Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, June 30, 2019 - Third Sunday after Pentecost [Ordinary 13, Proper 8]


The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, June 30, 2019 - Third Sunday after Pentecost
[Ordinary 13, Proper 8]
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Opening Prayer


As We Gather Here
(Words for the above video)
As we gather here in the harbour of your safety
We thank you for fellowship and family.

We ask that you will strengthen us, restore us and inspire us with your love.
Lord, would fill us with your peace
So that as we journey onwards
We would pour out your love and grace to others.
We ask that our souls would catch the wind of your spirit
so that we would take your promises to all the earth.
Amen.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
We struggle to manifest the fruits of the Spirit, but often find ourselves bound by works of the flesh. We know the whole law is summed up in the single commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. Yet we create fences around ourselves to keep neighbors outside and tell ourselves we have no responsibility. Even in our own back yard we “bite and devour” one another.

We wish it were different. When Jesus calls us to follow him, we find every excuse to instead go home or to the workplace to finish something more important first. Yet we yearn to be more centered on You.

Assurance of Pardon
Despite our resistance, we can be assured that God’s strong arm redeems the people. God calls us back to God’s realm, and encourages us with a love we can never lose no matter how hard we push back, no matter how often we forget, no matter how far we stray. We need but ask and we are forgiven.


First Reading
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Elijah Ascends to Heaven
2:1 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10 He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Elisha Succeeds Elijah
13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 Voce mea ad Dominum
1  I will cry aloud to God; *
   I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.

2  In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; *
   my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire;
   I refused to be comforted.

11 I will remember the works of the Lord, *
   and call to mind your wonders of old time.

12 I will meditate on all your acts *
   and ponder your mighty deeds.

13 Your way, O God, is holy; *
   who is so great a god as our God?

14 You are the God who works wonders *
   and have declared your power among the peoples.

15 By your strength you have redeemed your people, *
   the children of Jacob and Joseph.

16 The waters saw you, O God;
   the waters saw you and trembled; *
   the very depths were shaken.

17 The clouds poured out water;
   the skies thundered; *
   your arrows flashed to and fro;

18 The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
   your lightnings lit up the world; *
   the earth trembled and shook.

19 Your way was in the sea,
   and your paths in the great waters, *
   yet your footsteps were not seen.

20 You led your people like a flock *
   by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


Second Reading
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

The Works of the Flesh
16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Fruit of the Spirit
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.


The Gospel
Luke 9:51-62
A Samaritan Village Refuses to Receive Jesus
9:51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then they went on to another village.

Would-Be Followers of Jesus
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer


Lord, thank you that we are a family in Christ. Help us to share his love and legacy with everyone that we encounter this week. May we lavish Christ’s abounding goodness upon our families, friends and colleagues. Holy Spirit, come and equip us in our workplace, guide us in our school life, and inspire us in our neighbourhood. May we be your hands and feet to the needy, your words of affirmation to the oppressed and your arms of comfort to the lonely.

Thank you for choosing to use us to bring your kingdom here on earth.
Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

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.
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
“Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

“The Cost of Discipleship” The Sermon for for SUNDAY, June 30, 2019 - Third Sunday after Pentecost


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 9th chapter of Luke, beginning with the 51st verse.

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:51-62, NRSV)

All mighty God, we thank you for your word and the way that you in it revealed to us who you are and what you've done for us in Christ. Now as we open that word we pray that your spirit may be present, that all thoughts of worry or distraction may be removed and that the Spirit will allow us to hear your voice. And so, oh God, fill us with your spirit through the reading and proclamation of your word this day. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

“The Cost of Discipleship”

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sometimes you just need to learn the value of a dollar. I remember when young boy was learning this at a local tourist area. We were downtown, where all the shops were, and he was given a dollar earlier in the day. Thinking that was enough money to buy something in a tourist trap, he began searching for something he could buy with that dollar. He would grab a toy and ask, “Is this a dollar?” And we would say, “No.” “How about this?” “That’s not a dollar, either.” At one point, as we would go into other stores, he would run in the middle of each one, pull out his dollar over his head, and shout, “Is there anything for a dollar here?” On one occasion, a cleric said, “Yeah, a piece of candy.” The boy was learning the cost and value of a dollar.

