POWER THOUGHTS: How Can You Maintain Your Enthusiasm?

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“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:11-12 NIV).

In order to reach your goals, you have to figure out how to maintain your enthusiasm over the long haul.

The influential American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” I believe that with all of my heart. I have found it to be true in my life. You’ve got to have passion, you’ve got to have enthusiasm, or you’re never going to make it to the finish line.

Most people would consider me an enthusiastic person, and I am. But I haven’t been an enthusiastic person for a week or a month. My enthusiasm has not waned over a year or five or 10 years. I have been consistently enthusiastic about the goals that I’ve set for more than 30 years.

How do you do that? How do you stay enthusiastic day after day in spite of delays and difficulties and dead ends and problems and pressures and criticisms? How do you stay enthusiastic for more than 30 years?

Positive thinking is not enough. Pulling yourself up by your psychological bootstraps is not enough. Talking yourself into optimism is not enough.

The way you stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in the word “enthusiasm.” The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word en theosEn is the Greek word for “in.” Theos is the Greek word for “God.” So en theos means to be “in God.”

When you get in God, you will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or your circumstances. It’s eternal because you are tied to the eternal God. You are in Christ.

Paul tells us how to do this in Romans 12:11-12. He says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (NIV).

If you want to reach your goals this year, you need to get God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

Pray this prayer today: “Dear God, I don’t want to go another day without you in my life, controlling every part of my heart. I offer you my body. I dedicate myself to you. In light of all you’ve done for me, I give myself as a living sacrifice to you as a spiritual act of worship.

I humbly admit that I need help. I want you to help renew my mind. Help me to think the way you want me to think. Please forgive me for my pride. I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I need your help to set goals that can be measured so I can manage them. Forgive me for trying to change on my own.

I want to fill my life with love. I want to fill my life with you. Help me to get group support. Help me to take delight in honoring other people, to focus on giving my life away so that you can take care of my needs. I want to nurture my enthusiasm by being in you. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I give myself to you. In your name I pray. Amen.”

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

MOTIVATE ME: God’s Solution for Loneliness

Motivate Me

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).

The Bible encourages us to consider several things when we grapple with loneliness:

First, focus on the needs of others. We can choose to turn our eyes toward other people, instead of staying focused on ourselves. And we can look for specific ways to serve them. The apostle Paul focused on telling more people about Jesus: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).

Second, focus on your purpose. Even when the apostle Paul was isolated in a prison, he never stopped living out his purpose. He kept telling others about Jesus. In fact, while under house arrest in Rome, he wrote many of the letters that are now part of the New Testament.

Third, focus on supporting others. Instead of thinking, “I’m so lonely,” say, “Father, help me be a friend to people who need a friend. Help me to help lonely people.” That’s an effective antidote for loneliness.

You can help others become rich in relationships by giving them the gift of you.

Talk It Over

  • Talk about the significance of this verse: “But the Lord stood at my side” (2 Timothy 4:17a NIV).
  • How can living out your purpose help you with loneliness?
  • What are some ways you can reach out and support other people who might be lonely?

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Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

POWER THOUGHTS: When You’re Angry, Slow Down and THINK

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).

We save ourselves a lot of pain and heartache if we follow one simple rule: Slow down when we’re angry or hurt.

The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).

Yet, usually we do just the opposite. We’re quick to speak, slow to listen, and swift to become angry. That’s backward! But if you do the first two — be slow to speak and quick to listen — the last part will be automatic. You’ll find yourself becoming angry less often and less naturally.

There’s an important rhythm to this idea, which the Bible reiterates over and over again. For example:

  • Proverbs 14:29Patient people have great understanding, but people with quick tempers show their foolishness (NCV).
  • Proverbs 15:28“Good people think before they answer. Evil people have a quick reply, but it causes trouble” (GNT).
  • Proverbs 15:18“Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments”(CEV).

    How do you slow down and think before rushing to anger? Consider these five questions before speaking when you’re angry.

  • T:Is it truthful? Is what I’m about to say the truth?
  • H:Is it helpful? Or will it simply harm the other person?
  • I:Is it inspirational? Does it build up, or does it tear down?
  • N:Is it necessary? If it’s not necessary, why do I need to say it?
  • K:Is it kind? Will it encourage or discourage?

It’s not enough just to slow down when we’re angry. Take extra time to THINK about what to say or do next.

Talk It Over:

  • Describe a time when you spoke quickly in anger and regretted it.
  • If you were to speak without thinking, which part of the THINK acronym are you most likely to skip, and why?
  • How have you seen a rush to anger affect someone you care about?

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: It’s Time to Eliminate Negative Self-Talk

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“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 GNT).

Long before psychology came around, God said your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions.

