By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ 1 KINGS 19:9, 11‑13 FIRST READING
(“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.”)
- Where was Elijah, and what came to him? 1 Kings 19:8‑9
- What did the Lord ask him? 1 Kings 19:9
Personal ‑ When you pray, how do you communicate with God? Does he ever ask you any questions?
- Who is another prophet who communicated with God and the glory of God was revealed to him, and where did this take place? Exodus 33:6, 18‑23
- Where did the Lord tell Elijah to go, and who did he say would be passing by? 1 Kings 19:11
- What was hitting the mountains and crushing the rocks before the Lord, and where was the Lord not to be found? 1 Kings 19:11
- What came after the earthquake? 1 Kings 19:12
- What came after the fire? 1 Kings 19:12
- What did Elijah do when he heard the tiny whispering sound? 1 Kings 19:13
- What was the question repeated to Elijah by the Lord? 1 Kings 19:13
- When Jesus was transfigured, where did he go, and who appeared with him? Matthew 17:1‑3
- How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings. What are they announcing? Isaiah 52:7
Personal ‑ Where is the mountain of the Lord for you? In what way does God communicate with you?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 9:1‑5 SECOND READING
(“I speak the truth in Christ: I do not lie.”)
- Who is speaking, what does he speak, and what does he not do? Romans 9:1 Romans 1:1
- With whom does Paul’s conscience join witness, and to what is it he bears witness? Romans 9:1‑2
- Who bears witness to what Paul does? Romans 1:9
- What is the truth? 1 Timothy 2:4-6
- What does Paul say he could wish for himself for the sake of his brothers, his kinsmen, the Israelites? Romans 9:3
- What does God tell Moses when he asked God to strike him out of the book that he has written? Exodus 32:30‑33
- What seven things does he say were theirs, and who came from them? Romans 9:4‑5
- Where did the Messiah come from according to the flesh? Romans 9:5 and Romans 1:3
- What does the term Messiah mean? John 1:41 4:25
- Who is over all? Romans 9:5
Personal ‑ How do you show your concern for a family member, friend, schoolmate or work acquaintance who is not following the way of the Lord? In what way do you speak the truth, as Paul did, to those around you?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 14:22‑33 GOSPEL
(“When he had sent them away, he went upon the mountain by himself to pray.”
- What did Jesus insist his disciples do, and what preceded this? Matthew 14:16‑22
- When Jesus had sent them away, where did he go? Matthew 14:23
- After Jesus was baptized, what was he doing when the skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him? Luke 3:21‑22
- Who was with Jesus as he prayed, where did he go, and what time of day was it? Matthew 14:23
Personal ‑ Over the next 24 hours, see how much time you spend alone with the Lord. See whether you can list how many times Jesus prayed alone in the New Testament.
- What was happening to the boat the disciples were in, and what time was it when Jesus came walking on the water towards them? Matthew 14:24‑25
- When the disciples saw him walking on the water, how did they react? Matthew 14:26
- What did Jesus hasten to do, and what did he say to his disciples? Matthew 14:27
- Who spoke up? What did he say to Jesus, and what did Jesus say to him? Matthew 14:28‑29
- When Peter got out of the boat and started toward Jesus walking on the water, what did he perceive? Matthew 14:30
- What happened to Peter when he perceived this, and to whom did he cry out? Matthew 14:30
- Jesus at once stretched out his hand and caught him. What did he exclaim, and what did he ask him? Matthew 14:31
- What happened when they climbed into the boat? What did those in the boat show him, and what did they declare? Matthew 14:32‑33
Personal ‑ What happens to you when you take your eyes off Jesus and dwell on what’s going on around you? What does Jesus do when you call out to him in your distress?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 85:9‑14
(“I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord‑for he proclaims peace, to his people,..”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 85:9‑14.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
1 KINGS 19:9, 11‑13
This passage shows us how God speaks to his people in all kinds of circumstances. Elijah had killed the false prophets and then, in fear himself, he fled from the pagan queen, Jezebel. Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two spiritual victories, the defeat of the false prophets, and the answered prayer for rain. Many times discouragement sets in after we have had a very great spiritual experience. God let Elijah eat and rest (19:34), and then sent Elijah to the mountains to wait for him.
Elijah, like many of us do when we are under heavy pressure, began to think that he was the only one following God’s work. He became frustrated and fearful and began to lose sight of what God had in store for him. God asked Elijah what he was doing there, and Elijah told him that he was in danger of losing his life for following God’s orders. Then God said to Elijah, go stand before me on the mountain. Elijah then experienced terrific windstorms and even an earthquake, followed by fire, and still no sign of God. How many times do we look to see whether God is speaking to us in some spectacular way or event? The minute Elijah heard the gentle whispers in that cave, he knew that it was the voice of God.
