Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Matthew 11:7-30. Jesus is talking about John the Baptist. And He asks the people gathered around Him, "What did you expect to see?" And He kind of picks on them for not having open minds. For allowing their expectations to limit what God could do in their lives.
We face the same limitations today, of course. We have expectations. About what our lives should look like. About what God can or will do in our lives. We have these frames in place, and those frames can seriously prevent us from allowing God to work in our lives in a new, world-changing way.
So should we be ashamed of our expectations? Try to get rid of them? Well, that's pretty much impossible. We are GOING to have expectations. But we can ask God to stretch us. To expand our expectations. To learn to agree with Him on what those expectations should be. That way, we can start expecting bigger things. We can start having faith for the world changing work that He wants to do... in us, and through us.
God, help us grow our expectations so that they encourage Your work in our lives.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Matthew 10:24-11:6. In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that following Him isn't easy. We have to choose Him over everything else in life - including our family, including our own lives. If we try to save our lives, we'll lose them. But if we give our lives for Him, we'll be saved.
It's not easy - but what could be more worth it? Have you counted the cost? Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to follow Him? Have you picked up your cross? These are questions we all have to ask ourselves. And the answers aren't hypothetical today, just like they weren't when Jesus asked them. More Christians have been killed in the last 100 years than in all previous years combined. Persecution and martyrdom are real today. We must commit ourselves to following Him, no matter how hard the cost might be.
God, thanks for calling us to follow You. Please give us the courage we need to do so.
Monday, January 14, 2019
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Matthew 10:1-23. Very first thing, we see a list of Jesus's disciples. And one thing you'll notice about them is that many of them are related to one another. Peter and Andrew, James and John. Many of the women who followed Jesus were also related to either Jesus or one of His disciples.
God gave us families. They can be difficult, sure. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world that you'll be called to do is to love your family. Other times, it's the easiest thing in the world. And when we do practice charity at home, we find that when one of us pursues holiness, it spreads through the house. It's not inevitable, unfortunately. It can be resisted, like every time God reaches out to save us. But it is contagious. When one member of the family starts following Jesus, and then starts praying for the others, His grace can make a whole family into saints. Just ask St Therese of Liseux!
God, thanks for giving us families.
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Matthew 9:18-38. Jesus tells the woman who touches his robe to be healed that her faith has healed her. In this case, her faith literally healed her body.
But in our case, there is also real healing that comes from our faith. It MIGHT heal our bodies, but that's temporary, right? We will grow old and die eventually. But there are other things that we need to be healed from. Bad thinking due to abuse. Horrible self images. Lack of love for others. Self loathing. These are all things that we need to be healed from. And having faith in God will heal us of those things. He will teach us our worth. He'll heal us from the abuse we've suffered. He'll give us love for others. He'll teach us to love ourselves so that we CAN love other people.
In faith, reach out to Him. He'll heal you.
God, thanks for giving us faith, helping it grow... and healing us through it.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Today we read from Matthew 9:1-17 in the One Year Bible. In this passage, we see a good example of God giving us what we need rather than what we ask for.
There is a crippled man who has some good friends. They bring him to Jesus to be healed. That's good. They have faith in Jesus to heal them. But what Jesus does is so much more. First, without their even asking Him, He forgives their sins. He does this because A) their sins need forgiven far more than his body needs healed. His body will get old and eventually die even after being healed. And B) to teach everyone present an important lesson. C) also to teach US an important lesson as we read about this story.
God always gives us more than we ask for. And He gives it to us, usually, without our even asking for it. When we come to Him with the needs that we KNOW we have, He fills those needs - and then goes on to fill all of the needs that we don't even realize we have.
God, thanks for taking care of us, meeting even the needs we'll never understand.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Today we read from Matthew 8:18-34 in the One Year Bible. We see two interesting stories juxtaposed. In the first, Jesus calms the storm, and His disciples ask, "Who is this, who can even calm the wind and waves?"
Then we see Jesus enter a land where there are demons. They call out to Him, "Why are you torturing us, Son of God?" The demons knew who He was!
But His own disciples didn't. That's pretty sad in a way. I mean, to be fair, the demons recognized Him because they had been experiencing Him from before time began, back when they were angels, before they fell. On the other hand, they recognized Him in human form, when Jesus's own disciples didn't know who exactly they were dealing with, even though they lived with Him on a daily basis.
Let's not find ourselves acting like the disciples, being out-smarted by the demons. The spirit of this age, whom we are fighting against (not against people), knows who our Lord is. Let's make sure we do, too. That we have more faith in Him than they do.
God, help us to have more faith in You than our enemies.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Today in the One Year Bible, we read from Matthew 8:1-17. Jesus meets the Roman officer who tells Him that he knows what it's like having people under your authority, so Jesus didn't have to come to his house, He could just command it and his beloved servant would be healed.
That tells us something important about God. He delights in our faith. He is greatly pleased when we trust Him completely. Our faith makes Him happy. Does that make you feel bad? Do you wish you had MORE faith, so you could please Him more?
Just ask. If there is any prayer God will instantly say "yes" to, it's "please help me have more faith. Lord, I believe - help my unbelief!" He WANTS to grow your faith. He certainly will. Just ask Him to.... and cooperate when He starts doing it.
God, thanks for giving us the gift of faith - help us to grow it.