Our minds are really an amazing creation. It would take a computer the size of the Pentagon just to carry out the basic functions of your brain. Your brain contains over 100 billion nerve cells. Each individual cell is connected with 10,000 other neurons.

You are constantly talking to yourself — all the time. You’re talking to yourself right now! Research indicates that most people speak at a rate of 150 to 200 words per minute, but the internal dialogue that you carry on with yourself (self-talk) is more like 1,300 words per minute.

The problem is that in all our self-talk, a lot of people are like Job. In Job 9:20b, he says, “Everything I say seems to condemn me” (GNT). If you’re typical, you are your own worst critic. Right? You’re always putting yourself down. You could walk into a room smiling, but inside you’re saying, “I’m fat. I’m not smart enough. I’m ugly. And I’m always late.” Most of this dialogue is unconscious.

God wants you to stop putting yourself down. When you put yourself down, who are you really putting down? You’re really pointing to the Creator who made you. When you say, “God, I’m worthless; I’m no good; I can’t do anything,” you’re actually saying, “God, you blew it with me.” That’s why God says it’s wrong to put yourself down.

How do you eliminate negative self-talk so you can become a more confident person? It’s the principle of replacement: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right . . . Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about it” (Philippians 4:8b TLB).

Focus on what you want to be, on what God wants to do in your life. I don’t know any better antidote to low self-esteem than to read God’s Word every day. Study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and apply it in your life. I can’t tell you a better thing to help you raise your confidence level than to get in the Bible and start believing what God says about you.

Talk It Over

When you read the Bible, try to find a verse that speaks to you, write it down on a card, memorize it, and start affirming it back to God. For instance, “I am valuable, I am significant, I am forgivable, and I am capable.” Let God remold your mind because “as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he”(Proverbs 23:7a NKJV).

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: Five Choices That Will Transform Your Life

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“Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 GNT).

We learned yesterday that, ultimately, your identity is based on your choices. Here are five winning choices you can make that will help determine your destiny:

1. I can choose to get healthier. Instead of bemoaning the fact that you don’t have an Olympic body, find ways to increase your energy, lower your stress, get more sleep, and have more power. Psalm 119:73 says, “You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands” (NLT). Improving the controllable factors in your life helps you reduce the impact of the uncontrollable factors.

2. I can choose to deepen relationships. The fear of rejection prevents connection, and the only way to get rid of fear is to do the thing you fear the most. Learn communication skills, replace bad relationships, reach out, and risk connecting with someone. “Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1a NLT).

3. I can choose to trust God no matter what happens. “I will always thank the Lord; I will never stop praising him” (Psalm 34:1 GNT). When you get to the point in your life where you can say, “I praise the Lord no matter what happens,” that is a confidence that you won’t find anywhere in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, or on Wall Street. That is a confidence built on a relationship with God!

4. I can choose what I think about. Throughout the 20th century, scientists believed the adult brain could not be changed. When a Nobel Prize winner proved that you can rewire your brain, science finally caught up to the Bible: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2b NLT). Your self is created by your memories, and your memories are created by your mental habits. Feed your brain with truth: God’s Word.

5. I can choose Jesus as my Savior. I’m not just talking about Jesus saving you from your sins. I’m talking about letting Jesus be your Savior every day. Letting Jesus save you gives you the power to follow through on the choices you make. “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 GNT).

You get to choose how much God blesses your life; he is just waiting on you to use your wild card. It is never too late to change. When you make these five winning choices, God gives you a winning hand.

Pray this prayer today —

“Dear God, there are some things you’ve dealt me and life has dealt me and others have dealt me that I don’t like. But I thank you for the wild card. Thank you that you made me in your image and that I can make choices. Today, in your power and your strength, I choose to get healthier. I choose to do the things that will give me more energy and a healthier mind, body, and emotions. Lord, I choose to build healthy relationships. I’m scared to death, but I’m going to risk building new, healthy connections. I want love to be my highest goal; I want my life to be built on love.

“God, I choose to trust you regardless of the circumstances. I will praise you no matter what happens! I will trust that every detail of my life is being worked out for good. Lord, I choose what I will think about — no more junk. Help me to fill my life with positive memories and the Word of truth. Most of all, Jesus, I choose you as my Savior. I need your salvation, but I also need you to save me from myself. I need you to help me rewire my body, my heart, my mind, and my relationships so that the rest of my life is the best of my life. I pray this in your name. Amen.”

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

BIBLE STUDY: Prayer with an Attitude

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The Bible tells us we should “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, for many of us, a few minutes spent in prayer feels like forever. Why do we struggle so much with prayer when we know how vital it is to our relationship with God?

 We certainly don’t lack information about how to pray. Christian bookstores are packed with books that explain in great detail the various methods of prayer. But perhaps we need to also direct our attention to our motivation, our attitude, in prayer. The following article, entitled “Focus on the Father” by Rusty Rustenbach (excerpted from Discipleship Journal, Issue 6), explores how our attitude can make prayer an adventure rather than a burden.  As you read through the article, underline any portions that stand out to you. Then respond to the questions and exercises.

