ST MATTHEW IN THE WORD DURING LENT
Lent is a time of preparation and reflection as we head toward the remembrance of Jesus’ death on the cross for us on Good Friday and His resurrection from the Grave on Easter. Throughout the six weeks leading up to Easter you can make your time in St Matthew in the Word reflective of the season.
One way you can do that is with candles. Take 6 candles of any size and shape and arrange them in the shape of a cross (if you have one of the cross candleholders from St Matthew a few years back, you can use it, but it’s not necessary). Then, each week during Lent light one less candle (all six the first week, then five the next, etc.) symbolizing the darkness that covered the world when Jesus, the Light of the world, died on Good Friday. Then on Easter, light them all! Jesus is risen!
Use the Triple Play as you read with your family, your small group, or even in your personal devotion times!
Highs and Lows: Start by sharing at least one high and one low from the day. Don’t skip this step!
Daily Dig: As you read the text of the week, customize your experience with resources found here to help you grow!
Pray: Take time to pray about the highs and lows and what you’ve read. Give thanks for the highs, ask for help in the lows, and pray for God’s Word to be alive in you each week!
Daily Dig Resources
Everyone learns differently, so we have lots of ways that you can make your time in the Word your own.
These videos and resources will help you dig in and understand the passage.
Other Helpful Resources
Ideas for activities and things to do to apply the text.
Here I Am!
For this week’s activity there is a big note on the outside of the bag, “DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD SEE WHAT IS IN EACH CONTAINER”. There are 5 containers filled with different items. You can either: 1. Blindfold your child and have them shake each container and try to guess what’s in each one. 2. Cover the container with your hands and shake each item next to their ears so they can hear. You’ll want to do one at a time and have them guess after each one.
How many were you able to guess correctly? When you were doing the activity, were you super focusing on your sense of hearing more than you usually do during the a typical day?
The correct answers were:
rice, Skittles, marble, coin (penny), jingle bells
I bet some of you might have said, “Mrs. Wieneke, this is TOO hard! How could I have guessed Skittles? Or a marble?” You listened intently and still might not have answered correctly. In today’s story, Samuel kept hearing someone calling his name too and he didn’t get it right either. He kept going to Eli and saying, “Here I am. For you called me” but Eli kept telling him he didn’t call him and to go lie back down again. Eli eventually realized the Lord was calling Samuel and I love when Samuel says, “Speak Lord. For your servant hears”. Personally, I need to pray and say those very words WAY more often than I do.
God still speaks to us today. You probably won’t hear him calling you out loud like in today’s story, but He speaks to us in many ways and one of those ways is through His Word. His Word, the Bible, shows us Jesus is the way of salvation. His word tells us how to walk in His ways and to know what is right from wrong. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the Word of God is living and powerful”.
The question isn’t “Is God still talking to us today?” but more along the lines of “Are we listening?” It’s not always easy to follow and hear His commands (like some of the containers with items too) but God has so much He wants to share with you. Can I challenge you this week to say, “Speak Lord, I am listening.”?
Written by people you worship with at St Matthew.
God’s Gifts of Joy are Worth the Wait
By Mary Kleinstra
Hannah’s humble faith exemplified God’s gift of JOY for her in His perfect time.
Let patience have her perfect work;
Let God refine your gold;
For in His time He’ll show you why,
And blessings great unfold. —Bosch
The story of Hannah hits home for me as the days of waiting for God to form our family were not the easiest days to endure. Like Hannah, my husband and I traveled the road of infertility, as many people do. I, unfortunately, did not feel as patient or as faithful as Hannah’s life example. But God did have a plan for our family and it was much better than we could ever have imagined with the joy and blessing of three children through the gift of adoption. What that journey did teach me was that God is faithful and He does have a plan for each of us. His timing and His ways are not our ways but His gift of Joy is worth the wait.
This is the first devotional I have written and it is a bit out of my comfort zone, but was it God’s push to me to look closer at this bit of scripture? I learned so much from digging deeper into this bit of God’s Word.
Hannah was dealing with pain and heartache as she experienced infertility for many years. For women in Old Testament times, this was a sign of failure and, to make matters worse, her husband’s other wife (Peninnah) had many children and would cruelly provoke Hannah as Elkanah (their husband) loved Hannah more than he did Peninnah.
Hannah’s humble faith in dealing with her troubles is a great lesson for us all.
HANNAH TOOK HER PROBLEMS TO GOD THROUGH PRAYER
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” (1 Samuel 1:10)
Scripture doesn’t say she took her problems to Elkanah or anyone else, but chose to take her troubles to God in prayer. She did not hold back her emotions or feelings but laid them all before God. Hannah did not stop praying or seeking God in her despair. She felt comfortable letting God know her deepest need and placed her hope in Him.
HANNAH CHOSE TO TRUST GOD’S ANSWER
“Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” (1:18)
Hannah got up from her prayers trusting in Eli’s answer to her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him” (1:17).
Hannah was able to feel God’s peace, hope and joy in her situation. She did not have to live her life downcast as her faith told her God was in control. I admire how Hannah did not burden others with her deep troubles, but put her trust in the answer God would have for her.
HANNAH SERVED THE LORD
“‘I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.’” (1:27-28)
Hannah was blessed with the son she prayed for and kept her promise to give her Son back to the Lord for His service. Not an easy thing for a mom of a young son to do, but she did it with joy and thanksgiving, not in tears and sadness. It touched me to read that each year at the annual sacrifice Hannah would bring a new robe to her dear son Samuel (2:19).
There are never accidents in God’s timing and purposes, as we see in the birth of Samuel. He would become a priest, a prophet, a counselor and Israel’s greatest judge. Samuel was the one who would anoint David as King, who was in the direct lineage of Christ.
HANNAH THANKED THE LORD WITH PRAISE
“Then Hannah prayed and said;
‘My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.’” (2:1-2)
This is the beginning of Hannah’s beautiful prayer. She remembered where her gift of Samuel came from with great thanksgiving, joy and praise to God.
This year in particular has been full of trying times for all of us in one way or another. I pray Hannah’s story encourages you, as it has me, to take your cares to God in earnest prayer, being assured God hears your cry and will answer in His time and in His way.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)