Week Twelve — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Words of Jesus in Matthew — Matthew 21: 22, 23

Sunday, March 19

Matthew 21: 21, 22 Jesus, replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Prayer: Lord God, forgive us for our unbelief.

Thought for the day: The dog that believes in an electric fence stays in the yard whether the electricity is on or off.

Monday, March 20

John 14:13, 44 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, let us so understand your loving and will that it orders our thoughts and prayers.

Thought for the day: The woman who never claimed her winning lottery ticket never expected to win.

Tuesday, March 21

James 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Prayer: Lord God, we praise your generosity knowing that you often have not given us what we deserve.

Thought for the day: Progress in marital counseling requires better listening.

Wednesday, March 22

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Prayer:  Lord God, may you find in us the faith that brings you pleasure.

Thought for the day:   God never calls off the search for a runaway child.

Thursday, March 23

I Peter 2: 6 For in Scripture it says: “See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the secure trust that never shall fail.

Thought for the day: In the past year those who bought bonds with a negative yield believed that some economic loss was a sure thing.

Friday, March 24

Romans 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we become your messengers so that someone else may know you.

Thought for the day: The quality of some products is so recognizable that no additional company logo is needed to identify the brand.

Saturday, March 25

I Thessalonians 4:14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we believe there is hope for a better life in you.

Thought for the day: Joyful anticipation trumps unhappy surprise any day.

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photo: “The fig tree cursed” by Waiting for the Word on http://www.flickr.com

Week Eleven — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Words of Jesus in Matthew — Matthew 20:16

Sunday, March 12

Matthew 20:16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

Prayer:  Lord God, in your divine wisdom order our lives that we may draw close to you.

Thought for the day:  Jesus asked, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Monday, March 13

Luke 13:29, 30 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.  Indeed there are those who are last will be first, and first who will be last.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we who are children by grace do humbly look forward to our introduction into your kingdom.

Thought for the day: The price of your admission ticket to the greatest banquet in all the universe has been paid in advance. 

Tuesday, March 14

Proverbs 16:18, 19 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

Prayer: Lord God, save us from the pride what would destroy our relationship with you. 

Thought for the day: Pride places one on the last rung of a ladder that exits into empty space.

Wednesday, March 15

Romans 8:31, 32 What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all —- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, though the world may count us out you always count us in your fold.

Thought for the day:  Someone said the world drew a circle to keep me out but God drew a circle to take me in. 

Thursday, March 16

Genesis 48:12, 13 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”  But his father refused and said, “I know my son, I know.  He too will become a people, and he too will become great.  Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.

Prayer:  God, our Heavenly Father, may we find and follow your order in life.

Thought for the day:  Sometimes up is down and down is up.

Friday, March 17

John 13:15,16 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for your.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, forgive us when we like Peter resist your loving attention.

Thought for the day:  No advanced degree is required to perform foot washing.

Saturday, March 18

Matthew 20:27, 28 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Prayer:  Lord, we confess we have too often forgotten that one who would live Christ-like must serve.

Thought for the day:  If service is menial, how is it possible that the waiters can determine the level of your dining satisfaction?

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photo: “Jesus washes St Peter’s Feed” by Fr Lawrence Lew O. P. on http://www.flickr.com

Communion Meditation — The Disinfectant Power of Jesus’ Blood

Lauren carried Lysol in her purse to use in the computer lab at school.  During cold and flu season she would liberally spray the computer keyboard to disinfect it.

 

Knowing Lauren believed in the power of her disinfectant I would inquire if she came to school armed with her defense.  She would answer Yes.  Playfully I would ask if we should order a case of the disinfectant to have on hand at school.  “Whatever it takes,” she would reply.  She was not deterred.  She depended on the power of her disinfectant to defend her health.

 

The writer of Hebrews believed in the potency of a spiritual disinfectant.  Listen to the words of Hebrews 9:12 – 14: 

[Jesus] did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.

 

Yes, the writer of Hebrews believed Jesus’ blood was the most potent disinfectant available against the pollution of sin.  How about you.  Do you defend your spiritual health with the power of the blood of Christ?

 

Today we are invited to the Lord’s table to participate in the sacrifice of Jesus’s body and blood.  Come, and receive what Jesus has offered for us.   

 

 

 
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photo: “The New Adam” by Fr Lawrence Lew O.P. on http://www.flickr.com

Week Ten — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Words of Jesus in Matthew — Matthew 18: 3, 4

Sunday, March 5

Matthew 18:3, 4 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer: God, our Heavenly Father, we humbly confess we are children before you.

Thought for the day: Children can imagine a bright future.

Monday, March 6

Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will.

Prayer: Praise God, we rejoice that we are children of your choosing.

Thought for the day: No earthly judge shall rescind adoption into God’s family.

Tuesday, March 7

Romans 8: 25, 26 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one.” And, “it will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Prayer: Lord God, it’s not what they say but what you say about us that we count a blessing.

Thought for the day: All God’s family must play by God’s rules in God’s house.