 Privilege of Prayer

Of all the ingredients in discipleship, the area many of us struggle with most is prayer. According to one recently published estimate, a typical Christian layman spends about three and a half minutes each day in prayer. Full-time Christian workers average about seven minutes per day. This pitiful situation must amaze even the Lord Himself, for Isaiah 59:16 records that when no one was found to intercede for His people, God was appalled. Why do we fail to take full advantage of the privilege of prayer? Is it a lack of discipline? Are we too busy? Are we unmotivated?

 1. What things make it difficult for you to spend quality time in prayer?

 _Too busy or tired

_ Can’t concentrate

_ Don’t know what to pray about

_ Don’t feel like it

_ Feel guilty

_ Not convinced it makes a difference

_ Other:

Perhaps the basic cause of our weakness in prayer relates to how we view God. We may have no genuine awe for the One “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). God seems more like a superhero from a child’s cartoon, whittled down to human size.

 If we aren’t captivated by God, prayer is a tedious task. It becomes a discipline that only those with wills of steel can master. I once regarded prayer as “gutting it out” before God. It meant trying to bring reams and reams of petitions before the Lord. The more requests I could bring, the more spiritual I was.

2. What similarities do you see between the author’s approach (bringing “reams and reams of petitions before the Lord”) and Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:7?

3. How would you compare the focus of prayer in Matthew 6:7 with the focus in Matthew 6:9-13? Which of these is most like your approach to prayer?

Communion or Wrestling Match?

I also misinterpreted statements from godly men about the importance of prayer. Martin Luther’s statement that “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer” implied to me that prayer was a guaranteed formula for success.

Rather than being a dynamic communion with the sovereign Lord of the universe, to me prayer was an exercise meant to wrestle effects into the lives of people and to manipulate God’s hand. Prayer became lifeless and tedious. It was like castor oil: terrible tasting, but good for me.

4. Which of the following statements describe your general attitude toward prayer? Check all that apply.

_ Prayer is like a marriage—it is hard work but can be very rewarding.

_ I want to like prayer, but I really don’t.

_ Prayer is like writing “thank you” notes—it is an obligation I need to fulfill.

_ I look forward to prayer.

_ I enjoy the time I spend in prayer, but I would like to go deeper.

_ Other:

 Yet God reminded me of the truth I was neglecting: He wanted to commune with me. What does this mean? Communion is defined as the intimate sharing of thoughts and emotions, and an intimate fellowship, rapport, or communication. This is the kind of relationship God wants with me.

5. How is God’s desire for communion (intimate relationship) with us expressed in the following verses?

Isaiah 65:1-2

Jeremiah 33:3

Matthew 23:37

Romans 5:8-10

1 John 4:9-10

Isaiah 30:18

6. Summarize in your own words the most significant or meaningful insight you gained from the verses above.

What Is Your Picture of God?

I saw I had become hardened to the excitement of walking in continual awareness of God’s presence. I realized afresh that He desires open communion with me. He has little interest in the petition gymnastics I was trying to perfect in prayer. He wants me to be preoccupied with Himself. Seeing God this way enables us to stand in awe of Him. It stimulates our heart to vital communion and conversation with Him. Seeing God as He is requires faith on our part, but whoever is enamored and thrilled with God is then rightly motivated to pray. Discipline will still be necessary, but prayer won’t be drudgery. I believe that is hat John 4:24 is hinting at: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (emphasis added).

7. Read John 4:4-30, the context of the story of the woman at the well.

  1. How did the Samaritan woman’s inaccurate picture of God affect her ability to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”?
  2. What aspects of God’s character are hardest for you to grasp (for example, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, sovereign, holy, righteous, loving, merciful, faithful, and so on)? How might this affect your prayer life?

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Bible Study Tools )

MOTIVATE ME: God Is Real, No Matter How You Feel

Motivate Me

“The Lord has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him” (Isaiah 8:17 GNT).

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life — when he has provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to him.

Philip Yancey has wisely noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation — times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. God feels a million miles away. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness, doubt, and estrangement from God as “the dark night of the soul.” Henri Nouwen called them “the ministry of absence.” A. W. Tozer called them “the ministry of the night.” Others refer to “the winter of the heart.”

Besides Jesus, David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. God took pleasure in calling him “a man after my own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22).

Yet David frequently complained of God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”(Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?”(Psalm 22:1 NLT, second edition).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2a GNT; see also Psalm 44:23; 74:11; 88:14; 89:49).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he doesn’t leave you. He has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a trial?
  • What do you think God wants you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

POWER THOUGHTS: How to Satisfy Your Spiritual Thirst

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“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:13-14 NLT, second edition).

