Advent

Day 25 – Christmas in the Curse

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This final devotion was written one year ago today, reflecting on how the joys of Christmas often collide with the sorrows of this world. “This will be a year of firsts.” I’ve heard that a lot since my grandmother passed away this past October. And so it has been. Thanksgiving was hard, but tonight will […]

Advent

Day 24 – Separated no More

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“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” (Matthew 27:51). For centuries God’s people were kept out of His present by a curtain. A curtain that hung between the Holy of Holies and the people in the temple. The […]

Advent

Day 23 – The King’s Death

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“When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1-2) And here’s how the next two chapters went down (26-27). The priests plotted against Jesus. Judas sold him out. […]

Advent

Day 22 – The Already, Not Yet Kingdom

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Matthew proclaims Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, who is the sovereign King over God’s kingdom, that is defeating the current kingdom of darkness, beginning in Bethlehem and culminating in a future New Jerusalem. So if the King has come and the Kingdom is here, then why isn’t the world at peace? First, its important […]

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Day 21 – Who’s is the Kingdom?

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One of the most shocking developments in the Kingdom, is about who is in the kingdom and who is not. In a few short parables in Jerusalem, Jesus reveals that those who assumed they were in, were actually out, and those who assume they were out, found themselves welcomed in. Jesus says it like this, […]

Advent

Day 20 – True Greatness

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What does it mean to be great? What does true greatness look like? For one mom in Matthew’s Gospel, the answer was pretty simple. Greatness for her was one of her sons sitting on the right side of Jesus in his kingdom, and the other sitting on his left. She knew Jesus was the King […]

Advent

Day 19 – Jesus on Marriage

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Marriage is a hot topic today, but truth be told, it has always been a hot topic. In Matthew 19, we find Jesus both rebuking cultural views of marriage, and defining true marriage. In the text, the Pharisees ask Jesus if it’s ok to divorce for any cause (a common practice), and by his answer, […]

Advent

Day 18 – Transfiguration

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I can still remember being awestruck standing in St. Peter’s Basilica grazing at this reproduction of a painting by Raphael. It was one of those moments where I had to remind myself the moment was real, because for a moment I  was swept away to another place, where beauty seemed more beautiful and reality seemed […]

Advent

Day 17 – Gain Through Loss

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After Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus introduces an unusual object into the conversation. He introduces an object that was used in the ancient world to execute violent criminals in the most excruciating way. This object was a curse to the Jews, and uncivilized for polite Roman conversation. This […]

Advent

Day 16 – Who Do You Say That I Am?

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Questions can be powerful, and the answers to some questions can mean either life or death. Have you ever been asked a question that really mattered? A question that, depending on your answer, you knew would have dramatic consequences? In Matthew 16, the disciples were asked such a question, and the world stood still as […]