Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, August 19, 2018 - Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost


The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, August 19, 2018 - Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Greeting
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer of the Day (Collect)
Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Trusting God's promise of forgiveness, let us confess our sins against God and one another.

Eternal God our creator, in you we live and move and have our being. Look upon us, your children, the work of your hands. Forgive us all our offenses, and cleanse us from proud thoughts and empty desires. By your grace draw us near to you, our refuge and our strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lessons

Old Testament
Proverbs 9:1-6
Wisdom’s Feast
9:1 Wisdom has built her house,
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
2 She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
    she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
    from the highest places in the town,
4 “You that are simple, turn in here!”
    To those without sense she says,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Lay aside immaturity, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”

The Psalm
Psalm 34:9-14 Benedicam Dominum
34:9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
    for those who fear him have no want.
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.


11 Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Which of you desires life,
    and covets many days to enjoy good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil, and do good;
    seek peace, and pursue it.

The Epistle
Ephesians 5:15-20
5:15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gospel
John 6:51-58
6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Closing Prayer
Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ ore Lord. Amen.

Blessing
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.

"The Incarnate Word Is The True Bread Of Life" The sermon for SUNDAY, August 19, 2018 - Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost


"The Incarnate Word Is The True Bread Of Life"
by Rev. Ronald Harbaugh
Greenville, Pennsylvania

The Holy Gospel comes to us this morning from John the 6th chapter, beginning at the 51st verse.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Again, our Gospel lesson continues the “Bread of Life Discourse,” which is the title given to the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel. The chapter began with Jesus physically providing bread for the crowd of 5000 who gathered to hear him teach, by miraculously multiplying five small loaves and two fish that a young boy brought for his lunch. When the crowd followed him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus challenged the people to see that miracle as a sign, an event that pointed to the fact that in Jesus, the kingdom of God had come into their midst.

In light of this, our lesson from last Sunday focused on Jesus telling the people that he is the bread of life that came down from heaven. One of the commentaries that I read pointed out that by the time that John wrote his Gospel, the Word of God, the Torah and the Prophets, had come to be associated with bread, the basic staple of life, which needed to be consumed on a daily basis in order to nourish and sustain a spiritual life in relationship with God.

Thus, in referring to himself as the “Bread of life,” Jesus was claiming to be God’s incarnate Word, God’s creative and authoritative revelation of his will for our lives, in human flesh. Is this not consistent with the way that John began his Gospel? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”

Throughout the past few weeks, I have also stated that John does not record in his Gospel, Jesus instituting the sacrament of Holy Communion on the night he was betrayed. But this 6th chapter reflects the theological understanding of the author in regard to the sacrament of Holy Communion, and its rightful place in the worship life of the church. In our lesson for this morning, this message becomes rather specific.

So let’s begin with the opening verse of our text for this morning, the verse that ended our lesson from last Sunday. Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Here, with that phrase “I am,” the ego eimi in Greek, John is telling us that as we behold the life and teachings of Jesus, we are, in reality, beholding the Word of God, the presence of God for our lives.

Jesus was not just another prophet. As he interpreted the Scriptures of the Torah and the prophets, Jesus was not simply giving us another way, among many, to view these ancient texts. He was giving us God’s interpretation, the truth of God’s will for our lives. For John, the Word of God was not just symbolically present in the life of Jesus. In Jesus, the Word of God has become flesh.

John’s language is quite specific on this account. In fact, according to the language of John’s Gospel, we can’t even say that in Jesus, God is merely “spiritually present” to us in a special way. We can’t look at Jesus in the way that a lot of “New Age theology” does, which would assert that the human Jesus had somehow received the incarnation of God’s Spirit. According to John, God is not simply using Jesus’ body to proclaim his Word to us. In Jesus, the Word, which is God, has truly become flesh and blood.

This brings us to the crux of the issue. As the incarnate Word of God, this “Bread of Life” which came down from heaven, Jesus not only spent his life proclaiming God’s Word in steadfast love and faithfulness, that we might fully know the will of God for our life. Jesus also gave his life on the cross, to redeem us from our sin, that we might experience the grace of God, that enables us to be children of God’s kingdom.