In the Gospel text, we encounter some Samaritans and a group of would be disciples, who want to follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t have them learn the lesson, He tells them. Jesus openly and honestly tells them and us the cost and price of following Him. He tells us the cost of discipleship. He doesn’t want it to be a surprise or secret. He doesn’t want us to ever say, “Hey Jesus, you never told me about that!” Instead, He is upfront and honest about the price of following Him. Let’s hear what He has to say this morning.

Luke begins the Gospel text by saying that Jesus has His face set toward Jerusalem. He is determined and dedicated to going there. His eye is on the prize. Nothing will break His resolve or focus. He is going there to suffer for you, to die for you, to fulfill Scripture for you, and to rise for you. He is going there to save you! Nothing will hinder or halt Him from His mission. Jesus is serious about this, and is doing it for all people. And, so, on His way there, He goes through Samaria.

Most Jews would not cross through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem, even though it would be the easiest, quickest, and most direct way. It would be like heading to Indiana from Minnesota, but refusing to go through Illinois. Going through Illinois would be the easier, quicker, and most direct way. Sure, you could go through Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky to get there, but it would be inconvenient, and silly. Jews would avoid Samaria like the plague, and would travel east of the Jordan River to avoid it. It didn’t matter that it took longer and was out of the way. They didn’t want to cross through Samaria.

Why? Long story short, Jews and Samaritans have a long and messy history. They don’t like each other, they have racial animosity, and theological differences. The Samaritans only used the first five books of the Old Testament, and believed that Mt. Gerizim, rather than Jerusalem, was the preferred place of worship. Despite this, Jesus is intentional, and sends messengers ahead to prepare for His arrival in a Samaritan village. Jesus came for them, too.

However, the Samaritans reject Jesus. Why? His face is set toward Jerusalem. They don’t want a Savior Who would go there. That’s not the kind of God they want, or would believe in. So, they reject Him, and we see the same thing today. People reject Jesus and say that there is no God at all, like atheists. Others might struggle with the concept of God taking on flesh and dying, or that Jesus is God. These truths are unthinkable to Muslims and heretical groups struggle with these truths. Others reject Christ by saying, “I’m a good person. I don’t need saving. I’ll be in Heaven.” They think that they have no need for a Savior. To others, Jesus conflicts with what they want to do, or they reject Him because Jesus didn’t do something they wanted, as if He is a genie in a bottle. This rejection is a live and well in our day, sad to say. The cost of their rejection will be great!

Seeing this rejection, James and John are willing to call down fire from Heaven like Elijah, but Jesus says, “No.” and they move on to another village. But not everyone rejects Jesus. On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus meets three unnamed disciples on an unnamed road after leaving the unnamed village.

As they are on their way, the first disciple comes to Jesus and says, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Notice his address. He says, “I will follow,” “I will follow.” The Gospels never record an incident in which someone offers to follow Jesus and successfully becomes a disciple. It doesn’t happen! Both the invitation and the grace to follow are always a gift! We cannot come to faith on our own power. The man brims with self-confidence, and thinks he can follow Jesus. Jesus challenges this self-confidence. He says, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus says, “Are you willing to follow One Who has less than foxes and birds? Are you willing to risk that? Are you willing to be like Him?” Is the man willing to give up all material comfort and security? Could give up everything, if it called for it? That’s the cost!

As they continue on the way, things change. Jesus sees a person and says, “Follow Me.” The person responds, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Notice his address. He says, “let me first.” “Let me first.” He adds a condition to it, right? It is not his first priority, although he means well. There is an old story of an English official in the East who met a very brilliant young Arab man. He was so brilliant, that he was given a scholarship to Oxford and Cambridge. However, the man refused it all, and said, “I will take it after I have buried my father.” At the time, his father was a little over 40!

Jesus responds, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Jesus says there is a crucial moment in everything, and if the moment is missed, the thing will most likely never be done at all. Wait for the father to die, and bury him? Sometimes following Jesus can push venerated duties and traditions to the background. Following Jesus will result in conflicting loyalties and priorities. In fact, it calls for them to be reorganized. That’s the cost!

There is one more disciple to talk about. This disciple tells Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” This man is a combination of the two. “I will follow…let me first….” Jesus responds to him by saying, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” To be honest, I doubt many, and any of us, have ever used a plow. An appropriate comparison would be to mowing. If you keep looking back when mowing, what will happen? Your line will become crooked and you will miss a spot. You could mow through your wife’s garden. You could hit the mailbox or decorative rocks. You can’t look back! It is the same for following Jesus. Jesus says to not look back. Leave the old (sinful) way of life behind, and never go back. Focus on the task ahead and at hand. That’s the cost!

