Holy Tuesday (Holy Week)

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Each day this week (Sunday-Saturday) there will be a special devotional walking us through the events of Holy Week leading up to Easter.


Matthew 21:12-17

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.13 “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.’”

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.


Reflection:

As Jesus clears the temple, He is re-establishing pure worship. “My house will be called a house of prayer.”  This was to be a place where the people could come and worship God without being hindered by the corrupt vendors and money changers.  In exchange Jesus ministered to those in need at the temple, the very place that represented God and His people coming together in fellowship.  Jesus does not shy away from the chief priests when the children worship Him, in fact, He quotes Psalm 8 which the priests would have had memorized.  A Psalm to the Lord.  Repeatedly Jesus affirms His claim to be God and acts with full authority over the temple and the worshippers.

Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that followers of Jesus are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  As we reflect on Jesus cleansing the temple, is there something that is hindering your worship of Jesus?  Is there a secret sin, a distraction, a hardness of heart that you need to confess to God?

As you confess before God, pray for the cleansing that Jesus offers, take a moment to worship Jesus unhindered through your prayers. You are a temple that Jesus wants to be known as a house of prayer.

Holy Monday (Holy Week)

Religious stained glass window


Each day this week (Sunday-Saturday) there will be a special devotional walking us through the events of Holy Week leading up to Easter.


John 12:1-11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.


Reflection:

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, at the beginning of what we now referred to as “Holy Week”, He knew exactly what He was walking into. Prior to them arriving Luke 18:31-34 says:

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again. 34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Although the disciples missed the significance of what Jesus intended in Jerusalem, Mary understood that Jesus was there to die.  Her response was to worship Jesus and anoint Him with costly perfume. Judas’ chief concern was for what he could gain and the priests were concerned for the power that they might lose. It was Mary who understood, that in this moment, the right thing to do was not to think of herself, but to focus all she had on her Savior.

Take a moment to reflect on the heart and mind of Jesus. He was not a victim of a random crime, He was the servant of a divine plan. What does this reveal to you about the love of Jesus?  Like Mary, take a moment to worship Jesus through a prayer of thanks.

Palm Sunday (Holy Week)

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Each day this week (Sunday-Saturday) there will be a special devotional walking us through the events of Holy Week leading up to Easter.


Matthew 21:1-11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”


Reflection:

When Jesus entered Jerusalem the people erupted. The word “Hosanna” was derived from an old Hebrew phrase (hoshiya na – “please save me”) which over the centuries had come to mean “Salvation is imminent”.  He would be their king so they threw Him a triumphal parade as He entered the city, the kind of parade reserved for the most victorious of kings. Surely, Jesus was going to use His power to overthrow the oppressive government and usher in a new era in Israel.  The people were wrong, their sights were set too low.  Jesus was going to do much more; He was going to overthrow the oppression of sin and death itself and usher in a new era for all the world for all generations.

Jesus often brings victory in the least expected of ways. Jesus hints at this reality with his choice of steed; a borrowed lowly donkey. Rather than coming in visible power, Jesus comes in humility. Hosanna, our imminent salvation, comes in humility.

Take a moment to praise Jesus for being your Savior and King.  Salvation was given in humility.  It is also received in humility. Acknowledge your need for Him in this moment and for all the moments to come.

Thread – The Plan

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This weekend Chad is starting off Holy Week with a brand new series that will take us through Easter and continue through the month of April. The Bible is like no other writing. It is a collection of ancient manuscripts gathered together over 1600 years, written by over 40 authors and there is one thread that holds these writing together.  His name is Jesus.  Each week we will be studying the ancient writings from long before AD to discover that it has always been about Jesus. Join us at one of our campuses or online at live.sunvalleycc.com on Saturday at 4 & 530pm or on Sunday at 9, 1030, or 1159am.

Family Time – Jesus Enters Jerusalem

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Please read the following passage with your family and spend some time working through the discussion questions at the end.  Hopefully this will give you a chance to talk about what God is teaching you with your kids this week.


