Dear God, help us to see you in times when it might feel like you are not
there, especially when we are hurt, and when we do not have what we need. Amen
Bible Story of the Week: Luke 6:20-21
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Questions of the Week:
What are some things besides money that you could give to someone who is poor or hungry? What are some things you could do for people that do not have all that they need? When are times that you have felt poor or hungry? How did God bless you during those times? Who has been a blessing to you when you have been weeping? What did they do for you?
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep
water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we
have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will
let down the nets.’When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their
nets were beginning to break. So they signalled to their partners in the
other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that
they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’
knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and
all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken;and
so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching
people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything
and followed him.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
If Jesus came to you at “work” where would you be?
What are you struggling with there that he would tell you to try again? What
are you likely to “catch.” What do you think Jesus means that his disciples
will catch people?
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of
Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus
and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When
the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And
Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has
not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants,
“Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there
were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding
twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them,
“Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He
said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they
took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that
had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who
had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and
said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine
after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until
now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in
Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in
him. 12 After
this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his
disciples; and they remained there a few days.
OF THE WEEK:
Have you ever been to a
wedding? What was that experience
like? Have you ever been at a party
where they ran out of food? What was
that experience like? Why do you think
Jesus decided to help when the wine ran out?
Where do you fit into this story?
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.D
Dear Jesus, I am thankful that you are with
me, even when I am filled with questions.
Help me to bring all of my questions to you. Amen.
Have you ever questioned something in your
heart? What was that experience
like? What do you remember about John
from earlier in our story? Why do you
think he reappears here?
Monday: Luke 3:16a
Dear God, I thank you for forgiving my sins, again and again and again. Help me to lead a life worthy of you. Amen.
John’s baptism was a simple washing away of current sins. It was something that people repeated again and again over the course of a lifetime. How does this differ from what you believe about baptism?
Tuesday: Luke 3:16b
Dear God, send your Holy Spirit into my life. Be as close to me as my every breath. Amen.
What do you think it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire? What is the difference between being washed with water and purified with fire? In what ways do you think the Holy Spirit is active in you?
Wednesday: Luke 3:17
Dear Jesus, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.
John’s statement here mirrors farming practices in Bible times. Why do you think he compares our lives in God to this practice? What part of you needs to be shucked away?
Thursday: Luke 3:21a
Dear Jesus, stir up my faith in you, that I may use the gifts you give to help a hurting world. Amen.
Have you ever been to a worship service where multiple people were baptized or confirmed? What was that experience like? What would it have been like to be baptized on the same day as Jesus?
Friday: Luke 3:21b-22a
Dear God, all of your creation is connected, and we are only a part of the whole. Help us to widen our gaze, that we may see all the ways in which you show up in our lives. Amen.
When Jesus was baptized, something different happened. The heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. Why do you think this happened? Tell about a time when you experienced the heavens opening (like a big storm), or something from the natural world reminded you of God.
Saturday: Luke 3:22b
Dear Jesus, I thank you for the gift of baptism. Help me to claim my identity as “beloved,” and do that which is well-pleasing in your sight. Amen.
When Jesus was baptized, God spoke out loud. What do you think it means that in baptism, you are a child of God who is beloved, with whom God is well pleased?
Now after they had
left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up,
take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell
you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then
Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and
remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been
spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
Dear God, help me to listen to you, no
matter how you choose to speak to me.
Joseph is dreaming again! Have you been paying attention to your dreams
this season? What do they have to tell
Monday: Matthew 2:13b
Dear Jesus, my time is not always your
time. Help me to follow your lead, even
when it interrupts my plans. Amen.
Have you ever had to get up and go without
advance notice? What was that experience
Tuesday: Matthew 2:13c
Dear God, sometimes unexpected things
happen to me. When I am in the middle of
something unexpected, help me to you that you are present with me. Amen.
What do you think it would have been like
to unexpectedly have to move with a two-year-old for Mary and Joseph? What would it be like for you?
Wednesday: Matthew 2:14
Dear God, today I pray for those who are
traveling because of the threat of war or violence. Keep them safe on their journey, and help
them to know that they are always at home in you. Amen.
Have you ever traveled to a foreign
country? What was that experience like
for you? If you could travel somewhere,
where would you go?
Thursday: Matthew 2:15
Dear God, today I pray for those who live
far from home. Sustain them as they
learn new things, and comfort them when they miss what is familiar. Amen.
What would it have been like for Mary and
Joseph to learn a new language, customs, and even cuisine? What would it be like for you to do so?
Friday: Matthew 2:16
Dear Jesus, today I pray for all children
in the world, in our country, and in my community whose lives are threatened by
violence. Help me to see this danger and
act to bring peace. Amen.
King Herod’s actions against the children
in Bethlehem are similar to Pharaoh’s in Moses’ time. Why do you think he chose to do this? Where are there places in this world where
something similar is happening, even today?
