Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, August 4, 2019 - Eight Sunday after Pentecost

The Parable of the Rich Fool by Rembrandt, 1627
Luke 12:13-21

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, August 4, 2019 - Eight Sunday after Pentecost
[Lectionary/Ordinary 18, Proper 13]
(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)
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.

Call to Confession
This week we remember the events of August 6 and 9, 1945: the bombing of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In the decades since, the world has lived with the threat of nuclear annihilation and many have worked and struggled for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

O God, like a father who teaches his child to walk, like a mother who feeds and heals her children, You desire to nourish all people and rescue them from injustice. You call us into this work of justice-making and care. Yet we follow other paths; we make choices that lead to violence and destruction.

Meet us here and teach us how to put aside all temptations that lead to violence, from the smallest to the most global. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
The apostle Paul calls us to seek the things that are above and find new life revealed in Christ. As we have been called by Christ, we put away the things that lead to death and Christ’s life is revealed in us. Friends, believe the Good News of the gospel: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.


First Reading
Hosea 11:1-11
God’s Compassion Despite Israel’s Ingratitude
11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
     and out of Egypt I called my son.
2  The more I called them,
     the more they went from me;
   they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
     and offering incense to idols.

3  Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
     I took them up in my arms;
     but they did not know that I healed them.
4  I led them with cords of human kindness,
     with bands of love.
   I was to them like those
     who lift infants to their cheeks.
     I bent down to them and fed them.

5  They shall return to the land of Egypt,
     and Assyria shall be their king,
     because they have refused to return to me.
6  The sword rages in their cities,
     it consumes their oracle-priests,
     and devours because of their schemes.
7  My people are bent on turning away from me.
     To the Most High they call,
     but he does not raise them up at all.

8  How can I give you up, Ephraim?
     How can I hand you over, O Israel?
   How can I make you like Admah?
     How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
   My heart recoils within me;
     my compassion grows warm and tender.
9  I will not execute my fierce anger;
     I will not again destroy Ephraim;
   for I am God and no mortal,
     the Holy One in your midst,
     and I will not come in wrath.

10 They shall go after the Lord,
     who roars like a lion;
   when he roars,
     his children shall come trembling from the west.
11 They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
     and like doves from the land of Assyria;
     and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.

Psalm 107:1-9, 43 Confitemini Domino
1  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, *
   and his mercy endures for ever.

2  Let all those whom the Lord has redeemed proclaim *
   that he redeemed them from the hand of the foe.

3  He gathered them out of the lands; *
   from the east and from the west,
   from the north and from the south.

4  Some wandered in desert wastes; *
   they found no way to a city where they might dwell.

5  They were hungry and thirsty; *
   their spirits languished within them.

6  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, *
   and he delivered them from their distress.

7  He put their feet on a straight path *
   to go to a city where they might dwell.

8  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy *
   and the wonders he does for his children.

9  For he satisfies the thirsty *
   and fills the hungry with good things.

43 Whoever is wise will ponder these things, *
   and consider well the mercies of the Lord.


Second Reading
Colossians 3:1-11
The New Life in Christ
3:1 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!


The Gospel
Luke 12:13-21
The Parable of the Rich Fool
12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward 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.
Through a parable about a "rich fool" Jesus gave a sharp warning about the love of money. Greed leads to a false view of life. Greed leads to a fool’s death.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, August 4, 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, August 4, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NIV&search=Jeremiah%2033:2-3

Jeremiah 33:2-3 (NIV) “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Read all of Jeremiah 33

Listen to Jeremiah 33

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

“Be On Your Guard Against All Kinds of Greed!” The Sermon for for SUNDAY, August 4, 2019 - Eight Sunday after Pentecost


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 12th chapter of Luke, beginning with the 13th verse.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21, 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.

“Be On Your Guard Against All Kinds of Greed!”