Wednesday, March 8

Galatians 3:26, 27 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized in to Christ have been clothed with Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you for making us at home in your family.

Thought for the day: Not all credit cards are received worldwide.

Thursday, March 9

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Prayer: Lord God, you are our Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Thought for the day: Kinsfolk of a kindred spirit know how to share gracefully.

Friday, March 10

Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

Prayer: Lord, may we your children be ready to come to the aid of brothers and sisters in need.

Thought for the day: In their second childhood some wish they had better served the little ones who came after them.

Saturday, March 11

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Prayer: Lord God, may others find in us your spirit of peace.

Thought for the day: To make peace with others we must be at peace within.
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Week Nine– Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Words of Jesus in Matthew — Matthew 17: 20, 21

Sunday, February 26

Matthew 17:20, 21 He replied, “Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say t this mountain. ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us when we have not trusted you.

Thought for the day:  To reach any destination one must begin in faith.

Monday, February 27

Matthew 21: 20, 21 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Prayer:  Jesus, we are grateful for your unwavering faith in the plan of the Father.

Thought for the day:  Blueprints are expressions of faith waiting for action.

Tuesday, February 28

Matthew 13:32 Though [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.

Prayer: Lord God, from the seed of our faith may you grow your kingdom.

Thought for the day: Real, growing faith requires repotting.

Wednesday, March 1

Matthew 14: 30, 31 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Prayer: Jesus, help us in faith to keep our eyes fixed upon you.

Thought for the day:  A pilot who heeds a ground proximity warning device won’t fly into a mountainside.

Thursday March 2

Hebrews 3:12, 13 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Prayer:  Lord God, when we waver in doubt give us strength to believe and follow.

Thought for the day:  By faith Joshua and Caleb did reach the promised land.

Friday, March 3

Zechariah 4:10 Who despises the day of small things?  Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel “(these seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range throughout the earth.)”

Prayer:  Lord God, with you our days of small things shall be great days.

Thought for the day: Simply to be in one’s right mind is no small thing.

Saturday, March 4

Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, with the strength you give us may we serve you well.

Thought for the day:  For better results at weight lifting athletes must take the advice of their coach.
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Week Eight — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Words of Jesus in Matthew — Matthew 16:4

Sunday, February 19

Matthew 16: 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

Prayer: Lord, for all the times we have not listened to you may you forgive us.

Thought for the day: How many flowers must we see blooming before we believe its spring?

Monday, February 20

“Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men – Noah Daniel and Job – were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are wholly dependent on your righteousness.

Thought for the day: Noah, Daniel, and Job share one super-power – the super-power of making choices by faith.

Tuesday, February 21

John 4:47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

Prayer: Lord God, may we believe that we may see.

Thought for the day: Faith is a corrective prescription for perfect vision.

Wednesday, February 22

Matthew 12:39,40 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we trust you in life that we may trust you in death.

Thought for the day: Today Jesus’ tomb is still empty.

Thursday, February 23

Jonah 2:1,2 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said; “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks that even if we speak from the lowest depths you hear our prayers.

Thought for the day: Why did Jonah not experience decompression sickness when the fish expelled him?

Friday, February 24

Jeremiah 32: 19, 20 great are your purposes and might are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours.

Prayer: Lord God, the signs and wonders we see confirm you goodness and your love.

Thought for the day: Licensed drivers learn what traffic signs to obey.

Saturday, February 25

Mark 13:21, 22 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ! Or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christ and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect – if that were possible.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we would follow only you.

Thought for the day: A false Christ could not and would not make an ultimate sacrifice to save you.
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Week Seven — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Words of Jesus in Matthew — Matthew 13: 24,25

Sunday, February 12

Matthew 13: 24, 25 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 

Prayer:  Lord God, you promised that the good word sown in our lives would not return to you void.

Thought for the day: Grain elevator charge extra to remove weed seed from the harvest.

Monday, February 13

Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.

Prayer:  Lord God, lest we be fruitless may you protect the good word you have imparted to us.

Thought for the day: Package seed is guaranteed to grow providing you follow planting directions.

Tuesday, February 14

Ephesians 5: 8, 9 For you were once darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we give our hearts to you that we might live as children of the light.

Thought for the day: A well-lighted path is a safer path.

Wednesday, February 15

Matthew 25: 31,32 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, on that great day of reckoning may we be found among your sheep.

Thought for the day: God respects you enough not to force you to spend time with him.

Thursday, February 16

I Peter 5:8, 9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in your faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we stand in your strength.

Thought for the day:  The person who cares most about your life wants you to succeed.

Friday, February 17

Revelation 14;14,15 I looked and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.  Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Prayer:  Lord God, we have heard and believe we shall meet our maker.

Thought for the day: The farmer goes to the field to harvest the crop just at its peak.

Saturday, February 18

Isaiah 9:6,7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Prayer:  Lord, you shall reign forever and ever.

Thought for the day:  Jonah learned the hard way that you can run but you cannot hide.

 
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Photo: “Parable of the Sower” by Fr Lawrence Lew, O. P. on http://www.flickr.com