Read Jn 14.15-31 – In his book, Gary Chapman, outlines Five Love Languages we respond to; Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gift Giving, Physical Touch. These are basic actions in which people feel love when they receive them. Usually there is a primary and a secondary that we prefer. But what is God’s love language? Which does He prefer? Well, none of these. But Jesus makes it very clear as to how we ought to love God. Loving God is to obey Him. Three times in John 14.15-31 Jesus explicitly states if we love God we will obey Him (one is His own example). Now let me be clear, God’s love for us is not contingent on us loving Him (He proved that on the cross). But our love for Him…well…that is the question, isn’t it? Do we say we love God? Does our actions match our words?
Read Mt 26.20-30, Mk 14.17-26, Lk 22.14-30, Jn 13.21-30 – The last supper was a solemn occasion. Great suffering was in store for both Jesus and His disciples. But Jesus gives them a bright ray of hope for the future. In Mark’s and Luke’s gospel, Jesus will not eat the Passover supper until He eats it new in the kingdom of God. But Matthew gets personal. He records Jesus’s words this way; “…until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Did you catch that? Drink it with YOU in my FATHER’s kingdom. Now that is something to look forward to! How does this make you feel? Who do you need to invite to the great kingdom feast in the future with Jesus?
Read Mt 26.20-30, Mk 14.17-26, Lk 22.14-30, Jn 13.21-30 – Jesus had just explained that one of His very own would betray Him. The initial response was very humble; “Is it I?” But then it as if someone flipped a switch and pride’s ugly head begins to rise. You can almost hear the disciples saying; “Yeah, yeah, good story, Jesus. But anyway, which one of us is the greatest?” Incredible! And what does Jesus do? He washes their feet! Amazing! But before we start casting stones at the Apostles, haven’t we had our moments of selfishness and pride. Haven’t we turned on a dime and went from humble to haughty in seconds. I thank God for the disciples and their weaknesses. It’s like looking in a mirror. In a warped kind of way they give me hope.
Read Mt 25.14-30 – When you look at the Five Love Languages, I’m definitely a “Words of Affirmation” guy! So you can imagine how I feel reading the words of the Master when He says to the servants; “Well done, good and faithful slave…enter into the joy of your master.” But how does one get such a proclamation from the Creator of the Universe? By wisely investing what the Master has given us. We who invest not only our finances but also our gifts, talents, and abilities (and everything else we have) in the kingdom of God will receive such a commendation. Are we investing all for the sake of the kingdom? Are we teaching and exhorting others to do the same?
Read Mt 24.1-51, Mk 13.1-37, Lk 21.5-38 – I saw one just the other day in the comments on my YouTube channel; “You must believe me. I have the Holy Spirit. So and so is the Antichrist. I’m telling the truth.” And yet these predictions are false time and time again. Jesus warned us and gave us many indicators for the end times. The best way to keep from being fooled by the false prophets is to read the Prophet of prophets. If Jesus said it, you can take it to the bank! Are we reading the Scriptures enough to be able to recognize the charlatans? Are we teaching the disciples to read the Bible for themselves or have we become the “Expert in the Middle?”
Read Mt 24.13, Heb 10.32, 12.2, Jam 1.3-4, 5.11 – In this morning’s reading I was bombarded with the word “endurance.” Back in the day I was a triathlete (Swim, Bike, Run). Yes, I know, hard to believe but true Each event had it’s pain and discomfort that I had to endure. The trick to finishing the race was to push through the challenging points until you fell back into some kind of rhythm. And because I had experienced the fear of water, sitting on a seat the size of your hand, and the led leg transition from bike to the run many times before, I knew I could press on and finish the race. Our goal in this life is to press through all the pain and discomfort and keep loving God and People. Finishing like this would be a great victory! Are we motivated by what waits for us at the finish line? Is the glory of God enough to keep us going?
Read Mt 13.31-33, 44-46 – “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, leaven, treasure, and a priceless pearl.” Jesus had a way of lifting up the people’s eyes. He helped them to see, not what could be, but what would be. He inspired people with the truth and certainty of the growth of God’s kingdom. He challenged them to place their values and priorities in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus ignited the heart and stirred the soul toward the things of God having eternal worth. Are we casting vision this way? Are we touching both heart and soul and reminding people that they are a part of the greatest enterprise known to man, the kingdom of God.
Read Mt 11.20-30 – Apparently, God gets a lot of pleasure in giving revelation to infants rather than the wise. That’s what Jesus says. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because children are so humble and inquisitive. They are always asking “Why?” They seem so hungry to learn. Here’s a tip for all us disciple-makers. Always be willing to learn from those you are teaching. Ask questions. Listen carefully. Never say; “Oh you just now figured that out. I’ve known that for a long time.” Are we being infants? Are we as teachable as we’d like the people we train to be?
Read Galatians 5 – When I was a young soldier I was taught to march. The main idea was to be in complete alignment with everyone else in the formation. When their right foot hit the ground, so did mine (or a sergeant would make sure I hit the ground in the form of push-ups). This alignment caused a smooth flowing movement of soldiers in a particular direction. As disciples of Jesus it is the same objective. We want to be in complete alignment with Him through His Holy Spirit. Another way to put it; Abide in Christ. And alignment is the key to a fruitful life. Are we in step with His Spirit? (1 Jn 2.6)
Read Mt 5.13-20 – “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Another shocking statement from Jesus! Later in His discourse He would says something that sounds even more preposterous! “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5.48) What?! Impossible!!! That is, unless you understand the Great Exchange; “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5.21). Jesus made our “Mission Impossible” possible through His substitutionary death on the cross. Are we resting in His righteousness to free us up to be more like Him?