Luke 10:25-37 (NIrV)

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead. He was going up to Jerusalem.29 He approached Bethphage and Bethany. The hill there was called the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two of his disciples. He said to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey’s colt tied up. No one has ever ridden it. Untie it and bring it here. 31 Someone may ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ If so, say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ”32 Those who were sent ahead went and found the young donkey. It was there just as Jesus had told them. 33 They were untying the colt when its owners came. The owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”35 Then the disciples brought the colt to Jesus. They threw their coats on the young donkey and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their coats on the road.37 Jesus came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives. There the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God with joy. In loud voices they praised him for all the miracles they had seen. They shouted,38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)“May there be peace and glory in the highest heaven!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “tell your disciples to stop!”40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”


Family Discussion:

Spend some time talking with your kids about how Palm Sunday begins the start of Holy Week, the week leading up to Jesus sacrifice for us on the cross on Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Ask this question, and please answer it as well:  “What are some things we can do to put Jesus first in our lives this week?”

In SV Kids they teach Jesus wants to be my friend forever.  What are some ways that Jesus showed us that He wants to be our friend forever?

What are some of the ways you find it hard to follow Jesus daily?

Who should we invite to join us on Easter at Sun Valley this year?

Spend some time praying as a family asking God to give you the wisdom on how to say “Yes” to Jesus and to follow Him daily.  Also ask God to help you decide who to invite to church on Easter, and to give you the courage to invite them.

The Godly Woman

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The last chapters of Proverbs end with a collection of wisdom from Solomon, Agur, and King Lemuel.  It is unknown who Agur and Lemuel were during this time but their sayings of wisdom were collected with the sayings of Solomon.  Proverbs concludes with a description of the godly woman in Chapter 31.


Proverbs 31:10-31

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


Questions:

Solomon paints a picture of a beautiful woman with his words in Proverbs 31. With the final brushstrokes of his painting he clearly summarizes that what makes someone beautiful is not their outward appearance (v. 30). True beauty is found in character and actions.

Whether you are male or female, what would the painting of your character look like?

Based on the description given in Proverbs 31 what about your character needs to be adjusted, removed, or added?

Pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to transform you into the likeness of Jesus. Pray for clarity to see where change is needed in your life and the wisdom to know what steps to begin taking to grow.

Humility

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Proverbs 28

The wicked flee though no one pursues,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
    but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.

A ruler who oppresses the poor
    is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.

Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked,
    but those who heed it resist them.

Evildoers do not understand what is right,
    but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.

Better the poor whose walk is blameless
    than the rich whose ways are perverse.

A discerning son heeds instruction,
    but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.

Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor
    amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
    even their prayers are detestable.

10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path
    will fall into their own trap,
    but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.

11 The rich are wise in their own eyes;
    one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.

12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;
    but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.

13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,
    but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
    is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.

16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion,
    but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.

17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder
    will seek refuge in the grave;
    let no one hold them back.

18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
    but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.

19 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.

20 A faithful person will be richly blessed,
    but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

21 To show partiality is not good—
    yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.

22 The stingy are eager to get rich
    and are unaware that poverty awaits them.

23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor
    rather than one who has a flattering tongue.

24 Whoever robs their father or mother
    and says, “It’s not wrong,”
    is partner to one who destroys.

25 The greedy stir up conflict,
    but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
    but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
    but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding;
    but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.


Questions:

In verse 13, Solomon says that whoever conceals their sins doesn’t prosper but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Elsewhere Solomon also reiterates that God opposed the proud but gives grace to the humble (3:34).  Is there a sin (or sins) you are trying to keep a secret?

Like mold, sin grows in it’s power and destruction the longer it is kept hidden from the light. The greatest way for sin to lose its power in your life is to confess it to God and to another person you have trust with.

Take a moment to confess your sin to God and praise Him for the forgiveness He has promised through the work of Jesus (1 John 1:9). Pray for courage to confess this sin to a person you trust and pray that it would lose it’s power in doing so. James 5:16 directs us to confess our sins to another and pray with them to find healing.