Study Guide

A weekly devotional guide

Study Guide for 12-09-2018

Monday—Read Matthew 1:18-21 in the New Testament.   Why did the angel have to appear to Joseph in a dream?  (The angel appeared to Mary directly.)  As a “tekton” (carpenter) Joseph likely would have been a detailed, analytic person. He might not have been as open to a messenger from God in awakened time.  Maybe God chose to get into his subconscious, symbolic dream world to get through to him.   Has God ever spoken to you in a dream?  How would you respond if God did?

Tuesday—Read Genesis 20:1-7 in the Old Testament.  This is a story that occurred when a man named Abraham was on his way to a land which God would reveal to him. It’s one of many instances in which God spoke to people through dreams.  Abraham’s great-grandson, another Joseph, also received direction from God in dreams.  How do you suppose they knew that a dream was a message from God and not just a random dream? How would we know today?

Wednesday—Read Matthew 1:20 and Luke 2:8-10 in the New Testament.   Just as the message to Joseph started with, “Don’t be afraid…”, so did the message to the Bethlehem shepherds.   Frequently the Bible writers record that a message from God begins with, “Don’t be afraid…”   This doesn’t just mean, “Don’t be scared of what you’re seeing and what’s happening right now.”  It also means, “Don’t be afraid of what’s about to happen.”  God has a habit of shaking up our comfortable little worlds.  Has God ever sent you a “don’t be afraid” message?   Where would you like God to tell you not to be afraid now?

Thursday—Read Hebrews 13:2 in the New Testament.  In this letter followers of Jesus are encouraged to practice hospitality.   First century Christians did not extend hospitality simply because hospitality was a highly valued virtue in the Middle East at that time.  They did so because of the hospitality God had demonstrated to them in and through Jesus Christ.  This statement presumes that messages from God and messengers from God (angels) can come in the form of strangers.   When has a person unknown to you become a messenger from God for you?

Friday—Read Acts 5:17-20 in the New Testament.  In this story, leaders in the early church in Jerusalem have been imprisoned for stirring people up with the good news of Jesus Christ.  Someone identified as an angel/messenger from God frees them and gives them direction from God.  We are not just the recipients of that which messengers from God bring to us.  As Jesus-followers we will be called to BE angels/messengers for others?  When have you been someone else’s angel?   How might God be calling you to be one now?