New beginnings bring an air of excitement and freshness. The book of Genesis is taken from its first words, “In the beginning.” Genesis is the beginning of everything. It is the beginning of creation, human history, life, death, and so much more.
King’s sit on thrones in palaces.
King’s wear royal clothes and crowns.
Kings enjoy the best things the world has to offer.
King’s make laws and command kingdoms.
King’s don’t live and work among their people.
The Gospel of Matthew is about a King—a different sort of king. His family tree is traced back to the great king David, but he is born to an unknown young couple. Rather than a palace, he has nowhere to call home. He wears a crown, but it is made of thorns. He commands obedience, a loving obedience that comes from the heart.
Matthew’s King doesn’t sit on a throne surrounded by a royal court; he spends time with sinners and outcasts. Matthew wants his readers to know one thing above all: Jesus is King. He is the king who guides his people like a shepherd into his kingdom. He forgives them, offers rest to their souls, and promises never to leave them. Though he calls his people to follow him in suffering and the cross, he promises that this is the way to eternal life.
Matthew also shows that Jesus is King through his actions. Storms are silenced by his voice. Evil spirits are cast out with a word. The sick are healed by his touch.
The day is coming when he’ll return revealed in all his power and glory—the reigning and ruling, eternal King. Matthew wants his readers to know, follow, and be like the King.
I want to know this King, how about you? Let’s discover him together through Matthew.
FOLLOW THE KING is a study guide of 111 devotionals through the Gospel of Matthew.
Peter is someone we can all relate to in the Bible. He says what he thinks. He is impulsive. He takes matters into his own hands. He blows it really bad with Jesus. In the gospel, he is a big coward.
Yet on the other hand, in Acts, you see a new Peter. He repents. He is restored with Jesus. God redeemed his shame. He grows in faith and grace. The three years he spent with Jesus were not wasted. Jesus made him the leader of the disciples. He has a bold faith and is unashamed of Jesus. He went on to write two books of the Bible (1 and 2 Peter). He was a pastor who loved people (aka: sheep). And like Jesus, He was crucified for being a Christian.
In Peter, we see a normal Jesus-follower. Someone who really loves Jesus. Someone who really sins. Someone with whom God is patient as he grows and matures through his sin to love Jesus more and sin less. His imperfections are endearing and his progress is encouraging.
Peter’s first letter is packed with timeless wisdom for every Christian generation. It is gold for the soul from a seasoned pastor on how to live amidst life’s trials in light of the person and work of Jesus, who also suffered trials.
Peter writes to groups of Christians who lived in modern-day Turkey. They were Christians who were suffering greatly for their faith in Jesus. Their faith was under fire. In the heat of the trials, Peter reminds them that they belong to God. Remembering that we belong to a loving and sovereign God allows us to find peace and purpose in every circumstance or seasons of trial, giving us strength to press onward toward faith and obedience to Jesus.
Do you realize what you have in Jesus, right now?
One of the greatest truths you’ll receive in your lifetime is this: There’s nothing in your life that’s greater than Jesus. Nothing.
It is possible to grow familiar with who Jesus is and forget what he has done, is doing, and will do. You can grow discouraged and apathetic and distant from Jesus, your first love. You forgot who Jesus is. And something else becomes greater than Jesus.
This is the message of Hebrews. Jesus is greater. He’s greater than your sin. He’s greater than your enemy. He’s greater than your failure. Jesus is greater and there is no other substitute.
Hebrews is not for the shallow of faith. The author will push you into he deep end of the promises and purposes of God. As you swim in the deep waters of this Hebrew you will appreciate more wholly your Rescuer and Redeemer—Jesus the Great.
James knew that the world detested Christians, but he also knew the Christian faith was an active world-changing faith. It was a faith at work. In other words, faith had fruits of faith (i.e. works). It was a faith that looked like Jesus, talked like Jesus, and served like Jesus. With millions of Christians suffering persecution and isolation worldwide, what letter couldn’t be more applicable or encouraging today?
So what is faith, true faith? James shows us how faith works. He makes it clear that salvation doesn’t come through good works but that true faith produces good works. The journey of faith is like a construction site where one is continually sharpening their skills on the job and among others. Yet in the case of faith the site is the church among one another. It’s not an easy journey, it’s slow, and there are setbacks. The risks are great, but the reward is even greater because we are in Jesus.
Are you ready to grow in your faith? Then let’s go!
John—the beloved disciple of Jesus—writes so that people may believe that Jesus is the Son of God (20:31). John is a Jesus lover. And Jesus loves John too. This mutual love is seen in the way that John writes about Jesus. It’s as if he paints beautiful and endearing portraits of Jesus each able to stand alone for us to marvel at.
As John reflects on Jesus, you are meant to also. Think of yourself at an art gallery. Stand back. Take it in. Get swept up into the scene. Think long and lovingly upon each portrait as John paints it. Jesus will marvel you. He will leave an impression upon you. Each time you look at Jesus you will walk away in awe.
Galatians is about the Gospel. It is about protecting the good news because it is constantly under attack. Paul was ahead of his time when he wrote this letter to Galatia because the same issues they faced centuries ago we face today. Learn from Paul and the early church how to defend the gospel from attacks from within or without. This isn’t a study for the faint of heart.
What does God want me to do with my money? How should I respond to someone who has wronged me? What is the purpose of suffering and hardships? Can’t I boast a little bit? These are some of the questions you will discover as you read through 2 Corinthians.
Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church has a different flavor than the first. It is more personal and pastoral. You see Paul roll up his sleeves and wear his emotions on them. Paul loves the church and so should we. How can we love the church despite all its people problems? Paul gives us practical insights. There is something for everyone. Just take a look at this 2 Corinthians Study: Boast in Weakness…
Do you struggle getting along with others in church? You are not alone.
Paul’s first letter to Corinth is about dealing with relational differences, setting disputes, reinforcing God’s view of marriage and divorce, the essentials of public worship, the importance of Jesus’ resurrection, money issues, and so much more.
Are you looking for something to study from the Bible? With your family? With your small group? Click below to download a family worship guide 1 Corinthians: making much of Christ in a messy church.
The book of Acts is about the church in formation, the mission of Jesus unfolding, and a gospel of the Holy Spirit. It is an action-packed book, so much so that a friend recently said to me, “Someone could easily make a movie out of it.” It is full of suspense, imprisonment, shipwreck, and of course Jesus’ followers living their faith out loud. It’s a refreshing and invigorating book.
When’s the last time you read it? With your family? Click below to download a family worship guide on the Acts of the Apostle: Church, Missions and the Holy Spirit.
For a few months, I have been studying the Gospel of Luke with some friends. It has been a joy to study the life of Jesus. Below is a Family Worship Guide that I created from our discussions. Just click on the image below. You will find questions with and without helps. I hope this is a blessing to you and your family.
Let me know if you would like to make changes or additions. This is certainly a work in progress.