The cost of discipleship is high, isn’t it? It is being willing to give up everything, reorganizing priorities and loyalties, and not looking back. But Jesus is straightforward. He doesn’t have us learn a lesson about cost like the young boy at the beginning of this story did. He tells us directly. Some will reject Jesus. Some will say they can follow Him, but cannot do it on their own power. Others will make excuses or conditions.

What would you say if you were among the unnamed disciples? How might you finish this sentence? “Jesus, I am happy and willing to follow you, as long as….” What is your blank? As long as I have time? As long as things are good financially? As long as I feel better and things are well? As long as I can still do what I want to do, or as long as things aren’t too dangerous.

What hinders your walk with Him? A lack of devotional time, if any? Priorities in the wrong places? Excuses or conditions? Peer pressures? We are unfit for His Kingdom. We wander, we stumble, we make excuses.

Fortunately, we have a great Savior Who makes us fit for His Kingdom. He makes us fit by faith and our baptism, where He calls us, washes us clean, forgives us, and gives His Spirit. He works in us, making us new each day, and reshaping our lives and priorities to make us like His Son. We follow Him to Jerusalem. We follow Him to the cross where He looks at us with His eyes of love, mercy, and care, paying the price to save us! We follow Him to the tomb, where He looks at us in victory, after defeating sin, death, and the devil. We follow Him to the hill, where He ascends back to God enthroned over all things and reigns for our good.

We are fit for the Kingdom because of Him and His Work. Our Lord graciously and continually invites us to follow Him through His Word, and will help us do it. Will this always be easy? No. The hymn “How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord” describes it well: “But if, forgetful, we should find Your yoke is hard to bear; If worldly pressures fray the mind, and love itself cannot unwind its tangled skein of care: Our inward life repair.” He will do it! The hymn continues: “In what You give us, Lord, to do, Together or alone, In old routines or ventures new, May we not cease to look to You, The cross You hung upon-All you endeavored done.” The cost of discipleship is certainly high, but Jesus has paid it all by His death and resurrection.

Let us pray: God, You know there are days when we see others not following you and we want them to be punished. We see people spreading hate and fear and know this isn’t your way. We see people mistreating each other and we are angry. We understand why James and John asked, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” And we know just like Jesus rebuked the disciples, you would tell us this is not your way. Forgive us for wanting to repay hate with hate and violence with violence.

God, we promised to follow you. And yet, so many other things pull at our time and attention. We will follow you as soon as our to do list is tackled, our house is clean enough for company, and we’ve cared for our family. Forgive us God, for not putting you first in our lives.

God, we ask that you give us righteous anger at the injustice in the world and that you help us to have our priorities in order, so we may follow you. Amen.

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Scripture taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)® Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Sermon contributed by Rev. Nickolas Kooi.
This sermon looks at the rejection of the Samaritans, and examines the excuses of the three would be disciples.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, June 30, 2019


Sunday morning prayer

Lord on this special day, I run into Your loving arms. May Sunday be a celebration, filled with thankfulness, where I connect with the presence of Heaven, seek Your beauty and goodness, and cherish special family time together. Come fill my heart afresh with Your love. May it overflow with Heaven's bounty, moving through this rest day and into the week ahead.

Lord on this special day,
I run into Your arms.
Spend cherished time with family,
And find shelter in Your palm.
May Sunday be a celebration,
Full up to the brim,
With Heaven's promise ringing loud,
And Your love flowing in.

Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, June 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah+14%3A9&version=NIV

Zechariah 14:9 (NIV) The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

Read all of Zechariah 14

Listen to Zechariah 14

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 - Sunday, June 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/06/30

Secretos para triunfar

Gracias a Dios que en Cristo siempre nos lleva triunfantes y, por medio de nosotros, esparce por todas partes la fragancia de su conocimiento.

Creo que este es un pensamiento que alguna vez todos hemos tenido: ser alguien, triunfar y que nos vaya bien. Y eso es lo que quiere Dios. Es más, Él quiere que prosperemos.

