Welcome to week 2 of our gratitude journey. If you missed week 1, don't fret... just go back and start there, moving forward as you go. You could easily fit two week's of study into one week if you needed/wanted to.
One concern I have is that I don't want to overwhelm anyone's in-box and anyone who doesn't have the time to check-in every day. There are really only two key posts to this study each week, the rest are application and fun tid-bits. SO, I decided, starting this week, I will asterisks * the title of these two main posts as they go live. Anyone passing through can simply scroll through the highlighted posts (*) and pull those to stay on track with the study. You will also see this notation in the download document for weekly reading plans I attach. Everything else is simply icing (or gravy, depending on your favorite topping!!)
Remember: feel free to link up any posts you do in reflection or response to this study. You can do so in the comments section on the related day's post or over on Facebook in the comments below the links I share. I would love to see how this study is impacting your life! Testimony is a powerful thing.
With that said, here we go.....
This week's reading and study plan (click on the image to open the PDF):
Scripture this week is from Colossians 1:24-2:23
Who and What continued... and the influence of Where:
Last week we talked about the Judaisers being key elements in leading the believers of Colosse astray. Remember, the Judaisers were Jewish Christians who were trying to say you needed the law to practice faith and you needed to earn your salvation. Both of which are just not true. Paul was clear in the first part of Colossians: Christ did it all, man can do nothing, ours is to submit, accept, and walk with Christ first in all we do.
This week I want to discuss the other element of challenge in this first century setting: false teachings of all kinds.
Colosse was situated on a main trade route through the Middle East. Many cultures, religions and ideas passed through this bustling first century city. More than just the Judaisers seeking to influence the believer's thinking, was also this Hellenistic culture of mutli-gods and a sort of anything goes kind of mind-set. Sexual immorality was at it's height for the time, a quick study on ancient era frescos and mosaics will tell you everything you need to know! However, I don't recommend it since it is tantamount to researching pornography. You get the idea.
Drunkenness, idolatry, adultery, dishonesty and a multitude of other less-than-savory behaviors were the order of the day. Each considered justifiable and accepted as 'common'... no matter your religious persuasion. Evidence even exists, in other Epistles (letters), of people within the church trying to lead other Christians astray in thinking they ought to combine the secular ideals with the Christ-centered ways. But that doesn't work.
The devout believers in Colosse had their hands full to hold their heads up and walk focused on Christ in the midst of all this secularism... and do it with Thanksgiving in their hearts as Paul pleaded with them to do. Do you feel like you can relate to them in our time?! When you consider most of Paul's letters were written to various towns in this region and within the same time periods, a good study on any one of his epistles will reveal the challenges faced and the advice given to overcome such challenges. All of which most certainly apply to us today.
How do you walk out gratitude and thanksgiving in a culture so desperately lost and confusing?
This is the question we will answer this week.
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Remember, all you need is your Bible and a journal or paper. If you want to print the S.W.A.P. worksheet, it is optional. You can use one for the whole week, adding to the questions as you go, or print out one for each day. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know. Take it step-by-step and do whatever you feel able to do. The important thing is to focus on God's Word and what He is saying.