Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Advent 2020, Tuesday, Dec. 1 - Mt. 3

We're going to use a quick format for reading, reflecting upon, and responding to God's Word.

PRAY and thank God for one way aspect of His character (e.g. holiness, grace, love, kindness, patience)!
READ Matthew 3.
John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and challenged those who felt falsely secure in their relationships with God. He knew that Jesus was God, and that any and every sin would render us unholy before God. We need to recognize the authority of Jesus to judge us. Only then can we really understand the grace that He extended to us. Only then does the humility and obedience that He demonstrates by letting John baptize Him make sense.

When you think of Jesus Christ, does His name connote power and authority to judge you and your life? Or do you only think of Jesus like your friend who affirms you and lets you do what you want? God warns us in His Word not to make God/Jesus in our image (Romans 1, Exodus 20, etc.)! We need to ask God to help us have a restored view of Jesus in all His power and authority. We need to confess our sin of acting like Jesus isn't powerful and acting like Jesus doesn't have something to say about how we've been living in this world. And when we have a high view of Jesus, His incarnation becomes more amazing, beautiful, and kind. Take a moment (or all day) and really worship Jesus today! 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Advent 2020, Monday, Nov. 30 - Matthew 2

We're going to use a quick format for reading, reflecting upon, and responding to God's Word.
PRAY and thank God for one way in which He's blessed you. Ask Him to help you meditate on His Word and His presence!
READ Matthew 2.
This has been such a crazy year! I know some people are really looking forward to Christmas just to have something positive to celebrate, something good that can bring happiness. That sense of anticipation must have filled the wise men as they traveled to see the Christ-child. They had anticipated a grand event - the star even told them so. This was something great, something cosmic, something was happening that would forever change the course of the world! And so it was! They saw Jesus and were...overjoyed! Even though he was such a small thing, he really was a big thing!

Can you be honest with me for a minute? Each day of your life, do you anticipate God doing something life-changing in your life? I think our world has brainwashed us to think that life-changing things can be found on Amazon or Netflix or YouTube or a dating site. But we have a relationship with the God of the Universe through Jesus His Son, and we have His Holy Spirit inside of us. So, are you walking in the Spirit? Are you ears and eyes open, is your heart wide open to God, and is your mind ready to be renewed by His Word and the Gospel? Pray openly and honestly to God, confessing your lack of interest or faith or attention, asking for Him to enrapt your mind and heart again with knowledge of Him. This drove the wise men to leave their homes, journey afar, bring offerings, and to worship Jesus. Take time to worship Jesus right now! He is with us!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Advent 2020: Sunday, Nov. 29 - Matthew 1

Welcome to our Advent 2020 Daily Meditation Series! I apologize for being a late in uploading this today, but I hope that today's sermon from Matthew 1 was a blessing to you and provided some good food for thought! God is gracious and sovereign over all the messy parts of our family history and personal history. He does not give up His promises to His people, and to the world!

Reflecting on the sermon, then, would you take a moment today to pray:
1) Personally - in humble reflection of the sins of your own life, give thanks to God for His grace to cover over your sins and sinfulness, and for continuing His work in transforming your character.
2) Relationally - for 2-3 people you know who need God's gracious intervention in their lives.
3) Adoringly - give praise to God for His character - unchanging, unwavering, uncompromising, and undeterred.
4) Yieldingly - ask God to use you for His work.

Have a blessed week! Check in daily for the next meditation!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Getting Tested

If you're out-and-about, there is this constant concern that you've been exposed to coronavirus. The news lately from college campuses highlights that concerns that setting aside social distancing and mask-wearing advice may lead to outbreaks on campuses. So schools are also instituting testing protocols.

At home, some of us are around elderly parents or grandparents. Some of us work in healthcare and have direct contact with COVID-positive patients. Others work in close proximity to others, and we're praying for our teachers as schools reopen. Testing helps us know what we're dealing with, identifies if we're carrying something that could be detrimental, and drives us to adjust our behavior, all the while praying for healing and health.

God tests us, too. The story of the Rich Ruler (Luke 18:18ff) from yesterday's sermon was such a test. Jesus threw a curveball at the Rich Ruler because Jesus knew that there was a spiritual health issue inside him, one that was deadly. Jesus saw the sickness even though the ruler himself thought he was doing great and felt great about himself. Even all the people around him thought he was doing well - he was rich so God must have blessed him for his good behavior!

We live in comfort and it's easy for us to feel fine. Spiritually, we can also be lulled into thinking we're just fine the way we are. But God is calling us to grow, individually and as a church! Let's unpack the three action steps mentioned in yesterday's sermon:

1. Identify what's holding us back and confess it to God. From the interaction with the Rich Ruler, Jesus exposed that the Ruler not only possessed wealth, but he was also possessed by his wealth - he could not let it go because it actually had a hold of his heart and literally turned him away from Jesus (he walked away from Jesus!). What keeps you from growing, from spending time with God, from obeying His call to worship Him? Laziness, selfishness, bitterness? Hurt, disappointment, fear? Bring it all to Jesus. Give it to Him! He can help you overcome. He loves to help us. He died to help us.

2. Immerse yourself in God's Word and Spirit. Spend more time in God's Word, swimming in the beauty and depth of God's love for us in Jesus Christ. Talk to Him; let the Spirit speak to you, words of grace, forgiveness, encouragement, strength, peace, hope, and love. The more deeply we grasp the Gospel love of Jesus, the less desperately we cling to the other things we have in our lives. 

3. Invest in God's Kingdom work with your gifts, talents, and resources. It is natural for us to give to God. If we've encountered Him in Spirit and truth, come to experience His glory and grace, received His love, it naturally leads us to give. It immediately leads us to give. He is God Almighty, worthy of all of our honor, praise, and service. Our entire lives become our offering to Him. Nothing we could give will exceed His worth, so we give it all!

God blesses us in this process of surrendering our lives to Him. It is realignment with how we were created to live - encountering His glory, experiencing His grace, and extolling His goodness through our service to Him.

Let's pray to live in worship and sacrifice to our God who loves us and has saved us through the giving of His Son!

Advent 2020, Tuesday, Dec. 1 - Mt. 3

We're going to use a quick format for reading, reflecting upon, and responding to God's Word. PRAY  and thank God for one way aspect...