35-42

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The Great Tradition

“At once his disciples, who were present, after hearing his words, left John and hurried to go to Jesus about whom John testified. “When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ ” He did not say this out of ignorance but rather in order to give them an occasion to trust him. They immediately called him “Rabbi” and showed their profound intention, that is, that they had been led to Jesus for no other reason but the desire to obey him as a teacher. And at the same time they asked him where he lived, as if they wanted to come to him often. He did not point out a house but told them to come along with him and see, by giving them the space for greater familiarity and trust toward him.” (Theodore of Mopuestia)

Prayer of Confession

“O Lord, do not be exceedingly angry, and do not remember our sins forever. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away from your holy presence. Forgive us we pray, and create in us clean hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” (H. Burnham Kirkland)

Reflections

“What do you want?” That was the question Jesus asked John’s two disciples. How about you… what do you want? Why are you following Jesus? What are you seeking? What are you looking for? There are different ways to ask this penetrating question, but it’s a question each follower of Jesus must ask himself or herself. In this case, these two disciples left the one they were following because someone greater was in their midst. Indeed, John the baptizer called this one, “the lamb of God.”

They asked where he was staying, indicating they wanted to be able to spend more time with him, learning from him. Jesus upped the ante by calling them to follow him… to actually travel with him. Could they have even imagined what effect following him would have in their lives? The transformation? The joy? The cost? And yet there was something about being in his presence which compelled them to not only leave their former teacher and follow Jesus, but to tell their friends all about this man, whom they understood to be the Messiah, the Christ.

What do you want with Jesus? Why are you following him? Have you considered your reasons? Have you considered the cost? It’s no small thing to follow this one who claims to be much more than a mere teacher or moral philosopher. He is no less than Lord, Savior, and Son of God. Following him requires full allegiance. Theodore of Mopuestia said Jesus “told [these first inquirers] to come along with him and see, by giving them the space for greater familiarity and trust toward him.” Jesus is calling you to do the same. Spend time with Jesus. Get to know him better… who he is and what he’s all about. Count the cost of a life devoted to him. But know in advance, it will be well worth any cost required.

Walking Points

  • What do you want from Jesus? Why are you following him?
  • What costs are involved in devoting your life to him and following him all the days of your life? What are the rewards of doing so?
  • As the early disciples did, who can you tell about Jesus and bring to him? Do so today!

Advent: Day 2

Advent 2021

Day 2: Monday, November 29, 2021

Opening Prayer

“Eternal God, in your providence you made all ages a preparation for the kingdom of your Son. Make ready our hearts for the brightness of your glory and the fulness of your blessing in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (UMC Book of Worship, 1992)

Scripture Reading

2 Peter 1:3-11

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Great Tradition

“This verse follows on what has gone before, because it is by the knowledge of our Lord and Savior that we come to understand all the mysteries of his divinity, by which we have been saved. For he did not send an angel or an archangel to save us, nor did he find anything in us which might allow us to contribute to our own salvation, but when he saw that we were weak and had nothing to boast of, he came in his own glory and power and redeemed us.” (Bede)

Prayer of Confession

“Lord, so often we have allowed our focus to be on the divisions and conflicts in the world and we have lost the vision of your kingdom to come. So often we have sacrificed and died for standards of our own making and we have turned away from your standard of the Cross. Forgive us, Lord, and restore our vision of your mighty kingdom. In Christ we pray. Amen.”

Reflection

Through the precious gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, we have everything we need to live a godly life. Not only are we forgiven of our sin when we place our trust in Christ, but the very Spirit who raised him from the dead takes up residence within us. We are thus empowered and directed by God himself to live the life to which we have been called. Yet, as the Venerable Bede reminds us, we do not contribute anything to our salvation, for we are saved by grace through faith.

Still, the Apostle Peter tells us to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). Such are only a few of the good works for which we were created (Ephesians 2:10). About these verses John Chrysostom wrote, “For if [the presence of these godly qualities] is a good thing, how much more their abundance!” Pursuing these good works, or “qualities,” as Peter puts it, does not save us. However, the Apostle points out that continuing to grow in them will protect us from being ineffective and unproductive for the Kingdom of God. Indeed, they are the fruit of being saved in the first place. Besides all that, our Lord’s version of 2 Peter 1:11 should be a great encouragement to all of us: “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). And who doesn’t want to hear that on the Day of the Lord?

