Friday October 2 Matthew 6:19-24
- How do you define treasure on earth? How much is enough?
- Recall how Jesus had already described the person who will have great reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12), and consider the process of personal growth he outlined to appropriate the blessedness of heaven on earth (Matthew 5:3-10). By Jesus’ standards, how much of heaven’s treasure do you suppose you might have appropriated for yourself?
- What kind of things do you really have a heart for?
- How do you know if the things you focus on are obscuring your vision of God’s best for you, or revealing his best for you?
- Is there anything that may have mastered you that is not of God?
- Review again: why is it that no one can serve both God and money? Can you see examples of this in the world, to pray for them?
Saturday October 3 Matthew 6:25-34
- What kinds of things are you prone to worry about?
- How does it affect you when other people whom you depend on, or who depend on you, get caught up in worry?
- Jesus gives these examples of typical worries: what to wear or what to eat and drink. Do these still apply today?
- Are there any examples you might add to these which seem especially pertinent to the age in which we are living, or the community?
- How often are worries at the root of fights or arguments in marriage? What are the implications for a peaceful household?
- If there are things that worry you, ask what the Lord Jesus would want you to know about them.
Sunday, October 4 Matthew 6:33
- Considering that the kingdom of heaven is not a territory so much as the governing activity of the King, whether directly by him or indirectly through his authorized delegates; how would you like King Jesus’ influence to be increased or expanded in your life?
- Do you notice any of your existing priorities or desires that might need to be subordinated to his kingdom, or governing influence?
- Do you have any prior beliefs or attitudes that are getting in the way of trusting that the Father will supply all your needs?
- How clear are you on the distinction between your wants and your needs?
- Do you think faith or trust in God is more oriented to the present or the future?
Monday, October 5 Matthew 7:1-6
- Under what circumstances or with which people do you find yourself most prone to judging others?
- How would you describe the difference between the kind of judging Jesus is talking about here and the kind of judgments, or evaluations, that are so often necessary in business, politics, or other dimensions of life?
- Have you ever had a boss who regularly shifted blame to others, especially subordinates? If so, how did that affect the climate in the office?
- Is Jesus’ command not to judge absolute, or conditional? If it is conditional, then to what?
- Consider whether there is any deeper connection beyond a superficial resemblance between this passage (take the plank out of your eye so that you will see clearly, v. 5) and Matthew 6:22-23 (if the eye is bad the body will be full of darkness)? In any case, why is it so important to constantly evaluate your own perspective on things?
- How skilled are you in the art of self-examination?
- What is the difference between self-examination and just beating up on yourself? Are some people more likely to judge themselves unfairly rather than others?
- What sort of persons is Jesus referring to when he talks about ‘pigs’ and ‘dogs’? Is he judging here?
Tuesday October 6 Matthew 7:7-14
- Identify the imperatives or commands in this section. How ‘doable’ are they? Are there any you need to practice more than you have been
- What do you make of the progression in the sequence from ask to seek to knock? What does this imply about how a person grows in their prayer life, and correspondingly, in their knowledge of the Father?
- Consider the line, “if you, though you are evil, know how to give God gifts to your children . . .” (7:11). How common is the perception, do you think, that if a person is able to provide good things for their children this makes them good persons, not evil? Is such an attitude characteristic of Christians?
- Would you describe the ‘golden rule’ as an example of the ‘narrow gate’? Why or why not?
- How long have you known about the ‘golden rule’? How consciously have you tried to practice it? Ask the Lord to show you if there are any recurring situations or ongoing relationships where it could be better applied.
Wednesday October 7 Matthew 7:15-29
- In this section, what statements might justify the impression that Jesus is speaking with great authority? How would you describe that authority?
- Which line from Jesus in this section is borrowed from John the Baptist (See Matthew 3:7-10)? If John the Baptist had heard this, who would he have identified as ‘false prophets’?
- Who might be some individuals in our American context, if any, that you would you identify as false prophets?
- Do you ever worry about whether you are a fruit-bearing tree, as opposed to a thorn bush? Or the quality of your fruit? Ask the Lord for his perspective on this.
- Can you identify times in your life when storms came and threatened your ‘house’? Did you have faith then? Did it make a difference?
Thursday October 8 Matthew 7:24
- Which kind of words of Jesus are most readily put into practice?
- Skim read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) taking note of every description of the Father. Mirroring each description of the Father, write or say a prayer of praise or thanks to your heavenly Father.
- Skim read the Sermon on the Mount again looking for imperatives or commands from Jesus. Which stand out to you as needing some more practice on your part?
- Spend some time talking with the Father about putting Jesus’ words into practice. Tell him about any struggles you have and ask him to show you what you need.