This chapter in John’s Gospel helps us to realize that the incarnation of the Word of God enveloped the whole person of Jesus. It was not just the words that he spoke, that revealed the wisdom of God. It was not just the miracles that he performed, that gave us signs of God’s presence working through him. Jesus was, in flesh and blood, God’s presence among us, the Bread of Life from heaven.

And here, in this dialogue that Jesus had with the crowd that he had fed by multiplying the meager lunch of a small boy, Jesus makes it clear that it is not just his teaching, not just his ability to perform miracles that reveals the grace of God in our midst. Jesus tells us that he is also going to give his life, his very flesh, to atone for our sins, that we might feed on him, and receive eternal life.

Is it any wander, then, that as Jesus said to the crowd, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh,” that the people cried out in shock, “How can this be?” The language is shocking, even cannibalistic!”

As Gail Ramshaw states in her commentary, “The stark nature of the language in these verses has occasioned much conversation among scholars and has led to the church’s preferring synoptic, rather than John’s terminology for the Eucharist… Yet the vocabulary in John 6 captures more closely than the synoptic accounts of the Last Supper what Jesus may have actually said. Since neither Hebrew nor Aramaic has the word “body” that appears in the Greek accounts of Jesus’ instituting the sacrament, that is, “This is my body,” the gutsy noun “flesh” is more indicative of the Semitic worldview at the time. Indeed, “flesh and blood” was a Hebrew idiom for “the whole person.” End quote. [New Proclamation, Year B, 2003, Fortress Press.]

Thus, it seems to me that John is depicting Jesus as saying that he is, in the very flesh, the incarnate “Word of God,” the very presence of God. We can not separate the humanity of Jesus from the divinity of Jesus. And so, when Jesus says that “He is the bread of life that came down from heaven, to give his flesh and blood for us to eat, so that we might have eternal life,” he is telling us that he feeds us through every aspect of his total being.

Thus, we cannot ignore his teachings or treat them as if they were simply the most profound philosophical truth of an age long ago, from which we have progressed over the ensuing two thousand years. Nor can we fail to see in the miracles which he is recorded to have performed, signs that point to the presence of God among us. But more importantly, we can not ignore that fact that Jesus gave his whole being as the incarnate Word of God, giving his life on the cross for our redemption.

Of course, those of us who have the advantage of reading these words of Jesus from the perspective and knowledge of his death and resurrection, understand this dialogue as reference to the Eucharist. We have come to realize that Jesus is not asking us to literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, as if we were cannibals, in order to know God’s redeeming grace and live in the faith and hope of eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom. Quite frankly, that would be hard to do, given the centuries since Jesus gave his life for our redemption.

Still, we need to be reminded that this meal in which we are about to partake, is truly a means of grace, in which the crucified and risen Christ is truly present to nourish us in faith. For as we continue to proclaim his Word, embrace the fact that Jesus was, through his total being, God’s presence among us, he is still present to us, in, with, and under the form of the bread and wine, to nourish us with his gift of life.

As Christians, we can not allow ourselves to forget what Jesus has done for us. And so we focus on his Word, his teachings and the example that he life provide for us, as we strive to live in relationship with God. But above all, we must always remember, and cling to the fact that Jesus gave his entire life, as a sacrifice for our sin, that we might know the love of God, which embraces us as his redeemed children.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for your gift of creation and for establishing life on this planet we call earth. We thank you for revealing your will for our life, through the words of the Torah and the Prophets, whom you had anointed to speak on your behalf. But most importantly, we thank you for coming among us in the person of Jesus the Christ, who is your Word made flesh. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to be nourished in faith through him who gave himself for our redemption. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

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The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. Sermon contributed by Pastor Ronald Harbaugh, St. John's Lutheran Church, Greenville, Pennsylvania on Aug 15, 2009.
Our Gospel lesson today continues the “Bread of Life Discourse”.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, August 19, 2018


Oh Heavenly and Gracious Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thank You for this beautiful and glorious Sunday morning You have created for us today.

For this day, we praise and honor Your name. This is the day that you have made, we will rejoice and be glad for all that You have in store for us. Yahweh-Jireh, the Lord will provide, you are the God of More than enough, You are the God of abundance. Through You, Your servant David said: “my cup runs over.”

