66 in 52 Challenge

Philippians – Week 43 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 42 - Philippians

The Big Picture of Philippians:

If grace seemed to be the theme last week in Ephesians, joy and thanksgiving seem to be the theme for Philippians. There are at least 15 specific references to the topic of joy (maybe more depending on your translation) in these 4 short chapters. Paul was thanking the church at Philippi for their partnership in the work he was doing and encouraged them to continue serving and sharing Christ. It is likely that Paul wrote this letter while He was in prison in Rome around AD 60.

Things we learn about joy from Philippians:

  • God brings joy when we work together well (1:3-5, 2:2)
  • When Christ is shared it is cause for joy and celebration (1:18)
  • True joy comes from God alone (3:1, 4:4)
  • Joy is not dependent on circumstances (1:12-18, 2:17-18, 4:11)

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14
    REFLECTION: What is something you need to leave behind this week to be able to move forward toward what God is calling you to?
  • But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21
    REFLECTION: What evidence do you see in your life or the world around you that this world is not our true, forever home?
  • “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  Philippians 4:8
    REFLECTION: Make a list today of at least one thing that fits each of the categories: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise.

4:8 Your Brain

Here’s a list for my own life recently based on the last reflection option.

  • True: God loves me. He’s been reminding me a lot lately of this simple truth.
  • Honorable: Some of my teenager friends doing the right thing even when it’s hard
  • Just: following a process
  • Pure: the laughter of little kids
  • Lovely: the chance to visit my exchange daughter in her country
  • Commendable: friends who show up when you need them and celebrate life with you
  • Excellent: my teammates at work
  • Worthy of Praise: God, for the beautiful creation he’s made!

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Ephesians – Week 42 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 42 - Ephesians

The Big Picture of Ephesians:

Ephesians is a letter from Paul to the believers in the city of Ephesus. One summary of the whole book might be this phrase at the beginning chapter 4: “live a life worthy of your calling”. Throughout the book Paul paints this beautiful picture of what life in Christ is like. It is a life of freedom, faith, unity, light, peace, and more. He doesn’t say it’s always easy, but he does say it’s worth it. It’s a big calling to live as God’s children, but it brings the most abundant, fulfilling life we could imagine. He also talks of the tools and resources God provides for the journey including the armor of God and the Holy Spirit himself. Throughout the book we see what life practically looks like in families, churches, jobs, etc. as we follow after Christ.

Our Identity in Ephesians 1:

The first chapter of Ephesians is packed full with statements about our identity in Christ. Here are just a few:

  • Holy people (1:1, 18)
  • Faithful followers (1:2)
  • Blessed (1:3)
  • United with Christ (1:3, 11)
  • Loved (1:4)
  • Chosen (1:4, 11)
  • Holy and without fault in His eyes (1:4)
  • Adopted (1:5)
  • Purchased to be His own (1:7, 14)
  • Forgiven (1:7)
  • Showered with kindness (1:8)
  • His own (1:13, 14)
  • Called (1:18)
  • Filled with His power (1:19)

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same might power that raised Christ from the dead…”   Ephesians 1:19-20a
    REFLECTION: Who can you pray this over this week? Who needs to know the incredible greatness of God’s power?
  • “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”  Ephesians 4:16
    REFLECTION: Where have you seen this lived out well in your community of faith? What’s your “special work” that you can do well as a part of the body?
  • “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”  Ephesians 3:18-19
    REFLECTION: Why do you think Paul suggests that we must understand God’s love in order to live a full life in God’s power? What might the connection be?

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Galatians – Week 41 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 41 - Galatians

The Big Picture of Galatians:

Galatians is another letter written by Paul. This one was to the believers in the churches of Galatia (1:1). The purpose of this letter is very clear: Paul heard that the people in Galatia has been wandering away from the truth of the Good News about Jesus. Verse 7 of chapter 1 explains that they were being “fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.” Before going into details about the grace and life in Christ, Paul reminds the readers how he used to be among those who were fighting actively against Jesus and those who followed Him. This, in essence, is Paul’s testimony of God’s grace in His own life. As the book goes on he outlines the gift of salvation and the freedom we have as God’s children. Freedom is actually a huge theme in the whole book and Paul longs for the followers in these churches to understand and experience the good news that Christ brings freedom.

