Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, August 25, 2019 - Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman
Luke 13:10-17

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, August 25, 2019 - Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
[Ordinary 21, Proper 16]
(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.


The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; 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
Isaiah’s people—the people of Israel returning home from long exile—sought in the Prophet’s words guidance for building God’s kingdom: Offer food to the hungry, Reach out to the afflicted, Remove the yokes of oppression and injustice, Overcome despair and complaint in struggle.

We too, struggle with this guidance, and too often fail in our attempts to build community.

Holy One, forgive us. Take away whatever holds us back. Show us the way to confidence and generosity so that we may be known as your people: Repairers of the broken places and Restorers of streets to safety and peace.

O God, with your help we can change and bring you glory.

Assurance of Pardon
Though we may have strayed, when we come to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, we can be sure that the kingdom we are offered cannot be shaken.  We will not be abandoned; indeed we will have continual guidance. Each time we feed the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted we grow in the strength of our faith and our bond with God.  We are changed.  Praise be to God; this simple miracle is made available to all of us, God’s children.

First Reading
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
1:4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
   and before you were born I consecrated you;
   I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me,

   “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
   for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
   and you shall speak whatever I command you.
8  Do not be afraid of them,
   for I am with you to deliver you,
   says the Lord.”

9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,

   “Now I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
   to pluck up and to pull down,
   to destroy and to overthrow,
   to build and to plant.”

Psalm 71:1-6 In te, Domine, speravi
1  In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; *
   let me never be ashamed.

2  In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *
   incline your ear to me and save me.

3  Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
   you are my crag and my stronghold.

4  Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *
   from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.

5  For you are my hope, O Lord God, *
   my confidence since I was young.

6  I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
   from my mother's womb you have been my strength; *
   my praise shall be always of you.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:18-29
12:18 You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20 (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

The Gospel
Luke 13:10-17
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman
13:10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

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.

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.
We are sorely tempted to institute rules that limit our ability to love. In God's kingdom love always trumps rules as Jesus heals a crippled woman on the sabbath.

“Cure for an Aching Back” The Sermon for SUNDAY, August 25, 2019 - Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 13th chapter of Luke, beginning with the 10th verse.

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. (Luke 13:10-17, 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.

“Cure for an Aching Back”

It is unexpected and agonizing. You reach over to pick up a package, bend down to tie your shoe, or put out your arms to scoop an “arms-up” child… and suddenly, something goes terribly wrong. You know it in an instant. A wrench. A tweak. A tear. A back muscle, or disk, or nerve… something has gone completely “off-line.” In the twitch of a muscle, moving becomes misery.

Even if you’ve never studied anatomy ever, you are immediately an expert in just how intimately connected your back is to your arms and legs, neck and shoulders, hands and feet. Everything anywhere near your back, hurts. When there is a “wreck” around the “super highway” of our nervous receptors, all of the other roadways in our body, all the muscles and nerves, all suffer together.

In the “back-to-school” shopping ritual, one of the most important, and expensive, family purchases is a new backpack. Dozens of kids will walk to school in the coming weeks. Most of them will have a back pack. Does it seem to you too that every year the load our kids becomes heavier and heavier?

In fact, there is real concern among medical professionals about the long-term effects of this “weightiness” on the nerves, bones and muscles of young children. There are long-term studies underway to follow up the muscular-skeletal effects that may result from years of hauling around pounds and pounds of books, sports gear, computers, and all the other portable “necessities” our kids carry on their back ten months out of the year. In later life, the back-packer may develop the newly named syndrome of “backpackilepsy.”

Notice how our story begins, “One Sabbath day, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. A woman was there who was severely disabled. Her body was all bent over.” Even with her pronounced deformity she was in the synagogue on the Sabbath. I admire her. I wonder if I would have that kind of courage to be in public with that kind of condition.

Even more important she had not allowed her physical condition to impair her relationship with God. She had been this way for eighteen years all bent over and unable to rise up. The pain was sometimes severe. Yet, her habit was to be in worship to praise her Maker. That’s devotion.