Sin embargo, ¿cuáles serían algunos secretos para triunfar? Quizá lo que te diga hoy sea lo que hay en mi corazón también. Sin embargo, en ocasiones y por diferentes razones, no lo ponemos en práctica. Quizá se deba a que no creemos en nosotros mismos o que les damos prioridad a otras cosas o personas. En mi caso, a veces pienso más en el beneficio de los demás que en hacer cosas para mis hijas, dejando mis sueños para el final.

Por ejemplo, yo quería hacer este libro, pero a la verdad no sabía por dónde empezar. Incluso, a menudo pensaba que no iba a ser capaz de escribir un libro. ¿A qué hora podría hacerlo? Aunque ya varias personas me habían sugerido que lo hiciera, siempre lo postergaba. Lo lindo de todo esto es que Dios ya tiene determinado lo que seremos y haremos, y nos da la pauta para seguirla. Así que seamos obedientes y emprendamos las cosas que Dios ponga en nuestros corazones de modo que logremos el verdadero triunfo.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Creo que este es un pensamiento que alguna vez todos hemos tenido: ser alguien, triunfar y que nos vaya bien.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, June 30, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/06/30
THE DISCIPLINE OF FASTING

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus assumes in this passage that His followers practice fasting. He says “when” you fast—not “if” you fast and then goes on to give these instructions. Fasting is a significant spiritual activity that goes along with intensive prayer times. To fast means to put God first. Fasting is an attitude of the heart in which we interrupt our normal life to pray for a specific matter or cause. It means to abstain from food—and for some, even drink—so that we can focus on God and be more sensitive to spiritual matters. Fasting is also perseverance in prayer until you have received an answer—be it yes, no, wait or something different. In essence, fasting means that we rend our hearts before God, confess our sins and turn to the Lord anew (Joel 2:12-13).

Fasting is biblical. Consider the following: Moses fasted twice for forty days (Exodus 34:28); Daniel fasted (partially) for twenty-one days (Daniel 10:3); Joel called for a day of fasting (Joel 1:14; 2:12); Ezra withdrew for a period of fasting and mourning (Ezra 10:6); Elijah fasted for forty days (1 Kings 19:8); Leaders of the church in Antioch fasted (Acts 13:2-3); Jesus fasted for forty days (Luke 4:2); Paul and Barnabas fasted (Acts 14:23; 27:33).

Captain Bill Tinsley was arrested on false charges under President Marcos in the Philippines following the completion of Project Pearl in 1981. As the days of his confinement passed, Bill fasted from eating. After a few days of fasting, his blood pressure rose very high. A doctor visited him daily. Everything possible was done to get him to eat. He was accused of staging a hunger strike. Bill carefully explained to his captors many times, “My fasting is a spiritual exercise. If I want my God to take my part, I must become weak that He may become strong. President Marcos is a very powerful man. I cannot fight him. I must let God take my part.” His explanation brought only a certain resignation by his jailers. They did not understand.

Each day during his captivity Bill went for a walk. A soldier always went along to guard against possible escape. On that tenth morning, after reading of Elijah’s running a great distance while fasting, Bill jogged. The soldier that went along couldn’t keep up and was forced to take shortcuts across the fields to stay with him.

“How can you be so strong without eating?” a colonel asked referring to the jogging incident that morning.

“It’s the power of God,” Bill told him sincerely. “And if you keep me here, you’re going to see me grow stronger and stronger!” The eyes of all the men present grew large. They believed him and that prospect was not to their liking. It was with some reluctance Bill later walked out of his cell for the last time. He had experienced God’s presence there. His captors, the same ones that had falsely arrested him, gave him a send-off as they would a dear friend.

RESPONSE: Today I resolve to practice all the spiritual disciplines…including fasting.

PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to practice fasting as a spiritual discipline without making it obvious.

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

LHM Daily Devotions - Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190630

"Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus"

Jun. 30, 2019

"Let us suffer here with Jesus and with patience bear our cross. Joy will follow all our sadness; where He is, there is no loss. Though today we sow no laughter, we shall reap celestial joy; All discomforts that annoy shall give way to mirth hereafter. Jesus, here I share Your woe; help me there Your joy to know."

