Monday, March 1, Luke 6:20-49
Pray that your heart will be open to God’s message for you. The Beatitudes (20-26; also called the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3-10) contrast eternal values with worldly values and superficial faith with real faith, and explain how Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom. What are the qualities of kingdom people? What are the blessings? When are the blessings experienced? Now? In the future? Both? Which promise means the most to you? Why? Which warning seems the most personal? How do your values compare with the values Jesus mentions? Spend time in prayer asking God to help you build a strong foundation. What building blocks from 27-45 do you need to add to your foundation?
Tuesday, March 2, Luke 7:1-23
Verses 1-10 tell of a centurion whose servant was healed because of his faith. Why do the elders request Jesus’ help? How does their approach differ from the centurion’s (6-8)? What quality of faith do you see in the centurion? What quality of faith shows up when you are in crisis? In 11-17, Jesus brings a widow’s deceased son back to life. The widow had lost her husband and now her son, her last means of support. What does this story, and the story in 1-10, tell you about Jesus? How do these stories make a difference to you? Praise God for his mercies, love, compassion and power.
Wednesday, March 3, Luke 7:24-50
What do John’s messengers ask (20)? Why? How does Jesus answer the question (21-23)? (See Isaiah 29:18-19, 35:5-6, 61:1.) How might John have felt about Jesus’ blessing in 23? How does Jesus affirm John? When did you arrive at your knowledge that Jesus is “the one”? Read about the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet (36- 50; also Matthew 26:6-13). What risk does she take by coming to the Pharisee’s house? Why do you think Jesus uses the parable in 41-43? What is Jesus’ main concern here? How do you think this woman feels when Jesus forgives her? How difficult would it be for you to show Jesus that kind of love? When it comes to relationships, are you a “stingy forgiver” or a “big forgiver”? How can you apply this story to your own life this week? How would it change your life?
Thursday, March 4, Luke 8:1-25
Why does Jesus use parables to illustrate spiritual insights (1-15)? Why are the disciples given an explanation while the others are not (Matthew 4: 13-20)? In Jesus’ explanation of this parable, what is the seed? Soils? Fruit? Farmer? What kind of soil best represents you now? How are you hearing God? Loud and clear? A lot of static? No sound whatsoever? Spend time praying, “Lord, let my life be good soil.” In 16-18, Jesus and his message appear to be the lamp. What is the promise for those who do and don’t listen? How does Jesus expand on this (19-21)? How do you get close to Jesus? We need to pray that God will forgive us and change our lives so that we no longer have to be ashamed, but are transformed by his grace to be his disciples. We should be light to the world! (Matthew 5:14-16.) Jesus calms the storm (22-25). What is Jesus teaching them by ignoring, and then rebuking, the storm? Why is Jesus upset? What emotions hinder faith? Is there a storm in your life that you wish Jesus would calm? Ask Jesus to calm your storm.
Friday, March 5, Luke 8:26-56
How does Jesus treat the man in 26-39 differently than the way others treat him? How do the pig farmers and the townspeople react? Why are they afraid? Jesus doesn’t let the man go with him; what does he ask him to do instead? Have you ever preferred not to listen to the claims of Jesus because they would affect your usual routine? Do you think Jesus is saying, “do not value pigs more than people”? How do our everyday decisions affect other people? In 40- 56, Jesus brings a dead girl back to life and heals a woman. Why do you suppose that Jesus has her reveal herself (45-48)? For his sake, or hers? How was Jairus’ reaction to Jesus’ coming different than the mourners? Have you ever felt as desperate as the woman, or Jairus? Have you ever been too frightened to come to God? In these stories, what stands out about Jesus’ power? His purpose? Pray that God will be with you today in every moment and situation.
Saturday, March 6, Luke 9:1-27
What is Jesus’ ministry about (1-9)? What does he tell the disciples to do? How does King Herod react? Why? What is your mission? How does God’s kingdom fit into your mission? In 10-17, Jesus feeds five thousand people. The disciples want him to send the crowd away, but what does Jesus tell them to do (12-13)? What do you think went through their minds as they collected the leftovers? How would you handle another assignment from God if you were as weary as the disciples? Ask God to fill your heart with your mission. Jesus asks Peter, “who do you say that I am?” What does it mean to deny self? Take up your cross daily? Follow Christ? Lose your life?
Sunday, March 7, Psalm 37
This psalm lifts up the prosperity of the wicked and the frustration of the people. The psalmist learned that God would eventually punish the wicked, which is mentioned five times. What other images portray how they will eventually be frustrated (2, 9-10, 12-17, 20, 35-36)? Righteousness affects a person’s pocketbook (21, 26), speech (30), and thoughts (31). Since Job, good people have been asking why bad things happen to them. How are you encouraged in the midst of suffering? How do you encourage others?