Daily Bible Reading follows along with the passages discussed in the current teaching series. If you're jumping into the middle of a series or just prefer to read here instead of receiving a daily email, we hope this page is helpful to you.

If you’re part of a group, write down what God is saying to you through his word and share in your weekly discussion. You’ll get the most out of this if you read the verse several times throughout the day, and write down what stands out to you along the way.

(Not in a group yet? We can help you with that. Sign up for a group at your campus here.) 

Who are you fighting for?

Romans 12:16-18
Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil.

Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

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Relationships can be the source of our most fulfilling moments, and also the places where we experience the deepest hurts. Whether it's between friends, spouses, family members, or parents and kids, all of us have a choice in how we'll fight for the relationships in our lives.

Over the next four weeks, we’re going to take a look at the life of David from the Bible, and discover how to fight for, not against, the people we love the most.

Spend a few minutes today and make a quick list of the five people who are closest to you. Ask God to reveal to you how you’re currently doing when it comes to living at peace with everyone, and pay attention to what he shows you.

Give them your best.

Ephesians 5:20-21
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

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As you go throughout your day, ask yourself: who is getting the very best of me?

No matter what your relationship status is—married, single, widowed, divorced—how you love others is a signpost for what it’s like to be in a relationship with God.

If your earthly relationship with a former spouse is over, there’s grace and hope for second chances. If you and your spouse aren’t getting along, God wants you to fight for each other, not against. If you’re not married and you want to be, God wants you to prepare yourself and grow in Christ-like character. If you’re married and you’re in the grind of daily life, God wants you to stay engaged, to fight for your family, and not give each other the leftovers.

How can you stay engaged, remain present, and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ?

We are his people.

Ephesians 5:22-30
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so your wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

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One of the reasons God cares so much about marriage is because it mirrors the church’s relationship with Christ. Here’s some good news whether you’re married or not: your relationship with God who made you and sustains you isn’t over. No matter what happens, he’ll always be there.

For those who are married: Would your spouse know that you’re the most important person in his/her life? If not, what can you do this week to change this?

For those who are single: Is knowing Jesus and pursuing him your heart’s greatest desire? If not, what is? Is it worthy of your affection?

Go first.

Philippians 2:3-5
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

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Fighting for our relationships requires humility. We can’t control other people—their motives, actions, words—we can only control our own decisions.

Maybe you've found yourself saying something like,
“When she does _______, then I’ll ___________.”

It's time to stop waiting for others to apologize, forgive, or make the first move. Someone has to go first in being humble. It might as well be you.

Be kind and tenderhearted.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

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If you’ve been in a relationship for any amount of time, you know this to be true: forgiveness is not a one-time event. Sure, you might say the words, “I forgive you,” once, but then you have to choose to not replay the incident, words, or offense over and over again.

If there’s an offense from your spouse (or a friendship) that has continued to bury resentment in you, even after you’ve granted forgiveness, confess it God. Ask him for help in becoming kind and tenderhearted, and spend time remembering his sacrifice for you on the cross.

No perfect parents.

Philippians 4:6
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

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No one gets perfect parents. We don’t, and neither do our kids.

The spectrum of parenting stretches wide. Raising little ones presents entirely different challenges from parenting teenagers, and adjusting to an empty nest is no easy feat. And even when we don't find ourselves parenting our own, we're all learning how to navigate relationships with our own parents. Family relationships are wonderful and challenging, specifically those between kids and parents.

Where have you expected perfection from yourself (as a parent) or from your parents? Perfect is a heavy burden to carry. Lay it down, and invite God's presence into your relationships. The goal isn’t to be perfect; the goal is to be prayerful and intentional.

The least of these.

Matthew 25:37-40
F“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’"

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It might sound a little strange, but the people closest to you are your neighbors. Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself didn’t only refer people who live around your home but also those who live inside your home.

When those closest to you need or want something, how do you respond? Annoyance? Inconvenience? Do you spend enough time with your loved ones for them to know and feel comfortable approaching you? Do they know you’re available to them?

Today, when your children and closest family members need something from you, and it feels like an imposition, remember Jesus’ command: whatever you did for the least of these (including your family), you did for me.

Be wise.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

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In relationships, even with those between kids and parents (or parents and adult children), part of balancing the tension between being overbearing and uninvolved is making sure our words reflect Jesus and his grace.

Where have you been guilty of giving a harsh word when a circumstance called for a gentle answer? Today, ask God for help in this area, and remember that gentle responses pave the way to being approachable in relationships.

You're difficult, too.

2 Timothy 2:24-26
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap.

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The people in our lives are gifts from God—treasures to steward; not problems to fix. When we see them this way, our prayers begin to change. We ask God to help us love them well instead of for him to fix all of their flaws.

If you’re struggling to be patient with a child, parent, or someone you love, remember this challenge from 2 Timothy: be kind, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. After all, you’re difficult, too.

