Sunday April 26, 2020

Today’s Reading: Jonah 1:1-16

“This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?’ (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)”

Jonah 1:10

Sermon Main Idea: Get out of the way of God’s call on you life.

Listen to Rev. Solomona’s sermon from today’s 10AM Sunday Worship Livestream on our Facebook Page, Reflect on the Text Points and Life Notes below.

Text Notes: The prophet rejects God’s direction (v.1-3). The prophet ignores God’s correction (v.4-9). The sailors pray for God’s compassion (v.10-16).

Life Notes:

• God’s call is for us, but not about us. How would you explain this point to someone running from God?
• God’s correction is restorative, not punitive. What is the difference between punishment, correction, and consequences?
• God can reach the lost without us, but wants to reach the lost with us. What does this tell us about God’s character?

Prayer: Almighty God, Your ways are higher that my ways, and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Please show me all that is keeping me from heeding Your call upon my life and following You more closely, so that I might not let anything keep me from seeking after You. Help me to surrender to Your perfect way and to trust in Your perfect will. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Luke 7:1-17; Genesis 8-10; Psalm 4

Saturday April 25, 2020

Today’s Reading: Luke 6: 27-36

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Luke 6:36

Meditation: The lengths to which Jesus calls His followers to show love is uncomfortable for most if not all of us. We are told to turn the other cheek, to give freely and generously, to do good to even our enemies. This teaching raises the standards of the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, which allowed the one who was harmed to return the same harm to their neighbor who harmed them. Justice was served to those who sinned against others by the hand of those who were wronged.

But Jesus, the One Who had come to fulfill that same Law (Matthew 5:17) calls for a response which takes attention away from what we think we deserve from others, and focuses on what we should show to others. Even sinners, Jesus says, love the ones who show them love in return. In other words, anyone can love the lovable. But the love Jesus calls us to show others is a love which is boundless, a selfless love which extends to even those who are difficult to love. Even to those to do not love.

Why are we called to show this love? Jesus teaches that we are called to be like our Father in Heaven, Who is “kind to the ungrateful and the wicked” (v. 35) and “merciful” (v. 36). If we really examined ourselves honestly, we could admit that we are not always good people. In fact, we fall vastly short of the standard which has been set for us to follow. We sin against God and others, but God is gracious to us anyway. Knowing the depth of sin and wickedness in the world, God the Father loved us so much that He showed us love through Jesus. God, while enduring jeers, abandonment, and torture displayed the greatest act of sacrificial love ever performed. This is not the kind of love we deserve, but it is the love that God chooses to give us.

We are deeply known by God, Who completely sees our faults and our failures. We are also deeply loved by God, Who, knowing our sin and our need for a Savior, chose to die for us. He died for us in our least lovely state and also for others. He loves each person deeply and fully. In being reminded of our Father’s love and mercy, as Jesus describes, imagine the heart of God towards someone who might be difficult for you to love. The call Jesus gives is to show the love of God. How can we allow the heart of God to transform our own heart towards others?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your love is perfect. There is no one Who knows me like You and loves me like You. Thank You for Your mercy and love. Please help me to show more completely the love that You first showed me through the sacrifice of Christ Your Son, so that others would know how much You love them too. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Luke 6:27-49; Genesis 6:1-7:24; Psalm 3

Friday April 24, 2020

Today’s Reading: Psalm 2

“‘I Have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”‘

Psalm 2:6

Meditation: The psalmist declares the extent of God’s sovereignty and strength. While there are those who seek to come against God, they are no match for His power and authority. The psalmist also declares God’s faithfulness to His people, saying that He will establish for them a king who will provide protection and safety to those who seek Him as a refuge. This psalm is one of many that promises not just any kingship, but a unique and Holy Kingship which was established: the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.

Roughly a thousand years before Jesus’ birth, the psalmist prophesied about God establishing the Holy Kingship of His Son. Mount Zion is synonymous with the City of Jerusalem. On this same holy mountain, just outside of the City, Jesus died on a cross as a criminal. Upon Jesus’ crucifixion, Pontius Pilate unknowingly declared Jesus’ Kingship when he prepared a sign which was fastened to the cross in Aramaic, Latin and Greek, reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (John 19:19). Jesus exhibited His strength through surrender and love through sacrifice. In obedience and surrender to God the Father, Jesus the Son conquered the unconquerable – sin and death – and was raised to life by God the Father to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

By people, Jesus was made a spectacle and criminal for all of the wrong reasons. Yet God used the witnesses of His death to provide proof to generations after them of Jesus’ perfect work. Centuries of prophesy prove that nothing is a surprise to God. Moreover, they prove that God is in control, working together all things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according His purposes (Rom 8:28). Through Jesus, God has done the perfect work which continues to testify of His love for us and the rule and Kingship of His Son. Even through the unknowing actions of people, God moves.

How do we choose to respond to the King who has been spoken of throughout the ages? We can be sure that His promises are kept and His refuge is true.

Prayer: Sovereign LORD, Your Word assures me that You are in control and You are faithful to Your promises. Thank You for this reminder today. Please help me to live in the assurance of Your love and faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Luke 6:1-26; Genesis 3-5; Psalm 2

Thursday April 23, 2020

Today’s Reading: Luke 5:27-32

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow Me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him.”

Luke 5:27-28

Meditation: After showing a crowd that He has the authority to forgive and heal (in Luke 5:17-26), Jesus goes out and sees a tax collector Levi, who is poised at his booth, collecting taxes. The job of the Roman tax collector was looked down upon by the Jewish people. Levi (also revealed to be Matthew in the Gospel of Matthew) was a Jewish man who worked to collect tax money on behalf of the Roman government from his own people. Not only were tax collectors seen as traitors of their people, but they were also known for demanding extra money from the people as a payment to themselves. This type of career led to financial wealth, but a poor societal status.

We read in Scripture that Jesus, after proving His Holy authority through healing and forgiving sins, then goes out and sees Levi performing his tax collector duties and says to him, “Follow Me.” And as simply as Jesus calls to Him, Levi willingly leaves all that he has behind to follow. He leaves behind not only his wealth, but also his lifestyle.

How simple yet difficult can it be to give this response when we are found living our own way! Perhaps there are things we do or decisions we make that we don’t think we need God to manage. But in all situations and circumstances, Jesus calls us out of our own way of life and commands us to simply follow.

Prayer: Lord, every good and perfect blessing comes from You. Thank You for calling me to be Your own. Thank You for the life of love, and purpose that comes from simply following You. Help me to daily forsake my own ways and seek after Your Will. Help me to trust You more and more. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Luke 5:27-39; Genesis 1:1-2:25; Psalm 1