Monday, August 5
Theme for the week:
Disciples Show Love to
Themselves Because They Are
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Are we supposed to love ourselves? You won’t find a bible quote for it. The bible denounces self-love (2 Tim 3:2) and self-importance (Philippians 2:3).

But God does advocate a sense of worth (you are worth more than many sparrows – Matthew 10:31). If you agree with God, the end result will be a sense of self-worth.

And this week we add that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

As followers of Jesus, we’re taught to care for others as we care for ourselves—this is clearly a form of love. Jesus even uses the word love to express such actions when he quotes Leviticus 19:18: Love your neighbor as yourself. Part of loving ourselves the way God loves us is seeing ourselves the way God sees us:

• In Christ, I am fearfully and wonderfully made
and will praise God for it!

Psalm 139:1-16

1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

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Pondering Point

Psalm 139:1-16 shows that our heavenly Father is intimately acquainted with us, knowing us better than we know ourselves. Consider this: With an intimate knowledge of our secrets, regrets, and worst moments, He still loves us! It’s a good thing He is FOR us and not against us! God is fully aware of our sinfulness, evidenced by His sending Jesus and requiring the death of His own dear son to facilitate forgiveness. Yet in love, our Heavenly Father chooses to see beyond our sins, even promising to forget as well as forgive them (Jeremiah 31:34).

Let Your Heavenly Father’s loving way with you become your loving way with yourself. Though you may not be able to forget what you’ve done, lovingly forgive yourself as God forgives you. Rather than dwell on your mistakes, dwell on God’s goodness. Thank God for the life and death and resurrection of Jesus that redeems you from the deadly effects of sin through faith in Him.

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Prayer

Father God, You are good and Your love endures forever. Thank You for making me in fearful and wonderful ways. And thank You for loving me despite my sinful shortcomings and failures. Help me love and forgive as you do, both in regards to myself and others. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, August 6
God’s Mission

Luke 13:10-17

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

[Jesus] said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened
up and praised God.
Luke 13:12-13

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Pondering Point

It can be difficult to think of ourselves as “fearfully and wonderfully made” when we suffer in life, be it emotionally, physically, or in other ways. We live in a sin-stained world and it affects us in various ways. The woman above suffered for 18 years prior to Jesus’ healing touch.

Despite such troubles, we are still overcomers. Who can understand the ways of God? Are they good? Yes. Do we always understand how? No. Yet “take heart,” as Jesus encouraged his initial disciples, “for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) God’s work in you from day one (in utero) through today is still both trustworthy and praiseworthy.

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Prayer

Father God, I pray to see Your hand in my life. Even when I can’t see Your hand, help me trust You nonetheless – even in suffering. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, August 7
Biblical Teachings on Prayer

Genesis 18:27-28

Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if…
~ Abraham

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Pondering Point

Abraham knows his place before God (“I am nothing but dust and ashes”); But this dust-and-ashes Abraham also seems to know that his place before God is secure. His bold approach with God indicates as much.

And The Lord, by entertaining Abraham’s proposal, honors this bold conversation. We too, though “nothing but dust and ashes,” can approach the throne of grace boldly and confidently, secure in knowing that Jesus (our High Priest) has gone ahead and paved the way for us. What do you want to be so bold as to approach God about? Do it.

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Prayer

Father God, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, I come in the name of Jesus and ask that…
Boldly ask what is on your heart, mind or soul, then finish:
In the name of Jesus my High Priest, I pray.  Amen.

Thursday, August 8
Prayerfully Re-Center Around God

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
~ David

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Pondering Point

Praise is a form of prayer, and is used as such here by the psalmist as he reflects on the glorious work that is a human being. For all of the ugliness that we human beings generate by our actions, it does not erase the truth of our Maker’s imprint on us as His creation. You bear God’s image at some level While you cannot answer for all of humanity, you can answer for yourself as you prayerfully re-center around God.

Review the week

Do you see yourself as fearfully and wonderfully made by God? Do you see others as fearfully and wonderfully made by God?

Do you treat yourself as fearfully and wonderfully made by God? Do you treat others as fearfully and wonderfully made by God?

Repent (if necessary)

Do you need to repent of a warped self-image or ungodly self-treatment? Do you need to repent of a disdainful view of God’s other human creations, despite their sinfulness?

Return (as necessary)

Praise God for his creation. Start with your favorite parts: Mountains, water, beaches, plants, animals, etc. Eventually move on to praising him for the creation of humanity and then pray for insight and wisdom for mankind in general and you specifically to reflect on our origins as godly creations rather than sinful disfigurations.

My favorite parts of God’s creation:


My favorite people of God’s creation:


Friday, August  9
Discipleship Point and Prayer

The truly humble person, the person who stands in awe before God, will make it through the tests of suffering and be stronger on the other side. He may struggle and wrestle with God, but ultimately, he will come back to God in full surrender like Job did: Then Job replied to the Lord: "I know that you can do all things: no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." Job 42:1-3

p.126, The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility, Fontenot/Jones
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Humility Prayer

Father God, I desire deliverance from suffering. But when I have go through suffering, help me stay humble in the midst of it. While I seek to understand, help me to stay surrendered to You even when I lack understanding, even gaining your promised peace that goes beyond understanding. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Discipleship Point about Being Made in God's Image

What is humanity? God, the self-existent Creator, called the world into being through his infinite creativity and power. The peak of God's creative work was humankind, male and female, made exclusively in His image.

~ Discipleship Essentials, Ogden, p. 72
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Discipleship Prayer

Father God, while all of humanity bears your image in some fashion, I want to bear it in as many ways as possible. Help me become more godly with my own creative abilities, reflecting Your heart and kindness, Your grace and mercy, Your goodness and compassion. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

Saturday, August 10
Scripture's Story for the Week

Luke 13:10-17

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

Imagine hobbling off to church (in this case the local synagogue) as you have for the last five, ten, even twenty years.

Only this week there are visitors. You didn’t notice them at first because your hobbling posture has you stooped over seeing mostly dirt and sandals.

Come to find out, among the group is the one known as Jesus – the one people have been clamoring about, even calling the promised Messiah.

He’s got all kinds of people around him, these disciples and others – it caused quite an unusual stir in our normally quiet place of worship. It would get much more unusual than that for as Jesus then calls you forward personally, speaks directly to you and heals you with a touch of his hands. How would you respond to this trip to worship where Jesus changed your world? See yourself in the story as you learn about this healing by Jesus.

Sunday, August 11
Call to Gather, Pray and Worship God

God Bless You

2 Peter 1:3

Blessed to be a blessing: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Breaking down this blessing, we find that grace and peace come abundantly with knowledge of God and of Jesus, the “exact representation of His being” (Heb. 1:3). Who doesn’t want peace? Who couldn’t use an increase of grace in his/her life?

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Prayer for the Day

Prayer: God, reveal Yourself more and more through Your Word and Spirit. I want to know You more God. I want to know You more Jesus. Amen.

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