I know people who will miss church if they have a slight headache. Or if there is a threat of a little rain or the threat of sunshine for that matter for there are so many other things you can do when the weather is nice. But here was this woman where she was supposed to be on this particular Sabbath: in worship. And because she was there, she received a very special blessing from God.

The visit of Jesus to a local synagogue reported in this week’s text is unique to Luke. It is the last time this gospel writer specifically locates Jesus in a synagogue. In an earlier episode (6:9) Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath, it raised the hackles of the religious establishment. Jesus is “teaching” in the synagogue, so obviously he had been recognized as a qualified leader and scholar of the Torah.

Yet the moment this woman appears in the synagogue, “bent over” and “quite unable to stand up,” he focuses on her and her disability. It is unclear just how separated men and women were in first century synagogue services. Usually in a two story synagogue the women were upstairs. Still, for Jesus to single out and call forward a woman to the center of the synagogue during the Sabbath, was highly unusual.

Jesus not only called a woman forward. He called an obviously diseased woman into his presence. In this first century world when one had a disease it was viewed as a sign of divine displeasure. Remember the story of the man born blind (John 9)... what was the disciples question? Who sinned this man or his parents? This woman’s physical condition suggested a spiritual shortcoming.

Here is the setting. Jesus has been invited on the Sabbath to address the congregation. You have the synagogue ruler off to the side who has invited him. Then you have the congregation who has heard so much about this young man from Nazareth. They are excited to have him there in their hometown synagogue. That’s the scene. The stage is set. Entering in is bent over, frail woman who is known throughout the small community. They call her the cripple.

Society has a way dehumanizing us. When we allow this to happen, we fail to see our worth before God. The hunchback was, in the synagogue ruler’s opinion, only a woman and of little value. The Mosaic Law was more important than a woman let alone a disfigured one.

Jesus deals head-on with a debilitating back issue. When Jesus sees the woman walk into the synagogue, he calls forward without her ever seeking him out. She is “bent over and quite unable to stand up straight.” Luke doesn’t tell us her name. We do not know if she was rich or poor, someone who was honored or ostracized. All we know is that she was perceived as one who had endured “a spirit” that had crippled her, bent her in half, for the past eighteen years. We also know that despite that affliction, she still attended worship in the synagogue during the weekly Sabbath ceremonies.

Medically, this disease is probably what physician’s today call Ankylosing spondylitis (Marie-Strumpell disease, Bechterew's disease), a fusion of the spinal bones. Early in the course of the disease, sufferers often find that the pain is relieved somewhat when they lean forward. So they often go through the day leaning slightly forward, and gradually their spine begins to fuse. The more they lean in order to relieve the pain, the greater the angle, until a patient might be bent almost double, as the lady in our story. Even today, we don’t have any medicines that can actually cure this condition.(1)

In this Jewish religious culture that is highly patriarchal Jesus breaks at least six strict cultural rules:

1) Jesus speaks to the woman. In civilized society, Jewish men did not speak to women. Remember the story in John 4 where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. She was shocked because a Jew would speak to a Samaritan. But when the disciples returned, the Scripture records, “They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman?” In speaking to her, Jesus jettisons the male restraints on women’s freedom.

2) He calls her to the center of the synagogue. By placing her in the geographic middle, he challenges the notion of a male monopoly on access to knowledge and to God.

3) He touches her. Oh my gosh... He touched her... which revokes the holiness code.

4) He calls her “daughter of Abraham,” a term not found in any of the prior Jewish literature. This is revolutionary. In Jewish theology it was believed that women were saved through their men. To call her a daughter of Abraham is to make her a full-fledged member of the nation of Israel with equal standing before God.

5) He heals on the Sabbath, the holy day. That was considered work…. It would be breaking the 3rd commandment. As a Rabbi He should know better.

6) Last, and not least, he challenges the ancient belief that her illness is a direct punishment from God for sin. He asserts that she is ill, not because God willed it, but because there is evil in the world. (In other words, bad things happen to good people.)

And Jesus did all this in a few seconds.

