Monday, May 31, 2010 Matthew 7
Jesus reminds us not to judge others, as we have faults, too (1-6). He invites us to ask God for what we need (7-11). The “golden rule” is found in 12. The road to God is narrow; the wide path leads to destruction (13-14). We can distinguish good and bad prophets, and good and bad disciples, by their fruits (15-23). Like a strong building, disciples must have a solid foundation (21-29). Practicing obedience to Jesus Christ becomes the solid foundation for battling the storms of life. To be a wise builder at this point in your life, do you need to learn more or practice what you already know? Are you walking on the wide road or the narrow? What will you have to do to build on the solid rock? What materials will you use in the coming weeks to build or maintain a firm foundation? Pray that God will fill you with the desire to build your life on him!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 Matthew 8
Peter’s mother-in-law is sick with a high fever (14-15). When Jesus touches her hand, her fever leaves her, and she immediately gets up and prepares a meal for him and his disciples. She immediately acts on her gratitude to Jesus in service. God continues to bless and heal, and we, like Peter’s mother in law, must look for ways to serve him now. Jesus tells the crowd that many religious Jews would be excluded from the kingdom due to lack of faith (10-12). Entrenched in their religious traditions, they cannot accept Christ and the new message. The Jews should know that Jesus’ blessings would be for the Gentiles, too (Isaiah 66:12, 19), but they are so wrapped up in their personal affairs and destiny that they refuse to see that God wants to reach all people. Jesus’ message is for everyone. What are we doing as a church to further his kingdom? What are you doing? What keeps you from wanting everyone to know the good news? Are there people that we keep out because of our religious traditions?
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 Matthew 9
The Pharisees use Jesus’ association with “lowlife” as an opportunity to trap him. Do we think some people aren’t right for God’s message? God’s message is for all people: the poor, lonely, and outcast, not just the rich, popular and powerful. When Jesus calls Matthew to be his disciple, Matthew follows. He gives up a lucrative career and follows Christ. How about you and me? Are we willing to give up the trappings of this life to be a disciple? Do we find the calling of Christ too difficult or painful? Pray for a heart like Matthew’s, that truly knows what riches are in Christ, and for the courage and passion to give our lives totally to God.
Thursday, June 3, 2010 Matthew 10
Jesus calls common people to be his disciples: rich and poor, educated and uneducated. From the twelve disciples until now, God proves he can use anyone, no matter how ordinary he or she appears, to do extraordinary work. What is verse 16 saying? Who would persecute them, and why? What problems will they face? How should they respond? What would you need to hear from Jesus in order to represent him? When, or why, is it difficult for you to talk about your faith? What does the paradox in 39 mean to you? How can you lose yourself in Christ this week, and show others that the kingdom of heaven is near?
Friday, June 4, 2010 Matthew 11
How does prison give John doubts (3)? If John’s job is to prepare the way for the Messiah, why is he in prison instead of preaching to the crowds? Does Jesus answer John with promises or evidence? What does Jesus say about John? How do the people respond to John? How are they like the children? What kinds of “prisons” make us doubt Jesus? What renews our courage and faith? How can we encourage others? Pray that God will break down the bars of your prisons and give you passion for your journey.
Saturday, June 5, 2010 Matthew 12:1-21
The Pharisees establish 39 categories of actions forbidden on the Sabbath based on interpretations of God’s law and Jewish custom. Jesus illustrates that human need has precedence over ritual law. Mercy, not legalism, is the heart of God’s moral imperatives (see Luke 11:37-52; 13:14-17). Reacting to the Pharisees’ hostility (14) , how does Jesus fulfill prophecy? How does Jesus’ example encourage you when people are hostile to you? Isaiah 42:1-4 says that Jesus is the Messiah and King, but it illustrates a gentle ruler who brings hope and justice to all nations. We must remember this when we expect a king who brings visible victories. Christ’s work is often quiet. Pray that this gentle King will overflow in your heart.
Sunday, June 6, 2010 Psalm 103
This is a psalm of praise for God’s great love for us. What God does for us tells us what God is really like. David focuses on the good things that God is doing for him. We should also praise God for his mercies and blessings. No matter how difficult your journey, you always have blessings to count. When you feel as though you have nothing to praise God for, read this psalm and share David’s list with him. He redeems our souls and crowns us with love and compassion! Thanks be to our wonderful God!