Issues and Themes Discussed in Galatians:

  • Grace and legalism
  • Unity in the Body of Christ
  • Righteousness doesn’t come by the law but rather by Christ
  • The Holy Spirit and His gifts/fruits in our lives
  • Identity as God’s Children vs slaves
  • Freedom
  • Not giving up when things get hard

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”  Galatians 1:10
    REFLECTION: Where are you most tempted to seek the approval of others instead of God? What does God say about that area of your life?
  • “But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.”  Galatians 1:15
    REFLECTION: Spend some time in prayer asking God to show you some of the things He’s chosen and called you to by His grace in this season of your life.
  • “And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba Father.’ Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.”  Galatians 4:6-7
    REFLECTION: What does it feel like to be called God’s child? Where are you still living like a slave?
  • “So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
    REFLECTION: How can you plant seeds in faith today, knowing the harvest will come in the right time?

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

1 & 2 Corinthians – Week 40 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 40 - 1,2 Corinthians

The Big Picture of 1 & 2 Corinthians:

These are two letters Paul wrote to the people who followed Christ in the city of Corinth. Corinth was on an important trade route in the world at that time and had a reputation for sexual immortality, corruption, and idol worship. 1 Corinthians was written around A.D. 55 while Paul was in Ephesus as a call to the believers to live lives in contrast to the world around them. There were some specific issues that came up as they tried to figure out what that looked like and Paul hoped to speak to some of those issues. The followup letter came about a year later and dealt with some of the same issues and some new additional ones.

Some Issues and Topics Discussed in 1 Corinthians:

  • Division in the Church
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • Lawsuits
  • Marriage
  • Food offered to idols
  • The Lord’s Supper
  • Love
  • The Resurrection of Jesus

Some Issues and Topics Discussed in 2 Corinthians:

  • Some of the same issues in 1 Corinthians
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Unity among the church and leaders
  • Suffering and Joy
  • Gospel ministry and holy living

  • Giving

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

1 Corinthians

  • The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18
    REFLECTION: Where have you seen this contrast to be true in your life and the lives of those who don’t know Christ?
  • When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.”  1 Corinthians 9:22
    REFLECTION: In what ways can you sacrifice this week in order to find common ground with someone who does not yet know Jesus?
  • Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”  1 Corinthians 13:12
    REFLECTION: Journal about what it means to you to be known completely by God.

2 Corinthians

  • He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  2 Corinthians 1:4
    REFLECTION: In what ways has this been true in your life?
  • Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Corinthians 12:8-9
    REFLECTION: What’s your “thorn” right now? Where have you seen God’s power despite your weakness?
  • And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”  2 Corinthians 9:8
    REFLECTION: Where have you been living a life based on a scarcity mentality vs the mentality that God is a God of abundance and generosity?

Truth’s We Can Apply from 1 & 2 Corinthians Today:

  • Following Jesus isn’t always easy.
  • God’s Church is His beautiful bride and yet His Church and individual churches are filled with imperfect people. We have to seek forgiveness and wholeness and reconciliation when we hurt others. This sometimes involves tough conversations.
  • True love looks nothing like what the world has to offer.
  • Relationships are more important than being “right”.
  • Unity is possible, but takes hard work.
  • We each have gifts to offer and when we all work together, God gets great glory.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Romans – Week 39 {66 in 52 Challenge}

aThis is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 39 - Romans

The Big Picture of Romans:

Romans is the first of a series of letters we find in the New Testament. Paul (the author of Romans) and others would write letters to individuals or groups to encourage them. As the good news of Jesus began to spread there wasn’t enough of Paul or other disciples to be in all the places. These letters kept helped guide the early church. While each letter had an initial intended audience (the Church in Rome in this case), they were often circulated around to many cities and many churches.

In the first chapter we see one huge purpose in writing this specific letter was to tell those in Rome that they had been chosen and loved by Jesus and that the good news was not just for Jews, but for all who believe (1:5-6). Throughout the rest of the book, Paul lays out what have become the basics of faith: our sin and need for a Savior, the fact that Jesus paid the price for us, how God’s Spirit helps us live a life of obedience, and the promise of eternal life with Jesus for those who believe. If I could sum up the whole book in one short phrase it would be this: GOOD NEWS!