Luke writes that Jesus was frustrated at their legalism: “You Hypocrites!” What one could have written... “Give me a break! Everyone one of you... don’t you untie your donkey, or ox and lead them to drink on the Sabbath? Of course you do! Why should this woman not receive God’s mercy...”

“If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Jesus is quoting the O.T. Prophet Micah 6:8 “This is what the Lord requires... To act justly... to love mercy... and to walk humbly with your God.” The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath and one greater than the Temple is here in your midst.” (Matthew 12:12, 6-7, NIV)

The Divine Cloud of the Old Testament was now standing in from of them in the person of Jesus… The “Cloud” had moved from the temple to the person who was healing the blind, curing the lame, raising the dead... but what was their response?

When Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath Matthew writes, “they plotted how to kill him.” (Matthew 12:14, NIV)

Now, all things being equal, the news that our heavenly Father has used His Son’s death and resurrection to forgive and redeem us really ought to be the end of this message. All things being equal, just about everyone ought to grasp the obvious fact that Jesus’ death and resurrection shows the depth and intensity of God’s love for us. All things being equal, if you can figure out storm clouds are going to bring rain and winds which blow from the south are going to warm things up, you ought to be able to grasp this basic truth: God loves you. All things being equal, everybody ought to be brought to faith by the Holy Spirit.

All things being equal the Pharisees should have known that the One who heals the lame, cures the blind and raises the Dead... is more than a great prophet... all things being equal... but it challenged their authority, their control, their self righteousness...

Of course, things aren’t equal and not everybody believes Jesus is their Savior, or that God really cares. Things aren’t equal because sin, Satan, and this world work very hard at making people question the Lord and His intentions toward them, which is exactly what the Pharisees were doing.

When Jesus was doing His ministry on earth the devil used some respected, and often well-to-do men called Pharisees who really relished telling others that God was angry with them. These Pharisees made up and tried to force people to obey laws which God had never given, which were so strange that God would never have thought of them.

Let me give you an example. When the Lord handed down His Ten Commandments He said, “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” The Pharisees, however, felt God’s Law was woefully inadequate and dreadfully incomplete. Believing God had not finished the job, the Pharisees felt a moral obligation to tell other folks exactly how the Sabbath day should be remembered. They drew up rules on exactly how far a person could walk; precisely how much a person should work and defining just when an individual should do that work.

Then, when people broke one of these new commandments they’d never heard of and which God had never given, the Pharisees looked down their noses and sarcastically said, “You're a sinner. I don’t like you and God doesn’t like you either.”

If some woman was childless the Pharisees were pretty sure her condition was some kind of punishment from God. If someone was born blind or lame, the Pharisees were convinced that an angry God had said, “See, I told you this kind of thing would happen if you sinned.” With the Pharisees around it’s not surprising that people felt they were in a no-win situation with the Lord.

Of course, the Pharisees are long since gone. You can take out your telephone book, go to the Yellow Pages and you won’t find the office of a single Pharisee listed. Let us trust in Jesus. Let us do what the Lord requires... To act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.  


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1. Source: Healing the Woman with a Bent Back by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

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. Clarence Eisberg.
Jesus breaks all the Jewish rules.... no wonder the Pharisees wanted him dead. He is the “cloud” of the O. T. in their midst. One Sabbath day, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. A woman was there who was severely disabled. Her body was all bent over.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, August 25, 2019

Sunday Morning Prayer

Church father and “golden-mouthed” preacher John Chrysostom said this in the fourth century: “Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, or giving generously in the service of others. Our spirit should long for God and call him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so make a pleasing offering to the Lord of the universe.”

Our Father God, help us to show kindness and unrivaled hospitality as the natural extension of our commitment to you. Use us to bring hope and comfort to the abandoned and forsaken corners of your creation. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, August 25, 2019

Psalm 119:165 (NIV) Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Read all of Psalm 119

Listen to Psalm 119

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, August 25, 2019

El desorden y la suciedad (primera parte)

Vístanse de amor, que es el vínculo perfecto. Todos los caminos del hombre son limpios en su propia opinión; pero Jehová pesa los espíritus.

