Jan 4, 2016

Lifetree Sunday - Second Sunday of Christmas Devotion

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin for 3 Jan 2016. Some of the content in the devotion is adapted from the Lutheran Study Bible and an expository on Matthew by G.R. Osbourne.

Gospel Reading- Matthew 11: 2-15 [ESV]
2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”4 And Jesus answered them. “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” 7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Devotion: Unfulfilled Expectations
Well I’m sorry to be a “kill joy” but this time of year can be a letdown. Christmas is over, and some have to go back to work; some worry about the bills from aggressive shopping; some long to have been able to be with relatives but they live too far away. I am sure you know someone who starts “feeling low” after Christmas or New Year’s Day. Christians sometimes feel let down because we expect God to act in a certain way but He does not and we wonder why—well don’t forget we are human and prone to be self-centered [“poor pitiful me”] and not always God centered. In the text today, Jesus is saying [v11] that as great as John the Baptist is (or was at the time) those who live in God’s kingdom today have it much better [we are “greater” than he]. He is saying that to experience and receive the blessings of the Kingdom is better than to be the one who inaugurates it. We need to realize what we have: the NEW access to God, the power of prayer, and the experience of the fullness of the Spirit. Matthew [v15] wants his readers to “hear” and understand this key truth. Are you ready to start the new year by putting aside our fears and disappointments and helping build up God’s Kingdom?

We pray: “Lord, fill us up with the healing power of Your Holy Spirit.  Amen”
Wishing you God’s blessings and a Happy New Year!