We give You thanks that our needs are supplied and are grateful for all You provide. Today we glory in Your presence great Father. We wonder and gaze upon the great works Your hands have made. Your splendor surrounds us every day.

Thank you for sending Your Precious Son to die for our sins. You raised Him from the dead as You have raised us and called us to be Your own, bringing us into Your marvelous light.

You are all mighty and worthy and we are so very honored that we serve a God of abundance. And out of Your abundance, we ask that You bless us.

Multiply our every work so that our cup will run over. Let the springs of living water flow through us so that we may be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, Amen!

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, August 19, 2018


John 6:51 (NIV) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Read all of John 6

Listen to John 6

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Palabras, palabras, palabras


Palabras, palabras, palabras

En las muchas palabras no falta pecado; mas el que refrena sus labios es prudente.
~ Proverbios 10:19 (RV-60)

Tus palabras tienen más valor de lo que quizá te hayas imaginado. ¿Cuántas veces por palabras dichas sin pensar te has visto comprometido, atado y metido en problemas?

Hay un refrán popular que dice que las palabras se las lleva el viento. Yo diría que esto sucede en algunos casos. Por lo general, toda palabra que sale de tu boca toma una fuerza que va más allá de lo razonable. Por eso es tan importante que pensemos antes de hablar, que pensemos antes de dar nuestra palabra.

Dar nuestra palabra implica compromiso y a veces por emoción, o por las circunstancias, nos vemos comprometidos a aceptar negocios, llamados ministeriales e incluso relaciones que sabemos que no son la voluntad de Dios. Entonces, cuando queremos retractarnos de lo que dijimos, nos interpretan mal y una vez más se perjudica el testimonio.

Dos consejos en este día: Primero, piensa antes de hablar y comprometer tu palabra.

Segundo, debemos tener como prioridad consultarlo todo con nuestro Dios.

No hagas nada por pena. Es mejor ponerse rojo por un momento que rosado por el resto de tus días.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
¿Cuántas veces por palabras dichas sin pensar te has visto comprometido, atado y metido en problemas?

Standing Strong Through the Storm - PERSEVERANCE


PERSEVERANCE

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”

The greatest example of Christian perseverance for me is Sister Alice Yuan from China. Her pastor husband, Allen Yuan, was imprisoned for almost twenty-two years for refusing to join the government controlled church in the middle 1950’s. She says:

“When my husband Allen was sent to prison in April 1958, I was told that I would never see him again. I felt completely miserable and continually blamed God. The future looked so terribly bleak. I had the care of six children and my mother-in-law. I was only earning 80 cents a day. How could I keep my family alive on that?

“When it all became too much for me, one night I heard a voice: ‘My child, I have everything in My hands. These things come from Me.’ I replied, ‘If these things come from You, please protect me and my family. Do not allow me to dishonor Your name. I want to serve You and glorify Your name’.

“Then I received peace in my heart. I was encouraged by Psalm 68:19, Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. In those difficult years, people let me down, but God never abandoned me. But he did put me through trials.

“The first trial was the struggle to survive. I was only earning 80 cents a day. How could we get by on that? But God took care of us, in the same way that he took care of Elijah. He promised to be my shepherd and provider.

“One evening, my mother-in-law said that there was no food anymore in the house. The next morning, at five to six there was a knock on the door. ‘Are you sister Alice?’ asked a woman in her sixties, whom I didn’t know. ‘God wanted me to give you this.’ She put a package in my hand and disappeared. When I opened the parcel I found there was rice in it and some other food and a banknote to the value of about four month’s salary of a professor! Praise the Lord. Where man comes to an end, God begins! This was only one of the many miracles which kept us alive all those years.”

Tomorrow we’ll conclude her story of faithfulness and perseverance as well as God’s miraculous care for His own. 

RESPONSE: Today I will not complain about discomforts but thank God for all His blessings!

PRAYER: Lord, You desire faithfulness and perseverance. Help me develop these qualities in my life.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Devotion - August 19, 2018 - Waiting Patiently

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180819

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Waiting Patiently"

Aug. 19, 2018

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

Over the years, it has been my privilege to run into the occasional family whose children seem to have turned out better than "all right." They may not have all been perfect, but they were young men and women of integrity. They didn't go along with the crowd unless they thought the crowd was going in the right direction.

