WEDNESDAY (2/17/21)

Hi, my name is John Zahlmann (JZ). I’m in the Marquette Home Group
led by Keith and Shelley. I’m a high school English teacher, still finding
my roots in the South Bend area, and have been at Riverside ever since
I moved to Indiana.

  • Take a little bit of time to stop and read Matthew 2:13-23.

So, I LOVE Christmas. I have a year-round countdown and I truly go
all out for the holiday season. But if I’m honest, when I think of “the
Christmas story” from the Bible, I never remember that the precious
baby Jesus (the Savior and King) was in danger of getting murdered
after he was born.

I never remember that there is a slaughter of young boys in Bethlehem
as Herod is searching for Jesus, leaving mothers without children and
leaving communities in mourning. It seems as if God gave us the most
perfect gift, then it was quickly surrounded in fear, death, loss, grief, and
confusion. Seems kinda messed up, right? Well, it definitely would be…
if this story ended there.

Part of the Christmas story is that Jesus would be named “Immanuel” or
“God with us”. And as the sorrow and the evil of King Herod took place,
God didn’t abandon us – He was still at work. He never left. He called
Joseph to lead his family out of harm’s way (v.13-14, and 19-22), and in
doing so kept Jesus safe and free to grow and minister until it was time
for him to be sacrificed so that we would be able to be with the Him
again (because, again: He wants to be with us). He shows us many times
in just the one Christmas story we are meant to be with Him and that
He’s creating opportunities for that to happen – even when the world
tries to tear us away.

I don’t know about you, but I can definitely think of recent times where
I felt fear, sorrow, and hurt – and what I failed to remember during those
times is that God is ALWAYS with us and WANTS to be with us. While
He isn’t the cause, nor does He want the bad moments to happen, He
surely will be with us when they do. He’s here to offer us safety, hope,
rescue, and strength.

Consider reflecting on the following question today:

  • Where can you see God working to be with you in a challenging, negative moment in your life?

TUESDAY (2/16/21)

Hi, my name is Shawn Titus and I am in the Marquette Home Group led
by Keith and Shelley. Speaking of Keith, I think I will just refer to him as
Ootlatch from now on (One Of The Leaders Around This Church).

Today we are going to watch a video from the BibleProject about the
book of Matthew. But first, think about what you know about the book
of Matthew:

  • What is Matthew’s purpose?
  • What is the main point?
  • What is unique to Matthew vs the other gospels?

Overview: Matthew Chapters 1-13

It is good for me to be reminded of the connection between Jesus and
the Old Testament and the comparison with Moses. I know that in my
head, but not being a Jew from that time it can be hard to keep in mind
the significance.

Reflect on the following questions:

  • They talk about 3 main points (Messiah from the line of David, New Moses, and God with us). How do each of these apply/speak to you?
  • They also have a couple interesting things for us to keep in mind as we read Matthew in the coming days. As you work through the passages, consider looking up the Old Testament quotations and look closely at the people who accept Jesus.

MONDAY (2/15/21)

Hi, my name is Susan Titus. I’m in the Marquette Home Group led by
Keith and Shelley. I’ve been married to Shawn for almost 33 years! I
have served at Camp Ray Bird for over 20 years and I never get tired of
summer camp. Demonstrating Jesus’ love to campers is an amazing job
to have! I joke with my friend, Alyssa, that I will probably just fall over
and die there one day. To which she always replies, “can it not be during
summer camp- it will scare the campers”, and “do we have to talk about
this?” :).

In this Devotional, we are going to walk through the life of Jesus as told
through the eyes of Matthew, one of His disciples. During Advent, the
season of waiting prior to Christmas, we journeyed through the Old
Testament looking at stories that pointed to our need for a Savior, God’s
plan to redeem us through a Savior, and prophecies about the coming
Savior. I cannot imagine God’s excitement to see it all come to pass in
the birth of Jesus.

God among us. Dwelling in our neighborhood (the world). Being
vulnerable to hunger, relational pain and disappointment, and
ultimately to death.

I am praying to see Jesus through fresh eyes during this Lenten season.
That the stories we read, and the questions we answer, will reintroduce
me to Jesus.

A couple questions to consider as we begin this journey together:

  • What is one thing you’d like God to show you about Himself during this season?
  • What area of your humanness are you most thankful for Jesus being able to identify with?

SUNDAY (2/14/21)

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Starting this week we will walk through the gospel account as told by Matthew, one of the disciples of Jesus.

We know the end of the story, we have learned through Romans that we can stand not condemned by faith in Jesus’ finished sacrifice on the cross.

  • Spend some time praying today that during the coming weeks you will read the life of Jesus with fresh eyes, discovering anew His character, His desires, His truth, and His love for all.

SATURDAY (2/13/21)

  • Read Romans 8:28-39 aloud several times.

Spend some time thanking the Lord for all He has done on your behalf.

  • On a separate piece of paper, write out the whole verse that you want to stick with you throughout the day today.

FRIDAY (2/12/21)

  • Read Romans 8:1-27

Consider and reflect on the following:

  • In what areas of life do you feel condemned?
  • Bring those areas to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you deeply understand “no condemnation.”
  • On a separate piece of paper, write out the whole verse that you want to stick with you throughout the day today.

THURSDAY (2/11/21)

  • Read Romans 6:15-23

Consider and reflect on the following:

  • Spend some time this morning asking the Holy Spirit to show you areas in your life where you are a slave to sin.
  • Pray to see this changed, confess to a friend, and ask for help and accountability.