Holy Apostles Daily Devotions 15-28 June 2020

Sharing Stories

In these devotions we are thinking about different people who met Jesus and wondering what story would they tell of how their lives changed as a result.

Monday 15th June

Joseph’s Story

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’

Reflect: Joseph’s life was turned upside down by the coming of Jesus. He was the carpenter in the village, he was planning on getting married to Mary. His life was mapped out, but the events of what we know as Christmas meant that life would never be the same again.

Respond: Have a think about your life before you met Jesus, put your faith in him, what were you like? What were your plans? Start to make list. It’s good to remember.

Pray: Dear God. Thank you for examples of people like Joseph whose lives were changed by Jesus. I choose to trust you again today, please fill my day with your life and presence. Amen

 

Tuesday 16th June 

Levi’s Story

Read: Luke 5:27-31

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’31 Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill.

 

Reflect: In this account of the calling of Levi also known as Matthew to be a disciple of Jesus. Ponder on what life was like for him before he met Jesus, he was a tax collector, probably wealthy as he was able to host a banquet for Jesus and he invited his friends to meet Jesus too, but also his was a despised profession. Like many since then he left everything to follow Jesus why do you think that was?

Respond: Remember what it was that caused you to follow Jesus. Do you know when that was or did it happen gradually for you? Add those thoughts to the list you made yesterday.

Pray: I thank you God that you still call us to follow Jesus help us to follow you more each day. Amen.

 

Wednesday 17th June

The Blind Men’s Story

Read: Matthew 20:29-34

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

32 Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. 33 ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

 

Reflect: What at story these men have. It came about because they were desperate enough to call out to Jesus for mercy and for their sight. Have you ever called out to God in desperation? What happened?

Respond: If you can remember a time when you called out to Jesus for mercy add it to your story list.

Pray: Thank you Lord for loving me and hearing my cry for mercy. Thank you that you are faithful and show mercy and grace to all who call on you

 

 

Thursday 18th June

Jairus’s Story

Read: Luke 8:40-42 + 49-56

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying…. someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.

52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

Reflect:  This was a dramatic day in the life of Jairus and his family. He had obviously heard about or seen some of the miracles that Jesus had done. How would he feel when they came and told him his daughter was dead? How did he demonstrate his trust in Jesus? What do you think happened next? Why did Jesus tell them not to say anything about it?

Respond: This was an amazing miracle but we don’t need to have seen the dead raised to have seen a miracle. Thank God for what you have seen him do for you however small. Remember and add these things to the list of your story. Who have you told about what you have seen God do?

Pray: Thank you God that you are active in my life, thank you for the answers to prayer I have seen. I pray for _______ today.

 

Friday 19th June

Peter’s Story
Read: John 21:15-19

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’

16 Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’

17 The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. ’Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’

 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’

 

Reflect: Peter had left fishing and been following Jesus for 3 years, he had seen the miracles, been there at the crucifixion, seen the risen Jesus too, yet he could not get past his failure at denying Jesus. What difference do you think this bit of his story will make to Peter’s future?

Respond: What difference has following Jesus made to your life. Maybe write that down to complete your story so far.

Pray: Lord, I thank you that even when we deny you, you call us back to yourself.  Amen

 

Saturday 20th June
The Ethiopian’s Story
Read: Acts 8: 26-39

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. 31 ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

    ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.’

34 The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’ 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

 

Reflect: The Ethiopian comes to Jesus in faith as the scriptures are explained to him. Can you imagine telling his story when he gets back to court.

Respond We have been writing our own stories this week. Can you organise your thoughts into before I met Jesus, how I came to faith in Him and what has happened since. You could add detail with the miracle stories.

Pray: Thank you for my story that it is unique and valuable to you. Who would you like me to share it with?

 

Sunday 21st June

Lydia’s Story

Read: Acts 16:13-15

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.

Reflect: There are not many details of individuals coming to faith but this one clearly shows the 3 parts of Lydia’s story. Can you spot them?

Respond: Find someone to tell your story to someone in your house or your phone buddy. Just say –can I tell you my story? - It doesn’t have to be long.