Prayerful and intentional.

1 Kings 2:1-3
As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:

“I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.”

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As we looked at David and Solomon’s father/son relationship, one thing stood out: in reaction to the consequences of being an uninvolved parent, David became an overbearing one.

How is God calling you to be more prayerful and intentional after reflecting on this message and theme this week? What one step can you take to move away from being uninvolved or overbearing (in any of your relationships, not just parenting) and toward becoming prayerful and intentional?

Who has your back?

1 Samuel 18:1-3
After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on, Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.

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Jonathan’s friendship with David starts from a rocky place: his father is jealous of David, and yet in spite of that, Jonathan decides he’ll be loyal to David, regardless of the consequences.

Do you have someone who is loyal to you no matter what? Who are you a good friend toward, no matter the circumstance? Reach out to him or her today and thank them for their friendship. If you don’t have someone come to mind, pray that God would reveal and open an opportunity soon for this kind of brotherly/sisterly friendship.

Stand in the gap.

1 Samuel 19:1-6
Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David, told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”

The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”

So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”

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Jonathan risked his life to stand up for David, and for the moment, Saul agreed to spare David's life. (If you read the rest of the story, you’ll see Saul soon changed his mind.) Jonathan did what David couldn’t—he reminded Saul of all the good David had done and stood in the gap David couldn’t fill.

Have you ever stood in the gap for someone else? Maybe it was standing up for someone being gossiped or lied about, or being there for a friend who was going through a difficult time. Ask God today to show you who needs your support, and write down a way you can stand in the gap for him or her. Then do it!

Stick closer than brothers.

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

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At the end of Jonathan’s life, David wept for him and called him his brother (see 2 Samuel 1). Their bond was closer than just regular acquaintances; they were like family.

But this kind of friendship isn’t born overnight—it’s developed over time, through hardship and experiencing life alongside one another. Wherever you are on the friendship spectrum—whether you have a lot of close friends, a few confidants, or you’re in a season of desiring closer friends, remember this truth: real friendships grow over time, and when they do, they stick closer than a brother.

Jesus is your friend.

John 15:12-15
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

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There are a lot of descriptions of Jesus in the Bible, but one that stands out is that Jesus was a friend of sinners. He’s a friend to messed up people who may or may not return his friendship.

We don’t often think of God as being our friend, but through Jesus, he is. Through Jesus, God pushes us toward growth, celebrates our victories, sacrificed for us, confronts us, and he laid down his life for us. Spend some time today thanking Jesus for his friendship. Does seeing Jesus as your friend change the way you relate to him?

Love each other.

John 13:34-35
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

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As you go about your day, remember this: the world will know God’s love through you. Your family, neighbors, friends, coworkers, kids—they’ll know and experience God’s love through their relationship with you.

The command to love is a heavy one. How has the theme of friendship hit you this week? What has God taught you? How will you respond?

What's your posture?

1 Samuel 13:13-14
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel over forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

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This weekend, we looked at how David was a man after God’s heart. He was flawed, sinful, and made many mistakes, but his heart was broken before God. Because of David's humble and repentant posture, God appointed him as a leader.

What is your posture before God this morning? Spend some time evaluating your own heart and motivations as you serve him and others today.

Read the rest of this passage in 1 Samuel 13.

A larger view of grace.

Psalm 51:1-4
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.

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Have you ever asked God to show you your sin? David wrote this Psalm when the prophet, Nathan, came to him after he had been with Bathsheba. He knew he had sinned and was in a broken place when he wrote it. His sin was obvious, staring him in the face, and he was desperate for God's love.

Ask God today to show you your sin, and ask two people close to you to do the same this week. Heads up: this might not be pretty. But there’s a reason we need to see our sin for what it is. The larger our view of our sin, the larger our view of his grace becomes. When we see what separates us from God, we have an even bigger understanding of how much the cross covers.

Create a clean heart.

Psalm 51:7-11
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

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Has God been revealing your sin to you this week?

Spend some time this morning praying these verses. Don’t rush it. Repent and thank him for his mercy and steadfast love. And then like David, rejoice. You’re forgiven. You’re free.

Share the freedom.

Psalm 51:12-17
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness,
Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not desire a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

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When we know what God has forgiven us of and rely on him alone, we’re free—free to have joy in all circumstances, free to ask for forgiveness, free to serve.

Have you had those two people share with you your sin this week? What was that experience like? How can you share the freedom God has given you from your sin with others this week?

The path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

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The Israelites used this Psalm of David’s as a guide in prayer, seeking earnestly for God to show them their sin, and to lead them along the path of the everlasting life. It’s humbling to think that a leader like David, who was used by God to do incredible things, was also so flawed and broken.

What has God revealed to you as we’ve studied David’s life this month? What has he been teaching you about your own relationships, motives, and heart?