It is a statement that you don't really want to hear from Jesus. From anyone else, you could simply dismiss the comment as the opinion of a glass-half-empty sort of person. But not if it's Jesus. What He says is the truth: "In the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33b). In the world we have trouble; we cannot deny it. We know from experience it is true. We suffer illness, loss, and grief. We bear the shame and guilt of our sins. We are subjected to the hatred of the world because the sin-darkened world first hated our Lord (see John 15:18).

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24b). To follow Jesus is to follow Him in everything. We know the joy of living as children of our Heavenly Father, the peace of sins forgiven and—walking in the footsteps of Jesus—the heavy cross-weight of suffering and tribulation in this world. With compassionate love, our Lord endured the world's hatred and the suffering that was heaped upon Him. Out of love for the world, for us, He bore the weight of our sins, and "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2b).

We bear with confidence our crosses—the tribulation of life in the world—because Jesus also said, "But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b). That too is truth. All the world's tribulation and rage, the heavy weight of sin, was placed on Jesus and He overcame it all. His victory is our victory. In Him we overcome this world's trouble.

For now, there are "discomforts that annoy" and more serious grief and hurts that banish all laughter. Yet even now we celebrate the joy of our Lord and the nourishment of His Word and Holy Supper as we look forward to the day when, in His presence forever, we will "reap celestial joy." That's a promise, too: another truth from God.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, strengthen us to endure the trouble and sorrow that this world often brings our way. Help us to focus, as You did, on the joy that is set before us. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Reflection Questions:
  • As you consider your life, what seems to mark it more—sadness or joy?
  • How does Jesus having overcome the world make your life better?
  • How does your faith sustain you in difficult times?

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
As you consider your life, what seems to mark it more—sadness or joy?

Unser Täglich Brot - Durch eine neue Brille

https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/2019/06/30/durch-eine-neue-brille/

Durch eine neue Brille

Lesung: 2. Mose 25,31-40 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Hiob 17-19; Apostelgeschichte 10,1-23

Denn sein [Gottes] unsichtbares Wesen — das ist seine ewige Kraft und Gottheit — wird seit der Schöpfung der Welt, wenn man es wahrnimmt, ersehen an seinen Werken, sodass sie keine Entschuldigung haben. Römer 1,20

„Es muss toll sein, einen Baum zu betrachten und die einzelnen Blätter zu erkennen, als nur ein verschwommenes Grün!“, sagte mein Vater. Ich hätte es nicht besser ausdrücken können. Ich war damals achtzehn Jahre alt und nicht begeistert darüber, eine Brille tragen zu müssen, aber sie veränderte alles, was ich sah, und das Verschwommene wurde schön!

Wenn ich die Bibel lese, dann betrachte ich gewisse Bücher darin so wie die Bäume, die ich ohne Brille ansehe. Es gibt scheinbar nicht viel zu sehen. Aber die Details zu entdecken kann die Schönheit darin offenbaren, was zunächst langweilig erscheint.

Das passierte mir, als ich das 2. Buch Mose las. Gottes Anweisungen, die Stiftshütte zu bauen — seine vorübergehende Wohnstätte unter den Israeliten — kann wie eine langweilige und verschwommene Abhandlung wirken. Aber am Ende von Kapitel 25 hielt ich inne, als Gott Anweisungen für den Leuchter gab. Dieser sollte aus „reinem Gold“ hergestellt werden, einschließlich Fuß und Schaft, mit Kelchen, Knäufen und Blumen (V. 31). Diese Kelche sollten die Form von Mandelblüten haben (V. 34).

Mandelbäume sind atemberaubend. Und Gott brachte diese natürliche Schönheit in seine Stiftshütte ein!

Paulus schrieb, dass „Gottes unsichtbares Wesen — seine ewige Kraft und Gottheit“ in der Schöpfung gesehen und wahrgenommen werden (Römer 1,20). Um Gottes Schönheit zu sehen, müssen wir manchmal auf die Schöpfung sehen. Vielleicht können wir dann das, was wie ein uninteressanter Absatz in der Bibel erscheint, durch eine neue Brille sehen.

Herr, danke, dass du uns nach deinem Ebenbild erschaffen und uns wertvoll gemacht hast. Hilf mir, dass ich mich an den Wert erinnere, den ich habe, weil ich nach deinem Bild erschaffen wurde.


© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Es muss toll sein, einen Baum zu betrachten und die einzelnen Blätter zu erkennen, als nur ein verschwommenes Grün!