If you feel unsatisfied with your life and you want to live a fulfilled, meaningful life, you need to stop looking for satisfaction somewhere besides Jesus.

We’re always looking around, trying to find something to make our lives happy and significant. We think, “If I could just wear this kind of clothes, then I’ll be cool. If I could just have plastic surgery and get this fixed, then life would be grand. If I could just get this job, I’ll be satisfied.”

The Bible says in Jeremiah 2:13, “My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water” (NCV).

Not only have we rejected God and not looked to him to meet all our needs and satisfy our lives. We’re also trying to meet our needs on our own. These wells we’ve dug called a career or good looks or a golf game aren’t going to hold water.

In John 4:13-14, Jesus says, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (NLT, second edition).

Sin is addictive. It only makes you thirstier! If you don’t believe that, ask anybody who’s looked at pornography — once is not enough. If you are addicted to prescription medication, one pill is not enough. If you have a problem with anger, you’re not going to get angry just once. Sin creates greater thirst for satisfaction.

But Jesus offers living water that will permanently satisfy your thirst.

If you feel unsatisfied with your life, that’s called spiritual thirst. And the only one who can quench that thirst is the one who said, “I thirst.” Jesus thirsted on the cross so you don’t have to thirst. He paid for what you don’t have to pay for. He became thirsty so you never have to be thirsty again.

Talk It Over

  • What should the “fresh, bubbling spring” of Jesus look like in someone’s life?
  • In what ways have you relied on yourself to provide the meaning that is only found in Jesus?
  • Who in your life needs to hear about the living water Jesus offers?

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: We Need God’s Love So We Can Love Others

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“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32 NIV).

If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32a NIV)

His point is this: All of us can love those who love us back. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable — when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you.

This may seem like an impossible task, and it is — that’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16a NIV).

When you realize how much God loves you — with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love — then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving people who are unlovely, difficult, irritable, and those who are different or demanding.

You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

BLOGGING THRU THE BIBLE: Good Morning Girls Resources {Luke 11-15}

Welcome back to Week 3 in the Book of Luke! Hope you are enjoying the study as I am.

Here’s the Printable Bible Bookmark – check off your reading each day!

Here is this week’s Bible Reading Plan:

 

Here are this week’s Reflection & Discussion Questions

{If you do not have a group, use these for a personal time of reflection.}:

Chapter 11

Learning to pray is of utmost importance! Jesus did not teach his disciples how to preach, but he did teach them how to pray. The prayer in Luke 11, is not meant to be recited as a ritual, but rather as a pattern for our prayer life. After Jesus gave the pattern, he then gave an example of the boldness and persistence he wants us to have in our prayers.

Pause and pray through the Lord’s Prayer today. Then consider, is there something you have given up praying for that you need to boldly and persistently begin praying for again? Write your prayer below.

Chapter 12

The world system tells us that success and possessions deserve a high five, but at the end of the parable in Luke 12, God calls the rich man a fool! The only way to conquer a greedy heart is to believe that life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions.

Do you struggle with this? Jesus tells us to “be on guard.” How can you guard and protect yourself from falling into the temptation of desiring an abundance of possessions?

Chapter 13

To God, it does not matter what our standing in this world is. Money, titles, status, beauty, lineage and good works are not what God looks at. Salvation is based on Jesus’ grace alone.

Do you, at times, feel jealous of others whose standing in this world is higher than yours? One of the great mysteries of the gospel is how those who are first in this world are last in the next. How does this truth bring you comfort today?

Chapter 14

Jesus was the ultimate example of one who deserved the highest exaltation but he was humble. True humility does not have too high of an opinion of oneself and is others-centered rather than self-centered.

We are promised that those who humble themselves will one day – in eternity – be exalted. In what area of your life, do you need to work on humility?

Chapter 15

The parables in Luke 15 show us that God goes after the lost and heaven celebrates when they are found. Nothing is more precious to us as when it is lost. Think of your car keys – if they are lost – you search until they are found. And when they are found – you rejoice. In the same way, the angels rejoice when a sinner repents.

Who have you recently shared the love of Jesus or the gospel with? If you haven’t had this opportunity, write a prayer for someone who is lost and ask God for boldness.

To print the 24 Discussion Questions for Luke – click here.

The Verses of the Day:

I encourage you to choose which verse you’d like to memorize or meditate on.  The printable below includes all 5 verses of the day — for the entire week!  Print and cut them out and put them in the bathroom, kitchen, beside your bed and computer and use them for meditation throughout the week.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. – Joshua 1:8

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

 

Click HERE to print the Verses of the Day for Luke 11-15.

Here’s the SOAK Bible Study Method and Bible Colouring Chart fro your guidance:

Peace be with you all,

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