New Priorities, New Living

Reflect

Matthew 10:34-39Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Luke 12:13-21 13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?

15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.

17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”

20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Luke 22:14-30 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”

23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’

26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Matthew 23:1-13 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

Discuss

What surprises you from the Bible verses?

What do they teach you about people?

What do they teach you about God?

Is there a command to obey?

Who do I need to share this message with?

Study Notes

Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the Lord and He heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet upon the rock. He put a song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

Waiting is never easy and can often lead to discontentment. Discontentment and restlessness fight against life’s circumstances when things are not going as expected chaining our hearts and evaporating our freedom.

Lessons from Israel Having been delivered from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites lived with high anticipation of what would come given they had been freed from slavery. Their expectations however were challenged by their preconceived ideas and timing of future events. When they sensed or experienced delays, they felt restless and unhappy.

Their first stop following their departure from Sinai quickly found them complaining. They craved the meat and foods from Egypt. “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (Num. 11:4–6, NKJV).

It’s almost unimaginable to think that they longed to return to slavery rather than continue in and with the joys of freedom. Although free physically and despite witnessing the miracles of God, mentally, they were still slaves in Egypt. This was not God’s plan nor intent for the Israelites, He had a better future planned for them.

God is not deaf to our needs when we feel restless and imprisoned. In Israel’s case, He heard their cry for freedom, delivered them, gave them protection from the elements, water to drink and food to satisfy their hunger, yet they felt restless and cried out for more.

How is this even possible? Unhappiness, restlessness and anger can often trigger a much larger conflict. We fight because there is something amiss in our thinking or emotions that affects our relationships.

Israel rebelled against God’s leading because they didn’t understand God’s desire to set them free. Perhaps they wanted freedom on their own terms – we also need to be careful about this.

No matter our immediate situation, it’s easy to dream of freedom in a very narrow personal way which causes us to lose perspective of the freedom God is longing to give.

David in the book of Psalms reminds us to ‘wait patiently upon the Lord.’ In our waiting, God will reveal His plan. Freedom will come and when it does, it will cover all aspect of our life – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The God who created, the God in who whom Moses trusted is the same God who is the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13).

This same God who knows all things, is the God who can be trusted to bring you the freedom your heart needs. So while you are waiting – trust and your freedom will come.

Next Step

What is the next step you need to take on your freedom journey?  

 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Jeremiah 33:3

FINDING FREEDOM IN REST