“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice
and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Lord, thank You for
the full and free forgiveness of all my sins. Thank You for
the sure and certain hope of everlasting life in heaven
with You. Thank You for all Your promises to be with
me always and that “all things work together for good”
(Romans 8:28) in my life. Thank You that only with Your
help can I daily overcome the devil, the world, and my
own sinful flesh. Amen.
O dearest Savior, Lord Jesus, I thank You for the precious
Gospel that has been proclaimed throughout the world.
“Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.”
You have obtained for me the forgiveness of all my sins.
It is beyond my understanding that You have done this
for me—a poor, miserable sinner! Keep sending me Your
Holy Spirit, that I may continue to grow in grace and in
the knowledge of You, my Lord and Savior. Help me to
make my daily life a thank-You for all You have done and
continue to do for me. Amen.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Thoughts on Friday’s Text
Balancing work and reflection is tricky. Most people in Western cultures are forced to live harried lives. Often their full schedules are full of “good” activity, labor that has merit. One of the demands of a full schedule is that the activity be prioritized. Some things come high on the list; others must wait. Sometimes priorities have to be shuffled at the last minute to meet needs. The account of Martha and Mary is about such priorities, especially when the options are good ones.
This short passage is capable of being misread in a couple of ways (Alexander 1992:167-86). First, it is not about women; it is a passage on discipleship. Its point is not that women can get too easily caught up in the busy work of keeping the home. What is said to Martha about Mary would be equally true if Mary were male or even a child. The fact that two women dominate the story would have been shocking in the first-century context, where men often dismissed women as marginal, but the account is designed to make a point about all disciples. Second, the point is not that activity like Martha’s is bad. The choice Jesus discusses with Martha is between something that is good and something that is better. Life is full of tough choices, and Jesus is stressing the relative merits of good activities here. For conscientious people, such choices are often the most difficult and anxiety-filled
Through the greatness of your mercy, I will come into your house.
Lord, lead us to our heavenly home by single steps of self-restraint and deeds of righteousness; through the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord Jesus, you are firstborn of all creation and of the dead. Forgive me for not realizing that my reconciliation and redemption derive from your supremacy. Your supremacy made all this possible but my submission to that supremacy binds my redemption. Without your sovereignty, I am lost. You are not Savior unless You are also my Lord. You will present me spotless before the Father if I hold to my faith in you. I pray for all those who assume their faith is without cost or submission. I fear for their reconciliation and their eternal state. Waken us Lord. Let us not sleep through our redemption.
Thoughts on Thursday’s Text
In this passage Paul employs various images of creation to clarify “the word of truth, the gospel” (1:5-6). By linking the lordship of Christ to God’s creation of the entire cosmos, Paul’s tacit claim is that Christians have been remade into a new humanity, characterized by their holistic spirituality. Against his ascetic opponents at Colosse, who have rejected the material for the spiritual, Paul confesses Christ as Lord over both worlds; he is the “cosmic Christ.” Therefore, believers are to resist any teaching that divides their life into separate spheres, material and spiritual, which would also divide their loyalty to Christ. If Christ is Lord over all of God’s creation, then those in Christ have been re-formed into a new creation and embody God’s reconciliation of all things (v. 20).
By using the creation typology to underscore the holistic result of God’s saving grace, Paul can also introduce the importance of Jesus’ death (v. 20). The Creator’s ultimate goal for the fallen creation is the reconciliation or restoration of all things; and this goal has already been achieved on the cross. Though the material effects of sin remain all too evident, Paul can claim that the Creator’s goal has already been realized through Christ and is already being demonstrated in the life of a new creation, the church.
Paul’s point challenges today’s church to change. More and more believers divide more and more things up. What we value in the privacy of our homes is often at odds with what we value in our public lives. At work, we often reflect the commercial values of survival and self-interest rather than the biblical values of self-sacrifice and fidelity. Modernity’s dream of economic affluence and political influence often determines even the believer’s behavior outside of home and congregation.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
God of heaven, look with mercy on all who are consumed by ignorance and greed, and let the children of earth know that you are God forever.
21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.