Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, November 1. Read Luke 4:16-30. 1) Where is Jesus when he reads from Isaiah? 2) Jesus draws a contrast between a “prophet’s hometown” and two specific individuals? Who were these people. 3) What was Jesus’ point?
Tuesday, November 2. Read Matthew 1:5 and Joshua 2:1-7. 2) The Matthew reading is the genealogy of Jesus. Who do you notice is in that genealogy of Jesus? 3) What is significant about her?
Wednesday, November 3. Read Acts 8:26-31. 1) Philip is sent to a Eunuch on his way back home to Ethiopia. Read what Deuteronomy 23:1 says about eunuchs. 2) Isaiah 56:3-5 has more to say about the desire of God. What change do you see in this text, compared to Deuteronomy 23?
Thursday, November 4. Read Acts 10:1-8 and 10:9-15. 1) Who was Cornelius? 2) What do you learn about Cornelius and God’s desire for him? 3) What surprising discovery did Peter make as a result of his dream?
Friday, November 5. Read 2 Kings 5:8-15. 1) Who do you learn about his this text? 2) Where was he from and what was his problem? 3) Read Luke 4:27 and what did Jesus say about lepers?
Saturday, November 6. Read 1 Kings 17:8-16. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
God of changes, ever moving and mysterious. We acknowledge our desire to have control and stability in our lives. Then we are confronted by the widow of Zarephath and see what it looks like when someone lives utterly without control. Please help us to have that kind of faith in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Lead Kindly Light by J H. Newman, 1833 is the hymn of the week for the following reason. In this hymn, Newman describes what it is like to go from a desire for control and certainty to a point at which control is relinquished to God. This is not unlike what the widow of Zarephath had to do in order to first feed Elijah.
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’ encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on;
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on;
I loved the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will; remember not past years.
So long Thy pow’r has blest me, sure it still
Wilt lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Controlling Change or Changing Control
What do you do when you can’t control your life?
by Donna Ware
Wow! These last two years have been full of change for my family and me.
The call for my husband to preach at a different church and to move to another town — smaller and very different than the one we had lived in for 22 years — was shocking enough.
Then I left my job that I loved. You see, I have had just about every position in education that you can hold and I found the one I truly loved. Then I left that behind and they do not have a similar position in my new town.
Then our daughter wasn’t all too happy for awhile because we moved into her town and her space — thankfully that is changed for the better, but it was unsettling for all of us for awhile.
Then I had to move into a different house that wasn’t exactly my style and where everything was uncomfortable at first. And I had to find new everything … grocery stores, doctors, cleaners, department stores, places to eat, and on and on I could go.
Then I needed to make a whole new set of friends in a church where I didn’t know anyone at first and I didn’t know their stories and their connections to one another.
Then just a little over six weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy. Double wow! I feel like my emotions and my physical health have taken a beating.
I feel like I am so out of control! I hate that feeling. I don’t like change. I like being comfortable and knowing the routine. I like being organized and knowing what to expect. These last two years have upset my balance! I haven’t been in control, that’s for sure!
During this time, I have tried looking at the positive side of things. I have tried keeping a stiff upper lip when everything seemed so unsettled. But to be honest, my lip got sore and the positive was sometimes hard to find in the middle of my whirlwind of change. So, what do I do?
Well, I have to admit that being laid up for six weeks gave me time to look at my life. I have been praying that God would show me the way he wants me to go. Of course, this was only as long as I felt in control and organized and knew the future. I did a lot of reading … and a lot more reading … a whole lot more reading — daytime TV just isn’t fun after two days! One of my dear friends gave me a book about the Twelve Extraordinary Women of the Bible and I got back to my Bible reading.
This is what I found. The women we read about in the Bible dealt with change. Sarah left her home and didn’t know where her husband or Lord was taking her. Mary dealt with the change in her body and relationship with Joseph. Mary and Martha were constant hostesses with changing guests and lessons to learn. Ruth lost her husband and moved to a foreign country. I could go on and on. The one thing they all had in common was that their faith in their Lord never wavered. They always believed. As Mary put it, “May the Lord do to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38 NIV).
It helps me to know that even though my world is changing and I long for normalcy — whatever that is — I just need to keep the faith. I just have to love my Lord and know that he is there with me. I just need to know he loves me, and then I have to give over my control and let Him control. I just have to believe controlling change is not nearly as important as letting Him have control.
And in the midst of change, that is enough. Yes, Jesus, that is enough!