Day 44 – Mark 14:17–26
by Annie Kirk
Two things happen in today’s reading. Firstly, Jesus reveals one of the disciples will betray him. This will happen after they have shared a meal together, which in the Middle east is the worst kind of treachery.
Secondly, which is the more important event, they share communion for the very first time. This meal closely resembles the Jewish passover meal. Passover was celebrated to remind the Israelites about the time when they were slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh refused to let the people go, so God punished Egypt. But he ’passed over’ the Jewish homes. When we celebrate communion today, we are reminded that God’s punishment for our sin is ’passed over’ us too. Because of Jesus we are forgiven! Spend some time thanking God for this.
Day 43 – Mark 14:1–9
by Annie Kirk
Am I the only one who gets why the disciples are so annoyed by this woman? I mean, what she did was extremely wasteful! Yet, Jesus doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he encourages her and defends her to the disciples. So why are the disciples annoyed? Was it because they were concerned about the poor, like they said? Or was it because it becomes painfully obvious they are not prepared to make the same sacrifice as the woman? This perfume might have been her insurance for harder times, or her retirement fund. But because of her (non-romantic) love for Jesus she was prepared to ”waste” it all. Would the disciples have done the same? And more importantly, would you?
Day 39 – Matthew 6:1-4, John 3:16
To end this week we add in probably the most popular and well known verse of the whole Bible. It’s the verse we all know. It’s the gospel in one simple verse. This week we have been exploring a personal faith in this God who gave up His only Son in order to save you. I am not a parent yet either but hopefully in the next couple of years I will know what it feels like to have a precious son or daughter that I would do anything for. I know that any distance I have put between me and things I want to hold on to will diminish when I have something that precious.
God also had to give up His hold on His only Son for a bigger cause. In the final moments on the cross, Jesus shouted out ‘Lord, why have you forsaken me’. For Jesus to completely destroy death and have the power He had to save us, He had to have been separated from the Father. For Jesus to truly know what our loneliness can be, He had to experience that too. God had to give that up for just a moment.
What is it that you have been holding on to that you could let go of. It doesn’t mean you can’t have it, but it does mean you are giving God control over it. It could be a relationship that has finally started, a new device or game you have saved up for or something else you hold precious. Make sure it doesn’t become more important to you than your own relationship with God. The bigger picture is way more important.
Day 38 – Matthew 6:1-4, Acts 2:43-47, 4:32-37, 6:2-7
OK, so we gave you a whole lot more reading today. But what do you notice happening in these passages from Acts? You see people following Jesus and having a very different outlook on life than we see today. Giving up and sharing their possessions, then a growing of the church as their minds were set on the right things.
Sacrificing some of our pleasures in life might be really difficult, but as we learned at Youth Group last week, if we are to stop becoming a slave to these possessions, we need to be willing to give them up for a time. Show ourselves above anyone else that are not dependant on them.
For lent, Annie and I gave up meat. I had the attitude for a long time that meat was necessary in a meal. But I have actually felt healthier than ever by looking for the vegetarian food to get the same nutrients. In truth I haven’t missed meat as much as I thought I would. Perhaps a few days without what ever it is that you have become dependant on will help you see that you don’t need to be dependent on them.
Day 37 – Matthew 6:1-4, Matthew 6:33
The additional verse today reminds me about what we saw last year when we looked more closely at Solomon and his big start as the King of Israel. When God offered him whatever he wanted, either power or wealth, he asked for wisdom, and got given the others as well. You see, the wisdom that he asked for helped Solomon know how to use that power and wealth wisely, so that Solomon ended up being one of the greatest Kings of the time. He was a business man and a leader. A little like some of the leaders today but without the hypocrisy and lies.
‘Seeking first the kingdom’, waiting for the rewards He has for us might be the hard thing to do, but like Solomon, I believe we will know how to use the things we want in the proper way and not abuse them. We will be trusted with more if we understand how to use the little.
Day 36 – Matthew 6:1-4
What rewards in heaven are these? Well they could be both in heaven and on earth but this whole idea feels hard to get our head around. If we do things on earth without even a thought of getting a reward, then we can expect to get a reward, but if we do something asking for a reward, then we may get it, but that’s all we get.
This isn’t the only time that we see this in the Bible. Jesus talks about this kind of thing when we says that the first shall be the last and the last shall be the first in heaven (Matt 20:16). He says that to save life, we need to give up life for Him (Matt 16:25).
I think what Jesus is getting at here is that we need to let go of everything. Forget about fame and fortune and being centre of attention, that will make us self centered, give us hardened hearts and will make us closed off to anything Jesus can do in us. Instead, worry about other people and loving them, helping them. The reward on earth will come in the form of a transformed character, the reward in heaven is something we’ll have to look forward to.
Day 35 – Matthew 6:1-4
The passage this week is a moment from the sermon of the mount. There has been a lot of focus on this day recently. It was where Jesus fed the 5000, that night was when Jesus walked on water and calmed a storm. It was a busy day for Jesus.
Straight after Jesus gave the sermon on the mount, and said these words, He went and did exactly that. He went to a quiet place, found peace with God and prayed to God words that will always and forever only be between Him and His father.
If you took 10 minutes today, to say something to God that you knew only He would hear. What would they be? That is the case every time you pray. It is just between you and God. Take that 10 minutes today and tell God things you know only He will hear.
Day 33 – Matthew 6:1-4
Isn’t social media just amazing. I have the power to post all the pictures I want of my food, my accomplishments, my pets (when I visit my parents), my high scores, my moments that I think are hilarious and I think that others will to so I’m sure by posting the moment I will be able to spread the joy.
I can also show people how amazing I can be sometimes. How I gave so much money to charity, how I ran a marathon and supported 28 Too Many, how I go out for time with God, the many other things I do which I never thought I ever would.
I agree with what Annie said (not only cos she’s my wife and I have to) last week when she said that it s natural to boast. Of course it is. I want to challenge you this week that not everything needs to be shared with the world. Somethings can be kept, just for you.
Day 31 – Isaiah 58:6–7
by Annie Kirk
A couple of days ago we read Matthew 6:16–18. Today’s text is along the same lines. It again reminds us that fasting is not for your own benefit. But this time, instead of making the point that fasting is for God’s benefit it’s for the benefit of the poor and the oppressed (= bullied). Good deeds for our own benefit are fine, but we need to have a wider perspective. This is really difficult! Maybe spend some time today thinking about if there is anyone in your life that needs your help. None of us can make the world a perfect place, but all of us can help make it a little better!
Day 28 – John 4:32–34
by Annie Kirk
One of the weirdest, yet most basic things we learn about Jesus is that he is 100 % God and 100 % human. It doesn’t make mathematical sense, but there you have it. As God it makes sense that Jesus didn’t need to eat, but as a human he would need food to survive. Yet, in this passage he refuses to eat, saying the only thing he needs is to do God’s will. What do you think Jesus means when he says that? As humans we obviously need to keep eating to survive, but do you think it’s possible to have the kind of relationship to God where it feels like food is unimportant and the only thing that really matters is your relationship to God? Or was that just for Jesus?