Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, August 5, 2018 - Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost


The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, August 5, 2018 - Eleventh 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)
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
16:2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.

16:9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.

The Psalm
Psalm 78:23-29 Attendite, popule
Yet he commanded the skies above,
    and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat,
    and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
    he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
    and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust,
    winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall within their camp,
    all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
    for he gave them what they craved.

The Epistle
Ephesians 4:1-16
Unity in the Body of Christ
4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said,

“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
    he gave gifts to his people.”

9 (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

The Gospel
John 6:24-35
6:24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.


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.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

"Looking For God In All The Wrong Places" The Sermon for SUNDAY, August 5, 2018 - Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost


"Looking For God In All The Wrong Places"
by  Pastor Gary Graff 
Red Lake Falls, Minnesota

The Holy Gospel comes to us this morning from John the 6th chapter, beginning at the 24th verse.

So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Grace and peace to your from our Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Remember that old country western song, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”? The song was about a down and out cowboy, looking for love in bars and shallow relationships. “Looking for love in all the wrong places”.

Today we have a text that might go by a similar title, only instead of “love”, people were “Looking for God, in all the wrong places.”

God's people in our lesson for today were reacting to Jesus' miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Last Sunday's reading from John recalled how Jesus fed a crowd of some five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and a few fish. Quite the miracle! In response to that feeding, the whole crowd went looking for Jesus and more of that miraculous bread that he provided for them.

And why stop with just bread? If Jesus could make a meal for five thousand people, then surely he could provide them with health, wealth, and material prosperity above and beyond their wildest imaginings! Just follow Jesus and you can have all your earthly dreams fulfilled!

But you see, that was just the problem. God's people were looking too low. They were looking for earthly treasures and earthly bread, when they should have been looking heavenly treasure and heavenly bread. They were seeking the gifts, but missing out on the giver.

“Give us more of this bread,” they said to Jesus. In response, Jesus gave them an answer they were not expecting. “Why toil for bread that does not satisfy? Why work for bread that will only perish?” He redirected their searching. He encouraged them to set their sights higher. He told them to look not just for earthly bread which will perish, but for the giver of all good gifts, the one who is the very “bread of life”, God himself.

Looking for love in all the wrong places. Looking for God in all the wrong places. Isn't that what happens to us all when we fall in love with the gifts, but forget about the giver?

Bread is a pretty good gift. And we could think of a lot of other amazing things. Just imagine a first century Biblical person being transported to our day and age, and all the material blessings, he or she might marvel at. Can you imagine a first century person watching television for the first time? How amazed and awestruck they would be by the images and sounds, coming from a box? And not just a little box, but a wide screen “mega TV” covering an entire wall? Or maybe it would be a tiny TV found in someone's cell phone. Now days, you can watch Tom Hanks, not just in the movie theater, but also on your “smart phone”!

And that would be only the beginning of all the marvels that first century person would behold. They would also see trains, planes, and automobiles. Food from all corners of the world almost instantly available in the food court of your local shopping mall. There would be sporting events to attend, dances, plays, and endless entertainment.

After such a feast of material blessings, what would that first century person say? “Give us more of this bread!” And who could blame them?

Earthly bread is good. Earthly bread is a gift from God. Earthly bread is a blessing meant to be enjoyed. How can we not like such blessings? How can we not love them? Yet what if there was something much better right around the corner? Something better than a new cell phone or DVD player. Something better than a blockbuster movie or even the best seats at the Super Bowl. And what if that one more “thing” was not a “thing” at all, but a “person” to enter into relationship with. A person who loves us with a love that is eternal, and absolutely inexhaustible.

Wouldn't we want to set our sights just a little bit higher? Wouldn't we want to pursue not just the gifts, but also the giver?

“Give us more bread.” How easy it is, to love the gifts but forget about the giver. No generation has been more materially blessed than this one. We have so much bread to marvel to at. And sometimes, we take such delight in our material “bread” that we become like little kids in a candy shop. We become mesmerized by all that surrounds us. Hypnotized by all the color, sounds, smells, and tastes. “More, more, more!” we cry, “Give us more of this bread!”

But here's the problem with this earthly bread. In our lesson for today, Jesus said, that earthly bread perishes. It only lasts so long.

I recently heard about a very rare bottle of wine that was being auctioned off for over $60,000! As the bottle was being handled, it slipped from the holder's hands and fell to the floor. The bottle shattered, spilling the $60,000 wine. Was the wine still worth $60,000 now that it had been mixed with the dust of a 1,000 shoes? I don't think so! But that's the problem with earthly bread. It perishes. It turns into trash in the twinkling of an eye.

And was that bottle of wine really worth $60,000 in the first place? The wine we serve in communion costs about $3.00 a bottle. Could any earthly wine really taste 20,000 times better than our $3 wine? Don't we eventually reach a point of diminishing returns?

