PALM/PASSION SUNDAY OF LENT
If you have not watched today's worship service click the buttom above to be taken to our Facebook page where you can view the service and listen to the sermon.
Rest and Reflect: Today, rest in God’s goodness as you attend worship.
What is one thing you heard in the sermon that inspired your heart?
Over the last few days, I have realized anew how much we as human beings rebel when we are told not to do a certain thing. For me, this rebellious spirit rises in me because I question whether or not this restriction is in my best interest. Today at 5 p.m., we will begin a statewide stay-at-home order. For some, this will not change what they have been doing for the last two weeks, but for others, this will be hard to handle.
Let us remember that we are doing this to keep ourselves and others safe; let's have faith in this process. The Psalmist is describing his faith in the face of great trouble, but he is also surrendering control of his life over to God. Today our challenge is to align our hearts with the words of verses 14 and 15: "But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, You are my God! My future is in your hands." Each one of us has this capacity of faith, so may we let the worries we have today be the seeds that grow our belief and hope in God tommorow.
What aspect of your future do you need to place in God's hands?
The idea of your friends being afraid to come near you may seem a little crazy, but in the day and time when this Psalm was written, it was common for friends to fall away when it appeared God had withdrawn his blessing from an individual. In reality, this may be more common today than we realize or are comfortable admitting. We have felt the pain of knowing we are the talk of the town, that rumors were going around about us.
All of this pain was the reality of the psalmist, and it was even worse because he had people plotting to take his life. During the season of Lent, one thing to remember is that Jesus felt all of these feelings as well, especially as his betrayal and death approached. Sometimes all we need is a shift in thinking. Today's reading offers an opportunity to move from stinking thinking to a Kingdom perspective. No matter how bad we have it, for most, it is nothing compared to the pain and trouble the psalmist faced. This shift in perspective can change everything for us. This shift can wake us up to the goodness of God's grace and help to set us free from the bondage that seeks to control our lives with fear.
How can you break out of your stinking thinking? Does reading this Psalm help with that at all?
(By clicking on the button above it will take you to the Bible Gateway website where you can read today's Biblical passage, or feel free to read it in one of your own Bibles.)
As we draw close to the beginning of Holy Week, I want us to return to the book of Psalms. This book was designed for use in worship by the people of Israel. However, this a book full of language which cries out to God in heartache and suffering. This painful crying out to God may be hard to read at times, but it serves to teach us that God is always there to hear us when we reach out for help in moments of suffering. Now, let us take a closer look at verse 11: “even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me on the street, they run the other way." Sometimes the Bible gets a bad rap for not being relevant to the problems of the current day. However, I suspect that right now most people can relate closely to all of these verses. In light of the social distancing we are currently experiencing, verse 11 stands out to me. The Psalmist is talking about something different here, but we can still relate to these words. You may be enjoying the slower pace of our lives these days, but some, myself included, find this to be a real struggle. I find comfort in knowing that when I struggle I can call out to God in distress and so can you. Let us not hesitate to do so.
In what ways have the past few days been a struggle for you? Do you feel like you can relate to the words of the Psalmist today? How so?
Matthew 22:23-33 NLT
Wow! Jesus blows a hole in your whole belief structure in one fell swoop. Did you catch that sharp comment from Jesus?
"Your mistake is that you don't know the Scriptures, and you don't know the power of God."
I do not know about you, but for me, I hope I never hear those words from Jesus. I know for sure that I have spoken from a place of ignorance regarding the scriptures, and I am thankful for God's grace when I have done so. The Sadducee's problem, however, is different because they believed and taught that there was no resurrection from the dead. This mistaken belief doesn't just come from a lack of faith in eternal life. Jesus points this out with the words, "you don't know the power of God." Their issue with the resurrection is not about this belief; it is about them doubting the power of God to do this fantastic thing.
Today we live in a world in which we need to have faith in God's power. As I face the problem of COVID 19, I need God to be powerful enough to raise the dead. I do not ever remember questioning the resurrection, yet in recent days, I have worried about how this virus is affecting our world. I imagine you can relate to that feeling. Something I cling to today is a man with an unclean spirit who, when asked by Jesus if he could believe, said, "I believe, help my unbelief." Dear Lord Jesus, we believe; help our unbelief!
Where do you struggle to believe? How can you continue to ask God to help your unbelief?