Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, October 11. Read Philippians 2:5-11. 1) To what mindset did Paul call the Philippian church? 2) Describe the nature of that mindset? How does it live?
Tuesday, October 12. Read James 4:1-3. 1) What does James say is the origin of conflict? 2) What is at the root of most craving?
Wednesday, October 13. Read 2 Corinthians 8:8-9. 1) How do you think Paul would test for genuineness in the lives of the Corinthian church? 2) What did Christ do for us? And what was its result?
Thursday, October 14. Read John 13:12-20. 1) What did Jesus do for his disciples? 2) What did Jesus want his disciples to learn from that experience?
Friday, October 15. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. 1) How does Paul describe our role as bearers of God’s treasure? 2) What is to be learned from this?
Saturday, October 16. Read Mark 10:35-45. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
God of the small, weak, and orphaned ones. God of those with no power, who emptied himself of power. May we see how you want us to also empty ourselves. To live a life of sacrifice and humility. Help us to put to death our power-hungry, arrogant selves and wash the feet of our neighbors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
O for a Heart to Praise My God
by Charles Wesley, 1742
O for a heart to praise my God,
a heart from sin set free;
a heart that’s sprinkled with the blood
so freely shed for me:
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
my great Redeemer’s throne;
where only Christ is heard to speak,
where Jesus reigns alone:
A humble, lowly, contrite heart,
believing, true, and clean,
which neither life nor death can part
from him that dwells within:
A heart in every thought renewed,
and full of love divine;
perfect and right and pure and good —
a copy, Lord, of thine.
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart,
come quickly from above;
write thy new name upon my heart,
thy new best name of Love.
Devotional Article of the Week:
The Humility of a Little Donkey
How much glory should we expect?
by Joe Bagby
This Sunday is called Palm Sunday. For those of us who don’t enjoy the formalism and liturgy of some churches, Palm Sunday is the day Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey to the shouts of the crowd,
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord — the King of Israel!” (John 12:13 NRSV)
This is the day Jesus entered triumphantly into Jerusalem and marked, for some, the beginning of a new era in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9. There was incredible excitement in the city, but it was a mixed excitement. Some were glad this worker of miracles was entering the Holy City, while others were poised to end his life as a troublemaker and rebel! The events that transpired between that original Palm Sunday and the next Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, changed the world forever.
However, every time I think about Palm Sunday, I think about a little Catholic nun named Sister Theresa. Years ago, she was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for the years of sacrificial love and mercy given to the poor of India. She was interviewed on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I will never forget what I heard that evening.
Mr. Carson was very respectful of Sister Theresa, but at one point he asked her if the cash money she received as a part of the prize or the notoriety of the moment would “go to her head.”
Being one of the most humble people in the world, Sister Theresa’s answer was not to be unexpected, but it did throw Mr. Carson for a loop — as well as the rest of us who happened to be watching. She reminded Mr. Carson of the day when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on that little donkey. He remembered the story.
She then asked, “Do you think, Mr. Carson, for one moment, that that little donkey thought the crowd was giving him the praise and glory instead of Jesus?”
Wow! Johnny didn’t know what to say!
I don’t know if the Holy Spirit put that in her mouth or if she was prepared to answer such a question, but it has always stuck in my mind. Palm Sunday, and every other Sunday for that matter, is about nothing else but Jesus Christ and him crucified, and now powerfully raised from the dead.
We can shout and cheer and lay down palm branches all we want, but if we miss the fact that we do so because Jesus is God and we are simply a part of the story because of His grace, then we miss the point.
It will do us well to be reminded of this truth from time to time.