Pray: Father give me courage to share my story today. Amen

Monday 22nd June
The Woman caught in adultery’s story
Read: John 8:3-11

 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him .But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’11 ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.

 

Reflect: This week we are going to pick out bits of the stories that show us something of the Gospel message. The end of v7 is the key to reflect on today. ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ This reminds us that sin is both serious and that we are all sinners. God created the world perfect and humankind was created in God’s image. But human sin has broken our relationships with God, the world and each other and the wages of that sin is death writes Paul in Romans.

Respond: Ask God to search your heart and show you any way that you have sinned. When you notice other people’s brokenness and sinfulness how do you react?

Pray: Search me o God and know my heart, see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen

Tuesday 23rd June
The Paralysed Man’s Story
Read: Matthew 9:1-6

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralysed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’

At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, ‘This fellow is blaspheming!’ Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the paralysed man, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.’

 

Reflect: Yesterday we saw that sin is a big problem but today we see that Jesus has authority to forgive sins. Why do you think that is? To the teachers of the law it meant that he was claiming to be God because only God can forgive sins. What difference did being forgiven make to the paralysed man?

Respond: How does knowing that Jesus is God and can forgive your sin make you react? Perhaps you would like to sing a song of thanks.

Pray: Jesus thank you that you have authority to forgive sin, please forgive me, heal my brokenness. Amen

Wednesday 24th June
Nicodemus’ Story
Read: John 3:1-10

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’

Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’

‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!’

Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’‘How can this be?’ Nicodemus asked.

10 ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things?

 

Reflect: Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again. What does that phrase mean to you? Being born of the spirit is an important part of the gospel and means tuning from our old way of living and giving ourselves to Jesus.
Respond: How do you respond to being told ‘you must be born again’? If you haven’t ever done this why not do so now, or if you have who could you pray for today that hey too might be born again.
Pray: Use the 3 Opens prayer to pray for the person you thought of. Open the heavens, open their hearts and open my mouth.

 

Thursday 25th June
Jesus’ Story – the cross
Read: Matthew 27:45-54

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)……

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!

 

Reflect: The cross is a central part of the Gospel. As sinful people none of our best efforts will ever make us right with God, but Jesus died in our place that we might, through him come back into relationship with our heavenly Father.

Respond: Write down how you could explain the cross to someone else. Maybe you know the illustration of the cross as a bridge or you know the 3 circles diagram.
Pray: Lord Jesus I thank you for the cross.

Friday 26th June
Jesus’ Story – The Resurrection
Read: Matthew 28:1-8

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

 

Reflect: The cross wold not have power without the resurrection. As it is the evidence that death has been defeated and that there is now hope of eternal life.

Respond: Sing/listen your favourite hymn or worship song. Praise God for all that he has won for us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

Pray: Lord I pray that I will know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for me today. Help me also to show that love to others. Amen

 

Saturday 27th June
Lazarus’ Story
Read: John 11:14-44

14 So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’…

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’…..

 34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.

‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.

35 Jesus wept.….. 39 ‘Take away the stone,’ he said.

‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.’

40 Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’ 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.

 

Reflect: Lazarus was proof that Jesus has power over death. It was also proof to the teachers of the law that Jesus was God as well as a man. I wonder what story Lazarus. Martha and Mary would have told of that day.

Respond Jesus is both God and man it is for this reason that he was able to be our saviour and redeemer. Take time to think about what those two words mean to you.
Pray: Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

Sunday 28th June
The Woman with a Jar of Perfume’s Story
Read: Mark 14:3-9

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly.

‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’

 

Reflect: Why did the woman respond so extravagantly to Jesus? Other Gospel accounts say that she loved much because she had been forgiven much.

Respond: God loves you just as much how can you respond in a way that demonstrates that you know that love. Maybe by the way you treat others, maybe by you generosity, maybe in your worship.

Pray: Dear God, I thank you for loving me, help me to demonstrate your love to all I meet. Give me the boldness to share both my story and your story. Amen!