I have made it a habit to ask the parents of these children two questions: "What did you do right?" and "What did you do that other parents don't." Most of the time, parents said Jesus was part of the day-to-day workings of the family.

The other thing all these parents said was this: "We were consistent. We said what we meant; we meant what we said." These parents didn't make threats, or promises, that they weren't ready to keep.

On the positive side, when they said, "We're going to the movies," they went to the movies. On the discipline side, they didn't exaggerate or overemphasize a promised punishment. These parents didn't say, "If you don't behave I'm going to give you a time out that will last until you're old enough to vote." There were no bribes, no bargaining.

To be honest, my job as a pastor would be easier if God worked the way those parents did.

People might take the Lord more seriously if He punished certain sins with immediate consequences. Think about it.

Suppose every time you went ten miles over the speed limit, God gave you a flat tire. You'd watch your speedometer more closely.

Suppose, every time you spoke evil about somebody your taxes went up? There's no doubt in my mind that you would be careful about what you said about others.

Well, God doesn't always work that way. He doesn't always punish us immediately, and because He doesn't punish us immediately, many disregard Him, disdain Him, feel free to disobey Him. Since God's punishment isn't always obvious and instant, many folks wrongly and dangerously conclude that God isn't serious about what He says. They think they can negotiate with Him. They think He doesn't care, and some even conclude He isn't there at all.

It is a frightening thing to mistake God's grace for indifference, to confuse His mercy with disinterest, to assume that His long-suffering patience is the same thing as apathy. Sure, Scripture records times when sin "A" received punishment "B" and when disobedience was immediately met by God's discipline. After all, Adam and Eve weren't given 30 days to vacate the Garden of Eden after they ate the forbidden fruit.

Yes, the job of a pastor, a priest, a prophet, would be much easier if God wasn't so patient. On the other hand, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that the same Father in heaven who sent His Son to redeem humanity would also want to give lost sinners the time for the Holy Spirit to call them to repentance and eternal life through our Savior.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I rejoice that You are consistent and unchanging. While the final judgment is being delayed, may the lost of this world be brought to a realization of their sins and the Savior. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Over the years, it has been my privilege to run into the occasional family whose children seem to have turned out better than "all right."

Notre Pain Quotidien - Le merveilleux Créateur


Le merveilleux Créateur


Que tes œuvres sont en grand nombre, ô Éternel ! Tu les as toutes faites avec sagesse. La terre est remplie de tes biens. (V. 24)

En tant que photographe amateur, je me plais à capturer des aperçus de la créativité de Dieu. Je vois son empreinte sur chaque pétale délicat, dans chaque lever ou coucher de soleil embrasant l’horizon et dans chaque ciel ennuagé ou étoilé.

Le puissant zoom de mon appareil me permet aussi de prendre en photo des créatures du Seigneur. J’ai photographié un écureuil sifflant dans un cerisier en fleurs, un papillon coloré allant de fleur en fleur, ainsi que des tortues de mer prenant du soleil sur une plage de galets noirs. Or, chaque photo unique m’incite à louer mon merveilleux Créateur.

Je ne suis pas le premier enfant de Dieu à le louer en admirant ses créations uniques. L’auteur du Psaume 104 loue les nombreuses œuvres d’art de Dieu dans la nature (V. 24). Il admire « la grande et vaste mer : Là se meuvent sans nombre des animaux » (V. 25) et se réjouit de ce que Dieu prend soin constamment et parfaitement de ses chefs-d’œuvre (V. 27-31). Devant la majesté de la vie que Dieu a donnée à tout ce qui l’entoure, le psalmiste s’exclame avec gratitude et adoration : « Je chanterai l’Éternel tant que je vivrai, je célébrerai mon Dieu tant que j’existerai » (V. 33).

En réfléchissant à la création de Dieu, nous pouvons voir de plus près sa créativité et son souci du détail intentionnels. Et comme le psalmiste, nous pouvons le louer avec gratitude pour sa puissance, sa majesté et son amour infini. Alléluia !

Les œuvres de Dieu sont merveilleuses, au même titre que lui.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ
En tant que photographe amateur, je me plais à capturer des aperçus de la créativité de Dieu.