The Gospel of Matthew
This book breaks the Scriptures silence from the Old Testament to the New. Hundreds of years stand in that gap. Though Matthew probably was not the first book written of the New Testament (many scholars suspect James to be the first to be penned), it does serve a unique purpose of leading into the New Covenant.
Matthew writes an eyewitness view and from a very strong Jewish perspective that serves as an amazing bridge. Matthew covers from Genesis to Revelation in his Gospel account. In times in my life when I needed a good reminder of God's faithfulness from the beginning to the end, I pick up this Gospel.
Here's what to expect as we journey through Matthew together:
On Mondays, I will post the reading plan for the week. On Fridays, I will write a blog about that weeks reading. On Saturdays, I encourage you to go back and listen to that weeks reading using a tool like the Bible App. Through out the reading, I encourage you to note questions, mark your Bible up with underlining and circling. I think you will find as you note questions in the margins that the Holy Spirit will be answering those along our Journey. He is so very Faithful! Feel free to share this reading plan with your Life Groups (small groups), friends and family. On Friday blogs, there will be discussion questions to ponder which will be great for small groups or a friend or even just a quiet reflection time by yourself.
This Weeks Reading Plan:
Monday- Matthew 1-2; Isaiah 9:2-7; & Jeremiah 31:15
Tuesday- Matthew 3-4; Isaiah 40:3; & Malachi 4:1-6
Wednesday- Matthew 5:1-16; Psalm 37:11, 2 Corinthians 7:10
Thursday- Matthew 5:17-48; 2 Timothy 3:15-16; & James 4:1-2
Friday- Matthew 6-7; 1 Chronicles 29:11-13; & 1 John 1:28-29
We count on your Spirit's aide as we read this Gospel. If we are reading this for the first time or the 100th time, Lord, you have something new for us and I pray that our hearts are reading to see this Gospel with new eyes and an expectant heart. Lord, show us you! Let us know you! Let us be changed by you!
My heart has hurt for 7 weeks now. Our last baby was born still 7 weeks ago. The mountains of my life came crashing down again, the waters raged around me.. I have felt like I was drowning. Emotions, feelings, physical pain has been intense. I tried my best to just keep going.
Psalm 46 has been my cling to passage during this season.
"God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though the waters roar and foams
and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah
There is a river-
its streams delight the city of God,
the holy dwelling place of the Most High.
God is within her; she will not be toppled.
God will help her when the morning dawns.
Nations rage, kingdoms topple;
the earth melts when he lifts his voice.
The LORD of Armies is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah
Come, see the works of the LORD,
who brings devastation on the earth.
He makes wars cease throughout the earth.
He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces;
he sets wagons ablaze.
"Be still and know that I am God,
exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth."
The LORD of Armies is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah"
Last night, I wailed myself back to sleep. I woke up because I had a dream the baby was crying and I needed to go feed him. But when I woke up to feed him, reality hit and it was just a dream. My emotions stormed, my world trembled. And the lover of my soul whispered, "Be Still and know I am Your God."
He isn't just God. He is my God. He is your God. Jesus made it personal. From the very beginning He was never okay with death being our ending. But from the fall, He had a passion and a love for us that drove Him from the Highest place to the cross. It drove Him to the grave. But it also is what propelled Him to Victory in Resurrection. One thing grief has taught me is love never ever dies though people do. Our God is Love.
Love is fighting for us. Be Still.
He is NOT DONE, Be Still.
He is Coming, Be Still.
He is Making All Things New, Be Still.
Death does NOT have the final say, Be Still.
Love never gives up, Be Still.
That Trumpet will Sound, Be Still.
HE IS RISEN, Be Still.
Be Still. He is God!
Be Still. Love conquers all things.
But my heart remembers His weeping at the grave of Lazarus. Even knowing what was coming next, a resurrection, Jesus wept. In the stillness, emotions allow us to become aware that things are not as they should be. In the stillness... I am reminded that in the time we are still, we are standing on Holy Ground where we have to focus our mind on Him. If we are not still we could look around and get overwhelmed by the waves, like Peter. Being still has nothing to do with not feeling, it has everything to do with even though we feel... we stand firm. We stand still on the Rock of the Church.
He is the Christ. Be Still, Church, Be Still.
I've been sitting here all day. My husband has cleaned the house, done the laundry, meal prepped for the next week for me... I sit here and watch my kids play in the backyard. I'm 14 weeks pregnant. High-risk pregnant. I've been told to "take it easy" but I am not on bed rest...
Shots, a cerclage, and the uncertainty of the outcome are in the future for us. We have been here before. We have had successful pregnancies, we have had preterm deliveries, we have had miscarriages... there is no way to know what the outcome will be at this moment. We planned to never be in this position again. We were tired of losing babies but we find ourselves here again.
I find myself soaking in the story of Simeon in Luke 2:25-35. Simeon was promised by the Holy Spirit the he would see the Messiah before his death. I am always shocked that Simeon recognizes the Messiah in a heartbeat. He is so in-tuned with the Holy Spirit that he recognized his Messiah instantly. Simeon takes Jesus into his arms. Even though Jesus was a baby, Simeon still recognized his messiah. Simeon probably had to rearrange how he saw to see what the Holy Spirit had for him that day. So many things happen in this life and we do not recognize Jesus in the moments. We scream out, "why do you let this happen?" But death and sin and worry do not come from God... it isn't His fault. We have to rearrange how we see.
Simeon was a regular believer in his day, a laymen, but He was so filled with the guidance of the Spirit that he knew exactly what to be looking for.
Are you looking for what He has for you today?
As I sit here, I am learning a lot from the Holy Spirit and what he wants me to learn through these days. I don't think He planned this to "teach me a lesson" but I know through every experience, that there is something we can learn through everything. Though, I am not ready to share the things that He is illuminating to me... I want to sit still with Him on these things in prayer for a few more days before sharing.
I know he has taught me to rearrange how I see so that I can see His salvation in everything. No matter the outcome of this pregnancy He is my/our Salvation and the only miracle we need.
Jesus is the only miracle I need.
Because Christ Lives,
Tonight, I am reading "Mary's Song" from Luke 1:46-55 for our Church Christmas Eve Service. I have always caught this passage to be some what of a stumbling block for many. One woman seems to be exalted above all others just because of her obedience. Now, don't get me wrong... I do look at Mary's obediance and I am thankful and inspired at the same time. Many call her the 2nd Eve. Because of Mary's obedience...Eve's disobedience is undone! This is a big deal! From this obedience comes the birth of the 2nd Adam.
But in vs. 48 and 49, Mary uses the word "Me" but those statements that are said about her are not just for her to say. She says, "From this time on all generations will count me blessed." Now, the statements that Mary sang are very true about her but they are NOT just true about her. Because of Jesus... they are true for all believers. Christ coming causes a wave of "blessed" through out all generations.
The incarnation made the way for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Because Mary carried and gave birth to the Savior, we all can now carry and give Jesus His Body because of His Spirit indwelling in us.
We too are called to obedience like Mary. We are called to carry and birth Jesus into a broken world by living lives that give him hands and feet in this world today.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Because Christ Lives,