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

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) That passage from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy is well known. It seems that many people who know little else about the Bible can quote that particular passage. Perhaps it is familiar and frequently quoted because so many people have experienced its truth either directly or indirectly. Who among us hasn’t seen arguing and fighting take place because of the love of money? We have all heard about lives, and marriages, and families destroyed because of the love of money. In the news every day we hear about people who commit heinous crimes because of greed.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” The inspired Apostle wasn’t the first one to point out the powerful pull that wealth can have on a person. From the record of Achan’s sin in Joshua to the warnings penned by Solomon in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes we hear the warnings that God gave to his people about the danger greed poses to a person’s soul. Other Old Testament prophets delivered similar warnings from God about coveting. A reading of the New Testament will reveal additional warnings about greed from the lips of Jesus and the writings of the Apostles.

But perhaps we think that coveting and greed is only a problem for rich folks. If we are of more modest means we won’t have any trouble with greed, right? Although being wealthy may present an extra challenge for a Christian every one of us is faced with the temptation to sinfully crave money and more material wealth.

In the gospel lesson for this Sunday we hear Jesus give one of his strongest warnings about greed. He tells us to watch out for what the love of money can do to us. It can warp what we perceive as valuable in life and twist our view of material things. Greed can turn us inward so that we begin to care only for our self. And worst of all, greed will lead us to a frightening situation at the end of our life. So all of us must take these words of Jesus to heart. We ask him to use his law to expose our sinfulness and his gospel to empower us to change our attitude and actions. May the Holy Spirit enable us to listen to our Savior when he says:

“BE ON YOUR GUARD AGAINST GREED!”

Whenever we look at a section of God’s Word the background and the context of the verses are essential for properly understanding them. The first two verses of the gospel lesson for this Sunday describe the situation in which Jesus spoke his strongest warning about greed. “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” Jesus saw right through the man’s request. It was greed that prompted him to ask the Rabbi from Nazareth to intervene in the squabble he was having with his brother over money. After making it clear to the man that a dispute over an inheritance was not any of Jesus’ business he said to everyone, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” Beginning with that warning Jesus went on to explain the dangers that lie behind greed. Greed leads a person to a false view of life. Greed leads to a fool’s death.

Greed leads to a false view of life.

Just before Jesus told the parable of the rich fool he stated one of the fundamental misconceptions that can cause a person to become greedy. He said, “for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” The point that Jesus started to make with that statement is that greed leads to a false view of life. The people in the crowd that day were part of a society that measured a person by what he owned. In the parable that Jesus was about to tell he would bring home the truth that a correct view of life has little to do with money.

Keeping up with the neighbors, having the latest one of these or those, and measuring a person by what he or she wears, drives, or owns is the common practice in our society. Why do Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise, and Gwyneth Paltrow demand 15 or 20 million for their part in a movie? Money is how they keep score of who is the best. Does a baseball player, or football player, or basketball player really need 87 million for a ten year contract? Once again, money is just a means of keeping score and determining who is the best. It is considered the measure of success.

How many employees will leave a job they love for a job they hate because it pays more? In the minds of many your salary is a reflection of how important and successful you are. To this way of thinking Jesus says, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Greed leads to a false view of life.

Have we been influenced by this kind of thinking? Has the love of money that surrounds us corrupted our hearts? You don’t have to be a movie star or a professional athlete to begin thinking that life is measured by money. Subtly Satan sifts us through the culture in which we live filling our hearts with greed. To set our thinking straight we need to hear reminders like this one from 1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.” We have this warning from Ecclesiastes 5:10, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income” (NIV). To counter the culture of greed in which we live we need to regularly hear God’s law that condemns coveting as sin. We need to hear warnings from God’s Word to be on our guard against greed. Greed leads to a false view of life.

To illustrate how greed leads to a false view of life Jesus told this parable of the rich fool. “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” Do you understand the point Jesus made with the parable? Greed leads a person to have a warped view of himself. It leads to sinful self-centeredness, sinful self-reliance, and a life directed toward pleasure instead of service.

