Lenten Bible Guide – Week 4

(Still at it? You rock. Jumping back in? Good for you. Just joining us? Welcome! Want more information on what this is about? Here you go.)

 

Monday, March 20 – John Chapter 20. The Resurrection is the distinguishing aspect of our faith. Before I became a Christian, I could not understand why there was so much focus on the Crucifixion when the Resurrection was so incredibly exciting.

 

Prayer ideas: Ask Jesus to help you pause and soak in the fullness of what this means for us today. For power, and the presence of mind, to live out the reality of the Resurrection. Eyes to see what Jesus did as the truth we live into. To receive the Holy Spirit. To believe even when we don’t yet see.

 

Notes:

 

 

 Tuesday, March 21 – John Chapter 21. Jesus appears to the disciples, but at first they don’t recognize him. They’d returned to their normal lives as fishermen (what else can you do after a crushing disappointment?). They’d been fishing all night and caught nothing. Then a random guy showed up and told them to throw their net over the right-hand side of the boat. I’d guess that they were tempted to ignore him. But they didn’t, and that made all the difference.

 

Prayer ideas: Ask Jesus to give you the capacity to respond to him in difficult circumstances – when you’re disappointed, or super busy, or when life feels overwhelming. Tell him you want him to always have first priority on your attention (and then admit that unless he reveals himself, you might not recognize him).

 

Notes:

 

 

 James

 

Our next stop on our tour of Jesus’ friends is the Book of James. James is a letter written by Jesus’ brother to people he calls the “twelve tribes” – these were Jewish believers who were scattered beyond Palestine.

 

James is one of the most practical books in the Bible. His two primary areas of emphasis are personal spiritual growth, and sensitivity in social relationships. If you’re wondering what to do in a situation, James is a good place to look.

 

 

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Wednesday, March 22 – James Chapter 1. James makes it clear that our faith must be in God alone – that hedging our bets by dividing our loyalty across a few different options not only won’t work, it will make us unstable. He also describes the powerful chain of events set in motion when we dabble or play with tempting things that aren’t from God.

 

Prayer ideas: Tell God that you want His Word to be the guiding force and power in your life. Ask that His Holy Truth be the initiator of all action in your life, and for increased ability to resist, deny, and walk away from temptation.

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 Thursday, March 23 – James Chapter 2. James busts his fellow believers for playing favorites – for giving better treatment to the wealthy than to the poor. We are all tempted to do this, and yet James is emphatic that this is not God’s way.

 

Prayer ideas: Ask God to give you the ability to recognize human worth in the swirl of chaos that so often surrounds us. Jesus valued people with great personal and individual care, but he did not cater to what the enemy was doing in their lives – instead, he invited them out of that in a way that was incredibly hopeful and compelling. Pray for that same power to flow through you.

 

 

Notes:

 

  

 

Friday, March 24 – James Chapter 3. James describes the “unspiritual” way we live – focused primarily on pleasing our five senses, tossed about by stressors like jealousy and selfish ambition. He calls it out as demonic. In contrast, he explains that believers have access to something different. “Wisdom from above.” It sounds too good to be true. But what if it’s possible?

 

Prayer ideas: For wisdom from above. Call on God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit to stop strife and confusion. Ask to experience God’s peace as your everyday normal, and to plant seeds of peace everywhere you go…and live to see a harvest of righteousness.

 

 

Notes

  

 

Saturday, March 25 – James Chapter 4. James continues on this theme of earthly vs. heavenly wisdom, stating bluntly: earthly wisdom leads to chronic interpersonal warfare. Our best earthy solutions will not solve the relational strife we’re fighting. Only God’s power can bring peace and unity, only God’s wisdom can help us create the relationships we want.

 

Prayer ideas: Pray for your relationships – the ones you have now and the ones you hope for. Ask God for friendships filled with and guided by His Holy Wisdom. Ask Jesus to help you clarify your motives and align them with His best for your life.

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

Sunday, March 26 – James Chapter 5. In closing, James reminds his readers of how farming works: we plant, and then we wait. There’s a time when it seems like nothing is happening, where we have to trust in things we don’t control. He invites us to go beyond basic patience, to eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. And to take comfort because the Lord is near. That could be an incredible way to live.

 

Prayer ideas: For James’ charge to be our reality. Ask God to show you how to live each day in eager anticipation of what He will do and how you’ll see His Kingdom breaking in. And for deep, supernatural comfort based in our unshakeable certainty: the Lord is near.

 

 

Notes:

 

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What do I see here that I want to pray for myself?

What do I see here that I want to pray for specific people in my life?

What do I see here that everyone needs, that I want to pray for all of us?

 

 

 

 

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