Since we at C.A. are learning how to break out of our 4 walls and minister in disciplining others in the world around us, I want to spend the next 3 months studying the book of Matthew. Our emphasis will be on learning how to disciple like Jesus did. I am really excited to see what it will look like in each of us as we again study His Word and renew our minds to think and live more like Jesus.  May God bless you on this journey!   

June 4 – (Matt. 1:1-17) The first 17 verses describe the genealogy of Jesus. Did you skim it or even skip over it and just read what I am writing? 😊 Do we really need to study this?  I think you know the answer to this.  Here is what I gleaned.  Jews kept extensive genealogies to establish a person’s legitimacy and inheritance rights.  Matthew likely draws from the O.T. thus showing how Jesus comes from Abraham where God’s promises were given to the Jews (called Israelites then).  Through this lineage, they see again the reminder that Jesus could be the savior of their people. Let’s look at some of the people he names in this lineage. He includes 5 women which is unusual as descent was usually traced through men as the head of the family.  Of those 5 women, 3 were of questionable character (God doesn’t reject us because of our sins!), and 2 were gentiles (God doesn’t reject us because of our race!).  One other thing I noticed.  Jeconiah (v.12) was so evil that his family was cursed (Jer. 22:30), yet God did not reject the evilest of men.  After Jesus died for all sin and rose victoriously, anyone who accepts Him is forgiven of sin and becomes part of His family!  SELAH!!

June 5 – (Matt. 1:18-25) Lately, I have been looking at any situations as God ordained appointments to share Jesus to those who come within my sphere of influence.  As I am reading these verses. I see that probably Joseph and Mary’s parents chose whom their child would marry as was the custom. It amazes me to see how God orchestrates for His good purposes. I was also struck by the thought of how the parents might have reacted to Mary’s pregnancy. If we only would trust God, that seemingly negative things always work for our good…if we let them.  Oh, by the way both Joseph and Mary were from the same lineage that was foretold of Jesus hundreds of years before!

June 6 – (Matt. 2:1-12) These verses describe how Wise men from the East saw a new star and it caused them to spend their time and money to find out what was so important.  There are so many ways to look at this.  The responses of the Wise men and Herod are typical of the ways people respond to Jesus today.  How does this relate to your experience as you attempt to share Christ with others?  Is God please with the time and resources you give to share with others (discipleship 😊)?

June 7 – (Matt. 2:13-23) Mary and Joseph and Jesus are sent to Egypt to escape His premature death.  As we at C.A. continue to learn how to fulfill Jesus’ great commission to us of making disciples, I wonder what people in Egypt were affected by Jesus’ presence there even as a young child.  I’m sure even His presence caused a shift in the atmosphere. What places are you sent to where you normally would not choose to go? Places like the ER or dentist or jury duty or even the grocery store?  Do you see them as places to connect with strangers who might see Jesus in you?  Last year my brother John got a leg infection that got very complicated.  He spent quite a bit of time in a hospital. After the fact, he said the good that came of it was that he was able to minister to several hospital staff.  Most of his work career was with the disabled children in his school district. One nurse came in and was talking about her disabled son and the problems she was facing.  John made one main statement that led to a breakdown and a chance to pray for her specific needs.  His statement: Don’t let your problems with your child destroy your marriage.  God can use every situation for His good and glory.  It is up to us to trust and listen to the Holy Spirit for those openings!

June 8 – (Matt. 3:1-12) for Israel the desert was a place of both punishment and renewal (recall the wilderness wanderings).  How does John’s ministry convey both concepts (vv. 3-12)?  The religious leaders considered themselves children of Abraham (v.9).  According to verses 7-10, how were they abusing this privilege?  What are some ways we have abused our rights as children of God?  John calls us to produce “fruit in keeping with repentance” (v.8).  Give examples of the kind of fruit you think he had in mind.  Could some of that fruit be that of sharing and disciplining others? 

June 9 – (Matt. 3:13-17) One description of Jesus baptism says it marks the beginning of His ministry.  I have been taught that baptism is an outward, public sign of the inward believing in Christ and becoming a believer of Him. In a sense, it can be the beginning of “ministering to others” of your faith in Him.  But it should not end there. It should be a starting point of learning to “make disciples” as you are being discipled.  Selah

June 10 – (Matt. 4:1-11) As Jesus began His ministry on earth, he faced many challenges (temptations). Of course, He passed all of them with flying colors! You may want to do a study of these three temptations to the three main areas we struggle with and also the three same areas with which the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It’s a good study and brings clarity to some of our struggles today.

                When we start anything new (new job, new school, new relationships, new house) there are always new challenges and testing that come with it.  How do you respond when you face threatening obstacles or unexpected resistance? It’s important to know yourself. It will also help in the challenges of disciplining others.  Challenges and difficulties provide an opportunity to rely in new ways on God and His Word.  Consider the challenges you are facing today and place each one before the Lord.  In your mind’s eye turn each one over to Him and ask Him what to do.  Take time listen to Him for wisdom and insight He will give you.