January is a time of renewal. It’s also a time for melancholy. For many, the past holidays became a time of mourning - memories of loved ones, broken relationships, loneliness; for others, a time of joy - being with loved ones, developing relationships, full houses. And often, it’s a mix of the two.
As the madness of this season comes to an end, let’s take some time with this Lectio Divina, as we continue in the Gospel according to Matthew. I trust the passage will encourage you as you look forward to the New Year and as you make goals for 2016.
Set this time apart to be with God, to encounter God, and to hear from God as you meditate on this Scripture in Matthew. As you follow these steps, focus on hearing from God - not thoughts you’ve had before or the study of others.
Simply, “be still and know”, listening for the “still, small voice” of God.
Lectio Divina Steps
- Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent – slow your breathing, calm your mind, and enjoy the silence for a few moments.
- Begin to read the text slowly – pay particular attention to any word or phrase that might jump out at you as you read.
- Take the word or phrase and focus on it. Repeat it to yourself and maybe even memorize it.
- Speak to God using whatever means you like – write a poem, draw a picture, sing a praise song or hymn, sit in silence listening, talk to God, or just do nothing. Experience God by using the word or phrase from your reading.
- Rest in the silence and the reality that God is with you – that God has spoken to you, is speaking to you, and will speak to you.
- Carry the word or phrase with you throughout the day (or the whole month) and allow it to transform the way you view yourself and others, and the way you interact with others in everything you do.
Following the passage of Scripture, you will find quotes and a closing prayer that are connected with the passage and the topic of God’s justice. These can be used to further your contemplation of the passage. When you are finished with your devotion time, we encourage you to use the prayer to set your mindset for the day, the week and the rest of the month. Also, we would love to hear how God is speaking to you.
Matthew 6: 19-21, 24
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.” - Mother Teresa
“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” - Thomas Merton
“Do you often feel like parched ground, unable to produce anything worthwhile? I do. When I am in need of refreshment, it isn’t easy to think of the needs of others. But I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, an amazing things often happens. I find my own needs wonderfully met. Refreshment comes in ways I would never have thought of, both for others, and then incidentally, for myself.” - Elisabeth Elliot
“There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the [Christian] life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is. But its outworkings are tragic.” - A. W. Tozer
“Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.” - Richard C. Halverson
Lord, help us live so foolishly for you that we draw onlookers and those who would deride us. And while they watch and mock, change all our hearts that we might learn to laugh at the foolishness this world calls normal and run away with the circus that is real life. Amen
If you need prayer and encouragement, please let us know, we would love to pray with you.