Monday, March 07, 2011

Lent Guide: Readings

Daily Reading/Contemplation

Week One Readings

Simplicity

Day 1

Read: Matthew 6:19-34

Consider: In what ways have the things you own ended up owning you? Where could you simplify if you only had the will to do so? What are we really saying to God when we place such an importance on things? When we worry?

Pray: That your worry would melt into trust, that your desire for things would be redirected into a desire for God and His kingdom.

Greed

Day 3

Read: Luke 12:13-21

Consider: Why does Jesus talk so much about money?

How is an over-emphasis on material things corrosive to our souls and our world?

Pray: That God would show you where and how you are overly concerned about and tied to money, possessions and acquisition.

Relationship

Day 5

Read: John 15:9-17

Consider: What has been the story of your relationship with Jesus? How has He pursued you? How have you pursued Him?

Pray: The God would help you know, feel and lean into the love of Jesus for you on a daily basis.

Week Two Readings

Sin

Day 7

Read: Matthew 18:5-9

Consider: In what ways does sin have a grip on you? What do you know you need to let go of, but have been unwilling up to now. How might your unwillingness to deal with that affect others?

Pray: That God would search your heart and point out to you anything that needs to go, be let go of, be crucified in your life.

Rules

Day 9

Read: Matthew 23:23-24

Consider: Do you think doing certain religious things (like fasting or observing Lent) or even not sinning makes you a better person? What’s more important?

Pray: That God would use Lent to form you, to humble you, to convict you of your priorities and convince you of your place in serving others.

Judgment

Day 11

Read: Luke 6:37-42

Consider: Who do you end up feeling most judgmental about? Why?

How can we be passionate about the truth of the Gospel and convinced of the rightness and health of life in the way of Jesus without coming across as a complete ass? If you were wrong about something how would you want someone to approach you?

Pray: That God would soften your heart towards others and most specifically- show you the “specks” in your own eye.

Compassion:

Day 13

Read: Matthew 9:35-38

Consider: When was the last time you felt moved by compassion? What did you do because of your compassion? Are you truly moved by compassion if no action follows?

Pray: That Jesus’ prayer would be answered- that more and more people would be moved “out into the fields” to not only heal and love, but to preach the Gospel with words and deeds. Pray that God would show you your place in that.

Week Three Readings

Worry

Day 15

Read: Luke 12:22-28

Consider: Do you worry about things? What place do possessions have in your heart? How easy or hard is it to trust God to give you what you actually need?

Pray: That God would decrease your desire for more and more... and increase your desire for and trust in Him.

Hatred

Day 17

Read: Luke 6:37-42

Consider: Who are you enemies with? Why? What would it look like to lay that down, give up what you think they owe you and instead forgive?

Pray: That God would show you how to love even those you don’t like.

Friendship

Day 19

Read: Matthew 9:9-13

Consider: Who are you friends with? Why? What would it look like to intentionally seek out people who need you to be their friend?

Pray: That God would show you someone you can be a friend to in a way that others couldn’t.

Fear

Day 21

Read: John 14:15-27

Consider: What are you most afraid of in life? What do you want to say to God about that? After spending some time listening and reflecting, what do you think He wants to say to you about that?

Pray: That God would give you peace, trust in Him and the ability to see your fears through the lens of His presence alongside you.

Week Four Readings

Status

Day 23

Read: Mark 10:35-45

Consider: What did Jesus think about self-promotion? What do you think about it? How would you rate your desire for status and acknowledgement?

Pray: That God would show you clearly your need to matter and all that you do to get that need met. Pray that you would feel the love and acceptance of God, because of Jesus and His life and death on your behalf- not your performance.

Pride

Day 25

Read: Luke 20:45-47

Consider: What does having others’ honor and respect do for you? What are you willing to do for it? What blinded the people Jesus was talking about to their character defects? What blinds you to yours?

Pray: That God would reveal areas of pride and self-righteousness to you and what you can do about them.

Criticism

Day 27

Read: Mark 3: 1-6

Consider: Do you think you tend more towards criticism or encouragement? Which is easier for you to engage in? Which do you desire more of in your life?

What do you think your criticism might be saying about you?

Pray: That God would help you control your tongue and that your words would build others up, not tear them down.

Results

Day 29

Read: Matthew 12:33-37

Consider: What kind of “fruit” has been coming out of your life recently? What are you rooted in? What are you feeding yourself? Does the one have anything to do with the other?

Pray: That God would help you do what leads to good results in your life.

Week Five Readings

Generosity

Day 31

Read: Luke 12:29-34

Consider: Does worry impede generosity? What are we forming in ourselves when we worry? What are we forming in ourselves when we choose generosity? Pray: That God would show you how and where to be more generous.. and if it’s hard, why this is hard.

Service

Day 33

Read: John 13:1-7

Consider: What do you think it was like for the disciples to see Jesus humble Himself this way? What’s it like for you? What work is beneath you? What would you absolutely never do for someone else if they really, truly needed it? Why?

Pray: That God would help you understand what the disciples had such a hard time getting.

Apathy

Day 35

Read: Matthew 21:28-32

Consider: Have you ever told God you would do something, felt Him stirring you to care and act about a certain situation and then failed to follow through? Why? What keeps you from putting your values into more consistent action?

Pray: That God would again stir your heart for others- that he would show you where and how you can make a difference.

Joy

Day 37

Read: Luke 10:17-21

Consider: What brings you joy? What do you really need to be happy? What stops you from remembering that?

Pray: That God would realign your ideas of what it means to be “happy” and filled with joy- and that you would be both of those.

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