Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, March 20.. Read Luke 17:20-21. 1) What did Jesus say was not true of the kingdom’s coming? 2) What did he say, by comparison, about the kingdom?
Tuesday, March 21. Read Matthew 12:27-28. 1) Jesus was being accused of working under Satan’s power. Why does Jesus say that accusation makes no sense? 2) What did Jesus say his casting out demons signalled (12:28)?
Wednesday, March 22. Read Isaiah 58:3-9. 1) Why was Judah unhappy with God (58:2,3)? 2) What kind of “fast” did God say he wanted (58:6-7)?
Thursday, March 23. Read Ezekiel 18:1-9. 1) What was the proverb that was often quoted by the people of Judah (18:2)? 2) God wanted Judah to quote this proverb instead. What was it (18:4)? 3) How did God say a righteous person lives (18:5-9)?
Friday, March 24. Read Hebrews 13:1-6. 1) What did the Hebrews writer say about love? 2) How is love demonstrated?
Saturday, March 25. Read Matthew 25:31-46. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Lord God, please help us to live in a prepared way. We know that is to live like you would live. Help us to not get lost in the whens and wherefores of the Coming we anticipate, but rather just showing the spirit of Christ everyday we live. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Come, Let Us Anew
by Charles Wesley, 1760
Come, let us anew our journey pursue,
Roll round with the year,
And never stand still till the Master appear.
His adorable will let us gladly fulfill,
And our talents improve
By the patience of hope and the labor of love,
By the patience of hope and the labor of love.
Our life as a dream, our time as a stream
Glide swiftly away,
And the fugitive moment refuses to stay;
For the arrow is flown and the moments are gone.
The millennial year
Presses on to our view, and eternity’s here,
Presses on to our view, and eternity’s here.
Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say,
“I have fought my way thru;
I have finished the work thou didst give me to do.”
Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word:
“Well and faithfully done;
Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne;
Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne.”
Devotional Article of the Week:
Sooner or later, it’s time to end the preparation!
by Tom Norvell
Have you ever noticed how much time we spend preparing? You are receiving this article a bit early because we are preparing to leave on vacation. All week long I have been preparing to write this article in my mind long before I put my fingers to the keyboard. In a few minutes, we will be preparing for dinner. A little while after that, we will prepare to go to bed. During the time we are sleeping, we will be preparing for the coming day. Then, as the day begins, we will be preparing for the rest of the day and probably spend some time preparing for what is going to happen tomorrow. It seems that I am always preparing.
As parents, we spend nine months preparing for a baby. Then we prepare them for kindergarten and elementary school. Before they finish elementary school, we begin preparing them for middle school. More and more, middle school is becoming a time of preparing for high school, which in turn is preparation for college. Of course, all along the way we are preparing them for adulthood, marriage, parenthood, how to help them prepare our grandchildren for …
Teachers spend most of the semester preparing their students for the final exam that comes at the end of the semester. Students spend considerable time every semester preparing for those same exams.
Employers spend large amounts of time and sums of money preparing their employees for the job they have been hired to perform. Workshops, seminars, and training sessions are designed to help prepare workers to be better workers.
Coaches work late into the night viewing tapes, and reviewing last week’s stats in preparation for the next game. Players work to correct their mistakes, improve on the fundamentals to enhance their performance in the next game. Fans become armchair quarterbacks, coaching experts and offer suggestions on how next game can be better than the last.
Churches spend years planning to reach their community for the Lord. Months are spent on preparing for mission trips. Extensive plans are developed and huge amounts of money are collected for projects and buildings that are designed to help expand the borders of God’s kingdom. Training programs, classes, and specifically designed promotional efforts are conducted to prepare us to share the good new with the people next door.
I have now spent six paragraphs preparing for what I really want to say. With so much time spent in preparation, when do we get on with what we are here to do? When will parents enjoy our children? When will our children enjoy being children? When will teachers and students enjoy being in school? When will work become fulfilling and enjoyable? When will a sport be just a game? When will Christians begin to tell our story?
Jesus spent three years preparing twelve men to change the world. He then turned them loose empowered with the Holy Spirit to go about the work of changing lives. The disciples spent those three years preparing their hearts and lives for what God had planned for them. The New Testament writers left us letters to prepare us for the work of carrying on the mission of the Lord.
Preparation is necessary and wise. It is foolish to tackle a project without proper preparation. But eventually, the preparation must end. Remember that Jesus reached the point when He said, “It is time.” At the end of the gospels He told them, “Go.” Eventually we must get on with the work. Eventually preparation time is over.
Maybe it’s time.