Basic Outline of Romans:

  • Chapters 1-4 – Focuses on our inability to live “right with God” (a righteous life) and our need for justification and forgiveness through faith
  • Chapters 5-8 – Tells us that justification is both a reality right now and something we hope for… that one day we really will be completely right before God
  • Chapters 9-11 – We see Paul’s sorrow that so many don’t believe this good news
  • Chapter 12-16 – Explain how this good news can impact our every day life

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
    REFLECTION: In what ways are you tempted to conform to the patterns of this world? How might a new way of thinking about those things help you determine God’s will?
  • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8
    REFLECTION: What other ways have you witnessed God demonstrate His love fo ryou lately?
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
    REFLECTION: Spend some time in confession. Then, spend some time praising God for the free gift of grace that restores our relationship because of Jesus.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

Acts – Week 38 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 38 - Acts

The Big Picture of Acts:

Acts is the story of the very beginning of the Christian Church. While Jesus was on earth he trained and walked with His disciples preparing them to carry out His mission once He left. In Acts we see the Holy Spirit come (as Jesus promised it would before He left) and the church exploded throughout the world. Paul (named Saul at the beginning of the book) and Peter are two of the men we see God use in these early stages. This time in the early church was not always easy as those who followed Jesus faced great persecution. Despite this persecution the church continued to spread and because of the faithful work of the men and women we read about in this book, the church continues to spread to this day. Now it’s our turn!

Main Timeline of Acts:

  • AD 30 – Jesus dies, rises from the dead, and ascends into heaven
  • AD 30-33 – God sends the Holy Spirit and the Church begins to spread, Saul persecutes the early church
  • AD 34/35 – Jesus meets Saul on the road to Damascus and changes his life (and his name… the rest of his life he’s known as Paul)
  • AD 34-62 – Missionary journeys and other events of Acts
  • AD 60 – Paul imprisoned
  • AD 62 – Paul on trial and preaches around Rome

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”  Acts 17:26-27
    REFLECTION: Where has God put you during this time in history? Literally where are the places you go each day? Where do you live? In what ways do you see verse 27 true that God put you there so people, including yourself, might seek and find Him?
  • “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Acts 2:42
    REFLECTION: What is one way you can commit (or mentally re-commit) to Christian community this week? /
  • “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  Acts 2:17
    REFLECTION: Who is the Holy Spirit to you? What have you learned in reading Acts that tells you about Him?

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!

66 in 52 Challenge

John – Week 37 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each wee

k I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!

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Week 37 - John

The Big Picture of John :

Over the last few weeks of reading Matthew, Mark, and Luke we’ve gotten various perspectives of primarily the same events. As we head into reading John this week we’ll hear the life of Jesus in a completely new way. Instead of thinking about the beginning of Jesus’ story at his birth, John shows us that Jesus has been around since before the beginning of the world (John 1:1). Where Matthew, Mark, and Luke tend to tell narrative stories of what Jesus did, John seems to highlight more of his character and identity as both fully God and fully man. There is also a high emphasis on the signs and miracles in John’s book. It is believed to be written much later than the other three gospels with a clearly declared purpose that readers would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that we’d find life as we believe (John 20:30-31).

The “I Am”s in John:

One thing that seems to be true is that John was passionate to prove that Jesus IS God. One of the ways he did this was by using the phrase “I Am” many times throughout the book. For the Jewish readers, this would have been an obvious claim to Jesus’ as God as they would instantly recognize it as the very name for God. Back in Exodus when God was calling Moses to go rescue the people out of slavery in Egypt, Moses asks God, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you.’ they will ask me, ‘

What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God’s response to Moses: I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people: I AM has sent me to you.” This was a powerful declaration of the name of God. So when Jesus shows up on the scene and starts using this phrase, people took notice. Here are some of the key places we see it in John’s Gospel:

  • “…but he called out to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here!'” – John 6:30
  • “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24
  • So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. – John 8:28
  • Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” – John 8:58 (When he said this the Jewish religious leaders even picked up rocks to try to stone him. There is no doubt in their minds Who He was claiming to be.)
  • “‘I am he,’ Jesus said.”- John 18:5
  • “I am the bread of life “- John 6:35, 48, 51
  • “I am the light of the world” – John 8:12, 9:5
  • “I am the door of the sheep” – John 10:7, 9
  • “I am the good shepherd.”  – John 10:11, 14
  • “I am the resurrection and the life.” – John 11:25
  • “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” – John 14:6
  • “I am the true vine.” – John 15:1

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14
    REFLECTION: How do you see both grace and truth played out in Jesus’ life? What does it look like to be full of both in our every day lives?
  • “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. … May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”   John 17:20-21, 23
    REFLECTION: This whole section is the prayer Jesus prayed right before he died. These specific verses in essence are what God prayed for US today. He had US on his mind as he prepared to go to the cross. What are your thoughts about His prayer? Where do you see unity or disunity among God’s church today? How might unity be crucial in showing the world the love of Jesus?
  • “The disciples say Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.”   John 20:30-31
    REFLECTION:What are your thoughts about John’s purpose for writing the book? How do you think that shaped what He chose to put in the book?

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!