El desorden y la suciedad son dos enemigos nuestros. ¡Qué importante es saber que el desorden y la suciedad son desagradables a la vista y a la vida y que también nos afecta en el campo espiritual! Nosotros podemos ser pobres o humildes, pero nada nos da derecho a ser desordenados y sucios.

El abandono personal y del hogar solo reflejan tu desinterés en la vida. En las Escrituras aprendemos que son los demonios los que viven en el desorden y la suciedad. Ese abandono te llevan a la depresión y te atan, de tal manera, que no puedes ver las bendiciones y las promesas que Dios tiene para ti.

Son muchas las promesas que tenemos, pero solo son para los valientes, para los que preparan su casa, ya sea que se trate de tu cuerpo o del techo bajo el que vives.

Dios es un Dios de orden y no puedes pedirle que reine de otra manera.

Limpia y ordena tu casa y tu vida, y verás la mano de Dios sobre ti.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Nosotros podemos ser pobres o humildes, pero nada nos da derecho a ser desordenados y sucios.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, August 25, 2019

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

The Apostle Paul praises the church in Thessalonica for their faith and love in the face of persecutions and trials. In essence he is telling them that they are good stewards of their trials, not letting them impact their faith negatively.

I recently heard gospel singer Lynda Randall express this same thought of “being a good steward of the trials I face,” as she introduced her next solo “It is Well With My Soul.”

The lyrics of this hymn were written by Horatio Spafford, a lawyer of some prominence in Chicago. He and his wife Anna had one son and four daughters, and were good friends of D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey for many years. Mr. Spafford’s children had come to Christ through the influence of Ira Sankey’s music. When the Spafford’s son died, the family went into deep mourning.

After two years of ministering to the homeless and needy people of Chicago, Mr. Spafford thought his family needed a vacation. D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey were in England holding evangelistic so Mr. Spafford decided to take his family to England, where they could vacation and also be a help to his friends Moody and Sankey.

He booked passage for his family on the ship SS Ville de Havre, but at the last minute was unable to go with his family due to business. He promised to follow them within a few weeks and they would all be reunited in England.

As the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, it collided with the English ship Lochearn, and sank within 12 minutes. 226 lives were lost, including the four Spafford daughters. Mrs. Spafford was rescued from a floating piece of debris. When she arrived in Wales 10 days later she cabled a message to her husband, “Saved Alone...”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next ship heading to England. As the ship crossed the area where the SS Ville de Havre sank, taking his daughters to the ocean’s depths, Mr. Spafford felt the Holy Spirit fill him with a comforting peace. Leaving the ship’s railing he went into his cabin where he penned the hymn that has soothed so many souls who have been broken-hearted...and one which I often hear sung in the meetings of the persecuted church:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

RESPONSE: Today I will be a good steward of the trials I face…with faith, love and perseverance.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness in all the trials I face. Help me not waste them.

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 25, 2019 - Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses

"Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses"

Aug. 25, 2019

"They call to us, Your timid footsteps lengthen; Throw off sin's weight, your halting weakness strengthen. We kept the faith, we shed our blood, were martyred; Our lives we bartered.

"Come, let us fix our sight on Christ who suffered, He faced the cross, His sinless life He offered; He scorned the shame, He died, our death enduring, Our hope securing.

"Lord, give us faith to walk where You are sending, On paths unmarked, eyes blind as to their ending; Not knowing where we go, but that You lead us—With grace precede us."

A cloud of witnesses surrounds us. They are the faithful believers, well-known and unknown, who lived and suffered and died without ever seeing the fulfillment of God's covenant promise. These witnesses are not merely cheering us on, like so many fans in a stadium. They are inviting us to join them in the race that they, by faith, have won.

