Saul: Day 1

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DAY 1: Saul’s Inadequacy Shows

Imagine that one day you’re sent on a very important errand. For example, the President of the U.S. hands you a sealed envelope and entrusts you to deliver this envelope to another world leader. You’re not to mail it, and the contents must not be seen by anybody else. You and you alone have been entrusted with this information, and it’s essential that you deliver it. But upon your arrival, this other world leader refuses to see you and sends you away. The next day you’re supposed to be meeting with the President to give him a summary of everything that occurred. What do you do? 

We may respond to difficult circumstances like Saul does in 1 Samuel 10, by giving into fear or our own feelings of inadequacy. It’s here that Saul learns he is supposed to be the first ever king of Israel. But when the time comes, he hides. Chances are, he feels completely inadequate for what he’s been called to do, or he’s simply afraid to fulfill the role. 

As you read today, consider this: What is one situation in which you were afraid to have a hard conversation or fulfill a challenging task? How did you respond? 

READING & JOURNALING:

     1 SAMUEL 10:17-27

What is one situation in which you were afraid to have a hard conversation or fulfill a challenging task? How did you respond?

Where do you think these fears or thoughts of inadequacy come from?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Job 38 & 39

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows Page (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that I live in a period of time in which fear isn’t something people like to talk about. But I know I have fears, and I recognize these fears impact me much more than I would like. This week, I pray that You would reveal to me the depths of the fears I have. But instead of allowing these fears to rule my life, may I instead remember that in Christ, I am accepted, significant, and secure! I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Samuel: Day 5

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DAY 5: Review

READING & JOURNALING:

What did the Scripture readings this week reveal to you about how Saul, Samuel, and/or the people of Israel followed and trusted Him and His Word?

Similarly, what did the Scripture readings reveal to you about how well you follow and trust the Word of God?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Job 1 & 2

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

Samuel: Day 4

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DAY 4: Saul Anointed as King

Have you ever had a dog (or other pet) wander away from home, and you had to spend hours roaming the neighborhood to find it? Something similar happens to Saul in 1 Samuel 9. The donkeys owned by the family wander off, and Saul’s father sends him out to look for them.

We can imagine what Saul may have been thinking. Stupid donkeys. This is the third time this year they’ve wandered off! And of course, he covers miles and miles of land looking for them, to no avail. As a last ditch effort, he and his servants go to a man of God, Samuel, to ask for his help. But Samuel doesn’t just give them information about the lost animals. He tells Saul that he’s going to be the king of Israel!

The Life Application Study Bible notes, “Often we think that events ‘just happen’ to us, but as we learn from this story about Saul, God may use common occurrences to lead us where he wants. It is important to evaluate all situations as potential ‘divine appointments’ designed to shape our lives.” As you read today, consider this: Can you think of a time when something ‘just happened’ but it turned out God had a bigger plan?

READING & JOURNALING:

     1 SAMUEL 9:1-10:8

Can you think of a time when something ‘just happened’ but it turned out God had a bigger plan?

Like Saul, God has a plan for your life. If you could write it out in just one sentence, what would you say God’s plan for your life is? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 8 & 9

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that today’s question about Your plan for my life is one of the most challenging questions I have wrestled with throughout my life. And even though I can write what I think may be Your plan for my life, I still have some doubts or fears about what exactly that means and how to live it out. As such, I pray today for Your tremendous wisdom. That You will continue to lead and guide me to not only know Your will, but to live Your will. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Samuel: Day 3

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DAY 3: Israel Asks for a King

Have you ever gone along with the choices of others, even though something deep within you knew it wouldn’t be wise to do so? 

Throughout the story of the Old Testament, it’s clear that God had called Israel to be different. His desire for His people was that they would rely on Him and Him alone as their God, Lord, and King. In 1 Samuel 8:5, the people came to Samuel and said, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

All in all, their desire to have a king was not wrong, but the reason they wanted a king was wrong. They wanted to be like the other nations surrounding them, even though God had called them to be different from all other nations. In short, the people of God decided it would be better to build their nation under the rule of a king than it would be to build their nation under the rule of God. 

As you read today, consider this: From where do your values and/or decisions come from? (Is it pleasing others? Working hard? Physical appearance? Something else?) Or do your greatest values truly come from God? 

READING & JOURNALING:

     1 SAMUEL 8:1-22

From where do your values and/or decisions come from? (Is it pleasing others? Working hard? Physical appearance? Something else?) Or do your greatest values truly come from God? 

