Sunday, July 3:
Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145: 8-14; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
The reading from Zechariah is a vision of hope that we sometimes connect with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, celebrated on Palm Sunday. Jesus’ victory is not gained in military battle, but in his own suffering death. Jesus’ ministry- his life and his death- often run counter to our expectations of God. Sometimes that means that we might be looking for God to do a certain thing in our lives, only to miss what God is actually up to. Pray: For your eyes to be open to God’s work in our world. For your heart to be open to God’s challenging, upside-down type of kingdom, where those we don’t value are honored, where those who weep will rejoice, where the hungry are filled.
4 Monday: Psalm 131; Jeremiah 27:1-11, 16-22; Romans 1: 18-25
Do: Take a walk or spend some time outdoors today in a place you find especially beautiful and inspiring. Take time to look really closely at something growing. Maybe the kids would like to dig around and find some bugs. Look for signs of other critters. Reflect on how creation points us towards our Creator God.
5 Tuesday: Psalm 131; Jeremiah 28: 10-17; Romans 3:1-8
Consider Romans 3:3b “Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” The answer is NO! What an amazing truth! Nothing you do, no matter how great a sin, will cancel God’s faithfulness to you. Do: If there’s something you’ve done for which you’ve been carrying around a lot of guilt and shame, write it down. Confess it to God. Know that God forgives you through Jesus Christ. Burn the paper and be unburdened of your sin.
6 Wednesday: Psalm 131; Jeremiah 13:1-11; John 13:1-17
Jesus is the ultimate servant who calls us to be servants like him. Jesus does more than just simple kindnesses, he stoops down low, puts the disciples’ dirtiest parts in front of him, doesn’t judge, doesn’t avoid, but just serves. He becomes that which is reviled, outcast, dirty, in order to restore and cleanse. Consider: What would that kind of service look like in your life?
7 Thursday: Psalm 65:1-13; Isaiah 48:1-5; Romans 2:12-16
Psalm 65: 4b “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.” Satisfied. I think that’s a difficult place for us to find ourselves. Much of our culture often tells us we need more to be happy, trying to keep us in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. When I hear this psalm, I am reminded of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. They have been freed from slavery, and God provides water and food for them when they cry out, and yet, they never seem satisfied. God gives them everything they want, but those gifts become stagnant- bread gets boring, and the slavery they once had sounds better than the day-to-day sustenance God provides. Journal: Take your “satisfaction temperature.” Where do you often find yourself- content and satisfied? or searching for fulfillment? What would it take for you to rest in God, rejoice in what you have, and enjoy the peace of a satisfied life? How might your faith lead you to this state?
8 Friday: Psalm 65: 1-13; Isaiah 48: 6-11; Romans 15:14-21
9You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. 10You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
Do: Tape these verses to your windshield or carry them with you as you work, drive, or walk along the fields today. Use its words to praise God for the growth around us.
9 Saturday: Psalm 65: 1-13; Isaiah 52: 1-6; John 12:44-50
Isaiah speaks words of hope to a people who have experienced difficult times. God gives a vision of a new future. Journal: What is the new future you long for? How might God be leading you into that future today?