Matthew 26:36-46 – Jesus Prays

Read Matthew 26:36-46

Have you ever fallen asleep while praying? I know I’m not the only one because the disciples did it in today’s reading. I have every good intention of praying through the praises, concerns, joys, requests, and pleas for forgiveness. I’m sure the disciples did, too.

Jesus told the disciples, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” They just didn’t understand. It’s hard to put ourselves in their shoes, much less understand the distress that had overtaken Jesus. What we do see is that Jesus’ response to his anguish was to pray. We can probably think of a time when we were faced with doing something we dreaded. Like in speech class, getting up in front of the class knowing your knees were going to knock and that words would be stumbled over. But Jesus’ dread was so much more than this. So much more.

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Matthew 12:46-50 – Jesus’ Family

Read Matthew 12:46-50

The cycle of parenting begins at birth when your child is wholly dependent on you. At some point independence steps in. By the teenage years, the child starts to rebel and the natural separation begins. The teenager is not at all impressed by the parent and is sometimes embarrassed by the obvious hovering or parental attempts at being cool. Then the child leaves home and starts a life of their own. All of a sudden, Mom and Dad are a lot wiser now. Friendship can blossom between parent and child. The circle of life.

Well, here, it’s almost as if Jesus is disowning his own mother and siblings. He asks “Who is my mother?” Of course, he knows Mary and he cares for her deeply, but those words? If she were to hear them, would she be hurt that her son, the Son of God, has questioned her identity? Was he being disrespectful?

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Matthew 7:15-23 – True or False?

Read Matthew 7:15-23

There is a lot to digest in this passage. There’s more to it than just good and bad fruit trees. On the surface, we may miss how serious Jesus’ warning to us is. This is because we don’t realize how it applies to us. After all, we don’t see a lot of prophets like John the Baptist or Isaiah running around these days. For this passage, think of a prophet as someone who speaks “in the name of the Lord.” A religious teacher or leader would fit the bill.

The church is supposed to be a safe place for us sheep. But Jesus tells us there will be teachers who disguise themselves as ravenous wolves to devour the sheep (us), or at least lead us astray. If we can’t trust our church leaders who can we trust? Jesus. We can trust Jesus.

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Hebrews 11:17-30 – It Was By Faith

Read Hebrews 11:17-30

It was by faith that … [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] … was able to do mighty things that many thought impossible [INSERT YOUR STORY]. What mighty story can you tell about how God intervened in your life when you stayed faithful?

The stories we read today can really conjure up some intense feelings if you put yourself in the “hero’s” shoes. Did one of the stories make more of an impact upon you than the other? I certainly have many a Sunday School memory both of learning the stories and then teaching them to a new generation of children. For me, the thought of sacrificing my child, as Abraham was about to do, makes my heart race. To imagine your son looking into your eyes asking, “where is the sacrifice?” I often cry when I read this story and am so empowered to be faithful. Continue reading “Hebrews 11:17-30 – It Was By Faith”

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1 Peter 4:1-6 – Live for God

Read 1 Peter 4:1-6

Who do you live for? When you wake up each morning, do you ever start with a prayer of thanks for the new day? Do you give God a thumbs up and ask him to help you get through another day? This passage gives us a picture of who we should be as followers of Christ.

What are the highlights here? We must have an attitude like Christ and be ready to suffer. And we should be anxious to do the will of God. Period. So bring it on  – I’m ready to battle. I have the best armor and protection possible. If I suffer, it’s okay because of my strong faith and trust in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I know who I belong to and where my final destination lies. Continue reading “1 Peter 4:1-6 – Live for God”

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