Why do you think the people of Israel wanted to be like other nations?  

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 6 & 7

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from 7 Arrows (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, Today I acknowledge that even thought I may not regularly think about what I most value in life, I recognize that I live and act based on what I most value. Like the people of Israel, I, too have valued things which are insignificant to You. So today I simply pray that You will reveal to me the things that are most important to You. May these also become what’s most important to me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Samuel: Day 2

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DAY 2: Speak Lord, I’m Listening

Think about it: On a scale of 1-10, how well do you listen to the voice of God? How well do you listen to others? 

For most of us, we don’t listen very well. When we listen, we often do so while thinking about how we’ll respond, not to understand. We listen to hear what others are thinking, but not to understand their heart. If we were being 100% honest, we would all admit that we can grow in our ability to listen. 

In 1 Samuel Chapter 3, young Samuel finds  himself in a position in which he hears God, but doesn’t recognize His voice. Samuel is young and inexperienced, and likely expected God to communicate more directly with Eli than with himself. 

But this is one of many situations throughout the Scriptures in which God shows He will speak to and/or through unexpected people in unexpected ways. 

As you read today, consider this: Do you take intentional time to listen for the voice of God? How well are you able to recognize His voice? 

READING & JOURNALING:

     1 SAMUEL 3:1-21

Do you take intentional time to listen for the voice of God? How well are you able to recognize His voice?

How may God be inviting you to speak into the life of a family member, colleague, or friend? Have you considered God may use you in unexpected ways to tell others about Him? 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 3 & 4

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from “7 Arrows”, (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t always spend time being intentional to listen for Your voice. I commit this day to Your will. And I pray that You will lead, guide, and direct me on the path before me. As I listen to Your voice today, I invite You to use me, God, to speak into the lives of others. Provide me words of encouragement and affirmation to share with others, in the same way You speak words of affirmation to me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Samuel: Day 1

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DAY 1: Promises Promises

Have you ever made a promise you weren’t sure you wanted to keep? Something like, “God, if you would just get me out of this situation, then I promise I’ll never do anything this stupid ever again?”

Guess what? You’re not alone. In the Old Testament book of    1 Samuel, we learn about Samuel’s mother, Hannah. Hannah was unable to have children, and she so desperately wanted a child that she prayed to God, saying, “…if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life.” (1 Samuel 1:11 NIV)

God heard Hannah’s prayer, and He answered it. As a result, she had to give up the one thing she most wanted. She desired a son, and God gave her a son. But to fulfill her promise, she had to give her son back to God. The lesson for us: God keeps His promises. And we must be prepared to keep ours as well, no matter the cost.

As you read today, consider this: What is a promise you’ve made to God (or someone else) that you didn’t want to keep? Did you end up fulfilling your end of the promise or not? 

READING & JOURNALING:

     1 SAMUEL 1:1-2:11

What is a promise you made to God (or someone else) that you didn’t want to keep? Did you end up fulfilling your end of the promise or not?

Is there ever a time when breaking a promise may be OK? Explain. 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Genesis 1 & 2

Journal: Write it out. Following the pattern from “7 Arrows”, (click here) what did you learn from today’s reading?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I simply want to offer my thanks that You have always, and will forever, keep Your promises. I also pray that in the same way Hannah was willing to sacrifice something she dearly loved to You, that I will also be willing to sacrifice things that I love for You. May my devotion to You grow stronger and stronger, so that I may better know You, and better understand who You’ve made me to be. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

The Kings of Old: An Introduction

The Kings of Old

A Note from Pastor Justin:

Throughout the Old Testament, the people of God were set apart to be different. God — who had rescued them from being enslaved in Egypt and led them to a new, fruitful land — provided His people with guidelines in which to live. These guidelines were not intended as restrictions on life, but were instead a way in which His people could live and experience life to the full.

However, some of God’s people rejected His way of living, leading them to be enslaved. Not enslaved as they were in Egypt. But enslaved to their own self-centeredness. Instead of God being the ruler of their hearts, the people asked for a king. And over the next 500+ years, various kings ruled over the people of Israel. Some of these kings followed God with their hearts, soul, mind, and strength. Many did not.

Today, there is much we can learn about these kings of old. As we begin this message series, we will see that our lives may not be so different from these ancient kings. We will see that God can use people who are seemingly insignificant to do extraordinary things. And we will see that our life decisions don’t only impact our own lives, but the lives of countless others. 

