Living Faith Devotional 38

11/5-11/11 Overview
At the end of the book of Acts the apostle Paul is under house arrest in the city of Rome. Luke notes that, “He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hinderance” (Acts 28:30-31 NRSV). Although the account ends there, Paul’s ministry continued. This week we will read and study The Letter of Paul to the Colossians, as well as his very short letter to Philemon. Biblical scholars believe that these letters were probably written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome in about 60 A.D.
Below are some suggestions and questions to help you as you read scripture this week:
1. Approach scripture with humility. Seek to receive what the Bible reveals without trying to make it say what you want it to say.
2. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak a message to you through the verses you read.
3. What do these verses reveal about God?
4. What do these verses reveal about humanity?
5. What do these verses teach me about myself?
6. How do you see yourself in the story when reading biblical narratives?
Which of these characters would I be?
In what ways is their story similar to my story?
7. Read, study, and discuss scripture with a small group or another person.
8. Use a Study Bible. A Study Bible is a very helpful tool that includes information shared by scholars about historical and cultural realities during the time depicted or the era of the document, the author, when the book might have been written, the intended audience of the document, themes and messages within a book or letter, and more. The NIV, NRSV, ESV, and NLT Study Bibles are worth considering if you do not own one. There are a few available from the AUMC Library in the back of the chapel. You can also purchase a Study Bible from,, or
*If you do not have a Bible, consider downloading the YouVersion Bible App for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play for your smartphone or tablet. You can also use to look up and read various translations of Bible verses online for free.
Sunday (11/5)
READ part of Psalm 34 to set your focus on our God:
“O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8 NRSV
LISTEN to a hymn or worship song that helps you to worship the Lord.
READ 2 Corinthians 13:14, the apostle Paul’s conclusion to his second letter to Christians in Corinth. How is the grace of Jesus Christ with you? How have you experienced and received the love of God? What does it mean to you knowing that the Holy Spirit is providing you with ongoing communion with the Lord? How is the presence of the Holy Spirit within the church enabling life-giving fellowship for members and attendees, including you?
PRAY in response to Jesus’ grace, God’s love, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit now and throughout the day. Look for evidence of grace, love, and ongoing fellowship in your life and within the church, then pray to God as an expression of worship whenever you see, hear, or experience it.
PRESENCE – Try to set aside distractions to be as fully present with God today as you can be during times of prayer, the worship service you attend in person or online, as you interact with other believers, etc.
Monday (11/6)
READ Psalm 34:8 to begin your devotional time:
“O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8 NRSV
You are invited to WATCH the Bible Project videos that summarize Colossians before reading and studying Paul’s letter this week. Below is the link for the summary video available on YouTube:
Book of Colossians Summary by the Bible Project:
READ Colossians 1:1-23. If you are using a Study Bible you may find it helpful to read the introduction to this letter as well as the study notes. Consider slowly reading verses 15 through 20 a second time to let the message shared in them sink deeply into your heart, mind, and soul.
PRAY through your day, including offering thanks for the presence of the Spirit of Christ with us, as well as praying for the people you will be with or have been with.
PRESENCE – Look for signs of the kingdom of Christ, His reign and rule, and God’s will being done throughout the day. You may find it helpful to record what you see and experience in a notes app on your cell phone, using a notebook, or writing it in a journal.
Tuesday (11/7)
READ Psalm 34:8 to help you to center yourself in God.
SOLITUDE and SILENCE. You are encouraged to spend a few minutes alone with God sitting, kneeling, laying down, or walking. Spend these minutes letting the message of the psalm roll around in your heart and mind. Let it fill your thoughts.
READ Colossians 1:24-2:5. As Paul was writing the letter from his house arrest in Rome he claimed that he was “rejoicing in his sufferings” (v. 24). Do you rejoice when you suffer? How was Paul able to rejoice in the midst of his suffering? What if suffering is part of the maturing process Paul is referring to in verse 28? How has your suffering helped you to mature as an apprentice of Jesus?
PRAY for those who are suffering today, including people you know, as well as those who are suffering throughout the world because of wars, diseases, a lack of basic needs, human trafficking, etc.
PRESENCE – Who does God want you to go be with in the midst of their suffering? Perhaps God is going to reveal his compassion to someone suffering through you today or later this week. Try not to flee from the suffering, but walk towards it just as Jesus came to us in the midst of our suffering.
Wednesday (11/8)
READ Psalm 34:8 to begin your devotional time.
LISTEN to and/or SING a hymn or worship song that helps you to worship the God of love and grace who is with us.
READ Colossians 2:6-23. You may find it helpful to use questions or suggestions from the Overview portion of this devotional as you reflect upon what you read.
PRAY offering thanks to God throughout the day.
PRESENCE – Look for Jesus within other people today. You may find it helpful to record what you see and experience in a notes app on your cell phone, using a notebook, or writing it in a journal.
Thursday (11/9)
READ Psalm 34:8 to focus your heart and mind on the Lord.
