DECEMBER WEEK 3
The human pursuit of happiness falls short in the face of suffering and pain in this present age. God’s kingdom family can find an unshakable joy regardless of life’s circumstances. This joy is received through the hope and love found in Jesus Christ that YHWH offers his people through a covenant relationship.
THIS WEEK’S VIDEOS
Instructions for Daily Reading
Each day as you engage the Scripture, we recommend following this pattern of devotional reading.
[Take a brief moment of silence to quiet your heart.]
- Read the Scripture aloud.
- Seek out where King Jesus is at work in the Scripture.
- Pray over the Scripture.
- Discern how this Scripture impacts your life.
[Demonstrate loyalty to Jesus in one tangible way today.]
MONDAY - 12/16
Monday: Psalm 3:1-8
Group Discussion & Reflection: Joy is a unique concept in a world that doesn’t seem to manufacture it frequently. The writer of Psalms 3 is very clearly wrestling with joy throughout the scripture, but in the end alludes to a sustaining hope amid their anguish. “3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” How do you define joy? Why do you think it is difficult to choose joy?
1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. 4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah
TUESDAY - 12/17
Tuesday: Philippians 4:1-8
Group Discussion & Reflection: Paul endured some of the most formidable circumstances yet repeatedly elected to maintain his joy. He writes in verse 1 “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” Has there been a time where you chose joy even when it didn’t make sense? What did that do for you?
1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. 2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
WEDNESDAY - 12/18
Wednesday: John 16:1-15
Group Discussion & Reflection: The Bible defines joy as a choice and attitude rather than a circumstantial feeling. Sometimes we can use some encouragement from the Holy Spirit which Jesus addresses in verse 14, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” Has there been a time where you have asked the Holy Spirit to give you joy? How did that change your perception of the circumstance?
1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
THURSDAY - 12/19
Thursday: Ecclesiastes 4:1-16
Group Discussion & Reflection: The power of community is a common theme throughout scripture and in verse 10 we see its importance “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” How can others influence your joy? How can you encourage someone else to have joy today?
1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive.
3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. 4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. 14 For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. 15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place. 16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
FRIDAY - 12/20
Friday: Galatians 6:1-10
Group Discussion & Reflection: Paul’s ability to have joy in seasons of adversity stem from his faith and joy being put in the right place, Jesus. When we place our faith in what is eternal, circumstances won’t influence our joy. “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Have you ever put your joy in something other than Jesus? What was the result?
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load. 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
VIDEO CONTENT COURTESY OF THE BIBLE PROJECT