Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11
Thoughts: This is such a familiar text and provides great detail for creating a movie in your mind of Jesus’ humble and yet triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The King of Kings has arrived on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy. Those along the path recognize and accept him, and they offer branches and cloaks to ease his way. Jesus, who went through most of his life without fanfare, follows the description of the prophecy and makes clear to all that he has arrived. Those who know him, praise him and those who don’t are aware enough to ask “Who is this?”
Discussion: Knowing the ending of this story, what do you think you would say to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem? Are you prepared to shout praises for Jesus as his followers did on Palm Sunday, and then stick by those praises and not desert him in times of controversy or strife?
Activity: Read Zechariah 9:9 in which Zechariah foretells the coming of Christ the Savior and the glories of his final kingdom and then read Matthew 21 1-11. Open your heart and mind in preparation for passionate praises for our Lord and Savior this Palm Sunday.
Thoughts: Jesus knew his friend Lazarus was deathly ill. Jesus also knew what no one else did: God would raise Lazarus from his grave. Still, Lazarus’s sisters were pleading with Jesus to come and heal their brother. Instead, he waited till Lazarus died. Why? To show God’s power over death.
Lazarus probably didn’t appreciate Jesus’ delayed arrival. With his life slipping away, Lazarus may have wondered, “Where is Jesus? Why doesn’t he come?” But Jesus’ mission was not about his friends’ timeline. It was about God’s. The Lord’s timing is always right. And here, to demonstrate his dominance over death, Jesus waited till everyone could be absolutely sure that Lazarus was dead.
Now, Jesus’ intentional delay does not mean he was insensitive to grief. He too “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled,” and he wept. While people then and now may reason that he wept because of Lazarus, it was surely even deeper than that. Jesus wept because death is still our enemy. Far from being insensitive about death, Jesus came to take on the curse of death for us. And his purpose in all of this was God’s glory, so that we might believe in God and in his power, through Jesus, to cancel our sin and give us new life forever in his presence.
Thoughts: God loves a cheerful Giver. Imagine that: our Father loves when we give to Him. All parents love gifts their children give to them, even thought parents likely provided the means to make the purchase. I think I have paid for most of the gifts my children have give me. But, then again, God has also provided the means for everything I have given to Him. A cheerful giver does not give out of obligation or duty, but voluntarily as he purposes in his heart. Giving to God funds the wok of the gospel at home through His church, and helps to care for those in need. A cheerful giver is loved by God and loves to give to God. How joyful is it to know you rally cannot out give God. God loves to give. He has promised the giver will be provided sufficiency in all things and abundance for every good work. There is no remorse in giving to God because when you give you receive more than you give.
Discussion: How can we cheerfully give to God in ways besides our tithes & offerings?
Activity: Pray with me: Lord, thank You for giving to me so lavishly. Thank you for allowing me to give to You and invest in Your Kingdom. I ask you to grow my generosity so I may put to death covetousness, greed, and jealousy. Lord, please open the windows of heaven and fill me with the blessings of Your lavish generosity. Amen.
Weekly Devotional from Touched by Truth Daily Devotional, by Scott Yirka, Hivernia Baptist Church, Fleming Island Fl.
Thoughts: Leprosy was one of the scourges of the ancient world. Leviticus has many pages of instructions about the treatment - or lack thereof – of lepers. Leviticus 13:46 rules that “ … he (the leper) is unclean; he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” Luke tells us that the ten lepers stood far off from Jesus and called loudly, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Instead of telling the lepers that they are healed, Jesus instructs them to go show themselves to the priests, in strict compliance with the laws of the Old Testament. As Jesus told his audience in his Sermon the Mount, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law…. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
On their way to show themselves to the priests, the lepers were cleansed. Imagine their wonder, their joy!
But only one of the former lepers turned back, praising God and giving thanks to Jesus. We can picture the other nine scurrying on toward the priests.
Jesus’ reaction to the one grateful man is deliciously human. “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”
Now this polite ex-leper was a Samaritan. Perhaps he should be known as the other Good Samaritan.
Discussion: A former minister at our church was fond of saying, “You can’t thank people too much.” What do you think?
Activity: Thank at lease three people each day – for holding the door open for you – for giving you an emerald ring -
Weekly Devotional from Word at Home October 2010
Thoughts: The first two pursuits (do good and be rich in good deeds) relate to the generous use of our time and may be combined under the heading “serving.” The latter two pursuits (be generous and willing to share) relate to the generous use of our money and possessions and may be combined under the heading “sharing.”These endeavors reverse the pull of arrogance. Serving and sharing are two disciplines that counterbalance the potentially lethal effects of growing wealth.
Discussion: How do you practice generosity to rid yourself of arrogance? How do you serve others to live out humility?
Activity: How can you actively live out what is discussed in the scripture? Do it!
Devotional Thoughts & Discussion from FaithGate Daily Devotionals January 2014, "Where is Your Hope?" by Jeff Manion
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
Thoughts: Can you imagine going to college, but instead of attending a formal classroom, you follow your teacher from town to town, learning from His words and examples? Our "class" today occurs on a mountain. Jesus sat on the mountainside, and His disciples came and sat around Him. While the birds sang, and the wind rustled in nearby trees, Jesus' precious words poured from His mouth--words that certainly proclaimed an entirely new way of thinking to these disciples.Though we are familiar with the beatitudes, it would be good for us to take some time to ponder in a greater depth, their meaning and their implications to us, as believers in this 21st century. Like the disciples' time, we live in an age where people are greedy, riches are everything, and self-advancement is the "common" attitude among all people. As believers, how are we to think? Are the words of Christ still applicable to us today? Yes! Just as when He originally spoke these words, Jesus is speaking to believers of our day as well, saying that riches are not blessings. Being famous, or popular, or well known is not to be our goal. Rather, let us seek the things of Christ.
Discussion: Which of the Beatitudes do you connect with or identify most, either because you embrace it or struggle to? How can you improve to embrace these in your daily life? Would it be difficult or hard?
Activity: Trying to take them all on at once can be overwhelming, choose one specifically to embrace to the fullest and live to the highest level this week!
Devotional Thoughts from https://www.devotional-reflections-from-the-bible.com
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