Prayer 556 - Monday of Holy Week
Holy Week - Monday
Jesus doesn't spend his last week laying low, he takes the time for some intense final lessons before his time is up. Every day this week we will take time to walk with Jesus through his last days and ask God to show us what we need to learn from them.
"Jesus entered the temple courts and drove our all who were buying and selling there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
"It is written," he said to them, "My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers."
This passage isn't about church fundraisers.
Jesus is making a radical statement about people who use his Father's house and name to their own personal gain (especially at the expense of others).
Be honest this morning. If Jesus entered into your home, your life, your habits, our church... what tables would he flip?
What practices, attitude, and behaviors would he drive out?
Think deeper - the money changers in the temple were creating a barrier to others' worship.
What things in your life keep you from fully entering into worship?
The cheering crowds of Palm Sunday were a tipping point for the religious leaders. But when Jesus begins to interfere with their money making schemes and demonstrating his authority in the temple, we hear that they have had enough.
Money and authority were areas that the religious leaders weren't willing to share with Jesus. Can you be honest with God this morning about the areas of your life that you've made off limits to God's influence? Are you willing to give those things over to God this Holy Week?
God, I want to open my heart, my home, my church, and every aspect of my life over to you today.
Would you come and clean out the places in my life that go against your desire for me, the things I've done that harm others, the ways we hinder the building of your Kingdom.
I know that cleaning out can be uncomfortable, but I am ready and willing to be your vessel in this world.
Lord, I open my hands and heart to the marginalized. You have blessed me with abundance and I want to bless You by blessing others. I don’t want money to be an idol in my life. Guide me to use all of my resources in the furtherance of Your Kingdom. When Terrie and I were first married, we had few financial resources. We began to tithe when it seemed impossible to do so. In the course of time, our resources multiplied. Now, we have moved well beyond a tithe, and we still have money to share. Guide us Lord. We want to give as You guide us. There are so many opportunities to share. Show us how You want us to further Your Kingdom with our resources. Your love for the poor and the marginalized is so obvious in all You say and do. Speak Lord, for I am listening. Cast out anything in me that is selfish or self-centered.
To answer these questions, I only have to go back as far as yesterday. I was trying to watch a favorite program on TV, when I was unable to find the right episode. I have been changing over to watching Netflix and Hulu instead of the cable channels. It has been difficult learning how to operate Netflix and Hulu, especially with my eye problems. I found myself letting this process frustrate me to the point of losing control of that tongue of mine. It was to the point that I certainly would not have been able to worship at that point. I am ashamed that I let things get so out of hand about some thing that is so unimportant. I know that I need to keep this in control. Thinking about what was hindering me from worship really made this event stand out to me. Nlt Something As silly as watching a TV program should not interfere with my worship or any other part of my life. Lord, I pray that you will help me to cull out those things in my life which are not pleasing to you and getting in the way of spending my time with you in my worship with you. Sometimes it is even the small things that seem to get in the way.Purify my life lord and help me to give it all to you.
I've been trying to process the roots of why there were moneychangers at all, or anyway why there were dishonest ones that angered Jesus. They were supposed to provide a service for the people who didn't have livestock to sacrifice, or who came too far to make bringing a lamb or even a dove practical. And I think they were exchanging foreign currency, as well. Behind the scenes, the priests and teachers of the law probably got kickbscks-- but they should have been content with the tithes of the people, rather than being greedy for more than what God provided with the tithes.
So I think the root of the problem is failing to trust God and be satisfied with what he gave. I think maybe he's angry at more than just their cheating of people who want to worship, of making a profit off of people's fear. Where was their trust? Why did they feel that they had to grasp at more than they were meant to have?
This, I can relate to. I think and say that money isn't an idol for me, but I also say things like "I need to work eight more years so I can keep my health insurance" when people ask if I'm thinking of retiring at 60. Maybe I should be saying, I will work until God leads me in a different direction, and trust that he will care for my health?
There's a lot of tension for me between logic and faith.
Amen Melody. I hear these words from your heart. My biggest roadblock to moving away from CA and closer to my friends and family is my healthcare and finances. I know I need a plan, but I also know that God has always provided for me in the past. But the pandemic has put healthcare concerns at the top of my list. I pray that God will show both of us His will for us in this area. Amen.
The area that's heaviest on my heart is for Julia and her desire to worship God. It's not me, it's everyone else who can't see a way to include her and her friends in worship! She doesn't want to worship God with me, her mom. She wants to be back with her friends, both typical and special needs, who were filled with an inclusive spirit, helping her to hear the word of God through singing, dancing, and crafts appropriate for a young woman, not a kindergarten class. I worked diligently in Texas to find a group of parents who wanted the same thing and we found a church home willing to let us parents work with their worship team to create this beautiful group. All of this happened because a very insensitive youth pastor at our Catholic church said and did something mean to our families there who wanted the same thing. God guided us to create a beautiful program where Julia and her friends helped to create their own worship space. But a divorce caused a move, and it took almost a year to find new parents who wanted the same same thing, and then a job caused another move. Sweet Kaitlyn had a heart for it in NY, but I couldn't find the other parents because none of them had ever seen what I created. I found typical high school students at Julia's school who wanted to try it at their church, but the youth minister had a vision for an autism worship program and wouldn't even listen to us and these sweet high school students on what we wanted. Back to sweet Kaitlyn, and then we moved to CA for family reasons. And back to square one. This location has been the worst. Honestly, listening to Kaitlyn yesterday, her description of the biases of everyone who was trying to keep the children from Jesus, if we would just replace the words 'people with disabilities' for the word 'children' and now you know my mission. God has a plan for me and Julia. I share his words with her every day. But, she doesn't have a faith community. God knows how hard I've tried. I keep spreading the seeds, and I hope they bloom in the garden church. I hope they bloom in the Catholic church here that also pushed us away. I hope they bloom in the Young Life group that kicked out us, and 3 other kiddos, when Julia turned 23 because it's written somewhere in their literature, or so we were told... I'm reminded of the phrase that God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called. I've been called. Now I pray He will help us to create the group that will welcome Julia and her friends to worship together and treat her just like one of us! Kaitlyn's closing words yesterday have INSPIRED me to press on, lean in, and find others who are willing to say: "Give me the eyes to see everyone, including those with cognitive disabilities, with the same eyes Jesus used to see these children."