Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, May 16. Read 1 Peter 2:19-25. 1) There’s suffering that arises from a life of integrity and suffering that is deserved. 2) What does Peter say about deserved suffering? 3) What does Peter say God does when we are perseverant and righteous?
Tuesday, May 17. Read Luke 9:57-62. 1) Jesus addresses some wannabe disciples in this text. 2) What did Jesus mean when he advised against looking backward when trying to plow? 3) What could we learn about suffering in this bit of advice?
Wednesday, May 18. Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4. 1) Why did Paul brag about this church? 2) What do you think they did that made them so admirable?
Thursday, May 19. Read James 1:2-4. 1) What was happening to the church community James was addressing? 2) What did James say was a fruit or consequence of trials?
Friday, May 20. Read Colossians 2:1-5. 1) Paul describes his struggles which he has for Colossae. 2) What does he want for the people he’s writing? 3) Why was he rejoicing? (verse 5)
Saturday, May 21. Read Hebrews 12:1-7; 2 Peter 1:3-8. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, life can be very hard. At times we feel overwhelmed and even want to quit. Quit you. Quit relationships. Quit school and church and other important parts of our lives. We need your help. Fill us with your spirit and give us uncommon strength to persevere. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
In the hour of trial
by James Montgomery, 1834
In the hour of trial,
Jesus, plead for me
lest by base denial
I unworthy be.
When you see me waver,
with a look recall,
nor for fear or favor
ever let me fall.
With forbidden pleasures
should this vain world charm
or its tempting treasures
spread to work me harm,
bring to my remembrance
or, in darker semblance,
Should your mercy send me
sorrow, toil, and woe,
or should pain attend me
on my path below,
grant that I may never
fail your cross to view;
grant that I may ever
cast my care on you.
When my life is ending,
though in grief or pain,
when my body changes
back to dust again,
on your truth relying,
through that mortal strife,
Jesus, take me, dying,
to eternal life.
Devotional Article of the Week
Hard Times Good for You?
Can they really be a blessing?
by Rubel Shelly
My parents lived through the Great Depression, and it changed them forever. They were certainly never wasteful. They hated and avoided debt. They made prudent purchases. And they were generous with others in distress.
I am neither an economist nor a prophet, but I am not impressed by the people crying “Wolf!” today and predicting another economic disaster comparable to the one my mother and father survived. Maybe it’s just my natural bent toward optimism, but I am bullish on the future of our country.
True enough, times right now are challenging for all of us and downright cruel to some of us. But we’ll be looking back in a few months to a few years — and telling our children and grandchildren what we learned “back then.”
Maybe you can tell them how you …
- Wised up to the money you were wasting and the harm you were doing to your health — and quit smoking.
- Beat your addiction to credit cards and started living within your means.
- Took your lunch to work three days a week and saved over $150 a month.
- Learned to use the public library not just for checking out books but for borrowing (not buying or renting!) movies and educational programs.
- Began eliminating cable channels, text-message services, or telephone land lines you weren’t using enough to justify.
- Got serious about eliminating debt from your life and quit living by the assumption that you had the right to everything advertisers offered.
- Started saving for their college education or first house purchase and opened the savings account you are giving them now.
- Began living the generosity they are marveling at now.
I’m sure you are getting the picture by now. Taking the long view of things, you need to see what is happening today from the perspective of where you want to be in five or ten years.
I need to quit whining about how tough things are and figure out ways to cope with unpleasant realities. All of us need to quit waiting for someone to fix things and begin doing the things that will make a difference.
The choice in life is not between having problems and avoiding them. It is between growing from them and being destroyed by them.
Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4 NRS).