Walking Points

  • Give thanks to God that you have been redeemed and given everything you need to live a godly life.
  • Which quality or good work listed in verse 5-7 do you need to focus on most? Spend some time in prayer asking God for the grace you need to mature in that area of the Christian life.

Advent: Day 1

Advent 2021

Day 1: Sunday, November 28, 2021

Opening Prayer

“Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (BCP 1979)

Scripture Reading

Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 “ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

15 “ ‘In those days and at that time

I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;

he will do what is just and right in the land.

16 In those days Judah will be saved

and Jerusalem will live in safety.

This is the name by which it will be called:

The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’

The Great Tradition

“David’s Lord was made David’s Son, and sprang from the fruit of the promised branch—One without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one Person, that by one and the same conception and birth might spring our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true humanity for the endurance of sufferings.” (Leo the Great)

Prayer of Confession

“O God of infinite promise, we confess that we often fall into hopelessness, skepticism, and even cynicism about the future, and that we despair about our own prospects and the fate of the earth. Forgive us we pray. Strengthen our faith and bolster our hope, so that when your grace bursts into our lives, as it always does, we shall be able to recognize it and be ready to give you our thanks and praise. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen” (Paul Laughlin)

Reflection

Today’s Scripture from Jeremiah reminds us of our Lord’s intention to fulfill the promise he made to his children during Old Testament times. We know Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of that promise. For he is the “righteous Branch sprout from David’s line.” He is “the Lord our Righteous Savior.” The hopes and fears of all the years were met in Christ at his birth. Our God is the one who keeps the promises he makes to his covenant children. As Israel and Judah anticipated the Messiah’s first arrival, we look back at our Lord’s first advent, even as we look forward to his second coming. We live between the times.

By grace, we “cast away the works of darkness and put on… the armor of light” as we seek to live faithfully during our time of great anticipation. Because we know God kept his promise to send his Son the first time, we can live with confidence that he will keep his promise to send him again. Therefore, we will not “fall into hopelessness, skepticism, and even cynicism about the future, [nor] despair about our own prospects and the fate of the earth.” While we await our Lord’s return, we will “always watch and pray” (Luke 21:36) as we witness and serve in his name.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.

Walking Points

  • Offer a prayer to God, thanking him for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Ask the Lord to help you walk faithfully with him during this time of living “in between” his advents.
  • Think about how you would like to grow spiritually during this Advent season, and share your idea with someone.

Redeem the Time

Redeem Your Time

Ephesians 5:15-17 – Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Scripture says we are like vapors which are here today and then, POOF, gone in an instant. Some of us may live to the national average or even past it. Others will not live that long. Whatever the case may be, Scripture reminds us, “man knows not his time.” Therefore, since no one knows when they will be called home, doesn’t it make sense to make the most of every day as though it was our last?

Have you ever been asked what you would do if you only had one week or month left to live? Often, when we’re asked such a question, we offer a sweet, sentimental, or even profound answer that stresses urgency. Yet, few “live out” their answers because they suppress the truth of reality and mistakenly believe they have an infinite supply of time and opportunities before them.

In our Scripture, the Apostle Paul says this is unwise.

Making the Most of Time

Paul instructs us to be careful in how we live. He says we need to be wise, not unwise, and make the most of every opportunity. Many of the great saints of Christian history referred to this as, “redeeming the time.”

Brother, your life is a gift from God. You are called to be a steward of it. In a real sense your life is not your own. In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul said followers of Christ must offer themselves as living sacrifices to God. He lived during Israel’s sacrificial system in which the animal “gave up its life” on the altar. If we are called to be living sacrifices, we must daily put ourselves back on the altar before God in dedication to him, because living sacrifices tend to crawl off the altar by the end of each day.

There is cost involved here to be sure. To give ourselves to the Lord in this way will require sacrifice, commitment, and self-discipline. To redeem the time we have been given, to make the most of every opportunity, we must change the way see and think about our daily lives. A change of perspective is required.

An Eternal Perspective Needed

God can be glorified in our most mundane tasks. Whether we are driving to work, mowing the yard, or wrestling with our children, we can do so to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). What matters is the motivation of our heart. Martin Luther is attributed as saying a cobbler who makes excellent shoes on Monday glorifies God as much as the pastor who preaches the Gospel on Sunday. Both require an eternal perspective and motivation that transcends themselves.

Isn’t it a relief to know you can glorify God without necessarily moving to the other side of the world as a missionary or becoming an ordained pastor? You don’t have to be doing something “religious” to redeem your time. The Apostle Paul said whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it for God’s glory. What’s more ordinary than eating and drinking? What you are doing is not as important as why and how you are doing it. So, redeem your time.

