CHURCH

August 2 - September 12

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WEEK 40

August 30 – September 5

DAILY READINGS

Sunday

Acts 17:16-34

Monday

Acts 18:1-17; Psalm 113:1-9; Proverbs 24:1-5

Tuesday

Acts 18:18-38; Psalm 114:1-8; Proverbs 24:6-8

Wednesday

2 Thessalonians1:1-12; Psalm 115:1-8; Proverbs 24:9-11

Thursday

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Psalm 115:9-18; Proverbs 24:12-14

Friday

2 Thessalonians 3:1-18; Psalm 116:1-8; Proverbs 24:15-17

Saturday

Acts 19:1-22; Psalm 116:9-19; Proverbs 24:18-19

DEVOTIONAL: READ ACTS 17:16-34

The city of Athens was renowned as the center of culture and philosophy in the Greek world, but Paul looked around and saw a city obsessed with idol worship. There was a place of worship for everything because the Athenians wanted to make sure they didn’t offend anyone or any gods.

Paul was dealing with similar thoughts that we may encounter today: “All paths lead to God” or “What’s right for you may not be right for me.” Paul was distressed that the Athenians were so misguided, so he reasoned with them to show them the truth. He approached them in a way that they would understand, but never wavered in teaching the truth.

Scripture states that the two groups debating with him were the Epicureans and the Stoics. The Epicureans were selfish and believed that pleasure was the highest aspiration, happiness was most important, the gods weren’t interested in human affairs, and there was nothing after death. The Stoics were prideful and stressed self-sufficiency and rational thought. They believed God was in everything and they could do everything by themselves.

So, Paul shared the truth of salvation through Christ in a loving and uncompromising way. He taught that God is Creator (v. 24), Provider (v. 25), Ruler (vv. 26-29), and Savior (vv. 30-34). Not all who listened had a positive response to the gospel. Some rejected, some procrastinated, but others became followers and believed; the church in Athens was born. May we strive to share the truth of Christ in a loving and gentle way, so that through God’s grace, some may repent and believe.

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REFLECTION

What do most people in our culture believe about God and mankind?

Do you find it difficult to engage in spiritual conversations? Why or why not? What can you do to practice this skill this week?

How can you discuss truth with someone you disagree with in a graceful and loving way? Why is this important?

DISCUSSION

How would the world look different without the church? How would Northwest Arkansas look different?

PRAYER

O God, Lord of Heaven and Earth, You are completely sovereign and self-sufficient, and You don’t need a single thing from me. As David confesses in Psalm 8:3-4, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Yet, You care in ways that are so far beyond my comprehension. You give everyone life, breath, everything. In You, we live and have a significance that no one can take away from us. How dreadful it is when I place other things above You; You deserve to be at the center of my life. Please forgive me when I choose lesser things. Forgive me when I defile my heart with idols that promise temporary pleasure. Salvation is found in no one else but You. My purpose is found entirely in You. By Your Spirit, may I live out of that purpose acknowledging You alone as Lord. Help me adjust my life to Your plan, knowing that in us, You see something worth saving. Amen.

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