Attached below is Week 1 of a deeper dive into the profoundly relevant letters Peter the Apostle penned 2000 years ago–into what has become the books we know as First and Second Peter. This look into these formative teachings is becoming a series of sermons and studies we’re calling “Homeward Bound.” What we’ll find in these 7 weeks of readings in 1 & 2 Peter is this: We all ought to be moving towards Heaven by loving everyone and everything rightly on Earth.
Feel free to click on the Download button and jump into this week’s first five daily readings. You are welcome to download it to any of your devices or just return here each day this week to read the next day’s reading. Reading these words and having them transform your life is done best in a group, so circle up with someone and learn together how the Kingdom of God might best look in you live this life . . . Homeward Bound!
Matthew 26:36-39—Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” 39 Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (NIV)
Isn’t it amazing that even Jesus hungered for community in His life when He was suffering? Even God Incarnate–Jesus Himself–intentionally asked people to walk with Him so He might go all the way with His mission. How can you build community like this? How ARE you community like this for someone else?
Jesus personified selflessness to do the Father’s will instead of just acting in His own needs or interests. Why is it so hard to do this?
Father, the irony of reading this passage and then praying alone about it reminds me that I need to be a part of a family. Even YOU needed family to sit with You in Your pain . . . to pray with You in Your pain. Lord, please build Your Family around me and give me a heart to receive Them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Psalm 116:1-2,12-14—I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. 2 Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! . . . 12 What can I offer the Lord for all He has done for me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. 14 I will keep my promises to the Lord . . . (NLT)
C.S. Lewis said in The Problem of Pain: “I call this a Divine humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up ‘our own’ when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is ‘nothing better’ now to be had… It is hardly complimentary to God that we should choose Him as an alternative to Hell: yet even this He accepts.”
Here in Psalm 116, we receive a word picture of how God listens to us and our prayer. The Psalmist says God “bends down” to listen. Like a loving mother or father who wants to hear their child, God wants His ears and eyes to be near ours to communicate not only an answer, but His love.
If God is that intimate with us, how does the Psalmist say we should respond to Him (116:12-14)?
God to think that you ‘stoop’ down to me—a creature with so many broken pieces and every one of those big and small rebellions I’ve done. Yet, like a tender Father who knows better than to be petty with my spiritual adolescence, You bend over to hear each stumbling word I pray. I promise today that I will commit this day to be more praising of You and to keep each promise to follow You I’ve failed to keep before. Because today is a new day when You have a Father who forgives His children so easily. My praise to Your ears, Amen!
Isaiah 60:22—At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen. (NLT)
Galatians 4:4—When the time was right, God sent His Son, and a woman gave birth to Him. (CEV)
Ephesians 1:10,11—And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together … He makes everything work out according to His plan. (NLT)
John 2:1-11—There was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told Him, “They have no more wine.” 4“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My TIME has NOT yet come.” 5 BUT his mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” 6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, 8 He said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed His instructions. 9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” 11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed His glory. And His disciples believed in Him. (NLT)
The Hebrew verb ‘eth (aith) is used in Isaiah 60 when Scripture talks about how God works His plans out: it means “fit; proper time.” God will work His timing when it best fits. He reiterates this about His wisdom in the NT in Ephesians when God says He’ll work out His plan in the “right time.” Do you think it is right or wrong, then, to ask God to act in a certain timing?
For a cross-reference to better understand this deep idea, make sure to look at John 2:1-11. Whose timing was Jesus’ timing?
What are the implications of this idea of God’s “timing” to our prayer life and how we “believe” in Him like His first disciples?
What miracle of timing are you asking God to perform right now?
Father, You are working things out in ways that best fit for Your plan for all of us and for the best way we might all recognize You as the Powerful and Wise God. But everything in my soul tells me my strongest faith also always includes praying to You–asking You to act. (Just like Your mother Mary did.) I will never presume I know best, but I also know You love us so much You’ll do miracles when we ask. I’m OK living in the tension of not knowing how that all works because You do! I love You, Lord. Amen.
Mark 4:24-25—“Consider carefully what you hear,” He continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (NIV)
In America, we have a fundamental truth we believe in: “All men are created equal.” Of course, this doesn’t mean all men and women LIVE equally and EXPERIENCE EQUAL BLESSING as a result. Why is listening to God and how we live so vital to Jesus?
He equates living our lives with “measuring.” What do you think this means?
Lord, listening to You takes time and discernment. Honestly, I’m not always sure when I hear You or when I’m just hearing my own thoughts bang around in my head. So, I thank You for Your Word which is something I don’t need to doubt whether You’re saying or not to me. Help me to respond to Your directions—both in the Word and in the Spirit’s speaking to me—by measuring out to my neighbor all the effort, holiness, kindness, and love as You have measured to me. For Jesus’ name, Amen.