My hope for this message series is that you will read, journal, and pray about your life and the daily decisions you make. That you will reflect on how these decisions impact not only your own life, but the lives of countless others. May you also grow in becoming a person who truly follows God with your heart, soul, mind and strength. May you continue to grow into the person God has made you to be. 

As we begin this new message series, we encourage you to:

  • Commit to joining us every week of this series.
  • Commit to reading through this Reading Guide, reflecting and journaling through the questions provided within each daily reading.
  • Use a good Study Bible and/or other resources as you read through this Reading Guide. Refer to https://southridgeblog.com/study-bible-info for more information on many excellent Study Bibles available today.
  • Write down questions you have about what you’re reading, and take opportunities to seek out answers to those questions. 

September 13 Reading

Note: The annual F260 Reading Plan will be completed on September 13. A new Scripture Reading Guide and Devotional will begin the week of September 15, with SRC’s Community Group Launch and new message series! 

F260 Reading: Revelation 20, 21, & 22

HIGHLIGHT:

After reading 1-2 Chapters of Scripture, Highlight the verses that speak to you by writing out the following:

  • Write down the name of the book.
  • Write down the Chapter and verses.
  • Write down a 1-3 word title (eg. Why does this passage speak to me?)

EXPLAIN: 

Engage with the text and wrestle with its meaning.  Some possible questions to consider include:

  • Who was the passage written to?
  • Why was it written? 
  • How does it fit in with surrounding verses?
  • What may God be communicating through this passage?

APPLY: 

Consider how you may be able to apply the text in Real Life. Some possible questions to consider include:

  • How can this passage help me?
  • How can I apply this passage in my life today? 
  • What is God saying to me?

RESPOND: 

Finally, respond to God. This can be done in any number of ways, but make it sincere. 

  • Write out a prayer (eg. Ask God to help you become more loving, or grace-filled, or content, etc.)
  • Sing, write a poem, paint, sketch, take a photo, or find some other creative way to respond to God.
  • Commit to a certain action.
  • Who is God inviting me to be? 

September 12 Reading

Note: The annual F260 Reading Plan will be completed on September 13. A new Scripture Reading Guide and Devotional will begin the week of September 15, with SRC’s Community Group Launch and new message series! 

F260 Reading: Revelation 18 & 19

HIGHLIGHT:

After reading 1-2 Chapters of Scripture, Highlight the verses that speak to you by writing out the following:

  • Write down the name of the book.
  • Write down the Chapter and verses.
  • Write down a 1-3 word title (eg. Why does this passage speak to me?)

EXPLAIN: 

Engage with the text and wrestle with its meaning.  Some possible questions to consider include:

  • Who was the passage written to?
  • Why was it written? 
  • How does it fit in with surrounding verses?
  • What may God be communicating through this passage?

APPLY: 

Consider how you may be able to apply the text in Real Life. Some possible questions to consider include:

  • How can this passage help me?
  • How can I apply this passage in my life today? 
  • What is God saying to me?

RESPOND: 

Finally, respond to God. This can be done in any number of ways, but make it sincere. 

  • Write out a prayer (eg. Ask God to help you become more loving, or grace-filled, or content, etc.)
  • Sing, write a poem, paint, sketch, take a photo, or find some other creative way to respond to God.
  • Commit to a certain action.
  • Who is God inviting me to be? 

September 11 Reading

Note: The annual F260 Reading Plan will be completed on September 13. A new Scripture Reading Guide and Devotional will begin the week of September 15, with SRC’s Community Group Launch and new message series! 

F260 Reading: Revelation 4 & 5

HIGHLIGHT:

After reading 1-2 Chapters of Scripture, Highlight the verses that speak to you by writing out the following:

  • Write down the name of the book.
  • Write down the Chapter and verses.
  • Write down a 1-3 word title (eg. Why does this passage speak to me?)

EXPLAIN: 

Engage with the text and wrestle with its meaning.  Some possible questions to consider include:

  • Who was the passage written to?
  • Why was it written? 
  • How does it fit in with surrounding verses?
  • What may God be communicating through this passage?

APPLY: 

Consider how you may be able to apply the text in Real Life. Some possible questions to consider include:

  • How can this passage help me?
  • How can I apply this passage in my life today? 
  • What is God saying to me?

RESPOND: 

Finally, respond to God. This can be done in any number of ways, but make it sincere. 

  • Write out a prayer (eg. Ask God to help you become more loving, or grace-filled, or content, etc.)
  • Sing, write a poem, paint, sketch, take a photo, or find some other creative way to respond to God.
  • Commit to a certain action.
  • Who is God inviting me to be?