Perhaps the title that has been given to this parable makes us think it doesn’t apply to us. Since it is the “parable of the rich fool” we may think it applies only to those who are rich. No. Any person, rich or poor, or middle class, can fall into greed’s grip and the false view of life it causes. Jesus used the rich man in the parable to illustrate an attitude. The rich man’s frequent use of “I,” “my,” and “myself,” jump out at us.

Perhaps we have more in common with this rich fool than we might think. Have we not been led to trust in our money more than our Maker when it comes to meeting our physical needs? Do your retirement plans hang on the number of zeros behind your savings or on the One in whose hands your future rests? Hasn’t greed distorted our view of what is important in life? Do we skip worship services to collect overtime pay and put a little more away? As our net worth and our weeks of vacation time have increased do we see ourselves taking it easy, eating, drinking and enjoying the good life?

Be on your guard against all kinds of greed! Jesus’ words of warning certainly apply to us. Thankfully in him we have a Savior who said “no” to Satan when he offered him all the wealth in the world. Instead he went to the cross to pay for the times we have given into greed. In the perfect life he lived in our place he never let greed guide him. Now we are able to say “no” to greed. With our living Savior living in us we can conquer the sin of coveting. We can be on our guard against all kinds of greed so that it doesn’t lead us into a false view of life.

After the rich man hatched his plans for the future he thought he was going to have it made for years to come. But God had other plans for him. Jesus went on to say, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” The second part of Jesus’ warning against greed is just as important. Not only does greed lead to a false view of life, it also leads to a fool’s death.

Greed leads to a fool’s death.

The conclusion of the parable leads us to see the most tragic consequence of greed. The rich man’s life was “on loan” from God. When God balanced the books of the man’s life he was “out of balance.” He had lived his life for himself and not for God or in service to God. So God called the man a fool. In the original language this word means someone who doesn’t add up the facts correctly or someone who doesn’t have a grasp of reality. A person blinded by greed is such a fool. He or she chooses to overlook the fact that wealth is temporary and God’s judgment is eternal.

Sigmund Freud’s favorite story was about the sailor shipwrecked on one of the South Sea Islands. He was seized by the natives, hoisted to their shoulders, carried to the village, and set on a crude throne. Little by little, he learned that it was their custom once each year to make some man a king, king for a year. He liked it until he began to wonder what happened to all the former kings. Soon he discovered that every year when his kingship was ended, the king was banished to an island, where he starved to death. The sailor did not like that, but he was smart and he was king, king for a year. So he put his carpenters to work making boats, his farmers to work transplanting fruit trees to the island, farmers growing crops, masons building houses. So when his kingship was over, he was banished, not to a barren island, but to an island of abundance.

That story can be a good illustration of life: We’re all kings here, kings for a little while, able to choose what we will do with the stuff of life. Our Savior would have us use the blessings he gives to prepare for the life still to come. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” We store up treasure in heaven when we manage our material possessions with spiritual goals in mind. Yes, God calls on us to provide for our families and meet our financial responsibilities. But beyond that we are to manage our wealth with his kingdom in mind. Jesus also said in Luke 16:9, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.” Money is a temporary tool that we use to sustain our bodies. It only has eternal effects when we use it to share gospel.

When greed leads a person to a false view of life it will lead him or her to a fool’s death. That person will stand before God as one who wasted his or her life. Making money was more important than growing in God’s word. Taking care of personal needs was more important than serving others. Faith in God was replaced with faith in money. And so in the end the person will not enter God’s kingdom. And so we can see why Jesus says, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” It leads to a fool’s death.

It has been reported that monkey trappers in North Africa have a clever method of catching their prey. A number of gourds are filled with nuts and firmly fastened to a branch of a tree. Each has a hole just large enough for the unwary monkey to stick his forepaw into it. When the hungry animal discovers the food, he quickly grasps a handful of nuts, but the hole is too small for him to withdraw his clenched fist. And he doesn’t have enough sense to open up his hand and let go in order to escape, so he is easily taken captive.

