Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, November 11. Read Isaiah 9:2-7. 1) What does Isaiah say about the time of “darkness and despair.” 2) What will happen to the “yoke of slavery” which Judah wore? 3) Why do you think this text is often though to refer to Messiah?
Tuesday, November 12, Read Isaiah 11:1-16. 1) Isaiah calls David’s family a “stump?” What does that mean for the tree? 2) What about the stump shows new life. 3) Who do you think the “shoot” was referring to?
Wednesday, November 13. Read Exodus 32:1-8. 1) When the Israelites grew fearful, around the base of Mt. Sinai, what did they ask Aaron to do? 2) Why do you think they did that? 3) What did God have to say about that?
Friday, November 14. Read Amos 9:13-15. 1) What did God say he would do for the “fallen house of David?” 2) What will happen as a result of God’s action? 3) When did that ever happen? Is it possible that God had something bigger than what we think in mind?
Thursday, November 15. Read Jeremiah 7:16-34. 1) What did God tell Jeremiah to cease doing? 2) Why was God angry with Israel? 3) What did God say he would do as a result?
Saturday, November 16. Read Isaiah 65:17-25. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, how easy it is to get lost in preparing food and drink for Gad and Meni rather than for you. How easy it is to give our time on an altar to purposelessness and frustration rather than to you.
Please help us to remember that you are building an entirely new heaven and earth. May we join you in your work which brings life, purpose, and joy rather than what this life offers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
God is the Fountain Whence
by Benjamin Beddome, 1919
God is the fountain whence
Ten thousand blessings flow;
To Him my life, my health, and friends,
And every good, I owe.
The comforts He affords
Are neither few nor small;
He is the source of fresh delights,
My portion and my all.
He fills my heart with joy,
My lips attunes for praise;
And to His glory I’ll devote
The remnant of my days.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Upside Down Messiah
As much as we don’t want to admit it, we often miss the way of the upside-down Messiah as badly as his first disciples.
by James Nored & Phil Ware
What kind of Savior, Lord, and Messiah talks about dying instead of ruling?
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus’ shared three prophecies about being rejected, crucified, and raised from the dead (Mark 8:31; 9:30-32; 10:33-34). The Lord’s words mystified his disciples. These men who were supposed to know him best were confused and upset with Jesus’ statements about rejection and crucifixion.
They were so troubled, each time their Lord spoke them, they said and did something the opposite of Jesus’ example of servant leadership (Mark 8:32-33; 9:33-34; 10:35-41). Their actions revealed their lack of understanding of the kind of Messiah Jesus came to be. He wasn’t behaving in the way they wanted their Messiah to act. He had power, but wouldn’t use it for himself. He had status, but wouldn’t claim it. He had heaven’s approval, but wouldn’t force recognition of his reign on anyone.
Jesus was the upside down Messiah.
In the realm where Jesus reigns, the last one is first, the least one is the greatest and the lost one is found. Servants and little children are heroes. The greatest in his kingdom are not the ones who have the most money or the most religious influence; instead, they are the ones who receive his kingdom as a child (Mark 9:41-42; 10:13-23). The culmination of Jesus’ messages on discipleship and his kind of Messiahship resulted in these simple, but powerful and status-reversing, words that sum up the Lord’s purpose:[Jesus said,] For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
What are we to make of our upside-down Messiah?
We are called to adopt his values!
We must seek his kingdom and receive it as a humble child. We must learn to recognize that status, power, authority, and position do not confer upon a man or a woman any status in God’s kingdom. Only a person whose life reflects the values taught and lived by Jesus can be part of his kingdom.
In our real-life world of being Jesus’ church in a broken world, how important is this call to emulate the upside down Messiah?
Few churches ever had as close a relationship to the apostle Paul as the church in Philippi. That church began with Jewish women who provided a place for the new church to meet and a place for the missionary team to live (Acts 16:11-15, 40). It soon grew to include the family of the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:16-34). Along the way, two women, Euodia and Syntyche, had helped lead a large number of the disciples there to Christ (Philippians 4:2-3).
Unfortunately, these two women got into such a problematic disagreement, that their dispute was threatening the vitality of the entire congregation. Paul had to address the problem publicly and solicit the help of a trusted brother in Philippi to help (Philippians 4:2-3). The crucial part of Paul’s approach to addressing this problem, however, was his call to the believers in Philippi to be of “one mind” (Philippians 2:2; 4:2) by having the mind of the upside down Messiah:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Our upside-down Messiah established an upside-down kingdom. Our Lord reminds us still today that the greatest among us will not be the person with the largest number of Instagram followers, the highest number of Facebook likes, or the most enamored Twitterheads. The greatest in Jesus’ kingdom today won’t be the person with the most religious degrees, best spiritual pedigree, or most wanted at our conventions. That greatest in Jesus’ upside-down kingdom was, is, and always willing to serve others as Jesus has served them.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, we often miss the way of the upside-down Messiah as badly as his first disciples. We can, however, change that. We can value the least, the last, and the lost like our Savior. We can see the heart of a kingdom-seeker in the humility and innocence of children we are called to value. We will likely find these servants not at the head of the table but at the feet of those in need of grace. My, that would certainly change things in our world, wouldn’t it!
So, let’s “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” and live our lives “not to be served, but to serve”