SOLITUDE and SILENCE. You are encouraged to spend a few minutes alone with God sitting, kneeling, laying down, or walking. Spend these minutes seeking to simply be with the Lord.
READ Colossians 3:1-4:1. Which word(s), phrase(s), or verse(s) is the Holy Spirit using from the text to speak to you today? If you are not sure, slowly read it again inviting the Spirit to reveal God’s message for you as you read.
PRAY letting the words of verses 12 through 15 guide your prayer.
PRESENCE – With the Holy Spirit in us as believers, we are Jesus’ representatives here and now. How are you seeking to live the virtues of Christ revealed in verses 12 through 14? How are you seeing, hearing, and experiencing the virtues of Christ within the people of Jesus’ Church?
Friday (11/10)
READ Psalm 34:8 to begin your time with God.
LISTEN to and/or SING to a hymn or worship song that helps you to worship the Lord.
READ Colossians 4:2-18 and Philemon, the entire letter. If you are using a Study Bible, you are encouraged to read the introduction to the Letter of Paul to Philemon as well as the study notes.
What does Colossians 4:5-6 reveal about interacting with people who are not Christians? Let this message from Paul guide your interactions now and anytime you are with those who do not believe.
Paul makes note of “the church in your house” in Philemon verse 2, which we might think of as a small group because house churches in the first century probably had 30 or fewer people in them. What if your house, condo, or apartment became a location where a small group gathered regularly to worship, pray, enjoy fellowship meals, grow in faith together by studying scripture, encouraging one another, and seeking to develop relationships with those who are not Christians? Your home could become a holy space and place within the complex, neighborhood, or street where you live. Verses 4 through 7 of Paul’s letter to Philemon reveal the basic qualifications for being a
small group leader as part of Avon UMC:
1. Faith in Jesus
2. Love God and People
3. Share Your Faith
4. Offer Refreshing Hospitality to Everyone Who Joins the Group/Class
If you feel like God is calling you to start meeting with others where you live, and/or become a small group or Sunday school class leader, contact Pastor Rob to learn more and begin the training process:
PRAY for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Pray for our sisters and brothers in Christ who are part of Avon UMC, including group and class leaders, churches in Greater Hendricks County, and Christians throughout the world. Ask the Lord to open doors for the gospel message to be shared clearly by believers, and to take root in the hearts of those who are not yet Christians.
PRESENCE – For Christians, it is important for us to remember that wherever we go and whomever we are with we represent Christ Jesus. Today, let your words and actions reveal to others Christ in you.
Saturday (11/11)
How are you going to remember and observe the Sabbath this weekend? The Sabbath is a day each week that is set apart from the others to stop, rest, worship, and delight in the Lord and what he has given us. You may need to incrementally observe the Sabbath by setting aside an increasing portion of a day each week until you eventually designate an entire day for remembering and observing the Sabbath.
LIGHT a candle and LISTEN to a worship song or hymn before reading the verses for today as a way to prepare your heart, mind, body, and soul for observing the Sabbath.
READ Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 during the morning. Jesus is letting you know that you will find rest in him. Rest from your weariness and burdens. Rest for your soul. Going along with Jesus’ invitation, our Sabbath theme for this weekend is “REST.”
How will you respond to Jesus’ invitation to “come to me”?
What worries and burdens are you carrying that you can offer to Jesus in prayer?
Taking Jesus’ yoke upon you means living according to King Jesus’ pace for life, with Christ as our Lord, not someone or something else. His “yoke is easy, and his burden is light.” How is Jesus’ pace and humble yoke different and light compared to the yoke or pace of others?
Jesus is “gentle and humble in heart.” Let his gentleness calm and comfort you today so that you can experience the restoration that comes through rest.
Trust Jesus to teach and guide you to become gentle and humble too.
SOLITUDE and SILENCE. You are encouraged to spend ten, twenty, or thirty minutes alone with God seeking to rest in the peace that can only be found in and from the Lord. If you struggle to stop and rest, consider laying down, kneeling, or sitting on a very comfortable chair or seat. If you need a nap, then sleep so that your mind and body receive the rest that you need.
PRAY however the Holy Spirit guides you to pray.
TIME for REFLECTION. Write in a journal or notebook the ways you experienced the love, grace, and presence of God this past week, or discuss them with a close family member or friend.
READ Leviticus 23:3 during the afternoon or evening.
Which day this weekend are you setting apart from the other six of the week so that you can rest and observe the Sabbath?
You’re encouraged to join others for a “sacred assembly” during worship services this weekend. What preparation do you need to do to be ready to gather with God’s people to offer yourself to the Lord in praise and thanksgiving on Sunday at 8:15, 9:30, or 11:00 am?
PRAY and live in response to Jesus. Lift your burdens and worries to him in prayer. Ask Christ to help you to learn from him and his way of living (Matt. 11:29). You may find it helpful to use the words from the verses you read today as a guide for your prayer.