Jesus was honest with people in this morning's lesson. Earthly bread is good. Earthly fish is good. Earthly wine is good. All God's gifts are good. But the giver is infinitely better! And that's the real bread we need. The real wine we need to partake of.

Jesus comes among us as the “true bread from heaven” that satisfies our deepest hunger. This morning Jesus invites us to a feast, and at this feast we are served something better than $60,000 wine. Through the bread and wine of communion, God becomes present to us, to know and to love. Wouldn't it be a shame if we missed out on this “bread from heaven”, come down to be among us in Jesus?

May we seek and enjoy earthly bread. But may we seek even more intensely, the giver of all good gifts, the "true bread from heaven", Jesus Christ our Lord.

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ

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 Rev. Gary Graff , Bethany Lutheran Church (ELCA), Red Lake Falls, Minnesota on Jul 18, 2015.
Remember that old country western song, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”?

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, August 5, 2018


Father, today we celebrate Your magnificent splendor, for by Your hand You placed time in motion. From the first day of creation until this day, Your creative wonders have filled the universe.

Today we celebrate Your mighty power, for by Your hand you raised Christ from the grave. From resurrection Sunday until this day, Your love has given life to all mankind.

Father we thank you for today. We give this special day over to You. May we rest in Your presence, bathe in Your goodness and celebrate Your eternal life, this day and always.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, August 5, 2018


John 6:35 (NIV) Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

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 - Oración por cambios radicales


Oración por cambios radicales

Crea en mí, oh Dios, un corazón limpio, y renueva un espíritu recto dentro de mí.
~ Salmo 51:10 (RV-60)

Señor, ¡cuántas veces te he prometido cambiar y cuántas veces te he fallado!

Dios mío, estoy arrepentido por no tomar decisiones radicales en mi vida. Sé que soy débil, y aunque hago el esfuerzo por cambiar, termino haciendo lo que no quiero.

Reconozco que tú estás interesado en transformar mi vida porque tienes grandes cosas para mí. Jesús, ayúdame a cambiar y a entender tus propósitos en mi vida. Quiero ser un ejemplo para mi familia y dar testimonio de que eres un Padre bueno.

Señor, entrego en este día todas las cosas de mi vida que te entristecen y dispongo mi alma y mi corazón para un cambio radical.

En el nombre de Jesús oramos, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Sé que soy débil, y aunque hago el esfuerzo por cambiar, termino haciendo lo que no quiero.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - APPEALING TO LEGAL RIGHTS


APPEALING TO LEGAL RIGHTS

As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
Acts 22:25 (NIV)

The scriptures illustrate responses to persecution in three primary ways. On the one hand is the command of Jesus to flee when it occurs and on the other, the stalwart example of those who stayed and endured, persevering through the challenges. In between is the example of the Apostle Paul (whose life responses exhibited both extremes also). When arrested in a mob violence scene in Acts 22, he appeals to his legal rights for protection from a needless beating. In Acts 25, he escapes almost certain death at the hands of the Jews by appealing to Caesar, again a right of his citizenship.

Pastor Abdias Tovilla studied law in order to help his indigenous people of Chiapas in southern Mexico who have been expelled from their homes simply because of their evangelical faith. He is following the model of the Apostle Paul who used whatever means possible to stand up to persecution.

You could say Abdias Tovilla practices two vocations—law and grace. Ordained as a pastor of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in 1981, Tovilla enrolled in the School of Law of the National Autonomous University of Chiapas the same year. He passed the bar exam in 1988 to become a licensed attorney and represent persecuted Christians. He resigned his pastorate in 1992 to be the Executive Secretary and Legal Advisor to the State Committee of Evangelical Defense for Chiapas (CEDECH), but is still a voting member of the Chiapas Presbyterian Synod and preaches on many Sundays at the invitation of local churches.

Abdias Tovilla has a concern for justice—especially for others. Dealing with injustice is also part of our Christian calling. Pastor Tovilla knows that those who speak out to denounce injustice are on the very front line of persecution themselves. He has gained some support from Mexico’s southernmost state Bishop who has appealed for an end to the violent and prolonged persecution of evangelical Christians by “traditionalist” Catholics. Bishop Felipe Arizmendi called for “no more expulsions nor divisions on the basis of religion” and asked that “there be no more destruction nor house-burnings, nor skirmishes, nor the shedding of blood due to religious, political, cultural or economic differences.”

Over the past 30 years, religious intolerance has triggered the forced expulsion of some 35,000 evangelicals from ancestral lands in Chamula and other districts. Despite the unrelenting pressure, evangelical Christianity has grown steadily throughout Chiapas. Today, thirty-five per cent of the state population adheres to evangelicalism, according to census figures. Since the early 1980s, Open Doors has been working in Bible distribution, training and community development with a vision to contribute to reconciliation in the area.

