Monday, May 24, 2010 Matthew 1
Some of Jesus’ ancestors were heroes of faith, like Isaac, Abraham, Ruth and David. But some had shady reputations like Rehab and Tamar. Many were ordinary, like Nahshon and Akim. Some were evil, like Manasseh and Abijah. Just as God used all kinds of people to bring Jesus into the world, God uses all kinds of people today to accomplish God’s will. What does it mean to you that God’s promises are trustworthy over many generations? Can you believe that God wants to use you? Why, or why not? How have your ancestors affected your faith? An angel tells Joseph that Mary is with child through the Holy Spirit (18-25). What must Joseph be thinking (19, 20-21)? What does Joseph teach us about faith? Jesus was called Immanuel, “God with us.” Have you experienced Jesus as Immanuel in your life?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 Matthew 2
The wise men travel thousands of miles to see the King of the Jews. What did they do when they see Jesus (11)? How is this similar to the way Christians respond to Jesus now? How is it different? What do the star, the gifts, the Magi, the hostility, and the prophecy tell us about the significance of Jesus? What is the gold, incense, and myrrh in your life? Have you offered your treasures to Jesus? Jesus’ family escapes to Egypt (12-18). Why does Matthew emphasize God’s watchfulness over Jesus? Reflect on how God uses prophecy, faith and circumstances to guide Joseph, and reflect on Joseph’s response. What does it tell you about faithfulness and obedience?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 Matthew 3
How would John the Baptist’s dress be received in our church today (1-12)? Do we judge anyone because of image? Why do people go out of their way to hear this radical preacher? What is his message in 2? How do John’s and Jesus’ ministries compare? Why does Jesus ask to be baptized by John (13-17)? Repentance? Or to carry out God’s mission? Jesus accepts baptism in obedient service to the Father, and God shows approval (16-17). John puts aside his ego to point to Jesus. Can we do the same? Will we give up some of our status so that others will benefit? (See also John 3:30.) Pray.
Thursday, May 27, 2010 Matthew 4
The devil who tempted Adam and Eve in the garden now tempts Jesus in the wilderness as he fasts for 40 days and nights (1-11). Jesus isn’t in the temple or out preaching; he is tired, alone and very hungry. Are we usually tempted when we are tired, lonely, confused, overwhelmed, prideful, or filled with uncertainty? What is the nature of Jesus’ temptation? What might appeal to Jesus? What price would there be? How does Jesus overcome temptation? What is your greatest temptation? Take time to turn your temptation(s) over to Jesus. Jesus is able to resist all the devil’s temptations because he not only knows scripture, he obeys it. Can that be said of you? Commit to knowing God’s word and being faithful to it.
Friday, May 28, 2010 Matthew 5
Today’s focus is the Sermon on the Mount (1-12). How does each Beatitude relate to the promise that follows it? What is the opposite of each quality? The Beatitudes can be understood as: a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers; a contrast between Kingdom values and worldly values; a contrast between superficial faith and the real faith that Christ demands; and an illustration of how Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new Kingdom. These Beatitudes, like the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22), must be taken as a whole. We cannot pick and choose. Which Beatitudes do you desire in your life right now? Which are you avoiding? How are they related to being salt and light (13-16)? Focus your prayers on God’s blessings in your life.
Saturday, May 29, 2010 Matthew 6
This chapter includes ministry to the needy (1-4), prayer (5-14), private forms of spirituality (19-24) and leaving things with God (25-34). What does Jesus tell us about giving? If someone observed you for 48 hours, what would they learn about your prayer life? In the Lord’s Prayer, what three things are related to God (9-10)? What three things are related to our needs (11-13)? What does this prayer tell us about forgiveness (12, 14-15)? What does Jesus propose with respect to our treasures (19-21)? We are “to seek the kingdom of God above all else,” put God first in all areas of our lives (33). We are to pattern ourselves after God, and serve and obey God in everything. Spend time in prayer asking God to help you live out this chapter of Christian spirituality in your everyday life.
Sunday, May 30, 2010 Psalm 150
This is a hymn of praise! God’s creation praises him everywhere, in every way. We need to join this joyful song. When we praise God, we do not exclude anyone. We sing and play music and rejoice in our loving God. Listen to your favorite Christian music and join in with singing, dancing and joy! Praise to our loving, generous God!