God speaks to all of us, and the challenge for us is to be quiet and listen. He told Elijah that he wanted him to go back and continue on in his ministry, and not to be afraid of anyone. Do you feel as if no one really cares about you, or what you are doing? Are you afraid of what other people might think about you?
God will come to us just like he did to Elijah in that cave. He will speak in gentle whispers to a humbled heart, and he will change our lives. God doesn’t reveal himself ordinarily in miraculous ways. To look for him in just big rallies, churches, conferences or visible leaders may be to miss him. Are you listening to God right now? Step back from the noise and activity of your life and listen to his gentle whisper. If you listen, listen real close, you will hear him say “I love you.”
Paul’s love and concern for his people was like that of a parent towards his or her child. Parents would do anything to prevent their children from hurting themselves, and yet the children must experience maturity and growth themselves. Paul tells them that they are fortunate to have such a loving, caring God, and it was not only foolish to ignore his teachings, it was also dangerous. Paul is willing to lose not only his life for his people, but also his salvation.
Today, as in this passage, so many Christians take their faith for granted. They assume their salvation is a non‑refundable object. Today, much of the world looks at God as sort of an amusing fantasy to which only oppressed and lonely people cling. Do you have such a concern for others who do not know Christ personally? How concerned are you for those in your own family who do not know Christ personally?
The real challenge to believing Christians today is how much are we all willing to sacrifice of our time, money, energy, comfort and safety to see our loved ones come to faith in Jesus. What do you think about most of the time? Where do you spend most of your free time? Remember, our treasure is where our heart is. We are called to seek his kingship first, and then everything else will fall into line (Matthew 6:33).
A loving parent, like Paul, would gladly die for a child, but like Paul, we see that living for Christ is harder than dying for Christ. To live for Christ means to die to ourselves every day.
The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida. Jesus then told his disciples to get into their boats and cross to the other side of the lake while he stayed to get the people started home. We then see him going up into the hills and praying far into the night.
Praying was the core of Jesus’ activity. He prayed in all circumstances. He was praying even when the skies opened up and the Holy Spirit descended upon him. He often prayed alone, no distractions, just complete union with his Father. We need to look at ourselves honestly and see how much time every day we share in personal prayer with the Lord. This is a time of tremendous intimacy and a time of hope.
The sea became angry and the storm threatened to overturn the boat that carried the disciples. It was early in the morning when, through the fog and heavy seas, they saw Jesus coming toward them walking on the water. They were terrified because they didn’t really recognize him and thought he was some kind of ghost or evil spirit. Jesus called out to them and Peter replies, still not sure whether it really is Christ, “If it really is you, tell me to come over to you walking on the water.” Peter began to walk toward Jesus and then he noticed the high winds, and when he took his eye off Jesus and began to sink he screamed to the Lord, “Save me.” Jesus instantly reached out his hand and rescued him. He looked at them and said, “Why do you always doubt me,” and as they stepped into the boat the wind immediately and obediently died down.
Today’s passage reveals to us how important solitude is to Jesus. He never began or ended anything without spending time alone in prayer with his Father. He was always equipped to handle anything because he was a man full of prayer. Spending time in prayer will help us meet the challenges and struggles of life. Peter sank because he took his eyes off Christ. You need to ask yourself whether you take your eyes off Christ, during a time of crisis.
Jesus is the center of all healing, and no other means can take his place. The high waves in our lives can be tension, turmoil, sickness, marital discord, and many other forms of destruction. When we keep Jesus as the Lord of our life we too will walk on water and stay above the raging seas of destruction. That really means that we will be able to walk through tough situations when we are focused on Christ, rather than the situation. We need not fear that we will sink in any kind of trouble because, just as Jesus told the men in the boat, “Do not be afraid,” he tells us the same. True love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). There is no condemnation in one who accepts the Lord as his or her Savior (Romans 8:1). Pray about everything, worry about nothing and the peace that surpasses all understanding will be yours (Philippians 4:6, 7).
The first reading showed us the power of communication through a gentle whisper of God. The second reading dealt with the power of truth in all that we speak. The Gospel brought home the power of prayer, especially as we prepare to deal with the challenges of life.
This week, make a special effort to speak only the truth, and nothing but the truth, and speak in a clear and gentle manner to those in your family, in your work area, and in your school. His Word is truth. Take some extra time to be alone with the Lord so he can reveal to you what his truth is and how to communicate that to others. Always remember, before you speak to pray and ask the Lord to give wisdom and discernment. This sounds easy but it is not, because Satan, the father of all lies, will try to discourage you in every way he can. Remember, your actions tell others what you really believe