“…what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” Wow, would we not love Jesus to say a remembrance of our work and ministry will be told right alongside of the Gospel? It is the temptation of many leaders and ministries to be “known.” But what is the woman known for? Why do we know of her, but not know her name? What might this mean for my leadership in the church and in ministry? – Jesus, forgive my foolish pride and teach me to be satisfied with your love and with loving in return. Amen
“Lord, half of my possessions, I give to the poor…” Jesus affirms that “salvation” is more than just words; it involves the action of our lives. Changed people, change their ways. Isn’t it easier to talk about new ways and changed behavior than to actually “live” it. Do my actions show a change of heart? Does my behavior prove a life of faith in Christ? How does the living of my life impact my leadership? – Father, I pray that I might not ask others to do, that which I have not. I pray that I might live the life I talk about. Amen.
“One of them, seeing he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.” Christians often like to talk about 10% for tithing, but unfortunately it is often the percent of us “giving thanks”. What if more Christians gave loud thanks? How would the world change? If you are honest, would you be in the group of nine enjoying your answered prayer, or the one who kneels before Jesus feet? – Lord Jesus, healer and compassionate one, I bow before you to simply say, “Thank you.”
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34 is one of the acrostic psalms, using successive Hebrew letters to begin each new line. The very form itself says we need help to remember the goodness of God in our life. This Psalm tells us our thanksgiving can be “all times,” “boasting in God,” and though our thanksgiving may be personal and individual, it is meant for “exalting together.” What are you thanking God about these days? Who is exalting God together with you? – We give thanks to You, O God!
“Greet Pricilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Jesus Christ…” A look at the list of fellow workers in Romans 16:1-16 reminds us that our ministry and work as Christian leaders is not the work of the “Lone Christian;” we need others. Who has God brought into your life and ministry? Give thanks to God for them. Almighty God and Father, I give you thanks for _______________, these persons who are fellow workers in Jesus Christ, Your Son.
“‘How can this be,’ Nicodemus asked. ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and you do not understand these things?'” Nicodemus had some blind spots, unknowns, and questions. The image of having all the answers can be a mirage in the desert. What things “do you not understand?” Father, I depend on you; Jesus, free me to admit “I do not know everything:” Spirit, grant me wisdom to understand Your ways and movements of grace.
“We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! We go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless…When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world…” How does Paul’s view of Christian leadership line up with current perspectives? What about my leadership? Help us to follow in your way Lord Jesus.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” The content and attitude of our hearts are revealed through what comes out of our mouth both in words and songs. What are you talking about these days? What are you singing about? How does this reflect your heart? Lord, so much noise and so many words each day; let my mouth be filled with talk and songs about You.
“Yet, you have made them…crowned them with glory and honor…given them dominion over the works of your hands.” Echoes of Genesis 1:26-27 sound through the Psalmist. Not only is God mindful and caring toward humans, he actually calls them to share in his rule and purposes for all that he has made. What does this mean for us? How am I using my hands and my life for overseeing creation for God’s good purposes? May we be humble enough to serve; empowered to serve in Godly wisdom and power; for the Kingdom and the power and the glory. Amen.
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them…?” Some would say the God revealed in the Old Testament is simply about judgment and fury. The Psalmist says God is “mindful of humans and cares for them.” Unlike the portrayal of many ancient gods, the Biblical God is one that values humans. He created a world good for their thriving and cares for them even when they reject him. What does it mean to you that God is mindful and cares for people and for you? Lord God, help us to see you as you really are.