This is a picture of how greed can work in the life of a Christian. The devil with his crafty devices tempts us to hold on to material things and then he captures us. We are too foolish to let go because we want what he offers.

Again Jesus’ warning comes to mind. “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed!” It will separate you from God’s Word and if it is left unchecked it will separate you from God forever. As this parable illustrates greed leads to a fool’s death.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Plants grow out of a root. Many wicked things grow out of the root of greed. In its ugliest form it can lead to crimes of every sort. But it can also grow into some pretty harmless looking things. But in the end greed is a deadly poison that destroys lives in time and souls in eternity. So take Jesus’ and remain continually be on our guard against all kinds of greed. Because greed leads to a false view of life and to a fool’s death pray that Jesus will preserve us from it!

Let us pray: Dear heavenly Father, throughout your Word, you have things to say to us about greed—strong cautions about our heart’s relentless hunger, quest, and demand to have a little more. But today, Jesus’ warning about “all kinds” of greed has broadened this admonition, and I find myself both convicted of sin and wooed to a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Like anyone, I can be greedy for money and the things money can buy. Though it’s easy for me to downplay my cash greed by comparing myself to others, seemingly much more preoccupied with getting rich than I am, nonetheless, Father, your warning about the love of money being a root of all kinds of evil is real to me.

But I am also aware of being greedy for other “currencies” too. When Jesus “isn’t enough” for me, I get greedy for control over my space, schedule, and interruptions; I get greedy for people to notice me and appreciate me; I get greedy for being included in special circles of cool and important people; I get greedy for being thought of as smart and spiritual; I get greedy for people not to be needy or have unrealistic expectations of me. Ouch, I’m going to stop there, Father, though I could add to my “all kinds of greed” list.

I repent, Father, and collapse upon Jesus as my righteousness; and ask you both forgive me and liberate me. I want to glorify you and enjoy you—more than ever. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to find my deepest satisfaction, joy, and peace in knowing, loving, and serving Jesus.  Amen.

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

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. Michael Otterstatter.
Through a parable about a "rich fool" Jesus gave a sharp warning about the love of money. Greed leads to a false view of life. Greed leads to a fool’s death.

Un dia a la Vez - Sunday, August 4, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/08/04

El cambio

No se amolden al mundo actual, sino sean transformados mediante la renovación de su mente.

La unción no cambia, lo que en verdad nos cambia es cuando renovamos nuestro carácter en Cristo. Es posible que alguien tenga un tremendo poder y ore por ti. Con todo, si no le entregas tu vida a Dios, no hay cambio, y si no hay cambio, no hay el verdadero carácter de Cristo.

Todos estamos en esa lucha, pues queremos dejar de fallarle a Dios y deseamos cambios radicales en nosotros. El cambio viene de adentro hacia fuera, ya que a Él le interesa transformarnos aunque a veces nos resulte doloroso.

Dios quiere que tengamos una nueva vida, pero antes debemos morir a lo que somos. Así que hay que morir para vivir. Puedo dar fe de que el cambio no viene todo en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Sin duda, es un cambio hermoso el que Dios pone con su carácter, pues de repente lo que me gustaba hacer ya no me siento cómoda haciéndolo o por lo menos voy a pensarlo por la consecuencia.

El cambio es el mejor regalo que nos puede dar Dios. Nos da tantos beneficios que muchas veces me he dicho: «¿Por qué no te conocí antes, Señor? ¡De cuántas cosas me hubiera librado!». Si hubiera tenido antes a Dios, mis hijas no hubieran pasado por las muchas cosas a las que las expuse.

