April 11 – April 17, 2017

WORD

1So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

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?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

It is very difficult to keep focused on the things of God.  There are many distractions competing for our attention and so many of those distractions are opposed to God’s goodness and ways.  However, to be focused on the things above does not mean that we become so otherworldly focused that we ignore the things of earth.  God has appointed us to bring the truth of heaven to the world.  We are to focus on the things above in order to live them out in the world below.

Some of the most mundane contexts can become opportunities for God’s glory to be revealed.  We can elevate our home life, work life, chance encounters with others, and even times of relaxation by being aware of God’s presence with us in those times and places.  Any moment can be lived for the glory of God.  It all depends on our perspective.  If we are focused on the things of God, then these above realities can redefine our below experiences.

How might you stay focused on God and the good ways of the divine will while you find yourself in the world of terrorist attacks and dirty socks?  In the midst of the evil and the mundane, how might God reign over your day?  You have the power to bring up or tear down any situation in which you find yourself.  It all depends on where your focus settles.  Let your focus settle on the One who is enthroned above all, ultimately responsible for heaven and earth.  In the context of this passage, remember these other words of Paul and be encouraged to set your whole self – mind, body, heart, and spirit – on what is above:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, April 11 – Nehemiah 4
  • Wednesday, April 12 – Nehemiah 5
  • Thursday, April 13 – Nehemiah 6
  • Friday, April 14 – Nehemiah 7
  • Saturday, April 15 – Nehemiah 8
  • Sunday, April 16 – Nehemiah 9
  • Monday, April 17 –  Nehemiah 10

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Scripture tells us that Christ Jesus intercedes in prayer for us at the side of the Father.  As you pray this week, visualize Jesus receiving your prayers and lovingly presenting them to the Father.  How does Jesus look as he receives your prayers?  What are his reactions?  This week let your prayer be to see your own prayers in the way Jesus sees them.  Ask for the strength to partner with Jesus in prayer.  As Jesus receives your prayers, how does he answer them?  How might you be a part of the work of Christ in answering the prayers of others?  Also, remember that “the right hand” was an ancient way of referring to strength.  Pray that the power of God (“the right hand of God”) might be revealed in your life through the gift of prayer.

Meditation Focus: When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

When your true self is fully revealed in glory, what will this look like?  Imagine yourself standing in the glowing brilliance of Christ’s resurrected glory.  As you are changed into a reflection of his glory, what about you remains?  What is no longer present?  How are you different and how are you the same?  Only our true self will remain in the resurrection, but we can live in that true self in the power of the resurrection even now.  In your mind, have a conversation with this true self of yours.  What words does your true self speak?  What actions does your true self engage in?  What attitude does your true self display?  Then imagine that you step into your true self and you become this future reflection of glory now.  How will you carry his/her words, actions, and attitudes into your present context?

Journaling Focus: So if you have been raised with Christ…

What does it mean to you to know that you have been raised with Christ?  Take the quote from Scripture above and complete the sentence.  Do this in several different contexts to reflect on the ways that your life is affected by the truths of Easter.  For instance, finish each of these statements and write a brief reflection on what each means for your life:

  • If I have been raised with Christ, then I am…
  • If I have been raised with Christ, then I will…
  • If I have been raised with Christ, then I must…
  • If I have been raised with Christ, then I am able to…
  • If I have been raised with Christ, then I must change…

Holy Action: 

Tell the story of how you came alive in Christ to someone this week.  When did you first become aware of Jesus and his forgiving love?  What did making a commitment to live for Jesus look like for you?  How has Christ changed you over the years?  How did you know that you died to yourself and came alive in Christ?  In this resurrection week speak your resurrection story into someone else’s life.  In your story others might just find a new reason to hope.

Breath Prayer: Father, lift us up to you.

HAVE A BLESSED HOLY WEEK AND

A TRIUMPHANT EASTER!

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