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.
God Looks at the Heart
If you watched this week’s video already, you saw Caleb pulled a pretty good trick on his mama. Mrs. Wieneke opened what she thought was a box of delicious chocolates to share with her friends only to find dirty socks, really old bananas and rocks! Everything about the outside of the box told her the inside of the box would be delicious but it wasn’t. Last week we met the tall, handsome King Saul. He was like the fancy, box of chocolates or so the people thought. They wanted a king and of course they wanted someone strong and handsome. They focused on the outside appearance. Things with Saul ended up being disastrous just as God said it would be so God sent Samuel to anoint a new king. Samuel of course thought it would be Jesse’s oldest son or really any of his sons besides David but God said, “Do not look on him or his height. I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees. The Lord looks at the heart”. We can hide some pretty yucky stuff (sin) from our friends or family too at times but God knows our heart.
For Mrs. Wieneke, God knowing what my heart truly can be at times is really scary. I know how much hate, worry, and jealousy I sometimes have and I’m ashamed to admit that. Thankfully we know David as “a man after God’s own heart” and David made some pretty awful mistakes and sins too. We all do. Thankfully God uses us imperfect people to carry out His perfect plans. David was a great example of someone who begged for forgiveness and accepted his consequences for his wrong doings. Thankfully, we can always go to God, asking for forgiveness for our sins and yucky parts of our heart too. As we get ready for Holy week, this is a perfect time to remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross to take away our sins. There is no greater gift than His grace and mercy for us.
For this week, have fun gluing your tissue squares in the heart shape. I used a glue stick and put a few on at a time. As you are gluing on your tissues squares, remember how much God loves you and chose YOU for His special plans too.
Written by people you worship with at St Matthew.
Saul Becomes King—Now Streaming
By Brandon Lupp
The story of Saul’s anointing as King of Israel in 1 Samuel 8-11 has all the makings of a daytime network drama: disobedience, threats, handsome strangers, oxen cut into pieces and carried through the countryside…
Ok, maybe more of a late night, kids are in bed, streaming online drama.
At least it’s full of lessons for life & faith.
Opening Scene: So You’re Sure You Want a King?
Verse 8 begins with the people of Israel demanding a king. If this seems strange to you, it should. They already had a King! This was reflected earlier in the Bible, in Judges chapter 8, where Gideon refused the throne, stating, “the Lord shall rule over you.” In fact up to this point, Israel had existed in the Promised Land for 400 years without a formal, earthly king.
Samuel also recognized this and asked God for help answering the people’s demands. As God instructed, he warned Israel that a king would take their best cattle, their finest wine, their best servants, even their children. In verse 17, Samuel told the people, “you will become his slaves,” and in verse 18, “you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
Wow! Pretty compelling case to stick with the Lord, their heavenly and eternal King. Of course, the people didn’t listen; but even so, the Lord told Samuel to “give them a king” (v22).
Why would God say “Give them a king”? He clearly knew better—hence the warnings he conveyed through Samuel.
It’s an example from the Bible where God gives people what they want, even when He knows best. Too bad these examples only occur in the Bible…
Use Your DVR to Fast Forward to Today
Our lives are full of everyday examples where God allows us to make suboptimal decisions to get what we want. It’s known as free will. God wants us to make our own choices; ideally, he wants us to choose loving, serving and obeying Him, but He knows that sometimes we love things like sleep on a Sunday morning a little more. Sometimes we serve false idols in our lives instead of Him, and sometimes we obey things that are contrary to God’s word.
Fortunately for us, the story of Saul becoming king of Israel is also a story of God’s mercy and grace. Verses 9-11 go on to state how Saul was tall and handsome, handpicked by God and delivered to Samuel; and, while far from a perfect king, we don’t read of evidence that Saul brought the doom and gloom God had instructed Samuel to warn about. In other words, God delivered mercy and grace to Israel. He even delivered a victory over their enemies in chapter 11 (that’s where the oxen come in, in case you skipped that part).
Take a moment to reflect on God’s mercy and grace in your life, particularly in areas where you’ve been given the latitude to make poor decisions that maybe could’ve turned out worse than they actually did. And going forward, remember that God knows best, so consider countering some of that free will with “thy will be done.” That’s the only script guaranteed to deliver a perfect ending.