Sunday, January 27th
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:21-28
Insight: The Scripture reading above will be our guiding passage for the week. Read these few verses carefully and intentionally, seeking to understand what God is desiring to reveal to you through them, and not so that you can just check this task off your list.
Prayer: Sacrificing God, speak to me throughout my journey of following your son this week so I may better understand you, the unending love you have for me and the call you have on my life. Amen.
Monday, January 28th
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:21
Insight: We like the idea of Jesus in the manger on Christmas and coming out of the tomb, victorious, on Easter, but the idea of his suffering and dying on the cross can make us much more uncomfortable. However, we are reminded at the end of this verse it did not end with suffering but resurrection. It is our belief that God is not the source of our suffering, but, if we are open to it, God will redeem whatever we are experiencing.
Prayer: Loving God, help me to be open to the redemption of the harm and heartache I have experienced in my life. Enable me to allow your good to come from the bad I have experienced. Amen.
Reflection: What are the areas of brokenness in your life where you need healing? What do you need God to redeem?
Action Step: Look in a mirror and imagine handing those areas of brokenness over to God. Relax your shoulders, smile, and look at yourself as if all of those things have already been resolved. Remember that you are God’s beloved child.
Tuesday, January 29th
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:21-22
Insight: Peter, and most Jews for that matter, understood that the Messiah, or deliverer of God’s people, would return as a mighty warrior and/or king who would drive out the Romans and return the Kingdom as it had been under King David. This was a time when the people had been free from outside powers, when the economy was prospering, and when there was relative peace. They longed to see that time again. When Jesus pointedly tells Peter and the other Disciples that he is not that kind of Messiah, Peter is not interested.
Prayer: Understanding Lord, we so often want to treat you as Santa Claus who gives us gifts or as a genie who grants our wishes, and we ignore that to follow you involves denial of self-interest and suffering for your sake. Forgive my selfishness and help me to see you as your truly are. Amen
Reflection: When was the last time something about Jesus’ life and/or teachings challenged you, your beliefs, your values, or caused you to hold yourself accountable? Or, is it that Jesus always seems to agree or approve of all your thoughts and actions?
Action Step: Read or watch the news, looking for a headline that causes you to be uncomfortable. Write the headline or a couple of key words on a note and keep it with you all day. Throughout the day, ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?” about this situation.
Wednesday, January 30th
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:23
Insight: Peter had just a few moments before been told by Jesus that he would be “the rock upon which (Jesus) builds his church” meaning that Peter is going to be foundational in the future movement Jesus is creating. Only shortly thereafter, Jesus speaks some of the harshest words he does anywhere to the same person, even calling him Satan. Peter was more interested in Jesus becoming a King like David than a suffering servant who would die on a cross. Jesus makes clear, both then and now, he came to do God’s will and not any others.
Prayer: Determined Lord, it is so easy for me to try to use you for my own purposes instead of making myself a part of yours. Help me to set my heart, mind, and actions on divine things. Amen
Reflection: How do you try to fit God or Jesus into your understanding of who they “should” be instead of accepting them as they say they are? Why?
Action Step: Go outside and pick up a rock that will fit in your pocket. Spend five minutes meditating on the “rock” metaphors in this scripture – rock as a stumbling block, as a representation of human thoughts in opposition to God’s thoughts. Remember that stones were often used as instruments of execution. What are those beliefs or actions you cling to that are in opposition to who Jesus says he is? (Keep the rock for tomorrow’s action step.)
Thursday, January 31st
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:24-26
Insight: Jesus pointedly tells his disciples then and now that if we are to be considered his followers that means we are to actually follow him, doing what he did, living as he lived, and loving as he loved. It is not enough to simply say he is our “Lord” and have nothing in our lives change, but to become a Christian means to become actually like Christ, suffering and all.
Prayer: Compassionate God, help me not to run from what you ask of me for I strive to remember you are with me, empowering me, every step of the way.
Reflection: What aspect of being like Jesus, “picking up your cross and following” is hardest for me? Why?
Action Step: Take the rock you picked up yesterday and carry it with you all day long. Several times throughout the day, hold it and consider how God can transform things that are deadly into things that support life. Remember those metaphors in scripture of a rock as foundation, support, as an image of God eternal, immovable, and reliable.
Friday, February 1st
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:27-28
Insight: Jesus makes clear in this proclamation that our actions do matter. It can be easy for us to feel that what we do is insignificant or that the problems of the world are too great for us to change, but Jesus reminds us what we do matters to him.
Prayer: Gracious God, give me the wisdom to see the ways I can live as you have called, and give me the strength to act. Amen.
Reflection: How does this make you feel? How does this cause you to examine your actions?
Action Step: Think of someone you know personally whose discipleship journey you admire. Call, text or write them a short note describing how their relationship with Jesus inspires you.
Saturday, February 2nd
Reflection: How have I grown, changed, and/or been challenged by what I have experienced through my journey as a disciple this week?
Sunday, February 3rd
Action Step: Join us this morning in worship at Quail Springs UMC at 8:30am, 9:45am, or 11:00am as we begin the next step in our Disciple’s Journey together.