Thoughts: I've always connected with this scripture because it made Jesus feel so human and relatable. It can be hard to imagine that He was a person that lived and felt these struggles that we do day in an out. It sounds ridiculous that He, too, was tempted by the devil. We may not be face to face with Satan in the wilderness, but our temptations are very real!! Whether or not we realize it, we face them every day in big or little ways. As you are tempted in coming days and weeks, take solace that even the perfect Son of God was challenged in this way, too. Let His strength overtake and fill in for your weaknesses!
Discussion: What scriptures could we use as encouragement in moments of struggle?
Activity: When you are tempted in coming days and weeks, say a prayer asking Him to help you shut those temptations down and defeat them.
Thoughts: This psalm reminds us that one proper response to our Lord is trembling. We should praise and extol and worship. Holy is God! Yet how often do we, instead, hear the name of the Lord being used in vulgar conversation? Whenever I hear someone use the name "Jesus Christ" as a curse word, I whisper under my breath "loves you." For me this helps ease the offense I feel.
When I was teaching confirmation, I tried to show the kids how it would feel if their name was a curse word. They seemed to get it, but old habits die hard. If we truly understand the power of God's name, we will never use it lightly. We're told that Moses, Aaron and Samuel called on the name of God and were forgiven. God answered them and their wrongdoings were set aside. By whom? By the beautiful and precious name of Jesus Christ.
Discussion: Talk about the holiness of God. How is he different from any other being in the universe?
Activity: Write out those discussed ways (and anymore you can think of) in which the God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is uniquely different and set apart. Thank him for each and imparting his holiness to you.
Devotional Thoughts by Laurie Neill, Discipleship Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Fargo, N.D. Discussion & Activity by Freddy Richardson, New Hope for a New Day.
Thoughts: It's easy to love those in our lives who love us. They care for us, treat us with respect, spend time with us. It makes sense that we would love them. But in this scripture, God calls us to love our enemies. How does that make sense? Well, in an earthly sense, it doesn't. The earth tells us that if someone is mean to us, we shouldn't be nice back. And we CERTAINLY shouldn't love them! Why would we want to? The thing is, we probably don't. Even as Christians, it doesn't come natural to show kindness and grace to those that treat us the opposite. But it's our job. To meet negativity with positivity, to meet disrespect with respect, to meet hate with love. Why? Because that's who God is. He meets us with love every single time and as His disciples it's our calling to do the same to others. No we're not perfect, and we never will be, but each time we pray for someone who persecute us or love an enemy, we are that much closer to living the life He wants for us. A life glorifies and reflects Him in every way!
Discussion: How does the world make it hard for us to love those who don't love us? How can we practically love our enemies? How can you personally love the "enemies" you come into contact with in your own life?
Activity: Pick one person that you struggle to love and the next time you see them, show them God's love.
Thoughts: The Lord did not save us to sit and sour, but to serve and shine. We are to be the light in this dark world.Being the light can mean many different things. It can mean being there for someone to bring comfort in sorrow, encouraging others through a difficult time, or affirming and praising believers in the work of the kingdom. Being the light means to serve others-feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and evangelize the lost. Serve and share the gospel. Our heart's desire should be to add value to all those with whom we come in contact. Many of us have done good works and ministered to others, only to realize later that we got a bigger blessing than the ones we were serving because the Lord never ministers through us without ministering to us.
Discussion: Ask Yourself: Am I letting my light shine? Whom can I help, encourage and lift up?
Activity: By yourself or with a small group of people. make a plan to be a light in a specific way. Serve in a place you normally wouldn't. Evangelize someone you normally wouldn't. Be intentional in shining your light in some way!
Devotional Thoughts & Discussion from Brian Fossett, Fossett Evangelistic Ministries, Touched by the Truth Daily Devotions
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