In the hymn, the witnesses tell us to turn our timid steps into long, confident strides that will carry us forward in life's race of faith. The race run by the witnesses was not an easy one. The patriarch Abraham obeyed the Lord's call to travel into an unknown land. His wife Sarah, beyond the age of childbirth, conceived a son of promise. Abraham, obedient to God, prepared to offer that son for sacrifice, not knowing what would follow. Joseph, raised to power in Egypt, asked that his bones be carried to the Promised Land during an exodus he would not live to see. Moses rejected the wealth of Egypt to suffer with God's people. Countless others, unnamed in Scripture, endured pain and persecution as they lived and suffered and longed for God's promised Deliverer to be revealed.

Our race of faith may not be easy either. We experience trouble—fears, doubts, grief, and loss. We endure the ridicule and persecution of the world and, as the hymn reminds us, the paths before us remain unmarked and we are "blind as to their ending." Yet as we follow those paths, as we run the race of faith set before us, we are to keep our eyes fixed on the same Deliverer awaited by the cloud of witnesses. We keep our focus on Jesus, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2b). He died, "our death enduring," and rose triumphant from the grave, granting to us the same joy that was set before Him.

Our paths forward may be unmarked, but we can stride forward in confident hope, because those paths are not unmarked for our crucified and risen Lord. We take up the cross and follow in His footsteps, knowing that wherever we go, His grace goes before us.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we give thanks for the many witnesses, known and unknown, who ran the race of faith before us. Strengthen our steps with your Word and Your Holy Supper as we join those witnesses and follow You. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • Do you live your life determined to trust in God, or do you just hope for the best?
  • How does your faith empower your life when you're feeling scared or timid?
  • How often do you recall/reflect on the fact that there are many who have run the race of faith before you? Do you take inspiration from that?

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Do you live your life determined to trust in God, or do you just hope for the best?

Unser Täglich Brot - Überraschende Weisheit

Überraschende Weisheit

O welch eine Tiefe des Reichtums, beides, der Weisheit und der Erkenntnis Gottes! Römer 11,33

„Mir scheint, je älter ich werde, desto weiser wirst du. Wenn ich mit meinem Sohn rede, höre ich manchmal sogar, wie deine Worte aus meinem Mund kommen!“

Ich musste lachen über die Offenheit meiner Tochter. Genauso war es mir mit meinen Eltern ergangen. Oft meinte ich, sie reden zu hören, wenn ich mit meinen Kindern sprach. Nachdem ich selbst Vater geworden war, erschien mir die Weisheit meiner Eltern in einem anderen Licht. Was ich früher als „Blödsinn“ abgetan hatte, erschien mir jetzt klüger, als ich gedacht hatte. Ich hatte es früher nur nicht sehen können.

Die Bibel sagt, „die göttliche Torheit ist weiser“ als die größte Klugheit der Menschen (1. Korinther 1,25). „Denn weil die Welt durch ihre Weisheit Gott in seiner Weisheit nicht erkannte, gefiel es Gott wohl, durch die Torheit“ der Botschaft von einem leidenden Erlöser, zu retten, „die da glauben“ (V.21).

Gott ist immer überraschend. Anstatt als triumphierender König, wie die Welt es erwartet hätte, kam sein Sohn als leidender Diener und starb auf zutiefst demütigende Weise—am Kreuz–, bevor er in die Herrlichkeit zurückkehren konnte.

In Gottes Weisheit ist Demut höher zu schätzen als Stolz, und die Liebe zeigt ihren Wert in unverdienter Gnade und Freundlichkeit. Am Kreuz wurde unser unbezwingbarer Messias zum absoluten Opfer, um alle, die an ihn glauben, „für immer“ zu retten (Hebräer 7,25).
Wann hat Gottes Handeln dich eher verwirrt? Wie hilft es dir zu wissen, dass Gottes Wege anders sind als unsere eigenen?
Himmlischer Vater, ich preise dich für deine Weisheit. Hilf mir, dir zu vertrauen und heute mit dir zu leben.

© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Ich musste lachen über die Offenheit meiner Tochter. Genauso war es mir mit meinen Eltern ergangen. Oft meinte ich, sie reden zu hören, wenn ich mit meinen Kindern sprach.