Walking Points

  • What are some ways you unthinkingly waste your days and miss the opportunities God has for you? What are some reasons you do so?
  • How can you change the focus and motivation of your daily life from the temporal minutiae to an eternal perspective that seeks God’s glory?
  • What are three ordinary things you do daily that can be transformed by wisely making the most of them?
  • Share your ideas with someone you can trust to hold you accountable and will pray for you.

Prayer

All-wise Father, you have told me in your Word to number my days so I may have a heart of wisdom. You want me to seek wisdom and live my life in such a way that I may make the most of every opportunity. You know better than I how often I have failed in this pursuit. I don’t wake up each day planning to fail at this, and yet by not better preparing I often fail by default. Please forgive me. Fill me with your Spirit of wisdom and give me not only a desire to live each and every day wisely for you, but enable me to do so. Help me to prepare on the front end so I may be ready to make the most of each opportunity you present me. Most of all, let my thoughts, words, and deeds be done for your glory. In Christ I pray. Amen.

Rooted and Built Up

Colossians 2:6-7 – So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, [7] rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Off to a Great Start

We start off so well. With great gratitude and enthusiasm we bow before the throne of our King. Upon placing our trust in Christ alone – “receiving” him – we take on the world in his name.

But motivation and inspiration can wane. That which does not become habit and done out of joyful and obedient self-discipline will not last for the long haul. That is why church history is littered with travelers who fell by the wayside on the narrow road to the celestial city. Jesus taught that the seed of God’s Word sometimes falls on shallow soil and does not take the necessary root it needs to live and grow (Matthew 13:1-23).

Continue In Him

Thus, Paul exhorts us to “continue to live in him.” This is much more than simple encouragement to attend church and have your quiet time, both of which are good. He is indeed saying followers of Christ are to persevere in such means of grace. But even more than that, Paul is declaring that our very power source is the Lord himself. He is our power, foundation, anchor, and compass – our all in all. The Lord Jesus Christ must not be sprinkled on our lives to simply add a little flavor to an already okay meal. Instead, he is to be our life. To claim we are in Christ means we died with him in his crucifixion and are raised with him in his resurrection. The life we now live we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

Root, Shoot, and Fruit

I love the language Paul uses to undergird his thesis. He adds that we are to be “rooted and built up in him.” In John 15:1-8, we discover Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from him, he tells us, we can do nothing. If we would bear fruit, we must remain connected to Christ. He must be our root, for it is only then he will bear fruit in and through us. If we as branches ever become detached from our vine, we become useless.

Our Chief Cornerstone

Changing our imagery, Jesus is our chief cornerstone and we are to be built up in him. He is our only sure foundation. All else is shifting sand. If we are not built up in him, we will crumble during the storms of life (Matthew 7:24-27).

What does it mean to be “built up” in Christ? Paul helps us here. He says it means to be strengthened in the faith we were taught. When those in the early church first came to faith in Christ, they sat at the feet of the Apostles and learned from them (Acts 2:42). Today we have their authoritative teaching in Holy Scripture. We are built up and strengthened in Christ when we meet him in his Word and listen to his instruction. More than that, we must obey what we hear (Matthew 7:24-27).

And so be encouraged. You have the greatest resource at God’s disposal to enable you to bear much, good, and lasting fruit in your life, Christ Jesus our Lord and the power of his Spirit. Without him you cannot do anything. With him, all things are possible.

Walking Points

  • I have provided Scripture references throughout this devotion. Look up these texts and meditate upon them as you reflect on the following questions.
  • What is the hardest part for you when it comes to persevering with Christ?
  • Does it encourage you to know God has provided his greatest resource to help you live your life well?
  • What are three ways you can deepen your roots in Christ?
  • Share your answers with a friend and start “deepening your roots” today.

Prayer

Merciful God, I praise you for your goodness. You have graciously revealed yourself in and through holy Scripture and I am thankful. Through your Word you have made us wise for salvation and given us what we need to train us in righteousness. It is there we meet with you and hear your voice, learn your ways and wisdom, and grow in grace and knowledge. But only when we are rooted and built up in your Word. Father, protect me from laziness, lack of focus, intentionality, and self-discipline. Please give me the gifts and graces I need to abide in you and for your Word to abide in me, that I might truly know you better, love you more, and follow you more faithfully. For it’s in your Son’s name I pray. Amen.