September 13 – September 19, 2016

WORD

1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.  3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time.  7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

1 Timothy 2:1-7

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Reflection: Power is a human desire that can often be sought, attained, and used wrongly, hurting others while the one wielding power experiences gain for him or herself.  Yet, Paul tells Timothy to pray for those who have power, “for kings and all who are in high positions.”  How, though, should we pray for them?  We should pray that they will wear their power as Christ wore his – not as a crown of gold and jewels, but as a crown of thorns.  We should pray for those in power that they learn to be servants and not tyrants.  The crown of thorns represents the willingness of Jesus to serve creation (over which he had all authority) to the point of dying for it.  This should not just be a prayer reserved for political leaders, though.  We are called to embrace Christ’s servant attitude as well.  Look at the image of the crown of thorns sculpture above.  Imagine what it was like for Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, to choose to wear that crown for you and your benefit.  Now ask yourself, “How might I serve today?  What crown am I being asked by God to wear today?”  Will you seek the power that saves and heals or will you seek the power that benefits you at the expense of others?

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, September 13 – Proverbs 30
  • Wednesday, September 14 – Proverbs 31
  • Thursday, September 15 – James 1
  • Friday, September 16 – James 2
  • Saturday, September 17 – James 3
  • Sunday, September 18 – James 4
  • Monday, September 19 – James 5 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: The presidential election is only eight weeks away.  I am not really concerned with whom you vote for; I am only concerned with whom you will pray for.  Pray for all those running for office this November.  Pray that God gives them grace and kindness.  Ask God to instill in them a servant’s heart.  Pray for wisdom and patience for the winners.  Imagine how different our world would be if we prayed for our government and elected officials regularly instead of criticizing them.

Meditation Focus: What do you think of when you hear the word submit?  This word has gotten a bad reputation in our society.  And yet, we are called in Scripture to submit to the authorities, to submit to others out of love, and to submit to God and God’s will.  Find a comfortable spot and sit upright in a relaxed posture.  Take a few deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Place your hands, open with your palms facing upward, on your knees.  Continue breathing as you softly repeat this simple prayer to God: “Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I submit to you.”  Take note of your feelings as you pray this several times.  Feel the weight of the world and worry fall off of your mind, heart, and shoulders.  Listen as your inner voice fades away and the voice of God thunders in your heart.  What is God saying to you?  How might you place yourself under God’s grace-filled power and authority today?  Imagine Jesus Christ acting as mediator between you and the Father, taking your message of submission to the Father and then carrying in return to you the grace you need for this moment.  Be at peace by submitting to God in love and holy expectation.

Journaling Focus: When have you been given a big responsibility, or power, or authority?  How did you handle it?  Write about how you have experienced and responded to power in your life.  Has it been a pleasant experience or filled with difficult temptations and mistakes?  Consider writing about a time in which someone you trusted exploited their authority over you.  What did you feel?  How did that experience change you?  As you write, meditate on the tension between human authority, which often is corrupted yet limited, with the authority of God, which is pure and limitless.  How do you see God’s power displayed in the midst of our own oppressive ways?  How do you expect the authority of God to triumph over the abusive power of the world?

Breath Prayer: Father, lead those who lead us.

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