RESPONSE: Today I will speak out against injustice and discrimination of brothers wherever it occurs.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for brave brothers, like Abdias Tovilla, who stand for justice and truth.

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 5, 2018 - The Big Leagues

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180805

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Big Leagues"

Aug. 5, 2018

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 6:23 (ESV)

"He's made it to the big leagues."

That baseball expression says someone has beaten the odds and is now numbered as being among the best.

And if you are wondering what kind of odds we are talking about, some research turns up:

* If you are a high school senior playing interscholastic baseball, the chances of you someday being drafted by a Major League Baseball team is .5 percent.

* If you are a senior playing on a National Collegiate Athletic Association team, the odds on you being drafted by a major league team is 5.6 percent.

* If you have been drafted into a minor league team, the chances you will play a game in the Big Leagues is 10 percent.

"He's made it to the big leagues" is an expression which has actually outgrown its baseball origins and now is applied to other facets of life where an individual has conquered great odds to achieve a level of excellence. When you've made it to the big leagues, you are among the best.

Dakota Hudson is a pitcher for the AAA-farm team, the Memphis Redbirds. Recently, he was pitching a game against the Salt Lake Bees. His first inning had been a good one: three batters up and three batters down. The second inning wasn't going as well for the right-hander. He walked the first batter and allowed a single to the second.

It wasn't a disastrous situation, and Hudson was fully prepared to pitch his way out of trouble.

Just before the third batter stepped into the box, Hudson saw his manager, Stubby Clapp, walking out to him. A visit by your manager is never a good thing. You can be pretty sure he is either going to give you a word of wisdom and encouragement or he is going to pull you out of the game and bring in someone else to take your place.

This time Manager Clapp did neither of those two things.

Instead of chewing out his pitcher, Clapp told Hudson he had been called up and he had "made it to the big leagues." Hudson broke into a grin that went ear to ear, and his teammates applauded, clapped him on the back, and offered their congratulations.

As I watched the entire team jump around in joy because a teammate had achieved a dream that all of them shared, I began to think of how that entire scenario might apply to sinful human beings who want to be called up to heaven.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized there is no comparison.

The truth is a person can try to lead a good life and win God's approval, but that individual is never going to be good enough to get into heaven on his own. In short, the odds of a sinner making it into heaven on his own merit is zero percent.

Heaven only becomes a reality when we have Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is He who lived a perfect life; it is He who resisted every temptation to sin, and He who carried our sins to the cross. Because of what He has done in His life and His resurrection, all who believe on Him as Savior are granted forgiveness and eternal life. Because of Jesus, believers will make it to the big leagues.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the Savior whose sacrifice has saved my soul and changed my eternal destiny. May others be given a faith which knows they are rescued only by the Redeemer. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Alex Butler for the UPI on July 30, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.upi.com/Sports_News/MLB/2018/07/30/St-Louis-Cardinals-Minor-League-pitcher-gets-MLB-call-up-during-game/7241533001573/?ls=5

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
He's made it to the big leagues.

Notre Pain Quotidien - De grands mystères

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/08/05/de-grands-mysteres/

De grands mystères

Lisez : Nahum 1.1-7

L’Éternel est lent à la colère, il est grand par sa force. (V. 3)

En nous promenant, mon amie et moi avons parlé de notre amour pour la Bible. Elle m’a surprise en me disant : « Oh ! mais l’Ancien Testament ne me plaît pas beaucoup. Tous ces trucs pénibles et toute cette vengeance – parle-moi de Jésus ! »

Il se peut que nous nous identifiions à elle en lisant un livre comme Nahum, surtout quand le prophète dit que « l’Éternel se venge, il est plein de fureur » (NA 1.2). Par contre, le verset suivant nous remplit d’espoir : « L’Éternel est lent à la colère, il est grand par sa force » (V. 3).

Si nous approfondissons le sujet de la colère de Dieu, nous en venons à comprendre que, lorsqu’il l’exerce, c’est le plus souvent pour défendre son peuple ou son nom. En raison de son amour débordant, il cherche à redresser des torts et à racheter ceux qui se sont détournés de lui. Cela, nous le voyons non seulement dans l’Ancien Testament, où il rappelle son peuple à lui, mais aussi dans le Nouveau Testament, où il envoie son Fils en sacrifice pour expier nos péchés.

Il se peut que nous ne comprenions pas les mystérieux attributs de Dieu. Nous pouvons toutefois compter sur lui non seulement pour exercer la justice, mais aussi pour demeurer la source de tout amour. Nul besoin de le redouter, car il est « bon, il est un refuge au jour de la détresse ; il connaît ceux qui se confient en lui » (V. 7).

La justice et la miséricorde de Dieu se rejoignent à la croix.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ
En nous promenant, mon amie et moi avons parlé de notre amour pour la Bible.