Entrega tu vida y cambia… es el mejor regalo para ti, después de la salvación.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
La unción no cambia, lo que en verdad nos cambia es cuando renovamos nuestro carácter en Cristo. Es posible que alguien tenga un tremendo poder y ore por ti. Con todo, si no le entregas tu vida a Dios, no hay cambio, y si no hay cambio, no hay el verdadero carácter de Cristo.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, August 4, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/08/04
ENDURING PERSECUTION

“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
~ Acts 9:16 (NIV)

These are the words of Jesus to Ananias when Saul of Tarsus had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Though Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, resorted to flight several times in his missionary work, he did not try to avoid persecution as a life style practice. Indeed in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, Paul outlines and describes the repeated persecution he had endured for Christ.

The Bible and history are replete with examples of those who in the will of God refused to flee but stayed and endured the persecution to the point of self-sacrifice and even martyrdom.

A few years ago I was in Thailand for some organizational meetings. One of my colleagues brought a Vietnamese pastor to meet me who was in great anguish. His story touched me deeply.

Pastor Vin was at home in Vietnam one earlier evening when a parishioner knocked on the door. He had just met a sizable group of North Korean refugees who had trekked through China and become lost in the Vietnamese jungle. They were emaciated, ragged and fearful.

The Pastor invited the refugees to his home where they were fed and his people brought them adequate clothing. But what now? If discovered by the Vietnamese authorities, they would be repatriated to North Korea to certain death or life in labor camp. Their only hope was to seek asylum in neighboring Cambodia which did not have an extradition agreement with North Korea.

Then came a second knock on the door. It was the parishioner again. The Vietnamese authorities had been tipped off that North Korean refugees were in the area and were actively searching for them.

Pastor Vin knew the jungle route to Cambodia and knew what he had to do. Bidding his family farewell, he set off with the group of refugees and led them safely through the jungle to the capital of Cambodia where they successfully sought asylum as refugees.

But the Vietnamese authorities soon became aware of what the pastor had done. They notified his wife that he would be arrested and imprisoned immediately upon his arrival home. He fled further west to neighboring Thailand for safety.

The night I met him in Thailand he was in tears. His wife was scheduled for surgery the next day in the hospital back home in Vietnam. She so wanted him to be there with her during this trying time. Yet he could not safely return home. He was in a quandary. We prayed together that God would be with his wife in her medical emergency and give him wisdom to know what to do.

Later I heard from our colleague that Mrs. Vin’s surgery was successful and that Pastor Vin, knowing what he would face, returned home to Vietnam. He was immediately arrested and placed under house detention. But he used his time at home discipling new believers.

Fleeing is not the only option when persecution strikes. There are times when God’s will is for us to stay and face the music!

RESPONSE: Today I will stay in tune with God’s Spirit so that I will know what responses He wants me to make.

PRAYER: Help me Lord to be aware of Your purposes in the events and challenges of 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 Daily Devotions - August 4, 2019 "Praise the Almighty"

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190804

"Praise the Almighty"

Aug. 4, 2019

"Trust not in rulers; they are but mortal; Earthborn they are and soon decay. Vain are their counsels at life's last portal, When the dark grave engulfs its prey. Since mortals can no help afford, Place all your trust in Christ, our Lord. Alleluia, alleluia!"

"Trust not in rulers." In view of the political and military conflicts raging across the globe, would you agree with that advice? The hymn's wise counsel is taken from Psalm 146:3, "Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation." We are not to place ultimate trust in earthly rulers, but not because of any particular political views they might hold, or because of their leadership skills or lack thereof.

We are not to trust earthborn princes because, as the hymn reminds us, "they are but mortal." Many rulers serve well; they enforce laws and protect their citizens. We are to be subject to the governing authorities, giving "respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed" (Romans 13:7b). But we are not to place ultimate faith in them because those authorities "are but mortal." At some point they are going to die. Earthly rulers may defeat opponents in the political arena or on the battlefield, but they cannot conquer death—for themselves or for others. "Vain are their counsels at life's last portal, when the dark grave engulfs its prey." Earthly rulers are powerful, but their power extends only so far. When it comes down to death, they are no help at all.