Saturday: Matthew 2:17-18
(Pray in your own words for people you know
who are sad, mourning, or in pain today.)
Have you ever been so sad
that you didn’t know if you would ever stop crying? What was that experience like? What do you think it would have been like to
lose a child to violence? How can you
make a difference in the lives of those who are mourning loss?
In the time of
King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the
East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the
child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its
rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When
King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and
calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired
of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They
told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Dear God, guide my journey of faith. Keep all who are traveling safe, and give me
the courage to go where I have never been.
What do you think it would have been like
to travel all the way across the known world because of a sign in the
stars? Where is a place to which you
would like to travel? What journey is
God calling you to take?
Monday: Matthew 2:3-4
Dear Jesus, give me wisdom and
knowledge. Help me to find trustworthy
sources, that I may be guided in your way.
When Herod doesn’t know what to do next, he
seeks knowledge from the wisest people he knows. Where do you go to seek wisdom or
knowledge? How do you know which sources
to trust? For whom are you a source of
wisdom or knowledge in your life?
Tuesday: Matthew 2:5-6
(Pray for your town and the people who live
there using your own words.)
Bethlehem is a little like the towns that
we live in; small places in the middle of nowhere. What would it be like to know that someone
famous came from your town? What would
you like our towns to be famous for?
Wednesday: Matthew 2:7-8
Dear Jesus, I know that you came to save
the lost. Find me when I am lost, and
help me to have the diligence to seek that which needs to be found in my
When is a time that you can remember
searching diligently for something? Did
you find it? How did you find what you
were looking for? What do you think God
is calling you to search for?
Thursday: Matthew 2:9-10
Dear God, I thank you for the end of long
journeys, and the gift of joy. Fill me
with a sense of joy that never runs out, that it may overflow to those I
What would it have been like to get to the
end of such a long journey? When is a
time when you have been overwhelmed with joy?
How does God bring joy into your life?
Friday: Matthew 2:11
Dear Jesus, thank you for reminding me of
just who you really are. Help me to be
generous, both in giving and receiving.
The wise men bring gifts to show that Jesus
is king, God, and sacrifice. What do you
think Mary and Joseph thought of these gifts?
What is the best gift you ever gave?
What is the best gift that you ever received?
Saturday: Matthew 2:12
Dear Jesus, sometimes you ask me to travel
on unfamiliar roads. Give me courage to
persevere, and an open mind and heart to follow where you lead. Amen.
When is a time when you had to take a
detour, or travel by an unfamiliar road?
What was it like for you and your travel companions? What do you suppose it was like for the wise
eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called
Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 When the time came
for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to
Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is
written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as
holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice
according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or
two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in
Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout,
looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on
him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy
Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided
by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought
in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took
him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now
you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for
my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared
in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for
revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Dear Jesus, I thank you for placing me into
a family. Help me to learn and to grow,
both as a child of my family and as a child of God. Amen.
One of the important parts of circumcision
is that it places a child on the family tree.
Who are some important branches of your family tree for you? Where would Jesus fit on your family tree?
Monday: Luke 2:22-24
Dear God, I know that I was born at just the right time. Help me to see the advantages of my place in my family, and to live according to your Word. Amen. In the Bible, birth order is often very important. In what order were you and your siblings (if any) born? What makes your place in your family special? Annoying?
Tuesday: Luke 2:25-27
Dear God, send your Holy Spirit upon
me. Reveal your will to me, and guide my
This reading mentions that the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon, and that Jesus’ arrival was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. Have you ever experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit? In what ways do you see God’s guidance in your life?
Wednesday: Luke 2:28-32
Dear Jesus, you came to be a light to the
whole world. Help me to see your light
in dark times. Empower me to reflect
your light in those places that need it most.
What difference does light make to a dark room? What kind of a difference do you suppose the light of Christ is making in our dark world? How are you being called to let your “little light” shine?
Thursday: Luke 2:33-35
(Offer a prayer in your own words for your
children, future children, or children who are dear to you)
What do you think it was like for Mary and
Joseph to meet Simeon? What would it be
like to know that, because of your son, your future will sometimes be
difficult? What prayers would you have
for your child?
Friday: Luke 2:36-37
Dear God, I thank you for the wise saints
in my life. Open my ears, that I might
absorb their wisdom. Open my heart, that
I might offer what I can to those of older years. Amen.
What do you think it would have been like
to meet Anna? How do you think she might
be different from other older women that you know? How would she be the same?
Saturday: Luke 2:38
Dear Jesus, make me patient when I have to wait for something that is dear to my heart. Help me to wait with hope. Cast out my impatience and despair. Amen.
Anna had been waiting for many years for Jesus to arrive on the scene. What are you waiting for? When you wait, is it with patience or impatience, despair or hope? What does God have to do with us while we wait?