August rEADING PLAN

Week 3: August 15-21

 

August 15 (Sunday)

Start with this short classic prayer: 

O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: 

We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, 

that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, 

but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; 

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 15.

Observation: Grumpy, grumbling, complaining “church people” spark 3 stories from Jesus. All three are about how happy the person is who finds their sheep/coin/son. We don't celebrate the 99 sheep, coins in the purse, or elder son, instead we spontaneously celebrate the lost that has been found.

 

Talk with God about JOY.

-Thank God that our joy at seeing the lost come to faith overwhelms any temporary trials or storms through which we’re passing.

-Celebrate that joy is the response Jesus wants to see in us, rather than anger, fear or hatred.

-Ask God to deliver you from any tendency to be a complainer.

-Plead with God for a joyful spirit

-Praise the Lord for the formation of the African European Church Network that is strategically and actively reaching African immigrants living in Europe.

 

Listen to God 

-Imagine the lost being found and wait for the joy that follows that thought.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 16

Start with a Short Prayer: 

Thank God for the financial resources He has entrusted to you. Take a moment to open your thoughts and inclinations to Him as you proceed in prayer.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 16.

Observation: In the first story of this chapter, is Jesus teaching us to cheat clients? Jesus pulls real-life elements (money, jobs, olive oil, wheat) into a clever story to teach us how to handle finances. First reading may suggest he's saying to cheat but read it again. It's really about using “stuff” for eternal purposes. The second story reinforces the same lesson.

 

Talk with God about your FINANCES.

-Be amazed at both the blessing and burden of living in a country with ample resources.

-Ask forgiveness for when you have ignored needy people “laid at your gate”

-Ask God for inspiration as to how you might better handle finances with an eye to eternity.

-Pray for missionary Laurie Sheriff as she continues to study the Spanish language that she may be able to connect deeply with the people of Chile.

 

Listen to God

-Commit to treating your resources as being “on loan” from God rather than your own.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 17

Start with a Short Prayer:  Ask God to help you place your life and actions in the context of His eternal Kingdom. Promise to at least be open to change, given the reality of that kingdom.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 17.

Observation: The final section of this chapter is about the end of the world, at least as we know it. Jesus uses the language of the return of (or “day of”) the Son of Man. The question comes to Jesus about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus emphasizes that it will be as obvious as lightning and as unexpected as the flood and the destruction of Sodom. And yet he says it is already among us!

 

Talk with God about the KINGDOM OF GOD.

-Rejoice in prayer that our kingdoms are not all we have to look forward to!

-Thank God for being the King/ruler/president of your own life

-Invite the Spirit to examine your heart for areas you might have withheld from His authority.

-Pray to have the attitudes of one who is in submission to a king, rather than those of an independent contractor.

-Pray for those doing significant translation work in the Thai language.

 

Listen to God 

-Be attentive to how our cultural value of independence might lead us to be rebellious.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 18

Start with a Short Prayer: Thank God for the fact of eternal life. Now ask the Spirit to lead you today into any necessary adjustments to your current life in order to “inherit eternal life.”

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 18.

Observation: The question of verse 18 is the same question in chapter 10 that Jesus used to launch into the Good Samaritan story. This must have been a common question for people to ask, “What must I do to inherit eternal life? In both cases Jesus first directs the questioner to the commandments and then follows-up with a response that is tailored to the questioner. In this segment, the follow-up is that the man’s money is coming between him and the kingdom of God, echoes of chapter 16.

 

Talk with God about ETERNAL LIFE.

-Confess any place your attitude might need to be more like that of the tax collector (sorrowful over sin rather than proud over righteousness).

-Ask God for opportunities accumulate treasure in heaven for your eternal life.

-Pray for fellowship with like-minded people who won’t let money separate them from the Kingdom of God.

-The mission district in Cameroon has more than a dozen church plants. Pray that these church plants will become fully developed churches this year.

 

Listen to God 

-Reviewing your own to-do list for today, should you make any changes based on what you hear?

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 19

Start with a Short Prayer: Clear your mind of nagging thoughts and preconceived notions about Zacchaeus and the parable about the ten treasures. Invite the Spirit of God to give you understanding as you approach His throne.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 19.

Observation: We know he’s short. We know he’s wealthy. We know he’s a despised tax collector (points 2 & 3 are connected!). We know he wants to see Jesus. The story isn’t focused on his shortness or the tree; it's about how the short man moves into a new family tree, getting a new father: Abraham. The way he responds to Jesus and to the muttering of the crowd answers the problem raised in chapter 18 about how a rich person might enter the kingdom of God. This is how!

 

Talk with God about STEWARDSHIP.

-Humbly thank God for what he has given you to administer on His behalf.

-Examine yourself for any areas where you should make restitution for ill-gotten gains.

-Ask God to create a deeper sense of responsibility in you for what He has placed in your hands to administer.

-Pray for the ongoing work of Rancho Betania in Mexico as it restarts post-COVID.

 

Listen to God 

-With one hand on your wallet and another on your heart, ask God to speak to you.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 20

Start with a Short Prayer: Address with respect the God of the universe. Approach His throne with a thankful heart. Adopt the posture of a student: hear, understand, be changed.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 20.

Observation: In verses 20-26 the religious leaders, attempting to arrest Jesus, come at him with a second question, this one about taxes. Taxes, then more than now, were a cause of great resentment. They ask Jesus a divisive question: "Should we support a bad government with our taxes?" But he turns their political question into a Kingdom question, "Whose inscription is on your heart?"

 

Talk with God about DIVISION.

-Apologize for any times you have questioned Jesus or His followers just to trip them up.

-Ask forgiveness for allowing yourself to be tricked into answering divisive questions.

-Ask for power to transition conversations away from questions about government to questions about our hearts’ condition.

-Celebrate God’s “inscription” or likeness on your heart. In some ways you look like God to other people!

-Praise the Lord for church-planting work in new areas of the Middle East which need to remain unnamed.

 

Listen to God 

-Listen quietly for God to point out any areas of your life that don’t seem to look like Him.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

 

August 21

Start with a Short Prayer: Thank God if you are not being persecuted, chased, and punished for your faith in Jesus. If you are, cling to His promise of redemption.

 

Listen to God by reading Luke 21.

Observation: The first half of the chapter (through verse 28) contains glimpses of a very difficult future: the destruction of the temple, international conflict, persecution for Jesus’ followers, the fall of Jerusalem and natural disasters. But it also contains a final optimistic note: the coming of the Son of Man and their redemption.

 

Talk with God about PERSECUTION.

-Confess any callousness you may have had toward the persecuted church, displaced people, or those suffering natural disasters.

-Pray for courage in case you are persecuted, displaced or suffer from natural disasters.

-Ask God to help you keep alert and pray so you’re ready for Jesus’ return.

-Pray for Misha and Lena Petrochenko, leaders of the work in Rivne, Ukraine as they disciple families, provide hope and healing for those who grieve, and support the centers for recovering addicts.

 

Listen to God 

-Be still as God enlarges your heart, pouring love through you to the unloved.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.