Devotion Text

March 2, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 7) Build: Loving One Another: God calls us to be the church

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Acts 2:42–47

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.   46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Questions

  1. How does the picture of the early church in this passage contrast with modern popular notions of church?
  2. How would it have felt to be part of the Acts 2 church?
  3. How can I help our church become more like the Acts 2 church today? How does my view of my life need to change?

Prayer

March 1, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: 2 Timothy 4:9-22

9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Questions

  1. (v.10) Demas served alongside Paul (cf. Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:14) but ended up deserting him. The Bible talks a lot about how the love of the world compromises our love for God. Consider the following verses:

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

James 4:4

4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

In what ways is my heart “in love with this present world”? How do I need to guard myself against being “in love with this present world”?

  1. While a life of discipleship is difficult, verses 17-18 promise that God will be with all of us. Moreover, verses 19-22 also remind us that we don’t do it alone; we have the church. How can this encourage and strengthen me today?

Prayer

February 26, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: 2 Timothy 3:16–4:8

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

4 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Questions

  1. (vv. 16-17) In what ways have I experienced Scripture teaching, reproving, correcting, or training me in righteousness?
  2. (vv.1-2) Consider the charge Paul gives to Timothy. How does this expand my view of what it means to be a Christian?
  3. (vv.6-8) What motivated Paul to endure suffering?

Prayer

February 25, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: 2 Timothy 3:1–15

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. 10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Questions

  1. (vv. 1-8) How does our culture fit the description of the “last days”?
  2. (v.12) Why should I expect persecution if I “desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus”?
  3. (vv.10-14) Who are examples of mature Christians in my life, whose faith I can imitate to help me “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”?

Prayer

February 24, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: 2 Timothy 2:14–22

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Questions

  1. What’s inspiring about the person described in v.15? What can I do to become such a person today?
  2. (vv.20-21) God only uses clean vessels. How do I need to cleanse myself so God can use me?
  3. Paul says there are (1) things we are to flee, (2) things we are to pursue, and (3) we should do these together with other believers. What exhortation do I need to heed from v.22?

Prayer

February 23, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: 2 Timothy 2:1–7

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 

5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Questions

  1. What do soldiers, athletes, and farmers have in common? Why are these characteristics necessary for Christian life?
  2. What are the civilian pursuits I need to disentangle myself from as a good soldier of Christ?
  3. How does “aim… to please” (v.4) capture the spirit or motivation of a Christian? What is surprising about the fact that we are able to please God?  How am I living to please God today?

Questions

  1. What is the gift that God has given to us (v.7)? What is our responsibility in receiving that gift (v.6)? 
  2. (vv.8-12) Why would Timothy be tempted to be ashamed of Paul or of the gospel? How does our culture make Christians ashamed of their faith?
  3. Why is Paul not ashamed of the gospel? How do I need to remind myself of how awesome the Gospel is so that I am not ashamed about it?

Prayer

February 22, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: 2 Timothy 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day! and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

CONTEXT & COMMENTARY

2 Timothy was written by Apostle Paul near the end of his life to his disciple, Timothy, who was a pastor at the church in Ephesus. It gives us a biblical picture of ministry and Christian life.

 

Questions

  1. What is the gift that God has given to us (v.7)? What is our responsibility in receiving that gift (v.6)? 
  2. (vv.8-12) Why would Timothy be tempted to be ashamed of Paul or of the gospel? How does our culture make Christians ashamed of their faith?
  3. Why is Paul not ashamed of the gospel? How do I need to remind myself of how awesome the Gospel is so that I am not ashamed about it?

Prayer

February 19, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 6) Fight: The Life of Ministry

The life of a minister is spiritual battle

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Ephesians 6:10–20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

CONTEXT & COMMENTARY

Apostle Paul writes this letter (or epistle) to the church at Ephesus. In this final chapter he describes the spiritual battle all Christians face.

A spiritual war is raging. The apostle Paul says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers.” You are in the middle of that war. Whether your heart is peace-loving or warlike makes no difference. You can’t get out of it. You can only choose whether to fight or to be mowed down as a civilian casualty.

McCallum, Dennis. Satan and his kingdom: what the Bible says and how it matters to you. Bloomington, Minnesota. Bethany House Publishers, 12.

Questions

  1. If all Christians are combatants in a spiritual war, what kind of mindset should I have?
  2. How does each part of the armor help me survive and fight this spiritual war? Which one do I need today?
  3. Who do I need to pray for today (vv.18-20)?

Prayer

February 18, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 5) Proclaim: Life on Mission

Jesus calls us to gospel proclamation

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Acts 8:26–40

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”      30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
    and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
   Who can describe his generation?
   For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Context & Commentary

Acts is the story of the early church: how the first Christians began to live out the Great Commission (cf. Matthew 28:18-20). The early Christians were all Jews. And now, for the first time, Christians took the Gospel message to non-Jews.

Questions

  1. How did God prepare the Ethiopian eunuch to receive the gospel message from Philip?
  2. What made Philip an effective evangelist? What steps can I take to be more like Philip?

Prayer

February 17, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 5) Proclaim: Life on Mission

Jesus calls us to gospel proclamation

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Luke 19:1–10

1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Context & Commentary

v.2 Of all people in Palestine, tax-collectors were the most hated. They were Jews who collected taxes from their own people to give to the occupying Roman government, and they also took a cut of the collection to enrich themselves.  Robbers, murderers and tax-collectors were classed together. Zacchaeus is a “chief tax collector,” which means he stands at the top of the collection pyramid, taking a cut of commission from those who collected taxes for him. He is therefore a wealthy man, though many consider his wealth ill-gotten.

Bock, Darrell L., “Luke 19:1-10” in NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Luke Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.

Questions

  1. What’s surprising about the fact that a chief tax collector would go to such extreme lengths to see Jesus?
  2. How does Zacchaeus’ spiritual responsiveness challenge my assumptions about who would be open to God?
  3. What steps can I take to share in Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost?

Prayer

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