Advent Daily Devotional


Lenten Devotional 3-29-23

Sermon on the Mount

March 29, 2023

Matthew 7: 1-5

7‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

When was the last time you judged someone? What form did it take? One might have been akin to road rage. Someone changed lanes unexpectedly causing you to hit your brakes (feel free to exchange this example with your most resent traffic irritant). You blast your horn, use a common hand gesture, and maybe something worse. You have evaluated this other driver and judged them a menace. (By the way, you have also increased your blood pressure to dangerous levels.) Here is the problem with your judgment. Ask yourself if you have ever done what that driver just did. Be honest! Of course you have. So, if that driver is a menace … so are you. 

Here is another example. You sign on to your favorite social media platform and begin to scroll. You come across a entry that you find … well … ill thought out. You reply with strong words. You feel a moment of euphoria because of your snappy response. Then … the replies to your post start coming in. You suddenly discover that your post was … well … ill thought out. Turns out that speck in that first guy’s eye is tiny compared to your log.

We can’t criticize others for things we do ourselves. Or for things we have done in the past. Or things we might do in the future. We should try to avoid hypocrisy. What Jesus is saying is that we need to be gentle with each other. It might keep you from elevating your blood pressure. It is good for you.

Lenten Devotional 3-27-23

Sermon on the Mount
March 27, 2023
Matthew 6: 25-33
25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will
drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more
than clothing?  26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  27 And can any
of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  28 And why do you worry about
clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,  29 yet I tell
you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  30 But if God so clothes the
grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much
more clothe you—you of little faith?  31 Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or
“What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”  32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these
things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But strive first
for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So … we store up treasure in heaven, we look at the world with Godly light, we worship God
and not money. What does that mean for our personal mindset? In the words of Bobby
McFerrin, “Don’t worry be happy”. While the Gentiles strive for worldly things, they fail to e
happy. But if one strives first for the kingdom of God – and God’s righteousness – you will
receive all that you need. It is a matter of focus. Focus on God and you always get what you
need. Focus on worldly things, you rarely if ever get what you want. Take what God
provides and … well … be happy.

Lenten Devotional 3-28-23

Sermon on the Mount

March 28, 2023

Matthew 6: 34

34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Worry, worry, worry. That’s what human beings do. Worrying comes in different forms. It can be worrying about what you have done in the past. That can come in the form of regret or shame and in its worst form can cause depression. Why depression? Because there is nothing that can be done to change the past. Worrying about the future can cause anxiety and apprehension and in its worst form can cause panic because you will never have complete control of all the potential variables. Focusing on the things that you cannot change and the things you cannot control is futile and Jesus says to stop it! Focus on today. Focus on this moment. That is what Jesus is saying. But that is hard. I learned that when I started practicing meditation. The goal of meditation is to have you stop worrying and just sit in the present moment. But here is what I learned. When you try to meditate, your brain defaults to either your regrets of the past or your list of things you need to do in the future. Don’t believe me? Try it. Yet Jesus says that we need to stop that. How? Trust! Trust that God will provide what you need today, or even in that short moment. That trust can bring peace for today or just in that moment. When human beings first showed up, we were better at that. We were what were called “hunter gatherers”. In small groups, we hunted for food and water every day. Then we ate and drank and slept. That was our day. We worried about hunting and gathering today. Not tomorrow … today. That was enough. We lived that day. And it was enough. I think that is good advice.