Where do we turn for answers when faced with the big questions of life, questions of death and life—eternal life? "Since mortals can no help afford, place all your trust in Christ, our Lord." According to Psalm 146, our Lord reigns with authority and power that no earthly ruler could ever command. Our Lord "executes justice" and "gives food to the hungry." He sets prisoners free and gives the blind sight. He upholds the widows and fatherless. His reign will endure forever, a claim some earthly leaders may make but can never fulfill.

Only our mighty Prince, our Lord Christ, can help us "at life's last portal," because He too once crossed death's threshold, suffering the penalty of death for our sins. The "dark grave" engulfed Him, as it swallows earthly rulers, as it will swallow all of us. But then our Lord did what no earthbound leader could ever do. He shattered death's prison and rose from the dead! Elected earthly leaders do not always keep their promises, but the Lord in whom we place our trust has promised that because He lives, we too will live. When we come to life's last portal, our Prince will be waiting there to lead us through to eternal life.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, bless our earthly leaders. Grant them wisdom to make just decisions. Rule over us with Your love and grace and power until we reach life's last portal. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • Who was the last significant politician or world leader you were sorry to see die?
  • How does your view of life differ now from when you were younger?
  • How do you balance believing in or standing behind a leader and placing your trust in God?

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Praise the Almighty." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Who was the last significant politician or world leader you were sorry to see die?

Unser Täglich Brot - Frag jemand, der einen hat

https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/2019/08/04/frag-jemand-der-einen-hat/

Frag jemand, der einen hat

Lesung: Psalm 66,1.8-20 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Psalm 66—67; Römer 7

Ich will erzählen, was [Gott] an mir getan hat. Psalm 66,16

Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts erfand der Autohersteller Packard einen Slogan, um Käufer zu gewinnen. „Frag den Mann, der einen hat“, wurde zu einer stehenden Redensart, die sehr zum Ruf der Firma als Hersteller von Luxusfahrzeugen beitrug. Packard hatte offensichtlich begriffen, dass der persönliche Bezug ein entscheidendes Argument ist. Wenn ein Freund mit einem Produkt zufrieden ist, überzeugt das auch mich.

Auch wenn wir von unseren persönlichen Erfahrungen mit Gottes großer Güte berichten, hat das Auswirkungen. Gott fordert uns auf, unsere Dankbarkeit und Freude nicht nur ihm gegenüber zu äußern, sondern auch in unserer Umgebung (Psalm 66,1). Der Psalmist erzählt begeistert von der Vergebung, die Gott ihm geschenkt hat, als er sich von seiner Sünde abwandte (V.18-20).

Gott hat im Lauf der Geschichte Erstaunliches getan, wie zum Beispiel die Wasser des Roten Meeres geteilt (V.6). Auch in unserem Leben tut er Erstaunliches. Er schenkt uns Hoffnung im Leid, gibt uns den Heiligen Geist, damit wir sein Wort verstehen, und versorgt uns täglich mit dem, was wir brauchen. Wenn wir mit anderen unsere persönlichen Erfahrungen mit Gott weitergeben, dann geben wir ihnen viel mehr als eine Kaufempfehlung. Wir bezeugen Gottes Güte und machen anderen Mut für ihr Leben.
Wem kannst du von Gottes Wirken in deinem Leben erzählen? Hast du ein konkretes Beispiel, von dem du berichten kannst?
Herr, hilf mir, davon zu reden, wie wunderbar du in meinem Leben wirkst!


© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts erfand der Autohersteller Packard einen Slogan, um Käufer zu gewinnen. „Frag den Mann, der einen hat“, wurde zu einer stehenden Redensart, die sehr zum Ruf der Firma als Hersteller von Luxusfahrzeugen beitrug.