One Year in the Word is the journey our church began in January 2017.  For one year we will read through the Bible, discuss the Scriptures as families and Connection Groups, and focus on key passages in our Sunday morning worship.

JULY 1 – AUGUST 5

PURSUING GROWTH

It is one of those short proverbs that is filled with meaning. Solomon refers to it as sharpening the ax. He writes, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen it then he must use more strength . . . “(Ecclesiastes 10:10). The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus himself grew in wisdom, stature,

and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). In that verse, we discover four  areas that we ought to be sharpening in our lives.

We are to be sharp mentally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. Solomon’s proverb reminds us that if we don’t attempt to sharpen these areas in our lives, it will take greater effort to live and we will be less than successful.

When was the last time you gave serious thought to the sharpening of your mental skills? What are you reading? What are you learning? Have you simply attempted to entertain your mind? Are you taking proper care of it? Solomon says that the mind is a gift from God we ought to sharpen.

And  what  about  your physical condition? Diet, rest and exercise? When was the last time you saw your doctor for a well check up? Are you as sharp as you should be?

Notice also that Jesus grew spiritually. Have you shown marked improvement in the spiritual realm lately? Has your prayer time intensified? Do you find greater joy when you read the Scriptures? Has your love for the Lord increased in the last month? Finally, are you sharpening your life relationally? Would others see your personal relationships as making you more like Christ? Or do they seem to draw you away from Him?

These are four areas we would do well to evaluate on a regular basis. Which area in your life is most in need of sharpening? Do you need to sharpen the ax mentally, physically, spiritually, or relationally? If the fast pace of your life seems as if you have no time to stop and do so, might I encourage you to make the time today?

  

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Week of July 2 – 8

(This week’s reading is found in Proverbs 1 – 24)

Devotional Passage: Proverbs 4.  In this passage, we see the result of a life that is governed by wisdom.

Question 1:

In verses 3 and 4, Solomon is talking about what his father said to him when he was a boy.  He was told to “Lay hold of my words with all your heart…”  Why does the Bible say that it’s important, above all other humanly voices, to listen to the words of your parents?

Question 2:

God says we are to avoid the path of the wicked (4:14,15).  Does this mean we are to stay away from all people that are not Christians?  Why or why not?

Question 3:

What does it mean in 4:23 when it says, “Guard your heart?”  What does our heart have to do with our actions?

 

Week of July 9 – 15 (Prov. 25-Isaiah 4)

Devotional Passage: Proverbs 30:24-28.  (In this passage, we see things that are small but wise.)

Question 1: “Ants” (30:25) are preparing their food in the non-winter months so that in the winter they will have plenty of food.  Ants teach us about preparation.  In what ways does God want you preparing now for the future?

Question 2: “Coneys” or “Rock badgers” (30:26) have no special abilities (they’re not fast, they’re not very strong, etc) which why they make their homes in the rocks.  Coneys teach us about protection.  In what ways is God like a “rock” to you?

Question 3: “Locusts” (30:27) are like large grasshoppers.  They can be squished easily.  One locust isn’t really a problem, but a hundred thousand locusts can be devastating to a forest.  Locusts teach us about cooperation.  When choose to go through life alone, we’re not necessarily effective.  But when we work cooperatively, there’s much more we can do.  Who are some people that you need to demonstrate better co-operation with? 

Question 4: “Lizards” or “spiders” (30:28) can be pretty evasive/hard to catch.  For example, if you take down a spider’s web, chances are, the next day it will be right back.  This can be a problem in places like a King’s palace.  These creatures teach us about perseverance.  They don’t give up.  What are the things in life that you should demonstrate perseverance in?  What things are the most important things to persevere in?

 

Week of July 16 – 22

(This week’s reading is found in Isaiah 5 – 27).

Devotional Passage: Isaiah 6.  In this passage, Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord.

Question 1: The angels in Isaiah’s vision said that God is “Holy, holy, holy.”  A simple way to define “holy” is by the word “different” or “unique.”  God is very different from you and I in that God is not a sinner and is incapable of sinning.  And yet, 1 Peter 1:16 says that we as believers are to be holy as God is holy!  How is that possible?

Question 2: When Isaiah realized in this vision, that he was seeing God, he became deeply aware of his own sin (6:5).  God made forgiveness of this sin possible (6:6-7).  Even though we are sinners, because of God’s forgiveness, we can have clear consciences and the ability to serve God.  Do you ever feel guilty about sins you commit?  What should you do when you feel that guilt (1 John 1:9)?

Question 3: God had a message He wanted shared.  He wanted to use a person to do it.  God asked “Whom shall I send?” and Isaiah responded with “Send me!” Isaiah was willing to go wherever the Lord wanted him to go.  What about you?  Are you willing to go wherever the Lord wants you to go?  Why or why not?

 

Week of July 23 – 29

(This week’s reading is found in Isaiah 28 – 51)

Devotional Passage: Isaiah 39.  In this passage, King Hezekiah is forming an alliance with the Babylonians.

Question 1:

The Babylonians were no doubt trying to become friends with King Hezekiah and Israel because Babylon was at war with the Assyrians.  But Israel and Babylon really had nothing in common with each other, and Babylon didn’t worship God.  The friends we choose to keep are important, and we need to choose wisely.  Why is that?

Question 2:

Hezekiah thought he needed to have an alliance with the country of Babylon, which could have indicated he was putting his trust in people instead of God.  In what ways do we often do the same thing (trusting in people vs. trusting in God)?

 

Week of July 30 – August 4

(This week’s reading is found in Isaiah 52 – Jeremiah 10)

Devotional Passage: Jeremiah 1:1-10

Question 1:

Before Jeremiah was even born, God knew him and set him apart to be a prophet.  This doesn’t mean that Jeremiah existed before he was born; it simply means that our all-knowing God knew who Jeremiah was going to be and what he was going to do.  And He knows the same about you.  How do you feel about the fact that God knows everything about you and has already planned all your steps?  How should that cause you to live? 

Question 1:

Some Bible teachers believe that Jeremiah was between 17 and 21 years old when God called him to be a prophet.  This is why Jeremiah said, “I’m only a child” (1:6).  God didn’t think that was a valid excuse (1:7), and God would say something similar in response to the excuses we may give Him.  What are the excuses that you often think of when you know God wants you to do something?  What should you be doing when these excuses start to into your mind?