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This Week's Journeys

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. 26 For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life?

Prayer Journal Entry

Yahweh, I am grateful for this time with You, time to share my words, to listen to Your teachings, and meditate on Scripture. I feel out of practice if I’m honest. I have neglected my time with You recently (and by recently, I mean the last few months). I allowed the busy season to get in the way of meaningful time in Your Word. I chose to hit the snooze button in the morning and come up with tasks to occupy my evenings or justify mindless relaxation from a screen.

This week, Yahweh, I was reminded of the importance of obedience. When my focus is on You and I sit with Your Word, soaking in Your Presence, my spirit is rejuvenated and every aspect of my life benefits. (Proverbs 4:20-27)

This week, my God, You lovingly reminded me You have not given up on me and You are still setting before me a path of wisdom and goodness. I may have taken some detours, but You are with me, You are for me (Joshua 1:9), and I am not a lost cause. Just like Rahab, Ruth, Naomi, and Zacchaeus, I have hope because of Jesus Christ.

Through Your Word and by Your Spirit, I was humbled this week as you helped me see how quick I have been to cast judgement without acknowledging the log in my own eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

Let these lessons soak into my heart and set my feet on Your path of righteousness for the week ahead. In Your Son’s name I pray, Amen.

Worship Through Song

Journal Prompts

JOURNAL ONE

Navigating life is like taking a midnight stroll through the desert with sand traps, snakes, and darkness so intense you can’t see your own hand before your face. Until you look up to the stars.

God is like the North Star, giving clear direction and purpose while lighting the way home. When we walk through life without Him, it’s like taking the stars out of the night sky; we misstep and stumble. Rahab wandered the dark desert in a brothel until she saw the lights in the sky and heard of Yahweh’s power!

Yahweh is a loving God who works all things for good (Romans 8:28) and He had already worked within her broken life to position her to hear of His powerful freedom and salvation. Her profession and surroundings allowed her to hear of Yahweh long before His ambassadors appeared on her doorstep. This is the goodness of God!

Rahab believed in Him and feared Him with reverential awe in the darkest of circumstances without knowing many details or seeing Him. (John 20:29) She chose to honour Him despite great risk to herself and her family. God, in His goodness and moved by her faith, preserved her family and gave her a position in Jesus’ lineage! (Matthew 1:1, 5)

JOURNAL TWO

In just four chapters, Ruth’s narrative provides a story of loss, emptiness, and the God who worked behind the scenes to bring about His glory. We peer into the depths of bitterness, we are stunned by faithful obedience, and stirred up by a faith that shines despite all odds.

Kindness weaves through Ruth and Naomi’s story as the Lord God provides both salvation (Ruth) and redemption (Naomi). Naomi was marked by the bitterness of emptiness, but she also held onto hope as she returned home to her God, the Good Provider. Despite her heaviness, she still walked by faith in the God whose character she trusted.

Naomi’s faith stirred Ruth to fierce love and determination to follow Naomi’s God with her own faith despite the cost. The effects of their faith are still felt today! God rewarded their obedience and faith, just has He had Rahab, by giving them Himself!

Imagine navigating their losses and poverty without hope. Perhaps you don’t have to imagine because you’ve been there. Our broken-by-sin world guarantees suffering, and Jesus warns us that following God will bring more hardship. But, He also reminds us He has conquered this world and our hope is rightly placed in Him, the Victor! (John 16:31-33)

JOURNAL THREE

Joining Rahab, Ruth, and Naomi this week, we met Zacchaeus yesterday. He is abundantly rich and wildly unpopular with his fellow Jews. It’s so easy to look in on someone’s life and cast judgement without the full story. (see Rahab and Ruth!) So, let’s explore Zacchaeus’ story with a mirror for ourselves in hand.

We don’t know why Zacchaeus became a tax collector, but maybe it wasn’t as black and white as we might assume. Perhaps he didn’t start out as a greedy zealot. Perhaps fear or dire need drove him to choose a despised profession. Certainly, we can empathize with the desire to live comfortably, to avoid being targeted by government forces, or to provide care for loved ones.

Whatever made up Zacchaeus’ backstory, the day he climbed the sycamore tree, Jesus already knew every detail. Christ directed His steps purposefully to find Zacchaeus and invite him to know true friendship with God. Jesus saw him and sought him. Whatever Zacchaeus’ once-greedy motives were, they were foiled by Jesus’ mission as He came to seek and to save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10)

If Jesus came for sinners, then who are we to cast them aside? As sinners ourselves, we must learn to see everyone through God’s eyes of kind mercy.
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April 15 - May 3, 2024 - Journey Theme #131

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