An Epistle is basically a churchy word for a letter. The Epistles are letters from the early church leaders to the various churches that were spreading and growing. Although there are many cultural differences between then and now, the people of that era had the same struggles as people do today. Humans are humans. Our struggles and tendencies are the same. As King Solomon (the wisest person who ever lived) said: “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9).
As you navigate this week among the epistles to the various churches in the various cities, consider how similar things are and how relevant the situations are to you and your life today. Jeremiah 6:16 suggests we should “stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths and where the good way is, and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.” Could it be that our attitude of being culturally relevant and advanced and modern isn’t all it's cracked up to be? Could there be a lot of relevancy and wisdom we could derive from the “ancient paths” in scripture? How might you apply them to your life this week and in the weeks to come?
INVITATION: Join us as we navigate through a few of the Epistles. Though we won’t land on each one, we will hit themes and powerful verses from the Epistles we study this week. May God meet you right where you are and touch your life and heart in a powerful and personal way.
MONDAY: Acts 1:1-8: Acts is a history of the spread of the Good News (the Gospel) spreading under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We have the same spirit and power available to us as that which raised Jesus from the dead. Do you sometimes allow prayer, Bible study or other spiritual exercises to become substitutes for your mission as a believer rather than allowing them to become the very power sources for that mission? How can you learn to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit in your daily life?
TUESDAY: Romans 7:15-25: The first half of the book of Romans is the essence of the Christian faith, including much doctrine and theology. The second half is more application oriented. These verses are found about in the middle and were written at a very mature season of Paul’s Christian journey. Yet he is very honest about his struggles. Do you identify with these verses? Is there one area of your life where you have experienced continual struggle, perhaps for years? Tell God about it in a very open and honest way. Consider ending your prayer by reading Romans 8:1-2 as God’s promise to you.
WEDNESDAY: I Corinthians 13:1-13: The church in Corinth was a mess. Pastor Adam likened Corinth to Las Vegas and called it a “blender of faith”. The churches in Corinth were “blending together” many different forms of belief. Sound familiar? Paul’s letters were intended to set the record straight about the things of Christ and the true gospel. Even though there are different cultures, colors, backgrounds, economic status, etc., throughout the world, there is one God and one messiah. Sometimes that is not a popular message in our society because our culture doesn’t like the idea of absolute truth. How can you live the absolute truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ yet love others?
THURSDAY: Ephesians 3:14-21: This is Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. It is a beautiful prayer to adopt for your own life. As you read it today, what word or phrase stands out for you to take with you into your day as a prayer?
FRIDAY: Philippians 1:6 & Colossians 3:1-4: Philippians was written while Paul was imprisoned. How do you think it is that Paul can write a verse such as 1:6 while behind bars? Do you believe God is still writing YOUR story? How does that encourage you today? How can you practically apply the Colossians verses into your daily life? Are there reminders you could put into your day about where to keep your mind?
SATURDAY: James 1:2-9: The word “endurance” appears often in James. The meaning of the word in Greek communicates the idea of “rising above” a circumstance while at the same time “holding on” within that circumstance. The exercises of perseverance is central to James’s lessons on faithfulness. What are some circumstances in your life in which the practice of “rising above while holding on” is called for? What would it mean to regard those circumstances as “pure joy”? When in the past have you persevered in a difficult situation and found that it bore the fruit of joy?
NOTE: Ten Minutes With God will take a vacation week next week (8/4). There will be no study posted or e-mailed.