August rEADING PLAN

Week 1: August 1-7

 

August 1 (Sunday)

Start with a Short Prayer: Submit yourself to God. Open yourself to his Spirit. Invite the Spirit to be a part of your day, or better yet, request to be a part of the Spirit’s day.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 1.

Observation: This is history. That’s how Luke starts the book. It’s a faithful, true, historical record compiled from eyewitnesses, written for a man named Theophilus, so that he could be assured of the facts. Luke affirms he has investigated everything to write an orderly account. We know that Luke was a medical doctor and that orientation surfaces in his objective, linear telling of the story of Jesus.

 

Talk with God about TRUTH.

-Confess where you’ve sought your truth rather than His truth.

-Thank God for the bedrock of truth found in His character.

-Pray for people you know who are caught up in webs of lies, that they might listen to voices aligned with the Kingdom of God.

-Pray for an end to the conflict in Myanmar that has forced more than 3.4 million people into hunger. Pray for the church as it cares for those in need.

 

Listen to God

-Be quiet for a moment, aligning yourself with His will.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 2

Start with a Short Prayer: Slow your thoughts and invite God to reframe your day in the context of things Jesus cares about. Discard lesser thoughts.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 2.

Observation: Luke 2, the classic Christmas pageant text! With typical understatement, Luke simply says, “She gave birth to her firstborn, a son.”  He doesn’t explain this pre-emptive strike from the very council of God to release the clutch of evil upon the world and whole universe. He simply says she gave birth!

 

Talk with God about Jesus’ ADVENT.

-Confess where you have focused too much on that twistedness and not enough on the good story of Jesus’ advent.

-Thank the Father that He sent the Son to us!

-Pray for people you know who are desperate for Jesus to be born, not just in a manger, but in their own lives.

-Praise the Lord for new ministry opportunities in Albania. Pray for Algent and Erjona Bregu, who are serving as community engagement coordinators in that country.

 

Listen to God 

-Imagine the world without Jesus’ advent and shudder at the thought.

-Now remember that He DID COME!

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 3

Start with a Short Prayer: Recognize that God is “other.” He’s beyond us, above us, surrounds us and is independent of us. He has always been, is now, and ever shall be! Understand that there is a difference of scale between Him and us. This will help you approach Him in the right posture.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 3.

Observation: John the Baptist is to prepare the highway, to build the road to Jesus. Just like in Chapter 1, Luke is careful to place these events in the verifiable historical context of the Caesar and other officials. He’s telling history, not folk stories.  John doesn’t appear to be a man of great tact. His opening salutation is, “You brood of vipers!”

 

Talk with God about PREPARING.

-Repent of when you have not confronted evil as John did

-Ask Him to reveal to you people for whom you might be able to “prepare the highway” that takes them to Jesus.

-Pray for a sacrificial spirit, recalling that, just like John the Baptist, we are simply servants of the Lord, not the Lord.

-Colombia: Pray for the strengthening of new believers in the church plant in Tocaima. Ask the Father to prepare people of peace for new church plants in Urabá and Necoclí.

 

Listen to God 

-Quietly meditate on your role as one who is sent ahead of Jesus to your friends and neighbors.

-What might you do to better prepare them?

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.


 

August 4

Start with this short classic prayer: “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of my heart, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name, through Christ my Lord. Amen.”

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 4.

Observation: His hometown friends try to launch him off a cliff. With friends like these...

Powered by the Spirit, Jesus confronts the nationalism of his hometown with the reality that he's here with broader purposes (in case you didn’t catch it, the two stories he references in 4:25-26 are about God’s provision for foreigners-that’s what makes them mad).

 

Talk with God about a WORLD-WIDE SALVATION.

-Thank God for being above the things that divide humanity.

-Thank God for the provisions he has made for you through good governments.

-Lament before God the selfishness that drives nationalism.

-Ask God to cleanse you of anything that belittles others who are also created in His image.

-Offer yourself to God as a peacemaker

-Ask the Lord to give both healing and encouragement to missionary Letty Myers (Kenya) as she continues the recovery process following a cancer diagnosis in 2020. 

 

Listen to God 

-Quiet any of your internal turmoil, letting it be overwhelmed by a covering of His grace.

-Tune your ear to listen for God’s voice.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 5

Start with a Short Prayer: Ask God to give you internal peace even as you experience conflict with the forces of evil. Invite the Spirit of God to help you understand the written Word of God as you read.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 5.

Observation: The conflict begins in verse 15. So far, except for the incident in Nazareth, Jesus has been well received. But now the religious leaders begin to distance themselves from him and even to be offended by him. Although this is a long chapter, it’s important to keep the pieces together because the ending (about new wineskins) doesn’t make sense without sensing the growing discord of the first two sections of the chapter.

 

Talk with God about CONFLICT.

-Humble yourself before God

-Ask God to show where you may have been a source of religious conflict

-Ask God for courage to confront evil

-Pray for joy even as you are in the middle of a sea of conflict.

-Pray for the Good Shepherd Center in Jordan as they minister to the needs of refugee children and families during the pandemic. 

 

Listen to God

-Allow your emotions to catch up with you until you’re ready to face the day with the Holy Spirit’s help.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 6

Start with a Short Prayer:  Push the “pause button” on your racing thoughts. Set aside your day’s duties and pressures. Breath deeply. Let God refresh you as you worship Him

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 6.

Observation: The central teaching of the final section (39-49) is on consistency between who we say we are and who we really are. Jesus shows the connection between an obstructed eye and its inability to see, a tree and its fruit, and a house and its foundation, using them all to illustrate the connection between a person’s heart and mouth.

 

Talk with God about your INTEGRITY.

-Present to God any inconsistencies between your own words and actions.

-In God’s presence examine your own fruit and see what it says about you, as the “tree.”

-Thank God for the many times the words that you have spoken have reflected the goodness in your heart.

-Thank God for people who have been great examples to you of consistency between their Christian testimonies and their daily lives.

-Pray for integrity and creativity for those who are planting churches in Hong Kong in an atmosphere increasingly antagonistic to Christianity.

 

Listen to God 

-Hear God’s reassuring voice, that you are His child.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 7

Start with a Short Prayer: Let words of gratitude tumble from your lips toward the throne of God. Recognize that He is the giver of all good gifts.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 7.

Observation: In the final section (36-50) the woman’s sins were forgiven because she had “shown love to Jesus,” whereas Simon is confronted with an accusatory riddle about the relationship of gratitude to the depth of our sin.

 

Talk with God about your GRATITUDE.

-Using single words, list aloud His provisions for you.

-Thank God for those who shared the news of Jesus with you.

-Thank God that through Jesus your own sins have been forgiven. 

-Thank God for Debora, our leader in Mali, Africa, as she navigates the process of registering the FM Church with the government.

 

Listen to God 

-Soak for a moment in the gratitude of having your own sins erased by Jesus’ atonement.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.