July 9 – (Matt. 13:1-9) One of the quickest ways to grab an audience’s attention is to tell a story (any teacher will confirm this!).  That is basically what a parable is.  According to the parable of the sower, what responses does Jesus expect as He preaches His message about the kingdom (also verses 18-23)? How would this parable be a challenge to His listeners?  How does it challenge you? How will you meet this challenge?  Selah

July 10 – (Matt. 13:10-23) Jesus says that parables hide the true meaning from the crowd that is not committed to Him.  He then explains the meaning to the disciples…and we get to read the explanation. This means He is entrusting us as committed believers with this insight into His kingdom.  It is just another confirmation of His guiding those today who are committed to Him. 

July 11 – (Matt. 13:24-35) One explanation of the weeds is that it was probably darnel which looked a lot like rye grass in its beginning growth but was easily distinguished from the rye when it was full grown.  Can you make any correlations from this explanation?

July 12 – (Matt. 13:36-46) The gospel of the kingdom continues to be a present power in the world through the ministry of God’s Word and Spirit. As we concentrate on learning how to disciple others, what are some practical implications of these parables we can use for this endeavor?  Why not share?

July 13 – (Matt. 13:47-58) As I am reading the first couple verses, I am rejoicing that I “will not be thrown out”.  But then I am thinking who do I know that very possibly (at this time) will not be saved.  What am I going to do about that? SELAH

                The verses, 13:54-16:20 mark a new emphasis where the identity of the Messiah is revealed. Why do you think this is important?

                Did you know Jesus had a brother named Judas? I know Jesus was perfect in every way but I wonder how I would react knowing that name was going to cause me much pain and suffering and eventually death. In naming our children, we think of names we would like to choose.  Part of the filtering is knowing people with certain names will not be in that consideration.  Oh, how human we are! “God, help us see everyone through Your eyes!”

July 14 – (Matt. 14:1-12) This was a crisis time for the disciples. John the Baptist is beheaded.  The person who first spoke of Jesus’ identity has been killed.  With Jesus doing all these miracles why did He not prevent this or at least raise Him up from the dead.  How spectacular that would have been! Yet there was no intervention. Yes, this was a crisis time.  Crises are uncomfortable.  If we had our choice we would avoid them.  At the very least, we would want Jesus to immediately “fix” it. But life in this world just doesn’t work that way.  The good news is that Christians understand from the Scriptures that behind every crisis is the hand of God who is using the crisis to shape our character and further His work in the world.  Whether we see it or not, it is a fact.  Let’s settle there. Let’s thank Him that He is in control and knows what He is doing.!

July 15 – (Matt. 14:13-21) Jesus feeds five thousand men (plus women and children).  I am sure it was like a feast for them… a banquet of sorts.  Herod and Jesus, the two kings, both serve banquets.  What does each king’s banquet reveal about his character and authority?  This portrays the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Selah