Oikos' leaders and members are encouraged to read the Moravian Daily Text and gather together (physically or by phone) to discuss.  This is text we discussed today:

Matthew 16:5-20New Living Translation (NLT)

Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said,“You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? 10 Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? 11 Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”

12 Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”[a]

14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,[b] the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John,[c] because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’),[d] and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell[e] will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid[f] on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit[g] on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

20 Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

I thoroughly enjoy attending devotions because I love to hear my spiritual families individual perceptions or take away's from the reading.  I asked my son, who attended with me today, what stood out for him from the discussion.  "I do not need to get or seek approval from ANYONE but GOD!" The world's approval doesn't matter only God's.   Well, I have to seek your approval, Mom." "No son, you only seek mine when needing permission to do or not do something because of your age."  Loved it!

We also discussed God giving us a new identity when we believe in Him - just like he gave Simon a new name, Peter.  Or branding, labeling from others to us and how we relate with that.  But the one perspective that really made me stop and think and want to ponder more deeply was (paraphrased from Jason) "what were the evil teachings that the Pharisees & Sadducees were doing? I think its about the voices we listen to.  What are the five dominant voices in our lives and if they are from non-Christians how do we allow that to influence our thinking, our decisions, our journey?  Do we let that little bit of negative yeast define us? Or do we use our spiritual family as our dominant voices - praying with us, discussing with us, holding us accountable to our faith, our trust, our belief in Jesus Christ our Lord?"  Have you ever thought about the dominant voices in your life? Who do you allow to influence you? And do you allow yourself a voice? And is it encouraging or demeaning? Are you a positive or a negative influence on yourself? Does it change according to what is happening? (Thanks for that point Sylvia).  I admit, that I have to really think about this and determine who am I listening to? I know that my voice is usually negative or limiting - I'm trying to change that with positive affirmations.

I also like the discussion of jobs.  That my first, and foremost job, is working for God.  Doing His business on a daily basis when He calls me to it.  This made me think and redefine that I know work three jobs! (Thanks Jason).  Seriously, am I ever really unemployed if my first occupation is God's work - there is never a shortage of employment.  Am I ready to take a risk? To realize that I can stand in any job, any where, and BE MY SELF, LIVE MY LIFE FOR CHRIST, and know that God has my back.  That even if I lose that corporate job or whatever, I still have work to do for HIM.  Isn't that neat!

For a fun note and mindboggling teenage perspective, we (my son and I) started talking about death on the way home.  Saw the stats on the signs by the freeways - the ones that give you the lost child or elderly information.  It also gives the current death rate on Texas roads for the year.  As of today, it was 240.  That's like four a day and we aren't even at the end of February.  We talked about death, wearing seatbelts, not driving drunk, etc.  Then it veered to "are their video games in heaven, mom? I mean, seriously, how would that work? Do servers in heaven work like they do here on earth? How does a server work in heaven?"...ahh the mindboggling issues of my video game obssessed son.