Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, January 16. Read John 13:1-15. 1) The disciples gathered for the last Passover meal they would eat with Jesus. What was the first thing Jesus did? 2) How did Peter react to it, and what did Jesus tell him? 3) What did Jesus tell the disciples he hoped they would get from the experience?
Tuesday, January 17. Read Philippians 2:5-11. 1) What mindset did Paul tell the Philippians to have? 2) How would you characterize that mindset? 3) What do you think it takes to live in that way?
Wednesday, January 18. Read John 2:1-11. 1) In this text, Mary asked Jesus to do something. What was it? 2) What does John say about this event in John 2:11?
Thursday, January 19. Read Luke 3:18-20. 1) What did Herod do in this text? 2) What prompted him to do this?
Friday, January 20. Read Isaiah 42:1-9. 1) This is one of four servant songs in Isaiah. Even though Isaiah was writing with a contemporary mindset, why does this text seem to have such Messianic application? 2) Based on this text, how would you describe the work of the “servant”?
Saturday, January 21. Read Matthew 4:12-23. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
O God, we see how serious and determined you are in the laying out of a master strategy for your mission. As John said, “…You God, so loved the world….” That determined everything. And we want to live in that way as well. Please give us some of you determination. In Jesus name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
by John Greenleaf Whittier, 1872
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Teach Us to Pray: Thy Kingdom Come
by Phil Ware
Our world is deeply broken. We all know it is broken. The headlines, news channels, and our online notifications remind us that our world is broken. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Droughts. Famines. Mass shootings. Homelessness. Violence against children. Political chaos. Rather than looking for answers, the special of the day is vitriol, blame, and solutions somebody else pays for us.
While we see glimpses of our universe’s awe-inspiring beauty, variety, and magnificence, we also are witnesses of its brokenness. Almost without warning, the calm beauty of our world erupts and then devolves into chaos and destruction.
What God created to be “good” (Genesis 1:3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and declared “very good” (Genesis 1:31), was undone by evil. Trending toward the chaos over which the Spirit of God hovered before creation (Genesis 1:2), the Spirit now groans over the world subject to decay, destruction, and death (Romans 8:20-22). The beauty, order, and specificity of the Creator are now all broken and subject to decay.
Humanity’s dismantling of God’s perfect creation (Genesis chapters 3-11), leaves us caught in the land of in-between. We live in the gap, the widening abyss between God’s perfect plan and our human reality. When we pray, “Your kingdom come…” we are praying for God to close the chasm, to bridge the gap, and to make his will the loving reality that dawns in our broken world.
We long for “Kingdom Come!” So, we pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
We pray for God’s kingdom to come! We plead for the reality of the beatitudes to be the values of our time and our world. Unfortunately, for now, it seems, the gap widens as the chasm deepens. By praying for “Kingdom Come!”, we must do more than beg for God to bridge the gap and bring “Kingdom Come!” to reality in our world.
We must commit to doing our part to mend our fractured and fragmented world with the grace of our King! We must help our world caught in its chaotic death spiral to catch the first glimpses of the dawn of “Kingdom Come!” We want our lost and broken world to experience the first glimmers of light of the coming new start of “Kingdom Come!”
More than praying, we also commit to displaying the values, the love, and the lifestyle of this new kingdom. We devote ourselves to being the first manifestations of “Kingdom Come!” until it does come in all of its fullness. So, we both pray and display that for which our heart yearns:
“Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NRSV).
Until the gap closes, we choose to stand in that gap to help others know a better day, a better way, God’s “Kingdom Come!” is on its way. We pledge to both praying and displaying what Jesus taught, valued, and demonstrated about living in the Father’s kingdom. We devote our lives to demonstrating what it is like when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.